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I h8 txt msging

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I've decided that I really dislike cell phone instant messaging. I dislike the terrible interface, where you're shoving 26 letters on to 8 buttons (1 is special, as is 0). You'll note that the division doesn't work very nicely. In any case, the whole method of entering words is unfriendly and awkward.

Take for instance my name. If I wanted to type out "Burton Simmons" on a cell phone, it would be (shift) 2 2 8 8 7 7 7 8 6 6 6 (pause) 6 6 (space) (shift) 7 7 7 7 4 4 4 6 (pause) 6 (pause) 6 6 6 (pause) 6 6 (pause) 7 7 7 7. That sucks, a lot. And of course with the "word completion" software, it's not a heck of a lot quicker because you still have to make sure it's got the right word. For instance "eat" and "fat" are the same combination, but could get you in a lot of trouble if you're not careful. Same with "home" and "good".

See my point? The "qwerty" keyboard - while designed to slow down typing - at least has one button per letter... and it's in a familiar location, too. Sadly, I can't afford a Treo or any of those fancy cell phones, so I'm forced to either not text message anyone or use a terrible layout.

I think we all know what kind of social creature I am. :)

Google's making history

Monday, February 27, 2006
I ran across this post over on the "Official Google Blog" which describes how Google is digitizing the National Archives and making it available for viewing and accessing.

How freakin' awesome is this? This is what the internet is about. I mean, beside the transfer of porn, the internet is a great medium for the transmission of information and knowledge. This is the digital content we've all been dreaming about since the inception of this crazy thing we use!

This is a genuine "Good Thing(tm)".

Save Early, Save Often

So, seven years later, I've finally done something I've been meaning to do for a while. A full backup of my life.

What I mean by that is that over the years I've written a bunch of papers, I've created a lot of programs, and I've taken a lot of digital pictures. All these things are of value to me, because they're things I've done. They're the papers that you pull out when you're 50 and say, "Did I do this?"

Being a firm believer in the digital age, I don't print things out. That means that, while I'm saving a tree, I risk losing a lifetime's worth of work and history with the crash of a hard drive. I've been lucky so far, and I've saved myself often times by keeping my stuff on different computers and having multiple copies of it, etc. But that's not an incredibly efficient nor effective manner of backing up.

A month or two ago I purchased a DVD burner since I have a lot of pictures and stuff like that. It was obviously too much stuff to realistically burn onto CDs, and DVDs hold like three and a half to four times the amount that CDs hold.

Anyway, tonight I filled up two DVDs of "Life Backup" so that I have - on relatively sturdy media - a copy of what I've done. I think I got all the important stuff. I think I'll sleep better tonight knowing that.

Wouldn't be anywhere else...

Sunday, February 26, 2006
Sometimes I forget, but I'm always reminded that I have some of the greatest friends in the world.

Take, for instance, last night. Some of my best friends and I went to Kell's Irish Pub and, as we have made a tradition of doing, smoked good cigars and drank fine whiskey. We toasted to the tradition, we talked, and we compared our lives to the last time we'd been there. Something about having friends over the years that you keep in contact with, have lots in common with, and are competely honest with is exhilarating and humbling at the same time. Given the choice, I wouldn't have been anywhere else in the world.

Cheers to you, guys! Thank you!

Civil War

Friday, February 24, 2006
You know what I would do if I were a third party trying to get a country to resist democratization? I'd start an "insurgency" designed to pit one faction of the country against another. For instance, I might destroy religious sites in an attempt to anger even the religious moderates or I might attack the police in an attempt to get them to militarize against the populace. Hell, I might even just try to blow everything up in an attempt to remove any level of government around.

But that's just me. I'm sure others have different ideas.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Current mood: Blue

Sometimes the future seems clear, but it's getting through the present that's a challenge. Sometimes you realize that certain dreams and plans will never work. Sometimes you realize the path you've been on for several years isn't the path you're going to be on.

Or - maybe - sometimes you just don't sleep well for a night.

Self Doubt

Thursday, February 23, 2006
He looks in the mirror and, for a moment,
between blinks
he sees something in his own eyes
a look; smoldering, penetrating, angry
and then it's gone
and his gaze is dull again.

He examines a childhood photo and, for a moment,
when he tries to look closer
he sees a child tormented
not happily shouting, but screaming at the world
and then it's gone
and he's playing soccer again.

