Monday, January 30, 2006

Template Update

I removed the W Ketchup banner and shifted around the orientation of some of the blog tools acknowledgement boxes on the bottom of the sidebar.

Just you wait. Soon I will finally start that list of 'best demands.'

Sunday, January 29, 2006

W Ketchup

I support W Ketchup in spirit despite my inability to purchase the food product and sample their wares. I hope to someday.

Despite that I am removing the vertical banner from the sidebar where it has rested since the middle of 2004.

I have been meaning to change my template here for some time but that is neither here nor there on this specific item. Best to move on to some extent but it's great to acknowledge the past when it's good.

Lakers at Pistons 01/29/2006

6:30 PM, 2 hrs 30 min

English, Live
Los Angeles Lakers at Detroit. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers try to snap the Pistons' six-game home win streak in the series, which includes three games in the 2004 Finals.
This should be interesting!

Always keep in mind that the Pistons dominate the Lakers not for Bryant's lack of skill but because the Pistons are a team. Still: it's dangerous to underestimate the Lakers' drive.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hail to the Master Chief (Hard-Working Nerd Man)

The costume rocks, and it's obvious that the guy worked hard on it.

The prop gun is terrible.

The picture was taken at a Wizard World.

I am stealing bandwidth. I will copy the picture properly at a later date.

[UPDATE 7/20/2006: It's a later date and I copied the picture properly

Friday, January 27, 2006

The History and Possible Revival of the Fairness Doctrine

from Imprimis January 2006

Nat Hentoff

NAT HENTOFF joined the Village Voice in 1957. His column, “Liberty Beat,” is published weekly in the Voice. He has worked as a columnist for the Washington Post and as a reporter for the New Yorker. Currently he also appears weekly in the Washington Times, writes a weekly column for United Media Syndicate, and is a contributor on jazz and country music for the Wall Street Journal. Twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary, Mr. Hentoff has been recognized with a number of awards including the National Press Foundation Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism and the American Bar Association Certificate of Merit for Coverage of the Criminal Justice System. In 2001, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. In 2003, he was awarded the NEA Jazz Masters Jazz Advocate Award.

The following is adapted from a speech prepared for a five-day conference on “The News Media Today,” held at Hillsdale College on November 13-17, 2005.

The term “Fairness Doctrine” exemplifies what George Orwell called “Newspeak”: it uses language to mask the deleterious effects of its purported meaning. The Fairness Doctrine itself was in effect from 1949 until 1987. It required that radio broadcasts devote a reasonable amount of time to the discussion of controversial issues of public importance, and that the broadcaster do that fairly by offering reasonable opportunity for opposing viewpoints to be heard. If the Federal Communications Commission found a radio station in repeated violation of this Doctrine, it could take away the station’s license—a business form of capital punishment.

One famous victim of the Fairness Doctrine was Radio Station WXUR, controlled by Reverend Carl McIntire—a fiery right-wing fundamentalist preacher—which refused to abide by the Doctrine and lost its license in 1972. The case that upheld this action by the FCC was Brandywine-Main Line Radio, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission. A dissenting judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, David Bazelon, sided with the extinguished radio station. The FCC, he said, had deprived the listeners to WXUR of that broadcaster’s ideas, “however unpopular and divisive we might judge those ideas to be.” Broadcasting its ideas, Mr. Bazelon held, was WXUR’s First Amendment right.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas opposed the Fairness Doctrine on the same grounds: “I fail to see,” he wrote in 1973 in Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Democratic National Committee, “how constitutionally we can treat TV and radio differently than we treat newspapers.” Douglas was right. “The Fairness Doctrine has no place in our First Amendment regime,” he continued. “It puts the head of the camel inside the tent and enables administration after administration to toy with TV or radio in order to serve its sordid or its benevolent ends.” But in a unanimous 1969 decision in Red Lion Broadcasting Company v. FCC (in which Douglas didn’t participate, having missed oral arguments), the Supreme Court had already strongly validated the Fairness Doctrine. Broadcasters are licensed by the government, the Court argued. The spectrum of public frequencies is a public resource, and since there is a scarcity of available channels—unlike newspapers and print publications, where there is no limit to the number that can be produced—the Fairness Doctrine, the Court held, was legitimate. This came to be called the “scarcity doctrine.”

I was in radio under the reign of the Fairness Doctrine, at WMEX in Boston in the 1940s and early 50s. We did not have any of the present-day contentious talk radio shows, but we covered politics and politicians. I was often the announcer for the mellifluous appearance of the legendary James Michael Curley (played by Spencer Tracy in The Last Hurrah). And we did offer political opinions on the air. I, for example, did so on my jazz and folk music programs.

Suddenly, Fairness Doctrine letters started coming from the FCC and our station’s front office panicked. Lawyers had to be summoned; tapes of the accused broadcasters had to be examined with extreme care; voluminous responses had to be prepared and sent. After a few of these FCC letters, our boss announced that there would be no more controversy of any sort on WMEX. We had been muzzled.

This happened at other radio stations as well. And as evidence mounted that the Fairness Doctrine lessened, rather than increased, diversity of views, the Supreme Court in 1984—in a case called FCC v. League of Women Voters—concluded that in view of the abounding number of radio and television channels around the country (and, I would add, the growth of one-newspaper towns and cities), the scarcity doctrine (thus the Fairness Doctrine) didn’t hold up. In 1987, the FCC followed the high court and ringingly declared that “the intrusion by government into the content of programming occasioned by the enforcement of the [Fairness Doctrine] unnecessarily restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters…[and] actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and in degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists.”

I was by then in radio and television part-time in New York, and I thought at last that this free-speech battle was over. But in that same year, 1987, a bill to revive the Fairness Doctrine passed the House by a 3 to 1 margin and the Senate by nearly 2 to 1. President Reagan, to my great appreciation—though I was not an admirer of his then (I have changed to a considerable extent)—vetoed the bill. Mr. Reagan, a former broadcaster (Death Valley Days), called it “antagonistic to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

But a stake was not driven into the censorious heart of the Fairness Doctrine. There is today a rising campaign—mostly from the left—to bring it back.

The Current Debate

On May 9, 2005, in the magazine In These Times, University of Michigan communications professor Susan Douglas made the case for reviving the Fairness Doctrine—and listen carefully to her language: “Ongoing media consolidation, and the censorship and pro-right blather that go with it, are sustained by the silencing of oppositional voices Americans are no longer required to hear.” But who should do the requiring? According to Professor Douglas, the government should, of course. Another question is: Which voices are being silenced, and by whom? The professor neglected to say. Not hers, obviously.

