« November 2004
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Reasons To Go Cruising Again, First of a Series


(Voyager of the Seas, shot by me from a tender as we stopped in Labadee, Haiti, November 2003.)

This Christmas I informed the family we were going to go cruising again. Not right away, but in November of 2005. It's always better with lots of warning. Already we've begun the budget, the weight loss program, and, of course, we have ammunition for New Years' Resolutions…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Cruising, Pictures” Friday, Dec 31 2004 08:50 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


Just got a note, www.revotewa.com is live. As the web site says,

Revote Washington has been created in response to a true “crisis of democracy” facing all of us in Washington: a Governor’s election that has produced no clear victor at a time our state is in need of mandate for strong and decisive leadership in Olympia.

However, I liked the way Jim Keough said it in his email announcing the launch of the site to the GOP County Chairs:

Yet, there is almost no way to resolve many of the questions to the point that the people of Washington will feel confident that who is determined the winner actually received the most amount of legal votes. On top of these questions, there are the many Washington residents who are proudly serving in our military who were never given the opportunity to vote in this election.

In my opinion a revote won't fly, but I'm certainly curious in how it goes. Frankly, I think the obvious cheating will lead to a Senator Rossi when Cantwell is up for re-election.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Dec 31 2004 08:16 PM  |  Permalink  |  25 comments  |  2 trackbacks

Abu Marwan

In another entry in a long series of terrorist captures after the capture of a key figure, Captain Ed notices that fifty terrorists were capture soon after the unannounced capture of Abu Marwan. Sure, his information may lead to other events, but if the terrorists know he's been captured, they will work to limit the damage.

Even if Abu Marwan doesn't talk, they will have to work to repair parts of their network he might have known about. That's why I like seeing key figured turned.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Friday, Dec 31 2004 09:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Stefan Sharkansky Finds Magical Mystery Ballots

Over at Sound Politics, who readers hear will remember I recommended as the way to find out about the recent election in Washington, Stefan Sharkansky has been running a deep statistical analysis of the results. He has also looked at very specific results and pointed out some odd precincts. His analysis has come up with even more startling results:

…684 out of 2,616 precincts have more voters than ballots, for a total of 1,512 ballotless voters.

This information is tempered by the fact that some voters have voted in the wrong precincts.

Inter-precinct migration explains only 1 of the Precinct 3301's 2 ballotless voters. There are still at least 353 voters who cast ballots in Precinct 3301 on the day of the election, but only 352 of these ballots were counted.

In other news, the Seattle Times has credited Stefan with finding discrepancies

Conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky pointed out the discrepancy Wednesday, and by yesterday it was Topic A among Rossi backers and Republican Party officials.
Party Chairman Chris Vance said it could be the “smoking gun” needed to overturn the election.
The number of King County ballots counted in the final tally was 899,199—3,539 more than the number of participating voters reported in the county's list.

Chris Vance might call it a smoking gun, but Stefan shies away from calling it that.

I'll personally hold off on calling anything I've found a smoking gun. But the unanswered questions keep piling up.

Here in Clark County the GOP have been sending me notes about a revote meeting to coordinate activities. I'm still on vacation that day so I might go see it, although I seldom have time for activism these days.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Dec 31 2004 09:02 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Rossi Asks Gregoire For a Revote

Here's the copy of the letter I received in an email from the Clark County GOP:

December 29, 2004
Attorney General Christine Gregoire
1125 Washington Street
Olympia, WA 98504
Dear Attorney General Gregoire:
The Secretary of State will certify you as governor-elect tomorrow. Although you will be certified, with all the problems that have plagued this process there won’t be many people in our state who believe with certainty that you actually won the election. The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn’t just bad for you and me—it is bad for the entire state. People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election.
We’ve now had three counts—I was certified the victor after Counts 1 and 2, and you will be certified tomorrow as the victor of Count 3. Throughout the entire process, King County Elections staff changed the rules about which ballots would count and, at the end, the Supreme Court also changed the rules. As it now stands, some people in King County had the rules changed so their votes could count, while other wrongfully disenfranchised people across the state—including many members of our military—have been denied the opportunity to have their votes counted.
Additionally, I don’t believe you’ll find many people in this state who think the hand recount was more accurate than the first two counts. Even some Democratic elections officials have said hand counts are less accurate. So we’re now in a situation where nobody really knows who won this election.
Our next governor should enter office without any doubt about the legitimacy of his or her office. The people of Washington deserve to know that their governor was elected fair and square. Unfortunately, the events of the past few weeks now make it impossible for you or me to take office on January 12 without being shrouded in suspicion.
The law allows me to contest the election. An election contest would bring every questioned aspect of this election before the Legislature or a court for review. It would take many weeks, perhaps months, to complete. At the end, even if the results were to change back in my favor, the state would have suffered from the long, drawn-out process.
For several weeks, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro has argued that this election will never be seen as legitimate and that the best option is to put it back into the hands of the voters for a revote. If our roles were reversed, if you had won twice and I had only won in the less-accurate hand recount, I would support a revote. I would not want to enter office with so many people viewing my governorship as illegitimate.
The only good answer is for the people to decide, once and for all, who is the next governor. A revote would be the best solution for the people of our state, and would give us a legitimate governorship. If you and I were to join together and ask the Legislature to pass a bill calling for a special election, the bill would pass quickly, as soon as the 2005 session begins. The revote could be held as soon as possible.
I hope you will agree that a revote makes the most sense to build back people’s trust in our election process, and I look forward to your response.
Best regards,
Dino Rossi

I have to say I agree with him. I don't think this vote was legitimate by any means. The margin was so close that it's clear that cheating may have made a difference. In most votes it doesn't… I hope.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Dec 29 2004 10:18 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks


Anne Coulter savages those who complain about Rumsfeld's autopen:

On the bright side, this is the first war America has been in where the number of casualties is small enough that it would even be theoretically possible for a Defense secretary to sign each condolence letter personally. When Democrats were running the Vietnam War, letters of condolence often began, “To whom it may concern” and were addressed to “occupant.”

She's got a point, though. Almost all politicians use an autopen for even letters the rest of us would consider sensitive. I have a collection of letters from politicians (on the left, the right, and the center) thanking me for my support, when in fact I took them to task for voting in a manner not consistent with representing my opinion.

Anne surmises that politicians routinely autopen responses to those with dying children. Perhaps it's true.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Dec 29 2004 10:02 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Misty's iPod Followup

Well, Misty's iPod is working now. I basically charged it up overnight on the wall charger instead of in the dock and everything started working again. I could have sworn that charging up in the JBL OnStage would be enough but obviously it wasn't.

The little battery indicator on iPods is clearly not very useful.

(This is a followup to this posting.)

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Misty” Wednesday, Dec 29 2004 08:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

2004 Blog Moments

This week there's been some folks looking back at 2004 and thinking about the biggest moments for blogs. For example, Ed Driscoll posted a top ten list of blogging moments at Tech Central Station. Of his list, I certainly agree that the buzz about the Swift Vets ads, Rathergate, Christmas in Cambodia and Kerry's Winter Soldier activities were big blog moments.