He picks up the phone and, for a moment,
when the connection is being made
he hears the shouts and cries of his youth
fading away as he grows old
and then the line is quiet
and he says, "Hello".

He catches his reflection on a glass and, for a moment,
before he can look again
he sees a lonely, saddened man
back stooped with age, shuffling along
and then it's gone
and it's simply him, looking back.

He falls asleep at night and, for a moment,
before his alarm goes off
he's surrounded by his friends,
taunting him, mocking him, hating him
and then the buzzer sounds
and he wakes up and forgets.

Emergency Suggestion

So I was mulling this one over for the past few days and actually discussed it with people at work.

Emergency Number: 911. Everyone knows this.
Non-Emergency Number: ??? I have no idea what it is.

My suggestion is to make a non-emergency number something like 912 or 922 or something easy to remember. That way if you have a non-emergency you can actually contact someone about it without having to find a phone book to look up the number. If it turns out to be an emergency, they can just forward your call to 911.

There have been times that I would want to "let someone know" of something I saw, but it's not going to require an emergency dispatch. However, it might be somewhat timely information and having to try to figure out some obscure number just means that people will either waste 911 time or leave things unreported.

Power consumption

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Earlier this month, if my reader(s?) recall, I went to a Wine and Seafood event at the convention center. There was - hidden among the various booths filled with wine and seafood - a booth for PGE. I got to talking to them about my exhorbitant power bill ($100+ dollars a month in the winter!) and they gave me an idea about how to possibly save money given the inefficient base-board heating I have in my apartment.

Anyone who's been to my apartment knows that it is (pardon the phrase) stone fucking cold because power costs so much so I leave the thermometer pointed at around 55 degrees. The PGE guy said that I ought to try something new: try turning the heat off when I leave for work, cranking it up when I get home, and then turning it down (but not off) when I go to bed.

I'm giving it a shot now. We'll see what's going to happen. I can only say this: It's been REALLY cold lately when I get home from work and it doesn't exactly heat up quickly.

On the topic of music

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
As I was driving in this morning I heard a good tune on the radio and it reminded me of songs with great guitar in them.

My top 3 (that come to mind):
1) Lynard Skynard - Freebird
2) Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
3) Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing

Can anyone think of any others?

Mac Virus: The sky is falling!

Monday, February 20, 2006
So, for the second time in two years, the Mac world has been rocked by the creation of a "virus" that blows away the notion that Mac OS X is secure.

Called the Leap-A virus, this is a virus that a) breaks some of your programs if you download and run this program, and b) will try to transmit itself to your iChat friends under a very select set of circumstances. (They actually have to agree to download it, then run it themselves.)

Here's the big thing everyone should know about this Mac virus: It's a user-mode virus. It can't truly affect the system; only items the user controls (versus under the system control.) For a good explanation, read this article.

Basically, the sky isn't falling, and I'm not worried. I just love how people get up in arms for a program that you have to download & run that can break anything you have access to break... which, on a Mac, isn't a whole lot (unless you give it the administrator password.)

A walk in the woods: part 2

Sunday, February 19, 2006
So here it is, 10:45 in the evening. I just woke up from a nap. A nap Sunday evening is quite possibly the worst idea possible when contemplating a full work week. I remember, as my eyes were closing, wondering why I was so tired. It just occurred to me, after waking up, that the nap might - just MIGHT - be a product of the one and a half hour hike I went on today.

Man, talk about putting the pieces together a little too late... :)

A walk in the woods

Despite the fact that it's freezing outside, it was a beautiful, sunny day - so I went for a walk with some good friends in Tryon Creek State Park, conveniently located close to where I live.


There's something beautiful and serene about this park, located between Lake Oswego and Portland. It's 667 acres of quiet, cell-phone-reception-free habitat. And being able to bounce around there for hours along short trails, yet never crossing my own path is exhilarating and tiring at the same time. The fresh air, however, serves to remind me of Portland's mild summers where I get hours and hours of hiking done around here.

Man, I can't wait for warmer weather and longer days...

What kind of drunk am I?

Friday, February 17, 2006
You're A Passed Out Drunk

Drinking gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, until you're thrown in the back of a police car...
What Kind of Drunk Are You?

So true, sadly...

Cold nights

You know what's great on the cold nights?

