Fasten, fit closely, bind together.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sunday, Monday, Oneday 

You're Doing a Fantastic Job!

But keep in mind this isn't college anymore.

No midterms, true.

But now you're being graded every single minute of every single day.

And things are certianly speeding up on the information frontier. In less than 18 months time, wireless cards will work around the globe. Broadband will extend 30,000 feet over the Atlantic. No man's land will have internet accessibility. You won't ever have to turn off your blackberry.

You will never go out of service.

This is exciting.

A yes man? Yes Maam! Applauding like trained seals.


Steel MULLIONs that cost upward of 1.5 BILLION 

Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled a radical redesign of the Freedom Tower planned in Lower Manhattan yesterday: a 77-story glass-clad skyscraper that would sit atop an almost impermeable 200-foot concrete and steel pedestal, sheathed in ornamental metalwork, overlooking the memorial intended to honor those who died at the World Trade Center.

The redesign was worked up in a matter of weeks after an embarrassing setback for the trade center redevelopment, when the New York Police Department deemed the first version of the Freedom Tower too vulnerable to attack by car or truck bomb.

That doesn't sound right at all. At the risk of sounding didactic and telling NYC planners how the World Trade Center should be resurrected - this is how it should be resurrected, as an:

An office building.
A memorial.
A Park.

Any of things, or better yet as all of these things.

This is what it should not be:

Fort Knox.
A Pyramid.
A Mausoleum.
An impregnable fortress impervious to any terrestrial, aerial, or extraterrestrial attack.

The newly configured building would have no occupied space other than the lobby for its first 200 feet. It would be set at least 40 feet farther away from West Street-Route 9A, a heavily trafficked state highway. Many of its windows would be tempered, laminated and multilayered for extra protection against explosions.

The first 30 feet of the 200-foot-tall pedestal would be completely solid. The next 50 feet would have some openings, allowing light to be brought into the lobby from above. The rest of the base would be occupied by four floors of mechanical equipment. Stainless steel, titanium or aluminum panels would mask the concrete wall.

The only externally visible separation between the windows would be vertical stainless-steel elements known as mullions, creating a pinstripe effect.

It's one thing to design a safe building. It's another thing to let some would-be terrorist dictate the design of this building. 20 stories of solid concrete and steel base hardly sound inviting.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Once Again Braden throws the Mets for a Loop 

Looper manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Mets lose to the Yankees 5-4.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cross Atlantic Work-Related 




I: "Discussed fonts with the Advertising Sales Coordinator at The Ohio Plain Dealer."

YOU: "Looked for hotels in Lisbon."

I: "Attempted to reconcile a Fixture Container Shipment with the Warehouse Inventory."

YOU: "Went for tapas with your team."

I: "Spent 45 minutes explaining a change order to a gentleman named Brucelee Hendricks in our Mumbai office ."

YOU: "Went shopping to buy a present for your boss."



Thursday, June 23, 2005

Work Related 




YOU: "Purified a Plasmid."

I: "Was accused of deliberately sabotaging the Excel Fixture Matrix."

YOU: "Sequenced the pur-Alpha protien."

I: "Waited 5 minutes for my Excel file to populate a cell."

YOU: "Cross-linked a Vav-1 protien with DNA."

I: "Distributed a new blackberry cell phone number to store setup managers."

You: "Performed an Ethanol precipitation."

I: "Saved my company $200 by negotiating the price of a fold-up table rental with a Mall Marketing Manager in Port Arthur, Texas."

Spoken Werd PHIL-osophy 

Electronic troubleshooting manuals
it would be easier if u could just shoot them
whats the dizzy with that it aint bangin?

my 7 foot roommate had his foot on the table
he was popping a blister with a knife
so i asked him if he was a virgin
he says NO
i said u should BE

Easy, Fellas 

I know it's Gay Pride Week and all, but really. Let's keep our heads in the game out there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


...I tried to get rid of my pesto breath with peanut butter."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Saddam Hussein on Finding a Good Wife 

CNN reports on GQ's upcoming Saddam expose:

Saddam was friendly toward his young guards and sometimes offered fatherly advice. When O'Shea told him he was not married, Saddam "started telling me what to do," recalled the soldier. "He was like, 'You gotta find a good woman. Not too smart, not too dumb. Not too old, not too young. One that can cook and clean."'

