Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cindy Sheehan and P.R.

Who's financing "Camp Casey"? A San Fancisco TV station reports.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Krauthammer on Palestine

Will the Gaza withdrawal be followed, ultimately, by the destruction of the world's only Jewish state? Krauthammer weighs in.

Mickey Kaus on "Able Danger"

Here's some more on "Able Danger" from Slate's Mickey Kaus.

Iraqi constitution: closer to a deal?

The Iraqi constitution is still a-birthing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wikipedia on "Able Danger"

The online open source encyclopedia has the growing story.

NCAA: FSU can keep 'Noles; Ute OK next?

The NCAA has granted Florida State's appeal: the school can keep the Seminoles name and mascot. Maybe Utah won't have to change from Utes to Red-Tailed Hawks.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Gaza settlement evacuation complete, West Bank next

The Washington Post has the details.

Iraqi government finishes draft constitution

President visits SLC, speaks to VFW

KSL TV has the story.

"Able Danger": not so fast

According to Fox News, the Pentagon can't verify claims that Atta was identified pre 9/11. But, the NYT reports an active duty Navy captain (O-6 -- AF colonel-equivalent) affirms that Able Danger ID'd Atta in January-February 2000. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tuacahn's production of Joseph

Returned tonight from St. George.

Went to Tuacahn's performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Well done!

The rest of the fam's still there and will see Beauty and the Beast tomorrow night (the whizbang show of this season).

It's an amazing setting: outdoor amphitheater facing immense red rock cliffs (the photo below doesn't do it justice, since it cuts off the tops of the cliffs). Every production manages to work in the natural setting behind the stage, including water -- which can flow over the stage and drain just in front of the audience.

Our dear friends, the Dustons, treated us to Paul's patented shish-kebobs this afternoon. It's becoming an annual pilgrimage (much like the girls' visits to Stoke-on-Trent for china while we lived in England): yearly trips to St. George to take in the latest productions at Tuacahn -- and catch up with the Dustons.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Road construction in Provo: like swallows to Capistrano

Every year it's the same. Road construction in Provo begins around Education Week and continues while the students arrive for fall semester. I've never understood why road crews wait until the end of the summer to begin.

NCAA mascot update

From the Deseret Morning News:
Maybe it won't be the University of Utah "Red-tailed Hawks" after all.

Because of a decision by the NCAA two weeks ago, the U. appeared to be in danger of losing its traditional "Ute" nickname. However, the NCAA is backtracking a bit on its decision to ban the use of American Indian nicknames and imagery at post-season tournaments starting in February.

On Friday, the NCAA said approval from American Indian tribes would be a primary factor in deciding appeals from schools that use Native American nicknames and mascots in post-season play.

That should help the U. The university has received permission from the Ute Tribal Council several times over the years to use the "Ute" nickname, and unless that changes Utah should be able to retain it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

AZ high school swaps textbooks for iBooks

Wired Magazine has the story. I've never been a fan of textbooks. iBooks? That's another matter. I think everyone should have one. Better yet, a PowerBook.

Krauthammer on Gaza withdrawal

Charles Krauthammer has a take on Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza:
Gaza was simply a bridge too far: settlements too far-flung and small to justify the huge psychological and material cost of defending them. Pulling out of Gaza leaves behind the first truly independent Palestinian state -- uncontrolled and highly militant, but one from which Israel is fenced off.

If Israel can complete its West Bank fence, it will have established a stable equilibrium and essentially abolished terrorism as a regular and reliable means of attack -- i.e., as a usable strategic weapon. That will leave the Palestinians a stark choice: Remain in their state of miserable militancy with no prospects of victory or finally accept the Jewish state and make a deal.
As usual, read the whole thing.

"Able Danger" update

Latest at Fox News.

4 Die in "Y" Mountain Caving Accident

Deseret Morning News has the story. Victims were ages 18, 21, 24, and 28.
Deseret Morning News Graphic

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: publicity and privacy

There's a notable contrast between Cindy Sheehan's Michael-Moore-funded Crawford, Texas vigil and her accompanying call for a second meeting with the President, and President Bush's prior private meetings with her and private meetings with the families of other servicemen killed in the war on terrorism. Let's see if anyone in the mainstream media can figure it out.

