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July 2004 Archives

July 1, 2004

Dump it!

It's official: The U.S. government's Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) is warning Web surfers to stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser.

"US-CERT is a non-profit partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the public and private sectors. It was established in September 2003 to improve computer security preparedness and response to cyber attacks in the United States."


"US-CERT researchers say the IE browser does not adequately validate the security context of a frame that has been redirected by a Web server. It opens the door for an attacker to exploit the flaw by executing script in different security domains."

So what are you waiting for? Get a real browser, like Mozilla, Firefox, or Opera...

Assume standard orbit, Data!

How many times have we heard that over the years? The TV guys make it sound so easy.

But the reality is much more diffficult, especially when you are watching from more than halfway across the solar system.

Spacecraft Cassini Enters Saturn's Orbit(AP)
Cassini Spacecraft Enters Saturn's Orbit Between Two of Its Rings
A carefully choreographed maneuver allowed Cassini to be captured by Saturn's gravity as it arced within 12,500 miles of the giant planet's cloud tops.

Using its big radio dish as a shield against small particles, the spacecraft ascended through a gap between two of the rings, then spun around and fired its engine for more than 1 1/2 hours to slow its acceleration.

The craft then rotated again to place its shielding antenna in front as it descended back through the gap.

Since the craft was over 900 million miles away, all JPL could do was watch, and hope that Cassini-Huygens worked as advertised. It did so, by flying between two of Saturn's rings.

Good on ya, guys!

You can find more information about Cassini-Huygens here, as well as the latest images.

Lest we forget

America has recently rediscovered the "fun of frog-bashing" (AKA "dissing the French"). It's fun, it's easy, and even kids can play.

But let's not forget that Chiraq is not France. There's a fair number of French men and women who still love and respect America. I cite in evidence Anilore Banon, and Jean-Paul Delorme.

Ms. Banon is a sculptor who had decided to create a piece for the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings: "Their sacrifice and courage allowed us all to stand up. It was the force of their will that three generations later we still have with us."

She wasn't sure she would be able to get the funds to build her sculpture until Jean-Paul Delorme contacted her. Delorme had read about her problems in the International Herald Tribune, and volunteered to pay the bills.

What is truly amazing is that the factory building the monument went on strike (no, that's not the amazing part; this is France, after all {g}), but the 25 workers assigned to the project said "For the sculpture, we are not on strike."

Vive la France. Perhaps in the not too distant future, both sides will remember what Gen. "Black" Jack Pershing said, four score and seven years ago...

July 14, 2004

Zinging the Dickens

out of Dickens...

I was about to add the lovely and talented Ambra Nykol to my blogroll anyway, when I dropped by her place to double-check the URL for my blogroll.

That's when I found her trenchant comments on The Giants of Literature.

My favorite shot: "There was a moment when I enjoyed Great Expectations. The end." Ouch! Heh.

Check her work out; it's worth it.

Geeks vs. Freaks

Dean Esmay recently came out of the closet over at Dean's World.

What? Oh, no, he's not gay; he's just a geek. You see, Dean used to play D&D, but he never mentioned that little detail to his wife. Heh.

After the rest of us chimed in (me, I was a Paladin!), the lovely Rosemary Esmay chimed in and wanted to know:

I was out partying in bars, getting tattooed and having fun.

What's wrong with you people?

Well, Rose, we were geeky, while you were freaky!

Glad to be of help, Your Majesty... :)

July 20, 2004

Democratic Party Vote Fraud

Liberals are now publicly advocating voting fraud via Air America.

The wonderful folks who gave us "Bush==Hitler" are now suggesting that Democrats migrate to Ohio -just for November-, since our lovely state has a simple 30-day residency requirement, and Ohio may be the critical swing state in the election.

Let's import voters from other states to influence an election...

Hey Al, Randi: y'all forgot the old Daley trick of having dead people vote!

Yep, the Democrats are all class: "Vote early, vote often." Heh.

Thanks to the Conspiracy to keep you Poor and Stupid for the story.

SpaceShip One Photos

Just found some more SpaceShip One photos; they're a very nice series from launch to landing.

The commentary included mentions that not only is astronaut Mike Melvill the second oldest man into space (after John Glenn), he is also the oldest to command a spaceflight.

My particular favorite is the sign Melvill holds up in the final photo.

You go, guys!

Thanks to Blackfive for the link.