1) Duralog (I MAKE FIRE!)
2) Hot Chocolate + Peppermint Schnapps + Irish Cream
3) Books
4) Wireless Internet
5) Friends

The list goes on.

What's in a word?

Thursday, February 16, 2006
So over in the UK those wacky Brits voted to pass a bill sponsored by Tony Blair that, among other provisions, made the "glorification of terrorism" illegal.

Let's examine the definition of the word "glorify". I mean, it basically means "praise". Then there's the concept of terrorism. Terrorism is bad, of course. 9/11 was terrorism. However, there are cases that are murkier. Hamas is classified as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department - yet they're also the elected leaders of Palestine. Would then speaking well of them constitute praising terrorism?

It's strange, in this world, what terrorism really is. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Over 300 years ago some crazy colonists started a campaign to get rid of the British. Tossing tea out of a boat, armed battles, guerrilla warfare... WE would have been terrorists.

Thank god we have our first amendment, which protects things like freedom of speech, but unfortunately the British have no such thing (that's why we do, actually) and I fear that ideas like limiting speech praising terrorism might take hold around the world.

We could learn a thing or two

So Rene Preval has been elected President of Haiti. I was listening to the discussion on Talk of the Nation today, and the commentators said several comments that I thought were interesting.

The first comment was something like "he'll have to form a government that not only includes his base, but the poeople who voted against him." Golly gosh, that's a lesson we could learn something from. In our highly divided Republican/Democrat Liberal/Conservative nation, our leaders generally either choose or are forced to satisfy their base, and ONLY their base.

The second comment that interested me was made by a Haitian-American who said that democracy was established in Haiti during the Clinton administration, which basically was yesterday in the history of the nation. He said that the US is helping legitimize the government by welcoming a democratically elected leader, but pointed out that democracy is as tenuous there as it is in Iraq, another place we're "enabling democracy".

I hope time will bring peace and prosperity to Haiti, a country known as the poorest in the western hemisphere. Perhaps this president will be able to accomplish it.

A bad day on the hill

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I guess a bad day is when you get shot in the face by the vice president.

It gets even worse when you have a heart attack afterwards.

And apparently having to keep the pellet as a reminder afterwards is just the icing on the cake.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Politicians

This morning I woke up, as usual, listening to NPR and the topic of discussion was the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, the topic of discussion was an upcoming report from investigators in the House of Representatives detailing the federal failures in the response to the hurricane.

Here's a segment of NPR's summary: "They range from ineffective leadership at the Department of Homeland Security to inadequate state and local plans for evacuation to a "fog of war" at the White House that prevented the president from getting timely information."

What I'm writing about, however, isn't the report. It's this priceless gem of a quote issued by the President's Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend: "I reject outright the suggestion that President Bush was anything less than fully involved".

Well, my dear lady, you can do all the rejecting you want. Seriously. That doesn't make it any less true. In fact, based on past actions (this president has spent quite a bit of time on vacation) I'd say that the allegation that the president wasn't completely involved is probably accurate, and denying them outright is either blind faith or burying one's head in the sand.

Finding myself

Monday, February 13, 2006
So every once in a while I look in various search engines just to see if I'm easy or difficult to find.

Imagine my suprise when I came across this link in Google: Untitled Normal Page

Not a very descriptive name, but it IS a very descriptive article I wrote about 10 years ago (give or take a month) in high school on "Christianity and the Roman Empire". I guess my cool high school history teacher posted them on his website (at the time) and some bizarre Korean web site mirrored it.

But why?

Why, in the name of all that is holy, did some website - whose principal language I don't begin to understand - mirror a paper written by (at the time) some adolescent just trying to get a good grade? I don't suppose I'll ever know.

Separated at birth

Okay, this is brought to us by my dad. Ponder the following two cars. One is a Volkswagen, the other is a Buick!

As my dad pointed out, these two vehicles are strikingly similar from the back. The tail-lights and the lip on the trunk are virtually identical!

And, if you look at the C-pillar (A-pillar is the frame around the front windshied, B-pillar is the support between the front and rear doors, etc.) you'll see the shape is the same. The chrome surrounding the windows is even the same! I mean, the biggest difference is those stupid portholes on the Buick!

