Musical Antidote - Just in case you were getting sick of news stories about pro-war songs, here's Salon.com Audio | The antiwar sampler - Anti-war music from John Mellencamp, The Beastie Boys, et al. Here's a John Mellencamp lyric snippet:
What is the thought process
To take a humans life
What would be the reason
To think that this is right
From heaven to Washington
From Jesus Christ to Washington
Maggie was involved with a peaceful peace demonstration today along the highway and was, along with her companions, treated to people hurling expletives from cars. Ah, the art of debate is alive and well among our citizenry! Thankfully, those people were an insignificant fraction of the passersby.

[Oops! It just came to me that the Salon article is premium content only available to subscribers. So, here are direct links to some of the artists with peace-related music]
War Roundup - There are so many important stories flying by now about the war that I'm just going to point to them briefly in one post.

The forged nuclear documents story is heating up. This was the evidence cited by both Powell to the UN and Bush in the State of the Union. "Obvious forgery" is the term being used now.

Kerry is getting his shots in. "What I regret is that the United States of America, the strongest military power on the face of this planet, has not had diplomacy that matches it. In fact, it has had some of the weakest diplomacy that we have ever seen in the history of the conduct of this nation."

Is this war going to be good for the economy? Ask George Soros. He says "The deficit policy that we are now pursuing is a very dangerous one. Not in the near term -- because as long as the economy is languishing there is no negative effect on interest rates. But the moment the economy shows signs of life, interest rates would jump because of the budget deficit and choke off the recovery," Known for his financial acumen, Soros' comments echo sentiments I have heard elsewhere. What gets me is the title of this Reuter's story "Soros Predicts Brief War Rally." To more accurately reflect the story, it ought to say something like "Soros Predicts All-Too-Brief War Rally."

Last, but not least: you want a rebuttal to the hawks? You got it. This, brought to you by the New America Foundation, called by The Economist "The Brightest American Thinkers Under 40."


CALL TO PROTECT - Domestic violence is a devastating problem in our society. Here's a small thing you might be able to do to help, which I only learned about recently.

This organization can allow you to help, if you've got cell phones you have replaced which ar eno longer useful to you. Proceeds from the sale of phones help fund agencies that fight domestic violence. Other phones are refurbished and become lifelines for domestic violence victims when faced with an emergency situation.

This comes at an opportune time for me, as I have 2 phones languishing in the house.
Random Xanax of unKindness - Whatever happened to doing a magic trick for a kid, or cooing at the kid, blowing in her ear, tickling her, making funny faces, doing a silly dance, giving her candy or other food, or, you know, any of those time-honored practices for distracting and occupying a child?

A former Northwest Airlines flight attendant was charged with assault for allegedly putting a prescription depressant in a toddler's apple juice to stop her crying on an international flight.

According to the New York Times story, the guy was also caught carrying a bunch of Xanax and Valium. If I were this child's parent, there would be fireworks.


New Tool: The Links Summary - If you look over to the right, you'll see somehting new under the "tools" heading. "Links summary" opens up a new window that displays some of the most recent links in Aces Full Of Links. So if you know there was a link you were interested in, but don't want to slog through my text, check out the links summary because the link is probably there. Requires Javascript.

This feature currently only covers the latest links that are on my blog's front page, so after a week the links fall off the end and disappear into the archive.

Also under tools, "add PDA channel" for AvantGo users.
Got Yeti? - YETI@Home
Up, up and away - My daughter is learning "conflict resolution" in school. It's something they teach to give kids tools to deal with avoiding violent situations.

When you put something in a kid's head, it doesn't just sit there, they put things together on their own. We get
Kids Discover
, and a recent issue was about war. This prompted my wife to explain to her that we are in a situation that may lead to war today. My daughter's conclusion (in her words):
President Bush is "going up the conflict escalator." "At the top, people get hurt or sick." He needs to "calm himself down and try to solve the problem."


Two bits of humor - First, this little link which looks like an error at first, but has to be read to be appreciated.