Another, to me, would be the emergence of RSS as a mature medium. For example, this year I focused less on mailing lists and more on RSS feeds for watching what's going on out there. After playing with it for a little while, I was inspired to start my own blog, and now I'm nearly at 300 posts since August. I have not drawn nearly as many comments as others, but this blog is primarily for the consumption of my friends and family. I'm a pretty busy guy so perhaps my content is not as consistent as other blogs.

Lori Byrd and DJ Drummond have posted more personal blog moments of 2004. For me, the biggest blog moment was my “AP Quoting Out of Context” article. That drew comments and a trackback, which I was not expecting. However, the postings that draw the most visitors are “Is Your SUV Over 6000 Pounds GVW?” and “Kerry the Nuanced Sitzpinkler.” My discussions of ASLET and HR 218 also drew a bit of interest.

I also felt good about getting email from Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters Blog and comments from Jacqueline Passey as well. I suspect I'd get a lot more feedback if I posted comments on other people's blogs instead of relying on their trackback mechanisms. For the most part, I've been gunshy about spam. Having had pun.org around for so long I draw spam from a lot of sources, and I don't volunteer for it. Moveable Type comment spam is probably the low point of 2004 blogging, in my book.

However, my web pages describing the Portland, Oregon Firearms Training and NRA Course Descriptions are far more popular than any particular blog entry. I draw 10–20 visits a day, each, for those two pages. Those pages exist, in some form, from my ancient blogging days using reporter.cgi, a home-grown set of perl scripts that I made back in 1997. Makes me feel proud that I tried to blog all that long ago, before RSS and XML. Of course, I never kept at it, so I don't feel that proud.

Some have encouraged me to post a little less politics and a little more of interest to folks who know me—some have noticed the increase in postings about my school work. I will probably not post much about my work at IBM. That's obviously touchy because I'm a manager there.

With that I'm going back to my reading…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Tuesday, Dec 28 2004 05:58 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Top Ten Privacy Resolutions For the New Year

The Electronic Privacy Information Center's “Top Ten Consumer Privacy Resolutions.” I'm particularly glad that EPIC provided information on opting out of pre-screened credit offers. I didn't realize I could do that.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Dec 28 2004 04:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Class Is a Week Away

I posted to my class online site already, even though it doesn't actually start until Monday the 3rd. However, it was just an introduction, which I'm getting pretty practiced at with these online courses.

At the moment I'm frantically reading. I'm still waiting for one book to arrive, but the others are here, including some of the optional texts that seemed rather important since the syllabi recommended them to those without formal training. I never had formal training in Marketing, and my Accounting classes were in 1988. I don't remember anything about Finance, per se, and Economics was from 1987. It's odd to me that my background in math is actually more recent, but math doesn't change much from decade to decade compared to these other subjects.

Several editions of the books for class were newer than those recommended in the syllabi. Heck, Analysis for Financial Management by Robert C. Higgins is up to the seventh edition! The How To Read a Financial Report book for my previous quarter is also up to the sixth edition. I'm rereading it now because of its explanations of financial statements.

Also, I've finally received access to the “Coursepacks” for Finance, although my CD-ROMs have not arrived with the case studies and supplemntary video material. I'd sure like to have the Coursepack for Marketing on deck, too. In addition to the book work I have one or two articles per week to absorb.

I already feel like I've hit the ground running.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Monday, Dec 27 2004 09:59 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Comments Restricted

Well, my posting linking to the Moveable Type 3.14 update drew the attention of comment spammers, who took advantage of the setting that allowed unregistered users to comment. Even so, nothing made it to the entries because of my use of MT-Blacklist. Still, I had to delete a bunch of comments.

As a result, comments are now restricted to registered Typepad users. I'd rather write blog entries than delete comments.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 27 2004 10:58 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Tiger Woods

Christmas went pretty well around the Poulson Compound(tm). While we had our share of fighting due to exhausted kidlets, everyone seemed pretty happy. Misty is enjoying the idea of cruising, even though it's 11 months away from when we'll actually go. Ryan loves Jak 3. Alana seems to like her VideoNow. And I'm enjoying Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2005.

With one Playstation in the house, there's a little bit of contention for the unit… although it doesn't take too long until there's an extended time out for one infraction or another. Kids sure like to fight when they can't decide what to do.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, Dec 26 2004 11:43 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Gregoire Jubilant

King County, after getting a dubious Supreme Court ruling, has counted more magical mystery ballots and added to Gregoire's 8 vote lead (which became 10 overnight) and she now leads Rossi by 130.

This is far from over, as there are even 91 veterans that want their votes counted too. However, there's now no avenue other than legal investigation. Evidence of fraud already is turning up, with people being multiply registered and homeless people who have alternative addresses in Switzerland.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Dec 23 2004 05:16 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Gregoire Over Rossi By 8 Votes?

Before the official results have come in, Democrats have been jubilant over their expected win of the hand recount, by the span of a paltry eight votes. Sound Politics recounts (pun intended) their victory lap here and tops it off with what should be a common observation:

The only thing stunning about all of this is the Democrats' unmitigated gall.

Blogs for Bush has their own choice comment:

It's just a coincidence that Democrats somehow managed to count a Democrat victory right? Eight votes? In a manual recount, I think that's within the margin of fraud.

(Emphasis in the original.)

Captain Ed's observation is similar:

The only sure fact this morning is that Washington's electoral process is a mess.

At any rate, it's premature to declare a winner, as King County still has problems. From the KGW report:

Berendt and Democratic party officials concluded Gregoire would win after crunching numbers supplied by King County, the state's largest. The county has finished recounting its 900,000 ballots, but election officials said they still need to reconcile differences in the precinct totals.

They still can't figure out what the real precinct totals are but they are declaring victory?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Dec 22 2004 12:28 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Lost a Cusp

So, today I went to the dentist to check on a cracked tooth. Turns out my “K” baby tooth had cracked the cusp and only my gums were holding it in. Quick removal and smoothing and when my regular dentist is back in town I will have to talk to her about whether it should be crowned or removed and replaced witha bridge or implant. It's kinda big for an implant, though. Baby molars aren't exactly small.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Dec 22 2004 12:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Barry's Birthday

Today is my Dad's birthday. I hope he survived the bankruptcy final.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Dec 22 2004 10:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Updated schools.html

Seems to be a busy day for the “Guns” category, but this is more related to training. I finished my updates for schools.html, which lists all the major firearms training within a few hours of Portland, Oregon.

As a note of disclosure, I have been an instructor for PFTT and NWSAFE on that list, helped out at FAS and TPTS infrequently, and certainly taken courses from them. I try to be objective, however. It seems to work, it's one of the more frequently accessed pages on my site.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Tuesday, Dec 21 2004 08:04 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Ken Grubb on the Population With CCW Permits

(Original posting here.)

