Monday, January 30, 2006

Getting the Facts about the 12th Man

I'm not big into sports, as my friends can attest. But with the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl this Sunday I've recently become more interested. It's a civic pride thing. This afternoon I learned that the Seahawks are being sued by Texas A&M for use of the trademarked phrase "12th Man" to honor the fans supporting the 11 men on the field. Wow... sports and law combined!

First, here's some fabulous local reporting on the subject from the Seattle Times. My favorite part is where the Seattle University Law Professor explains that a temporary restrating order is a "a type of emergency motion." Profound insight from our fair city's lesser law school.

I did a little research myself to see if I could predict any outcome. Texas A&M has two trademarks for 12th Man. You can see them for yourself here and here. The first one was filed in 1990 and protects merchandise (bumper stickers, novelty buttons... towels) while the second, filed in 1994, protects "entertainment services, namely organizing and conducting intercollegiate sporting events." The registration claims first use in commerce in 1922. A court in this situation will compare these dates against the Seahawks first claimed use in 1984 when they retired the jersey number as a dedication to the fans.

So, how is the case going to turn out you ask? Well, my first guess is not well for A&M. I say that because, in the words of the Seattle Times, they filed their case "in the 85th District Court of Brazos County, Texas, where Texas A&M is located." Trademark law is predominately a federal issue. Where it is a state issue it has limited protection. Texas law cannot bind the actions of our Washington State based boys in blue (err... steel gray?). Why file in a state court then? Because you are praying for state prejudices to factor in your favor. Of course, that's the very reason why the Federal removal statute exists. Not only will the Hawks be able to move into a federal court, they may be able to move to a Seattle court since that's where the supposed infringement is occurring.

Procedural wrangling aside, Texas A&M has a tough row to hoe. Not only has the Hawk's use been since before the registration, A&M hasn't attempted to enforce it's trademark until the Hawks got good in the past few seasons. It's decision to go to court now, the eve of The Big Game™ is even more telling. These factors are called bad facts in the legal world and lead to dismissed cases. Then you've got the registration itself, which seems to limit itself to collegiate football. Assuming the mark is valid (which is questionable), and they survive summary judgment for the above listed reasons, it will boil down to a likelihood of confusion test. Will the average consumer confuse Texas A&M with the Seattle Seahawks? Stay tuned to see what your federal judiciary has to say...

Employment Possibilities

A potential source of gainful employment just posted the description and call for resumes to a job I knew was coming... but took nearly three months to get here. Behold, Google Policy Counsel. Yeah, that's right... Google... Policy... Counsel.

I really couldn't be more excited. Best yet, the application requires your resume be submitted either in ascii or html format. I bet most people qualified for this job don't even know what ascii is, and at best know how to "Save as..." their DOC formated resume into a webpage. I'm going to totally blow them away with my hand crafted HTML. Anyone want to suggest clever comments for me to include in comment form within the HTML?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

This is Not Okay... Probably

Any congressional staffers out there reading this post, you need to read this article and then ask yourself a simple question. Is this something I would do?

I think it's a tough question. Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia and anyone is free to edit the entries. If I worked for a person who had sufficient fame to actually be listed in Wikipedia, then I would argueably be an expert on that individual. I work for them, know them, seen how they behave... I would be an expert. Seems I would be eminently qualified to revise those posts. But it's not just that simple... these are public officials and the first amendment protects the general citizenry to comment on those officials. If staffers can just go in there and delete comments about their boss... well... that's problematic.

Oh, but it's even more complicated than that! Because it's not like Wikipedia is a closed site and Congress is using coercive powers to edit the comments... they're just using the open system on which Wikipedia prides itself.

So the situation is tough. I don't think there is an obvious answer. That being said, Wikipedia does have a rule that says you are not allowed to edit posts about yourself. Maybe extending that rule to people who have working relationships would resolve the issue. But then, what about that stuff I said at the top.

The internet... infinite possibilities... infinite problems in implementation.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Proud Day...

to be a citizen of Washington State. I'm not going to go into all the details, but let's just say the State Senate final made the right decision. You can read all about it over at the Coffeehouse Soapbox (the definitive source on such issues).

