The AP reports that Ohio has a genuine case of voter registration fraud. Personally I'm not certain whether this guy was a bigger moron for registering and voting in Ohio or for calling the board of elections to tell them not count his vote the following week. At least the second of these acts was noble in a way.
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I saw and heard some analysis of the current dustup between the Gaza Strip and Israel on MSNBC and NPR this morning. It's a bad deal all around. The interesting thing that folks on the Gaza side of the equation brought up on both MSNBC and NPR was that (1) strictly speaking it isn't Hamas doing the rocketing but private citizens and (2) Israel violated the cease-fire two months before it expired. The interesting thing to me is that the folks interviewing the Gazans just sort of ignored that presentation of the facts instead of digging deeper.
The general media also tends to ignore that Hamas was elected fair and square. It is true that they seized control of Gaza through force of arms but that is because they were prevented from taking control of the government to which they were elected. The anti-democratic actions of Fatah to unseat Hamas were generally supported by the international community. So much for the triumph of democracy.
On the one hand, it's clear that an opportunity to bring Hamas into a dialog was lost. On the other hand, it's clear that Hamas is bunch of violent asshats who, while perhaps not as corrupt as Fatah, can't even control their own supporters, can't police the territory they control and apparently have no desire to move the peace process forward.
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The holiday travels went well. The eve of the 23rd we drove through the mountains to the flatness of the midwest. Once square into flatlandia, we came across freezing rain for two hundred miles or so. It sucked. But, taking it slow and easy, we arrived safely at the hotel 2 hours later than we would have if the weather had continued to be clear.
The hotel was fun. Being a new, swanky hotel that just opened in an economically depressed region of an economically depressed state in a country suffering a recession, there were only a few rooms rented out. Christmas Eve, we were all alone save for the desk clerk. So it was a very nice present for our family. All my aunts and uncles (all 7 of them) pooled money together to rent the room for us. They didn't realize they were renting not just a room but the whole hotel.
Christmas Eve was quite nice. I had some good conversations. I think the presents we brought were well received. We had 4 generations present. The most humorous bit of the night is that my grandmother slipped me some money and told me to stop someplace nice to eat on our trip. `Not McDonald's,' she sternly warned, `but someplace nice!' Of course, the amount of money she slipped me would barely feed a family of four at McDonald's.
Christmas Day, we drove up to Toledo to visit with my wife's family. It was also a nice visit. I had some interesting, but odd, discussions with their next door neighbors. We played some board games. I won at Monopoly. My eldest daughter won at Life. My brother-in-law won at Pirates. I spent quite a bit of time reading the beginning of An Introduction to Phenomenology while my brother-in-law studied to be LEED certified as an architect. The wife and girls took off to the mall.
The drive back was amazing. Coming through the Alleghenies during sunset was astounding. The soft rays of the sun during the ``golden hour'' of dusk was met by the coming darkness of night with dancing streaks of pink and amber.
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I did some upgrading to my aging old PowerBook. I took out the half gig chip and dropped in a full gig. It doesn't run much faster but (knock on wood) seems much more stable. This somewhat confirms my impression that the Leo Tard is chock full of memory leaks. More memory, I conjecture, gives the machine a longer amount of time before it begins to crap all over itself.
I also took apart my old, dead iBook to get at the disk drive. Good grief, WTF was Apple thinking when they designed that? Even with a good set of instructions, removing the hard disk was like performing brain surgery. It's a good thing that the logic board was already fux0r3d. But at last, the old hard disk is now in an external enclosure and I can have a real back up of my files.
Healthwise, I gained five pounds over the drive to Ohio and back. I shed all of it back off by this morning. Today was the first day that I really got back into the swing of my daily routine. I ``ran'' while traveling but it was on treadmills which isn't quite the same. And none of the hotels had weight machines. (One did have free weights up to 50 pounds. The other hand no weights at all and a treadmill that operated at the same speed regardless of what speed setting it was placed on.) Then on Monday, Mother Nature brought her dear friend Captain Chucks to visit me for the day. Yesterday, I ran but slowly. Today, I'm back into the saddle.
My daughter asked me to read a story she's writing for school and give constructive criticism. The story is surprisingly compelling and deep for having been written by an eleven year old. Rather than critiquing plot structure and themes as I'm wont to do when reading my eldest daughter's writing, I found myself only making stylistic changes to grammar and paragraph breaks.
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