Monday, September 25, 2006

What are the two biggest factors in the improvement of my Scrabble game?

Rack management and not creating or leaving open triple word opportunities. My vocabulary has improved too, particularly in three and four letter words* but that ranks somewhat behind the other two.

*I learned all the two letter words some time ago. There are only about eighty of them and most of them are fairly common.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Patriots Getting Smothered

And meanwhile the Patriots are laying an enormous egg on their own home field. The score is 17-0 in the fourth quarter and their offense hasn't fired all night.


Red Sox get blown out 13 – 4 by the Blue Jays today. Wily Mo Pena bungles all afternoon long in right field.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tweaked Firefox Lets You Surf Internet Without a Trace - Yahoo! News

Public spirited citizens at Hactivismo come to the aid of a much spied upon public. Said one member of said public, "Internet wise, you can't walk down the friggin street without ten or fifteen assholes trying to figure out where you keep your wallet. It's none of your business. Stop fucking following me."

Tweaked Firefox Lets You Surf Internet Without a Trace - Yahoo! News: "A tweaked version of Firefox that makes Web browsing anonymous has been released by a group of privacy-minded coders.

Every few minutes, the Torpark browser causes a computer's IP address to appear to change. IP addresses are numeric identifier given to computers on the Internet. The number can be used along with other data to potentially track down a user, as many Web sites keep track of IP addresses.

Hackers Promote Privacy

Torpark's creators, a group of computer security gurus and privacy experts named Hactivismo, said they want to expand privacy rights on the Internet as new technologies increasingly collect online data."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Caffeine and the South Beach Diet

It is true that one of the major effects of caffeine is that it causes a rush of insulin but a recent study shows that people who drink more coffee are less susceptible to diabetes. However, caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee or caffeinated sugarfree sodas are fine on the South Beach Diet - as long as you do not surpass the limit of one cup a day.

Use caffeine in moderation because:

* Caffeine has addictive effects on the brain, as well as the kidneys.

* It has diuretic properties, and is a dehydrating agent.

* Caffeine stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, which can lead to unhealthy cravings. That is why during South Beach Diet Phase 1 it is forbidden. Still, the effect is small, so, for the rest of the diet, you can enjoy 1 morning cup and then switch to decaf.

* Caffeine-containing sodas can cause a gain in weight due to the fact that the sensation of thirst induced by caffeine is often confused with hunger.

Although an appetite stimulant, South Beach Diet allows you to eat as much as you want, so you can enjoy your cup of coffee. Moreover, coffee can raise your metabolism, which is a plus for the diet. Of course, no sugar added, use artificial sweetener instead.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Let PCA's Make A Living

A note from a friend makes a great argument for paying Personal Care Attendants what they're worth.


A). Start paying PCA's at least $13.00 per hour. That's the going rate nursing homes and HHA's are paying PCA's. Consumers must compete, too.

B). Finding people to work as a PCA is NOT the overriding issue. Folks will be knocking at the door to work as a PCA if they are paid they're WORTH! Let's bring PCA pay into the 21st century, not the 20th century. Starting at $13.00 in today's economy will not break the bank. And a worthy, substantial wage increase is long overdue.

C). The Commonwealth's PCA Program is one of the very the best public policy programs historically. The PCA Program reaches over 12,000 consumers. It employs thousands of individuals. The return on revenues are significant to every community in the Commonwealth. And the PCA Program has a 35-year well-documented track record of success for the consumers it serves; PCA's who supplement and/or rely upon that job exclusively; and cost efficiency to the Commonwealth. Enhancing the PCA Program must occur as the administrators and policymakers at EOHHS continue to create, plan, and implement still more community-based supports and services. The PCA Program is a life-affirming service.

Crash victim's mental tennis - 09 Sep 2006 - World News

Frightening implications: " A 23-year-old woman left in a vegetative state after suffering traumatic brain damage in a road accident more than a year ago is capable of understanding and responding to certain commands, scientists claimed yesterday.

Despite being unable to move or speak, the woman, who has not been named, responded to sentences spoken to her and played an imaginary game of tennis in her head, recorded by a brain scanner, in response to a request from the researchers."
Crash victim's mental tennis - 09 Sep 2006 - World News

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project

See a slice of post Katrina life in New Orleans through the eyes of some of its youngest citizens. See if you can read that kids t-shirt too. :)

Wal-Mart, CVS Alarm Doctors as Retailers Push Clinics (Update2)

From Exclusive:
"To capture walk-in patients who will buy drugs and other merchandise, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Duane Reade Holdings Inc., CVS Corp. and Walgreen Co. are opening clinics mostly run by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who treat everyday ailments and write prescriptions. Executives say at least 5,000 U.S. outlets will open in the next few years, even as doctor groups express concern over the quality of patient care."