After crunching through the 2000 Census and 2003 Census estimates, the numbers in Chris Bird's The Concealed Handgun Manual, 4th Ed, some official sources online which are a little more current, and filling in a few gaps from a 1998 CCRKBA report, the winners are:

Percent of Adults with a License to Carry in each Shall Issue State

7.45% South Dakota
6.79% Indiana
6.76% Pennsylvania
5.23% Connecticut
5.12% Washington
4.34% Idaho
4.10% Utah
3.86% Oregon
3.45% Tennessee
3.15% Alabama
2.72% Florida
2.71% Kentucky
2.67% Wyoming
2.41% Maine
2.18% Arkansas
2.11% Virginia
1.94% West Virginia
1.76% Arizona
1.75% Oklahoma
1.70% Montana
1.70% Michigan
1.62% Texas
1.39% South Carolina
1.34% North Dakota
1.00% North Carolina
0.86% Mississippi
0.62% Louisiana
0.58% Nevada
0.45% Minnesota
0.36% Missouri
0.33% Ohio
0.20% Colorado
0.16% New Mexico

Honorable mentions go to Georgia and New Hampshire. These are “old wave” Shall Issue states—IOW, pre Florida. Because issuance is scattered among many local agencies, no one in either Georgia or New Hampshire is collecting statewide numbers on how many folks are packing. Seems reasonable to place 'em somewhere between the two statistical extremes among the other “old wave” states (South and North Dakota). However, if I were a bettin' man I'd put 'em near the top, and probably above Washington.

Total licensees among the Shall Issue states (excluding Georgia and New Hampshire):

Total population living in True Right To Carry states (Alaska and Vermont):
1,267,925 (0.44 percent)

Total population living in Shall Issue states:
185,039,207 (63.75 percent)

Total population living in May Issue states:
81,350,620 (28.03 percent)

Total population living in No Issue states:
22,588,641 (7.78 percent)

Ken Grubb
Bellevue, WA

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Tuesday, Dec 21 2004 06:54 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

More Guns, Neither More or Less Crime

Stuart Benjamin, at the Volokh Conspiracy, reports on the findings of the National Research Council that the liberalization of the carry laws in several states have no appreciable effect on crime.

They discuss Lott's research at some length and find it wanting. Note that they do not say that right-to-carry laws increase crime. That may be a silver lining for those opposed to gun control who believe that in the absence of evidence of a benefit states should allow people to carry guns, but it doesn't help Lott very much: He staked his reputation on his claim that the data showed a decrease. So much for his reputation.

The release gives its conclusions:

The role of guns in U.S. society is a subject of intense policy debate and disagreement. However, current research and data on firearms and violent crime are too weak to support strong conclusions about the effects of various measures to prevent and control gun violence, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. A comprehensive research program on firearms is needed if criminal-justice and crime-prevention policy is to have a sound basis.

The cynical amongst us will note the call for more research and, thus, more funding.

The chapter on Right-To-Carry laws is online, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Tuesday, Dec 21 2004 06:28 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Misty's iPod

Misty's iPod Mini has developed problems.

It's “menu” button on the clickwheel has become unresponsive. I have turned on and off the hold switch and I've reset it. I made sure it was charged up. All the other buttons work, including the scrolling function. It's just that most of the time you click “menu” and nothing happens.

This is a serious problem if you want to go back up to a previous menu. Not only that, but the backlight seems to come on at random. The problem materialized when we were setting up for playing Christmas music a couple days ago. We have a JBL On Stage that I got her for Christmas that we all love to use. I wonder if the On Stage broke it.

I've been wandering around Apple's technical support pages for a few minutes this morning and I'm finding nothing of help other than the things I've done already. I have the latest software on her iPod. The stories I've been reading as I searched for help appear to indicate that Apple is less-than-helpful when it comes to clickwheel problems. I hope I have a legitimate problem they will fix.

I just submitted a service request and I'll have to mail in her iPod. Sigh.

Update: I've followed up on this posting here.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Misty” Tuesday, Dec 21 2004 11:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

A Couple of Late-Night Updates

I have upgraded the blog to MoveableType 3.14, mostly to continue the war against comment spam. So far I have been only lightly attacked, but a denial-of-service (DOS) issue is certainly important for good relations with my host provider.

In addition I have updated the NRA courses page to the new style. Next on my list is the schools list but that requires content updates as well.

Someday I have to update the NWSAFE web site too. I'm really behind on that.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 20 2004 11:46 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Itanium Codevelopment Ceased

Via Slashdot we find this EE Times article telling us that HP and Intel have ceased their Itanium codevelopment alliance.

The move follows disappointing sales for servers based on the processor, according to the report. Intel and HP developed the processor about 10 years, but the chip has been a flop due to delays, cost overruns and lackluster demand.

Some will herald this as the success of AMD64, others might think it has more to do with PowerPC.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Saturday, Dec 18 2004 09:11 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Only Lawyers Can give Legal Advice

The Volokh Conspiracy's Todd Zywicki examines Cracks in the Lawyer Cartel. I have always been amused by the ways that the legal profession attempts to regulate and control who may assume what role in a variety of situations. I have seen it in other professions as well, for example the recent (failed) attempt to create a tier of “Certified MBAs.” How long before project management is tied to those who maintain a PMP certification? (I've considered acquiring this certification, but I'm busy with my schoolwork.)

Since my father is a few days away from 2.5L, I've been looking more into the legal profession and its workings. It's been pretty enlightening. My previous exposure to this has been from the side of a particular “deep” area, namely Use of Force. My time in Lethal Force Institute courses and instructor training have taught me more than I really wanted to know about police and legal work.

I've encounted patents and employment law in the software business and I did take a Business Law course when I made my first run at an MBA a few years ago. (Someday I should tell my story about why I think University of Phoenix is a waste of money.)

All it all, it's been enough for my wife to think I might be interested in being a lawyer. It all sounds so limiting to me.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Friday, Dec 17 2004 10:28 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Washington Governor's Race Insanity

Efforts continue to steal the election from Dino Rossi. King County is discovered uncounted ballots here and there, to the tune of 723 new ballots! However, efforts to add these new ballots to the already-completed election were blocked by a judge.

At any rate, the hand recount continues, and the latest update I saw was that Rossi was still ahead and that those extra ballots in King County were needed to manufacture a win for Gregoire.

No matter how nasty this goes, I think the next Senate race in Washington will be very interesting. Maria Cantwell is not exactly a sharp tack and the GOP will be pretty brassed off no matter how this election fares. What the difference will be is who will run for the seat.

