Saturday, June 30, 2007

Brush fire chars 300 acres near our home

Friday, June 29, 2007

iWait is over: iPhone goes public

Six months after it was announced, the iPhone went on sale at 6 pm local time across the U.S.
See Apple's iPhone site.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Suit-happy pants suit judge loses verdict: no $54M

"It's the wrong trousers, Gromit!"

Justice prevails, and judge awards costs to defendants.

The plaintiff, administrative law judge Roy L. Pearson of D.C., represented himself.

The old saw is that "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."

Utah prison inmate escapes, kills officer, is recaptured

"Curtis Allgier, 27, is loaded into a police car after he escaped from and killed a corrections officer Monday, June 25, 2007, in Salt Lake City. The prison inmate stole a gun from a corrections officer during a medical appointment Monday and fatally shot him, authorities said. He also shot and wounded a person in a restaurant where he fled, police said." (AP Photo/Deseret Morning News, Scott G. Winterton)

Read more about the shooting, escape, carjacking, chase, and his recapture here.

Among his tattoos: "Skin Head" with a Nazi swastika centered between his eyebrows. Guy makes you a believer in demonic possession.

Prison's a good place for him. Maximum security would be an excellent idea.

Today's booking photo following his re-arrest:

UPDATE: He didn't mean to shoot and kill the officer, Allgier tells reporters. But his confession to escape means he can be tried for felony murder (death occurring during the commission of a felony).

UPDATE II: Allgier has been charged with aggravated murder (he'll have to explain how Officer Anderson was shot twice -- in the head and chest -- accidentally...), and 7 other felony counts (including three attempted aggravated murder charges). He's a poster child for the death penalty.

UPDATE III: Here's the story about a former Army paratrooper and grandfather of six who disarmed Allgier in the Arby's -- and has a slashed neck and stitches to show for it.

"I just wanted to get a sandwich," Fullerton said, smiling. "I didn't go there for my morning workout."

UPDATE IV: KSL reports today (23 Mar 10) that Allgier's getting married (jailhouse wedding, separated from bride by glass, no ring exchange, no kiss), and prosecutors announced they are seeking the death penalty if he's convicted of the murder of a corrections officer.

UPDATE V: Preliminary hearing held today (30 Mar 10); link includes photos and chronological links to stories about the case.

UPDATE VI: Allgier will stand trial for capital murder. Here he is at the preliminary hearing:

Tube steak tourneys no more: speed eater undone

Famed speed-eater Takeru Kobayashi sustained what may be a career-ending injury from too much practice. ABC's headline reads "Arthritic Jaw Could Undo Icon's Hot Dog Reign".

Kobayashi downed 53 and 3/4 hot dogs in 12 minutes at an international Coney Island contest last year. He also holds the record for eating the most cow brains and rice balls in timed competitions.

UPDATE: In spite of his reported injury, Kobayashi competed -- and lost to American Joey Chestnut who downed 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes (Kobayashi could only down 63...). Not a pleasant sight:

Kobayashi and Chestnut on 4 July 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Victory in Iraq: counting bomb dead or changing politics?

Strategypage has the answer.

Retirement flag

I put in my retirement papers last week after 22 years in the Air Force (11 years active, 11 as a reservist). I won't be having a ceremony, but I will receive an American flag. Here's part of why and what it means.

Marines raise flag over Iwo Jima.

UPDATE: Last survivor of Iwo Jima flag raisings dies 24 June 2007 at 86.

LA Dodger center fielder Rick Monday saves the flag.

Rick Monday Tribute 1976 -

Whitney Houston sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl after 9/11.

President Hinckley turns 97

LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley turned 97 yesterday,

and the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center
was dedicated at BYU.

Read here and here about the speedy construction of this remarkable building.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Arrowhead Ripper

Anybody paying attention? MSM's bad news bears are asleep at the switch. Again.

Shock: we may be winning the war.

But nobody's telling us about it.

Unless you read here.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Critics claim "Bush lied, and people died."

Listen to Democratic leaders before the war.


Who's lying now?

Mountain Meadows Massacre

The LDS Church has issued an official statement here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Approval rating for Congress hits all-time low

Gallup poll tells the story: 14%.

If the country's dissatisfied with Bush, it's dissatisfied with Congress even more. And the Democrats have had the majority in both houses of Congress since January. Not a happy country at the moment.

Be Not Afraid: Baquba Offensive

Michael Yon writes from Iraq on the eve of battle.

UPDATE: What's happening now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unifying Iraq

Thoughtful WSJ op-ed piece on what to do about Iraq. Hint: partition is not the answer (witness Israel/Palestine?).

The Fruits of Arafat-Carter "Peace"

Life is full of irony. Hamas looters raid Arafat's home in Gaza and steal his Nobel Peace Prize. (Back to my question about "honor among terrorists"...).

Meanwhile, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (Arafat's fellow Peace Prize recipient) blasts U.S. policy not to recognize the elected Hamas government as "criminal".

Carter continues: "The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah".

Hmm. According to Carter, it is "criminal" for the the U.S. and Israel not to recognize the Hamas government. But - Hamas refuses to recognize the Israeli government, and vows the destruction of Israel. Fatah has recognized Israel.

Hmm. Room for compromise there? Apparently Hamas and Fatah don't think so. What winning compromise would Carter counsel: recognize the legitimacy of the government that refuses to recognize yours and seeks your destruction?

