Quickies 5

More Link, Less What I Think

Experience past quickies: one. two. three. four.

More recent quickies

December 2003

Wednesday 31: Here's to better days in the New Year ya'll!
Probably one of the strangest looking cars I have ever seen.
An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror by David Frum and Richard Perle. An interesting talk about the book in which I pose a question. (and I know about the errors, I didn't check the preview)
It's been a mystery since antiquity: the source of an annual display in the night sky known as the Quadrantid meteor shower. Now, the mystery seems to be solved -- just in time for the next appearance of the Quadrantids this Sunday.

Last month, astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, who regularly hunts the sky for comets, asteroids and meteors, predicted that the source of the meteor shower would eventually be confirmed as the dim burnt-out core of an ancient star that must have exploded in violent brilliance more than 500 million years ago.

Now, astronomers on a mountaintop in Chile have just spotted that object climbing high in the southern Milky Way, bang-on exactly where Jenniskens said it should be.
The Guardian Year 2003
Very aptly the cover picture is of a crying baby, eyes filled with anguish, fear and hurt. It could have been in Baghdad, Gaza or Bunia - or the child of an asylum-seeker being deported. The mood of 2003 has been baleful, yet it contains the glimmerings of new forces at work curbing the ascendancy - Bush forced into retreat over Iraq and steel tariffs, the US-EU conclave upended by the Group of 21 at Cancun, and Tony Blair pressed into "the big conversation" at home to reconnect with the voters.

Sunday 28
On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated with his national security team, but also pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers. A White House spokesperson explained the curious timing of the signing - on a Saturday - as "the President signs bills seven days a week." But the last time Bush signed a bill into law on a Saturday happened more than a year ago - on a spending bill that the President needed to sign, to prevent shuttng down the federal government the following Monday.

By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.
Imagine giving up our freedom for security, but getting no security? That's not even a trade-off -- it's wholesale surrender. Without these freedoms, We the People won't be able to participate in or question what our government is -- or isn't -- doing to protect us. As we saw with the invasion of Iraq -- which appears to have done nothing to prevent terrorism but actually may have increased the risk (as the current "Code Orange" may reflect) -- it's easy for our leaders to lose focus.
Now at last Murdoch is properly burdened with the chronicler he deserves. The Murdoch Archipelago, (just published by Simon and Schuster in the UK) is written by Bruce Page, a distinguished, Australian-raised journalist who has lived and worked in England for many years, perhaps best known for his work in leading one of the great investigative enterprises of twentieth century journalism, the Insight team at the (pre-Murdoch) London Sunday Times.

As an essay in understanding what the function of the press should be in a democratic society, Page's book is an important one, focused of the world's leading villains, who controls such properties as Fox in the US, huge slices of the press in the UK and Australia, a tv operation in the Chinese Peoples Republic. Most recently he's been in the news, because the Federal Communications Commission, chaired by Colin Powell's sopn Michael, rewarded Murdoch's tub-thumping forf Bush by voting 3-2 to allow his News Corp to to buy control of Hughes Electronics and its DirecTV satellite operation from General Motors in a deal valued at $6.6 billion. The FCC's green light will give Rupert Murdoch even more power in determining what material gets beamed to television sets across US and how much consumers pay for them.
Cris Kirkwood, the bass player for the Meat Puppets, a Phoenix band that became a national act in the1980s and 1990s, was shot Friday after an altercation with a security guard at the downtown Phoenix post office.
A RANDY couple on a holiday jet were cheered by 250 passengers — when they were exposed bonking in the loo.

The lovers sneaked into a tiny cubicle during a four-hour flight home from Tenerife.

When the 757’s cabin crew noticed it had been engaged for more than 15 minutes, a steward went to investigate.

After hearing grunts and groans through the door, he decided to unlock it from the outside — and revealed the naked couple in mid-romp.

Saturday 27:Hope you all had a good holiday
U.S. corporations are picking up the pace in shifting well-paid technology jobs to India, China and other low-cost centers, but they are keeping quiet for fear of a backlash, industry professionals said.