Last year, a book widely praised in certain circles, Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy—at least the title tells you where the authors, Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, are coming from—argued:
It is precisely the proliferation of new media that has fostered a strongly right-wing journalistic presence in talk radio and on cable.... The Federal Communications Commission…surely can justify restoring the simple requirement that news include a fair representation of views on controversial subjects and in important electoral races.
There are still some libertarians on the American left who believe that the First Amendment means what it says, but these others who are calling for this revival of government involvement in broadcast content—and this could well extend to the Internet, as it does today in China—take sides against Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote in 1929 in United States v. Schwimmer: “…if there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought—not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

Those rallying for the return of the Fairness Doctrine believe that politically incorrect speech must be “balanced” by law—which is to say, by government. Thereby they fondly envision the curbing of the speech of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and others who they say are “eroding” American democracy. And arguing this, it is as if they think that the speech of the authors of Off Center—or of Al Franken, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, political scientists Barbra Streisand and Whoopi Goldberg, and the bankrollers of MoveOn.Org—are not heard enough today!

Obligingly, a Congressman has come forth with a bill to bring back the Fairness Doctrine in order to protect, he says, “diversity of views.” He is Maurice Hinchey of New York, and his bill is called the Media Ownership Reform Act of 2005. In addition to “preventing excessive concentration of ownership of the nation’s media outlets,” it includes the restoration of “fairness in broadcasting…to foster and promote localism, diversity, and competition in the media.” His press secretary tells me that the penalties this time could be as before: broadcasters losing their licenses.

What could be wrong with such noble motives as “fairness” and “diversity of views?” But I see, as William O. Douglas did, that the camel is hungrily and happily back inside the tent of free speech.

Look Out for Big Brother

A brief digression: Several years ago, I was the first writer for the Village Voice to be invited to speak at the annual convention of the American Conservative Union. Its president, David Keene, asked me to come for a debate on the Patriot Act. My teammate in that debate was conservative libertarian Bob Barr. Then about a year ago, a friend told me to look at the Right Wing Watch on the Web site of People for the American Way. This is a list of people of suspicion—people to be watched carefully as accomplices in the “erosion of American democracy” (as the authors of Off Center would have it). I was on this list because, the Web site said, I had been present at a conference of the American Conservative Union. Years earlier, People for the American Way had given me a Lifetime Achievement Award—an act I suspect it regrets because of my fierce disagreements with it over its leading role in making a war zone of the process of confirming judges in the U.S. Senate—whereas now I was a right-winger and had to be watched.

So I called Ralph Neas, head of People for the American Way, and suggested that there was a touch of McCarthyism in listing names like that based solely on whom a person associates with. After all, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of association. Mr. Neas said he’d remove my name—but I won’t be surprised if it’s back there soon, if only because I am here at Hillsdale! This story is a reminder that it is not only the FBI who is interested in those with whom you associate.

But let us return to Congressman Hinchey, the bandleader for the revival of the Fairness Doctrine. I don’t see any sign that his free speech rights in our democracy are being eroded. Indeed, Michael Barone’s and Richard Cohen’s invaluable Almanac of American Politics notes that in February of last year, Hinchey “advanced the theory, for which he admitted he had no evidence, that White House strategist Karl Rove had created the forged documents on which Dan Rather based his September 2004 broadcast on George W. Bush’s National Guard service.”

I hope the Congressman is reassured that his freedom of speech, however malignly imaginative, remains uneroded. I doubt if Karl Rove has the time to file a defamation suit—although if he did, I sure would like to be present at the free exchange of testimony during the depositions under oath.
As for the Fairness Doctrine, I’ll begin my conclusion with the aforementioned dissent by Judge Bazelon in the case upholding it in 1972:
In subjecting WXUR…to the supreme penalty, the [FCC]…has also dealt a death blow to the licensee’s freedom of speech and press. Furthermore, it has denied the listening public access to the expression of many controversial views. Yet the Commission would have us approve this action—in the name of the Fairness Doctrine!
In preparing this talk, I asked Congressman Hinchey’s press secretary for an interview with this paladin of fairness in broadcasting. I was told each time that it would not be possible—maybe because my nationally syndicated column appears in the Washington Times. That’s his right. The government cannot compel anyone to respond to a reporter. But I regret being deprived of the Congressman’s reaction to a statement about our constitutional democracy written by Justice William O. Douglas in Terminiello v. City of Chicago, which I had intended, as a public service, to present to him: …a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger . . . . That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute . . . is nevertheless protected against censorship . . . . Before the Fairness Doctrine was ended, at least for the time being, in 1987—Congressman Hinchey could yet prevail in reviving it if the Democrats retake Congress—Richard Salant, head of CBS News while the Doctrine was flourishing, said to me:
Suppose the English government had told Tom Paine that he could go ahead and publish all he liked—but only if at the back of his pamphlets he also printed the Royal Governor’s views. That command, far from an implementation of free speech, would have been just the opposite. It’s a restriction of speech if, in order to be allowed to express your own views, [the government demands] you also have to present those of someone arguing on the other side.
James Madison did not have bifurcation of free speech in mind when he submitted his draft of the First Amendment.

Thank you for inviting me to Hillsdale, which has more courses on the Constitution than any other college. And keep your eye on People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch. You may find yourself there one day.

Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College,

Thursday, January 26, 2006

on the Michigan State of the State Address 2006

Delivered the evening of Wednesday January 25, 2006 to the Michigan Legislature and the citizens of the state of Michigan. The speech was televised (of course). The title of the speech is "Working Our Plan, Securing Our Future". The state's official record is here. My commentary inserted within the proper contents of the text will be in red letters. Afterwards the text will shift back to normal as I summarize. The speech is not reprinted here in its entirety; I have excerpted what I thought was appropriate.

State of the State addresses are traditionally formal affairs where the Governor talks policy with the Legislature. People with titles and expensive suits pack this ornate hall. With utmost respect to you, I ask your indulgence as I speak more directly tonight to our employers – the people of Michigan. I want to talk to the father who has worked for 30 years at a manufacturing plant who just got notice that his job as a welder has been outsourced to China. I want to talk to the waitress who dreams of sending her only daughter to college but worries that she’ll never be able to save enough to afford the tuition. I want to talk to the woman behind the counter at the dry cleaners where you picked up your suit to wear tonight, the woman who’s sick but who can’t afford to see her doctor. I want to talk to the worker at Delphi, at GM, at Chrysler, and at Ford. And I want to talk to the worker at the Ford Wixom plant. Tonight, I want to talk to the everyday people of Michigan, the people who built Michigan’s schools and churches, its little leagues and Kiwanis Clubs. The people who power its economy and who only expect for themselves a fair opportunity to build a good life for their families. I want to talk to those who are fearful, and to those who are hopeful, and to many of you who are both.

