82 / 275 = 30%

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE (AFP) reports that a few days ago, 82 of the 275 members of the Iraqi Parliament signed a letter calling upon their government to honor their election promises to demand a clear timetable for the pullout of foreign troops, including U.S. troops.

There’s been almost no mention of this in the U. S. press, though it has reported ramped-up administration statements saying that we’re not planning to withdraw until we feel like it’s in our and everybody else’s interest to do so.

So, that’s certainly not a majority, but it will be interesting to see what the U.S. does when the number of Iraqi ministers of parliament calling for a pullout reaches 138/275.

That’s the right wing’s big thing, after all, “a straight up-or-down vote.”

Full Story at defensenews.com.

‘Ha Ha!’ Er, that is to say, ‘Oh Crap.’

Sure, there’s been a glut of technology workers, compared to demand, but here’s an article quoting the respected Gartner Group, showing that the supply is expected to fall by at least 15% over the next 5 years:

The research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that up to 15 percent of tech workers will drop out of the profession by 2010, not including those who retire or die. Most will leave because they can’t get jobs or can get more money or job satisfaction elsewhere.

15 percent! Ha ha! That is a serious drop in the supply of competitors. I mean, what could possibly top that?

Within the same period, worldwide demand for technology developers – a job category ranging from programmers [to] people who maintain everything from mainframes to employee laptops – is forecast to shrink by 30 percent.

Aw, crap.

Full Story from the Associated Press

For Whom The Bell Tolls…

…in this case, not for anyone from our side! That’s right, friends, Industry Figures world-wide were pleased (yes: pleased) to learn that Industry Figure Leah Newell does not, in fact, have lung cancer, but instead is afflicted with histoplasmosis, a bird-borne fungus. That’ll teach her to consort with fowl, no matter how bell-loving.

Leah Newell and Sunny the Bell-Crazed Parakeet, 1980.

It’s worth noting that Industry Figures Leah and Stephen Newell were the first couple whose wedding I personally ever attended that featured close personal friends of the bride and groom playing the guitar and singing ‘The Wedding Song (There Is Love).’ Actually, I still get a little misty thinking of it, so that was probably an Excellent Choice.

Once again, congratulations, Leah — no cancer, only Bird Fungus!

The Horrible Twisting of the Republican Party

Not so very long ago, I was a registered Republican. It hasn’t been that way for a while, though. Nowadays, it’s just no place for a Free Thinker (I love that expression; I can’t believe the extent that our language has withered in the last century).

On NBC NEWS’ “MEET THE PRESS” today, Tim Russert quoted from a recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times by John Danforth, the former Republican U. S. senator from Missouri and Episcopal minister who resigned in January as United States ambassador to the United Nations:

“By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians. The elements of this transformation have included advocacy of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, opposition to stem cell research involving both frozen embryos and human cells in petri dishes, and the extraordinary effort to keep Terri Schiavo hooked up to a feeding tube.

Standing alone, each of these initiatives has its advocates, within the Republican Party and beyond. But the distinct elements do not stand alone. Rather they are parts of a larger package, an agenda of positions common to conservative Christians and the dominant wing of the Republican Party…

As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.”

Full Article in The New York Times
March 30, 2005