Morgan Stanley estimates the number of U.S. jobs outsourced to India will double to about 150,000 in the next three years. Analysts predict as many as two million U.S. white-collar jobs such as programmers, software engineers and applications designers will shift to low cost centers by 2014.

But the biggest companies looking to "offshoring" to cut costs, such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , International Business Machines Corp. (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and AT&T Wireless (AWE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , are reluctant to attract attention for political reasons, observers said this week.
More reason for me to write.
The CIA Museum
The quotes of 2003 compiled by a neocon
Bill Hicks Bootlegs
New engine on a wheel increases gas mileage by 60%
Did George W. Bush do for America what he had done for Texas regarding the environment? Today, the answer is a resounding yes. But, what was the record, and what did he really promise to do to the rest of America?
Kucinich is no klieg-light populist. He and his staff embraced the opportunity to talk to Kuro5hin, to address the tech community directly about issues that we deal with every day. As I stood there for over 30 minutes with him in the din of the airport, slightly disheveled with a digital voice recorder in hand, I got the sense that more than anything else, what Dennis Kucinich wanted to say to us is, I am one of you.
I know he's not popular, but I have liked everything I have heard about this guy.
Why must our park rangers shill for creationists at our National Parks?
It's tough to come up with an analogy that dramatizes the awesome irony of Glenn Reynolds lecturing the New York Times on journalistic competence, but let me try: it's like a gay Mormon eunuch teaching Hugh Hefner how to get chicks...
BBC's 2003 year in review
A car that runs on just hydrogen and solar power has completed a journey through Australia - the first crossing of a continent for a car of this type.
Jean-Marie Messier, former boss of French media giant Vivendi Universal, is giving up a $26m payoff to settle fraud charges with US regulators.

Tuesday 23
Since we do not support political parties or push ideologies, our base support comes from regular folks, who think for themselves and who value traditionalism. In a sense, they believe America is a good country and our system of free enterprise is good.

As you know, we fight secularism, anti-Americanism, corruption, and deceit. We fight those things hard. Thus we make enemies. And some of those enemies are powerful.
Run! It's secularism! It's The O'Reilly Factor, the funniest show on TV that considers itself news.
Federal authorities will not authorize the state of Illinois to buy prescription drugs from Canada, even as a small test program, because they cannot ensure the safety of those drugs, officials from the Health and Human Services Department said Monday.

As the latest in a series of maneuvers designed to put pressure on U.S. officials who say filling prescriptions in Canada violates federal law, Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois asked Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, to allow the state to buy drugs in Canada for its employees and retired employees as part of a first "federally approved drug importation pilot program."
The Best of 2003: Top 10 Astronomy Images
In October, Rush Limbaugh promised that he would cooperate fully in any government investigation into his promiscuous drug procurement: "I am unaware of any investigation by any authority involving me. No government representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required, I will, of course, cooperate fully."

In December, the recovering pill-popper assisted investigators by trying to keep his medical records from them: "[I am] being subjected to an invasion of privacy no citizen of this republic should endure."
"We are requesting further investigation by the GAO of the study of veterans exposed to DU during the 1991 Gulf War, and an assessment of current DoD [Department of Defense] and DVA [Department of Veterans Affairs] policies to identify and provide medical care for veterans exposed to DU during Operation Iraqi Freedom," wrote Reps. Bob Filner, D-Calif., and Ciro Rodriguez, D-Texas, in a Dec. 3 letter requesting the congressional inquiry.

"There are many uncertainties about depleted uranium, but one thing is clear: the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs have refused to conduct an adequate study of veterans exposed to DU on the battlefield," said Dan Fahey, a former board member of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a veterans organization, who helped the congressmen frame the GAO inquiry.
Such practices reflect a trap deeply rooted in the intellectual culture generally — a trap sometimes called the doctrine of change of course, invoked in the United States every two or three years. The content of the doctrine is: "Yes, in the past we did some wrong things because of innocence or inadvertence. But now that's all over, so let's not waste any more time on this boring, stale stuff."

