Quickies 17

the quickies archive.

August 2005
Wednesday 10: Time for me to clear out my bookmarks- which means some of these will likely be repeats-and start page 18...
Why I Write, by George Orwell.
Anarchist Socialism, by J.Wm [John William] Lloyd
Well there's no doubt about it they're trying to rush something into print that makes us--that makes our guys look terrible. And I don't think they could have realized--if they weren't they were foolish if they didn't realize the impact an item like that would have on the Islamic world, when we've seen all these explosions. Salman Rusdie almost blew up the entire Islamic world. They had to know the consequences.
-Pat Buchanan on the Newsweek Koran flushing story.
On being sane in insane places, the experiment in asylum care.
Gender Based Brain research
On Lars Von Trier, director of Dogville and his latest movie Manderlay. [on Dogville]
A Metafilter suicide of sorts. drakepool
Emmett Till
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
A selection of reading from identity theory
David Lynch Daily Report
The Consciometer - What if scientists could precisely measure when life begins and ends?
Schiller's Relevance For Us and For All Times: A Tribute to Friedrich Schiller to Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of His Death, by Charlotte M. Craig
Ed Klein and Matt Drudge attempt to smear Bill Clinton due to doctored photo
Inconstant Constants: Do the inner workings of nature change with time?, By John D. Barrow and John K. Webb
Follow the Leader:The Right and its Big Night for Tom DeLay by Lou Dubose
Psychic sophistry, by Tony Youens
Research on online dating
Don't teach braille in my town again, McFadden - Martin Amis was an early fan of Jeff Lint's "The Caterer", a Pearl Comic of the mid-seventies. Steve Aylett talks about his biography of the man here, and Justin Taylor says how much he enjoyed it.
-Metafilter
Those wicked old Wagners, By Norman Lebrecht
Left-handed human race to make the world a better place....sure.
So you want to set up a sex blog?
So you want to rent something funny?
The US Government's official '9/11 Commission' reported that bin Laden's grievance with the United States 'started in reaction to specific US policies'. Bin Laden and his group 'say that America had attacked Islam. . . Americans are blamed when Israelis fight with Palestinians, when Russians fight with Chechens, when Indians fight with Kashmiri Muslims, and when the Philippine government fights ethnic Muslims in its southern islands.' The US is also 'held responsible for the governments of Muslim countries, derided by al Qaeda as "your agents".

Such charges, says the Commission, 'found a ready audience among millions of Arabs and Muslims angry at the United States because of issues ranging from Iraq to Palestine to America's support for their countries' repressive rulers.'
-Electronic Iraq
From Europe to America: the populist moment has arrived: On both sides of the Atlantic, the political class has become convinced that the people do not know what is best for them., by Frank Furedi
One Longsome Argument: By any objective measure, the evolution of species ranks among the most successful scientific theories ever. So why is the message not getting through?, by Dennis R. Trumble
Storied Theory: Science and stories are not only compatible, they're inseparable, as shown by Einstein's classic 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect, by Roald Hoffmann
400 Days and Out: A Strategy for Resolving the Iraq Impasse, the Iraq exit plan

""One of the most cowardly wars ever fought in history"-Arundhati Roy
Kierkegaard and Love
The Economist looks at class in America

The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation

Outsourcing to America
Patriotism
White Ninja Comics and more links to online comics.
Lucid dreaming. Sleep research
Great picture from the Shuttle Discovery
A history of RPG games.
British trade union history
Megachurches
In the August edition of Outside Magazine, Tim Zimmerman chronicles the story of divers Deon Dreyer and Dave Shaw. Dreyer, a 20-year-old experienced diver, died in 1994 while exploring Bushman's Cave in Boesmansgat, South Africa, the third deepest cave in the world. In October 2004, Dave Shaw, while diving to the bottom of Bushman's Cave, discovered the body of Deon Dreyer and, tying a line to him, promised to recover the body for Dreyer's family. A few months later, in January 2005, Shaw died in the attempt, unintentionally filming his own death. Both bodies have since been recovered.
-Metafilter
Why Indian Farmers Kill Themselves; Why Lange's Photographs are Phony, by Alexander Cockburn
Patients who suffer from cluster headaches - a debilitating medical condition for which there is no cure - are flouting the government's ban on magic mushrooms because they say the psychedelic fungi are the only thing to relieve the pain of their attacks.

In the past two years scores of British cluster headache sufferers have turned to magic mushrooms, prompted by reports from the US that suggest that LSD and psilocybin - the active ingredient of magic mushrooms - may be able to control the intensity and duration of their headaches.
-Guardian
The disintegration of the huge Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica was an unprecedented event in the past 10,000 years of geological history, a study has found. Research by scientists from Hamilton College in New York, based on the scrutiny of six ice cores from the vicinity of the ice shelf, found that a collapse of this size had not happened during the period since the end of the last Ice Age.
-TPR
On its face, the Federalist Society is just another think tank in a town awash with them. But critics see something more - a well-oiled juggernaut out to remake the courts in the image of Robert Bork, the Supreme Court nominee rejected by the Senate in 1987, who predicted that a new generation, "often associated with the Federalist Society," would transform the legal profession:

"It may take 10 years, it may take 20 years for the second wave to crest, but crest it will, and it will sweep the elegant, erudite, pretentious and toxic detritus of non-originalism out to sea," he said in a 1987 speech. Judge Bork now co-chairs the society's Board of Visitors with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) of Nevada, a member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. . . "
-TPR
The big yammer these days in the United States is to the effect that globalization is here to stay: it's wonderful, get used to it. The chief cheerleader for this point of view is Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times and author of The World Is Flat. The seemingly unanimous embrace of this idea in the power circles of America is a marvelous illustration of the madness of crowds, for nothing could be further from the truth than the idea that globalisation is now a permanent fixture of the human condition.

Today's transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy. Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalization evaporate so quickly it will suck the air out of your lungs. It is significant that none of the cheerleaders for globalization takes this equation into account. In fact, the American power elite is sleepwalking into a crisis so severe that the blowback may put both major political parties out of business.
-TPR
Get your Wal-Mart gear. "Low Wages, Low Morals. Always!"
Ounce for ounce, it costs more than gasoline, even at today's high gasoline prices; depending on the brand, it costs 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water. Globally, bottled water is now a $46 billion industry. Why has it become so popular?

It cannot be the taste, since most people cannot tell the difference in a blind tasting. Much bottled water is, in any case, derived from municipal water supplies, though it is sometimes filtered, or has additional minerals added to it.

Nor is there any health or nutritional benefit to drinking bottled water over tap water. In one study, published in The Archives of Family Medicine, researchers compared bottled water with tap water from Cleveland, and found that nearly a quarter of the samples of bottled water had significantly higher levels of bacteria. The scientists concluded that "use of bottled water on the assumption of purity can be misguided." Another study carried out at the University of Geneva found that bottled water was no better from a nutritional point of view than ordinary tap water.

