Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Call to Arms!

Dear Readers,

I'm sure you're all aware of our friend Cocktail's blog, SHEAm has mentioned it a few times. Cocktail (aka Marc) has decided to do a little series on why people enjoy their home state/city/region. Quite a noble idea, and sure to be entertaining. You can check out his first post on the Philly area here.

He also published his schedule for future posts. In doing so he included some sure-fire winners like Ohio, "The South", Texas, etc. He also included on the list "The Rest of Pa". Now as I'm sure all our dear readers know, Pittsburgh (like Philadelphia) is quite different from the rest of Pa. The middle part is affectionately known as "Pennsyltuckey"; full of hillbillies and gun-nuts. James Carville famously noted that Pennsylvania is comprised of "Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Alabama in between".

So I'm asking you, dear readers, to help me lobby and educate Marc. I encourage you to contact him and let him know that Pittsburgh, with it's fair hills, winning teams, beautiful spires, 3 rivers, etc is worthy of it's own entry. If you, like me, love the Steel City: comment on Marc's blog If you hate Pittsburgh, but love the outlying areas of PA and don't want the two associated with one another: comment on Marc's blog. Alternatively, you can write to me or comment here and I'll make sure he sees it.

My dear friend Dave already wrote to Marc imploring him to include the Pittsburgh area in a separate post. Here is Dave, in his own words:
I understand the instinct to call Pennsylvania a state defined by Philadelphia and "everywhere else." As a New Jerseyan, I'm rather jealous, because I live in a state that is entirely composed of "everywhere else." But to ignore the importance and relevance of Pittsburgh is do a grave disservice to the state of Pennyslvania and the residents of Pittsburgh.

Why consider Pittsburgh? Media treatment dictates that Pittsburgh be relegated to the same heap of small and largely irrelevant midwestern cities that are close together and lack distinction like Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee. Just because the media elite believes that relevant cities must be located on the coasts (in the case of Chicago, the beautiful coast of Lake Michigan) and be defined by financial centers and white collars does not mean you have to fall prey to such embarrassing assumptions. Consider the following:

Pittsburgh has three major professional sports teams: The Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Some of them have been fantastic. And, if you hate the Pirates as much as they probably hate themselves, well at least you can watch a better opposing team in what is a beautiful ballpark.

Pittsburgh is a great college town. Pitt, Duquesne, and Carnegie Mellon all call this fair city home. It has a vibrant nightlife and Allegheny cemetary provides ample opportunities for morning soul searching after wasted freshmen realize they drunkenly urinated on some of the nation's greatest leaders of industry.

Pittsburgh's downtown is a beautiful and quaint little area. They too have a coast, seated quite nicely along three rivers. Its up-hill carts along old steel and coal mills allow breathtaking views of beautiful architecture and topography in the area. Bringing your kids? Make them a student of economics and understand the spoils and risks of capitalism as you help them understand how changing markets and free trade can make or break what was once a bustling and cosmopolitan part of the country. Teach them history by describing the days of the gilded age.

Marc, while I recognize that Philadelphia, that liberal bastion of sports loser-dom (I still refuse to recognize the Phillies victory because all World Series won after the first snow of the year are null and void) is an easy target for a vacation spot, let us be mindful that there is much more than that scandal-ridden city where the bells are made so poorly they break. Remember that Ben Franklin got the hell out of Philadelphia for Europe. That's right, Philadelphia actually made him hate America so much he left! Had he lived in Pittsburgh, well, perhaps he'd have been with us for far longer. Besides, have you ever tried to ride the SEPTA system or watch Eagles fans get wasted and throw up on fans of the opposing team? You can't tell the zoo from the stadium!

Pittsburgh is a city of simultaneous grit and class. If Pittsburgh was indicative of "everywhere else" in Pennsylvania, believe you me, this world would be a much better place. Unfortunately it is limited to this small swath of land that Corrupt once called home.

Am I doing anything but posting?

* All this talk of space policy ... and a new report was just released today regarding the Columbia disaster.  The Paper of Record has a piece here, which has been the most extensive review of the disaster since it occurred ... and will hopefully be used to make the Constellation space program better.

* In case you missed my post on the 30th about the NextBus link found at the Georgetown Metropolitan.  Well here it is again ... just select your route, then your stop, and you can see the next bus!  

* Via DCist, we've got some Rhee news, here!  Sadly its not awesome.  I don't want to steal DCist's entire post ... so to paraphrase - someone went through Rhee's 5-year plan and found the glaring omission of pre-school, pre-k, or even kindergarten.  This is especially odd considering the DC Circus just passed universal pre-k legislation.  Hmmm ... Idk.  Early education is important and Rhee knows that, but maybe she doesn't want to get bogged down ($$$$) in pre-schooling.

* Anyone want to get your hands on some limited edition merchandise.  This is awesome - I just bought some stuff.  I'm stoked.  These will go great along with my fourthree (thanks Joey) Bush-Cheney '04 glasses.  Check it out here!

* Odwalla Bar!  Patchus will find this amusing because we had quite the experience with them last year - also known as taking a bite and then spitting them out.  But I was at CVS the other day and saw them ... and for some reason wasn't thinking of our bad experience and bought them.  I just took one out of my desk and opened it - the second I smelled it I remembered the bad experience ... I decided to try it anyway.  Nope, still disgusting.  So readers, avoid Odwalla Bars at all costs.  Patchus even called their customer service line to ask if they had ever tried one of their bars, the woman didn't seem to want to answer.

* Speaking of CVS ... Why is it CVS/Pharmacy; not CVS Pharmacy, or CVS and Pharmacy, or CVS: Pharmacy Department within?  Anyone know.  It's been on my mind.

* Cavan over at GGW has the scoop on the CCT (Corridor Cities Transitway) ... and hopes that MoCo actually builds the transit if they plan for it.  The idea seems pretty solid and it would definitely be a great boon to business and growth.  Check it out, here.

I don't want to work...

I know it's not Friday, and I usually reserve this for special Fridays or some other break time. But it's basically already a holiday today! For all those who are leaving work mid-day, here's some celebratory music!

The Pope, Politics, and the President

Happy (almost) New Year! Australia has already celebrated!