Somebody should take Carter's Peace Prize. The "peace" he and Arafat have wrought is no peace. (See Jeremiah 6:14; cf. Isaiah 48:22). The way to "peace" Carter offers today is absurd.

For shamelessly injecting his brand of hairbrained "diplomacy" around the world, former President Carter wins the prize.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Paul Potts The Winner

Storybook ending or beginning?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fatah to the rescue?!

Approval ratings are low here, but would you want these guys running your government?

Fatah militants carry out raids on Hamas offices

UPDATE: What a relief! An Aussie paper is reporting that Hamas has banned masks for Gaza gunmen:
IN their first order since seizing control of the Gaza Strip, Hamas Islamists banned gunmen from wearing masks - unless they are shooting at Israel.

The masks have become commonplace in the Gaza Strip during weeks of factional fighting between the ruling Hamas movement and President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah faction.

Both sides wore the masks to hide their identities.

“A decision was taken last night to prevent (people from wearing) masks,” Khaled Abu Hilal, a spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, said.

Hamas made one exception, for militants carrying out cross-border attacks on Israel.

“Wearing masks should only be near the borders and in fighting the Zionist enemy, not in the streets and near people's homes,” Abu Hilal said.
Honor among terrorists?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Media fast

My grandfather used to advocate a “cherry fast” once a year – he advised that eating nothing but cherries for a week would “purge the system”. No one’s sure if he was serious.

But for the past several weeks I’ve been on a media fast of sorts. It all started with my wife and the Virginia Tech shootings. I’ve been in a 20-year habit of listening to NewsRadio (KSL in SLC, WTOP in Washington, D.C., WOAI in San Antonio). It started during my commute, but then spilled over to the bathroom radio while getting ready for work.

The VT killings brought a lot of bad news to a peak that week. My wife asked, “Why do you listen to that? Why don’t you listen to something more positive?” The fam gave me an iPod for Christmas, so we got an iHome player for it.

Now, instead of turning on the radio in the bathroom in the morning, I turn on my iPod. Instead of troubling my spirit, I’ve been nourishing my spirit. I select what I listen to: Mormon Tabernacle Choir music (my “Bishop Mix” from my iPod, put together for my executive secretary and those waiting for an interview), classic talks by Elders Hugh B. Brown, S. Dilworth Young, and Matthew Cowley.

(Interesting that 30 years ago as an LDS missionary, as part of my assignment in the mission office, I would record talk tapes from the mission library for missionaries who ordered them; because we had a real-time tape-to-tape recorder, I usually listened to the tapes as they were recording – nothing was very high speed in 1977…so I listened over and over to some of the same talks I’ve now downloaded from the BYU Broadcasting web page).

I’ve also been listening to Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” “News from Lake Wobegon” monologue (a podcast from iTunes -- although, one of the more recent ones was too coarse for my taste); LDS General Conference talks (like Elder Holland’s “Broken Things to Mend” and President Hinckley’s “The Things of Which I Know”), BYU Devotionals (like Bonnie Parkin’s “Personal Ministry: Sacred and Precious”), CES Firesides (like Elder David A. Bednar’s “A Reservoir of Living Water”), and other various and sundry things (like Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford).

I’ve been a political news junkie for 20 years, yet I find I don’t really miss the controversy stirred up to attract listeners. Back in the day, it was 22 minutes (not counting the commercials) to have Walter Cronkite, or Huntley & Brinkley, or Frank Reynolds give you the world. If it made the national news, it was something. Now, with 24/7 cable news, there is no news cycle. Only "breaking news" and drawing out endless commentary and debate. Lots of heat, but less light. I lament the hours I wasted during the Bill Clinton years, mired in the media mire. An eternal game of "gotcha".

I feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expatriate from ancient Athens where, scripture tells us parenthetically, “(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)” (Acts 17: 21).

After my self-imposed “fast”, I find so much of modern media so crass, so coarse, so tasteless. Commercials are so intrusive, and sound so phony after you’ve weaned yourself away from them for a while. Yikes - we spend a lot of time in our culture selling stuff!

Nearly thirty years ago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said this at Harvard (on the same day, unbeknownst to him, that the revelation on priesthood was announced – 8 June 1978):
Because instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified, they will stay on in the readers' memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists heroized, or secret matters, pertaining to one's nation's defense, publicly revealed, or we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: "everyone is entitled to know everything." But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era: people also have the right not to know, and it is a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.

The psychic disease he described is now epidemic in the 21st century.

So, for anyone who noticed – I’m back blogging.

But I hope I’m different.

And I recommend a media fast at least once a year...

UPDATE: An article on a "media break" here.

And read about "TV Turnoff Week" here and here.

Paul Potts' Semi-Final Victory: Time To Say Goodbye

"All my life, I've felt insignificant. But after that first audition, I realized I am somebody. I'm Paul Potts."

A bit of Paul's backstory, and then more magic. Bravo!

Paul Potts sings Nessun Dorma

"By day, I sell mobile phones. My dream is to spend my life doing what I feel that I was born to do."

A triumph of the human spirit: a cell phone salesman from Cardiff, Wales sings Nessun Dorma on the UK's "Britain's Got Talent". Amazing!

Friday, June 08, 2007

What makes Mitt Romney tick

For some thoughtful and informative answers to a question which seems to be getting a lot of media attention at the moment, check out this post in I miei cari amici.