Admittedly, both kinds of water suffer from occasional contamination problems, but tap water is more stringently monitored and tightly regulated than bottled water. New York City tap water, for example, was tested 430,600 times during 2004 alone.
-TPR
President Bush said he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life. During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported. . . The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation. Christian conservatives — a substantial part of Bush's voting base — have been pushing for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Scientists have rejected the theory as an attempt to force religion into science education.
-TPR
Civil liberties lawyers have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a Wiccan priestess to offer prayers before a public board's meetings. Cynthia Simpson was turned down in 2002 when she asked the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to add her name to the list of people who customarily open the board's meetings with a religious invocation. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the suburban Richmond county. In their petition, received by the court yesterday, American Civil Liberties Union lawyers accuse the federal appeals court of trying to "obscure with legal smoke and mirrors" Chesterfield's preference for mainline religions. "Although Establishment Clause jurisprudence may be beset with conflicting tests, uncertain outcomes and ongoing debate, one principle has never been compromised ... that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another," ACLU attorneys wrote in their 13-page filing. County officials said they had the right to limit the prayers to Judeo-Christian beliefs and religions based on a single god.
-TPR
The US continues its descent into the Third World, but you would never know it from news reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July payroll jobs release. The media gives a bare bones jobs report that is misleading. The public heard that 207,000 jobs were created in July. If not a reassuring figure, at least it is not a disturbing one. On the surface things look to be pretty much OK. It is when you look into the composition of these jobs that the concern arises.

Of the new jobs, 26,000 (about 13%) are tax-supported government jobs. That leaves 181,000 private sector jobs. Of these private sector jobs, 177,000, or 98%, are in the domestic service sector.
-TPR
Whats wrong with public broadcasting? by James MacGuire

Choice quotes:
The ordained minister Moyerss various programs over thirty years have featured investigative reporting and eloquent advocacy of liberal positions, delivered in what his ideological opponents, and even many of his friends, believed to be self-righteous indignation.
Today there are over 300 public broadcasting stations on the air across the United States. This means that more than one public broadcasting station competes for viewership in the 200 or so major television markets. If duplicate public broadcasting stations were eliminated, there would be enormous cost savings, more CPB funds and other revenues available to the remaining stations, and more dollars available at the national and local levels for higher quality programming. But the system has refused to reform itself in this and other obvious cost-sharing and saving ways.
[Wait a sec...I like having more than one PBS station.]
As the PBS system has matured (some would say calcified), these competitors have proven nimble in developing and marketing new programs that find new audiences. PBS has not.
[Evidence? Screams opinion to me.]
While the commercial networks multiplied to the 500 channel universe we have today, many networks employed different but ultimately successful strategies to growth.
[500 channels where 99% is crap. Opinion, yes.]

The A&E Networks, especially the History Channel, invaded a niche that was previously dominated by public broadcasting and fine-tuned a business model that yielded 30 percent profits. The pace of adaptation, experimentation, and competition will only accelerate as the broadband era progresses, and the multimedia world becomes ever more ubiquitous.
[Oh please! When the History channel bothers to recognize that anything happened outside of World War II it can be interesting to watch, but that's a rare event. A&E has two or three interesting shows (like Biography) and reruns of TJ Hooker. Whoopdie do! Finally, the for profit obsession of these channels has driven the quality down the toliet. Discovery channel is chalk full of Monster garage and it's ilk and has all but abandoned any attempt to educate an audience]
Rather than adhere to its core educational mission, it has opted for soft education in programs like Postcards from Buster, that is, programs with no educational value at all. And too often it has been willing to fund companies like the educational publisher Scholastic to produce a program like Maya & Miguel, ostensibly to educate young Americans about the growing Latino culture in their midst.
[Why out of the 22 shows for children on PBS does he single these out? Is it because they are the only ones that support his weak argument?]
The result of public broadcastings failure to reinvent itself has been a steady drop in ratings that PBS President Pat Mitchell said in an address to the annual PBS meeting in 2002 threatened to reduce public broadcasting to irrelevance in the television universe....

Most ominous of all, since the Buster controversy erupted in early 2005, there has been a cascade of calls for drastically reducing or eliminating $400 million in Congressional funding of CPB entirely....

Margaret Spellings, newly installed as the Secretary of Education, took time out on her second day on the job in late January to write a blistering letter to Pat Mitchell, head of PBS. The Department of Education gives PBS nearly $50 million in funding for its Ready to Learn program, of which Postcards from Buster is a grantee. Spellings notified Mitchell that it considered the inclusion of the Buster episode a serious violation of the Departments agreement with PBS on the use of its funds, which were to have been used strictly for educational purposes, and that such programming was entirely inappropriate for young learners. Spellings also insisted that any reference to the Department of Educations funding be removed from the program.
[The attack on PBS by rabid anti-gay bigots has revealed just how many backward little hate-mongers live in this country. It's sad, but not worth losing PBS over.]
In a steady stream of articles, The New York Times and Washington Post found senior CPB employees willing to circumvent the corporations exhaustive ethics guidelines in order to leak internal emails attempting to demonstrate that Chairman Tomlinson had acted improperly in hiring a consultant to research the Moyers programs for possible political bias.
[Circumvented exhaustive ethics guidelines? It's called whistleblowing. How can you write a sentence like that without knowing you are full of shit?]
The entire episode pleased nobody and underscored the need for a vigorous plan to reform and renew public broadcasting in America.
[Um...OK. He's CLUELESS!]
Until public broadcasting signals that it can provide entertaining and demonstrably educational programming for television, the Internet, and the classroom, public broadcasting does not deserve to be treated as a sustainable enterprise.
[They have a website...I go there a lot...get a clue. Maybe the real problem is that PBS is going over America's heads due to a screwed up educational system.]
How to Build a European Community
Friedman asks, "If the primary terrorism problem we face today can effectively be addressed only by a war of ideas within Islam - a war between life-affirming Muslims against those who want to turn one of the world's great religions into a death cult - what can the rest of us do?"

Note the cheap trick here of identifying Islam in general with the world's terrorism problem even while ostensibly distinguishing between life-affirming and death-cult Muslims. Islam in general bears the burden of correction for its minority of extremists. These are the words of someone with murky and undeclared motives.

Terrorism, like any other criminal behavior, is the sole responsibility of those committing the acts, not of the religion or the people with which they happen to be associated. The number of people involved in events in New York was about twenty. The number in London maybe a dozen. The world has about a billion Muslims. Friedman simply has no shame.
- The Dumbest Story Ever Written, by John Chuckman [of course it's about Thomas Friedman]
The Bad News About the Energy Bill, by senator Russ Feingold
So much for Hitchens. He will forever more be a standing joke among scholars of the American revolution.
-Jefferson, Hitchens and Atheism, by Lenni Brenner
July 2005
Saturday 30
Why did ABC decide to strip an episode of Boston Legal from all references to Fox news and Bill O'Reilly?
The other particularly stunning chapter, "Where Have All The Criminals Gone? speaks to the nuts and bolts of why crime has fallen in recent years despite predictions that our city streets would soon resemble the world of Escape From New York. Levitt spends a good portion of this chapter examining the fallacious argument that super predators would rain down on hapless citizens and then proceeds to dismantle all the arguments for why that never came to pass.

His conclusion that Roe V. Wade was the root cause of fallen crime is as fascinating as it is chilling. He simply contends that because the rate of abortions suddenly and steadily went up in this country, especially among mothers who are unable to properly care for their children, the pool of potential criminals atrophied and thus by attrition the reign of the super predator never came to fruition.