Here's some news from around the world today:

***In a surprising move, the Vatican has taken further steps toward total independence. Previously, the Vatican, tough a pseudo independent city-state, has automatically accepted all Italian laws as their own, except in extreme cases. Now that practice will stop and only fully acceptable laws will be integrated into Vatican City, and only after careful review. Pope Benedict XVI isn't messing around! I can't say I blame him, given the crazy and unstable state of Italian politics...

***Huffington Post is reporting that Republicans are privately preparing for Coleman's defeat in Minnesota. While all regular ballots have been counted (and Franken is ahead by only 50), there are 1600 improperly rejected absentee ballots to consider, which both camps think will likely favor Franken. This leaves Coleman with the options to either let it go or pursue legal action. I wonder if Republicans who all chastised Al Gore for taking legal action to require all votes to be counted in Florida will be just as quick to criticize Coleman for taking an electoral challenge to Court?? Somehow, I doubt it. He already filed a case trying to stop the voting, but that didn't work out for Republicans this time.

Some conservatives don't want Coleman to come back at all. He's under investigation by the FBI for improperly taking $75,000 and failing to report it. Many GOPers don't want to perpetuate the image of corruption that has been part of the party brand the past few years...

***HuffPo also has a story about Cali suing the Bush administration to save the Endangered Species Act. I have to say, Cali really is a great state with a great Governor (minus that whole Prop 8 thing). They are the leaders in clean energy, fuel efficiency standards, etc. And now this. Republicans should follow the Governator's lead and move back to the center!

*** In news of the bizzare, Blago's last grasping reach for power (Burris) has a shrine to himself in Illinois. Politico reports that he has a crypt already made with a chiseled-in list of his accomplishments. My favorite is that you can see the words "Trail Blazer" on the crypt. Don't worry, he left room for some more.

***Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is writing a tell-all book about his time with the Bush Administration. I wonder if he'll 'tell-all' about how he fired U.S. Attorneys for not prosecuting enough Democrats.... you know the reason he had to resign and all.

***Atheists are suing Chief Justice Roberts to stop the practice of addng "So help me God" at the end of the Presidential Inauguration. While it is rumored that George Washington ended his oath with those words, it wasn't a common practice until the Greatest of All Presidents, His Emminence Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933. It has been customary ever since. I say: back off Atheists. While I completely agree in the separation of church and state and think sometimes this country gets the two a little too close, this is personal choice. If Obama chooses to do so, let him invoke the blessing of his God.

That's all for now!!

Why am I in the office...

* The latest in the saga between TV Network distributors and cable companies has taken an ugly turn.  Viacom has scheduled a fee increase for their MTV Network channels - about 20 in all, including Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and Spike.  And Time Warner Cable is refusing to pass that fee along to consumers.  If no compromise is reached, the channels will be shut off effective midnight tonight.  Viacom has been taking out full page ads in the newspaper telling Time Warner customers to call and urge Time Warner to change their position on the matter.  The Paper of Record - here.  You can see a video from the WSJ, cite H - here.  NYT ArtsBeat also has a take on it, here.

Okay ... this is getting to be ridiculous.  It is Viacom's content, they can charge whatever they want for it.  If people don't like the price they simply won't get that package.  Time Warner is not on some crusade for the consumer as they claim to be - they are just in a petty fight with Viacom trying to prove who is stronger.   I mean I don't even know what to say - anytime I hear about things like this happening I just get really upset, its bothersome and makes me hate cable companies even more.

* Ford Fusion Hybrid: 41 mpg city; 36 mpg highway.  It's a mid size, and will cost about $27,000 when it goes on sale this Spring.  Here.  This may seem like an interesting time to release a pretty awesome Hybrid, but I think it will prove itself for Ford in the long run.

* Back in 2002 when I took my first SAT II ... I took three of them, even though I was only supposed to take one - that was because they had Score Choice.  So if I didn't do well, I didn't have to release the scores to any school.  That was the last year they did that, and did away with Score Choice.  Well apparently its back - except this time for the SAT I.  The College Board is saying it will help to reduce stress; I am saying it will help to reduce the effectiveness of the SAT.  Some selective schools are not that happy - and say that they would prefer to see all the scores, knowing that students could do really poorly their first time around, and I have to agree with the policy.  I really can't believe the College Board is trying to bring back score choice.  Via The Paper of Record, cite GWSkank - here.

* WaPo has 2008 in review ... 5 pages of it.  A good read.  Here.

* The Obama's will be moving to DC this weekend ... the girls start school on Monday.  They are moving to an undisclosed hotel suite.  Via The Paper of Record - here.

* The Federal Government is tightening their no smoking rules at Federal buildings.  As per a new GSA regulation published last week, smoking is now to take place 25 feet from buildings.  It is also banned in courtyards and previously approved 'smoking-rooms' in certain buildings.  Via WaPo, here.

* NYT CityRoom ran the greatest headline to a post ever this morning, Choice of Kennedy for Senate No Longer Seem Inevitable ... Oh CityRoom, so right - thank you!  Here.

* Don't drink and drive tonight.  1-800-200-TAXI.  SoberRide sponsored by ... someone.

Blago, Blago, Blago

Quick update, and my two cents to SHEAm's newest pseudo-satirical abomination.

Apparently Roland Burris is under the impression that his appointment isn't an issue. While he might have a legitimate view that his appointment is fully legal and appropriate, he'd have to be living on another planet to not think it was a controversial move. For the first time this makes me question his ability to serve...

Providing some historical perspective: Obama backed Burris in the last statewide primary for the Governorship... over Blago. But Obama has agreed with the Senate Democrats that he should not be seated and that any appointment made by Blago while under scrutiny for trying to sell that very same seat is toxic.

Now on to commentary in response to SHEAm: let's get a few things straight. First off - Harry Reid is a pro-life Mormon from a relatively conservative state. Hardly a left-winger. And more importantly, he's a former boxer and used to run the Nevada Gaming Commission. While running the commission he was repeatedly threatened, had a bomb attached to his car, and served as an FBI informant and busted an attempted bribe from La Toya Jackson's manager. A character in the movie Casino was based on him. He also went to GWU. Translation: Don't mess with Harry Reid. He's badass.