Intelligence Didn't Back Bush Iraq Stand, Reports Say Worldwide

Intelligence Didn't Back Bush Iraq Stand, Reports Say (Update1)

By William Roberts and James Rowley

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Bush administration claims justifying the war against Iraq were based on fragmented, conflicting, and at times unreliable intelligence, according to two reports released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Administration statements that Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden and was helping al-Qaeda obtain chemical and biological weapons proved wrong and misleading and weren't based on solid intelligence in its possession, the declassified Senate reports said.

Contrary to assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials, Hussein didn't have links to al-Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorist plot, the reports said.

``Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime,'' one of the reports said. Hussein refused all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support, said the reports.

While Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress told U.S. officials that Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, that information later proved inaccurate, according to the committee reports.

U.S. intelligence agencies overestimated Saddam Hussein's ability and desire to obtain weapons material while United Nations sanctions were in place, the reports said. Further, the Senate committee determined that Hussein sought weapons of mass destruction as deterrents against Israel and Iran, not for use against the U.S.

Hussein and al-Qaeda

Allegations that Hussein provided chemical and biological weapons training to al-Qaeda operatives also turned out to be false, the reports said. The Defense Intelligence Agency said in 2002 that it was unlikely Iraq gave Bin Laden any useful weapons assistance.

The Senate reports cite inconsistencies and contradictions overlooked by intelligence agencies as they produced intelligence briefings for senior policy makers.

U.S. analysts had ``little specific intelligence reporting'' about Hussein's willingness to ally himself with al-Qaeda, the reports said. The committee quoted a 2002 Central Intelligence Agency report that said ``our assessment of al-Qaeda's ties to Iraq rests on a body of fragmented, conflicting reporting from sources of varying reliability.''

On two occasions, Hussein rebuffed al-Qaeda emissaries seeking to establish a relationship with his regime, information not reported to U.S. intelligence agencies before the war, the reports said.

While Bin Laden's al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq in 2002, he was traveling under cover and eluded efforts by Hussein to capture him, the reports said.

Threat to Hussein

Al-Qaeda operative Abu Hafs al-Mauritani went to Iraq twice -- in 1998 and 2002 -- to meet with Hussein but was rebuffed, according to the reports. Hussein said al-Mauritani should leave the country because he may ``cause a problem'' for the regime.

Further, Iraqi intelligence agents infiltrated Ansar al- Islam, a radical Kurdish group hosting al-Qaeda fighters, because Hussein saw them as a threat and thought the U.S. would use their presence to suggest a link between the Iraqis and the terrorists, the reports said.

Democrats said the reports show that statements by Bush administration officials before the Iraq war began in 2003 weren't supported by intelligence known at the time they spoke.

Republicans Counter

Republicans countered that Democrats were swayed by the same bad intelligence as President George W. Bush and supported the president's decision to go to war with Iraq. Still, seven of eight Republicans on the panel, including Chairman Pat Roberts, voted to approve the conclusions about pre-war intelligence.

Bush has consistently linked Iraq, where more than 2,600 U.S. military personnel have died and the U.S. is mired in a violent conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, to the larger war on terror and fundamentalist Islamic militants such as al-Qaeda.

Bush displayed ``gross negligence'' by citing faulty intelligence in speeches and statements to connect Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda, said Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the intelligence panel.

When George Tenet, then-director of the CIA, told Bush that the intelligence case showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a ``slam dunk,'' it was ``a corruption of the intelligence process,'' said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat.

Snow Comments

Tenet later complied with administration demands that the CIA gloss over inconsistencies between intelligence data and Bush's assertions and should be held accountable, Levin said. The report quoted committee testimony this year by Tenet, who acknowledged ``it was the wrong thing to do.''

White House spokesman Tony Snow said the White House hadn't seen the two Senate reports and wasn't briefed on it.

``Based on the characterizations we've seen, it's nothing new,'' he told reporters at the daily White House briefing. ``So, it's, again, kind of re-litigating things that happened three years ago.''

``It's worth noting,'' Snow added, ``that in 2002 and 2003 members of both parties got a good look at the intelligence we had, and they came to the very same conclusions.''