Freakonomics is less a book about economics than it is a sociology book run through the prism of economic research. This book is much like the symbol of the scales of justice in which justice is blindfolded. Economic analysis of sociological issues such as those presented in the book act as a stoic anchor which compel the reader to embrace many highly controversial truths. How else could one seriously consider abortion in the 70s and 80s as the reason crime has fallen? Thats the beauty of this book; it forces the reader to confront truth in numbers rather than prejudice in hyperbole.
- Mark Radulich
The voting for CAFTA was odd itself, but now that it's over what does it mean and what do we do about it?

How corporate welfare costs us $50 billion a year!

The statistics describing the gap between rich and poor people on Earth are truly breathtaking. According to a recent report from the World Bank, in 2001, about 1.1 billion people, or one-fifth of the population of the world's poor countries, lived on less than what one dollar a day would buy in the United States. About 2.7 billion people, or more than half the developing world's population, lived on less than two dollars a day. In 2004, says the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, 852 million people faced chronic hunger, up 15 million from the previous year. And in the same year, according to UNICEF, one billion children -- nearly half the children in the world -- were severely deprived. More than 600 million children didn't have adequate shelter, and every day, 4,000 died because of dirty water or poor sanitation.
-Thomas Homer
I'm amazed that thinking-people are still giving Bjrn Lomborg attention.
A history of using 40-somethings for war.

I did 20 years in the shameful disaster called the U.S. Army, retiring last year as soon as I was eligible. I did seven years in the regular Army, then did 13 years as an 18B/D, Special Forces Weapons, then as a medical sergeant. I had once loved the Army, but the Army turned into a welfare system for the dregs of American society. I see the Army over here In Iraq and I want to vomit.

We are going to lose this fiasco and hard. I see Army people here in a combat zone woefully unprepared for what they face. I see women who can't pull the charging handle back on an M2 .50-cal., yet are up in the turret of a Humvee. I see self-serving officers and idiot lobotomized sergeants-major having troops starch uniforms in this 120+ heat. Doing police calls in the garbage dump called Iraq. Soldiers carrying their weapons unloaded, wherever they go on base with no ammunition, yet having to clear these weapons upon entering any building, constantly. Why? I see female troops lugging the M-249 SAW with obviously great difficulty.

I see the majority of troops here never leaving the Green Zone or a secure area, deathly afraid of what is "outside the gates," which by the way is where the contractors work daily. They take up their day snapping digital pics in the Camp Victory parking lot near combat vehicles trying to look like they are in combat while eating at Burger King. I see girls in maternity uniforms, in sneakers, on profile, waddling around Camp Victory; male soldiers wearing sneakers on profile. It's business as usual for the U.S. Army.
-Frank Harris [reader feedback]

Thirty percent of U.S. troops surveyed have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home from the Iraq war, the Army's surgeon general said Thursday.
-TPR
The Fantastic in Art and Fiction. The Cornell Institute for Digital Collections presents an online image-bank that "provides a visual resource for the study of the Fantastic or of the supernatural in fiction and in art" from the danse macabre to medical oddities to creatures straight out of Hell (and Heaven). The university's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections has put together a captivating little collection of the marvelous, the mysterious and the magical. You can search through all the images at once or search by book title. (Some images may be slightly NSFW.)
-Metafilter

Gdel and the Nature of Mathematical Truth : A Talk with Verena Huber-Dyson
-Metafilter
After possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system, California has rejected Diebold's flagship electronic voting machine because of printer jams and screen freezes, sending local elections officials scrambling for other means of voting.

"There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said.

If the machines had been used in an election, the result could have been frustration for poll workers and long lines for thousands of voters, elections officials and voter advocates said Thursday.
-Ian Hoffman
A look at Beauty And Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices In The West. The new book by radical feminist Sheila Jeffreys.

A look at THOMAS PAINE AND THE PROMISE OF AMERICA by Harvey J. Kaye. "Paine was a clear-eyed radical."
An attempt to stop a person from taking pictures of a building results in a whole page dedicated to pictures of the building.
Thursday 28
Study shows echinacea does nothing (for treatment or prevention) for cold sufferers.
AFL-CIO re-elects John Sweeney, who ran unopposed because the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters left. The convention called for troops to pull out of Iraq, but their "involvement in destabilization campaigns in countries like Venezuela" emerges.

What should labor do with it's money? "Organize, don't subsidize."

With union memberships in decline nationally, a new Zogby International poll shows that just one-in-three (35%) non-union workers would consider voting to unionize their workplace, while a 56% majority would not. The poll also finds workers nationwide are generally content with their jobs and their employers.

The poll found broad-based consensus among employees against unionizing, with 56% of all non-union workers in the survey saying they would vote against bringing a union into their workplace. One-in-three (35%) indicate they would consider voting for a union, but just half of that group (16%) say they would definitely vote to unionize, while two-in-three of all those who oppose unionizing (38%) would definitely vote against unionizing. These trends held for all age groups under 65, but was most noticeable among workers age 30 to 49, where three-in-five (60%) indicated they would not support unionizing.
-Zogby
So what is shown on the 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon, in an eleventh hour move, blocked from release this weekend? One clue: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images: "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe." They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.

A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of "rape and murder." No wonder Rumsfeld commented then, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."
-EDITOR & PUBLISHER [more]
300 get sick from heat at Boy Scout Jamboree.
"A nanocell that can burrow into a tumour, cut off its blood supply and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins has been developed."
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday easily approved an energy bill packed with $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives and hailed by Republicans as a major change in U.S. energy policy.

Environmental and consumer groups criticized the legislation as a giveaway to an industry enjoying record profits with crude oil prices near $60 a barrel, while spending little on ways to curb demand or encourage renewable energy.

The bill passed by a vote of 275 to 156.
-Reuters
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement early today, overcoming objections by unions, sugar producers and textile makers in what was the most contentious trade fight in Congress in more than a decade.

The vote was 217-215 in favor of Cafta, in an hour-long vote held just after midnight in Washington. With only a minor procedural step in the Senate ahead, today's vote effectively completes a yearlong battle for U.S. ratification of Cafta.

Only 15 of the 202 Democrats in the House voted for the measure, a record low for a trade agreement. While Democrats objected to Cafta because of what they characterized as weak labor provisions, many in the party used the legislation to show dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush's trade policies.
-Bloomberg [metafilter]

Bush gives a pre-CAFTA finger?
The US today insisted that its surprise announcement last night of a new pact over clean energy technologies with other five countries was not a threat to the Kyoto emissions treaty.

A deal between the US, Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan was announced late yesterday in a statement by the US president, George Bush. The news prompted widespread surprise - not least in Downing Street.

Details of what the pact involves were still sketchy today but its explicit aim was to promote the invention and sale of technologies ranging from "clean coal" and wind power to next-generation nuclear fission with the aim of reducing pollution and addressing climate concerns.
-Guardian

What if we can't afford to save the world? An interesting debate between Sierra Clubs Carl Pope and the outspoken Bjrn Lomborg. (The saving the world bit might seem like hyperbole, but the really interesting question this debate sparks for me is this: Hypothetically, if it really came down to it, would anyone be willing to save the world for free? And if not, what does that imply about our values system and personal priorities? What does it say about the practical utility and limitations of monetary-based economic systems?
-Metafilter
Friday 22
Interesting debate over the nomination of John Roberts. [Daily Howler on the framing: Small Towner, Steelworker]
Faces of suspects in yesturday's London bombings. [metafilter]

"All we ask them is: 'Remove your troops from Muslim lands and we will stop all of this.' " -Abu Osama

If the U.S. and its Western allies succeed in their bid to democratize the Islamic world, this would bring the extermination of the last civilizations that have stood against the West and its ideologies. In the long run, this Islamic civilization represents a real threat to them [the West]. This threat begins with the emergence of a unifying Islamic nationalistic core, represented by an Islamic regime at the social and governing levels. A new Islamic governing body would offer alternatives to the social, economic and political systems of the West. It would challenge to the West's hegemony and end the pillaging of the wealth of Muslim nations' and other helpless countries around the world.
-"Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader Explains the Justification for Martyrdom"
Sandra Bullock marries Jesse James
Hitchen's burns Reagan's boy, but blogger bites back belatedly.