As for the appointment: I think at this point very few people are making the argument that Blago cannot under any circumstances appoint Burris. The state Supreme Court made it clear that the Attny Gen can't remove him or suspend him for being 'incapacitated', etc. And I absolutely agree that anyone who is charged or indicted is innocent until proven guilty. The issue really boils down to: how can this guy even pretend to be functioning as Governor and doing the people's work when he spends the vast majority of his time hunkered down with legal counsel trying to fight these criminal charges?!? And it just adds insult to injury that not only is he making this appointment under a general cloud of scrutiny that would already undermine whomever he appointed, but Blago is being investigated for selling that very Senate seat!

All in all, it's a mess. Blago, step down for your own sake and the sake of your state.

Apple: Steve's baby

I have promised a post about Apple, but one has yet to come just because I have been a little lazy ... so here it is.

I am going to start with Steve Jobs.  Apple news seems to revolves around Steve Jobs, Steve this, Steve that - he is of concern to everyone.  When CNN issued the ireport that he died, the stock took a nosedive.  People are overly convinced that Steve Jobs is Apple.  Gigaom has a post about how Apple will be just fine without Steve Jobs, here.  I'd like to think it is true, and hope that people aren't stupid enough to realize that a single man doesn't make a company great.  Steve has instilled a culture at Apple that will long out last him - at least I'm sure he hopes it does.

On that note ... you may have heard that this is the last year Apple will be participating in the Macworld conference - set to take place in early January in San Francisco.  Apple backing out of the trade show means that it is over, and is certainly the end of an era - but I think they are right in doing so.  Apple used the event to tout new products - something that is just as easily done from the small theatre on the Cupertino campus.  More interestingly though, even though this is the last Macworld - Steve Jobs won't be giving the keynote ... so what does that mean.

Well as of this morning, investment firm Piper Jaffray thinks that nothing of any excitement will  be announced because of Mr. Job's absence.  I am inclined to think the contrary ... perhaps Apple is going to prove that they can make a huge announcement without Steve Jobs standing up on the stage and dazzling people.  The events aren't about him, it should be about the product - right?

So what will we see at Macworld ... what will come.  Here is what is making its way around the rumor mills:
* Mac mini - the mini has been the same forever, and people have said it is going bye bye time and time again.  The mini has proved itself, especially in business applications - where people want a small form factor machine that can perform basic tasks and display video - without crashing.  I know its funny when we you see the BSOD on a display outside or at some store, but I'm sure the company doesn't find it cool - so they should be choosing the mini.  I desperately hope the mini gets an update ... and I think it will, especially with Apple's switch to Display Port technology with the latest lineup of Macbooks.
* iMac - Our age old friend needs a redesign ... maybe?  It will definitely see some kind of refresh, who knows if there will be an actual design change.
* iPhone Nano - This has been speculated before ... will we see it.  Who knows, I'm not holding my breath.  Engadget has some deets on the situation, here.
* Apple Media Server - You will remember my post yesterday about HP's MediaSmart home media server, and my complaints about how Apple has been basically useless in this category.  The AppleTV was a great start ... but it doesn't have the storage capacity to be a media server, nor was it meant to serve that purpose.  Yesterday afternoon, right after the HP announcement, mac rumor site 9to5Mac posted a rumor about a supposed media server that we could expect to see at Macworld.  I screamed for joy.  It would basically serve as an add on to MobileMe (hopefully no cost change), and would be able to act as a home media server and one accessible over the internet (so I don't need to use Lala at work - sorry Lala).  9to5 has the full rundown, here, but it sounds pretty awesome.  This is exactly what I want/need.

Anyway Phil Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Marketing, will be giving the keynote on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 at 9am PST.  So, on Tuesday morning look for some links to live blogs on the keynote and look for something after the keynote about what was said and what we got.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I know Corrupt already commented on this - but I have a different opinion.

For the first time in a long time ... I can say that I respect a sitting Democratic Governor ... Rod Blagojavich is that man. He ... like all American people is innocent until proven guilty. And says he has done nothing wrong and will remain in his role as Governor - and he has the right to do that. Whether or not you disagree with his decision, it is his decision to make - and he is choosing to carry out the duties of his office.

Of course things just get even better ... in no surprising move at all the US Senate Democrats led by left-winger Harry Reid have announced they will not allow Mr. Blagojavich's nominee, Mr. Burris, to be sat. That is rich ... the Senate thinks they can prevent a fellow Senator from entering their body. I'm sorry Mr. Reid we have laws in this country. Please learn to uphold them. Even left-winger Corrupt has said that the 1969 SCOTUS ruling in Powell v. McCormack allows for Mr. Burris to be seated, no matter what Mr. Reid seems to think.

To add icing to the cake liberal mudslinger Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says he will refuse to certify Mr. Blagovich's appointment. Who do these people think they are?

I know almost everyone out there reading this will be up in arms about this post, including Corrupt, but I think Mr. Blagojavich is perfect within line. Nowhere in the Illinois Constitution is Mr. Blagojavich forced to resign for being accused of a crime. The man has not has his day in court.

Do I think he is guilty? Of course; he's a Democrat, they are all corrupt.
But the fact still stands the man is Governor and has the power to appoint anyone he so pleases to this seat.

Editors Note: This post is partially satire.

I don't like the name Roundup anymore...

* Via TechCrunch, here, who gets these deets from Glassdoor, we have the best and worst places to work for the year.  I have taken a select few of the Top 20 to work for: Netflix (3), Whole Foods (6), Google (7), Caterpillar (16), and Apple (19).  The number 1 and 2 worst places, respectively to work are DHL Express (USA) [luckily they won't have to worry about that for long :-/] and United Airlines.

* BP is offering free WiFi at gas stations?  USA Today, here, seems to be under that impression, so we don't know if its actually fact or completely made up.  Interesting idea BP, hoping to be the next hangout?

* Rebuilding Place in Urban Space has an interesting take, here, on Washingtonian's article about Arlington and Alexandria possibly becoming the 51st state.  Why doesn't DC join in on the action?  Makes sense to me ... better than retrocession into Maryland.