I actually didn't get to hear any of this before that one sentence about "Fair opportunities". All of that stuff is just pandering to emotional contents and contains nothing especially helpful to any cause except for getting politicians (re-)elected.

Wherever we live in Michigan, we know that as our auto industry struggles in this global economy, our people feel that pain more than in any other state in the country.

It's been that way for awhile. There has been plenty of time for the industrialists and the Governor to take proper steps against that pain. Michigan's government has not been overly friendly to Michigan's businesses.

Michigan, I am here to tell you: We have a detailed and comprehensive plan to grow this economy. We are working that plan. And everything in that plan will secure the opportunity for a good life for you and your family. In Michigan. Some will say, “How can you talk about a good life in Michigan when for over six years we have been losing manufacturing jobs – like the ones that Ford just announced?” Here’s the answer: I will not stop working our plan until we create a Michigan where every one of you, from the autoworker to the homemaker to the nurse, has the opportunity to build that good life.

It's not up to the government to provide such opportunities to people and it's dangerous for us to rely on the bureaucracy to comfort us or to provide for us; it's damaging to teach people to rely on the State in such a way.

The foundation of a good life, of course, is a good-paying job.

Materialism!! Yay!!

But we know there are other critical building blocks. You need health care for your family. You need a quality education for your children – and, today, that means an affordable college education. And you need a government that fights for you, to protect your family, your home, your community.

We need people to fight for themselves, and a charity instilled in us that we may help our fellow man.

Many fear that good life is slipping away in Michigan as our economy faces unprecedented challenge. Tonight, I want you to know that our plan will meet that challenge because it, too, is unprecedented, both in detail and in scope.

When the government is unprecedented in scope it means that it is difficult for it to function, and it is also an expensive machine to maintain, requiring more money taken from citizens.

We have been working this plan. We have been consistent, disciplined and unwavering in executing it. And it’s already bearing fruit. Our efforts have created and retained 327,000 jobs that otherwise would have gone to some other state or – more likely – some other country.

That's not very many jobs. It is not much of a comfort to the people losing their jobs in March; I wonder if the products made will be more or less expensive because they were created here rather than a far-off land?

You hear all the time the bad news, so let me give you a couple of examples of our main successes in bringing jobs here: J&L Industrial Supply... Advanced Photonix... Ohio-based Cobra Motorcycles... Greg Boll, CEO of Cummins Bridgeway... moved factory jobs back to Michigan from Mexico because of the quality of Michigan’s workforce – with support from us, he chose to bring jobs home... International companies are creating jobs in Michigan at a remarkable pace. In the past three years, German and Japanese companies created more than 10,000 jobs and invested $1.7 billion in Michigan... Our domestic automakers, despite their own challenges, have invested over $9 billion in their Michigan facilities in the past three years. Because of our sustained efforts to keep and attract automotive research and development companies, Michigan has more employees and investments in that growing part of our economy than all of the other 49 states, plus Canada, plus Mexico combined. In the 12 months since I spoke here last, more than 1,600 new small businesses opened their doors in Michigan. In fact, in 2005 we were named one of the friendliest states in America for small businesses. There are 99,000 more people working right now than when I first took office. And we are creating 30,000 jobs by accelerating nearly $3 billion in infrastructure projects across the state. Rather than waiting 10 years to get the work done, we’ll finish it in the next three. Soon, everyone will live within 30 minutes of an infrastructure project – from roads and bridges, to sewers, to upgraded nursing homes, to environmental cleanup sites. If you are unemployed or need training to become employed, thanks to our MI Opportunity Partnership, we’re more successful than ever at training and placing unemployed people in good paying jobs that exist today in Michigan... We are on track to place 30,000 unemployed people in jobs in the first year of the program. We will place 40,000 more in year two. We have focused an entire department of state government on giving workers the skills they need to take new jobs. So, you say, I see that you are training and placing thousands of people in jobs, and that you have attracted thousands of jobs to Michigan. But, you ask, what are you going to do to keep the jobs we have, and to make Michigan less reliant on the auto industry?

I say that despite those impressive-sounding numbers the auto industry is still closing doors in plants in Lansing and Detroit. Our unemployment rate is still highest in the country. This growth is slow and there are few promises that quality employment will be present here. I advocate leaving the state if you want a quality job market. I am not kidding.

Here’s the answer: Michigan has the most aggressive economic plan of any state in the country. It is a bold $6 billion plan to grow jobs today and jobs tomorrow. Two of the most powerful pieces of this economic plan were just approved by this Legislature in the last two months. First, a bipartisan $600 million tax-cut package that will fight the outsourcing of our existing jobs and encourage the insourcing of new ones.

First tax cut I've heard of in years of listening to State of the State speeches.

And second, the 21st Century Jobs Fund, the product of almost unanimous bipartisan agreement – the largest investment in diversifying our economy this state has ever seen... We’ll invest more than $2 billion in public and private funds to develop new sectors of our economy... In a few months, we will begin making prudent investments in the diverse companies that will grow jobs in Michigan.

There will be a tax cut of $600,000,000 and an expenditure of $2,000,000,000 in pork. Taxes are money taken from citizens; this Jobs Fund takes some of that money and gives it to other citizens. A lot of money will be given back that never should have been taken in the first place or a lot less money will be taken that should not have been taken the previous years. The Fund is just insane.

And by this time next year, we’ll see new businesses doing just that. In five years, you’re going to be blown away by the strength and diversity of Michigan’s transformed economy.

The governor has promised that by the time that I am thirty the state's economy will be healthy. I cannot afford to wait that long.

Let me touch on one of those groundbreaking areas of job growth that we’re targeting – alternative energy. This is a big deal – and a huge opportunity for Michigan. Innovators across the country are developing new ways to power our refrigerators, heat our homes, and fuel our cars. Power plants and engines fueled not only by coal or oil, but by, for example, hydrogen, the sun or the wind, or waste from landfills or farms. The Great Lakes State will be the alternative energy epicenter of America. Since we are the home of the automobile, it is our proud, patriotic duty to be the state that ends our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Our universities are already leaping into the alternative energy field. At Michigan State University, President Lou Anna Simon is positioning our state (and her Spartans) to lead the world in the new “bio-economy” – developing energy and other products from our agricultural sector. Kettering University in Flint, MAREC in Muskegon, and Next Energy at Wayne State all are leading in the development of alternative energies. If you went to the auto show, and I hope you did, you might have seen the national championship solar car developed by University of Michigan students; it tops out at 80 mph. We will use our 21st Century Jobs Fund to grow businesses here that put Michigan on the path to alternative energy leadership. And in the months ahead, we will form a statewide partnership among all of the alternative energy research and development institutions in Michigan, and we will dramatically increase the demand in our state for alternative sources of energy to bring those kinds of businesses to Michigan.