UPDATE: IRONY ALERT? In the face of her mother's stroke, Cindy now asks for respect for her privacy (in a press release slamming the President...)

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

Checked out this book from the library tonight. The Prologue debunks the myth that the Internet (or its predecessor, ARPANET) arose out of national security concerns and seeking a means to communicate after a nuclear war. Hard now to imagine life without the Net. (The book's authors have created a companion website here).

The book takes its title from a poem:
Los Alamos' lights where wizards stay up late
(Stay in the car, forget the gate)
To save the world or end it, time will tell
-- James Merrill, "Under Libra: Weights and Measures," from Braving the Elements

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Just Friends

Peggy Noonan says there's something creepy about the newfound friendship between the Bush seniors and Bill Clinton. Money quote:
What bothers me about the fervid friendship of the Bushes and Mr. Clinton--and the media celebration of it--is the faint whiff of superiority, a sense they radiate that all those slightly icky little people running around wailing about issues--tax reform, the relation of the individual to the state, the necessary character of a president--and working the precincts are somehow . . . a little below them. There is an air of condescension toward that grubby thing, belief. Those who hold it are not elevated, don't quite fit into the high-minded nonpartisan brotherhood. When in fact the people doing the day-to-day work of democracy, and who are in it because they are impelled by deep belief and philosophy, are actually not below them at all, and perhaps above them. Not that they're on the cover of People hugging, but at least they're serious.

It is the suggestion, or the suspicion, that these men have grown close because they are not serious, were never quite serious, that grates. That makes one wonder. That leaves some Republicans, and I have to assume more than a few Democrats, scratching their heads when they see Newt smiling with Hillary, and John McCain giggling with Hillary. It leaves you wondering: Why are these people laughing?

More on "Able Danger"

NYT story today - first paragraph:
A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.
Read the whole thing.

More by TigerHawk here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Apple's customers satisfied; Dell's, rest of PC world, not so much

Apple got the highest rating in a customer satisfaction survey (81%), while volume-leader Dell fell from 79% last year to 74% this year.

Monday, August 15, 2005

TV takes aim at Utah, Mormons

The Salt Lake Tribune has a story about TV writers working Utah and Mormons into their plots. Not altogether complimentary, but about what you'd expect.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

America's most conservative city: Provo, Utah

According to a recent study, Provo, Utah (the place I call home) is the most conservative city in America. No surprise there. Notably, Salt Lake City, 42 miles to the north, is listed among the 100 most liberal cities in the U.S.

Joseph Smith website

It's the 150th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith's birth on 23 December 2005. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a feature-rich website. We'll add it to our blogroll.

Apple and Microsoft in iPod patent tiff

Apple's iPod is winning in the marketplace (87% market share), but Microsoft's lawyers have won the first round in the U.S. Patent Office.

Apple-Google Alliance? ("iGoogleTunes"?)

Speculation that you may be able to search and download tunes from your Google toolbar.

Gettin' ready for some football!

BYU sophomore running back, Ray Hudson, carries the ball in Monday's practice. 18 days and counting until Boston College at 1:30 pm on September 3rd in LaVell Edwards Stadium. Go Cougars!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Heatwave in Alaska: 83 in Fairbanks

My nephew, Max, is going to Alaska on his LDS mission. Looks like it's already getting warmed up for him.

LaVell Edward enshrined in college football Hall of Fame

Legendary BYU football coach LaVell Edwards was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

WSJ: "jobless recovery" ends?

The Wall Street Journal editorial page reports that employment is the highest in U.S. history. Money quote:
First, more Americans have jobs today than at any other time in history. Second, over the past two decades or so, the U.S. has created more than 40 million jobs--twice as many as Europe and Japan combined. And third, the U.S. has one of the lowest jobless rates of all developed nations.

It was only a year ago that John Kerry was blasting the "jobless recovery." Lou Dobbs was flogging "outsourcing" every night on CNN as a sign of peril for the American workforce. That criticism now looks wildly off base. The 5% jobless rate today is almost a percentage point below what it was during the same stage of the business cycle during the vaunted "Clinton expansion."