* Engadget has the scoop on Ford's self-parking car - just something else that lazy Americans really need.  It should be available in two Lincoln models by 2010 ... interesting.

* Lifehacker has the deets on how to learn sign language - here.

* GGW thinks that Apple should stop toying around and design a building that the Georgetown ANC would actually like - something in the federal style.  If they wanted glass, stone, and metal - they can go build in Gallery Place or Logan.  Good point - here.

* The Clintons will be with America's Mayor on NYE assisting him in dropping the ball in Times Square.  Excitement.  Via Perez - here.

* Columbia Heights Streetscape project website is up and running - here.

* New Georgetown blog ... I personally like Vox Populi, but I'll be adding the Georgetown Metropolitan to Reader to check it out.  I'll let you know what I think.  Of particular note is that Mr. GM (as he annoyingly likes to call himself), has found the back door into Nextbus' WMATA page.  Go here and select your route, then select your stop - and you have the next bus information ... nice!

* LOL ... Cite H:

* Got an hour and a half to kill ... or just want to see a really great documentary via Joe.My.God. - The Times of Harvey Milk is up on Hulu.  I embedded it below, but you can feel free to click through because I think it'd be annoying to watch in this window.  The full link is here.  Watch:

Happening Now ... Palestine Protest in Foggy Bottom

What I assumed would be a typical Tuesday evening, turned out to be anything but ...

I went to get my haircut with the fabulous Marsha at Shears Hair Salon off of McPherson Square (I've been going to her for 5+ years - she's fantastic!), and while leaving around 6pm, I heard some screaming and chanting in front of the White House. After determining that, no, it wasn't the crazy lady with a helmet glued to her head in Lafayette Park ... I walked over to H and 16th Streets to investigate. There was an enormous march/protest going down H Street toward GW. As this was the way I was walking back to my office, I decided to walk along and see what the commotion was about.

The protesters were screaming "Free Free Palestine" from what I could make out, or perhaps it was "Re-Free Palestine" ... but that doesn't make much sense. There was also a chant "George Bush - you will see /Palestine will be free." I am bad at estimating numbers, but from the mass I saw there were certainly close to 1000 people.

I became a little weary as the people marching turned up Pennsylvania Avenue toward my office at GW ... but I followed along, snapping pictures on my camera phone now and then. I caught up to the front of the protesters as they made a left from Pennsylvania onto 21st Street (with police escort). I legit thought they were going to march right into Kogan Plaza in the center of GW's campus, but I believe they continued down 21st Street toward the mall. I scurried into my office before seeing where their final destination was.

Thoughts on the current issues in Palestine?

A little political news...

****President Bush continues to surprise me this month. In a little bit of a Christmas present, it seems that Bush has signed a piece of legislation that actually helps gay and lesbian couples. I know, I'm as confused as you are. There must be a catch...

The Worker, Retireee, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 makes it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same sex partner should an employee die. Married heterosexual couples already enjoy this right (and thus avoid tax penalties), but the right is now being extended to same-sex couples. I'm glad to see Bush is joining the civilized world and at least helping us gain just a little more of the equality cookie. Better late than never!

**** Blago is making a Senate appointment- Despite the conventional wisdom of... well everyone, the embattled Illinois Governor is going to go ahead and apoint Obama's successor to the U.S. Senate. Word is he's going to appoint former state Attorney General Roland Burris to the seat. Blago and Burris are former rivals, yet Burris seems to be a safe choice and relatively uncontroversial. Also of note: Burris will be the 4th African American Senator in the body's history, and the third from Illinois. You read it here first! (hopefully)

UPDATE: The Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Senate, via Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and others are now saying that they will NOT seat Blago's pick of Burris. They issued the following statement outlining that while they respect Burris, anyone appointed by Blago is not acceptable:

"It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.

"Next week we will start one of the most important debates of the year - outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America. And in the coming weeks, we will be working to protect homeowners and consumers, make America more energy independent, strengthen our national security, and improve health care and educational opportunities. There is much work to do and a lot at stake. It is thus critical that Illinois and every other state have two seated Senators without delay.

"We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat."

There is some little precedent for individuals to not be seated in the Senate when there are questions about the propriety of the election that that individual won. Constitutionall, each house of Congress has the right to check the qualifications and election of all it's members. However, in the 1960s the House of Representatives refused to seat incumbent Adam Clatyon Powell due to charges of corruption. The case went to the Supreme Court and in an 8-1 decision the Court held that the House had no right to exclude Powell. The Court said that the House could only exclude members when they don't meet the basic qualifications or if they were not properly elected. Since Burris meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements of Illinois and Blago as Governor has the legal ability to appoint anyone, the question is: Does the Senate even have the option to refuse to seat Burris?? Let me know your thoughts

Other Tuesday Musings...

I had to take a quick break, and unlike SHEAm do some actual work today, but here are some of the other musings/thoughts I've had on today's news (again, some of these are related to Timmy SHEAm's roundup)

***Caroline Kennedy - I've said it before and I'll say it again: NO. I like the Kennedy family in general. I especially like the Kennedy's who have served in public office. I'm not from New York, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island- all places represented in Congress at one time or another by a Kennedy, but I greatly respect their dedication to public service, and I quite frequently find myself in total agreement with policies they support (read: healthcare, education, equality). However, the idea that Caroline Kennedy can just walz in to New York and basically declare herself Senator is absurd. Is there precedent for this kind of stuff? Absolutely. Just look at the seat being held for Biden's son in Delaware or that was held for Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts after JFK's election as president. I'd say that ended up working out well for the nation given the enormous influence Senator Edward M. Kennedy has had on public policy in America. But that doesn't excuse the less than desirable way in which the seat was handed down to him.

Let me pause here and say that I have a great affinity for the British Monarchy, especially as castrated from power the Royal Family is presently. I appreciate the pomp and circumstance that goes into have a royal head of state and occasionally long for that level of pomposity here in the US. That being said, we don't have inhereted positions of power in America and I hope we never do. True, there have been occasional dynastic leanings from time to time. One need look no further than our current president. But the incidence of 'handing down' these positions seems to be growing more and more common. There is obviously the large and powerful Kennedy family, but also look at Senator Murkowski of Alaska (appointed by her father, the now-former governor), Al Gore (who took his father's senate seat), Chris Dodd (who took his father's senate seat), Lincoln Chaffee (who took his father's senate seat) or the siblings/cousins in Congress: the Diaz-Balart brothers, Sanchez sisters, Levin brothers, Udall cousins, etc. It seems to be getting a bit out of hand. And this isn't even including the wives of politicians who take their husband's seats.