July 21, 2004

Marine Bumper stickers

Save water, shower with a Marine.

Heaven won't take us and Hell's afraid we'll take over.

USMC: When it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight.

When in doubt, empty the magazine.

To err is human, to forgive is divine, however neither is Marine Corps policy.

Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

There are two types of people: Marines, and those that wish they were.

Martyrs or Marines, who do you think will get the virgins?

All men are created equal, then some become Marines.

It's not an attitude problem, we are that good.

U.S. Marines: Travel agents to Allah.

First Iraq, then France.

We're Marines, we took Iwo Jima, Baghdad ain't shit." (Gen. Kelly)

It's God's job to forgive Bin Laden, it's our job to arrange the meeting.

Sergeants think their only flaw is their excessive modesty.

Except for ending slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, war has never solved anything."

--Cheerfully stolen from StrategyPage.com

July 25, 2004

Black Holes Explained!

I have to say that Frank J. has become the American answer to Terry Prachett.

You doubt me? Read his primer about black holes!

'Nuff said...

Tout pour America!

American Lance Armstrong has become the first cyclist in history to win the Tour de France six times. Only four others have won the competition five times during its 101-year history.

This is especially impressive considering that just eight years ago Armstrong was given a less than 50% chance to live after contracting testicular cancer that spread into his lungs and brain.

So my hat's off to Lance, and I would never even think of gloating about his dominance over the frogs the French.

Ok. Maybe a little bit. :)

July 26, 2004

Sudan Intervention

Milblogger Blackfive discusses interventing in the Sudan, and closes with an intelligently provocative suggestion.

The usual "willing" include Great Britain and perhaps Australia.

And -as usual- France, Germany, and Russia have all said "nyet!" In fact (from other sources) those three countries have indicated that they won't even send money, much less troops, to help.

The suggestion?

I believe that we must seriously consider who is a "responsible" world member and how to support them.

An excellent suggestion indeed! Who wants to start?

Tour de France update

Yesterday I congratulated Lance Armstrong for winning his sixth Tour de France.

The froggies, alas, have been showing their true nature in reacting to Armstrong's triumph, including spitting at him and flipping him the bird.

And here I thought the surrender monkeys were the suave, sophisticated ones; silly me!

UPDATE: Apparently the rude spitting buggers in question were German, and not French. My apologies to the froggies. :)

Who's crushing dissent now?

From Lawrence Jarvik Online:

Agustin Blazquez produced and directed the documentaries Covering Cuba (which premiered at the American Film Institute cinema in the Kennedy Center), Cuba: The Pearl of the Antilles, Covering Cuba 2: The Next Generation and, Covering Cuba 3: Elian.

The interesting thing is that the AFI has refused to show Covering Cuba 3: Elian, since they view the film as "too controversial."

Mind you, this is after the American Film Institute bumped an Orson Welles retrospective so they could show Fahrenheit 9/11, which is (apparently) not controversial at all.

It's those damn neo-cons and the right-wing Bush attack machine, crushing dissent again.

Curse you, George Bush!

Well, she broke the law, didn't she?

One of The Queen's posts generated some comments which have finally forced me to speak my mind about Martha Stewart's conviction.

You can find the post & threads here. I decided to put up my reply as a post here, as well as in that thread.


Continue reading "Well, she broke the law, didn't she?" »

July 27, 2004

What makes a good, heroic movie?

Damn. The Esmays are getting me all fired up tonight! Now Dean has a post that inspired this essay, although (again) it's been in the back of my mind for a couple of years, now. See the original post for the comments I responded to below.


Bryan: agreed! In fact, Michael Smith has said that Batman: Dead End is the best Batman movie he's ever seen.

Ara: I'm with you, brudder: Newmar all that way... Yum.

Well, maybe Newmar and Berry, although even the lovely and talented Julie N. had better lines than this to work with! Sheesh.

Dean: I read the reviews Sunday night. Everyone panned it; I think the best "grade" was a D.

The sad thing is that Halle Berry would have made a marvelous Selina Kyle, as per the original.

Of course, this all goes to show that (in order) good story, casting, direction, and production beat FX and sleaze every time. DC should do what Marvel has done, and give the properties to the people who love and understand the stories and characters behind the DC superheroes.