Answering the Wrong Question

Last year the UWSL ACS chapter organized a practice oral argument for Gilmore v. Gonzales, a case that, at the time I heard it mooted, was about the publication of a government security order involving airplanes and photo ID. Seems that John Gilmore, early member of Sun Microsystems and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was trying to board an airplane in 2002 when the airline requested to see his photo ID. He refused on the grounds that he should be able to get on the plane without showing any identification, to which the airline responded that it was government policy. When he asked to see the policy the airline said it could not be publicly published... John Gilmore did not get on the plane that day, or any day since.

Instead, he went to federal court. His primary motivation was his belief in a Constitutional right to get on an airplane without having to produce identification... but as made clear during the mock oral arguments and in conversation with the lawyers afterwards, the only true legal hook was requesting the regulation be published. The theory being that citizens cannot engage in open discussion of the laws and policies of their nation if they can't at least read the policies. When I asked the lawyers "would a win on the publishing and a loss on the larger ID issue be a win overall?" they quickly responded... "not for the client."

Looks like Mr. Gilmore lost. But that's not what is upsetting to me. What is upsetting is that neither the referenced article nor anything else I've found gets to the question of publication. You know... the one legal issue that they actually had a good case to argue. Nothing. Which concerns me... I don't personally have an issue with having to produce ID to fly. But it scares the hoo-hah out of me that the government can create and enforce policy against its citizens without any written publication. It's an outrageous practice that really strikes at the heart of representative democracy. So, I ask, why doesn't the article address that question?! Do I really have to go track down the opinion to get the full picture? It's no wonder most American's distrust the legal system. With incomplete reporting like this I wonder how anyone does.


Found this CNN article about the court ruling that puts a bit more meat on the bone, as it where. The gist, for those to lazy to read, is that in addition to losing the fundamental right to travel argument, Gilmore lost the publication argument too. Here are some choice quotes from the article on the issue.

On judicial review of the government policy.
After reviewing the government's identification policy in private, a unanimous three-judge panel said the policy was not overly intrusive. The review was done in private for security reasons.

Gilmore's counsel saying something painfully obvious.
He said government regulations should be disclosed in writing to the public. While millions of passengers willingly show their IDs at airports, Simpich said there is no way to know whether the regulations call for impermissible searches because the government, and the court, won't make them public.

The Court saying that big signs dictating outcomes can supplant the actual words of the policy.
The court rejected the argument, saying airport signs and airline workers give adequate notice that an ID is required.

And, of course, the obligatory quote from the Government that if everyone would just calm down we'd all be safer.
Justice Department lawyer Joshua Waldman argued that demanding identification "promotes the right to travel by protecting everyone's safety."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Peaceful Calm

First, an admission... it's 1:13 in the morning (check the timestamp) and I should be in bed. Especially when you consider that I skipped school today to try and recover from a rather debilitating cold.

Okay, that out of the way, I want to share with you all the most wonderful thing that happened to me today. My laptop survived a complete fscking (yes, work-safe... like you have to ask). It was truly glorious. I had been having problems for the past several weeks, and after a recent fscking that really screwed everything up I was hesitant to go jumping into the lion's mouth a second time.

Well, apparently Debian made the decision for me, because the new version of fsck makes you run fsck if the preliminary check fails... no more suggesting you run fsck. So I did, and everything is better. Passed with flying colors.

I love linux.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Thoughts on the Project

The Washington Post is carrying an op-ed today taking aim at Condi Rice's slow transformation from a realist to a, ostensibly, a neo-conservative. The particulars of the opinion are not the subject of this post (though certainly interesting). What I found insightful is this comment from Mr. Fukuyama, author of the The End of History.

Here's what the op-ed had to say about him
Fukuyama certainly believes in spreading U.S. values, but he has emerged as a critic of the Iraq war because he believes its ambitions were unrealizable. The United States lacks the instruments to transform other societies, Fukuyama argues; to build nations you must first build institutions, and nobody knows how to do that.
I find the last bit to be of most interest. Nobody knows how to build institutions.

I think that is right on the money. As I read the papers and interact with some of the brightest minds of my generation, I have been slowly convinced that we could not setup something as enduring as the United States government in today's environment. Oh, sure, we could probably draft something akin to the Constitution today, complete with checks and balances, separation of powers, federalism, the whole bit. But I think we lack the appropriate world perspective to put those principles into practice.