She pulled out a visual aide: a hydrogen cell for automotive vehicles. I have watched Nova Science Now. These environmentally-friendly fuel cells sound like a good idea for the far future but they are not feasible for mass production. If nothing else the fuel is difficult to isolate, gather, store, and then distribute. Her theoretical state economy is based on an industry that doesn't yet exist and is based on a theoretical technology that doesn't quite work. The state will invest tax-dollars into that. In another post I'll quote experts on why her alternative fuel project is not a viable concern for our state.

In addition to bringing jobs home, I’ll continue my fight to keep the jobs we have right here in Michigan. On this point, let me be very clear: We will grow new segments of our Michigan economy. But we will not concede the automotive industry to any other state or nation. We are the state that put America on wheels – the state that put the “car” in NASCAR. There is no vision for Michigan’s new economy that does not include cars designed, engineered, and made in Michigan. The industry’s changing – but we in Michigan cannot – will not – abandon it. And we should not allow our government in Washington to abandon it either. Believe me, Michigan will continue to do everything in its power to support our manufacturing sector. We know state government has a role to play. But as manufacturing CEOs have repeatedly told me: No state can fix this problem alone. No state can adopt or enforce trade agreements. No state can impact the nation’s laws on pensions. The leadership in Washington must be our partner in responding to the crushing challenges of a global economy. A partner. Not a bystander. Our bipartisan Congressional delegation agrees. We all owe thanks for the leadership of our Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Deans of the House, Congressmen John Dingell and Fred Upton, who are fighting for a federal partnership to help our manufacturing sector. I’ll continue to call on our President to craft a uniquely American solution to health care and pension reforms to make our nation’s manufacturers competitive with other countries. I’ve called on the administration in Washington to enact fair trade policies, not trade policies that help other countries grow jobs while ours are outsourced. Michigan workers make the best products in the world. We’re not afraid of trade. I say “bring it on.” But it must be fair trade. Fair to our businesses. Fair to our workers. Fair to our country.

We're calling on the federal government to help prop us up after our screw-ups. Just great.

I’m proud that we’ve resolved $4 billion in budget deficits without a general tax increase. and proud that I’ve signed 51 tax-cuts into law, both for individuals and to help businesses create jobs, without leaving gaping holes in our budget. I’ve also made it clear that I will not support business tax breaks that would shift the burden to everyday citizens or force cuts to education and health care. The main reason we’ve been able to do more with less in state government is because our state workers are, without a doubt, second to none. Please join me in honoring and thanking these incredibly dedicated public servants.

I feel free to make the argument that the reason major industrial companies are leaving this state is because the state's tax policies and general policies regarding those businesses are not friendly to those businesses; I would also blame specific union policies for forcing fiscal concessions that the companies perhaps were not be able to afford long term.

let me pause on our largest city. For the past two weeks, Detroit has showcased the world’s premiere auto show. It was on TV across the nation. It was a reflection of Michigan. And next week, the Super Bowl spotlight will shine on the Motor City. It will be on TV around the world. It will be a reflection of Michigan. Mayor Kilpatrick, welcome. The entire state needs and wants Detroit to be successful. We all have to work together to see it happen. So, to those who practice the politics of division, who would drive a wedge between the city and the state, let me say this: The only thing that should come between Detroit and Michigan is a comma. Period.

I would be happy to put a comma period in between Detroit and Michigan. I would be happy to put a period between the two. I was happy to laugh at this weird and trite bit of language woes from our governor's mouth.

First of all,
Detroit has an absolutely horrible reality involved with its homeless situation and crime rate. Kwame Kilpatrick is not whom I would summon as a representative of my state. Secondly, this year's auto show was the smallest and worst attended in some time. Third I know Detroit has a new and temporary project running the weekend of the Super Bowl and while I won't go into the details the thrust of it involves hiding the homeless people and thus the homeless problem from the tourists and outsiders. I'm so proud.

Let me turn to two other issues related to our economic growth. Making health care more affordable and accessible, and ensuring that our children have the education to succeed in this new economy.

Our first step is a quantum leap: We will provide access to quality, affordable health care for 550,000 people. We’ll create a new insurance product in this state: the Michigan First Health Care Plan. The concept is simple: Give families who otherwise could not afford health insurance access to a basic, low-cost health care plan through a private insurance company. We will offer this plan through a new financial partnership with the federal government.

It's a state-sponsored healthcare plan. The State of Michigan is already in debt; the federal government is already in debt. Large-scale government-shaped health care plans have not been successful in this country.

In Michigan, we’ll help our health care industry stop depending on your memory and their paper records as databanks. We are going to use technology to vastly improve the system. In the future, you will be able to give your pharmacist, your doctor, or the emergency room immediate access to your information, but you will control who sees it and what it is used for.

I have a strange feeling that this still involves more people knowing my medical data than I desire.

If we are truly serious about improving both the cost and quality of health care in this state, we must tap the full power of modern science to combat life-threatening illnesses. Imagine having to watch your child suffer with juvenile diabetes. Imagine watching your wife lose her ability to speak, and walk, and even eat, as her Parkinson’s worsens. Stem cell research holds the promise for finding cures and for improving the lives of thousands of people. Talented researchers and businesses around the world are working right now on those cures…but we can’t recruit them to Michigan to do their work because of the limits Michigan law puts on them. When human lives are at stake, we should lead the nation in this work, not put obstacles in our own path. Tonight, I am asking you, our Legislature, to join with me in supporting this search for cures. Pass Representative Meisner’s bill to remove the limits on stem cell research in Michigan, and do it now.

To summarize: the Governor wants the GOP to either legalize her stem cell medical ideology or look like the people who don't want to cure Parkinson's. It's a cheap emotional ploy to demonize the right-wing. Charming.

Our new Merit Award Scholarship will create a Michigan Promise right now. when it comes to education, we will have one overarching goal: to become the best-educated workforce in the nation. To do that, we will give our children the tools they need to be successful in the classroom and in the 21st century economy... First, we must make sure that every parent who’s watching tonight can afford to send their children to college. To achieve our goal of a workforce that’s second to none, we must be first when it comes to giving citizens access to higher education... A promise that every child in Michigan will – for the first time in this state’s history – have the financial means to go to college.

