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11.30.2004
Here's a photo of the new vanity/sink:
vanity
Here's another photo. As you can see, the walls are now blue. I still have to get everything secured, caulked, etc.

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I can't say I know much about it myself, but per Amy's request I now have an Atom site feed. Have fun.

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Wow, this is big:
State regulators broke the law last year when they approved Wisconsin Energy Corp.'s $2.15 billion plan to build two coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek, a Dane County judge ruled Monday.

In a 54-page ruling, Circuit Judge David Flanagan found fault with the state Public Service Commission's approval of the plants in several areas, including the failure to consider alternatives to the Oak Creek site.

Flanagan's decision was a setback for Wisconsin Energy's plan to construct what would be the state's largest power-plant complex, and a significant victory for opponents of the coal plants, led by S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. of Racine. Unless Wisconsin Energy or the Public Service Commission persuades a judge to issue a temporary stay of the decision, Monday's ruling means construction cannot begin.
It will be interesting to see what happens now.

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What Julia Roberts named her twins twins - Hazel and Phinnaeus - seems to be a big news story. The Washington Post has an essay about how celebrities can't name their kids:
But that's probably the point. Celebrity baby names these days are very . . . different. We say this not to pass judgment, but to point out one more way celebrities are not like the rest of us.
...
Which raises the question about contemporary celebrity kid names: Isn't it hard enough being the child of a celebrity without having to endure additional commentary about one's unusual name? Hi, everyone, my name is . . . Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily?
The first thing I have to say to that is: "Who cares?" Why is it the concern of the public what stars name their children? Secondly, why are these names even an "issue"? Shouldn't being unique be a *plus*? It's as if there's something "wrong" with it. And finally, if the author's intent wasn't to pass judgment, I really doubt he would have written the piece in the first place.

This article is even worse:
Maybe because you're so aware of your own power as a symbol of glamor that even the most prosaic name is instantly transformed by the act of you using it.

Naming your kids Phinnaeus and Hazel encapsulates, at once, the arrogance and allure of being a movie star, sublime and ridiculous at once.

Don't try it at home.
I'm at a loss for words.

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I'm feeling a bit dumb right now. When/why did "Iranians" stop being pronounced "I-ray-nee-uns" and start being pronounced "Eh-rah-nee-uns"? For that matter, what's the proper pronunciation of "Iran"?

I suppose I should just accept that English doesn't make much sense.

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11.29.2004
Recap on a long Turkey Day weekend:

Thursday was pretty low key. We went on a drive up to Sauk City, and ended up getting all the way up to Necedah before turning around. And...that was about it.

Friday we stayed far away from any retail establishments. In the afternoon we had dinner with some friends and then later on we went bowling with some other friends. Both were most enjoyable.

Saturday consisted of some shopping (mostly just household stuff) and a visit to the new bar/pool hall, The Brass Ring. I thought it was pretty nice - nicer than the Green Room, albeit with fewer tables.

Sunday we finally started working on the bathroom. I took the old vanity out, along with all of the hardware on the walls, we did most of the rough painting, and then I put in a new vanity, sink and faucet. That went fine except for the drain - the new sink's drain is about 1/2" from where the old one was, and the piping already installed couldn't be adjusted. And I found this out at 10 PM. As much as I despise Wal-Mart, they were open and had a part that worked. I still have to secure things down, caulk around the edges, etc, but we do have a new, working sink and vanity. Finally! I think the floor is going to be next.

I suppose I should also mention there was a lot of sleeping going on. Which apparently screwed up my system, since I couldn't fall asleep last night, even after working much of the day, and now I'm about to fall asleep.

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11.25.2004
So I came up with a good one tonight...

It isn't that Republicans think "Democrats' shit stinks and ours doesn't", it's "Democrats' shit stinks and...what? No, we don't shit".

A good example would be from this past campaign. The Republican notion that the Democrats would just spend spend spend (with no way to pay for it all without raising taxes!), when in fact it's the Republicans that have been spending spending spending (without even trying to pay for any of it).

The Republican party - where orange is green (and don't let those pinko Democrats tell you otherwise)!

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11.21.2004
Anyone else remember Zayre's? I'm not sure what made me think of it. I don't even remember much, other than it was kind of dumpy.

