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Friday, November 12, 2004

Some important stuff in the news first. They've chosen Mahmoud Abbas to chair the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). This is a right step for the Palestinians away from the politics of Yasser Arafat. Abbas and Arafat certainly did not see eye to eye, and Abbas may be more concerned with the good of the Palestinians than with his own interests, unlike Arafat. Last night Tony Blair and President Bush met for dinner, and discussed establishing a peace envoy to perhaps take advantage of the passing of the torch to take steps toward peace in the region.

Another important replacement is being done in the United States, with the choice of Alberto Gonzales to take over in place of John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General. He seems to be a much less polarizing candidate for the position, with less of a fundamentalist background. In fact, unlike Bush, he does not oppose abortion or affirmative action, which may go a long way to making him the best choice from a liberal standpoint (compared to other Republican possibilities). There was some discussion about him being a hard-liner on the death penalty, and his work with the Texas Governor in this area may become a point of contention, but the death penalty discussion seems to be one that is easily tabled for larger issues.

My links today point to Wikipedia.org, the Internet's free Encyclopedia. I wanted to mention them because yesterday I wanted to find out more about Abbas, and I went to the link there. I found it interesting that his Wikipedia entry already contained information about his appointment as chair to the PLO, considering that it had just happened. It struck me that having an open source Encyclopedia, accessible so readily and so up to date is a great thing about the Internet. That's it...nothing overly inspiring - I just thought it was really cool/neat.

The author of Chess Position Trainer is working hard on his program and the last of a few bugs. He'd love for you to download his program, try it out, and leave suggestions for him on the Forums on his website. I think it's an awesome program, and I sent him a donation. If you have any interest in playing Chess, this is a fantastic program. I'm working on a Repertoire set for the tool that will contain Mating and Endgame puzzles that you can download and train with. Remember that chess is a game of recognizing patterns in the chess game, and that the more you practice with those patterns, the more readily you will be able to recognize them during a game. My game is getting better (although I still have a lot of work to do on choosing an effective defense - the Sicilian Defense is very complex!!).

posted by Rich Gautier 11/12/2004

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