Keep watching Sound Politics for updates.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Dec 17 2004 10:13 PM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  No trackbacks

DOJ Declares 2nd Amendment Protects an “Individual Right”

Tonight there's been some excitement over this article, which, while dated August 24th, 2004 has escaped noticed by everyone until now. Apparently there's been some curiosity in the Department of Justice on “whether the second amendment secures an individual right.“ We can jump straight to the conclusion of this 93-page treatise:

For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms. Current case law leaves open and unsettled the question of whose right is secured by the Amendment. Although we do not address the scope of the right, our examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views. The text of the Amendment's operative clause, setting out a “right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” is clear and is reinforced by the Constitution's structure. The Amendment's prefatory clause, properly understood, is fully consistent with this interpretation. The broader history of the Anglo-American right of individuals to have and use arms, from England's Revolution of 1688–1689 to the ratification of the Second Amendment a hundred years later, leads to the same conclusion. Finally, the first hundred years of interpretations of the Amendment, and especially the commentaries and case law in the pre-Civil War period closest to the Amendment's ratification, confirm what the text and history of the Second Amendment require.

This has drawn comments from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), as you might imagine:

“This report confirms what the gun rights community has known to be true for many years,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “The right to keep and bear arms is a right to be enjoyed and exercised by every citizen. Henceforth, all Americans will know that the claim by anti-gunners that the Amendment only protects some mythical right of the states to form militias and National Guard units is an outright fraud.”

I have to agree. For too long have there been arguments about this amendment being outdated, or only to state militias as Mr. Gottlieb refers, and that us regular proles have no rights to effective tools of self-defense. Such arguments have always irritated me. Isn't (most of) our background in English Common Law evidence enough? The Castle Doctrine, for example, implies to me that not only is a man's home his castle, that his possessions are his to use as he sees fit (unless he bothers someone else), and his work is his to wreak, and he should have the best tools with which to protect those things that are his.

Too often this goes back to natural law. I think it's simple ethics.

It's a pity that this study did not go further to investigate the scope of the second amendment. For example, I believe that it should extend to whatever a modern, but solitary, soldier might need to use in the furtherance of his duties. The ownership (and knowledge) of the modern M-16/M-4 (not the nerfed “civilian” version, the AR-15) should be sacrosanct. Yeah, that means I think regular people should know how to handle select-fire weapons. Why not? Our current enemies do.

Also, It should extend to whatever is appropriate to personal self-defense. The modern handgun fits this. The modern shotgun fits this mold for defense of the home as well.

I wonder what will happen next?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Friday, Dec 17 2004 09:13 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

SFO Handgun Ban

In a bizarre move, San Francisco is considering banning handguns. Via Alphecca where I see the occasional article rounding up gun bias in the media, we reach this editorial on the ban at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Clayton Cramer also comments on the article, posting out that guns are already confiscated from those that carry openly, carry without a permit, commit crimes with them and so on. The point of the gun ban, then? To get rid of the ones that are not carried illegally or used in crimes.

He points to a full article on the issue at SFGATE.com.

How many residents would be affected by the ban is unclear, since California does not require residents to register handguns that are kept in a private residence of business.

How on Earth will the ban be implemented then? With a house-to-house search?

The measure, which will appear on the municipal ballot next year, would bar residents from keeping guns in their homes or businesses, Bill Barnes, an aide to Supervisor Chris Daly, said Wednesday. It would also prohibit the sale, manufacturing and distribution of handguns and ammunition in San Francisco, as well as the transfer of gun licenses.
Barnes said the initiative is a response to San Francisco's skyrocketing homicide rate, as well as other social ills. There have been 86 murders in the city so far this year compared to 70 in all of 2003.

As mentioned in the article, they are disappointed being behind Washington, D.C., the only city in the United States with a handgun ban, and certainly a more violent place than San Francisco. It appears SFO doesn't like being behind DC in murder rates. Either than or they are trying to rival the dramatic increase in violent crime exhibited by Great Britain, after their handgun (and other gun) ban.

The proposal was immediately dismissed as illegal, however, by Gun Owners of California, a Sacramento-based lobbying group. Sam Paredes, the group's executive director, said the state has for years had a “pre-emption law” on the books that bars local governments from usurping the state's authority to regulate firearms.
“The amazing thing is they are going to turn San Francisco into ground zero for every criminal who wants to profit at their chosen profession,” Paredes said. “People are going to be assaulted, people are going to be robbed, people are going to be pushed around by thugs and the police are going to be powerless to do anything about it.”

Indeed, the law may violate California's weak pre-emption law, but liberla bastions have looked for ways around pre-emption statutes all the time. The fight from 2001–onward in Portland, OR over the banning of carrying concealed with a legal state permit (which statewide pre-emption prohibits localities from further regulating) has been fascinating. The city hires a private contractor and the local cronies on the courts upheld this move saying that private businesses are not affected by pre-emption even though their employers are. That and local schools have tried time and time again to prohibit permit holders from carrying on their campuses.

How many residents would be affected by the ban is unclear, since California does not require residents to register handguns that are kept in a private residence of business. Only 10 people in San Francisco have been issued concealed weapons permits allowing them to carry guns and the city has only three licensed gun dealers, Barnes said.

Compare ten permit holders to seventy or eight thousand in the greater Portland area. That's the difference between a state where permits are issues to cronies (California) to a state where permits are required to be issued to those to meet the legal backgound and training requirements (Oregon). Washington, just across the river, has no training requirements, and yet doesn't havemore crime committed by permit holders.

Update: Some reminders from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF):

“This issue was decided by the California courts more than 22 years ago, and the gun ban extremists lost,” recalled SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “Why some city supervisors want to waste the time, and money, of voters to revisit an issue that was unanimously trounced by the State Court of Appeals makes no sense. Even if the ban were to pass, it will not hold up in court.”
In late June 1982, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein pushed through a handgun ban in San Francisco that lasted only three months before it was overturned by the California State Court of Appeals. Twenty days after the ban was enacted, SAF took Feinstein and the city to court, ultimately beating the ban on Oct. 30 of that year. The city appealed that decision to the California Supreme Court, which allowed the Appeals Court ruling to stand in January 1983.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Friday, Dec 17 2004 07:32 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Difference Between Investing and Speculation

So, I'm reading the latest edition of The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. In it he describes the difference between investing and speculation. According to Graham, investing requires these three elements:

  • you must thoroughly analyze a company, and the soundness of its underlying businesses, before you buy its stock;
  • you must deliberately protect yourself against serious losses;
  • you must aspire to “adequate,” not extraordinary, performance

Any activity that does not include all three elements is speculation, not investing, and oneshould expect money used for such purposes to be essentially lost if not for luck.

Some folks may be taken aback by such a strict definition. In the book Graham berates Wall Street for softening the definitions. Day traders are hardly investors. They are speculators.

Pretty interesting insight, and I'm only a few chapters into the book.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Thursday, Dec 16 2004 09:13 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

More Moveable Type Fun

So in the past couple days I've made the strip on the left side of the pages update independently and then included it on the main page, the archive page, the monthly archives, the category archives and the individual entry archive pages. I looked into adding it to the search results page, but that's an incredibly nasty template compared to the others. Clearly there's some room for improvement in MT.