All in all, there should never be a sense of entitlement to an elective office, even if a temporary replacement is being appointed. We live in a democratic republic. Let's not forget the first operative word in that phrase. Not even for a Kennedy.

*** Frank Rich in the NYT (SHEAm's paper of record)- Frequent readers (both of you out there... hello!) will know that I've ranted a few times about the whole Rick Warren flap with Obama. If you've been asleep the last month, Obama invited the head of a megachurch in California, who helped lead the charge to pass Prop 8, to give the invocation at his inauguration. Yes, behind the seal of the President.

I've gone through a few stages of emotions here. First just general outrage, especially since this is supposed to be the first 'pro-glbt' president. Then I moved into the more activist, 'let's make sure he knows this decision hurts' phase. Part of that was feeling rather dejected/taken for granted by the incoming administration. Following that little flirtatious with activism, I took a more long-term view shared by many in the 'community' that perhaps this wasn't so bad, and that while Obama was just showing that he's welcoming to all, he would still be sure to fight for some of our big ticket issues like workplace protection. Maybe. Hopefully. After all, if there's a good kinf of evangelical political activist, it's one like Warren who helps fight poverty and HIV/AIDS.

I let things go for a little while. Now, today I read Frank Rich's op-ed in the NYT and it has me thinking about the whole episode again, this time with a little less raw emotion and hopefully a little more long-looking maturity. I basically agree entirely with Rich's column, which has some interesting persepectives from openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson and others. I'll include some of the better quotes:

There’s no reason why Obama shouldn’t return the favor by inviting him to Washington. But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”

Warren, whose ego is no less than Obama’s, likes to advertise his “commitment to model civility in America.” But as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC reminded her audience, “comparing gay relationships to child abuse” is a “strange model of civility.” Less strange but equally hard to take is Warren’s defensive insistence that some of his best friends are the gays: His boasts of having “eaten dinner in gay homes” and loving Melissa Etheridge records will not protect any gay families’ civil rights.
And this:
Warren’s defamation of gay people illustrates why, as does our president-elect’s rationalization of it. When Obama defends Warren’s words by calling them an example of the “wide range of viewpoints” in a “diverse and noisy and opinionated” America, he is being too cute by half. He knows full well that a “viewpoint” defaming any minority group by linking it to sexual crimes like pedophilia is unacceptable.

It is even more toxic in a year when that group has been marginalized and stripped of its rights by ballot initiatives fomenting precisely such fears. “You’ve got to give them hope” was the refrain of the pioneering 1970s gay politician Harvey Milk, so stunningly brought back to life by Sean Penn on screen this winter. Milk reminds us that hope has to mean action, not just words.

By the historical standards of presidential hubris, Obama’s disingenuous defense of his tone-deaf invitation to Warren is nonetheless a relatively tiny infraction. It’s no Bay of Pigs. But it does add an asterisk to the joyous inaugural of our first black president. It’s bizarre that Obama, of all people, would allow himself to be on the wrong side of this history.

Like SHEAm, I encourage you to read the entire column. It's a good bit of perspective from someone who is not directly effected by this particular slap in the face, but why Obama's lack of civility toward any one community should be a warning to all those who supported him.

***Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to resign from the House by the end of the week, per WaPo. Let's just hope this doesn't somehow, someway end up extending the Blago story. While the Gov doesn't get to appoint a replacement, he is in control of setting up the special election to replace Emanuel, something I'm sure he could find a way to sell...

***Update in Minn: According the unofficial counts by the two big papers in MN, Al Franken is up by only a mere 47 votes in the Minnesota recount debacle. They are now in the process of deciding which mistakenly rejected ballots are going to be counted. The state Supreme Court ordered the campaigns to find common ground and agree on which ones to count, but we all know that's never going to happen. Instead, it looks like local election boards will decide the contested ballots 1 by 1. This process has already been excruciating, and way longer than the 2000 insanity with the Presidential election (though this is preferable to SCOTUS' decision to just not count the ballots in 2000). There simply has to be a better way. While I generally hope that Franken was elected, this just looks like it's going to be a complete mess for whomever is eventually declared the victor.

***Slick Willy Auditions! Are you an aspiring actor? Maybe slightly overweight, white, and can throw a gentle southern accent? Then this is your lucky day. Posted on BizJournals (via DCist) is a story about open auditions being held for the part of President Bill Clinton in a 'non-political comedy' about ol' Bill an Monica called "The Blue Dress". While this seems like an insane joke, it's legit. There are several roles cast, but many seem to still be open, including the role for Al Gore, Kenneth Star, and others. Good luck if you go!

***DEAN is a Prophet- As you all know, Howard Dean should have been nominated and then elected President in 2004. Fact. But since he was sandbagged by the media, instead he took over the Democratic Party. Good for him, good for Democrats, and now it seems good for the country. While many were very skeptical of Dean's 50 state strategy (mainly of using DNC dollars to build the party in remote GOP places like the deep south or Montana, etc), it seems to have paid off. In addition to President Bush's enormous help to the Democrats by being a monumental fuck up, Dean's strategy laid the groundwork for the new Democratic Congress and now our incoming President. The Nation has a great piece on it here. I may post more about it later on.

That's all for now. Have some more coming up later on Transformers, Public Service, and maybe more on Dean...

NASA, Obama, and a use for this 'hope' malarky

As usual, SHEAm has scooped me in his quick round up of what's going on in the world and what's interesting. There are a few of his little news items that I had intended to write about, most importantly the NASA issue.

NASA- Tim noted that we had a bit of a heated discussion about this very topic last night. Which brings to mind a random tidbit - my new favorite restaurant is Fago de Chao! I had been before for private events, but really last night's dinner was great. And I think I've had enough meat to last me the rest of the year.