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11.20.2004
There's a turkey on the grill. Let's see what happens in a few hours.

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11.14.2004
What my junk mailbox looks like:
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And I love random text like:
The officer on whose head the champagne choosing lay was forbidden the use of tobacco for six weeks previous to sampling. which enraged him. A lighted candle was placed behind a transparent piece of paper.
and:
academic beheststylus backplane amazoncapricorn cranny afieldbleach comeback ceruleanbrave cryptanalyze tammanywyoming charge vailexegete chapel roustaboutbryophyta anatole claustrophobiahuck niobe taxonomiccandelabra
I feel special.

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11.09.2004
Tom Tomorrow pointed out this article on his blog. One thing caught my eye:
The most notable phenomenon of the 2004 election was widespread liberal "hatred" of George Bush. Many wondered what sleeping volcano brought this lava to the surface. It came from the style of protest politics born in the 1960s. A famous liberal political phrase then was "the personal is political." Letting oneself become emotionally unhinged during a protest, as at Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley, became a litmus of authenticity. It became the norm, and it still is. But again, only for people who scream themselves blue.
Huh? What of all those "Flush the Johns" and "Not Fonda Hanoi Kerry" bumper stickers and t-shirts?

Be sure to check out the county-by-county maps as well.

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11.07.2004
As you can see, lots more changes. And I think I like what I see. The biggest thing now is none of the sub pages (music, blog archives, etc) are changed. I'll deal with those once I get this main design nailed down.

Don't laugh too much, but I'm still doing everything by hand (with a bit of help from BBEdit). I don't even think I have a WYSIWYG edited installed.

And either I'm getting better at HTML coding, or browsers have come a long way (or both). It seems like most of my time used to be spent tweaking little things here and there to make everything look the same in every browser. Well, right now everything looks the same in IE and Mozilla/Firefox, Mac and PC. Ahh.

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Maureen Dowd gets it right:
Jimmy Carter won the evangelical vote in 1976, and he won it in Ohio. He combined his evangelical appeal with a call for social justice, integrating his church and laboring for world peace. But W. appealed to that vote's most crabbed insecurities - the disparaging of the other, the fear of those godless hedonists in the blue states out to get them and their families. And the fear of scientific progress, as with stem cell research.
I'm keeping both eyes open in regards to election fraud. The Blue Lemur points out that the exit polls were pretty accurate in most states (and if anything gave Bush an edge) but that things don't add up in the swing states. And in Florida, it isn't touch screen systems that are in question, but optical scan machines:
EXPECTED votes would normally vary from the ACTUAL votes due to increased voter turnout by one party, Independents voting REP or DEM or other factors. What seems very odd in these numbers is that the increase in ACTUAL votes from EXPECTED votes has a striking pattern of being so much higher for REPs than that for DEMs in counties using optical scan voting machines, even when smaller counties are excluded from the analysis.
Click on the link for some interesting stats.

More general election fraud news here.

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11.04.2004
As you can see I've been tweaking things and moving them around. I think things are going in the right (er, make that "correct") direction, but there is still plenty more to do. Like rethinking the "content" on the right side.

If things don't look quite right, try reloading and/or clearing out your cache. I noticed that Mozilla/Firefox doesn't pick up on style sheet changes without a reload, for example.

Let me know what you think...

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What was I saying? Terry Neal from the Washington Post:
It will be interested to see how the Democratic Party reacts. It can't easily fix the divide by compromising its positions on abortion, stem cell research and gay rights. When the GOP similarly found itself as the minority in an ideological wilderness, it didn't sell out, but instead found ways to present its ideas more effectively. Perhaps the next few years will lead to similar soul searching by the Democrats. Perhaps the party will come back stronger and more persuasive for the midterm elections in 2006 and the next presidential election in 2008. Only time will tell.
This is what it's all about - framing the arguments in such a way that middle America can understand them. The Right is great at this. I can only hope that the Dems figure out how to address these things in the next 4 years.

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11.03.2004
One more from that Washington Post chat:
New York, N.Y.: Hi, I think the thing most Dems are scratching their heads about is: How can we be so out of touch with the American people? Sure New Yorkers tend to be left, but how can we live in a country that has become so deeply right? Can it be true that the moral minority has become the moral majority?
I touched on this in my last post, but I really think the issue isn't that Democrats are out of touch with the American public, but that the American public is out of touch with Democrats.