Of course, all pictures are taken from their respective websites without any real authorization. I'm using these images for comparison only. PLEASE don't sue me.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Current Mood: Yellow

My brief bout of sunny disposition is the result of a fun and fantastic weekend, finally beating whatever ailed me (sore throat and feeling sick for two weeks) and one of the best nights of sleep I've had in a long time.

I'm sure this'll be gone by the end of the day, but I feel... good. :)

Move Review: Dust To Glory

Sunday, February 12, 2006
This weekend I rented and watched the documentary Dust to Glory. Written and directed by Dana Brown (son of Bruce Brown, the man who brought us The Endless Summer) Dust to Glory is about the Baja 1000.

To say the movie is "about the Baja 1000", though, is to deny the brilliance of the filmmaking, the beauty of the camerawork, and the depth of the story. The Baja 1000 is a mostly unregulated race over a thousand miles of mostly off-road Baja California. As the documentary unfolds, we watch the police stop racers. We watch as the the racers pass normal road traffic, leaping through the air over the bumps. We watch one man race the entire thing alone on his motorcycle. Surrounded by professionally backed teams (and mom-and pop teams running in the VW Bug class), one racer takes his motorcycle through the desert in 18 hours... alone. It's DARK there in the middle of nowhere.

This documentary is a must-see for anyone interested in racing, motorcycling, or just a great film. I wanted to see it since I saw the preview over on Apple Trailers.

The bottom line: you should see it, too.

The rough life

Friday, February 10, 2006
Imagine, if you will, spending an evening surrounded by a dozen and half of your friends and family, drinking fine wine, eating truffles hand-crafted on the spot, and listening to a world-class pianist fill the living room with his sound.

That was my Wednesday night.

Quite some time ago my parents and I attended, at the invitation of some good friends of ours, a charity auction for the Holt Adoption Agency. (They've got three wonderful children, two of which are adopted.) At this auction our friends and my parents cooperatively bid on an evening of music and chocolate and again on a couple cases of fine wine. The chocolate was to be made on-site by Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut and the music was to be played by Michael Allen Harrison.

What an evening!
I would like, at this point, to express my respect and admiration for both the pianist and the chocolatier for giving their time to charity. Helping children find a home is one of the greatest gifts to give the future, and they both do this regularly. It was an incredible show of generousity, but it was knowing that they give much more of themselves than I can conceive of that really made the evening. My hat is off to you. (Or it would be, if I ever wore a hat.)

America's Finest News Source and a brief history of men's razors

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I love The Onion. Good stuff. Funny, biting, relevant... and completely fabricated.

Did you watch the Superbowl? Did you watch the Superbowl ads? If you did, you may remember Gillette's rather crappy ad for the Gillette Fusion "with the power of five blades". Trust me, the ad was just stupid and I would have completely ignored it if not for an article on the Onion exactly two years ago.

Two years ago during the Superbowl Schick unveiled the Schick Quattro that, with four blades, out-bladed Gillette's reigning Mach 3 razor. Immediately afterwards, the Onion published a (competely fake) editorial from the Gillette CEO entitled Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades. (Warning: This article is, at times (like much of the Onion's content) quite vulgar.) I remember the article being quite funny when I read it... and now it's prophetic, too. Gotta love it!

Reinforcing the stereotype

Today as I drove home from work I got stuck behind a car. Now this isn't an unusual event, but let's examine it closer.

Fact 1: The car was an mid-90's Subaru Legacy Wagon
Fact 2: Bumper sticker number one said "Nadar 2000"
Fact 3: Bumper sticker number two said "Cats nap. It's humans who put them to sleep. Sterilize, don't euthanize!"
Fact 4: The car was going 35 mph in a 40 mph zone

My guess? This person isn't, politically speaking, as "middle-of-the-road" as I am.

Subaru. The official car of the Portland left.

Another day, another personality test

Monday, February 06, 2006
In the vein of seeing cool blog stuff and testing it out...

You are HP-UX. You're still strong despite the passage of time.  Though few understand you, those who do love you deeply and appreciate you.
Which OS are You?

Senate Judiciary Committee

As strange as it seems, I really enjoy listening to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Today I was listening on NPR as they were grilling Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the President's domestic spying program/terrorist surveillance program. (Pick one.)

I enjoy listening to them for several reasons, but the biggest reason is that they're a bunch of smart people. Usually they're quite divided on an issue; when they hold hearings there's the side that asks the friendly, affirming, softball questions and there's the side that asks the sometimes antagonistic hardball questions. Despite the agenda, though, each side usually has a good point.