The doctrine is dishonest and cowardly, but it does have advantages: It protects us from the danger of understanding what is happening before our eyes.
Yes, I posted a link critical to Noam Chomsky yesterday. I like to show that those that attack him can't actually back up what they say with facts. It comes down to desperate personal attacks because he has the "crazy" notion that what has gone before is related to what is going on today. You know, that old saw about learning from history. It's something that his critics can't stand because it destroys the core of their philosophy of war. They wish to discredit a more modern style of diplomacy and police action and seek to twist the facts when it works in the case of Libya.
Has anyone else noticed that the mainstream media--and I mean the genuinely middle-of-the-road media, not the crytpo-fascist media like Fox--is consistently reporting the recent decision in the Padilla case--and the less important 9th Circuit decision about the Guatanomo prisoners--under the rubric, "Administration Suffers Setbacks in War on Terror," instead of under rubrics like, "Administration Suffers Setbacks in Its Attack on the Rule of Law and Democratic Rights," or simply "Victory for the Rule of Law and Democracy." Any of these headlines would be appropriate; isn't it striking which one the media consistently choose?
Um, this has been going on for a while on a whole range of topics.
Q. Your midnight destruction of Meigs Field caused an uproar. Did you expect it?

A. Oh, I think I got great results. You should hear all the people. I get more letters, more calls. I mean -- mayors all over the country wish they could close a piece of property like that on the lake.... Chicago is the envy of the world. We're the only city going almost from Evanston to Indiana that's purely open space and recreation for people. No other city has this.... I think it's the greatest thing I've ever -- one of the great things I've done besides the public schools.

Q. Any regrets about how it was done?

A. No. None whatsoever.

Q. Would you do it again?

A. I'd do the same thing sure.

Q. Tomorrow night -- in the middle of the night?

A. Sure. Why not? It isn't the few with the airplanes. Someone lives in Nebraska, Indiana -- fine. It's not them. It's the people right here in Chicago. This is their lakefront. This is their winter park, their summer park, their vacation home. I'd rather fight for that than anything else. That 100 acres is so important to the whole restoration of the city, open space. No one else has that. They wish they had that. When we look back in five years and see a beautiful park, you'll say, 'Why would anybody ever want to build something on there? Shouldn't it be a park?'

Q. Why did it need to be so secretive?

A. There would be lawsuits galore. That's why. They'd be in federal court trying to monkey up the water.
Everyone should put "monkey up the water" somewhere in their conversation this holiday season.
SULLIVAN: So, now I get to see O’Reilly consistently for the first time as well. Suddenly, you see why he reacts so obtusely to simple criticism. He’s unhinged! Alarmingly, I find myself agreeing with him on many issues. But he is so obnoxious, so transparently phony, so gung-ho in a crude populist know-nothing kind of way that I’m almost embarrassed to be on the same side much of the time. Does anyone say “I may be wrong” more disingenuously? Is there anyone more aggressively watchable because he is so awful?…Bill O’Reilly is so compellingly odious you almost can’t take your eyes off him.

That’s Sully’s incomparable view, not ours. But then, much of the conservative world has been taken over by this same fake, phony pseudo-conservatism. For example, have you ever read Sully’s site? Sully is a very bright dude. Have you noticed how often he hides it?
NOONAN: It has helped the world...


NOONAN: ... that that guy has been removed from power and wound up in a hole and now will be put on trial in Iraq. It hasn‘t made the world a worse place, but a better one.