In America it is easy to just ride the coattails of the former generation; our institutions are already built, we just have to make sure they don't fall down. Yet, they seem to be falling down all around us. Today a good friend of mine posted the beginnings of a brief on how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is undermining the Full Faith & Credit Clause, a bedrock principles of the U.S. Constitution. In the United States Senate the amendment to exempt flag burning from the 1st Amendment failed by ONE vote. If Sen. Cantwell loses this year, you can expect a new vote next year and a hasty ratification process across the states.

What about aristocracy? The States have often stood against such transfers of wealth, believing it creates inefficient societies and concentrates too much wealth. But come 2009 the Estate Tax, our government's best tool against formation of perpetual aristocracy, will be completely repealed.

So I ask myself, why. At first glance it appears as though special interest groups are prepared to put their interests above the collective interests. But that can't be the only factor. Such behavior has always existed. Which leaves me with only one other idea... that electoral politics has changed in such a way that winning is more important than governing. Whatever promise, whatever resolution, whatever official act must be done to ensure reelection takes precedence over proper governance. Want to beat the evil liberals? Secure votes by tearing down institutions long since held as sacrosanct in this country (like Social Security, the Estate Tax, and Freedom of Expression) and you'll get votes. Better yet, allow massive corruption and interminably intertwined lobbying connections into your own caucus to ensure party members follow the line.

The end times may not yet be upon us, but when they are, I'm fairly certain that the slide into final dissent will look very similar to our current situation.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dissecting GPLv3: Part I

The Free Software Foundation (I've linked to them from my side bar since this blog's inception) has finally released it's draft copy of the GNU General Public License Version 3. The FOSS community has been using GPLv2 since June of 1991. But as the software world has changed the critics of v2 became louder and louder, calling for a new license to meet today's technical and legal reality. Over the next month I plan on posting a series of comments on various new (or substantially altered) sections of v3.

Today I want to discuss the meaning and ramifications of Section 3 "Digital Restrictions Management." First, not the clever turn of acronyms here. DRM usually means "Digital Rights Management" but since the FSF is no friend of that kind of technology, they've switch Rights with Restrictions which I'll remind all you non-legal folks are necessary opposites. Anytime someone has a right, everyone else has an equal and opposite restriction. My right to speak means everyone else has a restriction on their ability to not have me speak. So, tip-of-the-hate to FSF for playing word games... now on to the meat of the section.

It breaks down into three sections which I'll will discuss in order.
As a free software license, this License intrinsically disfavors technical attempts to restrict users' freedom to copy, modify, and share copyrighted works. Each of its provisions shall be interpreted in light of this specific declaration of the licensor's intent.
This language has a curious legal impact that really won't be fully understood until the GPLv3 is litigated. Essentially, anytime there is ambiguity in language the parties can refer to this language for assistance in determining meaning. But it's also somewhat precatory in nature because the intent stuff only comes into play when there is honest ambiguity. If the license is clear, a party cannot come back in and say that the grant in question does not conform with this intent section. Tough luck. Clear grants cannot be overridden by even the clearest of intents. If the intent was so strong, they should have built it into the grants themselves.

The next section is part of the same paragraph as the first section. It reads.
Regardless of any other provision of this License, no permission is given to distribute covered works that illegally invade users' privacy, nor for modes of distribution that deny users that run covered works the full exercise of the legal rights granted by this License.
So, the first bit about denying permission to illegally invade users' privacy is interesting. It is tying rights granted by the license to the particular jurisdiction in which it is being used. So, permission is not granted if the software is a keylogger and used in a jurisdiction where such things are illegal... but just fine in a different jurisdiction. Strange. Doubly strange because what is, and is not, illegal is a decision for governments, groups that FSF has traditional spurned. It also creates great potential for legal confusion, because what makes something an illegal invasion of privacy as opposed to an illegal invasion of trust (a.k.a a fraud claim). Add in legal complexity of common law and you just asking for trouble.

On a philosophical level, I think I disagree with this provision. If the invasion is illegal than the courts will take care of it. Otherwise, I personally subscribe to the theory that use of technology should not be limited by its creators. The user should be the one who decides. BitTorrent is a great example here. BitTorrent can, and is, used for massive copyright violations. Should the developers prohibit such use in the license? No. The user should be the one who decide what activities they chose to engage in. By inserting this privacy language into the GPL, the FSF is saying that it will take the moral burden of protecting privacy, but leaves all other illegal activities in the hands of the users. The positions are inconsistent and blow holes in the argument that developers should not be liable for the illegal acts committed by their users.

