From Pine View Farm

2005 archive

Hummers 0

Philadelphia has the Mummers.

Delaware has the Hummers.


Found at the Barbershop 1

I got a haircut today. About three months too late, but what the hey! I’m from the generation that believes hair should be long and skirts should be short.

While I was waiting, I picked up a copy of the Wilmington paper, which I seldom read because, frankly, it’s not very good. If it weren’t for the Boscov’s ads, the front page would be only four pages long. It’s a Gannett paper, from the people who gave you USA Today. That’s why I subscribe to the Inky–it takes longer than five minutes to finish it in the morning.

But there was an interesting article about our junior Senator. Apparently he’s started a blog which stands out amongst Congressional blogs:

In a town where most politicians’ online diaries are careful, calculated and dry as toast, “Carper’s Corner” reads like a Joseph Conrad novel.

The Democratic senator launched his weblog this month to chronicle his recent delegation visit to the Middle East. But he enjoyed blogging so much, he decided to make Carper’s Corner a weekly feature on his Web site.

You can check it out here.


Widipedia To Be Swift-Boated 0

The loonies on the right have already sabotaged Wikipedia at least once.

Now they are going to organize the effort.

Phillybits pointed me to this post from Free Republic:

Wikipedia is a liberal “encyclopedia” that anyone can edit. Unfortunately, it is very popular and very “progressive”, although its stated goal is to present factual information wit a neitral point of view. A perfect example in the Kwanzaa “article” (, as is the “article” on abortion (, and the article on President Bush (

Any attempt to add balance to these articles is met by severe censoring and shouting down or shutting down editors. I suggest people sign up (free and anonymous) ( and start politely editing. Once there, to gain “credibility” I suggest you look around and then for the first few days edit only uncontroversial articles for grammar or choppiness or poor citation – you will then be seen as a neutral editor (everyone is an “editor”). I suggest using a different screen name than you do at FR.

There are several interesting components in it.

One is the characterization of Wikipedia as “liberal.” It’s just ones and zeroes, folks–an attempt to use the internet for something other than porn, shopping, and spam.

I followed the links cited in the article and found them generally attempts to present balanced information about the topics.

Balance and objectivity, though, seems to be anathema to the authors of the Free Republic.

Clearly, there is nothing in this post that speaks of “truth”–and in my experience, credibility comes from speaking the truth.

Yet, this author puts “credibility” in quotation marks? I suspect that, for him or her, “credibility” has nothing to do with speaking the truth; rather, it’s merely a tool, a sham, a cloak to be worn to facilitate the spreading of his or her lies.

These folks admit not the possibility that there might be something for them to learn–that there might be something to gain by listening to others. They know they already have the truth and are determined to ram it down the throats of the rest of the world.

It is especially noteworthy that the author of the post I quoted counsels “editing” Wikipedia using stealth tactics.

They know that their lies will not stand the plain light of day. Therefore, they must act as vandals, invading the site with masks over their faces like like conmen, fooling the mark into trusting them, then turning over trashcans and scattering their filth in the dead of night.


Tankers on the Delaware 1

The border between Delaware and New Jersey is the Delaware River; it’s a most unusual border, because the boundary runs, not down the middle of the river, but at mean low water on the Jersey side of the river. In other words, the Delaware River is part of Delaware for this portion of its run.

The Delaware is a vital link in the US’s oil supply. There are refineries on both sides of the river in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and tankers move up and down the river daily.

Delaware has for years, with sometimes stellar, sometimes spotty, success guarded its environment with the Coastal Zone Act.

New Jersey wants to poke a LNG terminal into Delaware waters. Delaware has determined that this would violate the Coastal Zone Act. So New Jersey is taking Delaware to court for the right to intrude in Delaware’s environment.

Meanwhile, one foot up river, New Jersey is opposing through inaction a plan to dredge the Delaware so it can accommodate even larger tankers. This is a project promoted by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose competence has been so lately demonstrated by events in New Orleans. Among its other objections, New Jersey claims that the dredging would endanger New Jersey’s environment because the spoils from the dredging would be deposited in New Jersey.

There’s actually a pretty nasty spat going on between New Jersey and Pennsylvania over this.

From my perspective in Delaware, it seems to me that New Jersey seems to have a bad case of NIMBY over the river, but a great willingness to play in others’ BYs.


Problems Viewing this Blog in Internet Explorer 0

Internet Explorer doesn’t like me.

That’s okay. I don’t like it. (See Note.)

But it’s sabotaging this blog.

Three persons have now reported that, when they have tried to post a comment from IE, there is code in the “Comments” field and no “Submit” button, so, even if they delete the code from their view, they can’t post a comment.

I checked it out with the sole copy of IE remaining in this house. What’s happening is that IE is displaying the contents of one of the *.php files that govern the behavior of this site and displaying it in the “Comments” field.