Anyway, though it might generally run counter to what one would expect from my ideology, I am a great proponent of expanding NASA funding. We are facing a virtually unprecedented financial crisis, have two wars draining what is left of our federal funds, etc. But given the great 'accidental' discoveries that have come out of our space program thus far and the general human instinct to explore and discover, I think it is vital that we continue to properly fund our space programs.

While I think one of the very few good things that Bush did was to reestablish some goals for our floundering space program: returning to the Moon and eventually a manned mission to Mars. Both are great goals and sound policy. However, instead of continuing to innovate and invest in new technologies, he insted directed NASA to virtually revert to the old Apollo system of single use vehicles. While I acknowledge the great flaws that were found in the shuttle program, let's also recognize that the shuttles are nearly 30 years old. Think just of the general technological shifts that have altered every day life in the last 30 years. Everything from our cars, to our phones (cell phones in general, let alone iPhones!), HD television, all digital TV, etc. Imagine the progress we could make with returnable/reusable vehicles if we properly invested.

The other great argument for this kind of ambitious reinvestment is the entire 'hope' or 'national pride' argument. While I was a very great skeptic of Obama's seemingly empty, useless promises of hope and change, here is an area where that can really matter. It has become cliche to reference JFK's pledge to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's (a deadline we only barely maintained), but it really was a moment of intense national pride. Maybe without the spectre of the Soviet Union to really challenge and invigorate us we don't have the motivation to succeed, but I'm hoping this will change. To quote Jimmy Carter (whom I fear Obama may just emulate too much), we're in a bit of a national 'malaise'. A space program that does more than just send up telescopes and build a useless, out of date space station would be a great step toward reestablishing that national pride.

Regardless, I hope that President Obama follows through with his pledge to NASA and redirects some of the billions wasted in Iraq every month into the space program. Granted, there are many priorities (fighting unemployment, our disastrous health care system, our declining infrastructure, etc), but I sincerely hope to see progress on this front.

Round Up ... or Round Down

Welcome to Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 ...

* The Paper of Record leads with an article regarding NASA's future, here.  Ironically enough a few friends of mine were sitting around discussing this last night - and then there was this excellent article this morning.  The article touches on two things ... the problems NASA has run into with the Ares rockets and BoldOrion capsule - both of which I think can be expected.  We are designing a new way to get into space, this certainly won't be easy, and I think that anyone who expects it to be so is just being foolish  The bigger issue at hand in the public eye is the suspension of Space flight from 2010-2015; as a way to save a ton of money and allow NASA funds and time to properly prepare Constellation for space.  Obama has expressed his interest in keeping the Shuttle flying, in the interest of national pride (from '10-'15 we would be hitching rides with the Russians into space).  I personally don't like the idea of us not having a way to get into space for 5 years, but unless Obama is promising additional funding to keep the shuttle alive and not impact the Constellation launch date/preparedness - I am not in favor of changing anything.

Since we are on the topic ... it should be noted that Corrupt and I had quite the argument last night in regards to Shuttle versus Orion capsule.  I have no background in space policy and am certainly not a rocket scientist ... but it seems to me that we have tried this whole 'reusable' spacecraft thing and it didn't work.  I personally think this is the best technology we have on hand ... and until we are able to get some kind of plane into space, this will be the best technology.  Every country still has trouble with the whole reentry process - its just not something we know much about and not much we know how to change in regards to it.

* GMAC got $6 Billion and will convert into a bank holding company ... woot for them.

* Personalized medicine ... maybe one of these days.  The Paper of Record has the story, here, about how drugs only work for about half the people prescribed to them - due to people's genetic differences.  At some point in the future drugs may be tailored to work for you, or at least checked to make sure they do work for you before you are prescribed them.

* The Paper of Record has an interesting twist, here, on the housing crisis' effect on divorce proceedings - who gets the house?  Couples in divorce proceedings are trying to dump the house on their former spouse because they don't want to be saddled with its costs and mortgages.  And what are the houses worth ... in most places it is certainly not near the price that many people paid for them.

* Caroline Kennedy ... can we just stop this joke. No. No. No.

* The Paper of Record has an article and a City Room post about the MTA fare increases.  New Yorkers should brace for a fare hike, but they probably won't know for sure how much it will be until the late spring.  And the new fares are expected to go into effect over the summer.

* Want an iPhone ... you can now get them refurbished from AT&T for $99.

* The 2009 sign in Times Square will be powered by Duracell batteries that were charged from people riding bikes.  Since December 2nd, visitors to the Charmin Public Restroom in Times Square have been able to hop on a bike an help do their part to power the sign.  Overall it took 137, 228 of them.  Check it out at The Paper of Record - Bits, here.

* Also in Times Square news ... the Ball will stay lit year round!  How exciting!  Last year the bulbs were switched to LEDs, and this year they have decided to keep the ball lit and aloft all year long.  Interesting ... Via NYT - Green Inc., here.

* Also from the Green Inc. blog, here ... many cities and municipalities around the country are jumping on the bandwagon of the roundabout trend.  Also known as a traffic circle (NY), rotary (MA), and probably a bunch of other names.  For years traffic planners have known (at least the smart ones), that they are the most efficient and safe way to move traffic through intersections, especially ones with odd angles.  In theory a true roundabout should not be controlled as much as they are in DC - we have 'over-lighted' our circles to the point where they actually don't allow traffic to travel more efficiently in my opinion.  Many people find them annoying, and don't know how to drive through them - but then again most people barely can drive, so it shouldn't be a problem.  They save carbon emissions because cars are less likely to come to a full stop and less likely to feel the need to speed up as soon as the light turns green.  They also have a traffic calming effect by encouraging people to slow down.  Do you have thoughts?

* Warner Brothers and 20th Century are in a court battle over the upcoming movie Watchmen.  The Paper of Record reports, here, that a judge has agreed to hear 20th Century's suit to stop WB's release of the film, which they say they never released the rights to.  The hearing will take place on January 20th, and hopefully everything is resolved in time for its March 6th release - because it looks pretty good.