To summarize, she will take a state that is already in debt and is promising to provide education to everyone who wants it; there's no real information on how this can be afforded by our ailing state. To analyze and synthesize, the more people that hold a bachelor's degree the less that that degree is worth. When everyone has a four-year degree from a University or College then that sort of credit has as much worth as a high school degree.

We’ll also work to make sure that your children are safe in their schools. No child in Michigan should have to be the victim of a schoolyard bully, and no child should have their learning disrupted by a child who’s unruly. That’s why, tonight, I am urging this Legislature to require every school district in Michigan to have tough and effective anti-bullying policies.

That's right; Jennifer Granholm wants the legislature to outlaw schoolyard bullying Your tax dollars at work.

this good life we work so hard to create is worth protecting. There are those who believe we should simply let people fend for themselves in a tough world and let the chips fall where they may. I’m not one of them.

I am.

Tonight, let me share some of the work we’ll do to protect you, your family, and your financial security. First, let us increase the minimum wage in Michigan. You who are working in minimum wage jobs have not had a raise for nine years. Even the Legislature got a raise since then.

The Legislature voted for that raise. Can everyone else? Wait. No; that's the way the world works.

I pledge to you this evening, those workers will get that increase this year.

A state requirement that every business pay their employees more essentially means that businesses can afford to pay less employees just to maintain their own budgets and thus remain in business. This will cause less employment and won't do much to help the local value of our currency. By equating a growing amount of money to a job which has non-increasing value or non-increasing difficulty is in fact diminishing or decreasing the value of each unit of that money. I will also mention that less employment means less income tax going into state governmental coffers.

If this Legislature is not willing to raise the minimum wage in our state, the voters of Michigan will.

If they're greedy, short-sighted idiots, yes.

Second, we’ll make it more affordable for you to pay your heating bills. We have set aside money for emergency assistance for those struggling to pay their bills this season.

Perhaps if you cannot afford pay for heat in this state you should move some place warmer!

Third, I ask the Legislature to pass measures that will demand high standards of corporate responsibility from any business that seeks a state grant, a tax credit, or a state contract. We are blessed in Michigan with countless businesses who know what it means to be good corporate citizens. But we should not use your tax dollars to enrich the bad actors – the companies that incorporate in off-shore tax havens, violate U.S. pension laws and international labor standards. We should ensure that your dollars go to creating jobs here in Michigan, not moving jobs overseas.

It is in part because of our own excessive taxes that businesses large and small move out of the state; Michigan is not that friendly to businesses. If in fact that this state was more business-friendly and perhaps a tax haven we would have more companies here.

Sixth, give Michigan citizens a break on the costs they pay for their home and auto insurance. This year my administration started a first-of-its-kind pooling program for citizens who live in our cities and who traditionally pay the state’s highest insurance rates just because their address reads Detroit or Flint. But pilot programs aren’t enough – we have to reduce the cost of insurance in every city – and, frankly, in every driveway across the state. Democrats introduced a package of bills that would roll back insurance rates by 20 percent. It will give the Insurance Commissioner’s office the teeth it needs to find – and penalize – companies that are charging too much.

The state of Michigan could lower my insurance premiums just by taking away the two-point penalty that they grafted to my driver's license. You can't enforce the lowering of the cost but you can lower various requirements for insurance.

Tenth, join my call for a national cap on exorbitant oil company profits. The families of our state are being squeezed by the high cost of gasoline while the oil companies are earning jaw-dropping profits.

Lower the gas taxes and give individual companies more leeway in creating the specific formulae regarding gasoline mixtures and emissions. I have no problem with people making profits; I have a problem with getting squeezed; I would get squeezed less if it cost companies less to be here.

Finally, many of you listening tonight who work for small businesses do not have a pension plan. My administration will design and open a 401(k) plan, like the state's plan, for those workers of small companies who don't offer a pension plan. At minimal expense to state government, we will help tens of thousands of Michigan workers save for their retirement and achieve economic security.

Ah, crap. At least it's the home stretch.

If those in this room can have a pension plan, thanks to the citizens, certainly those same citizens who are watching tonight ought to be able to have one, too.

This is terrible logic. In a sensible world it would be reversed. We shouldn't get one because they have one; perhaps if it's supposed to be fair they lose theirs because we don't have it.

So, my friends, as I’ve said tonight, we have much to do. A comprehensive plan to create jobs today and tomorrow, to give you and your family affordable health care, to give your children the best education in the nation, and to protect people and defend their opportunity for a good life. Michigan was built on the hard work of everyday people, and I’ll fight to protect the opportunity that hard work has won every day. So while I’ve talked a lot about the work before us, let me be clear: there is certainly a lot to love about Michigan just as she is... This plan is about fighting to protect your opportunity for that middle class way of life. It’s our Michigan version of the American dream...

The rest is emotional crap and I won't repeat it here The rest of the speech is available on the official state site.

To summarize the Governor's proposals, she intends, with a state already in fiscal debt:

  • to provide health insurance for those who don't have it
  • pay heating bills for those who cannot
  • provide free higher education universally
  • provide a 401k pension plan for those who do not have one
These are a lot of gifts for a state with money problems as it is. Time and money will waste on
  • bringing the full weight of the State of Michigan against bullies in the schoolyard
The very nature of market forces will be twisted and torqued as
  • a price ceiling is lowered for various goods and services
  • the floor is raised as minimum wage is raised
Restrictions like that makes businesses leave if they can afford to or shut down if they cannot. Those that remain hire less folk and less folk getting income means less income tax means less money for the state to pay for these expensive programs that the Governor promises.

Furthermore, with all of these gifts we have socialism. Either there will be a wierd economic crash as these promises are fulfilled or the governor is lying.

And again Governor Granhold kept emphasizing alternative energy. Not only is the solution to dependence on foreign oil the collection of fossil fuels from our own areas (such as the Great Lakes) but she is making a cornerstone of her theoretical new economy an industry based on a technology that is either environmentally disasterous or fiscally not possible. It's a technology that for practical intents and purposes does not exist.

I'll go into the specifics of that later.

The stuff that is most relevent to me is that her so-called plan really doesn't promise opportunities until I am out of my twenties. I cannot survive based on these plans; I'm not going to let her fight for me; I am fighting for myself.

Fight for yourself.

Alternative Energy is Not Viable

I already noted here that the Governor intends (or claims to intend) to hinge Michigan's economic future on so-called "Alternative Energy" sources, specifically hydrogen. I promised to clarify why that doesn't work by quoting experts.

