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O'Connor to Retire from Supreme Court
News & Analysis - News
Friday, 01 July 2005

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced that she will be retiring from the Supreme Court before the its new term in October. Her vacancy from the highest court under U.S. law will be the first during George W. Bush's (R) presidency. O'Connor was the first woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court and was nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R) in 1981.

O'Connor, while generally siding with the conservative wing of the court, is considered a moderate and has sided with the liberal wing at times. She has often been a 'swing vote' at the center-right of conflicting judicial ideologies.

President Bush has not yet announced an appointment to fill the upcoming court vacancy, however he is likely to face stiff opposition from the Democratic minority in the Senate. Under the U.S. Constitution, presidents must appoint members of the federal judiciary and Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Senate. Minority parties in the Senate have increasingly used the filibuster to interrupt that process.

Where are the Wedding Photos?
Life & Site Blog - Site
Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Melissa and I have been busy getting literally thousands of photos together, sorted, and uploaded so that we can share them with you. We've installed a gallery management system on the wedding website behind-the-scenes, but want to get a lot more organized and posted before we open it for business. There are about 1500 'official' wedding photos from Bella that will need to be sorted (they should be arriving on CD soon), and Melissa is still trudging through about the same number of shots from the Honeymoon ... so bear with us.

If you took pictures and want to share, you have two options. First, you can send me/hand me a CD with your pictures and I can post them along with the million others that will be on the wedding site. Second, you can post them somewhere else however you like and ask me to put a link on the wedding site (there are already two of those, if you haven't noticed).

When the gallery is ready to go, it will be well linked and announced on the wedding site and Off on a Tangent. I have no clear estimate on when that will be yet ;-).

Dems Make Up Something to Complain About
Nonfiction - Rants
Wednesday, 29 June 2005

After reading today that many Democrats are criticizing President George W. Bush's (R) for supposedly linking the Iraq War to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 in his speech last night (AP via, I have to face a bothersome realization: Democrats either weren't listening, or they think everybody in the U.S. is really stupid.

There were plenty of things that the President said last night which are subject to fair debate, but the Democrats have decided (again!) to latch on to this mindless old criticism. And this time they're criticizing Bush for something that he never even said!

Bush did mention 9/11, but only in two main contexts. First, the 9/11 attacks showed our nation that we needed to proactively address evil in the world (debatable, yes, but hardly "linking al Qaeda to Saddam"). Second...

New WTC tower design made public
News & Analysis - Articles
Wednesday, 29 June 2005

New WTC tower design made public (

It looks like they may have listened to a little of what I said when it was first announced that New York's upcoming Freedom Tower would be redesigned. It still doesn't beat Trump's plan, but at least they're heading in the right direction.

That's right, the Freedom Center plans have gone from 'terribly uninspiring and pretty ugly' to 'eh, that's not too bad.'

Another two or three of these mysterious security redesigns (I think that's a euphemism for 'deuglification') and maybe we'll have something impressive and awe-inspiring to build in lower Manhattan. Imagine that....

An Eminent End to Individual Property?
Nonfiction - Opinion & Commentary
Friday, 24 June 2005

"No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." - Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Supreme Court's narrow 5-4 majority has an interesting interpretation of 'public use.'

Throughout the history of the United States, our governments (local, state, and federal) have had the right to take private property for the 'greater good.' This has been called 'eminent domain.' Traditionally, use of eminent domain has been limited to particular situations where the community will be unquestionably better-off for it and there are no practical alternatives -- a road needs to be widened, a 'blighted' (read: slum) community needs to be replaced, etc.

But eminent domain has been, and continues to be, misused. Its use to steal property for the purposes of building stadiums is particularly egregious and common....

An User's Analysis of Apple's Intel Switch
News & Analysis - Analysis
Wednesday, 22 June 2005

While we were on our honeymoon, a strange story arrived in our cabin on the m.s. Statendam. According to the New York Times Digest -- a source of dubious trustworthiness -- Steve Jobs announced during the keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that Apple would begin a switch to Intel chips in 2006 and complete the transition in 2007.

Well, dubious source or not, it turns out to be true. Apple's ten year commitment to the PowerPC processor line (manufactured my IBM and Freescale [formerly Motorola's semiconductor division]) is coming to an end. Intel -- whose chips run most Windows computers -- will effectively own the desktop and notebook computer markets in their entirety.

Apple, as usual, has gone a long way toward making this easy for average consumers (the transition from 68k chips to PPC in the 1990s and the transition from Mac OS Classic to Mac OS X in the early 2000s both had similar technical challenges -- so they have experience)....

FBI: Bride 'just wanted to disappear'
News & Analysis - Articles
Wednesday, 22 June 2005

FBI: Bride 'just wanted to disappear' (AP via

A somewhat disturbing look into the mind of crazy-eyed runaway-bride Jennifer Wilbanks, who had to use money from a cell phone rebate and closing out an old account to go on her selfish, escapist journey across the United States. She didn't she use her regular checking account because her mom handled that account!

Yes, Wilbanks, 32, is another ringing endorsement of parents coddling their adult children instead of setting them out on their own.

She originally intended to go to Austin, TX because she heard Matthew McConaughey talking on TV about how nice it was, but didn't stop there because bus stations are in bad parts of town. She finally called her [former?] fiancé when she ran out of money in Albuquerque and made up a story about being kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

I wonder if you can buy bus tickets to mental institutions (one-way, of course)...

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"Who needs to understand? To understand life is to take away what makes it interesting. Screw understanding, make a gut decision. Stop thinking, stop worrying, stop everything and just answer the question." - Scott Bradford

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