Thursday, July 31, 2003

OK, if you are, or ever were a D&D geek, and have ever asked yourself what D&D Character you are? in real life, check it out. Also, the Southern New England Weblogs home is up and running, so if you're a local, check it out, or even join! Come on in, the water's fine, only a few sharks lurking, promise.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I decided to do my part for the economy by spending a portion of the tax rebate on a new computer. Actually, on computer components. I'm a semi-geek and began building my own systems a few years ago. Once you start, you have a hard time legitimizing to yourself buying anything off the shelf again. Anyway, here are a couple sights that I used to get the parts I needed. First, checkout which has the inside track on ways to get great deals, as does Slickdeals. Also, comparison shopping is a must, try either Pricegrabber, Nextag, or Techbargains. They also include opinions on products from other consumers. Similarly, and finally, I have always found Epinions to be an invaluable resource in canvassing reviews from the Average Joe. Just beware of company "plants" and people who really don't know what they're doing but still offering opinions! Amazon also has good reviews, usually both "professional" and consumer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I loved Paris when I visited. I am of French ancestry and am naturally interested in the history of France and its people. Yet, like many, I don't intend on going back any time soon as long as the government in France is as knee-jerk anti-American as it is currently. Many U.S. tourists are staying away from France. The best part? The French Tourism Ministry attributes the decline in the first half of 2003 to the weak, right.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Cheney Speaks on Terrorism yesterday. It's always nice when the Veep speaks. He has a way of putting the picture back in focus.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Mel Gibson's 'Passion' elicits unfair conflict already, and it won't even be released for a year. Looks like Mel has his work cut out for him.
For the REAL STORY in Iraq, go to this letter from a soldier on the ground and see who you believe, him or the media.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Had a nice day in Boston on Saturday. Saw some of the historical sites along the Freedom Trail, though I missed the USS Constitution as it went to "sea" (actually, just Boston Harbor) to do a change of command ceremony. Just my luck, the ship doesn't move 363 days out of the year and I pick the one day, other than the traditional 4th of July turnaround, that it did. Oh well, good excuse to go back! It was nice walking the city. Saw the North End and South End more than I ever had. I particularly liked the old world feel of the North End. Maybe a dinner there will be in order someday. I recommend the Rock Bottom Brewery in the theater district. Food was good, beer was excellent. Wrapped up the night with a concert at the FleetBoston Pavilion by Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Hootie and the Blowfish. I've been a long time fan of the former; a band you really have to see live to appreciate. Hootie was pretty good too, though I am a bit sick of a lot of their overplayed "hits". They did a good job of covering Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey, What can I do?" though and also did good renditions of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" and "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers. They also did "Will The Circle Remain Unbroken", the classic country tune, pretty faithfully. Notice a pattern? I liked Hootie when they did other people's songs! Oh, they also did "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites for an encore. Again, pretty good! Anyway, there's nothing like walking around Boston on a mid-summers day, good time all around. Can't wait to go back, maybe even with the kids!

Friday, July 18, 2003

What an amazing speech by PM Tony Blair in front of Congress yesterday. Sometimes, he can do what our President cannot; present an eloquent and colorful argument for why we, the Brits, U.S. and our coalition are in the right. An excerpt:

"We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind; black or white; Christian or not; left, right or merely indifferent, to be free. Free to raise a family in love and hope; free to earn a living and be rewarded by your own efforts; free not to bend your knee to any man in fear; free to be you, so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others. That's what we're fighting for, and it's a battle worth fighting. And I know it's hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I've never been to but always wanted to go (laughter) I know out there, there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, 'Why me, and why us, and why America?' And the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do. And our job, my nation, that watched you grow, that you fought alongside and now fights alongside you, that takes enormous pride in our alliance and great affection in our common bond, our job is to be there with you. You're not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. And if our spirit is right and our courage firm, the world will be with us."