Hitchen's approves Plame leak for self-promotion?
If Bush's gang can fix the elections here, what are the chances they did it to Iraq?

Interview with Seymour Hersh
Sex and nudity in games worse than graphic violence?

Related? :

Seattle man slain by stallion during sex at sex farm.

Sex with dolphins also dangerous. Beware of the prehensile penis!

The last link contains this comment:
Once, way back in the dark ages (like 1996 or so), me and some friends decided to set up a really nasty egroup and see who joined. We considered "Felching Rabbis", we debated "Corpse Buggerers", but in the end we went with the simple "Sex With Fish" egroup.

Now, in the days before Yahoo assimilated egroups, it took a lot of effort to stand out in in the slime there. But without any marketing, advertising, publicity, or even posting, "Sex With Fish" gradually attracted over a thousand members. Probably most of them were just intentional lurkers, but it amazed me that at any time there were literally several dozen people actively discussing the best ways to catch and roger a Sailor's Purse, and arguing vehemently with each other over whether sex with dolphins really counted as "Sex With Fish" at all, because they were, like, mammals, you know?

By the time Yahoo took on the egroup, I had lost interest and never really paid attention to it as it grew to around 3000 members. Dolphin Sex was a latecomer (heh) to the party and I did notice round then that a bunch of the pro-mammal posters defected.

posted by meehawl at 1:47 PM CST on July 20
In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.

Among those living in the Western states, a 52% majority favors Congress using the impeachment mechanism while just 41% are opposed; in Eastern states, 49% are in favor and 45% opposed. In the South, meanwhile, impeachment is opposed by three-in-five voters (60%) and supported by just one-in-three (34%); in the Central/Great Lakes region, 52% are opposed and 38% in favor.

Impeachment is overwhelmingly rejected in the Red Statesjust 36% say they agree Congress should use it if the President is found to have lied on Iraq, while 55% reject this view; in the Blue States that voted for Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry in 2004, meanwhile, a plurality of 48% favors such proceedings while 45% are opposed.
-Zogby
Monday 18
New investigations by the Saudi Arabian government and an Israeli think tank both of which painstakingly analyzed the backgrounds and motivations of hundreds of foreigners entering Iraq to fight the United States have found that the vast majority of them are not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war. The studies cast serious doubt on President Bush's claim that those responsible for some of the worst violence are terrorists who seized on the opportunity to make Iraq the "central front" in a battle against the United States

Interrogations of nearly 300 Saudis captured trying to sneak into Iraq and case studies of more than three dozen others who blew themselves up in suicide attacks show that most were heeding calls to drive infidels out of Arab land, according to a study by Saudi investigator Nawaf Obaid. An analysis of 154 foreign fighters compiled by a leading terrorism researcher found that despite the presence of some senior al-Qaida operatives, "the vast majority of non-Iraqi Arabs killed in Iraq have never taken part in any terrorist activity prior to their arrival in Iraq." The Israel study says: "Only a few were involved in past Islamic insurgencies in Afghanistan, Bosnia, or Chechnya."
-San Francisco Chronical
Did CONTELPRO ever end? The FBI is spying on the A.C.L.U., Greenpeace, and others.
Comcast and Symantec censor sites they don't agree with and fail to provide evidence to prove otherwise.
Learn about Karl Rove.
As shown in the metafilter post from the 13th, the myth of Muslim silence is a widely used canard of the right-wing blowhards. Thomas Friedman joins their ranks.
...a group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of "an act of unfair and parasitical competition".

The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at EU offices in Luxembourg, are being taken to court by Transports Schiocchet Excursions, which runs a service along the route. It wants the women to be fined and their cars confiscated.
-Guardian
The novels of the neo-cons
In Hard Line, Perle re-fights the Cold War one last time. The hero of the novel is Michael Waterman, an assistant secretary of Defense who is suspicious of arms control. In 1986, Waterman has two enemies: The first is the new Soviet premier Victor Novikov (a thinly veiled caricature of Mikhail Gorbachev), who is lulling the nave West into a false sense of security with promises of glasnost and perestroika. Even more dangerous than the communist leader is Daniel Bennet, the pusillanimous assistant secretary of state, a pencil-pushing wimp who is willing to make any compromise to cut a deal with the Russians.

In Perles retelling, the real heart of the Cold War was a bureaucratic battle between two mid-level government officials. Unlike traditional thrillers that focus on spies and soldiers, Hard Line is an ode celebrating desk jockeys of power, who are described in terms befitting epic heroes. Urbane guerillas in dark suits, they fought not with AK-47s but with memos, position papers, talking points, and news leaks. It was unrestricted warfare; there was no rule book. And no two antagonists in this administration had gone at it more regularly than Michael Waterman and Daniel Bennet. The battle of these titans is retold in minute detail, making the book about as much fun as filling out your taxes.

The battle of these titans is retold in minute detail, making the book about as much fun as filling out your taxes. The logical order of things would be to get the HLG paper approved by NATO members or at least by the HLG and to get ACDAs verification paper agreed to first, Waterman says at one point. Then we can develop negotiating options that reflect those papers. Were certainly in no position to comment, since we havent formulated any position.

Amid this relentless welter of acronyms and memos, Perle tries to flesh out some human interest by recording Watermans faltering marriage, but here again bureaucratic jargon takes over. It sounds like your writing me a memo, Watermans wife Laura complains at one point. Fortunately, the hero proves to be very loving. Now, he looked at his marriage in much the same way he had examined the intermediate-range missile question.
Wednesday 13
FmH comments on this article about a study in monkey that shows abusive parenting traits show up in future generations.
One of the things I keep hearing from certain folks is that Muslim leaders have not done enough to speak out against terrorism and extremism. I think they are full of shit and it's just a way for them to rationalize their hatred for an entire group of people. I think certain radicals some Muslim and some nationalist are using terrorism to spread their influence much further than it actually exists in the population. This has played right into the hands of neo-cons looking for something to replace the threat of communism.
WHILE A LOT OF attention is being paid to evangelical Christian extremism, far less is directed towards an equally dangerous religious sect - the practitioners of evangelical economic extremism.

Although the latter faith is not often regarded as an actual religion, it has far more in common with evangelism than it does with rational intellectual inquiry or thoughtful academic analysis. Along with the Christian extremists, the economic evangelists share an arrogant certainty, single factor fetishism, missionary mania, belief in intelligent design, an unlimited desire to impose their myths on others, and a rhetoric that is only meaningful if you already accept their premises. Their arguments are largely based on iconic folkloric texts and ignore the true variety of human existence and its communities and families. And they both speak in tongues, which they consider a good thing. The big difference is that while the Christian bible has the money changers being chased out of the temple, the free market bible wants them back in again.

