The only thing that's clear after all the rumors today is that Fidel Castro is not officially dead. If I were a betting man though, I'd put money down that he has long ago met his maker. I think we're all living "Weekend at Fidel's" and the damn thing keeps getting held over by popular demand. I could be wrong on that, as I have no inside information. It's just damn curious, the whole lack of access to Castro for what we call independent sources and what the regime in Cuba would certainly call "unreliable" sources(meaning tools of the Imperialists or some such I suppose).
Imagine any major political figure trying to pull that off in this country, or any other western democracy. Our press would be on him or her like Sammy the Wonder Dog on a bone. Strangely enough, they aren't asking any questions in this case, correct me if I'm wrong. You don't suppose it's because asking those kinds of questions might lead to them being removed from Cuba or anything? Nah, no self-respecting news organization would ever suppress news just to be able to keep a news desk open in another country.
Yes, drug smuggling itself is a pretty stupid way to make a living, but doing it in a make-shift submarine has got to put a person into a special class of stupid. As Rob noted last year when this came up, there's also the added risk of the crew deciding to sample the cargo a bit.
Now if they build a Seaview, well, I might think about it. I mean, come on.
I signed up for a free 30-day trial of Filemaker Pro yesterday. Years ago I used it at another job for a particular application and it worked pretty well, so I thought I'd check it out for something I'm working on now. Today I tried to download the 164MB file from their website and it took me a half a dozen attempts before I realized that it's not actually a download, it's a game.
There once was a man named Padilla. A terrorist he wanted to be a. The jury convicted, The nutroots are conflicted, Me? I'm just glad we can say "see ya".
More: Of all of the alleged civil rights violations by the Bush administration, the only one that I think merits serious debate is the ability to designate a US citizen as an enemy combatant and severely restrict that person's civil rights. My instinct is to say no way, no how. That kind of power is very dangerous indeed.
However, I can imagine circumstances where the above legal protections would allow a US citizen, one who is working with a foreign terrorist group such as al Qaeda, to conceal a plot to create mass casualties in the US. If you have solid evidence of contact with such a group, do you simply let that person lawyer up and hope that other investigation methods uncover all the details of what this person was up to? I suppose the law school answer to that is simply yes. Is that really a serious answer though? I don't think so. It sounds more like simple-minded dogma as opposed to the practical realities of protecting the rest of our society, you know, the rest of us who don't travel to terrorist training camps, from a large scale attack.
The key to me is that such power be used in only extreme cases and only very sparingly. Despite the hysterical braying about the US becoming a police state, that has been the case. There are no concentration camps filled with legions of US citizens because they dissented with the administration and there won't be. Americans would not stand for that and I'm certain George Bush wouldn't either. The hard left in this country has built themselves a caricature of Bush and now fully believe this little fantasy. Most of that is just BDS, just like some on the right went crazy over Bill Clinton. I also think at least in some cases, a part of that caricature is actually a bit of projection; they are terrified because they know what they would try to do with such power, and project that onto Bush(for an example see the first comment here).
I'm not entirely comfortable with the current situation and I'm open to suggestions on how it can be improved. Simply throwing your hands up and saying the equivalent of "Oh Well" is juvenile, irresponsible, and the reason the netroots will never be the governing class in this country.
It was a great vacation, but it's good to be back home. In fact, it was probably the best vacation I've had since about 20 years ago when I took off by myself and headed to the Rockies for some hiking and maybe a little F and F. Back in those days after dinner at a place like the Baxter Mountain Tavern, I would have hung around the bar to see if I had a shot at the hot looking hostess that had seated us. Alas, I both had more hair then and was of the same generation, so there you go. This vacation was more my speed now anyways. I'm amazed and thankful that the whole family was able to assemble from all across the country and get back home without a hitch. In a couple of years we may try to do it again somewhere, maybe on the west coast.
Today's coffee at the local coffee shop: Waka Jawaka from New Guinea. Somewhere, Frank Zappa is smiling.
The debate about what to do for a replacement for the I-35W bridge is in full swing. I'm glad that the push is on to get something built quickly, but I'd be more comfortable if they had a good handle on why the previous bridge collapsed before they get too far into the process. I also think Minneapolis' Mayor Rybak is correct that an LRT option should at least be looked at for the new bridge. If not now, at least the capability to use the span for that sometime down the road. Not building that in would be gobsmackingly shortsighted in my opinion.
I had a great road trip, but the Twins? Not so much. They are 1-6 on this one and I think you can pretty much turn out the lights on any notion that they will make the playoffs this year. They are a good team and may have a chance to play spoiler, but they aren't the same team that managed to pull out close games like last year. They just never quite clicked the same way. Last season was kind of magical though and it's tough to repeat that kind of chemistry. So it goes.
For this week's staggering dumbassery from a major media outlet, go here. Glad all those editors are hard at work.
If you're looking for a little spider p0rn(and really, who isn't?), Rob's got you covered here.
Actually, Fremont, OH, about 20 miles southwest of Sandusky. Just two quick points to make as I wind my way back to Minneapolis:
First, God this is a beautiful country. We are truly blessed. Today I drove south from Elizabethtown, NY to Albany and then south and west from there eventually into Pennsylvannia and now Ohio. There are many good reasons not to, but several times I had the sudden urge to pull up my stakes in Minneapolis and put down roots at this or that place as we drove through southern New York and northern Pennsylvania. Yowza.
Second, there are certainly infrastructure issues in this country, but we drove about 700 miles today(I think) without a hitch. Sure, there were a few construction areas that slowed us down from 70 to 40 for a few miles. That's to be expected and I say it shows that at least some infrastructure in this country is being maintained and some perspective should be maintained in the debate on that. You know, the roads in both directions have really been quite good(knock on wood).
Yes, we need to be good stewards of both the infrastructure that has been built in this country and our environment. We are blessed with not only a beautiful country, but also the ability to travel and see it. However, before you buy into doom and gloom hysteria about either the environment or infrastructure in this country, you should try to get out there and see it with your own lying eyes.
Today was a jaunt to Whiteface Mountain, outside of Lake Placid. The road up goes within a few hundred feet of the summit:
Once in the parking area that you can see at the bottom of the shot above, you can take an elevator to the peak or do what I did:
It's up about 300 feet over about 1/5 of a mile. Not really that difficult but it will get your heart going. You must also be able to navigate stretches of both jumbled and smooth sloping rock as there are stairs on only part of it. Once there, you have a number of great views like this one of Lake Placid:
The town itself is at the end of the left arm. Here is an easterly view towards Lake Champlain in the distance:
Back at the parking lot, this Tiger Lily(I think) practically begged to be photographed:
I have a ton more photos so I'll try to get that album up and running. If you get to the Lake Placid area and have a nice day, be sure to visit Whiteface Mountain.