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Smoke signals in Charlestown as the RI State Police "take down" the Narragansett "Indians" tax-free, and illegal, smoke shop. Sounds like the natives were looking for trouble to me, plus:

"The Narragansett Indians have refused to cooperate and have chosen instead to flout state law," said Carcieri. "They demanded that in return for closing the smoke shop that I must drop my opposition to a casino."

"That was outrageous," said Carcieri.

You bet it is. These guys have been grandstanding for years and are willing to go to any length to get a casino. Even if it means breaking the law along the way. The usual charges of civil rights violations and living in a police state are being made. Please. More from the article:

"Today's actions were precipitated by the Narragansett Indians and their flagrant violation of state law," said Carcieri, who was flanked by state police Col. Steven Pare and Atty. Gen. Patrick Lynch.

The troopers entered the property under a court-issued search warrant that he ordered be executed, the governor said.

"We do not take today's actions lightly," Carcieri said. "We deliberated long and hard before authorizing today's response."

Lynch supported Carcieri's action, saying the governor had been "remarkably patient" in the face of obvious lawbreaking by the tribe.

Lynch said the tribe's operation of an illegal, tax-free tobacco store was no different than if "Cumberland Farms," the convenience store chain, had decided to sell cigarettes without collecting state and federal taxes.

Monday, July 14, 2003

LIMBAUGH JOINS ESPN-TV AS FOOTBALL COMMENTATOR according to Drudge. This should be interesting!

Friday, July 11, 2003

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today led off with a bit about the continuing "controversy" regarding WMD in Iraq. Best part of the story was this quote from Rummy:

"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder. We acted because we saw the existing evidence in a new light, through the prism of our experience on September 11."

That's what the Left and others keep forgetting. We, the average American led by our President, are no longer willing to take the risk of "diplomacy" (re prevacation and stalling) when on September 11 our picture of an America immune to terror was so quickly and brutally shattered.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Governor said he'd do it, and now he has. The "budget" put forth by the General Assembly has been vetoed. Sure, it may be only a temporary thing as the Democrats easily have the votes to overturn the veto, but the message has been sent. From the article:

Carcieri said the Assembly has accomplished many good things this year, including passing separation-of-powers legislation, overhauling the state's fire codes and helping to keep GTECH in the state.

"However, there is one overriding issue that will smother that spirit . . . It's what I call a spending addiction," Carcieri said. "The General Assembly -- not all [members] -- has continued a bad habit of out-of-control spending that was born in the prosperous years of the late '90s. That party came to an end almost three years ago. But most of the General Assembly has refused to accept that fact."

Meanwhile, I saw that Rep. Sherlock tried again to play the "poor state worker" card and say that the Governor was really just attacking the little guy blahblah blah blah.

The problem is this:

To balance the past two budgets, the General Assembly relied on money from the settlement of a tobacco lawsuit. This year, $102 million in last-minute federal aid closed the gap.

"That's like cashing in the 401k to pay the mortgage and electric bill," Carcieri said.

Noting that these are one-time revenue sources, Carcieri asked: "What happens next?"

The state is projected to start this year with a $34.7-million surplus -- the last of the tobacco settlement -- and to end the year with a surplus of about $250,000. Carcieri predicts that in next year's budget, the state will face a deficit exceeding $170 million.

"Reasonable budgeting does not assume that the doors of the federal treasury will be open again next year," Carcieri told the Assembly in his veto message. "By increasing our operating costs on the basis of an unexpected windfall, we are simply creating a larger problem for next year."

Yup. And it has to stop. I believe when most people come up with a budget for their own family, they generally try to live within their means and don't plan on winning the lottery to pay for the SUV they want. Instead, they actually set money aside for emergencies, learn to live within their means and hope for some growth. That's not what has been going on here in the Ocean State, and it's time for some fiscal sanity to start. Finally, this editorial in today's ProJo really boils it down. The problem is the cost incurred by the state in employing its workers.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I'm back from vacation and thought I'd start with this link to the Open Government Information Awareness site, specifically to the Rhode Island Congressional delegation page. If you're interested in tracking your Congressman, here is the place.