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09 December 2007
25 February 2007
26 November 2006
I've been a fan of Nintendo from the beginning. I've owned every major Nintendo console, including the Gamecube, and loved them all. I've known about the Nintendo Wii since it was codenamed "Revolution" and in the development stages. I've been excited about it ever since game developers had a chance to try it and loved it. They said it would truly revolutionize gaming. The Wii has gotten more support from third-party developers than any previous Nintendo console.
On the 19th, I woke up an hour early to buy the Wii only to find hundreds of people waiting in lines at every retail store I could think of. Even Sears Essentials had a line of people who camped out the night before. It would have to wait another week. Black Friday came and went, and no major retailers got any significant quantities.
I read online last night that Best Buy's Sunday advertisement for today stated that each store would have a minimum of 12 units to sell. After studying till 4AM last night, I woke up at 8AM this morning and headed to the Tustin Marketplace Best Buy, which was set to open at 10AM, to find a Nintendo Wii.
I had driven by at 3AM last night, and the parking lot was empty. To my dismay, this morning there were approx. 200-300 ppl standing in line. Not phased, I jumped on the freeway and headed to the Best Buy near the Block in Orange. The area is very commercial, so I figured I'd have a better chance of grabbing a Wii there. I got in line at 8:45AM. It looked like there were 60-65 ppl in front of me. Rumors were flying that they only had 20-30 Wii's. At 9:15, they began passing out tickets. They had 50 Wii's. I was number 45.
I waited 2.5 hours, but finally walked out with my Wii and a copy of Zelda.
08 November 2006
1. Honest Leadership and Open Government
Our goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of government. To do so, we will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics from every public servant, sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts.
2. Real Security
For Democrats, homeland security begins with hometown security. That's why we led the fight to create the Department of Homeland Security and continue to fight to ensure that our ports, nuclear and chemical plants, and other sensitive facilities are secured against attack and support increased funding for our first responders and programs like the COPS program so we keep our communities safe. We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
3. Energy Independence
We will create a cleaner, greener and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in energy independent technology.
4. Econcomic Prosperity and Educational Excellence
Democrats believe that the most effective way to increase opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. The Democratic Party supports fair trade agreements that raise standards for all workers here and abroad, while making American businesses more competitive, and we don’t believe in tax giveaways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas.
We also believe in balanced budgets and paying down our national debt, while Republicans continue to put huge burdens on future generations by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign nations. We want to restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.
Democrats know that the key to expanding opportunity is to provide every child with a strong foundation of education. We will also help expand educational opportunities for college by making college tuition tax deductible, expanding Pell Grants, and cut student loan interest rates.
5. A Healthcare System That Works For Everyone
In the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth, no one should have to choose between taking their child to a doctor and paying the rent. Democrats are committed to making sure every single American has access to affordable, effective health care coverage. We want to fix the disastrous Medicare Part D and ensure our seniors can afford their prescription drugs.
We also believe in investing in life saving stem cell and other medical research that offers real hope for cures and treatment for millions of Americans.
6. Retirement Security
Democrats believe that after a life of hard work, you earn a secure retirement. Our commitment to protecting the promise of Social Security is absolute.
30 October 2006
"Iraq is sort of a situation where you’ve got a guy who drove a bus into a ditch.You obviously have to get the bus out of the ditch, and that’s not easy to do – although you obviously should fire the driver."
- Senator Barack Obama
29 October 2006
(AP) WASHINGTON - Abdul Rahim insists he's an apolitical student who fled a strict father. But he's fallen into a black hole in the war on terror in which first the Taliban and then the United States imprisoned him as an enemy of the state.
Arrested by the Taliban in Afghanistan in January 2000, Rahim says al-Qaida leaders burned him with cigarettes, smashed his right hand, deprived him of sleep, nearly drowned him and hanged him from the ceiling until he "confessed" to spying for the United States.
U.S. forces took the young Kurd from Syria into custody in January 2002 after the Taliban fled his prison. Accusing him of being an al-Qaida terrorist, U.S. interrogators deprived him of sleep, threatened him with police dogs and kept him in stress positions for hours, he says. He's been held ever since as an enemy combatant.
Rahim's story is one of several emerging from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay as defense lawyers make bids to free their clients while the Bush administration tries to use a new law to lock them out of federal courts.
After the Supreme Court overturned President Bush's plans for commissions to try detainees, Bush obtained a new law from Congress barring federal courts from hearing appeals for release by any alien "properly detained as an enemy combatant." The Justice Department told district and appellate judges this week they no longer have jurisdiction to hear dozens of such pending cases.
A court fight over that is certain.
Calling the move to strip jurisdiction "a direct attack on our constitutional structure," Federal Public Defender Steven T. Wax in Portland, Ore., said, "We will litigate that as hard as we can in whatever forum we can find, because they are wrong."
