Did Republicans Deliberately Burn the Flag Amendment?


You can read it here, here, and here. The Senate, needing 67 votes to send a Flag Amendment to the 50 states, could only muster 66 votes and thus the Amendment went down in flames (all the pun intended).

My question is this: did the Republicans REALLY want to pass this, or did they just want to use it as an issue in the November elections? Are you telling me that Bush and the Republican leadership could not cajole, force, bribe, or threaten McConnell, Bennett, or Chafee (all Republicans who voted against it) into voting for this Amendment?

In my humble opinion this was a stunt by the Republican leadership to embarrass the Democrats. They never really wanted to pass this. And that my friends, embarrasses me.

As you probably heard Warren Buffett, the worlds second richest man, has donated 85% of his net worth to five foundations. Most of the money (around $30 billion) went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. After years telling small business owners and farmers that the estate tax was fair and equitable, Mr. Buffett completely avoided paying estate taxes on his own fortune.

Sadly, just 3 weeks earlier, a plan to ease the estate tax burden failed to pass the Senate by 3 votes. Had Buffett spoken up and "said as he did", thousands of small business owners and farmers may have been able to pass their family businesses on to their children.

Warren E. Buffett: Philanthropist, Hypocrite.

A Certain Ministry - An Uncertain Step


Last night I became a Gideon. I didn't mean to, but I did. The Assistant Pastor at my church (Hi Glenn!) encouraged me to attend a meeting to hear more about the organization. For many years I have held the organization in high regard, but I have never learned how the ministry actually works. So, as a young Christian businessman, it was time for me to investigate.

Time commitment, of course, was my biggest concern. My wives final recommendation to me before I went into the meeting was "don't make a commitment until you think and pray about it." I think that was good advice - the right advice.

But as I listened to their presentation I decided to join. They did not press for a time commitment or for a commitment to any particular activities. Rather they encouraged us to join, if for nothing else, to support the ministry financially and to receive their magazine to stay abreast of what is going on with the Gideons.

So I am now a Gideon. Over the coming weeks and months I will be talking with God and my family about how to get involved further.

I REALLY (don't) Need One of These


Distracted by all those "passersby" when playing Zelda? Can't stand human interference when destroying aliens? Looking for less reality while enjoying virtual reality?

Well I have a product for you!

Let me introduce the Gaming Scarf.

Never again be disturbed when the game is on the line!

HDMI - Irrelevant until at least 2010?


Cesar over at TeamXbox (an IGN site) has an interesting take on why HDMI may not matter for movie playback or video games until at least 2010.

[Update] - OK, here is the scoop on HDMI. HDMI is digital connection that transmits data (video, audio, etc) in a secure format. It is designed to thwart the theft of digital intellectual property. Nearly all HDTV's sold in stores today are HDMI compatible. One year ago only high end HDTV's had the adapter (and even fewer the year before). So why does the world need HDMI all of a sudden? Well, we really don't. The data transmission is really no better than HD Component cables. This whole format is being driven by piracy - the inability of IP owners to protect their property using current technology. Studios have given consumers motivation to "upgrade" to HDMI by threatening to downgrade the video resolution on HD DVD and BluRay discs if you are not using the HDMI ecosystem (which includes archaic acronyms such as HDCP, AACS, and ICT). Theoretically, someone with HD Component cables, an HDTV, and a HD DVD player may only get standard DVD resolution when watching a movie. That is why it is a big deal that, according to the article at TeamXbox, movie studios and manufacturers will not downgrade movies (via the Image Constraint Token) until at least 2010. Therefore, the Xbox 360 (with no HDMI cable yet released) and the PS3 (only the $600 version has HDMI, the $500 version lacks it) will still be able to be used as High Definition video players.

Here is another article saying that Cesar at TeamXbox may be right. And another one here.

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