The last section I agree with, but it took some careful reading. Here's the language.
No covered work constitutes part of an effective technological protection measure: that is to say, distribution of a covered work as part of a system to generate or access certain data constitutes general permission at least for development, distribution and use, under this License, of other software capable of accessing the same data.
Let's break this down into it's parts. The first sentence is in reference to the DMCA and we'll get to that in a moment, so put that aside and focus on everything after the colon. If I "distribute a covered work" (which means giving someone else a GPLed program) and that work is "part of a a system to generate or access certain data" (meaning the work controls access to copyrighted work, like how iTunes allows you access the iTunes Music Store) then I have given "general permission" to "develop, distribute, and use... other software capable of accessing the same data" (so, if iTunes was license under the GPL, then I would be allowed to develop software that could also access the iTunes Music Store).

Thought of it another context, WestLaw is a sophisticated legal database protected by technical measures. Because it's a database of essentially public domain documents, there is little (possible no) copyright protection. So, if WestLaw uses GPLed software in its access software, then other GPL developers can write software to access the WestLaw database and do so without fear of reprisal.

Such protection is necessary because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which makes it against the law to circumvent a "Technical Measure." This clause of the GPL waives a copyright holders DMCA rights to protect their TMs if they chose to use GPLed software. It's a fair trade in my mind. No one is required to use FOSS software, but if you are, then your contributions back to the system need to be usable by others. WestLaw might contribute all sorts of code, but if it remains illegal to use that code to access its databases, then its useful contribution is zero.

Expect more about the GPLv3 as the weeks go on... some earlier sections are still too confusing, and I'm not done reading the whole thing, so there should be lots to talk about.

Friday, January 20, 2006

State Pride

As many people know, I collect State Quarters. I started way back in '99 when the whole project started using this very nifty book my sister got me for Christmas. Actually, my whole family collects the State Quarters, but I'm the only one who does so in a manner most consistent with fanaticism.

Anyway... for those unfamiliar with the State Quarter program, the U.S. Mint releases five new quarters every year, thus completing the 50 state program over a period of 10 years. States are released in the order in which they were admitted to the Union. For the past 8 years we've been delighted by the likes of Florida, Georgia, and yes... Rhode Island. As we enter into the last three years of the program those late comer states are finally getting to strut their stuff. Which means it's time for Washington State to swing into action with an exciting quarter design of it's own.

Before I show you the three finalists, let me say that I had a bet with my friends about our fair state's design. I suspected (deep in my soul) that the Committee would be unable to reconcile their East/West differences... giving us a quarter that proudly displayed both the Seattle Space Needle and the Washington Apple. I was not excited about that prospected. Florida's quarter is easily the worst because it makes evident that they couldn't agree on what best represents their state. Now, I did make a second prediction... if they were able to agree on a single symbol the symbol would be Mt. Rainier. Its visible from both regions, so it struck me as the obvious compromise choice.

All that being said, here are the three finalists as reported by the Seattle Times.

A salmon, Mount Rainier and an apple within an outline of the state

A salmon breaching the water with Mount Rainier as a backdrop

A Northwest Native-American orca

All in all, I'm impressed. Mt. Rainer, so I'm right on that count, but I didn't think about salmon. Very clever Washington State Quarter Advisory Commission. My personal vote is for option #3. Although I like the picturesque nature of the Mt. Rainier options, I think the Native-American motif will set our quarter apart from the rest of the state quarters. I'm not quite sure why it's an orca though?! Wouldn't a salmon have been better? Given that, my guess is the State will settle on option #2... unless, of course, those apple lovers come out in force.

Apples... if apples get to be on the quarter, where is my Space Needle!?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Succesful Week

It's funny how a week can turn around so quickly. Anyone reading this past week's post would think I was on my way to completing a thoroughly awful week. But fate has conspired to turn that all around. Some of it's personal, and not befitting of my resolution to keep deeply person items off this page... but other items are worth shouting from the rooftops.

First, GPSS gave me the go ahead to negotiate with the ASUW to purchase webhosting capacity. This is a great step towards better sharing of resources between the two student governments. GPSS benefits because we get high level technology without having to do the hiring or pay for time and energy we don't really need. ASUW benefits because now they have their big brother looking over their shoulder to make sure things are run right. That may sound strange... but interdependency is a great way to ensure stability. If I can come up with an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both GPSS and ASUW then I hope to take the model and apply it to SAF.