Other detainees whose lawyers filed new evidence in U.S. District Court motions this month include:
Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese charity worker arrested at 1:30 a.m. July 18, 2002, in his Peshawar, Pakistan, apartment. Co-workers swear he was a hospital administrator with no connection to terrorists. A dissenting U.S. Army major on the panel that reviewed the unclassified and secret evidence against him called it "unconscionable" to detain him because some employees of the same charity may have supported terrorist ideals.
Nazar "Chaman" Gul, a 29-year-old Afghani who thought he was working as an armed fuel depot guard for the Karzi government installed by U.S. forces. The man who hired him swears that was the case, but he is accused of being a member of a terrorist group. The lawyers say he has been mistaken for a commander of that terror group, named Chaman Gul, also held at Guantanamo.
All three are represented by Wax and his assistants. Wax's staff traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates to gather dozens of sworn statements from co-workers, relatives, fellow inmates and people who knew these detainees but haven't spoken to them in years. These newly filed accounts substantiate details of the detainees' denials that they were terrorists.
"These clients are not enemy combatants," Wax said in an interview. The new law "does not apply to people who are not enemy combatants," he said.
Wax said it would be unconstitutional to apply the jurisdiction-stripping bill retroactively to existing cases. And he said the Supreme Court has ruled before that it has the final say over its jurisdiction in these so-called habeas corpus petitions for release from custody. Following President Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus for prisoners of war, the high court in 1866 set a man free after finding he was not a prisoner of war, Wax noted.
The government feels differently about Wax's clients.
"Multiple reviews have been conducted since each detained enemy fighter was captured, including for these three individuals," said a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon. "There is a significant amount of evidence, both unclassified and classified, which supports continued detention of these detainees and others at Guantanamo."
Now 28, Rahim, buttressed by testimony from friends and relatives, says he wound up in Afghanistan in a bid to escape his father, a strict teacher of Islamic education who objected to his borrowing money outside the family for a college trip. With his father holding his passport, he tried futilely to get from his home in the United Arab Emirates to Europe or Canada.
Finally a friendly diplomat got him deported to Afghanistan where he and others say he hoped to be declared a refugee and moved to Europe by international aid agencies. He says the Taliban conscripted him and sent him against his will to the Al Farouq terrorist training camp. When he tried to leave 18 days later, they imprisoned him, he says.
In spring 2000, Abu Dhabi television broadcast a video of a tearful, fidgeting Rahim saying a U.S. agent recruited him to find Osama bin Laden. "I deserve to die ... but if the Taliban let me live, I want to spend the next 22 years fighting for jihad," he said.
On Jan. 17, 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft said U.S. forces found five videotapes in the ruined Afghan home of bin Laden aide Mohammed Atef — one of the men Rahim says directed his torture. Ashcroft said the tapes show young men delivering "martyrdom messages from suicide terrorists" and identified one as "Abd Rahim."
Rahim's attorney Stephen Sady said any Taliban tapes of Rahim "were the product of torture" and no different from false confessions Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., made to stay alive in a North Vietnamese prison.
"After two years the Americans came and saved me from the prison," Rahim told U.S. officers. "I told them about the videotape the Taliban made of me ... it created confusion to the point that the Americans believed I was working with al-Qaida."
He added: "Nothing changed in my life. I was taken from prison to prison."
27 October 2006
A quick rant on gay marriage....
The New Jersey Supreme Court Decision, which declared that equal rights must be granted to homosexual civil unions, but that their unions don't have to be called "marriages" disturbs me. The fact is most Americans feel uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage. I inherently feel somewhat uncomfortable with it. But I know that feeling is wrong and distorted.
It wasn't that long ago that Caucasian-Americans were disturbed by the idea of an integrated society with African-Americans. Interracial marriage was a felony in many states. African-Americans weren't allowed in the military because it would disrupt the unit, or in the same schools, or the same bathrooms. We lived in a separate, but equal society. We look back at those days with horror and confusion. Twenty or thirty years from now, we're going to look back at these days with the same disbelief.
Why does our society prefer that children be orphans than be raised by two loving, homosexual parents? It's time to give homosexuals the same rights. It will be an adjustment to think of marriage as a union of two persons, not just a man and woman. But, just as the military changed to adopt African-Americans into their community, so too will the rest of us with homosexuals.
At Deer Park Monastery, at a "couples retreat", a homosexual couple thanked the Sangha for being so welcoming. The lesbian couple was able to practice with everyone, as equals. They were so touched by everyone's acceptance. I began to realize the effect that discrimination has on this group of people. Many homosexuals suffer due to our lack of acceptance. Let's alleviate their suffering.