One sect blasphemes its namesake by practicing such unchristian traits as bigotry, intolerance, and aggression. The other mocks its namesake by fostering an economy that is free only to those who manipulate or steal from it.

In the end, both share an extraordinary narcissism with one putting their own salvation before everything else, the other doing the same with their own power and fiscal fortunes.
-Sam Smith, BORN AGAIN ECONOMICS: PUTTING THE MONEY CHANGERS BACK IN THE TEMPLE
BETWEEN ANARCHY IN ECONOMY AND LEVIATHAN IN SOCIETY: American (Authoritarian) Conservatism Revisited, By Milan Z. Zafirovski
With regrets for all the chaos and death and destruction, it was necessary that George W. Bush should ascend to power and retain it for two terms of office. He is a singularly giftless man, but he brings one gift to everyone: disaster. Placed at the pinnacle of the greatest military empire in human history, its wealth and reach unimaginable in Caesar's day, equipped with every conceivable advantage that the very most powerful, influential cabals of rulership and commerce and warmaking can bestow, all of their collective beneficence concentrated behind his every purpose, yet he will fail.

Say what you will about the accomplices secretly running the show: Bush himself is the president. He is no dupe. A slobbering cretin nearly incapable of forming a coherent thought, or of operating a bicycle on a hill without running over a policeman; a feckless, soulless meta-bureaucrat with the attention span of a hydroencephalitic flea preoccupied with revenge, machismo, booze, and proving to his father he's not a latent homosexual: these things he indubitably is. But he's not a puppet merely. It is his magical ability to wrest defeat from the jaws of victory that will end America's unsuitable world domination. Then we can get on with averting the next ice age. Far too late to save what's left of the world as we know it, but that's the cosmic joke our species seems never to get, no matter how often the punch line is repeated.
-Ben Tripp, A Man for Our Times The Inevitability of George W. Bush
The Plame game continues on Metafilter, Democracy Now!, TPM, Daily Howler, and probably every known political site.
Monday 11
Kate points to We're not Afraid. It's a site that stirs up emotion right quick.
When Aid has strings...
The G8 leaders have seized this opportunity with both hands. Multinational corporations, they argue, are not the cause of Africa's problems but the solution. From now on they will be responsible for the relief of poverty.

They have already been given control of the primary instrument of US policy towards Africa, the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The act is a fascinating compound of professed philanthropy and raw self-interest. To become eligible for help, African countries must bring about "a market-based economy that protects private property rights", "the elimination of barriers to United States trade and investment" and a conducive environment for US "foreign policy interests". In return they will be allowed "preferential treatment" for some of their products in US markets.
-Guardian
NOW was an hour of liberal advocacy programming
-Tomlinson, Senate Hearing on Public Broadcasting Funding [cspan-Realmedia]

On Monday, the toughest questions for Mr. Tomlinson came from Senator Richard Durbin, who believes charges of politicization are well-founded. "If it reaches the point where the average viewer, who now thinks so highly of public broadcasting, by radio or television, begins to believe that it has now been taken over by people with the a political agenda, who want to spare this administration or any administration [from] criticism, who want to make certain that those who are the most effective advocates for one point of view are silenced or diminished, it is going to really tear at the heart of what is good about public broadcasting," he said....

"I don't see that today we have a balance problem. We have a 30 minute show, Now, and a 30 minute show [by] The Wall Street Journal. That is balance. Let the people decide. Balance is common sense."

But Senator Durbin cited surveys showing a high approval rating among Americans for public broadcasting. "The people... have already decided. They thought that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was presenting balance, and they gave it a high approval rating. You have perceived a problem which the American people obviously don't perceive," he said.
-VOA [Tomlinson report-Realmedia]

During a week in which newly disclosed email messages prove that Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson has lied about his coordination with the White House, and in which 16 members of the Senate have called for Tomlinson's removal, the CPB chose former Republican Party co-chairwoman Patricia de Stacy Harrison as its new president.
-Media Matters [Also:The lies of Ken Tomlinson]

GEORGE NEUMAYR: I do. I see a pervasive bias. PBS looks like a liberal monopoly to me, and Bill Moyers is Exhibit A of that very strident left-wing bias. You can see it in also that recently-canceled show Postcards from Buster, which is a cartoon depicting a rabbit that goes to Vermont to stay with a lesbian couple in order to learn about politically correct values. So I think the problem of bias is quite deep, and I applaud Ken Tomlinson for making an attempt to correct it....

JEFFREY BROWN: And when you speak about a bias, do you mean a particular agenda being pushed, or more of a general attitude?

GEORGE NEUMAYR: Both. You see, with Bill Moyers, you see -- you know, he uses his show as a platform from which to attack conservatives and Republicans. He's been using it to harangue George Bush over the war, but also, yes, a tone, a liberal tone can be seen throughout the programming on PBS.

JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Reed, do you see a liberal bias?

BILL REED: I think this is really nonsense. You know, the CPB commissioned two nationwide surveys about this bias issue and -- by separate firms, incidentally -- and they both came out with a majority of the American people saying they did not think there was liberal bias in PBS programs.

As a matter of fact, the last survey had 79 percent of the respondents said there was not liberal bias in public broadcasting.

I really find it interesting that repeatedly, we raise Bill Moyers "Now" as the reason that people are attacking us for being too liberal. You know, for over 30 years, William F. Buckley was on public television, and I carried him proudly in the stations that I've managed in my career. He's a fine journalist, and so is Bill Moyers.

But I don't recall hearing any charges of bias when we had William F. Buckley, who was the conservative spokesman in this nation during that time. I just find these charges interesting, especially, I understand that Mr. Tomlinson's poll that he had commissioned secretly, without the board's knowledge, came back stating that there was not bias. But, yet, these charges continue to be raised....

GEORGE NEUMAYR: Mr. Tomlinson has not politicized PBS. Bill Moyers politicized PBS. The liberals have been politicizing PBS from 1967. This is a ridiculous smear against Ken Tomlinson for simply doing his job.

It is his job; it is his duty as the chairman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to ensure philosophical balance in programming that is financed by all Americans. This programming is not simply -- it's not supposed to be the personal playhouse of the left wing in this country. It's not supposed to simply be a perk for coastal elites.

And Mr. Tomlinson is reflecting the views and values of the majority who voted George Bush into office, and I think it's entirely reasonable for him to correct long-standing liberal prejudices and biases that have gone unchecked and unchallenged for way too long....

BILL REED: The only thing that you can talk about liberally dominated is Bill Moyers. I mean --

GEORGE NEUMAYR: I gave you an example of Postcards from Buster, which shows how deep the bias is at PBS.

BILL REED: Postcards from Buster, there's one issue was with the lesbian parents in one program out of all the programs. And, you know, I'm not sure that that's a liberal versus conservative issue anyway....

GEORGE NEUMAYR: Well, I think the question should be raised. Why are the American people financing with their tax dollars programming that offends them? Why are they picking up the tab for Bill Moyers? I've never heard a good answer to that question.
-Newshour "Public Broadcasting Under Fire"

Your whole organization is a sorry pile of manure in the first place but that crap that Neumayr was spreading on tonight's "NewsHour" was an embarrassment even for a sorry bunch like you.

