Carter Calls Bush Worst in History: What's wrong with that?

So, former President Carter was quoted by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as saying the Bush administration "has been the worst in history." Fair enough. It is an opinion that I happen to share. But the Bush White House, still determined to undermine the cornerstone of the open society, namely criticism, expressed outrage and called Carter "increasingly irrelevant." Yeah right. The opinion of a former President and Nobel Prize winner is irrelevant. Sadly, Carter felt he had to back-pedal as reported in this story.

Personally, I don't hold with this whole "past presidents don't criticize sitting presidents" thing. After all, Reagan saw fit to criticize Clinton and took several "cheap" shots (remember "I may not be a Rhodes scholar but..."). Consider this:

Eisenhower was critical of John F. Kennedy's domestic policies, the first President Bush pounded on Bill Clinton, now his pal, for his Haiti policy, and Nixon chided the first President Bush (for comparing himself to Harry Truman in his 1992 re-election campaign). Theodore Roosevelt was brutal in his assaults on Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Media Matters

Media Matters - ABC, CBS still have not reported on Comey's revelation of wiretapping "hospital drama"

An interesting media watch-dog site reports that ABC and CBS still have not reported on Comey's revelation of wiretapping "hospital drama. This is the bizarre-but-true story of how, in 2004, White House counsel [now Attorney General] Alberto R. Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card
attempted to pressure then-Attorney General John Ashcroft "at his [hospital] bedside" to approve an extension of the secret NSA warrant-less eavesdropping program over strong Justice Department objections.
I would never have thought I could feel sympathy for John Ashcroft, but it just shows how a really bad job performance [Gonzales as AG] can make a mediocre job performance [Ashcroft as AG] look positively stellar by comparison.

The Comey referred to above is James Comey, who was then the number-two man at the Justice Department but temporarily in charge because his boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, was seriously ill, hospitalized with pancreas trouble. According to Brian Williams reporting for NBC, Comey was on the way home from work when he got an urgent call and sped to the hospital...

"...he ran up the stairs hoping to get there before Alberto Gonzales, then White House counsel, and Andy Card, White House chief of staff. He [Comey] says when they arrived, they tried to get Ashcroft's approval for an extension of the eavesdroping program despite strong Justice Department objections. He [Comey] says Ashcroft lifted his head off the pillow and adamantly refused to sign. "

I would love to know with what exact words Ashcroft "adamantly refused." I'm hoping it was something like "Heck no!" or "Over my dead body!"

Was it Gonzales' willingness to sink this low that got him Ashcroft's job?

Domain Name Selling Not Cool for Quick Cash

Okay, so the auction of ended a little after noon on May 14. Some 5 days have passed without payment actually arriving in my bank account. The domain 'broker' assures me this is normal.

Ergo, don't look to a domain name sale to raise really quick cash. I will let you know when the money does come through, and share a few tips on how to speed up the process (hint: you'll need to know your EPP code to get paid for your domain). I will also share some thoughts on the final price and tell you who bought it.

BTW, at this point I have not been told who bought but my guess is: A domain name speculator.

Mitt Romney Wants To Re-Tool Washington

Apparently Mitt Romney Wants To Re-Tool Washington, according to a Mike Wallace interview with the contender for the GOP presidential nomination. (That page also has links to several video interviews with Romney).

Now, a lot of people would agree that DC needs a good re-tooling. But I don't think Romney is the person to do it. It's not just that I rarely vote Republican and has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Mormon (dare I say "some of my best friends are Mormons"?). And I don't have a problem with politicians changing their stand on issues. How else are we going to get change? If we insist that every politician who changes his or her mind be discarded because of it, we are not going to have a democracy for very long. A free and open society must leave room for criticism and change. I just happen to disagree with him. Consider:
"Among the things he wants to do as president is increase U.S. troop strength overall by at least 100,000 and modernize military equipment."
We need less military, not more. We have more better equipment than any other standing army of comparable size. We just use the stuff wrong. No equipment overhaul or troop increase is going to put a stop to terrorism. You defeat terrorism with humint and diplomacy. Not laser guided bullets.
"He wants to secure the Mexican border and decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil."
Well actually you can't secure the Mexican border (or the Canadian). Immigration is a problem best solved with economic policy not unworkable gestures like fences. But besides that, no politician is actually against securing the border, so you are hardly standing out by saying that. And most people on the planet want America to decrease its dependence on foreign oil. It is a position so obvious that it wins Romney no points with me.
"He’s against gay marriage and civil unions..."
Sorry, a politician holding that view has to be very special in every other department before they get my vote.
"...and says that he'll hold the line on taxes."
That strikes me as code for leaving in place the tax breaks for big business and the super-rich. Not something I agree with. Some of those businesses are oil companies--whose interests are not the same as those of the American people. It is we the people who will win the energy war, not politicians or oil companies.

