Friday, July 14, 2006
And Now For Something Completely Juvenile
Er. Sorry. It’s entirely possible that I’m missing the point.
A Good Defense
Missile defense took one step closer to being a functional reality yesterday--a reality that would give us an extra measure of protection from countries like Iran and North Korea in their race for nuclear armaments. Just as vitally, it would open military options that we are hesitant to use while vital interests remain vulnerable to attack.
With a defense system that could eliminate the threat from petty dictators stuck with technology that we bypassed decades ago, the United States could play a much more aggressive form of diplomacy in facing off against those irrational actors who we believe would put their countries at risk by attacking us with chemical or nuclear tipped missiles. We could also extend that same protection to our allies like Japan and Israel.
The people who spoke against funding defense technology usually relied on three arguments to support their position:
Our continued security and prosperity hinges not only on our ability to project power around the globe, but also in our ability to protect our friends and our vital assets here at home. THAAD is just one piece of a much larger construct that will, hopefully, allow the United States to do precisely that.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Hezbollah’s War of Choice
What confounds me more than anything, what boggles my mind in ways that I can’t find a reliable way to relate, is that this latest overture to war happened during a period where Israel was showing a willingness to compromise and a sincere desire for peace. Which fact can do nothing other than lead an observer to believe the most devestating of apparent truths: Hamas does not want peace. Hamas can’t claim to want a diplomatic solution to this decades-old conflict while they encourage attacks and incursions.
Hamas wants Israel and the Jews run out of the Middle East--and too many countries in the region are willing to quietly support that cause.
So while we watch this play out (hoping that calm can come again and that a lasting peace can somehow be found), we can’t help but wonder what other course of action is open to Israel. If there are wars of choice and wars of necessity, this battle doesn’t seem to be one of Israel’s choosing, but Hezbollah and its patrons continued provocation with their eyes wide open. The terrorists once again chose the war--and once again, some European nations show what can best be described as a confused stance:
It is hard to imagine that this--barring the return of the Israeli hostages--will end soon. In fact, given that the terrorists who kidnapped the soldiers are sincerely devoted to prolonging their war against Israel, it is hard to imagine that any of this will come to any kind of a happy ending.
Update: Michael Ledeen’s take seems particularly on the mark to me. Depressingly so.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
In Praise of Open Source
I am in the middle of putting together a Web site in both traditional and simplified Chinese. The client has supplied Word docs with the translations and it has been my task to put together the html that mirrors their current site. Sounds simple, no?
I found that Word can be a little persnickety about Chinese language and that Adobe GoLive doesn’t display Chinese language text worth much of a damn. So, these two pro apps actually made it hard for me to do my job. Not impossible, just more difficult than it needed to be.
Luckily for me, two open source apps filled my needs. Even with their incomplete feature sets and imperfect interfaces, these two applications handled the Chinese language text much more easily (and, in the case of the HTML editor, faster) than the applications that cost me more than any of the computers that I’m running them on.
The two applications:
NeoOffice, a port of OpenOffice for Mac OS X, and NVU, a off-shoot of Netscape’s old integrated basic Web development utility. While they both have their limitations (NeoOffice is awfully slow and doesn’t perfectly import all Microsoft Office documents without glitches and NVU has a clumsy interface, for example) they will both always be in my own personal developer’s arsenal.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
From Crude, Vile and Vaguely Threatening Commentary to Victimhood in 6 Seconds Flat
Goldstein rubs some people the wrong way and that isn’t surprising. He’s a fiery personality and his commentary doesn’t pull a lot of punches. So, the fact that Deb Frisch wouldn’t like the guy isn’t a shock. That she would write the vile, vaguely threatening, and disturbingly sexual comments about Jeff’s wife and kids (who are both wonderful people completely undeserving of that kind of attack) is shocking as hell. That she would then retreat to a place of hypocritical victimhood is, unfortunately, typical.
Sick little woman.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 5.5: The Summer Edition
That’s right, it’s time.
Start clearing your schedule for the night of booze and brilliant conversation (and the next morning of hangover and mild regret). The specifics are still falling into place, so keep watching here and at Andy’s for more information. Banners and graphics--so you can kindly help publicize the event--will be coming along this week.
And don’t forget to RSVP so we have a good idea of who is coming.
Now, with that in mind, have a wonderful Independence Day. Stay safe, try not to blow your fingers off, eat something barbecued, and don’t forget to spare a moment considering what America’s independence has meant for you and for the world.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Superman Returns: The Superest Review Ever
If you’ve read the reviews you already know the basic premise of Superman Returns: this movie takes place in the same chronology as the previous films (ignoring things like advanced technologies and an obvious disconnect in the actual time line since the previous movies were all stuck in the United States of a few decades ago. Superman absented himself from our planet to visit the remains of his home world, hoping to find some connection to his birth world.
His return finds him an introverted, more complex character brooding over his place on our planet. Of course, this is still a Superman movie, so the brooding remains relatively light (even, ahem, sunny). It doesn’t help his disposition to come back to find that Lois Lane has become a mom and is living with another man.
Aside from that, the movie is filled with the normal Superman activities: rescuing damsels, stopping planes from falling to the ground, and posing very manfully while thwarting the evil plans of Lex Luthor. Good fun.
I’m not a Superman fan—from the comic books to the earlier movies, he’s always been too much of a good guy and far too powerful—so my knowledge of the mythology is incomplete and my care for propriety is even less impressive. I just showed up for the entertainment value and the knowledge that this is one of those summer films that absolutely requires viewing on the big screen; watching it on DVD just wouldn’t be the same.
Now, the review:
The Beginning Just isn’t so Super
Luckily, from the moment Superman performs his first super-deed, the pace picks up and the stilted early going was forgiven.
Superman is a Super Stalker
Lois isn’t Such a Super Mom
But Kevin Spacey is a Super(b) Lex Luthor
Super(ior) Special Effects Make Superman Better
Of course, one of my favorite touches wasn’t much of a special effect at all: using the Marlon Brando archive footage for Jor-El was a nice touch. Brando—rightfully—has been roundly mocked for the money he demanded to take, essentially, an extended cameo role in Superman: The Move. Still, his voice and delivery were top notch and using his archive footage for this go ‘round brought some extra warmth and depth.
Still, Not Quite a Super Movie
And, let me say, the “Passion of the Superhero” parallel was just this side of disturbing. Salvation in blue tights isn’t the most comfortable fit.
I truly enjoyed the movie and would urge the rest of the class to take a few hours out of their summers to revel in this new look at a very old superhero. It was worth the eight bucks—but I doubt that I’ll ever watch the movie again. Contrast that with Batman Begins, the second Spider Man, and the first two X-Men movies and you’ll understand why I can’t quite go as far as to say that this was a super movie. Just a pretty damned good one.
In Reference to the Global Warming “Consensus”
From the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, Richard S. Lindzen:
Again, I say, before giving in to the hysteria of the eco-doomsayers, we need to have a better understanding of the causes and effects of global warming. Before enacting “remedies”, we also need to have a more clear idea of what our actions will accomplish and what their costs will be.
© 2005 by the authors of ResurrectionSong. All rights reserved.
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