It took some tweaking with MT and with server-side includes to get it all working and figuring out that relative paths were forbidden and that virtual paths were the right thing to do.

With a little more tweaking I might be able to add some blog-driven content to the top-level pages as well. They certainly need a lot of updating. A little dynamic content would be nice and I'd love to have the blog better-integrated with the outside. Many people still don't know it exists!

I'm dramatically behind on updating my schools page and it's one of my most popular entries. Some folks have chided me for not having an “About Me” page.

Update: It sure defeated the point when I overwrote my dynamic template with the static data from last night. Let's see if I fixed it.

Update 2: Now strip updates are hard to force. Geesh.

Update 3: Now to add a “Recent Entries” segment to the sidebar on the main page…

Update 4: And I've updated the pictures and contact information to be a little less space-intensive, but to include Misty…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Thursday, Dec 16 2004 10:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

(Police) Use of Force Update

Via the Volokh Conspiracy, we find that the Ninth Circuit continues to get reversed and this time it's on a Use of Force issue, albeit in the realm of police work.

For Brosseau v. Haugen,

According to the Court, the law separating excessive force from allowable force in this type of context is so fact-specific, and the cases so sparse, that the officer's conduct did not violate “clearly established law” as is required to strip an officer of qualified immunity.

For Devenpeck v. Alford,

In Devenpeck, the Court rejected a Ninth Circuit doctrine that required judicial review of probable cause for an arrest to consider only evidence known to the officer for offenses “closely related” to the offense that the officer named when he made the arrest. If an officer had evidence that the target had violated Crime A and unrelated Crime B, but when he made the arrest informed the suspect that he was being arrested for Crime A, the legality of the arrest could not be judged by considering the evidence that the officer had for Crime B. In a unanimous opinion by Justice Scalia, the Court did away with this doctrine on the ground that it was based too much on the subjective intent of the officer and had perverse consequences.

Since Justice Scalia did the writing, we'll see if he is as bad as Senator Reid seems to think, although most think of Reid as going after Justice Thomas.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 04:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback


Folks will probably notice I broke down and added a Sitemeter icon to many pages and updated the look of the archive pages. I always try to figure out how people wander in here and read my pages. Maybe I want more people to read them, but that would mostly be my family and friends. At any rate, the Sitemeter services allow me to figure out how people get here and what interests them.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 02:23 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

The Probability Broach

The Probability Broach, by L. Neil Smith, whose Nagasaki Vector arguably got me interested in libertarianism and guns, is available as a graphic novel. Oddly, I didn't like this book as much as Nagasaki Vector and Tom Paine Maru although I pretty much have every book he's written.

Update: Another L. Neil Smith initiative, The Libertarian Enterprise, celebrates its 300th issue.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics, Science Fiction” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 02:02 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


Seems to be a good time for mergers. IBM's deal with Lenovo to sell it's PC Division is only the tip of the restructuring iceberg in the past few weeks.

AT&T Wireless and Cingular are all done getting married, essentially, but I can't use some features without switching over to Cingular. Recently we find that Sprint and Nextel are getting together to make a strong #3.

Oracle finally completed its buyout of Peoplesoft. That will continue Oracle's love/hate relationship with ISVs. How can any company be so mean to its partners, even aggressively competing with them, and yet Oracle is the #1 database on Unix and Windows? It has always mystified me, and I always thought Informix should have wiped the floor with them.

Symantec has announced that it will merge with Veritas, making for another interesting combination. Symantec is quite diversified although it is primarily known for Antivirus and Firewall software. One should not forget its development environments and other initiatives. I remember the good old days of Peter Norton, so perhaps I'm a dinosaur. Even so, adding storage management software to the mix will be interesting.

Finally, Time Warner is still with the disasterous merger with AOL, getting ready to fix a lot of financial statements.

What's the bottom line? I suspect I have lots of recent history to go over as we study valuation as part of my Finance class next quarter.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 01:11 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Dioxin Poisoning for Yushchenko

Via OpinionJournal's “Best of the Web” we find that Viktor Yushchenko, a popular candidate for President in the Ukraine who I think we would have preferred to Putin's puppet Viktor Yanukovych, had been poisoned and was giving a Dioxin count six thousand times the normal amount.

Putting Dioxin in your borscht will give you cancer and disfigure your face but Yushchenko will likely recover.

The reformist candidate… first fell ill after having dinner with Ukrainian Security Service chief Ihor Smeshko and his deputy Volodymyr Satsyuk on Sept. 5. He reported having a headache about three hours after the dinner, and by the next day had developed an acute stomachache.
He later reported pancreatitis and gastrointestinal pain, as well as backache. He also suffered partial nerve paralysis in his face and an inflammation of one inner ear.
About three weeks after his first symptoms, he developed the rough, acne-like rash on his face which is the hallmark of dioxin poisoning.
“It was very late before the rash started to develop, so if he had died it would have been a mystery illness of his pancreas, his liver or his gut and they would have said maybe it's some rare bug thing,” said John Henry, a toxicologist at London's Imperial College. “He would have died within a few days and nobody would ever, ever have thought of dioxins.”

Ouch. I think I prefer protests and lawyers to poisoning. I'm glad things here haven't developed such nastiness.

Even so, Christine Gregoire is content to cheat Dino Rossi, but won't stoop to murder him.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 12:48 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

American Education, Lack Of

Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial entitled “America's C-.” Much of the opinion piece centers on how certain countries are pulling ahead of the United States and Europe when it comes to education.

But why?

The OECD researchers identified several key characteristics that most successful school systems share—namely, decentralization, competition and flexibility. These aren't exactly the hallmarks of your typical American school system, where choice and accountability aren't usually on the curriculum.

I have to agree. I prefer schools that compete on the basis of actually teaching people something useful. This year we gave up on the Ridgefield public school system and moved Alana and Ryan to a private Christian school (even though I'm not a Christian). The change has been dramatic. Alana actually likes going to school. She also seems to be learning something.

The situation is dire:

U.S. dominance in technology, science and business has largely been carried on the shoulders of the generation of workers who went to high school when the Beatles were still together. With an ever-higher percentage of the work force expected to be employed in knowledge-based industries, school reform is a question of U.S. economic survival.

Being someone in the business of applied technology, I have to agree. While I can get a workforce from anywhere (which really annoys people here), why would anyone hire me to manage it if they can hire local?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Dec 15 2004 07:58 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Books For Vacation

Yesterday I mentioned books for next term, I forgot to mention I should be reading some books for vacation, too. I just finished the alternate history novel Gettysburg on my iPod (that Misty gave me for my birthday). I have started Grant Comes East although I don't like this narrator as much as the last one. I only listen to my iPod books in the car when I'm alone, or in the shower, though, so it's slow going.

As far as real books go, I have a couple of Harry Turtledove novels burning a hole in my bedstand, including Days of Infamy.