Next, this little checklist I found posted at EAForums:

Vietnam 2 Preflight check
  1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.
  2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
  3. Imposing country boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
  4. Unshakable faith in our superior technology? Check.
  5. France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  6. Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  7. China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  8. SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
  9. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.
  10. Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
  11. Land war in Asia? Check.
  12. Right unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
  13. Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
  14. Soldiers about to be dosed with *our own* chemicals? Check.
  15. Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
  16. Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
  17. B-52 bombers? Check.
  18. Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
  19. In-fighting among the branches of the military? Check.
  20. Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
  21. Local experts ignored? Check.
  22. Local politicians ignored? Check.
  23. Locals used to conflicts lasting longer than the USA has been a country? Check.
  24. Against advice, Prez won't raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
  25. Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
  26. Use of nukes hinted at if things don't go our way? Check.
  27. Unpopular war? Check.
Vietnam 2, you are cleared to taxi
Frank Talk About the French - Good for Barney Frank. In this New York Times story (registration may be required) the congressman gives us his view of this whole "Freedom Fries" ridiculousness.
"Making Congress look even sillier than it sometimes looks would not be high on my priority list," said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts.

"There's a potential war going on. There's a lot of debate about is Congress being actively involved in foreign policy. It's bad enough not to be able to do anything, but I think self-caricature is a poor substitute for thoughtful discussion."
Right on, Mr. Frank. (For those who'd rather not register, Annanova is also covering the story.)
Papa Don't Preach - Thanks to Ed for digging up the text to G.H.W. Bush's Tufts lecture.
Incidentally, the Madrid conference would never have happened if the international coalition that fought together in Desert Storm had acceded the U.N. mandate and gone on on its own if the United States had gone on on its own, had gone into Baghdad after Saddam and his forces had surrendered and agreed to disarm.
Papa Bush's observation applies, I think, even today. Going it (relatively) alone is going to set back peace in the middle east. This lecture, overall, is not critical of the president, but it does show there is a difference of approaches.


"I See Overly-Sentimental People..." - Yeah, I always thought it was a little creepy that Billy's grandparents' ghosts were always hanging around the comic strip. (Note: The site hosting the animation I linked to above has a sucky layout, so you may need to scroll down to see the real animation. Don't be fooled if you see an ad that says "hit me")
Talk, Talk, Talk - One of those wonderful visions of the future that you see in sci-fi is computers that talk to you, and that you can talk back to. We've had voice interfaces for a pretty long time now, very useful in things like wireless phones. However, as a past coworker of mine used to say "I wish my computer would shut up."

I was geekily setting up my home computer to use Star Trek LCARS themes which include computer sounds for all of the little things your Windows PC does. What I realized was, I didn't want my computer talking to me all the time. A beep or two suffices for communicating the most frequent things. A talking device is a huge annoyance, like having an idiot babbler in the office with you. So I replaced all the spoken-word sounds with Star Trek beeps of various kinds.

The meaning of each beep might not be immediately apparent to the new user, but people learn quickly, and will associate the sound with the meaning soon enough. A good interface does not mean the user doesn't have to learn anything.


Comments Improvement - Okay, this is a learn-as-you go kinda thing. The new comment system didn't work with enough platforms to make me happy, but it turned out to be a problem with the default template. When I changed it to allow rich text, it also fixed the smiley problem. Comment away.
Humor for our time - Just when I was thinking I needed some humor from someone in my generation, along comes John Cougarstein. Check out his MP3s on IUMA and his CD at CDStreet. The sample from his CD ("Smurfette") had me laughing out loud. I haven't gotten a chance to read through much of his written humor, but I bought the CD. Sure, his voice sucks. But I have to hear "Livin' Like Deepak Chopra."


Mastercard Moments - I was in the supermarket today and I overheard two women talking about t heir children. One woman's son (middle-school age, I gathered) is going to be in a sporting event that will take place in a nearby professional sports arena. They were saying that this was great, and she must be happy, etc. Apparently her daughter was also going to be cheerleading the event.

Then the mother said, "This is something the kids will remember for the rest of their lives. It will be a real Mastercard moment."

Maybe I'm overly something-or-other, but that bummed me out. The important moments in your child's life are compared to an advertising campaign...? She tossed it off as a normal part of the conversation.

I suppose all I was seeing was two people simply talking in pop culture shorthand. This would be an indication of the effectiveness of Mastercard's campaign, that it has memed its way into our thoughts and language. On the other hand, the woman didn't stop to think that her son't life experiences are something real, wheras an ad campaign is manufactured emotional manipulation, and that the comparison brought her son down, rather than lifting him up.

It's the natural evolution of the language. But I wish something more valuable than ad campaigns were providing the linguistic fodder.
No Standing O? I Won't Go - Apparently, Bush won't speak at the European Parliament unless he's guaranteed a standing ovation.
Anybody else catch this story? No wonder we're looking like a bunch of ya-hoos to the Europeans. Our leaders are afraid of dissent or challenge to their opinions. Holy moley. Please, someone tell me I'm wrong about this story.