MATTHEWS: Lawrence, do you think the issue of whether Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks on us is ever going to be delved in—delved down into in a significantly intellectual way? Do people really not care, the way Peggy doesn‘t care, whether he did it or not?
There is a real fear with the Republicans about the lack of evidence of material support for terrorism and any connection to the 9/11 attacks with Saddam. Combine this with a lack of WMD and you have a political nightmare of which only "getting rid of a dictator" is their last hope. The American people wanted action and they got it, but whether this has lessened the threat of terrorism is something unclear no matter how you quip about it.
Explain how the war in Iraq makes sense to you as a response to 9/11.
Like there's no chance that the secular state of Iraq and Islamic fundamentalists cohabitate? They both think we're Satan. How about that as a nice point of departure for them car-pooling? I wish there was a country called al-Qaedia that we could have invaded, but there wasn't. (Saddam was) the only one who had a home address.
That last sentence kind of brings home Miller's level of intelligence.
Speaking of intelligence, this New Yorker piece paints a clear portriat how the Bush administration wanted to change how things were done with intelligence and how it led to the preceptions concerning Iraq's threat level.
He was told that the study’s exploration of options amounted to planning for failure. “Their methodology was analogous to tossing a coin five times and assuming that it would always come up heads,” the official told me. “You need to think about what would happen if it comes up tails.”
Where do these polls come from? Who are the "American People" they're polling? I don't think I've ever met one of these "American People," but if I could locate one I'd surely introduce myself. Why should these polls be taken any more seriously than the rest of the Corporate Media's lies?

SMITH: Polls are the standardized test used by the media to determine how well we have learned what it has taught us.

The problem is not in the polls, which tend to be quite accurate. For example, three quarters of the major polling firms came within three points in calling the 2000 election. In state races, the major firms also came within three or four points.

The problem is with what is being measured, namely the effects of living in a semio-sphere of erroneous, deliberately false, or badly distorted information. For example, in the lead-up to the Iraqi invasion, the TV channels were inundated with 'military experts,' despite the fact that making peace requires considerably more expertise than making war. But absent comparable time for 'peace experts,' one can't expect the public to understand the arguments or even that there are any.

And it's not just a liberal vs. progressive matter. For example, our schools long ago decided that teaching students how to drive, or why they should avoid a drug far milder than the vodka their principal drinks each evening was more important than teaching history, the Constitution, or contemporary affairs. For this we have paid mightily.

Further, we are living in quasi-revival of the middle ages in which social behavior and choices are governed by mythology rather than rationality--only with the arbiter being cable television rather than religion. The truth no longer seems to set us free; it just makes us catatonic. Far easier to pretend we're living in a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role.
What is creationism?
We are here to discuss creationism. So the first thing we need to be clear about is what we mean by "creationism".

The kind of creationism that I am concerned with here - the kind that, for example, is being taught in that State-funded school up in Gateshead that you may have heard about - is the form of creationism known as Bible Literalism .

Bible literalists don't just believe that God created the universe. After all, many reputable scientists are prepared to accept that.

No, they believe something much stranger. They believe that everything claimed in the Bible should be accepted as literally true .

Monday 22
Scientists proof lesbians will have the best marriages.
Sssssssssush Don't tell the libertarians! It might drive them crazy. "Deregulation hasn't cut Ohioans' energy bills."
White Collar crime PAYS!
Tuesday, the FEC announced a 'conciliation agreement' under which the complaint was settled when the Spirit of America PAC and Ashcroft 2000 agreed to pay a $37,000 fine for what the FEC said was $112,000 in illegal contributions to the Senate campaign committee.
The delicate salt balance of the Atlantic Ocean has altered so dramatically in the last four decades through global warming that it is changing the very heat-conduction mechanism of the ocean and stands to turn Northern Europe into a frigid zone.

The conclusions are from a study in the journal Nature that is to be published today. The study describes planet-scale changes in the regulatory function of the ocean that affect precipitation, evaporation, fresh-water cycles and climate.

"This has the potential to change the circulation of the ocean significantly in our lifetime," said Ruth Curry of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, the study's lead author.
Another hole in Bjorn Lomborg's "Theory"
TMK Azmi Bishara of Balad (National Democratic Alliance) said that describing the original residents of the land as a demographic problem would be considered racist in any country. "No people in the world like to hear that their actual existence causes a demographic problem," Bishara told Army Radio. "Even in undeveloped countries, this is thought of as racist."

Yossi Sarid (Meretz) said Netanyahu set in motion an irrevocable deterioration of relations between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. Sarid said it was amazing to see how "great leaders are exposed as small bigots. The Palestinian problem in the territories has not yet been solved, and already some insist on creating a new problem with Israeli Arabs."

