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BROWSER HELP OBJECTS: The New Bad Guy on the Block

A BHO is an add-on program, usually very small, that is supposed to enhance your computing experience. Most of the legitimate helpers are designed to work with web browsers such as Internet Explorer. But there are some really vicious BHOs out there. These reach deep into your PC, so deep that their digital fingers reach your pockets. Recently, a BHO was uncovered that monitors when you surf to one of 50 or so major personal banking Web sites, in order to steal your private information.

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GOOD NEWS FROM NEW EUROPE

Back in 1984, if you had bet Bulgaria would in 2004 host a convention of European free market think tanks including many from what were then communist countries, you probably would have been given very good odds. Yet during the last days of October, a remarkable conference -- the First European Resource Bank -- was held in the pleasant ski resort of Borovets, Bulgaria. This "Resource Bank" essentially was a convention of European free market think tanks. Representatives from organizations in 20 countries came together for mutual support, communication and cooperation.

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THE MURDER AND SUICIDE OF OLD EUROPE

Mohammed B., the man accused of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam last week, was born and bred in the Netherlands. Known as a “relaxed, friendly and intelligent young man," a good student, a volunteer social worker, and a serious student of information technology, he came from a close family, and the death of his mother three years ago hit him very hard. He began to devote more time to religious studies, and in the last year became increasingly fanatic. He abandoned his social work because he refused to serve alcohol, and because the foundation where he volunteered organized events where both sexes were present. He was on welfare when he killed van Gogh.The Dutch — like every other Old European society I know — were unwilling to recognize that they had potentially lethal enemies within, and that it was necessary to impose the rules of civil behavior on everyone within their domain. The rules of political correctness made it impossible even to criticize the jihadists, never mind compel them to observe the rules of civil society. Just look at what happened the next day: An artist in Rotterdam improvised a wall fresco that consisted of an angel and the words "Thou Shalt Not Kill." The local imam protested, and local authorities removed the fresco.That's what happens when a culture is relativized to the point of suicide.

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THE EVOLUTIONARY ARGUMENT AGAINST THE INCOME TAX

A number of people in Congress have suddenly become very interested in an obscure scholarly article in the October 1, 2004 issue of Science magazine, America’s premier scientific journal. Written by UCLA paleobiologist Blaire Van Valenburgh and her colleagues, it’s entitled “Cope’s Rule, Hypercarnivory, and Extinction in North American Canids.”The paper is being scrutinized on Capitol Hill because a pair of science advisors to several Congressmen, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, pointed out implications the paper has for US tax policy.The evolutionary lesson for politicians is clear. Hypercarnivores become extinct because they are dependent on hunting very big animals of which there are not very many. Once environmental changes result in even less of them, a hypercarnivore can get wiped out.Just like Governor Grey Davis in California.

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THE PECULIAR MORALITY OF SECESSION

The deluge of teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling grief-tormented hysteria washing over every liberal media outlet in the Milky Way Galaxy has reached a high-water mark with space-patrol talk about secession - as in the Kerry-voting “Blue” states actually seceding from the United States. Here’s Geraldine Ferraro fomenting on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes November 6:

You know what? Just let me make one point. You were talking about the map before. If indeed all those blue states all got together and seceded from the union, think what would be left for those red states, nothing. There would be no educational system. You would have nothing. What would be left to you? I mean, where is all of this talent in this country? It's on both sides, the Northeast corridor.
We can shake our heads in laughable wonder at this, and gloat about BDD’s - Brain Dead Democrats. But their maniacally empty threat is a gift, as it creates a marvelous “teachable moment” whereby the LibDems can learn a lesson about their moral values.Recall that it was Democrats who seceded the last time from America, in 1861. They were in full righteous fury defending the morality of slavery. Throughout the Confederate States, slavery was known as “the peculiar institution,” with the moral right to own human beings as personal property unquestioned and believed in with fanatical zeal. Just like abortion in the Blue States today.

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CLOSURE

The United States of America needs you right now! The election is over, it was a dogfight, and my fangs were bared as much as any. If you were a Democrat, independent, a Kerry-supporting Republican, or a member of any other political group, and anything I said in any editorials hurt or offended you, I apologize. It is now time for us all to come together in unified resolve to support our commander-in-chief and our troops. Our fight is over, but the war is not. As a Vietnam veteran, I personally still have issues with John F. Kerry, which most-likely will never see resolution, but that right now is inconsequential. I respected and appreciated John Kerry's comments in his concession speech for an end to divisiveness. This election was a time for healing and great closure for most of us who walked those fields of fire in the steaming emerald-colored hell of Vietnam. After years of silent agony and an American public who hid us in the cellar as their bastard stepchildren, John Kerry, unwittingly or not, forced us to march upward into the sun-like-brightness of self-awareness, and ultimately, of our own self-worth.