Can You Believe Your Own Google?

Do you Google yourself? It sounds like rather a personal question so let me break the ice here: I Google myself, about once a week. In other words, I enter my name into the Google search box to see what comes up. Why? Because I can. Because I'm a techie. And because my ability to get new and interesting consulting assignments depends, to some admittedly unquantifiable extent, on those Google results.

But lately I've become concerned that results you get IF you are logged into Google when you Google yourself are different from those that a stranger would get.

In other, hopefully less clumsy, words: the results that Google returns about you could be different on a stranger's computer from those you get on your own computer (if you are logged into Google on that computer).

I don't know this for a fact and it is a hard fact to check because the results that Google returns can change each time you plug in the same search term (at least that is my experience). So, does anyone know the answer to this one? Does Google slant the results to you if you are logged in? This is not a trivial question and in my next post I will explain why.

P.S. My hat, indeed all three of my hats, is off to Stephen Euin Cobb who often tops me in the Stephen Cobb results. Nicely done Sir! Valuation Backed by Domain Name Expert

Interesting article came out in print on Friday, now online under headline " domain name worth at least $45K, experts say." [Sorry, subscription required.]

The writer of the article spoke to Ron Jackson, publisher of Domain Name Journal who had this to say: "As difficult as it is to quantify the industry, so too is appraising a name's value. Like real estate, its value often depends on someone's imagination for how it can be used. But unlike appraising real estate, it's often difficult to base estimates on comparable sales."
"Still, Jackson said could reasonably bring $50,000 to $150,000. "It could go for more.""

Here's hoping...I don't have many finger nails left!

Religious Groups Granted Millions for Pet Projects

An interesting story about how churches are employing lobbyists in DC to obtain "ear-marked" appropriations appeared in the New York Times but alas won't be freely readable for long due to the new archive policy.

Blair to Leave in June: Too late for some

According to the BBC Blair will stand down on 27 June. Here's what Socialism's greatest traitor had to say:
"I came into office with high hopes for Britain's future, and, you know, I leave it with even higher hopes for Britain's future."
Yeah, right. Off to a cushy overpaid consulting job, no doubt. Leaving Gordon Brown to deal with the aftermath of the worst foreign policy blunder in modern British history: Defying the will of the British people and dragging the country into Iraq, thereby pissing off a. 80 percent of the country, b. a large and growing Muslim population.

VW Jet: Cool project, hot subject

I mentioned this amazing VW jet project recently, in a completely different context, over on my information security blog. as something of a joke.

The joke was NOT about the street legal JET-IN-A-VW project (I think there's an old proverb that goes something like "Jest not about a man who can fit a jet engine into car and live to drive it about"). Indeed, I urge you to read Ron Patrick's account of the project--it's fascinating stuff, especially the matter-of-fact manner in which he says things like "The first thing I did when I got the car was to cut the hole in the back for the engine. Made a fancy jig out of a tripod, a rod, and a lawnmower wheel to mark out the cut and went at it with a pneumatic saw" and "Air for the jet enters the car through the two side windows and the sunroof. It's a little windy inside but not unbearable." Amazing!

My infosec joke was about VW, which used [allegedly] a VW corporate jet [aircraft] to steal a bunch of secret documents from GM. And herein lies the automotive angle, something I have not heard anyone speculate about before. As part of the settlement of the ensuing industrial espionage lawsuit, VW agreed to buy more than a billion dollars worth of parts from General Motors over 7 years. That agreement was around 1997. So we can assume VW used a lot of GM made parts in its vehicles between 1997 and 2004.

Now, have you experienced reliability problems with a VW during that time period? I know my daughter has, on two different vehicles (kid can be such slow learners sometimes). And I seem to recall that VW has consistently had at least one model in the Consumer Reports "least reliable" list every year during that time, and still does I need to connect the dots?

Let me drop another hint, outside the auto field. In the last year, Dell, Apple, IBM, Toshiba and others have all had to issue recalls on notebook computers with batteries made by Sony. All the numbers I have been able to find [as a blogger, not a paid journalist with a fact-checking department at my fingertips] seem to indicate that a smaller percentage of Sony Vaio computers shipped with the defective batteries than Toshibas, Dells, etc. Hmmmmmm....