The blog works fine in Opera, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Konqueror, and Galeon.

While I try to track down the problem, the best suggestion I have is to get Opera. Heck, I suggest that anyone get Opera anyway. It’s easily the best.

I’m also going to post this under “Other Stuff.”

Note: IE is notoriously non-standards compliant. This was actually a marketing technique on the part of Micro$oft. They would write non-standards-compliant stuff, then hope the web-designers would write stuff that worked in IE and therefore would not work in other browsers, cementing their hold on the market.


Leaks 2

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into recent disclosures about a controversial domestic eavesdropping program that was secretly authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said yesterday.

Why am I thinking they will show more energy tracking this down then they did tracking down the Valerie Plame leak?


Frank’s Meme of Fours 0

Following Phillybits’s lead, I’ll just jump in, without being tagged.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
1. Cucumber Packer
2. Complaint Answerer, Amtrak
3. Trainer, Amtrak
4. Technical Trainer, Checkpoint Systems

Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. Casablanca
2. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World
3. Duck Soup
4. Airplane

Four places you’ve lived:
1. Birdsnest, Va.
2. Alexandria, Va.
3. Narberth, Pa.
4. Wilmington, Del.

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Law and Order (and variations thereof).
2. Monk.
3. Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (I have my ways).
4. Ellery Queen (ditto the above).

Four places you’ve been on vacation:
1. Cross-Country USA (many times).
2. Denmark.
3. Disney World (twice).
4. York Harbor, Me.

Four websites you visit daily:
1. Huffington Post.
2. Washington Post.
3. Suburban Guerrilla.
4. Jesus General.
5. Yellow Elephant.

and, of course,

6. Phillybits.

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Vindaloo Curry.
2. Venison Chili.
3. Roast Goose.
4. Shashimi.

Four places you’d rather be:
1. Pine View Farm.
2. Exeter, Devonshire, UK.
3. Aarhus, Denmark.
4. Narberth, Pa.


Rick Santorum Has Second Thoughts 4

Of course, that may be a misleading title. Evidence is still being adduced as to whether he has had a first thought . . .

We are lucky in Delaware. Our Congressional delegation, Democrat and Republican, is composed of pretty decent guys. If you want to meet them, be at the Wilmington train station at about 7:30 a. m. almost any morning; they commute on the early Metroliner to Washington. Heck, I used to run into Senator Carper, when he was still Governor, at PTA meetings. His son attends the same school district as mine, and he would show up, not as Governor, but as father.

Pennsylvania, on the other hand, has Rick Santorum (faithful lapdog for Bush). Mr. Santorum lives in Virginia (unlike the Delaware delegation) and homeschools his children, while accepting payments from Pennsylvania for said home-schooling.

Mr. Santorum has been a vocal supporter of the intellectually bankrupt concept of Intelligent Design Creationism, to the extent of serving on the board or the Thomas More Law Center, which handled the defense of the now-deposed Creationists on the Dover, Pa., School Board.


In 2002, Santorum said in a Washington Times op-ed article that intelligent design “is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes.”

(Of course, it’s not legitimate, it’s not scientific, and it’s not a theory. It’s a smokescreen, but that’s another story.)

But now he’s blown it all off, saying ” he meant that teachers should have the freedom to mention intelligent design as part of the evolution debate — not be required to do so. He added that his position has not changed.” (See link above)

Now, saying teachers should be allowed to mention something is not the same thing as saying they should teach it. His position may not have changed, but his public statements sure as heck have.

Santorum’s wiggling illustrates the both the problems and the tactics of the proponents of Intelligent Design Creationism.

Their goal is not advancing science. Their goal is establishing religion–their religion–as the Established Church of the United States.

Consequently, their statements are not bound by any kind of provable facts, so they can say whatever the heck seems convenient in the moment. Kind of like our President.

I almost wish I still lived in Pennsylvania so I could vote against him, but, then, again, I’m glad I live in Delaware where, so far at least, I do not have to worry about Creationists in my Congressional Delegation.


How To Keep the Cat from Coming between You and the Keyboard 1

Feed her.

Then she loses all interest in being affectionate.


Privacy, Your Cell Phone, and Where You Are 0

From Security Focus, via the Register.

Recent court cases in the United States raise the question of the standard required when the police want to know exactly where you are, using your cell phone to track you down. The issue again raises the question of how new technologies can invade privacy rights, and how quantitative changes in the type and amounts of data collected and stored result in qualitative changes in privacy rights. These require a reexamination of even established laws of privacy and of probable cause. These precedents also apply to entities like ISPs and telephone companies that routinely collect massive amounts of data about individuals which may be subject to eventual discovery or disclosure. It is important that we establish and apply the correct legal standard for obtaining this information now.

The article goes on to explore in depth the standards required for different types of inquiries and warrants and suggests that the current Federal Administration is attempting to erode protections already written into law by weasel wor redefining terms.