Christ on a Ritz, could that sorry bastard possibly be the best you could offer to state your warped and perverted view of PBS. Bill Moyers this, and Bill Moyers that ... yadda yadda yadda, "Postcards From Buster" blah blah blah. Your whole organization put together isn't fit to lick Bill Moyers ass. It just shows how terrific Mr. Moyers actually is when he can screw your whole outfit around so easily by just broadcasting the truth. As he said, it's the one thing that that makes people like you run for cover like vampires from sunlight.

If there's one thing that I could fault the people at PBS for, it would be giving a forum to ass---es like Neumayr. Of course when he makes an utter fool of himself on public TV like he did tonight, it just showcases what a screaming bunch of lunatics make up outfits like Spectator and Regnery.
-- John Pitt

I just finished listening to you on the Newshour's segment on the CPB with Jeffery Brown.

Sir, you were completely unprepared. Other then mentioning Bill Moyers 5 times -- even though after three times Mr. Reed from KCPT noted that Moyers is retired from PBS, you just went on about the liberal bias. What's up with that?

You did not assert a "liberal" bias on Sesame Street (which my kids grew up on), or Barney, or Nova or Mystery, or Washington Week in Review, or Front Line or any other show.

I occasionally read the Spectator, and I am unable to accept that a journalist and editor of a magazine of that quality can be so unencumbered by the facts. That is not how your magazine works, at least from how I read it.

Moreover, Bill Buckley's show was on at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays. Actually, his show was one I watched religiously when I emigrated from Israel in 1974. The show was not on at Midnight, as you opined. Among Mr. Buckley's great qualities was his erudition, knowledge of the subject matter and ability to tear an argument apart was magical. You might consider re-watching some of his shows. I watched his show from September 1974 through at least 1996, in New York City, Austin, New Orleans and now Philadelphia, PA.

I am a conservative and like you live on the "liberal east coast". But, I have noted throughout my life that when I open my mouth and am not indifferent to facts, I am more effective. Your argument would have more force and validity if you too would follow that creed.
-- Itzchak E. Kornfeld

...I'm not happy with PBS as I think it lets you people off too lightly when it should expose you as the elitist parasitic vermin you are. But I'm an adult and realize that PBS doesn't belong to me. Being an adult means realizing that you can't, indeed shouldn't always get your way -- which is why the world finds W and Cheney so pathetically juvenile.

But I've also realized that this is a war and that you will use any weapon at your disposal to win and that unfortunately people like us might have to do the same. It seems a patriotic duty to rescue this country from the hands of fascists.

So, you're on the radar.
-- Francis J. Cratil
-Reader Mail to The American Spectator
Thursday 8
Marijuana's action on humans is well understood: Once its psychoactive agent, tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is carried from the lungs or stomach by blood to the brain, it binds to nerve cells and activates the brain's pleasure centers. Effects include sensory sensitivity, motor impairment and an increased desire for Doritos.

The plant's effect on canines is considerably less benign. Even a few grams can cause staggering, vomiting, urinary incontinence and, in severe cases, seizures and coma. "Some people may enjoy pot, but I assure you dogs do not," Humble says.

Although no statistics are kept on marijuana poisonings, the nation's canine-to-pot ratio reveals potential for a problem. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. estimates that 43 million U.S. households include a dog, while more than 25 million Americans fessed up on a 2003 government survey to having used marijuana at least once in the previous year.
-Sun Sentinal
One could say that St. Mark United Church of Christ is bee-deviled. The church in Clarion County, about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, has been infested with bees in its walls for about seven years. The church tried an exterminator and that didn't work. Now the problem has gotten so bad that honey oozes through its walls.

The church has hired McCool's Wildlife Removal of Rocky Grove to remove the honey, seal the damaged walls _ and relocate an estimated 1 million bees to a local bee keeper....

The bees aren't crazy about the move. McCool has been stung more than 100 times this week.
-WP
In the cover of the chaos yesturday, Jeb Bush ends investigation of Schiavo's collapse.
A couple pleaded guilty Thursday to hiring a stripper for their son's 16th birthday party and were sentenced to two years probation....

Cassandra Joyce Park, 29, who police say used the stage name "Sassy," danced for a few hours before partygoers took up a collection and paid her $150 more to fully disrobe...

Pharris said after being arrested that she tried to do something special for her son.

"We even had grandpa there," she said.
-Yahoo News
Doctors are trying to save the life of an Albuquerque baby shot in the head by a bullet that fell from the sky Monday night. The bullet was likely fired into the air during a July 4th celebration.

The 11-month-old, named Alyssa, is being treated at UNM hospital and is in critical condition....

Alyssa's grandmother was just holding the baby in her driveway on Sunbow Court when the baby suddenly cried out and blood began to drip from her head.

(The Bullet) entered in rear quadrant (of the babys head) and exited out and embedded into shoulder, says John Walsh of the Albuquerque Police Department.
-KRQU
A man who rescued a swimmer caught in swirling currents of the San Marcos River found himself in trouble soon afterward when he was arrested by authorities who claimed he was interfering.

Dave Newman, 48, disobeyed repeated orders by emergency personnel to leave the water, police said. He was charged with interfering with public duties. The police report does not mention Newman's rescue Sunday afternoon of 35-year-old Abed Duamni.
-Yahoo News
Coincidences and their probabilities. A good comment with more links. Lots of member's stories. What is the "Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon"?
Thursday 7
The thread on the London bombings has some personal stories. [pictures]

It was also home to a really insensitive comment and other petty political comments, but one comment about community made me think. Talk of the history of banning users on the site.
Biologists and fish and wildlife experts in Washington State say only about 100,000 sockeye salmon have returned to spawn and they want to know why.
Scientists had expected nearly 400,000 fish to return to their spawning grounds in the Lake Washington watershed this year but nearly three-quarters of the fish haven't shown up.
-Moonie Times
On 12 April 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Erbil in northern Iraq handed over $1.5 billion in cash to a local courier. The money, fresh $100 bills shrink-wrapped on pallets, which filled three Blackhawk helicopters, came from oil sales under the UNs Oil for Food Programme, and had been entrusted by the UN Security Council to the Americans to be spent on behalf of the Iraqi people. The CPA didnt properly check out the courier before handing over the cash, and, as a result, according to an audit report by the CPAs inspector general, there was an increased risk of the loss or theft of the cash. Paul Bremer, the American pro-consul in Baghdad until June last year, kept a slush fund of nearly $600 million cash for which there is no paperwork: $200 million of this was kept in a room in one of Saddams former palaces, and the US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.

The reconstruction of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan. But there is a difference: the US government funded the Marshall Plan whereas Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the liberated country, by the Iraqis themselves. There was $6 billion left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and revenue from resumed oil exports (at least $10 billion in the year following the invasion). Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on 22 May 2003, all of these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), so that they might be spent by the CPA in a transparent manner . . . for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Congress, its true, voted to spend $18.4 billion of US taxpayers money on the redevelopment of Iraq. But by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20 billion of Iraqi money, compared to $300 million of US funds.
-LRB
Wednesday 6
The Department of Veterans Affairs is short one billion dollars in the health care budget, but for Deputy Undersecretary Laura Miller the fact that not all of their buildings have Secretary Jim Nicholson's picture up is something far more urgent and something she "cannot stress the importance of...enough." She went on to say, "We are asking that you give this your highest priority." (via)
"Least Wanted is a great collection of old mugshots on Flickr."
G8: Among Ordinary Africans, G-8 Seems Out of Touch, WP

Live 8: Tour de Force or Farce?, Alternet

CEPR: Poor Numbers: The Impact of Trade Liberalization on World Poverty, The $300 Billion Question: How Much Do the Governments of High-Income Countries Subsidize Agriculture?