Continue reading "What makes a good, heroic movie?" »

Karl Rove and the President

Chris Muir is a talented and funny cartoonist. He also frequently shows a deft touch with his commentary, and he even tries to show the "squishy liberal" point of view once in a while. :)

This strip, however, is a true gem!


July 28, 2004

After the Convention

I just wanted to take a moment to point out that quite a few commentators have projected a bump in the polls in Kerry's favor after the convention.

Apparently it's traditional; both parties' candidates each get a bump after their respective conventions which last a few weeks, then evaporate.

Why am I saying this? Because I anticipate a great deal of joy among the Kerryites when the post-convention poll results come out. "Oh, look, Kerry is killing Bush in the polls! We're a shoo-in!"

Um, no. Bush will see the same sort of bump/evaporate after the GOP convention. It's nothing to get excited about. Even Republican National Comittee Chairman Gillespe has predicted an 8-12 point increase for Kerry after the election.

Consider it the poll equivalent of Indian Summer...

A Measure of Civility

Dean Esmay recently published a pledge which he asked other citizens to take: no matter who wins in November, try to treat the President with the respect the office deserves, especially during the challenges we currently face.

The interesting thing is that he's not the first one I've seen put it that way recently. If you check out the conservative site Free Republic Network you will find similar sentiment.

I can't find a permalink, so here's a quote from their Mission Statement:

Guiding Principles

The Free Republic Network believes:

* that this nation's framing documents -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- establish the guiding principles for a just and free people
* that government is a double-edged sword -- potentially the greatest champion of the rights of citizens, but also the greatest threat to their freedom. To safeguard against tyranny, we believe Americans should strictly limit the scope of our government to those powers, duties and responsibilities assigned in our Constitution.
* that taxation should not exceed the minimum amount needed to accomplish the legitimate duties and responsibilities of government set forth in the Constitution.
* that American citizens must educate themselves and engage in civic and political action, to secure Constitutional rights and liberties for themselves, their families, and future generations.
* that individuals are responsible for their own livelihood and the support of their own families, and that each of us is personally accountable for his or her words, actions and decisions. We believe it is the responsibility of our government to promote the general welfare, not provide it, and to ensure equal access to the American Dream, not to enforce equal outcomes.
* that each of us has a personal obligation to help others overcome misfortune and become productive, and that this work is best accomplished through private rather than public efforts.

Code of Conduct

Network members are asked to abide by our basic Code of Conduct, which includes the following guidelines:

* Do not commit, promote or encourage unlawful actions or acts of violence.
* Maintain the highest ethical standards in dealing with other organizations.
* Maintain courtesy and a professional demeanor.

Especially note the last part. Also, if you read the most recent article there, by John Armor, you will find this remark:

No matter who is President of the United States, the office is entitled to a certain level of respect regardless of the opinion you have about the individual currently occupying the White House. Others have made this point, so I support their position.

For instance, I have spent more than eight years condemning Bill Clinton as a person. It痴 more than eight years because even though he痴 out of office, he will not go
away. But always my objections were based on facts of what he did or did not do. I did not resort to schoolyard name-calling. Never did I approach the depths of 途hetoric� that Whoopi Goldberg applied to President Bush.

Could this signal -God forbid- the return of manners to politics? Stay tuned!

The numbers are in

Looks like the Kerry/Edwards/Oompah-Loompah ticket is running into a rocky start after the convention.

Apparently the projected deficit will be $100 billion less than earlier anticipated.

Thanks to the Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid for the link.

July 29, 2004

Yet Another Nail...

For some folks, the need to believe that BushLied(tm) supercedes any call to a rational debate. This has caused Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping to ask We expect Michael Moore to lie about Bush, but is prevarication a virus infecting all Bush's opposition?

Donald carefully and methodically lays out the facts for everyone to see that not only did President Bush not lie, he has in fact consistently pursued the same strategic goals outlined in his speech to the UN on 9/12/02.

This is the best approach in refuting the notBush supporters: we have to patiently and consistently continue to cite the facts of the matter, and avoid ad hominem personal attacks. Don Sensing leads the way.

Read it here.

July 30, 2004

One of the best...

Every once in a while I like to point folks to a really good blog. In this case, you should run, not walk over to Sgt. Hook's place, and read his latest post.

His writing qualifies him as the modern-day Ernie Pyle. Check him out.

About July 2004

This page contains all entries posted to The Gantry Launchpad in July 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2004 is the previous archive.

August 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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