Speaking of SAF, this Friday the Committee approved for comment my proposed guidelines. These guidelines will be distributed far and wide over the next couple of weeks so that interested parties can submit comment for review. The Acting Vice President has suggested that if all goes according to plan we can get the new guidelines approved by the Regents at their March meeting. This has been an amazing process and really serves as a crowning achievement for my time in student government... right up there with the Senate Reform process from a few years ago.

Add to all of that my recent gush of civic pride stemming from the Seahawks' thundering defeat of the Washington Redskins on Saturday and you've got a great week, even with all that bad stuff from Tuesday and Wednesday.

And, you know, even if all that stuff had gone south... I'd still be pretty happy. Good stuff is going on, and I really couldn't be more excited where it's going to take me next.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Today the GPSS Senate rejected my recommendation to keep the STF at $40 in one of the closer votes of the year. I have a number of procedural quibbles with how this all went down, but that's my own fault for failing to take the lay of the land before I made my strategic decisions. I should have anticipated poor procedure.

What I did not anticipate is the rejection of one of my central projects. I consider the work I do with the S&A Fee Committee to be some of the most important work I do. It's part of changing the culture of student fees. The student government has been fighting against arbitrary and capricious fees since as long as I can remember, and I've been proud to take that fight to the source. But with this vote on STF students rejected the opportunity to sustain the project. The culture of student fees to to remain as a piggy bank for whomever asks loudest.

Committees must be judge with suspicion... they have certain motivies that are not always consistent with the desires and priorities of the larger group. Failure to recognize that, failure to hold those committees accountable, is what leads to poor policy making.

The worst part of it all... I wondering if I have been wasting the past three years with this SAF stuff? If it's true that people get the government they deserve, maybe I should have just let them all wallow in their own short sightedness.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Harsh Words about the Next Generation

This evening I was treated in a way I felt completely inappropriate given my history and standing in the student government. I haven't been exposed to such obvious and calculated guile in some time. Honestly, the last time I can think of this sort of behavior was before we took back the student government for students of vision and responsibility (both are requisite for good leadership). Allow me to explain what I'm talking about and you can be the judge.

For whatever reason, the rules of the Student Technology Fee Committee (STFC) require any fee increase to be approved by the student governments. For reasons that are quite irrelevant to this discussion, I oppose a fee increase proposed by the STFC. The proposal must be approved by the GPSS and the ASUW. I am confident in my ability to defeat the proposal at the GPSS meeting tomorrow, but as a sign of professional courtesy I took my concerns to the ASUW Senate as well. In fact, I did one better than that... I went to the committee responsible for the resolution.

Now, in general, people like me (good orators) don't go to committee. The more effective route is to keep your issue lurking until the floor debate and then raise it just before final passage... essentially giving the committee of jurisdiction the run around. I chose, stupidly it would appear, to go to the committee and raise my concerns, which I did last week. I did so with such effectiveness that the committee chair, who was hostile to me the moment I sat down at his committee, felt it prudent to table the resolution a week to allow the chair of STFC to come before the committee and defend the fee increase. Fine, I thought, he'll come, we'll battle it out at the committee, and things will be settled. Well, no.

Tonight the STFC chair did come to the committee, he did speak, and then the committee chair asked if we had any questions. I did not have questions, I had responses. Once it was determine that no questions were forthcoming and that people wanted to actually talk about the resolution, the chair said we didn't have any more time and a decision had to be made. When asked if the committee could table the resolution again he lied, saying that if we didn't make a decision tonight the resolution would be tabled indefinitely (the rule allows Steering to grant an extension). A vote was then taken to report out favorably, 6 to 5.

To make it perfectly clear, I was never given a chance to respond to the comments of the STFC chair. As far as I know he was never briefed as to my concerns. In general, the charge of the committee to explore and evaluate resolutions with expertice was completely subverted. What we have is a stupid 6 to 5 decision made without relevant consideration for the implications of such a decision.

It was stupid and an insulting slap in the face after I tried to respect the committee process. ASUW readers, take note, I intend to make that clear to the Senate next week.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Agreeing with Speaker Gingrich

The following quote appears in today's Washington Post
The American people should be able to come in the front door of Congress, not the basement.
These simple words were uttered by none other than former Speaker New Gingrich, architect of the Republic Revolution in 1994. Not exactly my hero, but on this point we agree.