How is it defensible that 20 years after Live Aid and all the sea changes that Africa and the rest of the world have witnessed these activities are still being planned and executed without visible participation of Africans? It is like trying to shave someones head in their absence....

Even the wider anti-poverty campaigns essentially use Africans as colourful canvasses to legitimise the narratives. They are wheeled on and off as the propaganda demands.

These omissions are not because of ignorance but the result of a mindset that infantilises Africans and cannot trust Africans to do anything for themselves including even telling the world where our shoes are pinching us. Thats why you see so many well-fed foreign experts and increasingly their junior African partners getting huge sums of money to do poverty assessment and workshops across Africa. We are not even experts on our own poverty. Africans are the only people doomed to be perpetual students of their own condition and further condemned to be perpetually taught by outsiders as experts, consultants, activists, defenders or spokespersons!

It is a repackaging of the white mans burden ideology. The only way we can reverse this colonial mindset is for us to relearn the Uhuru spirit of doing things for ourselves and unlearn the mental slavery that makes us so vulnerable to outsiders.

Statistically, head for head, there are probably many millions more poor people in both India and China yet no western power dares suggest that they will create a commission for India or China. While India is seen as being able to solve her problems China is now even more feared as a serious global power.
-Pambazuka News

China's non-interventionist approach to Africa. They recently lifted 200 million of their own people out of poverty. Unlike the G8, they aren't concerned about corruption, aid, debt relief, social impact, human rights, the environment, or spreading democratic ideology. They build governments, hotels and industrial plants in Sierra Leone, export 60% of oil from the 'genocidal' Sudanese, sell weapons to both sides in war zones and deal arms to embargoed dictators like Mugabe. They'll be the third largest investor in Africa at the end of this year. The People's Republic of China: threatening - or Jeffersonian?
-Metafilter
The Government makes 125 secrets a minute, which costs us $7.2 billion.
The Transportation Security Administration is the all-knowing, all-seeing federal agency in charge of taking our shoes off at airports, and our heroic leaders there have recently rooted out a treasure trove of invaluable data. Unfortuately, it's not information about some secret cell of terrorists--it's a trove of your and my personal information.

If you flew in June of 2004, TSA snoops now have a file on you--even though Congress specifically told them not to collect such data. Agency officials promised they wouldn't, but TSA secretly did it anyway, amassing such passenger records as our names, phone numbers, and credit card info.

Worse, TSA contracted the data tabulation to a private corporation, which used other databases to compile full profiles on us, including home addresses, spouses, and--BE VERY WORRIED--the exact latitude and longitude of our homes! There's a law against secret government databases, and TSA earlier pledged to congress that it would not store commercial data on air passengers--but there the info is, stored in TSA computers.
-Jim Hightower
Under international law, the line between childhood and maturity is 18. In communications with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the Pentagon has lowered the cutoff to 16. For this reason among others, we don't know exactly how many Iraqi children are in American custody. But before the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority to an Iraqi interim government a year ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported registering 107 detainees under 18 during visits to six prisons controlled by coalition troops. Some detainees were as young as 8. Since that time, Human Rights Watch reports that the number has risen. The figures from Afghanistan are still more alarming: the journalist Seymour Hersh wrote last month in the British newspaper The Guardian that a memo addressed to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shortly after the 2001 invasion reported "800-900 Pakistani boys 13-15 years of age in custody."
-TPR
Mainstream media is the term often used to describe the collective group of big TV, radio and newspapers in the United States. . . However, mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population-nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense-as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants.
-TPR
How to Recognize a Narcissist.
When the Senate voted on CAFTA last week, a dozen Republicans abandoned the administration to vote "no." That meant that, if Democrats had been united in their opposition, the trade deal would have been easily defeated, and the president's plan to make it easier for multinational corporations to exploit workers, communities and the environment throughout the hemisphere would have been dealt a fatal blow.

Instead, 10 Democrats New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman, Washington's Maria Cantwell, Delaware's Tom Carper, California's Dianne Feinstein, Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln, Washington's Patty Murray, Florida's Bill Nelson, Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Arkansas' Mark Pryor and Oregon's Ron Wyden as well as Vermont independent Jim Jeffords, who caucuses with the Democrats, voted for the president's proposal.

As a result, CAFTA was approved on a 55-45 vote
-John Nichols
Openly and unapologetically, the world's No. 1 oil company disputes the notion that fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming. Exxon opposes the very idea of capping global-warming emissions - From the article Exxon Chief Makes A Cold Calculation On Global Warming. A interesting read, whatever your opinion on the oil industry is...
-Metafilter
I was seriously considering picking up a book on labor when I was in the bookstore recently so Digby's two posts here are pretty interesting.
"WSJ reporter Fassihi's e-mail to friends" on his time in Iraq...

Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that could make a difference.

Little by little, day-by-day, being based in Iraq has defied all those reasons. I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't. There has been one too many close calls, including a car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows. So now my most pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I am a security personnel first, a reporter second.
The Right's Assault on the Academy (David Horowitz and the bill of academic rights)
Tuesday 5
Bush said:
Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."

He speaks of abroad as if it is a vague desert-land filled with heavily-bearded men and possibly camels. Abroad in his speech seems to indicate a land of inferior people- less deserving of peace, prosperity and even life.

Dont Americans know that this vast wasteland of terror and terrorists otherwise known as Abroad was home to the first civilizations and is home now to some of the most sophisticated, educated people in the region?

Dont Americans realize that abroad is a country full of people- men, women and children who are dying hourly? Abroad is home for millions of us. Its the place we were raised and the place we hope to raise our children- your field of war and terror.

The war was brought to us here, and now we have to watch the country disintegrate before our very eyes. We watch as towns are bombed and gunned down and evacuated of their people. We watch as friends and loved ones are detained, or killed or pressured out of the country with fear and intimidation.
-Baghdad Burning
Sunday 3
The report labels guests on these programs "liberal," "conservative" or "neutral," or categorizes them by such descriptions as "pro-Bush," "anti-Bush," "support administration," "oppose administration." It found "Now" (hosted by Moyers and in part by David Brancaccio) to be rife with liberal views; of 136 segments reviewed, it said 92 "clearly opposed" administration policy, while the balance were "neutral" or "not about policy." It also found that when "conservatives/Republicans" were guests, they "mostly opposed" the administration. Tomlinson has often cited the Moyers show in his public critiques.

Of 46 guests on Rehm's program, "liberal" viewpoints outnumbered "conservative" viewpoints by 22 to 5, according to Mann.

But Mann never explains his labeling criteria or indicates in any detail which specific comment or comments earned a guest a particular characterization.

Dorgan pointed out that "red-blooded" conservatives such as Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and former congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) were classified as "liberal" and "anti-administration" apparently for briefly expressing views that differed from administration policy. Dorgan called the report "kind of a nutty project" and an "amateurish attempt to prove a liberal bias," noting Mann had apparently faxed his findings to Tomlinson from Mary Ann's Hallmark, a card store in Indianapolis.