And I'm too tired to continue this thought. Discuss.

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First off, let me say this election makes me sick. I'm not sure if it's the Republican party or the people of this country (or both), but it isn't much better one way or the other.

I think the Democratic party NEEDS to come out swinging, pushing their views upon the nation, rather than always responding to Republican charges and views. For example, a large majority of this country seems to think gays are bad/evil/etc. The Republican party has latched on to this - "We are moral". What have the Democrats done? Basically say "Well, we agree that gays are bad, but not quite as bad as Republicans would have you believe". Rather than concede that the nation doesn't like gays and tiptoe around the issue (which is what they're doing), the Democrats need to TELL the nation "Look, gays are good people, just like you and me. Discriminating against them is a crime". The Republicans are good at telling the nation what they should think and believe - the Dems need to start doing this too.

Next up, two quotes from a Washington Post chat:
I'm an African-American female who is a registered democrat. I voted for George Bush, because I am also a believer in the Word of God. Although I don't agreed with a lot of decisions he made over the last four years, as a Christian his belief in God and open confession of his beliefs persuaded me to vote for him. I think you will find a lot of people voted because of morale values versus party affiliation. I think we are better off with a president who has a biblical foundation and is not a shame to admit he hears from God. With the help of God we can get through anything. Kerry didn't offer me the same assurance. Thank you for allowing me to speak.
I don't know, I just don't know. What these people need to understand is that this isn't a "Christian nation" and that they would have a far different view of the relationship between church and state if, for example, the President was a Muslim. The government should NOT infringe on anyone's religious beliefs (as long as they are legal), but at the same time, one religion's beliefs cannot be directing the course of this nation.
I'm deeply troubled by the media reports that people's voting based on "moral values" led them to vote Bush/Cheney. Is this not really a euphemism for judgmental, far-right social policy such as anti-choice and anti-homosexual, and aggression in foreign policy? And personally, both Bush and Cheney have highly immoral business practices in their background, as well as substance abuse on the part of our moral leader. Unless I'm missing something, I'm appalled by what passes for morality in our national conscience.
Nail on head. Starting wars and creating global violence is fine as long as Sally can't go down to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion in the eyes of far too many Americans.

I'm saddened, disturbed and outraged. Don't give up. Write to your Democratic representatives and tell them they have to stand up to this guy. DON'T GIVE UP.

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11.01.2004
Go out and vote tomorrow. Yeah, my guess is the polls will be really busy, but come on, a presidential election is only once every four years. YOU can make a difference. Suck it up. Bring a book. Bring a friend! Bring all of your friends! They need to vote too! Not registered yet? If you're in Wisconsin, not to worry - you can
register at the polls. The last I checked you just needed a piece of mail with your name and address (a utility bill is good), and a photo ID probably wouldn't hurt either.

Second, at the risk of alienating some of you (my political views are hardly a secret, but nevertheless...), VOTE FOR JOHN KERRY. WE NEED BUSH OUT. There, I've said it. My guess is at least a few of you will just hit "delete" right now, but if you really care about this country at all, just try and stick this one out.

First and foremost, Bush has created the image that he is "tough on terror", and that only he (and not John Kerry) can beat the terrorists. Getting past the rhetoric, however, reveals someone who has made this country far *less* safe. Prior to 9/11, the incoming administration was warned by the Clinton administration that al Qaeda
and Osama bin Laden were the largest threats to the US. Bush *did* start a task force on terrorism, and appointed Dick Cheney to lead it. However, this task force NEVER MET. There wasn't a cabinet level meeting on terrorism till September. A briefing saying that al Qaeda wanted to attack on American soil was all but ignored. Then 9/11
happened.

Yes, some good did come out of the war in Afghanistan. However, the focus all too quickly changed to Iraq. The administration wanted us to believe that Iraq was somehow tied to 9/11, and that if we didn't overthrow Saddam, he would either use WMDs on us or give them to somebody that would. There was a big problem, though. Iraq didn't have WMDs. Nor did they even have the ability to make them. Plenty of people "in the know" were aware this, but the administration only paid attention to what it wanted to hear. Remember those evil aluminum tubes that Iraq was going to use to make a nuclear bomb? It turns out the whole idea was debunked - before 9/11! Here's an excerpt from a recent New York Times article:
First, in size and material, the tubes were very different from those Iraq had used in its centrifuge prototypes before the first gulf war. Those models used tubes that were nearly twice as wide and made of exotic materials that performed far better than aluminum. "Aluminum was a huge step backwards," Dr. Wood recalled.