Then he smiled, made what O'Shea interpreted as a "spanking" gesture, laughed and went back to doing his laundry in the sink.



Just Because... 

...Monkeys drinking Coke never gets old.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Come on Now.. 

...All in Together Now.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"When I was seventeen I walked into the jungle... 

...and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich."

Friday, June 17, 2005

We are the Music Makers, and We are the Dreamers of the Dreams 


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Learning Disorder 

Seven months after their last electoral bitch-slap, Democratic Senate leaders are now comparing American servicemen to Nazis.


UPDATE: House Leadership apparently sent the following letter to Nancy Pelosi in regards to the above.

June 16, 2005
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
H-2-4, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Ms. Pelosi,

We read with great disappointment comments made on Tuesday by a member of the Democratic leadership, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. While speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Durbin chose to question the reputation of the thousands of brave men and women who are serving in our armed forces. Speaking on the detainee camp at the Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Sen. Durbin said of the United States military, “You would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings.”

As you know, thousands of young Americans answered the call to serve following the horrible terrorist attacks of September 11th. At that time, we came together as a Congress like never before – as Democrats and Republicans united against those who would do America harm. Our troops stood with our nation, and they are now serving bravely in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world to keep all American families safe from terrorism. Now more than ever, our troops need our support, not comparisons to some of the worst human rights violators in history. These sorts of inappropriate comments do nothing to boost the morale of those who are serving far from their loved ones.

Does the speech made by Senator Durbin also reflect your views as the House Democratic Leader? If not, we respectfully request that you publicly renounce Senator Durbin’s comments. These sorts of irresponsible comments send the wrong message to our soldiers. Our troops have every right to know that the leadership of the United States Congress stands firmly behind them. We look forward to your timely reply.


J. Dennis Hastert Tom DeLay Roy Blunt
Speaker of the House Majority Leader Majority Whip

Eric Cantor Deborah Pryce
Chief Deputy Majority Whip Chair, House Republican Conference

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What Republicans Look Like 

Forget Tucker Carlson, Got.


The Young Republican Club 

The only way this Heritage Foundation Summer intern (pictured to the right, of course!) could look more Republican was if he were wearing a Tucker Carlson style bow-tie.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Weird Science 

NitroMed Inc. is seeking FDA approval for their drug BiDil which helps fight heart disease by increasing levels of nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels. I just ate a Wendy's Bacon Cheeseburger so this BiDil sounds like a good solution to some potential clogged arteries I might be facing down the road. Too bad I'm white...

NitroMed studied the effects of BiDil on 1,050 African-American heart failure patients. The study showed that the drug significantly reduced death and hospitalization.

So far, so good. Researchers know that different people have different responses to medications, and in some cases these have been linked to race. The F.D.A., for example, has said that people of Asian ancestry are more likely than others to get serious side effects from the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor.

However, NitroMed did not test BiDil on even a SINGLE non-black individual. Dr. Joshua Hare, a cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center realizes that this is troublesome.

"My criticism of the African-American Heart Failure Study is that they only studied African-Americans. To really test the hypothesis is to study both populations and then show, aha, the African-Americans did respond better. They didn't do that."

I'm not very knowledgeable about the challenges, both financial and logistical, that pharmaceutical companies face during the clinical trial stage of drug development, however, it seems to this blogger that if you are going to make a claim that a new drug that helps fight heart disease works only on ONE race of individuals (in this case African Americans), then you should probably have included some test subjects who WERE NOT African American in the clinical trial!!!

Isn't that the most basic element of a scientific experiment, having a TEST GROUP to TEST your results against?

In NitroMed's defense, Dr. Loberg said it would have been daunting and prohibitively expensive for a small company to conduct such broad trials. "It doesn't mean that others won't benefit as well," he said. "We just haven't identified who those others might be."