I doubt I'll be able to get far with them. I am happy, however, that I have Misty interested in Buffy the Vampire Slayer for our normal falling-asleep watching. I haven't watched past third season (and we've rapidly caught up on that) so I'll finally be able to crack open a few DVD sets I have past that. I haven't even purchased past season six, and I have none of the Angel series.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Dec 14 2004 10:42 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Scott Peterson Draws the Death Penalty

So, Scott has drawn the death penalty. I didn't really doubt it. With the attention this case has drawn I don't doubt that society wants to sent a message about being a psychopath. We don't like it. If you can't help it, we will help you by making you go away.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, Dec 13 2004 05:02 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Books For Next Term

So my first books have arrived for my Finance class next term. I already had the ones for Marketing. Looks like it will be a time for much reading. I would expect that for eight credits. So, I suspect I will be spending much of my few weeks of vacation reading like a madman and getting ahead of the class as much as possible.

The books that arrived today were Valuation, Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, 3rd Ed and Analysis for Financial Management, 7th Ed. With this last book it appears I get six months of access to the Educational Version of Market Insight. The primary text, Corporate Finance, is not going to make it here until January 4th, according to Amazon. Even so, I also plan on reading the latest edition of The Intelligent Investor before the term starts.

For Marketing, I am using The Chasm Companion for my third class in the program (gee, they must like it). I've already been through Moore's Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado. I have his Living on the Fault Line in my line up, but I doubt I'll get to it any time soon. In addition to Chasm I have Customer-Centric Product Definition to work through. If it is as good as Cooper's Winning at New Products, 3rd Ed I will be very happy. As it is, the Marketing class will be a lot of reading and writing. Marketing is in two pieces, anyway, preparing for marketing and going to market. My second half is not scheduled until the end of 2005.

I also have some review to be doing in Robert's Rules as Newly Revised, 10th Ed and The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure due to some recent items of interest with both ASLET and OHSU. Nothing like keeping busy.

Update: If you want to get started understanding how to run a good business meeting amongst equals, try Webster's New World Robert's Rules of Order, Simplified and Applied, 2nd Ed, which I have used, although I also hear good things about Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Monday, Dec 13 2004 04:20 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Manual Recount and Latest News

The manual recount continues. So far Dino has gained more than Christine, but the results from the more populous counties are not in yet.

In other news I'm on vacation now, except for the occasional meeting I'm still calling in for. Tomorrow, for example, I present a plan for my department to my Vice President. Not exactly a minor duty.

Light posting lately, mostly because I've been busy with the end of my work year (vacation until next year!) and the high winds knocking out our power most of yesterday. I would have liked to post.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Dec 13 2004 04:17 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Argh! They Recalled My Durango!

Apparently my wheels can fall off. The other two recalls I've had for my beast involved simple things like windshield washer motors.

[My Dodge]

I haven't had a picture in a few days, so there she is, my Durango.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Dec 10 2004 09:18 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Another Career Ruined By a Housekeeper

Kerik has withdrawn his name from consideration for heading the Department of Homeland Security because of questions into his past actions and because of the status of one of his housekeepers. It's amazing how many people want to pay others to perform housekeeping and nanny duties and how easy it is to hire people of doubtful immigration status.

Among other questions that needed investigation,

Before Friday, the only moderately troubling information uncovered about Kerik was news that he had earned $6.2 million by exercising stock options he received from Taser International, which did lucrative business with the Department of Homeland Security, this official said.
Kerik has been a consultant for the company and still serves on its board of directors, although the company and the White House said he planned to sever the relationship.

Well, at least he didn't have a PhD from a diploma mill…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Dec 10 2004 09:09 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Review: The Teaching Company's Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear

Based on Jacqueline Passey's comments on The Teaching Company's work, specifically Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear, I got this particular set of four DVDs on sale and gave them a look over the past few weeks.

As a piece of background, when I got my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Widener University I only needed on more class to get a minor in Mathematics, so I did. Does that make me a mathematician? Hardly. I haven't used much more than Discrete Mathematics, Logic, Linear Algebra and Statistics since then, although remembering a lot of fuzzy details allowed me to get past some discussions better than others. When I started graduate school at Widener, we were doing systems of vector differential equations. One of my more favorite books was Knuth's Concrete Mathematics.

Professor Michael Starbird is reasonably engaging and humorous, and he makes a good try at bringing dry material to life. He has arranged the lecture in a way to focus on the big picture in a relatively non-mathematical way, although it doesn't hurt if you understand Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry.

This math course is presented for the non-mathematical. It is more of an explanation of Applied Calculus with fairly simple but interesting applications. When I took Calculus in my undergraduate days it was immediately applied to Engineering Physics. After all, I started on an Engineering major and switched to Computer Science later. As a result I thought many of the examples were somewhat simplistic… but how would this work with someone unfamiliar with the subject?

I think someone with no significant background in mathematics would benefit from this treatment. There's history, application, simplification, and very good explanation as to why we're doing these exercises. For example, a typical dry book on the subject would start with limits, then derivatives, then integrals and would probably concentrate on the mechanics of their calculation. This series starts with an application and slowly derives the tools for solving the posed problem, explaining the fundamental theorem, finally, in the fourth lecture over an hour and a half into the series. Even then it is missing limits, but they are not sorely missed.

If you know someone that is struggling with Calculus because they want to know why things are the way they are and what the heck is this thing good for, and loves a little dose of history in the process, this is a great series for them. In fact, I would suggest exposing new students to this material before they take Calculus. In fact, I would suggest exposing new students to this material before they take Physics.

Overall, I think I will examine some more of The Teaching Company's materials—especially the history—but their materials are very expensive. I didn't mind paying the sale price for this series on Calculus as it was no worse than buying a few DVDs from the Standard Deviants. But, if one bought it at list price it would cost $255, not including another $30 or so for shipping. Some of their DVD sets with 72 lectures cost half a kilobuck or more. I wish they had more business materials as that's what I'm studying at the moment.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Review” Friday, Dec 10 2004 04:43 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Rumsfeld Questions Planted By Embedded Reporter

Via Drudge we discover Edward Lee Pitts, embedded with the 278th Regimental Combat Team, is a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. What's more, he coached soldiers who were asking Rumsfeld questions yesterday (from a note he sent the staff at the Times Free Press):

I just had one of my best days as a journalist today. As luck would have it, our journey North was delayed just long enough see I could attend a visit today here by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.
So during the Q&A session, one of my guys was the second person called on. When he asked Rumsfeld why after two years here soldiers are still having to dig through trash bins to find rusted scrap metal and cracked ballistic windows for their Humvees, the place erupted in cheers so loud that Rumsfeld had to ask the guy to repeat his question. Then Rumsfeld answered something about it being “not a lack of desire or money but a logistics/physics problem.” He said he recently saw about 8 of the special up-armored Humvees guarding Washington, DC, and he promised that they would no longer be used for that and that he would send them over here. Then he asked a three star general standing behind him, the commander of all ground forces here, to also answer the question. The general said it was a problem he is working on.