From the official transcript, the Governor's words (2006/1/25):
This is a big deal – and a huge opportunity for Michigan. Innovators across the country are developing new ways to power our refrigerators, heat our homes, and fuel our cars. Power plants and engines fueled not only by coal or oil, but by, for example, hydrogen, the sun or the wind, or waste from landfills or farms.

The Great Lakes State will be the alternative energy epicenter of America. Since we are the home of the automobile, it is our proud, patriotic duty to be the state that ends our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
From a transcript from Nova Science Now (2005/7/26):
ROBERT KRULWICH: Hi, I'm Robert Krulwich, and welcome to NOVA ScienceNOW, where we consider not one, but several science stories. Tonight, they're basically puzzles beginning with a problem, so just...

Come on back. Come on back and...all right, stop. Good. The internal combustion engine, which fouls the air and uses gas which comes from oil—which is getting expensive, involves the Middle East, gets us into all kinds of fights—who wouldn't want to replace this with a more efficient and affordable alternative? But is there an alternative?

Well, there is this engine we keep hearing about which is supposed to be fabulous. It's coming "soon." But the puzzle is, how soon?

Every year, Detroit unveils, with much to do, a "Car of the Future." And the hoopla here isn't about what this car does. It's about what this car doesn't do. This car doesn't use gasoline, none, because it is powered by a fuel cell.

ROBERT KRULWICH: The very idea that a car's motor could be this clean has an enormous appeal, especially to certain politicians. They act like it's going to be easy—well, sometimes they do—but as it turns out, there's a catch, actually, a bunch of catches. Fuel cells are still very expensive to make, they wear out more quickly. And, oh, yeah, there's another thing...

DANIEL NOCERA (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): A fuel cell needs fuel, so we've been talking about hydrogen and oxygen as our fuel. There's lots of oxygen. But where are we going to get the hydrogen in the first place?

ROBERT KRULWICH: MIT chemistry professor, Dan Nocera, says, "Remember, you've got to have pure hydrogen, all by itself, on one side of the membrane to get things going."

So where do you get pure hydrogen? Well, there's plenty of hydrogen on earth; it's just not pure. It's stuck to other stuff, like oxygen, in water, of course. And hydrogen can be found in fuels like natural gas, you know, hydrocarbons. But if you take it out of there—and that's where most hydrogen comes from today—you do get a waste product, carbon dioxide. And that's one of the bad guys in global warming. So what's the answer?

DANIEL NOCERA: I think water is the key for the future.

ROBERT KRULWICH: Every high school chemistry student knows how to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. You just run electricity through it. That's electrolysis. But hydrogen and oxygen are so cozy and comfortable together, you use up so much electricity prying them apart, it could cost a fortune. So we are facing a significant technical problem here: how do we find a cheap, clean source of hydrogen?

NATHAN LEWIS (California Institute of Technology): Well, hydrogen's a gas.


NATHAN LEWIS: That means most of the space between the hydrogen molecules is not useful to make energy. There's nothing there.

ROBERT KRULWICH: So says Nate Lewis, a scientist at Caltech. Getting enough hydrogen into a car is a challenge, because it likes to spread out, and you've got to squeeze a lot of it into a small place. You can't use an ordinary gas tank to hold it, because it would burst open. And you wouldn't want that. So the hydrogen tanks have to be super strong, to hold hydrogen squeezed in at pressures up to five to ten thousand pounds per square inch. But even with that special tank, it's tough to get enough hydrogen in the car. For instance, to drive 300 miles, you might need a gas tank four times the size of the one you've got now. Which leads Professor Lewis to suggest the best place for hydrogen fuel might be in power stations, to light up cities and factories. After all, why rush to put this fuel out on the road, when you can easily store plenty of it in a factory basement?

So you're a put-it-in-the-basement guy?

NATHAN LEWIS: Put it in the basement first. And then, if we ever figure out how to use it to move us around, that will be great. But your car is the last place that you want to put hydrogen.

ROBERT KRULWICH: But the dream of a car that spews out nothing but water is so appealing.

DAN KELLY: Yeah. So the car will run...

ROBERT KRULWICH: But the technology to get hydrogen from water efficiently and affordably? That technology doesn't exist yet. (emphasis mine) Well, is there anything that we know of that does this regularly, that breaks apart water and...?

DANIEL NOCERA: We haven't done water, but we've done hydrochloric acid and we've been able to make hydrogen.

ROBERT KRULWICH: So that's a "no." But there are labs all over the country now working on hydrogen. Some work with algae, some with solar collectors. And these guys are making hydrogen from water and sunlight.

But at least for now, it's very expensive. And just last year, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council reported there are "major hurdles" on the path to a hydrogen economy, and that clearing them "will not be simple."

So even though the President [and now the Governor] is saying we could have hydrogen cars for today's generation...

GEORGE W. BUSH: The first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen and pollution-free.

ROBERT KRULWICH: If the car's really going to be pollution-free, the hydrogen in the tank will have to come from a clean source, and so far, when it comes to splitting water, we're way behind the leaf. Dan and other scientists are trying to catch up and will keep trying, but the secret, he thinks, may be very subtle.

ROBERT KRULWICH: But how much time do you have?

DANIEL NOCERA: I'm guessing around 20 more years.
To summarize, contrary to popular or political opinion this kind of technology is stuff we cannot do right now. It might be possible to apply it to cities, but that is still not going to be easy or cheap.

[NOTE: Originally this entry was written and posted between 4 PM and 4:30 PM on the 26th but I have altered the time stamp in order to place it physically under the review of the State of the State Address, especially since this is effectively a footnote to that article. Obviously this was created/written/produced after the review.]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Count the Dead and Hussein's Evidence

I was listening to Paul Harvey this morning and he was talking about Saddam Hussein constantly stalling progress at his trial.

Human rights workers, he goes on to explain, have very recently discovered evidence of 300,000 dead in mass graves. Saddam Hussein has given time so there would be more rope to hang him. Saddam Hussein is a mass murderer with the results being three hundred thousand dead. The people dead at Saddam Hussein's command number up to THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND. These are his own people!

Whoever said that invading a country to take out this bastard and his regime was a bad thing? Why wait? Why did we wait? Regardless of why we waited, why should we have waited longer? Are there three hundred thousand answers?

I wonder what Ramsey Clarke has to say.

Monday, January 16, 2006

24 10 Minutes Late

For weeks Fox promoted the 24 Season Premiere. It was two be two hours long. I am busy Sundays so I set my VCR for 8 PM to 10 PM and left for church. As I programmed I noticed that there was a football game on. It likely will run long. I thought that and I thought wrong.

The game ran nearly ten minutes longer than anyone anticipated, I estimate. The game may run long but the following program was advertised to be on at 8 PM. Surely they won't follow up with the Post-Game Show, right?