* Sad news from the CityDesk, here ... Georgetown has once again rejected the Apple store as a tenant.  Are these people stupid.  Anyone over the age of 40 should be barred from sitting on an ANC because they have no idea what is going on with the world and are just overly concerned with stifling progress and preserving a non-existent history.

... I'm sorry this keeps dragging on.

* Via WaPo ... The JCCIC (Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies) is encouraging ticket holders to take metro or walk.  Insaneeeee.  Here.

* WaPo reports, here, on how the economic downturn is effecting school districts and their plans to modernize and shift around schools.  These districts are now being forced to close schools and scale back on plans due to proposed budget cuts.

* NYT Op-Ed about the Gays, here.  Yes Corrupt, its all about the gays.  Frank Rich hopes that Obama starts acting on his promises to the GLBT community very soon.

* WaPo says that Chicago Public Schools could be a national example, with current CEO Arne Duncan soon to become our Minister of Education.  Duncan has made sweeping changes in the Chicago school system and hopefully we can see those nationally.  Rhee anyone?  Here.

The 43!!

So, I'm sure you're all familiar with Tim's scoop about the new 43 bus some weeks ago that was carried on a few other area blogs. Well both yesterday and this morning I had the pleasure of riding the new 'express' route on the 43 and... it was a good experience! I don't really have a usual time that I begin or end my commute. Some mornings I head in early, some I barely make it by 9:30 (I'm supposed to be at work by 9...), and my evening schedule is even less predictable. The one benefit this has is that I get a nice sampling of the bus at different hours.

Yesterday morning I was feeling ambitious and refreshed from my 2 week hiatus from the working world. I decided to go in early and I caught the bus at about 7:50 am. To my surprise, the first bus to come was the new 43! My usual commute time is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20+ minutes, down to Connecticut south of Dupont Circle. I'm pleased to report that my commute was cut in half!

Still, maybe that could be attributed to the early hour and limited traffic. Today I didn't leave until a bit later. When I got on the bus (43!) this morning I decided to time it. I got on at 8:34am and stepped off the bus at 8:50! This is during what I would consider peak rush hour traffic time.

All in all: good job Metro! Though this is a simple and seemingly obvious solution to the Dupont Circle traffic issue, I'm pleasantly surprised that WMATA took the initiative and resolved this issue.

iTunes ... eh?

I started using Lala about 2 months ago - October 21st to be precise - and have been in love with it since.  I can't recall if I had read about it somewhere, or if one of my friends had invited me - but needless to say I started using it.  I got a few of my friends to start using it as well.

Lala is basically a web based iTunes ... except you can listen to every song in their catalog once for free to get a full preview (something I really think iTunes should let you do).  After which you can purchase the 'web-song' to listen only on Lala for just $0.10, or you can pay $0.89 and get a DRM-free MP3.  If you have already bought the web version, you get a $0.10 discount on the MP3.  You also get 50 free websong credits to start, and 10 additional credits for each friend you get to join!

It is generally an awesome experience, and is very easy to use.  To put icing on the cake you can download the Lala MusicMover to your home computer ... this allows you to then upload any DRM-free music you might have on your computer to Lala's servers - completely free I might add.  So basically you can access your music library, from anywhere.  Now you'd think that Apple would incorporate a service like this into MobileMe, but of course not.  That would make too much sense.

I think Lala really has the right idea ... a great web based system that can hold all your home music ... and I am on it all the time at work so I frequently buy web-songs and DRM-free MP3s (which I then also download to my home computer).  

The reason I decided to write about it today was because of a great TechCrunch rundown last week - check it out.  

You can also try out Lala by clicking here or by navigating to, but I'd prefer you click the link so I can get 10 additional free websongs :).

On the iTunes note ... my friend Danny e-mailed me a Lifehacker article about a program called Mojo.  I have not tried it but it certainly seems interesting.  You can download the DRM-free portions of your friends iTunes libraries - over the internet.  So its like Napster 2.0!!!  Yay.  Mojo is free and can be downloaded for both Mac and PC here.  The premium version allows you to actually subscribe to someones playlist - which is kind of cool.

New York vs DC

After visiting New York, I decided to do a comparison, New York vs DC. Naturally I have Bias categories, such as cupcakes, but it is still interesting.

Magnolias vs Georgetown Cupcake
-Magnolias cupcake, [pictured] was actually very sweet. Although on the same price range as Georgetown it lacked a good icing. They used too much convectional sugar, and not enough frosting. 
Although Magnolias makes cupcakes throughout the day, and has a wait time on cupcakes (it was 30 minutes for a red velvet).  Georgetown (to my belief, and please cupcake experts correct me), only has three shifts that they make cupcakes, early morning, mid day and late afternoon. Most of their cupcakes are simply "sold out".  Magnolias reminded me of hellocupcake, and I am not a fan.
Magnolias sells to customers of the Village, south of Chelsea ("the gay") district, and normally has a line of 15/30 minutes; while G-town sells to a modest 30 minute crowd in the Georgetown area
Magnolias decorates their cupcakes a lot better than the lemon candy piece that G-town puts.

National Christmas Tree vs Rockefeller Plaza. This almost seems like a Public vs Private competitions. Rockefeller Plaza [pictured] comes from my home town (well close to it anyway), Hamilton New Jersey. It seems like all that nuclear waste seems to have done some good. It does not appear to have the same cone shape that the national Christmas tree has.  
Be your own Judge DCites

That's all for now.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Net Neutrality ... huh?

I know Corrupt is all about laws to protect the people ... so he should be all about this one, but we will have to wait to find out I guess. Net Neutrality.

Whenever net neutrality comes up in the news I just end up pissed off ... because some ISP is just stepping all over the rights of the internet.  Anyway, what got me thinking about this time was a post a few weeks ago on Google's main blog about the concept of edge caching, and a WSJ article basically saying that Google was trying to control and lock down the internet through doing so.  Edge caching is something employed by ISPs to bring frequently accessed data closer to the end users, so for instance - the top 10 YouTube videos would be edge cached on an ISPs servers, so they ISP could utilize less traffic across the whole internet (and speed up the time it gets to the end user), by just sending the user to the copy on the ISPs server.  Google asserts that their openness in regards to setting up Edge server does not violate net neutrality and I tend to agree with them.