In this case I really enjoyed what Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) had to say. His point about this NSA surveillance was this: in 1976 the President and the Attorney General has some concerns during the cold war; they brought what they wanted to do to several outside authorities and ended up with FISA. In this case, though, the President and Attorney General asked only opinions from "inside" sources (sources within the administration) and therefore probably only got the answer they were looking for. Senator Kennedy basically said, "Since there was a question of legality, wouldn't it have been better to NOT take the chance?"

It's a good point. These things are fun to listen to.

Super Bowl?

Sunday, February 05, 2006
Well, I watched the "big game". Seattle lost (boo) and Pittsburgh won. But you know what I left the game with (besides an alcoholic buzz?) A goal.

I want to outlive the Rolling Stones.

Mick Jagger was born in 1943, during World War II. And he and the band are still putting out music in 2006, which means he's going on 63! An impressive span, especially considering the legends about the Rolling Stones' drug habits.

So a current goal of mine is to outlast the Rolling Stones. I think they'll croak before I do.

Definitions

Desperation
Could be defined as panic
as pleading
as sweat pouring from your brow
as you hope, pray, and wait
wanting the best outcome
but knowing the worst is coming.

Delight
could be defined as joy
as glee
as a glow radiating from your face
as you're surprised
by something small and special
that happens in front of you.

Depression
could be definied as pain
as sorrow
as a virus spreading inside you
when you hope, irrationally
that they'll cross the double-yellow in front of you
but know they won't.

Disinterest
could be defined as apathy
as uncaring
as a front for the stupid
who are unaware of the beauty around them
or simply cannot open their eyes
wide enough to see.

Definitions
could be defined as words
as meanings
as attempts to capture
the essence of a thing
like a person, so complex,
a fleeting thought on the run.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Current Mood: Blue

Well, I guess it's the Superbowl today. Big deal... I'm not a huge football fan. I'll probably go watch it, but I'm really not in the mood to leave my apartment or do anything. I guess I'm just really down today; perhaps reality is hitting me, perhaps I'm just lonely today. Who knows, but is it really important?

It's sunny today... maybe I'll ride my motorcycle for a few.

Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival

Saturday, February 04, 2006
Tonight I went down to the Oregon Convention Center with a fairly disparate group of friends and enjoyed the Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival

We all wandered around eating and sampling different wines for several hours. The price for wine sampling was fairly reasonable: between $.33 and $1.00 for a sample (about an ounce and a half or so), plus a lot of the snacks were free at various stations. They even had some VERY fresh baked cookies from time to time. Good stuff!
The wines that I particularly enjoyed:

All in all I had a very fun time and would look forward to doing it again, though the costs did add up pretty quickly!

Buy low, sell high

So I'm finally getting around to selling some of my extra stuff on craigslist. I just sold (for $220) an old PowerMac G3 with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and laser printer to a nice geeky couple that was interested in Mac OS X. Good deal all around, because I need fewer things.

Next up: get rid of an HP inkjet printer, an HP inkjet printer/copier/fax, and more stuff. I'm feeling like consolidating, but I'll be honest, I'm not good at making a profit.

For instance, last year I bought new couches. The old ones were a 3-piece sectional and were the very definition of ghetto (see definition 1). Since I replaced them with a fairly decent set of couches, I put the old ones on craigslist for $15, but whoever bought them had to pick them up. I got a call from a nice lady with 5 kids who wanted them, and was willing to pick them up in her van. I agree. Two hours later her daughter calls because they ran out of gas on the freeway. I offer to give the couches to them for free if they just show up. An hour later they arrive and the lady's very nice but has deformed arms and can't lift anything; her twelve-year old daughter is responsible for helping me carry these out of my apartment. It turns out they won't fit in the van. I end up borrowing a friend's truck, putting $20 of gas in it, and taking the last piece of the sectional over there for them...

Here, take these couches for free and I'll pay to deliver them for you. What a deal!

Street Racing

Check out this article over at CNN.com. Apparently some street racer got out of control during a race and ran his car into a health clinic, injuring dozens, some critically.