Wrong. Those four goofballs, whom I normally respect and appreciate and occasionally like, still had their say. They still talked. It's a post-game show! Bah! The game is over! Move on!

The absolute worst part may be waiting 17 seconds for the black guy to tie it up and introduce 24.

So naturally the commercials were in. Naturally my VCR turned off at 10 PM and I missed the last ten minutes of the show! There are no re-runs in a non-stop season. Many people watching live caught the ending; some just set their VCRs to run long. One community of folk missed the last ten minutes as the 10 O'Clock News cut off the end, never to return!

It's kind of unfortunate; a lot of stuff in commercials that I wanted to actually see is what got cut. Fortunately the end is described concisely and with all neccessary detail by Michael Hutchison over here.

It's disapointing. I got over it. Still I would rather the commercial be honored rather than the four Fox football fellows.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

24 44 Hours Early

Let me put this simply. Everyone who is interested already know that the season premier for the fifth season of 24, this season, comes in two parts and starts tonight. This is Sunday morning and my sleep cycle says that the season starts tomorrow night but the literal calender tells us all that the first show of the season is tonight.

The concept "simple" is degrading every minute.

The first part of the season premiere is two hours long. The second part is two hours long. When the season premiere is complete four hours of the season will be completed and there will be only twenty episodes left. That is background and is not the point.

It is Sunday morning and 24 starts tonight. The advertising that pops up, however, are for tomorrow's episode, and it is referred to as "part two" of the "season premiere". It is quite disturbing for a Monday evening broadcast to be promoted on early Sunday morning as "tomorrow's" show but more pertinently is the fact that the promotions for the Monday episode of 24 seem to spoil stuff. I resent that. We look forward to these upcoming two hours, especially "the first ten minutes" and now we know where it goes. It's a mild concern but it is annoying.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

CAPping off a Controversy

During the Senate hearings of SCOTUS nominee and Judge Samuel Alito the Democrats have recently badgered him regarding his association and membership with the group Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Apparently an article that vaguely and barely links that group with racism and racist ideas is being used to claim that Judge Alito is a racist by association.

Clearing up the matter is NRO editor Kathryn Jean Lopez and CAP founding member William A. Rusher. Let's sum up the current matter this way.
Lopez: What was Concerned Alumni of Princeton?

Rusher: CAP was exactly what its name implied: a group of alumni who were concerned over various liberal tendencies that had developed in the Princeton administration in recent years. Shelby Cullom Davis, the former ambassador to Switzerland, gave us the money that enabled us to send mailings to the alumni, etc. Naturally, the University administration wasn't happy about our existence.

Lopez: Was it racist and or sexist? Anti-gay? Ted Kennedy read a pretty bad-sounding quote from its publication today.

Rusher: CAP was none of the things Senator Kennedy is smearing it as being: anti-black, etc. Since Alito apparently had next to no involvement with CAP, Kennedy is trying to give CAP the worst possible reputation, in the hope that some of that will rub off on Judge Alito.
What of Judge Alito's connection with the group?
Lopez: Do you know Samuel Alito? Do you remember him involved in CAP?

Rusher: I have no recollection of Samuel Alito at all. He certainly was not very heavily involved in CAP, if at all.

Are you surprised that CAP has become such an issue in Alito's hearings?

Rusher:I am surprised that Judge Alito's opponents are so desperate.
Nothing genuinely convincing has been put forth to establish that CAP is or was a racist group or counts racism or racist ideas/beliefs/notions as or among its core values.

The Strength of Patriotism vs Personal Regards

Politics in general has a President and his making of policy and he has political opponents. The fact of the matter is that some partisans merely take opposition to certain policy; sadly there are others who move against policy because they are in opposition to the policy-maker. When the relevent topic is foreign policy and the execution of American government and action in regards to terrorism (or whatever the enemy is that decade), logically some political opponents take the side of enemies to the country, or take positions which would effectively aid or lend comfort to the enemy as they themselves take shots at the President for their own purposes.

That's logical. It is also speculation.

It is just speculation? There is a basis in truth. Paul Mirengoff wrote a column in response to part of a column by E.J. Dionne which was in part a response to a letter received by Mr. Dionne, which the columnist had excerpted the following
Most liberals and some Democrats hate this president and will do anything to bring him down, including siding with terrorists against the president.
Dionne believes that "when big chunks of the country begin to view their political adversaries as something close to traitors, we have arrived at a very dangerous time." That is essentially a dismissal to the idea but I think that it's rather blind. As Mr. Mirengoff points out
the old American left felt ambivalent--or worse--when it came to the foreign policy struggles of its day. Chunks of the left opposed American involvement in the struggle against fascism until Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. And even after becoming disillusioned with Communism, elements of the old left failed to buy into the Cold War... he "new left" of the 1960s and 1970s rejected such world-weary moral equivalency and rooted openly for Communists. The standard chant of that era's student left was "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is going to win." These leftists now have a stake in our society, and neither they nor their children have to worry about being drafted. Moreover, bin Laden and Zarqawi may cut less appealing figures, both personally and ideologically, than Uncle Ho, Chairman Mao, and Fidel Castro. Thus, there's no reason to believe that very many leftists root for, or sympathize deeply with, the enemy. But we shouldn't summarily dismiss the possibility that some leftists today feel ambivalent about the country they once considered criminal and that, always craving sophistication, they may have adopted something like [this] view of America's latest conflict.
We can look at how the Democratic Party has embraced Michael Moore, enough to grant him a seat of honor at their own National Convention, and how they elected as their National Chairman a man who repeats the mantra that the United States cannot win this war. "History suggests that the issue is worth investigating." Recent history and a look at past decades.

Agents and parties of and among the Left have taken stances against policies not because of the principles involved, I think, but simply because of the executor of the policy. If that were not true, then Democrats would have taken up against Echelon in the nineties during the Clinton administration, if only for it to be consistent with the current attitude about current NSA monitors.

Hat Tip: The Royal Flush

Mark Levin has his own blog from NRO

I have long been a fan of "The Great One" but have never been able to glom onto a reliable and regular source of his words or ideas or beliefs. I cannot afford his book Men In Black. His posts on the Corner are irregular but grand. Mister Levin's articles on NRO are few and rare. His WABC radio program is not broadcast in this area and although WJR out of Detroit runs his show late at night I will not be listening to AM political radio at 11 PM.

I have neither the bandwidth nor patience to make the marklevinfan blog a source, let alone a constant source, of fun with the Great One.

Needless to say, the revelation that National Review Online has opened up "And Another Thing..." has made me quite pleased. I love "The Mark Levin Blog".