Democrats' new strategy: Almost winning

Mark Steyn picks apart recent Democratic Party press releases. From the Dems' Congressional Campaign Committee:
In nearly the biggest political upset in recent history, Democrat Paul Hackett came within just a few thousand votes of defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's Second Congressional District.
Yup. Almost won. Hoo-wee!

Then there's this from the DNC:
While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs.
Steyn opines:
The DNC's Bush-is-the-reason-your-kid-is-fat press release is a convenient precis of the party's problem: While he runs rings around them, the Dems lounge about getting flabbier by the week and telling themselves it's all his fault they can barely move except to complain about Bush's Supreme Court nominee's kid being overly cute. What's the betting for 2006? The Dems will have a few more "nearly the biggest political upsets," while the Republicans will have the actual political upsets -- a couple more Senate seats? Including Robert C. Byrd's venerable perch in West Virginia?

Republicans may see the increasingly arthritic, corpulent, wheezing, flatulent Democratic Party as a boon for them, but I don't. Two-party systems need two parties, not just for the health of the loser but for that of the winner, too. Intellectually, philosophically, legislatively, it's hard to maintain the discipline to keep yourself in shape when the other guy just lies around the house all day.
Read the whole thing.

Bookends: 9/11 and no-terror-since

Peggy Noonan analyzes Bush's strength with his base, and outside it. Part of it is his regular guy-ness. Part is his say-it-and-mean-it-ness. And part is Laura -- not a single misstep as First Lady (knock on wood).

But most importantly: the President came of age on 9/11 and we have had no terror attacks on American soil since (knock on wood). Read the whole thing.

Friday, August 12, 2005

BYU football on KSL

KSL now offers exclusive net content: CougarRadio, and Cougar Daily Download. Give it a listen. Go Cougars!

NCAA mascot update: PETA weighs in?

Making the rounds on the net -- the next step in the NCAA mascot culture war? (Joke alert):
NCAA Considers Ban on Hostile Animal Mascots

(2005-08-06) -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) today said it would consider a proposal by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to ban teams from using "hostile" animal mascots during its sports tournaments. The NCAA imposed a similar ban on teams with American Indian names this week.

"Hostile animal mascots reinforce species stereotypes," according to the PETA proposal. "When children see snarling lions, tigers and bears--even if they're just perky men wearing fur suits with gigantic foam heads--it creates prejudice against wild creatures which justifies continued discrimination and oppression. The emotional toll on these sentient beings is devastating."

An NCAA spokesman said the organization will also consider a resolution at its next meeting to eliminate team names and mascots altogether, and to identify each collegiate sports team by a randomly-generated 27-digit number.

9/11 and "Able Danger": Connecting the Dots

What did the Clinton Administration know about the 9/11 hijackers and when did it know it? Did the 9/11 Commission staff play politics in what it decided to share with the panelists? What does the Sandy Berger theft of National Archive documents have to do with this? Stay tuned. Fox News reports.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

BYU football: 1st day of practice

Bronco seems to be doing everything right: a team meeting at the stadium the night before practice begins, audio clips of great plays and the roar of the crowd, signing a flag if you are prepared to play for BYU. Hear about it here: KSL's Daily Download.

Monday, August 08, 2005

End of an era

Peter Jennings and "Big News" are dead. Long live new media.

Farewell for Grant Davis

Last night we attended the viewing for my brother-in-law, Grant Davis. My sister, Mindy, said Grant told her he didn't think he really had any friends. She said, "Tonight I've stood in line for 3 1/2 hours greeting a lot of people who aren't his friends."

Among others who came a great distance, my uncle Bob drove from St. George. Julie Wang flew from Toronto, Canada. Bob and Katherine Pederson, and Moyne Osborn came from Salt Lake City. Grant's brother, Dan, came from Los Angeles.

The funeral director told me today that 400 people came through the line at the viewing.

(My uncle Bob's first wife died of cancer. He told me at the viewing that his current wife's first husband died -- while their son was serving his mission in Alaska).