That said ... I think net neutrality is an increasingly important issue - as we see ISPs (cough, Comcast, cough) increasingly trying to regulate the amount of data a user can access.   The assertion from ISPs is that only a handful of users account for a majority of their network traffic - which raises their costs and makes the connection slower for all users - so there solution is to throttle back connection speeds for users who exceed a data limit.  I understand these companies need to make a profit, but I also don't think we need to be entering a time when we are paying per kb of data sent over our connections.  ISPs are definitely within ther purview to charge different prices for different speeds (most already do), but the idea of a data cap is something that bothers me.  The internet is about openness - it is why it has become so prevalent - because anything and everything is on it.

It is certainly scary to think that the 'last mile' of the internet is controlled by companies that have shown time and time again that they do not care about consumers and just want to make a dime.  I feel this applies to almost every consumer-ISP with the exception of Verizon, who I just like to think is  better than everyone else -- because FiOS, just is.  But even Verizon is not pro-net neutrality.

This was a small issue when it first came about in the early 2000s, but is slowly growing.  At the rate that the internet continues to expand, and our appetite for data continues to expand - network neutrality will certainly be an issue within our lifetimes and likely very soon.  And it is a very scary thought ... that access could be cut off - and there aren't too many laws protecting us.  So far the FCC has sided with consumers, ruling that it was illegal for Comcast to cut off users access to certain file sharing servers.  We can only hope that the FCC continues to side with consumers and Congress acts soon, though I'm sure any law they pass will be weak and virtually not enforceable.

Personally, I feel that most of the ISPs and hardware manufacturers are not just looking for a quick profit, they are making sure that they are not getting screwed.  These companies can't continue to support the Internet without making sure their own business survive.  In that sense a company like Comcast is out to make a profit and has no concern for the consumers - they have shown time and time again they have no concern for the common good.  Cablevision is the same way.  As for the rest of the ISPs ... I have hope.

The wikipedia article regarding Net Neutrality is here.

Do you have any thoughts?

Food Coma

Here is what is making news this afternoon (or a few days ago - depending on how far I get in Reader):

* Mike Riggs over the CityDesk took PC Mag's 100 Best Blogs list and narrowed it down to 6 that he thinks are the best of the best.  While I'm not so sure about that, I don't have the time to go look at 100 blogs and decide which are the best, so I'll have to take his word on it.  Go check out his list here; and PC Mag's full list here.  (Conrad, you should check out Riggs' list, there is a cool medieval blog that I can just picture you sharing on a daily basis)

* Good news ... The great Italian restaurant formerly located in ... the Golden Triangle-ish, Galileo, is coming back!  Executive Chef Roberto Donna has signed a letter of intent with the owners of the former Butterfield 9 space.  WaPo Going Out Guru Blog has the full story - here - I don't want to just copy everything they said ... but this is really exciting.  I remember Brandon Sherr used to rave about Galileo - In fact when Friend and I came to visit him/GW in the February 2004, HomeZone @ old J Street was featuring Galileo food - it was delicious.

* Good news again ... and old news.  On Christmas Eve (I had left the post unread in Reader and just read it) the MoCo Planning Board enthusiastically endorsed Light Rail for the Purple Line.  This just a step in the right direction to making sure that the Purple Line actually gets built - and that it is LRT instead of BRT.  Via DCMud - here.

* In other LRT news, BeyondDC brings news that yesterday the Phoenix Valley Metro light rail system officially opened for business!  Finally the Phoenix metro area has rail train sit ... yay!  Excitement!  Here.

* BestBites has a post about how some restaurants including one of my favorites, Poste, have taken to bottling their own sparkling/still water.  It is a little bit more expensive, but in the end they don't have hundreds of cases of empty bottles to throw out - and they can even customize the 'sparkling-ness' of the water.  Here.

* City Room says that NYC had a record 47 million visitors last year - up 1 million from a year earlier.  And they spent $30 Billion in 2008 as well.  Cool.  Here.

* History of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree - here.  (Via City Room)

* An interesting article in The Paper of Record over the weekend about a bar that is moving - and if its patron will follow.  I had to think about this for a while, as I certainly have a good number of bars and restaurants that I frequent because they are good - and fairly close.  If they moved - even if only a few blocks - would I still go?  If they moved closer to me, of course - haha, but there are definitely one or two that I would probably go to much less often if they moved 4 or 5 blocks further from me.  Here.  Your thoughts?

* A Vegas casino with a smoking ban ... hmmm.  This is only one of two casinos in Nevada which has a ban on smoking - it's actually in Reno, not Vegas.  And people are hoping it survives - to show the major casinos that smoking is not necessary for business.  Here - via The Paper of Record.

* The Paper of Record's Motherlode blog (here) wonders what age is it okay for a child to ride the train alone?  A reporter sparked a nationwide debate when she let her 9-year-old ride the subway alone, sent her daughter on the train this Christmas - now 10.  A conductor on the train did not like this, and had the police called - though the officer eventually agreed with the mother and let the child go on her way alone - it makes you wonder ... what is an appropriate age.  The MTA says the minimum age is 8, so clearly the conductor was out of line in his concern - but still ... thoughts?  I think it all depends on the kid, but 10 seems legit - especially in the age of cell phones and constant communication.  

* The Phantom of the Opera: Part 2 -- are you kidding me.  Via Perez, here.  This sounds like crap.

* Crystal City 2.0 ... check it out at DCMud, here.  Maybe we can finally have a Crystal City that is actually friendly and is easy to drive around and walk around - and doesn't look like such a mess.  Even thinking of Crystal City upsets me.

* Do you like Narnia ... too bad.  Disney said no to the 3rd film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Via Reuters, here.

* TUAW (here) has some lovely information from Engadget ... while Apple has yet to answer my prayers HP has!  The new HP MediaSmart centers are able to act as a centralized storage server for your iTunes library ... which is necessary now that I have AppleTV.  Oh this is exciting.  Unstoppable.  It is based on Windows Home Server and has storage expandable up to 9TB, and comes standard with 750GB (599$), or 1.5TB (749$).  Amazing, but slightly expensive.

Rejoice: It's over.