The Phony War on Christmas 3

Why it’s phony. Why it’s bigoted. Why it’s intolerant.

Read about it here. In a very gentle reminiscence that brings it all out.


Christmas Greetings 0

With a tip of the hat to Phillybits.

The Christmas Phone Call


Bush’s Reasoning (sic); Can It Stand the Light of Day 0

Eugene Robinson’s column in today’s Washington Post poses questions for any thoughtful American.


Good Question 0

What Course?

(The link appears to have expired. It showed a protester looking up at a military helicopter while holding a sign that said, “What course?”

And for those who would deride this question, I ask only that you provide a description of the desired end result of the “course”–a description that meets Strunk and White’s 3C’s: clear, concise, and concrete. Especially “concrete.”

(via Reason Gone Mad)


Looking Forward to the Past 0

Bill Shein looks back on 2006 from 2005.

And, as I catch up on Bill Shein, I’ll add this here, rather than make a new post: His “War on Christmas” proclamation.


Barron’s Says the “I” Word 0

Not that it would be good policy or good politics. What’s amazing is the source: Barron’s is hardly a hotbed of radical–or even contemporary–thought:

Courtesy of Suburban Guerrilla.

Subscription required to see the original.

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law. […]

Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law. President Bush is stretching the power of commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy by indicating that he can order the military and its agencies, such as the National Security Agency, to do whatever furthers the defense of the country from terrorists, regardless of whether actual force is involved.

Surely the “strict constructionists” on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is. The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is that he must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” That includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive power. There’s not much fidelity in an executive who debates and lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its writ.


Holidays, H2O, and Home 0

I mentioned earlier that holidays seem to bring on plumbing problems at my house.

This phenomenon seems to have spread down the street.

Yesterday, as I headed out to Church, I saw water pouring from a neighbor’s yard. Actually, from under the yard. Apparently, the water line from the street to his house had burst and the water was escaping with such force that it actually lifted the topsoil, flowed under the topsoil (now, this was not turf–the street is 51 years old this year) to the sidewalk, then under the grass on the sidewalk to the gutter and thence down to the storm drain at the bottom of the hill.

Another neighbor, out for a walk, called the water company.

I got back from church and started on dinner–stuffed the goose and ran it in the oven, set the table, and so on. About noon the water company showed up–takes a while to tear workers away from their families on Christmas Day. Then more water company workers showed up. By the time everyone was there, there were two dump trucks, two pick-up trucks, and a front-end loader. A whole crew of workers gave up their holiday to work.

So, they’re working away and it’s just about time for the kids to show up (First Son, Older Daughter, and their SOSO’s).

And the water stopped. Whatever the water company was doing, it had reached to point that required their shutting off water to the street.

And it stayed off.

For five hours.

Now the primary reason I roasted a goose was so I could make goose gravy.

Goose gravy with giblets is to die for.

I had made oyster stuffing and potatoes purree (that’s masked potatoes with a college education), simply so I could smother them in goose gravy.

It’s pretty difficult to make gravy without water.

Fortunately, one of the local convenience stores was open and I dispatched Second Son and First Daughter-in-Law to buy water, so I was able to finish cooking and a good time was had by all.

But oh my poor kitchen. I usually wash the big stuff as I go along, but, again, no water.

Every piece of Revere Ware, several giant mixing bowls, one cast iron skillet, and all six table settings, used, dirty, and no place to go, slowly drying out. (It’s all washed now.)

So I have to wonder, with New Year’s Day only six days away now, what the heck is going to flood then?


Someone Returns to Reality 0

Dr. Willaim Frey has posted a long, thoughtful, and well-researched article about the current political scene. I commend it to everyone’s attention.

Read it here.


Merry Christmas to All 0

Christmas Lights


Myths about Bush’s Spying on Americans 0

Well, lies would be more like it. Follow the link to see the truth hidden behind the lies.

From Media Matters, courtesy of Raw Story. Each of the items listed below is a lie:

1: Timeliness necessitated bypassing the FISA court

2: Congress was adequately informed of — and approved — the administration’s actions

3: Warrantless searches of Americans are legal under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

4: Clinton, Carter also authorized warrantless searches of U.S. citizens

5: Only Democrats are concerned about the Bush administration’s secret surveillance

6: Debate is between those supporting civil liberties and those seeking to prevent terrorism

7: Bin Laden phone leak demonstrates how leak of spy operation could damage national security

8: Gorelick testimony proved Clinton asserted “the same authority” as Bush

9: Aldrich Ames investigation is example of Clinton administration bypassing FISA regulations

10: Clinton administration conducted domestic spying

11: Moussaoui case proved that FISA probable-cause standard impedes terrorism probes

12: A 2002 FISA review court opinion makes clear that Bush acted legally.