Critical Section

Sunday,  09/21/08  08:42 PM

Well, I am back to the land of the "normal", no longer working day and night trying to get software delivered, or driving up to Napa to ride in a 200 mile cycling race.  A lot happened last week - a lot - and I must tell you, I am not a news outlet, so I apologize if I skip stuff which was "important". 

In particular while I am really worried about the Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac bailout, I don't understand it well enough to have an opinion.  Actually I do have an opinion, that it was really stupid to have these quasi-government quasi-private corporations in the first place.  I understand encouraging home ownership and I realize having a market for mortgages helps by lowing rates and allowing lenders to take more chances, but surely there was a better way?  We can see that now...  probably everything else bad that has happened and likely will happen can be traced back to this.

Happy Birthday!First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful daughter Jordan, who turned 22 today.  Wow, 22, I can so remember her as a little girl.  She says she feels old, which is kind of funny but kind of understandable.  I was 22 when I got married!  Wow.  Anyway Jordan is great and doing great, and [I think] had a nice day, so it was a Happy Birthday!

Even as we almost had a female President and could still have a female Vice President, the new Israeli Prime Minister is a woman, Tzipi Livni.  This is pretty important, Israel is a nuclear power, and Iran, another nuclear power, has threatened their extermination.  If there is a nuclear war on Earth in the next decade, this is most likely where it will start.

The media bias on display in this election has been nothing short of staggering.  All pretense of neutrality has been lost.  I understand Saturday Night Live had a joke about Todd Palin and incest.  Wow, is that funny (no, they don't deserve a link).  The Emmy Awards were a liberal feeding frenzy (no, they don't serve a link).  If you really want to see how bad it's gotten, check this out: CNN's Jack Cafferty thinks only racism explains close polls.  This wasn't a column, by the way, it was a "news" story.  CNN, the LATimes, the NYTimes, NBC, ABC, CBS - they're all in the tank for Obama.  And yet the polls do remain close, and not because of racism.  I think the US public has calibrated the media, and is disgusted by it.  And when they look at Obama, they don't see a man who is half-African American, they see an American, who happens to be just 46 and has served only one year as a Senator.

If, improbably, you're still undecided about who to vote for, you might find this article in the NYTimes comparing McCain's and Obama's positions on various aspects of science.  At the highest level the difference appears to be - as you would expect - that Obama wants to use public money, while McCain wants to support private industry.

Wades Wines logoThis is kind of cool: the Ventura County Star lauds Wade's Wines, my favorite local wine store.  They have great stuff, reasonably priced, and their people know wine.  You can walk in, describe what you want (a robust pinot with a smoky aftertaste for $25, from Oregon), and they'll point you right to it.

Levi Leipheimer wins final Vuelta TTSo Levi Leipheimer won the final time trial in the 2008 Vuelta a Espana, and Alberto Contador wrapped up the overall title.  That means Contador has won each of the grand tours consecutively, the 2007 Tour de France, the 2008 Giro di Italia, and the 2008 Vuelta a Espana.  (He did not ride in the 2008 Tour de France because his team Astana were not invited, due to past problems with doping which didn't involve Contador.)  Pretty cool.  And also cool that Levi finished second overall, giving Astana one-two, and a clear claim to be the top team in the world.

So do you now take this team and add Lance Armstrong to it?  I don't know, it might not even help...

Good news: the FDA is adding 1,300 more people.  Or is it?  I am conflicted; on the one hand, judging from Aperio's interactions with them they really don't have enough people, but on the other, government bureaucracies like this only get bigger, never smaller.

Goodbye to Yankee Stadium.  As a longtime Dodger fan, I'm not too sad about this.  I understand the iconic nature of the place - Sports Illustrated had a nice article about it, featuring George Bush throwing out the first ball the night of 9/11 - but in the end it is just a stadium.  Not like Dodger Stadium, for example, which is a temple!

Olin StephensSailing Anarchy notes The End of a Legend, as Olin Stephens has died.  "A wonderful man by all accounts, the body of work of Sparkman and Stephens, the design breakthroughs, and the sheer beauty of their work remains as a testament to the incredible boats they graced our sport with. Of all his brilliant accomplishments, designing eight of the nine America's Cup winners between 1937 and 1980 most certainly stands unmatched."  This man designed more of the top racing sailboats in the world over a longer period of time than anyone.



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