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Meditations - ta eis heauton

Location: Austin, Texas, United States

I'm a software engineer / partner working for a young company in Austin, Texas, USA. I spend most of my free time hanging out with friends and family, eating out, and partying in the Warehouse District. I should spend more time working on my house....

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Interesting Essay

I just came across an interesting essay by Salmon Rushdie about atheism. Check it out.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Why can't I own a Canadian?

I found this while Stumbling around the internet. Great stuff for dealing with biblical literalists.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fun Facts

I was looking for a listing of the names of the powers of 10 over trillion and came across this page from the Austin Public Library. Turns out they have a whole site of Fun Facts. Cool.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hookem Horns

Wow, what a great game. Maybe it didn't have the last second intensity of the Michigan game in the Rose bowl, but it was awesome. Coming out and taking a quick 10-0 lead then falling down to 16-22 before rallying back to lead 23-22 then to put the icing on the cake the stellar defense gets a safety to put the game away. Texas 25, Ohio State 22. Awesome.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Scary blacks thinking of staying in Texas!

yes, I'm joking, but Barabara Bush wasn't. I guess that explains why W. is such an elitist asshole. He was raised badly, from poor stock.

Blame Game

Over the last few days there has been ongoing speculation about who is to blame for the slowness of the response to the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. Everyone agrees that it took far too long for help to arrive to survivors of the storm. Well this Timeline from Think Progress gives you a clear rundown of the events (with links) and as far as I can tell this is a FEMA FUBAR. The people running FEMA f*cked up bigtime. Of course when you discover that all three of the top people at FEMA are just political cronies with no experience in emergency management you can see why this might have happened. Worst President Ever.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Failure of Leadership

In a Monday editorial for the times Bob Herbert states it best:
Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble.

Sharp Contrast

While reading Frank Rich's excellent editorial from the Sunday NY Times I found this paragraph:

But a president who flew from Crawford to Washington in a heartbeat to intervene in the medical case of a single patient, Terri Schiavo, has no business lecturing anyone about playing politics with tragedy. Eventually we're going to have to examine the administration's behavior before, during and after this storm as closely as its history before, during and after 9/11. We're going to have to ask if troops and materiel of all kinds could have arrived faster without the drain of national resources into a quagmire. We're going to have to ask why it took almost two days of people being without food, shelter and water for Mr. Bush to get back to Washington.

I had totally forgotten about the way Georgie and jumped to do the right(white)-wing's bidding in the Schivo case. It is stunning when we are reminded of these actions in juxtaposition. Bush flew from Crawford in the early hours of the morning (disturbing the usual 8-10 hours he gets a night) in order to sign a bill that would force action on the Terry Schiavo case. Yet, as New Orleans was still filling with water he was sleeping in Crawford.

Failing upward

George W. Bush failed upward. He has never been successful at anything. He would come out fine personally, but every organization or company that we was in charge of would be in worse shape after he was there than before. This pattern is, obviously, being repeated on a much larger scale in the U.S. today. The higher the post the bigger the failures.

Unfortunately, Bush isn't the only member of his administration to fail upward. One example, FEMA director Michael Brown. Yeah, the guy in charge of disaster relief for Katrina has failed upward, very upward. After all, a guy who gets fired from being the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association (his full-time job!) really shouldn't have been elevated to deputy director of FEMA (and later elevated to director). This is just sad.

People complain about affirmative action suggesting that a less qualified minority candidate may be put in a position that they are not prepared for and thus underperform. Certainly a point to consider if evidence were to show it to be true. However, I think the Bush administration's cronyism has proven to be worse than could have been imagined.

Update: Maureen Dowd says it elequently in the Saturday Times:
Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.
I guess she didn't know the horse lovers fired his ass.

Update 2 : Krugman does an even better job on Monday:
But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's successor.

Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Wow, that is a bit excessive

There is an article in the Saturday NY Times about the outrage across the U.S, and the world at the government's response to Katrina. One paragraph that I thought was interesting (if a bit overstated):
"I am absolutely disgusted," said Sajeewa Chinthaka, 36, watching a cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to the Reuters news agency. "After the tsunami, our people, even the ones who lost everything, wanted to help the others who were suffering. Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S., we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Could we lose New Orleans entirely?

I was just thinking about the fact that the Atlantic hurricane season is just hitting its stride, it doesn't end until November 30th. Most of the worst US hurricanes have come in September and according to forecasts this season is expected to be particularly violent. It is entirely possible that another hurricane could hit the Gulf coast region and make reconstruction efforts impossible along with wreaking additional havoc.

If you think things are bad in those places now, imagine if another hurricane hits while we are still trying to do the basic reconstruction efforts (like reinforcing the levees around New Orleans). Scary thoughts...