Committee chairman Roberts said Democrats were misusing the reports ``by careful cherry-picking through the intelligence and the facts in a political attempt to rewrite history.'' The information available before the war was used by the administration and Congress, Democrats included, to justify going into Iraq, he said.

Partisan Battles

The Senate reports, which were subject to partisan battles behind closed doors, are the result of two and half years of investigative review by the intelligence panel's staff. Democrats last year forced a closed session of the Senate to protest the committee's delays in releasing the reports.

Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine joined with intelligence committee Democrats in concluding that Chalabi actively sought to mislead the Bush administration to overthrow Saddam. Roberts said Chalabi's information played a minimal role.

To contact the reporters on this story: William Roberts in Washington

Schwarzenegger Gaff Akin To Reggie White Speech

"...Schwarzenegger apologized Friday for saying during a closed-door meeting that Cubans and Puerto Ricans are naturally feisty and temperamental because of their combination of "black blood" and "Latino blood.""

This reminds me of football player Reggie White and his remarks about race and religion. What a bunch of garbage that was.

And both of those remind me of a guy I used to know who told me more than once that Irish women, (American Irish), always married Italian guys because they were sexually more exciting and dynamic than their drunken and inhibited Irish male counterparts. Yeah right, G.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Full Coverage on Yahoo! News

Thursday, September 07, 2006

BUBBA GOES BALLISTIC ON ABC ABOUT ITS DAMNING 9/11 MOVIE By IAN BISHOP Post Correspondent - New York Post Online Edition: News

BUBBA GOES BALLISTIC ON ABC ABOUT ITS DAMNING 9/11 MOVIE By IAN BISHOP Post Correspondent - New York Post Online Edition: News: "Based on the 9/11 commission's report, the miniseries is also being provided to high schools as a teaching aid - although ABC admits key scenes are dramatizations."

Seems like it would be better if high school officials had a chance to view and discuss this TV Movie before accepting it for use as a teaching aid.

Snake On A Road

Having consumed an entire ewe,
some belching is called for.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Verizon Did The Right Thing

Although the news came out last week, I think, the confirming e-mail came today. Verizon will not have their much discussed and highly questionable surcharge.

Their message:
Dear Valued Verizon Online Customer,

Effective immediately, Verizon Online is dropping its previously announced plans to impose a DSL Supplier Surcharge. We are eliminating this surcharge in response to customer concerns. The supplier surcharge has not been included in your bill.

Thank you for choosing high speed Verizon Online DSL. We appreciate and value your business. And we're sorry we tried to pull a fast one on you.


Verizon Online
Broadband Customer Care Team

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wanna know exactly why AOL sucks?

According to a report put out by the Stop Badware Coalition, "it installs additional software without telling the user, it forces the user to take certain actions, it adds various components to Internet Explorer and the taskbar without disclosure, it may automatically update without the user's consent, and it fails to uninstall completely.'"

Stop Badware Coalition

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Help Wanted

Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities Intern

The Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities is a communications resource for people who have low vision or blindness, hearing loss or deafness, or cognitive, speech or mobility impairments. We provide quality customer service through specially trained representatives, an equipment distribution program and our quarterly Forward Access newsletter.

We are currently seeking two college students for two 15 hour per week paid internship positions to assist with:

*Data input and report creation
*Outreach presentations and exhibits
*Sales tracking spreadsheets
*Various offices duties including filing and collating training materials
*Compiling survey results
*Organizing mass mailings
*Sales Contests
*Other duties as assigned by Call Center Manager


*Must be full-time college student
*Must have own transportation to Marlboro office location
*Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Products
*Experience with disability community a plus

Please send resumes to by September 15, 2006 :

Jan deBruyn
Verizon College Relations and Recruitment
Account Manager
40 Sylvan Road
Waltham, MA 02451

781.466.2125 (ph)
781.466.2164 (fax)
eMail Janice M. DeBruyn

Friday, September 01, 2006

Altman on the Linden & Second Life economy

"In my view, Linden Lab’s current in-world economic policies are CRYING OUT, to be circumvented ENTIRELY, by a new monetary system that is created and managed by residents, and COMPLETELY out of reach to Linden Lab.

We love Second Life, and we are more than happy to pay you tier for our land. However, WE build the in-world economy, and the value of that economy. You have NO RIGHT to steal the value of our in-world economic output to line your own pockets with that value.

Linden Lab is crossing lines by creating and selling new money on the currency market. It would be wise to think very carefully about where that road will have to end."
Official Linden Blog � Blog Archive � Linden Dollar Economy Update #1