Well, that's certainly news - and not good news at that. But let's examine this article a little closer: the car was described as a "black Nissan ZX". That indicates (in all likelyhood) that it was either a late 80s-early 90s 300ZX (most likely, in my opinion), a 2001 or later 350ZX (not so likly), or an early 80s 280ZX. If you magnify the crappy photo on the website, it looks most like the back of a 300ZX. These were not slow vehicles.

But look at this:
Witnesses said the Nissan and a Lincoln Town Car were racing through a South Los Angeles business district when the Lincoln clipped the Nissan, sending it off course, police Lt. Paul Vernon said. The Lincoln drove off.
A Lincoln Town Car?!?!?

Who actually races a Town Car (great for limos and livery) in a car designed for speed? And LOSES?

EDIT: A year later, the links to the pictures of the cars were driving a ton of traffic to this site. In order to make the world a better place, I've changed the links to be Google Image Searches of the vehicles mentioned.

Dream Report

Maybe it's because I'm getting sick, but I had some awesome dreams last night. Actually, it was more like a single dream with multiple parts. I don't remember a whole lot of it but I do remember the highlight: learning how to fly. While the rest of my dream had some dark and ominous overtones, throughout the course of the night I learned how to fly. It was great! I started off basically falling and not hitting the ground and progressed over the night (while running from something or other) to being able to take off like Superman.

Also, I learned that I couldn't play the trumpet. Whatever.

Another obscure post

Thursday, February 02, 2006
Yet another obscure, meaningful-only-to-me post.

I got in, and I got a handout too! Far out!

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Current Mood: Fuzzy

I've been having a lot of headaches lately, both real and figurative. I'm trying to figure out truth, trying to figure out the future, and I'm trying to just make it to the next day sometimes. I'm still figuring myself out; some days I'm capable of anything, and some days I'm so very, very weak. It makes no sense... much like life.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
It's been a wet winter. Rain, flooding, snow in the mountains... we've been getting a lot of precipitation. As this forecast shows, it's going to continue for a while.

Being from Oregon, this doesn't bother me a whole lot. Sure, we all stay indoors more... but most of us are used to this. Last year's anomalous 60-degree highs in February are a thing of the past. We're back to the good old rain.

But I am getting tired of it. We're over a month past the winter solstice and the days are starting to get longer. It's no longer pitch black when I get home at night. But with heavy storm systems moving through on a semi-weekly basis the light doesn't always get through. I'm ready for the rain to start tapering off.

The State of our Union

So El Presidente delivered the State of The Union last night to a friendly congress but a somewhat skeptical nation. In my traditional fashion, I'm going to take statements out of context and examine them.

Let's start with this statement:
In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom -- or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy -- or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting -- yet it ends in danger and decline.
Here is an example of the right versus wrong, black versus white polarization that President Bush practices. For a man who pledged to be a "uniter, not a divider" these statements seem to have a binary answer.

Another priceless gem is this one:
Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror.
How do you back that statement up? I mean, seriously... where has the study been done? Is this a 100% blanket statement? And does "respecting the rights of their citizens" include a constitutional right defining marriage as being between a man and a woman and a domestic spying program? (I mean, of course, the terrorist surveillence program.)

Moving down the line, the President talks about our economy:
In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs -- more than Japan and the European Union combined.
My question is this: how many jobs have been subtracted in the last two-and-a-half years and what's the average wage of those jobs versus the national average?

And, speaking of the budget, here's President Bush on tax cuts and government spending:
Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending -- and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another 14 billion dollars next year -- and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.
Do you see where he says "non-security spending"? I'm curious as to how much security spending has *increased* in the security and non-discretionary areas. Furthermore, saving us 16 billion dollars is a bit of word-play since we're still spending more, we're just being taxed less. That's called a deficit.

Let this become a completely negative post, here's something I agree with:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
I would add, though, that our security (not just economic competativeness) is also tied to this addicition since our foriegn policy must also be tampered by our need for oil from countries we tend to disagree with.

And there's more...
We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
YAY!

Also good is this:
I propose to double the Federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next ten years. This funding will support the work of America’s most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.
We will definitely need to stay involved and, in fact, lead the pack in certain areas of research. I hope we double our support for the arts, though, for beauty and expression are also important in our society.

The speech ended with hope and statements on what a hopefuly society should do. All in all the speech wasn't bad. I disagree with certain statements and would like documented proof of others, but I think we can ALL agree that our president is NOT a charismatic speaker.

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