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BUYING A LAPTOP

Most people buy laptops for their portability, not its speed or upgrade-ability. Laptops let you be productive almost anywhere, and having a ‘portable office’ is an advantage for many. But laptops are generally overrated. Only secretaries, salesmen and engineers make good use of their laptop. Many others play games, surf the internet, check their email, try to work and talk at the same time, or at caf�s work and watch the more attractive members of the opposite sex at the same time. Given the expense involved, laptops are for all intents and purposes un-upgradeable. You are married to whatever CPU, video card (built into the motherboard) , sound card (also built-in) and screen come with the laptop. Laptops are much slower than desktops that have similar CPUs. Slower CPUs, motherboards, hard drives and video systems all contribute to the speed loss. According to reviews I’ve read, the best laptop built-in video card would be lucky to be half as fast as the best desktop video card. Of course, there’s always a better component out there, but it’s going to cost you.

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CLINTON’S PATRIOTISM

I received a number of raised eyebrows regarding Hanoi John and Slick Willie, wherein I questioned Kerry’s patriotism but not Clinton’s. Here’s one from Sandra Adams:“I am wondering why you would not question Clinton's patriotism considering Chinagate. I have always thought that he allowed the transfer of America's nuclear technology secrets to the Chinese in exchange for money with which to run his campaign for re-election. I have read that he allowed the Chinese to advance at least a couple of decades, with the knowledge gained, thereby hugely increasing the threat to America. I admit to being puzzled by your statement upholding Clinton's patriotism. Other than this, what I have read so far on your site has been fascinating. Thank you very much.”Sandra’s point is well-made. I was wondering how many TTPers would call me on the carpet about Chinagate, and now I know! Yes, it’s true, as Congressman Chris Cox, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security determined, that Clinton authorized high-tech transfer to the Chicoms in exchange for campaign donations to the Democrat Party. Sleazy and illegal and impeachable, yes. Treason? Here’s why I’m not completely sure.

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REJECTING THE EVIL EYE

You’ve seen jewelry like this pendant, haven’t you? If you travel most anywhere in the Mediterranean - Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Egypt - you’ll see people wearing something like this as bracelets, necklaces, pins, amulets. You’ll see something similar in Iran, India, Mexico, and South America. If you see a lady wearing this in the US, it’s likely because she thinks it's attractively decorative. But for everywhere else, wearing this type of jewelry is very serious business. Its purpose is to protect its wearer from the Evil Eye. In Greece it is called matiasma, in Spain and South America the mal ojo. The Evil Eye is known as ayin horeh in Hebrew; ayin harsha in Arabic, droch shuil in Scotland, mauvais oeil in France, bosen blick in Germany, and oculus malus among the ancient Romans. Today in Italy it is called the mal occhio. Fans of those preservers of certain unpleasant aspects of Italian culture, The Sopranos, will recall Tony Soprano referring in classic New Jerseyese to da ol’ maloik, that old evil eye. Fear of the envy of others is one of mankind’s most deeply primal and pervasive terrors. Ask a taxi driver in Cairo why he has a beaded blue eye dangling from his rear-view mirror, and he’ll tell you, “Many people will look at you with evil eyes and want to harm you when they see you with a new car - so this protects me.” Compliment a peasant woman in a Turkish or Italian or Peruvian village on her beautiful baby and she will panic in fright, loudly denying your words. Envy-avoidance is one of the most basic and primary motivators of human behavior. It takes an exceptional amount of courage to not be afraid of envy. It is horribly hard for any single individual to strive his or her best while envious evil eyes are directed at them. It is harder still for an entire society, an entire country to do so. This is the “meta-story” of November 2nd. The overriding question to be determined on that day, the question of the most vital importance, was: would a majority of Americans reject the envy of the world or would they succumb to it? Thus this election was a referendum on the demand of Old Europe, the Arabs, and other assorted foreign folks that we capitulate to their envy. We refused. That is the great victory, the great triumph of November 2nd.

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THE HISTORY OF AMERICA’S FUTURE

I surrendered at three o’clock in the morning after watching election returns for eight straight hours, and fell asleep convinced GW had won but oddly unemotional. Up at six to get my 12 year-old to school and let my wife sleep, I fussed away the morning with newspapers and the computer. Checking Fox again for the umpteenth time at eleven, when the announcement came that Kerry had called Bush to concede I didn’t yell or jump for joy. An emotional dam broke instead, and I just sat and cried my heart out with relief.America’s future is on track. Cokie Roberts on NPR stated that, more than Iraq or terrorism or the economy or anything else, exit polls showed that “moral values” was the issue of highest concern to voters. Bill Strauss and Neil Howe would not be surprised.I wrote about Strauss and Howe in The Curse of the Xer’s (TTP, February 5, 2004, currently up in Classics, and providing a capsule summary of their theory). Using their model of generational cycles, I predicted that:

American culture has not disintegrated, we’re not going to keep heading down into a bottomless cultural barrel. We’re in the bottom of a generational cycle that our country has gone through before and will again. Our nightmare of degeneracy will soon be coming to an end.
And so it has come to an end yesterday, November 2, 2004.

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