New Weblogs and Wonderful Organizations

I've found a Blogs for Fox group and weblog, apparently from the creator of The Royal Flush. I tell you the truth; I shall join this Blogs for Fox, but I admit that seeing Amazon Associate links at the bottom of every post make Mr. Johnson seem like a shill.

It turns out that AD was someone's destination when someone clicked the random "next blog" link on the Blogger bar on B4F.

I also found the "Blogosphere Supports Real Democracy in Iran" Campaign. I intend to join it as well.

the syndicated Stargate

A bloke over at the Dixonverse board (E of the House of M, as he refers to himself) got a copy of the first season of Stargate Atlantis for Christmas and posted the question of whether he could keep it and watch it, or turn it in for a copy of Stargate SG-1 Season One. Here is my answer.

I am currently watching the syndicated broadcast of Atlantis season 1 as well as the last season where Richard Dean Anderson is a regular on SG-1.

It is actually one whole season behind the most recent season as it is first run, which currently is on the Sci-Fi Channel (originally Showtime).

This is why I cannot ever discuss Stargate with other Stargate fans or read articles in magazine about the show, because for what is me current is for the others one year past.... and they'll spoil it as if it were common knowledge for their folk, and for those folk it was.


I have not finished the first season of Atlantis so I cannot recommend it or go against it. I believe it ends on a cliffhanger but I cannot be certain.

I have borrowed the first season DVD set of SG-1 from my brother. It ends on a cliffhanger. It is really really good. It is not the best season of SG-1.

The thing is, while SG-1 has a long and layered continuity and episodes make references to events in past episodes, the ones I watch are written well enough that even though I am certain I missed a few seasons somewhere along the line I feel that I am not too ignorant to continue watching the show. In other words, I didn't start watching SG-1 at the beginning. SG-1 does not have to be started at the beginning and I recommend against that.

Atlantis? Keep it. Watch it. Enjoy it. Go rent SG-1 beginnings and try to get ahold of current SG-1 episodes as it is.

There's no reason to toss away what is in one way an evolved Stargate with evolved writers/creators to go back to the basics.

Also remember that basic Stargate is not the movie. Those are different creators.... forget that. Watch Atlantis. Also keep in mind that Stargate SG-1 provides a sort of build-up as to how human beings found a.... how they got to where they are in episode one of Atlantis, but Atlantis does not have much in the way of stuff that would dictate SG-1 as neccessary.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Windows Media Player 9 Download

The last Windows 98 compatible Windows Media Player can be downloaded here. I thought that it was rather poor of Microsoft to include a comparatively ancient version of Windows Media Player with Windows 98. I swear that that version was Windows 95 or 3.1 or something.

Internet Explorer 6 Updates and Such

Go fetch.

DirectX 9.0c End-User Runtime

Here is the download page. The executable installer file is rather large.

Windows 98 Updates, Critical and Recommended

The Updates download page is here. It has the entire list of Security Updates and other Critical Updates for the Windows 98 operating system. I assume so in any case; it looks complete. Later I may post the names, numbers, and links for individual download packages.

Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1

The download page is here. I believe that it is approximately 12.4 MB large and the site reports that it will take approximately 1 hour 35 minutes to download with a 56k modem.

Windows 98 Users Have Until June

Essentially all support for Windows 98, derivative versions of that Operating System such as Windows 98 SE (one of my operating systems), as well as support for Windows ME (which I could care less about) will be discontinued promptly after June 30, 2006. Windows Update service and incedent assistance of any sort will end at that date or at the end of that day.

Consquently what that means is that I have until June 30 to download the installers and packets for all the Updates for Windows 98 before that date. This must be done so I can format George's hard drive and re-install the system and update that system well after support is done and gone. I have a short amount of time and that is the way it is. Fortunately there are not that many Updates. Fair warning to all of you because Microsoft didn't send me an e-mail or anything.

Honestly I cannot complain, so long as I have a computer that is provided for in a proper manner.

Ultimately MS is using this as an ultimatum to force consumers to upgrade. The idea is to get you to purchase newer Microsoft products, even if it means purchasing a new computer to replace your "obsolete" model. That is what they are using it for but it is not the ultimate or primary goal. I don't blame Bill Gates or any of the capitalists and technological progressives for this. The truth is as Microsoft got older and the Operating System(s) got older and the company naturally and competitively created new products, new OS, and more than occasionally some crappy stuff with holes, bugs, and needs for patches, new Updates and software downloads are neccessary. If what services and downloadable products Microsoft provides come from their website, and as more are created the company has to make more room for them and thus they must kill the availablility of the old products from the website, just to save space. As time goes on, the number of consumers that they would suppor this way would naturally decrease, so it is eventually a waste to allocate resources to assist those customers remaining, as they are small in number and getting smaller.

Windows 98 was a fine OS, but it wasn't very good. The word is "adequate" but the other word is "unstable".

It doesn't hurt Microsoft that this creates a new impetus for consumers to turn to new products.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Favorite Multimedia in its Newest Versions

I liked the old stuff but there really is no guraruntee that the newer versions will run just as well, be just as simple, easy to use, as fun, or as non-invasive for the system as the old products. I hate "Caveat emptor".

The new DivX Play Bundle that includes DixV player version 6.0 and codec version 6.1 is 10.9 MB and the download is here. Manual download is here.

Free MusicMatch Jukebox 10 is here. Manual download is here. It's 26.4 MB large.

I miss the old, original Winamp and even have a soft spot of Winamp 3. Nullsoft is up to version 5.12 now. The free player page is here. The Lite download is 0.85 MB. The Full pack is 5.27 MB. The Bundle is 10.23 MB. I honestly find the large one tempting but I know I can download the Lite version right now. How much more complicated is the Bundle than the Full Winamp?

Should I even try to poke around Apple Quicktime and iTunes? And who the heck streams material from their sites using Real anyway? I have Transformers commericals that play in that format so I have to get Real eventually, but I have old versions lying around the room on CD. What else can fill 700 MB? Perhaps combined it is all less than 256 MB.

Real Player 10 is approximately 12.1 MB and the download time is estimated at roughly an hour and a half. I can't find the CD. What is this 10-5Gold_bb stuff?

Game Controller Drivers for Windows XP

Logitech Wingman Action gamepad drivers for Windows XP.

Saitek Cyborg 3D Gold USB joystick drivers for Windows XP can be found here. The driver FTP specifically is here and the "Programming Software" (I don't know the difference yet) is here. The file sizes respectively are 29.7 MB and 14.7 MB respectively so there is no way I can download these things at home.