People in public broadcasting and some of those mentioned in the report expressed both indignation and confusion yesterday.

Rehm called Mann's findings "unprofessional and simplistic." She added, "I've been booking shows for 25 years. I don't think they have any idea what it takes to achieve the professionalism and expertise and the right people to express a variety of points of view. . . . What he's doing, I think, is trying to scare public broadcasters" into presenting a more one-sided and favorable view of the administration.
-The WP
Somehow a Church that requires payment is a perfect match for celebrity greed and egotism.
On the new Sappho
The American film Fingers gets remade into a French film.
The first lesson of framing is not to activate the other guys frame. Negating a frame activates it in the minds of hearers, as Richard Nixon found out when he said I am not a crook and everybody thought of him as a crook. The very title of my book, Dont Think of an Elephant makes the point: if you negate a frame, it reinforces the frame.

Rove managed to link Iraq with 911 again, and to delegitimate the Democrats in the process. And he did it with the Democrats help.
-George Lakoff

DIONNE (6/28/05): That's how guilt by association works. Make a charge and thenonce your attack is out therepretend that your words have been misinterpreted. Split your opponents. Put them on the defensive. Force them to say things like: "No, we're not soft on terrorism," or, "I'm not that kind of liberal." Once this happens, the attacker has already won.
And thats right. If youre forced to say when you stopped beating your wife, youre already defeated.

But Dionne left out one part of the puzzle; he failed to say what Dems should do when theyre met by such hoaxes and slanders. He failed to say that Dems should fight backthat Dems should respond to fake, phony claims by making a truthful rebuttal:

DIONNE, REVISED AND EXTENDED: That's how guilt by association works. Make a charge and thenonce your attack is out therepretend that your words have been misinterpreted. Split your opponents. Put them on the defensive. Force them to say things like: "No, we're not soft on terrorism," or, "I'm not that kind of liberal." Once this happens, the attacker has already won.

But Dems should refuse to go down this road. Its time that Dems fought back against these slanders, finally telling the public the truth about the world we now live in. There they go again, Dems should say. Theyve been hoaxing you for years. Its time for Dems to explain to the public the way this hoax machine has been working. And since every major Democrat supported the war on Osama bin Laden, Roves slanders this time were especially phony. This was a superlative chance for Dems to tell the truth to the voters. There they go again, dear people. Karl Rove is deceiving you again. Karl Rove is trying to play you for fools. Its the one thing they do really
well.
-Daily Howler
Friday 1
So, i have this theory about drinking. I noticed that after too many drinks, my world definately spins. That's not too enlghtening, sure, but my world always spins counter-clockwise. I asked my friends, and they said the same thing. I wonder if in, say Australia, drunks spin clockwise?

- Seth@aol.com

Sometimes you just gotta love the philosophical thinking of Dr. Phil.

Dr.P: "You're fat cause you choose to be fat!"

Makes me wish I were on the show so I could yell

"You're bald cause you choose to be bald!"

But, Noooo. He's a "Doctor", has his own show and millions of people love him therefore everything he spits out of his mouth must be right.

Oh how I pity those poor, poor souls.

- DamnOprah@TVSucks.com

Ok... Had sex in my place of business off the clock with a non-employee...

Had sex in my place of business On the clock with a non-employee...

Had sex in my place of business off the clock with a employee...

Had sex in my place of business On the clock with a employee...

What is left? Do I have to go corporate?

- Child_o_Gaia@yahoo.com
-Lowbrow (I can't stop hitting reload...)
A Journey inside an artist, literally.
First in my lineup is a show called "Second Chance." The gist of this show is that someone makes the decision that they'd like to meet up with an old flame, and TLC pays for an extravagent time and films the whole thing. Like, if I wanted to call up the kid from my Instances post and be all, "hey dude, remember that time in the second grade? That wacky shit with the drawing of the flower? Yeah, well, I don't feel like we got the chance to connect the way we should've, let's give it another shot." And then he'd fly to West Virginia and we'd do all sorts of wacky date stuff that always happens on shows like this but that I don't believe actual people ever take part in. Like, honestly, are there really guys out there who make their women picnic lunches and then take them on boat rides? Really? Are there? 'Cause I'm pretty sure this is just shit that goes down on "The Dating Game" that we've all misinterpreted as what we're supposed to be doing in the search for a mate. I mean, I know I love surprises, and romance is nice, but a matinee movie and a trip to Steak Escape is pretty much par for the course with me and my man. But I loves me some Steak Escape.

Anyway, the problem with "Second Chance is that this attempt at reuniting lost lovers ALWAYS WORKS. The episode always ends with the person who organized the date either apologizing for somethign they'd done wrong in the past or breaking down into tears about what sort of future they could have had if their paths hadn't strayed from one another. Then they ask if they can have (naturally) a second chance, and the other person always caves. Always. I have yet to see an episode in which the damned people weren't agreeing to see each other again, or flying across the country for another date. Even if they spent the first 15 minutes of the show all, "I don't think it will matter what he has to say to me," by the end they're still totally Cavey McCaverson. Just ONCE I'd like to see a guy be like, "Yo , thanks for the candlelight dinner and the carriage ride and shit, but if you think I'm moving back to Houston for your stank ass, you've obviously not taken a good look at said ass in a while. Maybe when you were 20 and hot, but now? Bitch, please." I think that would be awesome.
-TLC and the obsessive need to mate by Emily
"Science explores 125 big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century."
I did a remote control post. Just because...
The straight dope on: Rove's comment that, "No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals." / "pervasive liberal bias on PBS and the hatred for Bill Moyers. / The Hoax

Rove the Thug
I currently live in a place that's about five paces by seven paces, and it's called the King Hotel. Which is actually bad English - it should be the King's Hotel, except maybe it means it's the king of hotels. The walls are about three millimetres thick, so that I hear everything on every side of me, and last night, just maybe two centimetres away, a couple was making love. And on the other side of me, about five paces away, another couple was making love. I was trying to sleep but I was kind of interested, and after a few minutes I said to myself, "The woman two centimetres away is faking". By the sounds, I thought she was faking. Then after a moment of listening I said, "And the man is also faking". And then I thought: why would that be true? How would he do that? Then I started listening to the other couple five paces away and I decided that they were both also faking it. And then I thought, "Roberto Pinto has rigged this. This is a performance just for me". But it wasn't.
Then I thought, "Well, it's not easy for a man to fake an orgasm", so I thought he must have been faking something else. And then it hit me what they were all faking: they weren't faking orgasms, they were faking passion. They were faking... they were just faking in general. They were having sex and maybe they were having orgasms but because they were doing that and didn't really believe it, for what reason I don't know, they were faking the passion of it, they were faking the reality of what they were doing. And as the night went on I proved to myself that this was the correct hypothesis. The couple closest to me kept it up all night till about six in the morning at different intervals. And it continued with the same strange language, the same drama, the same bad theatre. And my proof, my science - and the reason I'm telling the story is I bring it to you as a scientific report - is that if had been real passion, they could have gone to sleep and said, "Tomorrow we have all day to make love, if we like". But instead they made love because they thought they might, and because they're laying in the same bed next to each other in the dark, just like any two people might make love: it's proximation. You're laying in the bed in the dark next to this warm body and you think, "Oh, I could have sex with this warm body". It's only natural, it's biology.
-Jimmie Durham

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john@linkworthy.com