So, while it may be a real problem, is this a case of bias in the Press changing the debate? After all, according to Rumsfeld, as relayed by Fox News:

He also said military vehicles that go into Iraq without full armor are used only inside U.S. compounds, rather than used on street patrols where they are vulnerable to roadside bombs. And he said those vehicles without full armor are moved into Iraq on transport vehicles rather than being driven.

So, perhaps a question was asked that was great for sound bites and low on content. I'd expect that sort of behavior from a TV reporter, not a newspaper.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Dec 9 2004 10:23 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Sat Down With My Advisor

I sat down with my advisor, Prof. Jack Raiton, and we discussed my plans for the MST program and I got some good information. First of all, I had too much in my plan, so I got to cut out a course. Second of all, they are going to count my class I took in 1998, so I got to cut out yet another course. This makes going into the final days of Capstone a great deal easier. It also puts me at having 21 of 53 credits complete, almost half way. I was supposed to be halfway after this coming quarter so I'm on track. In fact, after next quarter I'll be at 29 of 53 credits completed.

There will no longer be a menu to follow by the time program changes hit this coming summer. It will become just a core curriculum and a lot of electives, with a minimum number of credits. My new plan exceeds this minimum by one credit, primarily because I want a 4-credit elective and Capstone is increasing from four to five credits taking over two contiguous quarters. I don't miss the old system, since it was specifying that I needed to take a course in Software Engineering, which would be pretty boring for me.

The new plan, as approved by my academic advisor: (D classes are online, W are in Wilsonville campus, A and B are weekends at the Hillsboro campus)

1/05-3/05: MST 572-D (Finance), MST 573-D (Marketing)
8 credits

4/05-6/05: MST 520-D (Management), MST 523-W (New Product Development)
8 credits

7/05-9/05: MST 511-D (Quality), MST 530-A (Strategy)
7 credits

10/05-12/05: MST 574-B (Marketing II), MST 550-A (Capstone I)
6 credits

1/06-3/06: MST 550-A (Capstone II)
3 credits

The way things are going because Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) owns the OGI School of Science and Engineering (formerly Oregon Graduate Institute), Capstone courses may very well have a health focus. That doesn't bother me too much, although I certainly want to keep a software focus. I've made systems software all my life, so even application software is not necessarily where I want to be.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Thursday, Dec 9 2004 08:06 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Lenovo Acquires IBM PC Business, Will Make IBM-Branded PCs and Thinkpads

So, IBM and Lenovo have formed a new company from the former PC division of IBM. As the Wall Street Journal reports

A spokesman for International Business Machines Corp. said that Lenovo will pay it $650 million in cash and $600 million in equity, and will take on $500 million in liabilities, totaling $1.75 billion for the business IBM invented in 1981. The new company will become a solid No. 3 in the personal-computer market behind Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., and will be the leader in the booming China market.

Twenty-five hundred IBM employees will move to the new company (no, I'm not one of them) and it doesn't really affect manufacturing operations as IBM had been outsourcing that activity for three years now.

With IBM's 18.9% stake in the new company and a lucrative contract to handle sales, service and financing on the machines it loses only the use of its prestigious nameplate for the new PC company.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Tuesday, Dec 7 2004 06:26 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Terry McAuliffe Unites the Country

Terry McAuliffe on Pearl Harbor Day:

While we as a nation are united in this fight, there are clearly deep divisions within the Republican Party, divisions that are impeding our fight against terrorism.
Moving forward, it is my sincere hope that the Republicans running Washington will stop playing their political games and start fighting for the American people, just as our honored veterans did 63 years ago.

This scathing attack brought to you by Democrats pooh-poohing concerns Republicans had about the timeliness of battlefield intelligence due to changes proposed by the Intelligence Reform bill. As I mentioned earlier today, those concerns had been eased by changing the language of the bill.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Dec 7 2004 01:25 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Intelligence Bill S.2845

Many eyes are on the upcoming vote on the Intelligence Reform bill, S.2845. The ACLU dislikes the centralization of intelligence work, others decry the absence of immigration reform as part of the package. Such is the art of compromise.

Key features of the new bill is the creation of the office of a National Intelligence Director:

(Sec 101) Establishes as an independent executive entity the National Intelligence Authority (NIA) to, among other things: (1) unify and strengthen efforts of the intelligence community (IC); (2) operate the National Counterterrorism Center and national intelligence centers; and (3) establish clear responsibility and accountability for counterterrorism and other intelligence matters relating to U.S. national security. Requires the NIA to be headed by a National Intelligence Director (Director), who shall: (1) serve as the head of the IC; (2) advise the President on intelligence related to national security; and (3) direct and oversee the National Intelligence Program (formerly the National Foreign Intelligence Program).

So, we have someone who stays out of the chain of command for the military but otherwise directs and controls the intelligence efforts of the entire government. As you can see, it also creates a national counterterrorism center to centrally coordinate those efforts. Even so, the key stroke is to ease the sharing of information between the CIA, FBI and Department of Defense. In addition it creates a national counterproliferation center, intended to track and interdict the supplies of WMD to terrorists, states and others out there.

Of course, the challenge has always been between groups having enough autonomy to pursue lines of investigation that interest them and then having enough authority to pursue such efforts wherever they might lead. The challenge has been the combination of local and foreign activities and that there was no government entity that made it easy to pursue and coordinate such mixed investigations.

The danger of centralization is that a singular focus always allows edge cases to slip in under the radar. Everyone involved seems to understand this, so we'll have to see how this goes.

Many of the recommendations for this bill came from the 9/11 Commission Report, which recommended several areas of unity where currently several efforts are evident. However, border security's absence is noted.

Captain Ed has similar reservations.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Dec 7 2004 10:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Penn at the Airport

Penn Gilette of Penn & Teller gets assaulted by a TSA employee. Penn, being a freedom-oriented fellow, decides to get the local police involved in the unwanted touching.

I've always enjoyed Penn's exploits. Between him, Matt Parker, and Trey Stone, it is good to see libertarians who get some press. Looks like he wrote that entry on November 13th of 2002, but I didn't see it until now. I got a pointer from the Parma-IDPA mailing list.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Saturday, Dec 4 2004 11:55 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Alexander v Gordian Knot

With all this buzz about Alexander maybe you want to know how to make a Gordian Knot.

One should Alexander credit for being a famous person who solved problems by thinking outside the box. Pity the Gordian Knot didn't make it into the movie, not that I'm planning to see it when it's getting such horrible reviews.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, Dec 3 2004 09:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Beldar on Noonan on Rather

Beldar reviews Peggy Noonan's column on Dan Rather. While Beldar seems to appreciate her efforts—at first—but I think his appreciation of her ability to write did not disguise the message she was delivering.