So rather than perform the exhaustive research that I assumed went into clinical drug research, NitroMed instead comes to a dubious conclusion that Dr. Hare thinks may very well prove to be incorrect:

"I don't believe for a second that this drug combination is only going to prove to be beneficial in African-Americans; it's just not conceivable," said Dr. Hare.

NitroMed didn't have enough finances to perform a thorough experiment; however they did scrounge up $200,000 to pay Dr. B. Waine Kong the director of the Association of Black Cardiologists to work with them on the clinical testing. Dr. Kong elaborates:

"By the time they got to us, they had made presentations to the Congressional Black Caucus and the N.A.A.C.P.," said B. Waine Kong, the cardiologist group's executive director. "I'm sure they were aware of the political fallout if they did not have African-American participation. And that was a wise decision."

It looks like NitroMed should not only reconsider their BiDil Pill, they should reconsider the business they are in entirely. Rather than developing medicine, maybe they should open a consulting group that lobbies on Capitol Hill.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Dark Continent Coming Into Focus 

Usually the US Government isn't quite so quick to respond to an issue that was brought up in a post here on Billiken. Sometimes however, they perform their due dilligence. The current administration is deciding to visit a bad neighborhood before that neighborhood decides to visit the US.

From the NYT:

WASHINGTON, June 9 - A growing number of Islamic militants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa are fighting American and Iraqi forces in Iraq, fueling the insurgency with foot soldiers and some financing, American military officials say.

About 25 percent of the nearly 400 foreign fighters captured in Iraq come from Africa, according to the military's European Command, which oversees military operations in most of the African continent.

Some recruits have joined the network of the militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which has carried out many of the sophisticated attacks and suicide car-bombings that have killed hundreds of Iraqis in the past several weeks, the officials said.

To combat the immediate threat and to prevent terrorists from gaining new safe havens in the region, the Bush administration is expanding a small military training program that has operated on a shoestring the past two years into a more ambitious program spending $100 million annually to provide airport security, money-handling controls, school construction and other assistance to nine African nations.

As part of this broader strategy, the United States on Monday began training exercises in Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria. Four other countries, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia and Morocco, will also participate by the time the exercises finish in two weeks. About 1,000 American troops, including 700 Special Operations forces, will train 3,000 African soldiers in marksmanship, border patrol and airborne operations.

"For a change, we're trying to get ahead of the power curve in a region that we believe is susceptible to use by terrorists," Theresa M. Whelan, the Pentagon's top Africa policy official, said. "It's a deterrent."

United States military and intelligence officials say vast swaths of the Sahara, from Mauritania in the west to SUDAN in the east, which have been smuggling routes for centuries, are becoming areas of choice for terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, which has quietly stepped up its recruiting efforts in the region.

The countries there are some of the poorest in the world and have scant resources to monitor their borders or patrol the large remote areas of their interiors, where drug smugglers, weapons traffickers and terrorists had established land routes after routes in the Mediterranean began to be patrolled more intensively.

Air France 

I probably mentioned this anecdote to just about everyone who reads this site, but at the risk of repeating myself:

Last month, I flew Air France to Mumbai, India. The first leg of the flight from JFK to Paris was ordinary enough a mixed crowd - New Yorkers, Parisians. Predictably, the second leg of the flight from Paris to Mumbai included many more Indian passengers. I took my seat, tired, I closed my eyes...

...I woke up to find two Air France stewardesses pacing up and down the aisles spraying deodorizer into the air, and at the passengers. Full on Lysol cans with the nozzle open, spraying, throwing caution (and cultural sensitivity) to the wind.

The stewardesses sprayed up and down the length of the plane, twice.

I thought a few things. Someone will protest. Some passenger will ask the stewards to stop spraying deodorizer at them. At the very least, someone will acknowledge that something out of the ordinary realm of airplane travel is going on.

As far as I could tell no one was put out. No one was shocked or awed. Maybe I was the only passenger flying this route for the first time. Maybe this is standard practice.

Or maybe, just maybe if we are going to deal in cultural stereotypes, the French stewardesses were deodorizing the plane because they were acknowledging the fact that the French, with their stinky cheese and unkempt body hair, smell pretty damn awful.


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