Last week we attended Elder Max Davis's missionary farewell in Rexburg, Idaho. Today we attended his father's farewell. It was also his youngest son, Gabe's, 13th birthday.

We began the day at the chapel videotaping a conversation among family and friends reminiscing about Grant.

Grant's son, Elder Max Davis, flew into Idaho Falls this morning and gave the family prayer before the casket was closed. The stake center and cultural hall were full. Among others who came a long distance, Cindy's best friend, Marcie Duston, drove from St. George to be with Cindy for the funeral.

At the beginning of the service, 16 year-old Molly tenderly played a plaintive violin solo ("Meditation" by Massenet), accompanied by Grant's mother (Molly's Grandmother), Jeannine Davis. I offered the opening prayer. Among other things, "Lord, we don't understand. But we accept. Blessed be thy name."

Grant's lifelong friend, Jay Burrup, gave a life sketch, tracing their friendship from boyhood days in Downey, Idaho ("our Norman Rockwell painting, our Lake Wobegon -- without the lake"), to Grant's recent good-humored email support of Jay in a difficult bishop assignment. Jay painted a wonderful human portrait of a good, intelligent, inquisitive, and faithful friend -- a "reluctant renaissance man".

Eric Barton, a dear friend and Rexburg doctor, discussed Grant's impact as a brilliant Harvard-educated, world-class physician who chose to practice in the community of Rexburg, how Grant loved to help and heal, and how he had left his mark in seven years of practice here (including with Eric's own daughter -- as he stitched up her ear, she kept asking when he was going to start, and he told her he was just cleaning it first -- finally telling her, to her surprise, that he was all finished, including the stitches).

Richard and Karalyn Ferguson then played a viola and violin duet, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing / If I Could Hie to Kolob". The Davis's home teacher had sung "Come Thou Fount" last week at Max's farewell. Intertwining it with "If I Could Hie to Kolob" fused the two farewells and combined flight imagery with Grant's passing.

Rexburg 16th Ward Bishop John Ivers then spoke about a tombstone he had seen with the inscription "Someday you'll understand." He spoke about what we understand now about the Gospel. And he paraphrased the Savior on the cross to 13 year-old Gabe: "Here is your father... and here is your father..." (speaking of home teachers, scout leaders, bishopric members, family friends, etc.)

Stake President Gregory Moeller next spoke about Grant's healing touch on the Moeller family (tonsils out and some stitches), how Grant had done the right things in his own way (quoting Frost's "The Road Not Taken") and how picturing Grant soaring in the clouds thinking of his family, and now soaring with the angels and thinking of his family, brought peace. He also quoted Neal Maxwell twice (paraphrased here): there are so many exit routes from mortality that our faith can't block them all; and, after grief puts holes in our heart, one day they will be reservoirs of joy.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the final speaker. He spoke tenderly and directly to Mindy and her children. He said he spoke as one was was a bit farther down the same path (he lost his wife several years ago), and that Grant would be close, that, although they could not speak, they would communicate and he would be there for the family in troubled times. He told Max that he could best help his family and bless their lives by serving his mission. And he told Molly to continue to develop her talents and gifts, including showing love and tenderness in supporting Mindy. And he told Gabe to always remind people who said his dad "was" a great man, that he "is" a great man. Finally, he fervently testified that no righteous man is ever taken before his time. And he bore strong apostolic witness of the promise of eternal life and the power of sealing covenants.

We sang "Be Still My Soul" for the closing hymn, and Grant's friend, Vince Whitehead, gave the closing prayer, praying that the community's support for the family would continue.

Grant's sons Max and Gabe, my son's Jed and Dave, Dan Davis, Mark Reynolds, Jay Burrup, Cory Allsop, and I served as pallbearers. It was a simple but beautiful wooden casket, with a single long-stem red rose and a white ribbon placed on top.

Rexburg police and Madison County sheriffs blocked traffic and led the funeral procession.

Grant was buried in the Rexburg City Cemetary. Visitors to the grave will be able to look south to the new temple when it is constructed (the groundbreaking was last week).

Grant's dad, Dale Davis, dedicated the grave. Among other things, he said that "All the good things you could say about a man could be said of Grant." It had been a calm and sunny day, but the wind picked up. It was a good day for lift, for soaring.