This is very gracious and generous. It reflects well on Ms. Noonan. But it's far, far better than Dan Rather deserves.
The Rathergate forged documents scandal was not just an aberration as part of a long and otherwise distinguished career. It was simply the capstone of a long series of incredibly biased and dishonest incidents. This one was deliberately timed and intended by Mr. Rather and his co-conspirators, upstream and down, to change the outcome of a crucial presidential election. Mr. Rather and CBS News ignored—nay, brazenly flouted, and then tried to cover up their breach of—practically every fundamental written principle of journalistic ethics. Was he alone is this conspiracy? Of course not. Does that in any way excuse him? Of course it does not.
Dan Rather and his cohorts didn't just make a mistake. They didn't just have a lapse. They didn't just let their biases color their reporting. They didn't just make an error in judgment. Instead, they conspired together with should-be felons, with forgers, to pass off as genuine, as truthful “news,” a set of bogus documents that defamed the record and the integrity of the President—and in so doing, they fundamentally betrayed the entire reason for their profession's existence. They actively hid the fact that their own hired experts were telling them—before the first broadcast—that the documents were fakes. Then they tried to demonize those (including me and my fellow bloggers) who'd helped expose their ploy, and to justify their lies as “fake but accurate.”

(Emphasis in the original)

I agree. Rather's lapse here is almost as egregious as his predecessor Walter Cronkite's assertion that we did not win or lose the Tet Offensive, and that we did not hit back very hard and prevent the strategic goal of that offensive, and he claimed the war itself was a stalemate. I feel that Cronkite lost Vietnam for us by spearheading the war on the morale of the country. For a detailed analysis, check out Digger History, but here's the summary:

The people of the South refused to rally to the cause as the NVA leaders had hoped and the whole thing was a military disaster. NVA General Giap was devastated. He felt that the gamble was a total waste.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Dec 3 2004 08:23 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Proposed Cabinet Members

Bush has nominated Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns to be Secretary of Agriculture (replacing Ann Veneman). He appears to be a lawyer who grew up on a dairy farm. Maybe he can keep Mad Cow under control.

Bush has also nominated former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to be the new Secretary of Homeland Security, replacing Tom Ridge. I don't know much about him, but New York is not an easy place to secure.

It also appears we have lost John Danforth as our ambassador to the United Nations. I wonder if he is going to be the pick for National Security Advisor.

(In Washington, the state, recount-mania continues, although it appears Gregoire hasn't raised enough money to pay for a statewide recount. The $750,000 required is certainly a steep bill.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Dec 2 2004 03:48 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

MST Update

Just to confuse everyone that thought they knew what was going on, because of the long-term schedule changes at OGI, I'm taking MST 572 and MST 573 next term, instead of MST 520 and MST 573. It's the only way I can do things and still graduate in the Spring of 2006.

There goes another book order of $200 or so…

As a piece of backstory, I had ordered the books for MST 511 this past Summer, then they changed the books for the class, then they cancelled the class on me. I ended up with a lot of books that I had no use for. I hope they will be the same ones for MST 511 in 2005.

The good news is that it means I have have no face-to-face classes this coming term, but it means checking on two online classes every day to see if there are questions that need answering. I've done this before without damage, but on days when the satellite acts up, it can be challenging.

Judging by the book order for the Finance class, I will be reading a lot this coming term.

Here's the overall view of the master schedule:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Thursday, Dec 2 2004 02:09 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

After Action Report

I've been missing for the past few days because I had some sort of stomach flu/gastritis problem that knocked me out. It's not that I couldn't get to the web and work if I tried, but I was doing rather poorly. It was far better for me to sleep (when I could) and not sit up too much. I haven't worn sweats this much in a really long time.

I lost about four pounds in three days. It's not water weight because that's about all I could keep down. I certainly have become reacquainted with Gatorade.

Even so, I'm at work now and already I am uncomfortable sitting up with jeans and a belt on.

What happened while I was gone? Well, I got back my grades for my two classes this past quarter. For MST 510, “Principles and Trends in Technology Management” I pulled an A- (mostly due to my first homework being a little wildly off the mark) and for MST 571, “Managerial and Financial Accounting for Science and Technology” I made a solid A.

Since I've never mentioned my current studies on this blog before, let me point out that I'm current a student in Management in Science & Technology program at OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering. Previous classes include MST 512 (A-), MST 513 (A), MST 531 (A-) and MST 590 (passed, 1 credit courses are pass/fail).

This coming quarter I'm taking MST 520, “Becoming an Effective Manager” which should be a reasonable capstone to my fifth year as a manager and MST 573, “Technology Marketing: Planning for Market.” By completing those two courses I will have met all the requirements for the Certificate in Management in Science and Technology although I am also in the degree program on the Managing in the Software Industries track. It will also mark the midpoint of my studies towards that degree.

What remains? After the Winter quarter I described, it's on to the higher level courses. The next quarter is for attacking MST 530 “Strategic Management and Planning” and MST 572 “Financial Management for Science and Technology”, the follow-on to the accounting course I just completed. After that it is track requirements, electives and at the very end MST 550, the Capstone Program, which involves developing a technology company business plan.

I do not expect difficulties from the remaining required course CSE 516 “Introduction to Software Engineering.” After all, this year I celebrate my twentieth year in the software industry. As far as electives go, I am still leaning towards MST classes instead of CSE classes. I have done the CSE track, somewhat, in my undergraduate years. In fact, in 1998 I took the database course that is listed as a possible elective, although I doubt I'll get credit for it. So what will my four electives be? I think MST 511 “Quality Management” and MST 574 “Going to Market: Delivering Value to Customers and Shareholders” will be important ones. The other two electives are still unchosen. I should chat with my advisor about them. One course not explicitly listed as an available elective is MST 523 “New Product Development” which many students and at least one professor have recommended.

At any rate, while my grades have not yet been posted, I expect I'll have 75.71 quality points at the end of the quarter, with 20 GPA hours, making my GPA 3.79. Not perfect, but I'll take it. Misty doesn't think GPA matters much in graduate work since few employers look at that. It does affect how my other academics go if I ever decide to do that. After all, my Dad retired and then went to law school (look for him in the masthead photograph wearing the white collared blue shirt).

Why am I doing this? Well, I am learning something from the experience, IBM is willing to invest in it for me, and it rounds out my stature a little. In fact, to progress at IBM it almost is necessary. I manage nearly 20 people, many of whom have graduate degrees. Looking back, it may have been better if I stayed at Widener University to finish my MS there (after all, it wasn't costing me anything), but it did help me a lot, career-wise, to get out of Philadelphia and into the private sector. That was almost ten years ago now. My, how things have changed.

This past weekend we had Thanksgiving Dinner with friends Katherine and Clarence and a host of kidlings. The day after Ryan became 5 and we had a rousing party at the Poulson Compound. To top off the weekend we found a decent Douglas Fir for a Christmas Tree, sentenced it to death and it is now standing proudly in the living room. We're keeping busy.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General, School” Thursday, Dec 2 2004 07:20 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


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