The topic is the illconceived Capitol Visitor Center. I suggest reading the linked article, as it does a good job describing the monstrosity that has consumed the Capitol Building since before I served there as an intern in 2002. The idea is to create a center where visitors can congregate before taking their managed tours of the Capitol. What this means to those citizens who travel up to 3000 miles for the opportunity is exactly what Newt said... no awe inspiring steps and columns for you Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer. That's all fenced off and guarded. Entrance into the Capitol is currently only possible through side tunnels from the Senate and House Office buildings. Once the center is opened you'll be able to enter from yet another exciting underground entrance.

I understand closing off the White House. I'm not a big fan, but it makes sense. The Executive is a single individual, and protection remains a top priority. Such is not the case with the legislature. It is the people's branch and openness should be its rallying cry. For me the visitors center represents a loss of open government; it represents closing down our sacred institutions because of unsubstantiated fears of terrorism. It replaces reasonable and noninvasive security measures with obstructive new way of life.

I never got a chance to assend those steps up to the Capitol (although I was escorted down them when I was ejected from the Capitol on my first week interning). No citizen will ever get the chance, and it's sad.

Friday, January 06, 2006

10 Reasons to Oppose Same Sex Marriage (not really)

I discovered this list on a website I frequent. It's worth sharing far and wide.
  1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
  2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
  3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
  4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
  5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
  6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
  7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
  8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
  9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
  10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Is This an Actual Rationale?

Headline, Washington, D.C.
Vice President Cheney said yesterday that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks might have been prevented if the Bush administration had had the power to secretly monitor conversations involving two of the hijackers without court orders.
That's a direct quote from this Washington Post article. Does anyone else find this utterly shocking?

When we allow government to explain questionable policies by referring to horrors of the past we walk a very dangerous line. But, if we allow the government to justify with unfounded claims that those horrors could have been prevented, we cross that line and the seven lines immediately thereafter. If this really works as a justification, then I suggest we lock up all Japanese descendants... because that could have prevented the attack on Pearl Harbor. Or, maybe, let's institute a policy requiring everyone to submit a mandatory blood scan everytime they want to leave their home... it might prevent illicit drug us and give our lagging war of drugs a much needed boost. While we're at it, I think chaining everyone to the floor might be the most effective way to possibly win the war on terrorism.

The article in the Post was highly critical of the Vice President's justification, which is a good sign. I hope to see some more administration bashing in the next couple of days for such an outrageous, ridiculous, and dangerous suggestion.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Results are In

Last Christmas my mother got me a Simpson's Trivia Tearoff Calendar. Let it be understood, both far and wide, that this trivia calendar was not for the faint of heart. A simple casual observer would have gotten very few of these questions. Want an example?
In "The PTA Disbands" (2F19) what other union joins the teachers' strike as a sign of sympathy?
  1. Piano Tuners
  2. Meat Pounders
  3. Tire Retreaders
  4. Unemployed Actors
If you said a then you might have a calling as a professional Simpson's trivia buff (for the record, I got that one right).

After 313 questions (only one question per weekend) I have a final score: 181 correct, 132 incorrect. That's a 57.8% success rate. Which is not all that spectacular, but I'm still pretty proud. For a while I was averaging two of every three questions... then came the bad times. I may have to study more next time.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Years!

And goodbye to 2005. It was, all told, a good year. Certainly had its share of downs... but like the phoenix--or the Fenix Underground--we rise from the ashes to approach a new world and soar to even greater heights. Saying goodbye to 2005 means saying goodbye to some amazing things, but it's probably much healthier that way. There are some good things on the horizon... school is finally coming to a well deserved end, my mothers financial woes are finally over thanks to an inheritance to be paid out after my grandmother's passing, Brett & Timber are getting married, plans to go to Vegas, and of course, the big move to Washington.

There are also the little things. Like improvements in relations with Sara and Jill... and even a possible new special someone (times gonna tell on that one though). Or the mobility of my flexcar... even my new shoes from Nordstrom's (After-Christmas Sale man, it's good stuff) are reason to celebrate. They lasted a full three hours dancing, plus a ton of walking and standing and my feet feel great.

As I stood in the dance hall, listening to a dance version of Don't Cha, celebrating both the actual new years and the one announced by the DJ a full three minutes later I couldn't help but think... next year's gonna be alright.