Afterwards, we returned to the stake center for a meal prepared by the Relief Society: ham, "funeral potatoes", tossed green and assorted fruit and Jello salads, and pie and cake. (Too often we take the Relief Society for granted. Always quietly there. I thanked as many sisters as I could find). During the meal, several of her friends presented Mindy with a memory quilt they had made in the past 48 hours.

After the meal, we returned to Mindy's where Max gave Mindy a priesthood blessing (he had given Molly a blessing earlier in the day). Then we took Max to the airport to return to the MTC. On the way, he spoke excitedly with Mindy about his time in the MTC so far.

The wind brought with it dark clouds and a sunset rain. Air washed clean.

May God's blessing through caring friends and family be with and comfort Mindy and her family in the coming months and years ahead.

"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; . . . and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

BYU's new football coach speaks

Bronco Mendenhall spoke at a Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday. I was there. A good summary is here. Bronco said there are skeptics, those who hope, and believers. Count me among the believers.

Jed back

Our son, Jed, returned early from his internship in Honduras and Nicaragua. His flight got in late last night.

He was scheduled to come home Tuesday night, but came home early to attend Grant's funeral. We've received an outpouring of love from those who knew Grant.

Life is fragile. But the Gospel is true. Hug those you love a little tighter.

FSU threatens lawsuit over mascot ban

It begins.
"That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole people as culturally 'hostile and abusive' is both outrageous and insulting," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said in a statement.

"I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," he added.
Go 'Noles!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Utes may have to change nickname

The University of Utah may have to change the name for its athletic teams ("Utes", named after a local Indian tribe) if it wants to host NCAA postseason play after 1 February 2006. The NCAA's Executive Committee also announced that it will "prohibit colleges and universities from using Native American mascots, nicknames and imagery" at any of the 88 NCAA championships, effective 1 August 2008.

Goodbye "Utes"? Hello "Red-Tailed Hawks"? And what do the Florida State "Seminoles" and Illinois "Fighting Illini" come up with?

Methinks the NCAA has gone too far. How are sport team nicknames using actual Indian tribal names offensive to anyone?

Wait until PETA gets involved, arguing that animal mascots, nicknames, and imagery are offensive. Goodbye BYU Cougars? Stanford Cardinal? Michigan Wolverines? Penn State Nittany Lions? Wisconsin Badgers?

Friday, August 05, 2005

J. Grant Davis, M.D. - Rest in Peace

My little sister's husband, J. Grant Davis, was killed in a glider accident yesterday afternoon near Driggs, Idaho. They had just taken their son to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on Wednesday and were in our home afterwards. We're still reeling from the shock. He was a good, kind, thoughtful, and generous man.

The heritage of sacrificial service continues: after being told of his father's death, Elder Max Davis decided to stay at the MTC and continue his mission, although he will fly to Rexburg on Monday to attend his father's funeral and will return to the MTC that night.

"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!" (Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2)

Obituary here.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

John Roberts news clipping service

Read all about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts at SCOTUS Wire.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cougar Radio - 1st instalment

Listen to voice of the Cougars, Greg Wrubell, color commentator Marc Lyons, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall as well as Cougar players respond to email questions and calls on Cougar Radio, KSL's first streaming audio netcast (and podcast). New sideline reporter, former return man James Dye, also joins the -cast.

Apple's Mighty Mouse

Apple introduces a new scroll ball - "one-" (really four-) button mouse. Naturally, the Mighty Mouse. Apple cool -- again.

Monday, August 01, 2005

"It's All Our Fault": the Left in Support of Terrorists' Rights

Opinion piece in US News by John Leo suggests why the Left will remain the minority party in the West.

WSJ on Bolton

The Wall Street Journal's take on the merits of Dem resistance to the Bolton appointment, and the task ahead.

Recess appointment: John Bolton

Double standard / irony alert. Dems castigate Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton because of his temper, because of offensive things Bolton has said and because, as Senator Dodd said, "he's damaged goods."

Funny thing. By that standard, Howard Dean would be disqualified from serving as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Was Judith Miller Rove's source?