In fact, the team could find no centrifuge machines "deployed in a production environment" that used such narrow tubes. Their walls were three times too thick for "favorable use" in a centrifuge, the team wrote. They were also anodized, meaning they had a special coating to protect them from weather. Anodized tubes, the team pointed out, are "not consistent" with a uranium centrifuge because the coating can produce bad reactions with uranium gas.

In other words, if Joe and his Winpac colleagues were right, it meant that Iraq had chosen to forsake years of promising centrifuge work and instead start from scratch, with inferior material built to less-than-optimal dimensions.
So we invaded a country that didn't have weapons of mass destruction, didn't have the capability to make them, didn't have ties to al Qaeda, and didn't produce any of the 9/11 bombers. Some of you might say "but Saddam was a bad guy, he killed his own people!" And you're right. He wasn't a good guy. But consider this: Iraq wasn't a threat to us before. It is now. Terrorist groups are streaming in, and more
and more of the Arab world hates us. So what if they hate us, you say? Well where do you think terrorists come from? On top of all that, recent estimates are that upwards of 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died so far from this war, along with over 1,100 US troops.

I know some of you might say "but we couldn't just leave Saddam to his own devices." And I'd agree. But "doing nothing" wasn't our only alternative to war. We had weapons inspectors on the ground. We knew what Iraq did and didn't have. Even if Iraq were to have tried to restart their WMD program (which seems very unlikely), they couldn't
have produced weapons overnight. We would have been ready to intervene with force had it come to that. But instead we blew it.

And all the while bin Laden is still at large - the person who actually was (and still is) a threat to us. Plus we have countries like Iran and North Korea that ACTUALLY HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS. WE KNOW ABOUT THEM. Yet they were (and are) seen as secondary.

Things aren't that great at home, either. We still have fewer jobs today than we did when Bush came in to office. And that big budget surplus has turned into a huge deficit. And remember those tax cuts? The bottom 60% of taxpayers got less than 15% of the cuts. I think that's most of us here. So while you and me are paying a little less, those with more money than they know what to do with are paying a LOT
less. All while we have a huge deficit and government programs (which help you and me!) are getting cut. Or in some cases, local fees and taxes are raised.

Is John Kerry the perfect candidate? Not in my mind. But I think he will actually lead using his brain, and not just with "gut instincts". The Right has branded him a "flip-flopper", when in fact Bush is just as "guilty". And whatever the case, be it a Democrat or a Republican, I'd rather have somebody who could look back at a poor
past decision and realize it was wrong - and do something about it - than somebody who feels whatever they have done is "right" even when it's clear that it isn't. As Kerry pointed out in the first debate, being "sure" is one thing, but that doesn't mean you are right. You can be "sure" about something and still be wrong, and this president has shown that over and over.

I could continue this for pages, but I think if I haven't convinced you yet, writing more won't help before tomorrow. But hey, if you want more details about something, or have a question, just let me know.

Luke

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The Simpsons Archive

Vital stats:
DOB 2/16/79. I'm a web developer at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. I like lots of old music, including The Who. I spend a lot of time working with computers. And my favorite TV show (when I actually decide to watch TV, that is), obviously, is The Simpsons.

Education:
In May 2002 I officially graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in computer science. In 1997 (man that seems like a long time ago) I graduated from Washington Park HS. Yes, I know, that site isn't very impressive, and no, I haven't touched it for several years.

WFS Logo

WFS:
One of the best experiences I have ever had was on a trip called Western Field Studies. This is a 33 day adventure throughout the western United States. Students travel on a school bus to national parks, monuments, forests, and places of historical interest and camp out (in tents or under the stars). I was a part of trip 25, which took place in the summer of 1996. A first for WFS was we took along a laptop computer and kept up a web site. That link will take you to the 1996 site, where there is a link to the current site.