Netanyahu warned that a Jewish majority was necessary for Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic. "If their numbers reach 35-40 percent of the country, than the Jewish state will be annulled," he said. He also said that if the Arabs remain at 20 percent of the population but relations are tense and violent, this will also harm the state's democratic fabric. He said it was necessary to improve education standards, especially for Arab citizens.

He also said that the separation fence would help to prevent a "demographic spillover" of Palestinians from the territories.
Netanyahu is getting pretty blatant in his old age. Reminds me of Heston.
Washington's claims that brilliant US intelligence work led to the capture of Saddam Hussein are being challenged by reports sourced in Iraq's Kurdish media claiming that its militia set the circumstances in which the US merely had to go to a farm identified by the Kurds to bag the fugitive former president.
Let me be clear: I'm not saying there's nothing to this. I haven't had time to make any calls. Anything could be true. And it's entirely possible that there are dimensions to the intel leading to Saddam's capture, which haven't yet been revealed. But none of the publish accounts I've seen strike me as credible or even close to substantiated. So until I see more I assume there's nothing to it.
Libya has been under fierce UN-sanctions for a decade. And the strangling pressure of those sanctions, combined with rising internal political strains which magnified their effect, prompted the shift of course.

Does the backdrop of Iraq play into the decision? Of course, it does. But this isn't a break with the direction Libya's been pursuing, but a continuation of it.
If "Any demonstration against the government or coalition forces will be fired upon," how are we exporting democracy and freedom?
This fall, the Park Service approved a creationist text, “Grand Canyon: A Different View,” for sale in park bookstores and museums. The book claims that the Grand Canyon is only a few thousand years old and developed on a biblical, rather than an evolutionary, time scale. At the same time, Park Service leadership has blocked publication of guidance for park rangers and other interpretative staff that labeled creationism as lacking any scientific basis, PEER found.

The actions would appear to be in conflict with President Bush’s stated support for policies based on “sound science.”

Last month, the Park Service announced it would alter an 8-minute video shown at the Lincoln Memorial visitor center of past demonstrations and events at the memorial. Conservative groups had asked for the removal of footage of gay rights, pro-choice and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations because it implies that “Lincoln would have supported homosexual and abortion ‘rights’ as well as feminism.” The Park Service has promised to develop a “more balanced” version that includes rallies of Christian groups and pro-war demonstrations, PEER said.
I guess we can't afford a "more balanced" view in Iraq and I guess Bush meant "sounds like science." They put a lot of work into making Intelligent Design sound that way.
Cheney told commentator Armstrong Williams that the war on terrorism is "going to go on for a long time" and that U.S. soil remains vulnerable to al Qaeda, the network behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The vice president said one of his biggest worries is "the possibility of that group of terrorists acquiring deadlier weapons to use against us -- a biological weapon of some kind, or even a nuclear weapon."

"To contemplate the possibility of them unleashing that kind of capability -- of that kind of weapon, if you will, in the midst of one of our cities -- that's a scary proposition," he said. "It's one of the most important problems we face today, because I think that is the major threat."

Cheney also criticized what he considers a proliferation of "cheap shot journalism" about the administration. "People don't check the facts," he said.
Like that pesky fact about Iraqi WMD? Oh my Cheney the lies do stack don't they?
William McCracken, 63, of Houston alleges that he and at least two other employees at the Exxon Baytown Olefins Plant laboratory were fired for failing to seek counseling and undergo healing rituals administered by a cult leader.

McCracken, a lab technician employed by Kelly Services and assigned to work at the laboratory, is suing Exxon Mobil and Kelly Services for an unspecified amount in damages for religious discrimination and retaliation.

The lawsuit filed this week alleges that Exxon Mobil and Kelly Services failed to investigate McCracken's complaints about the activities of employees who "adhered to certain spiritual, religious teachings of (the cult leader) and a `new age' belief system, including a practice known as Reiki."

Sunday 21
Prepare for chess-boxing!
The scientific community can fight over the facts of any published work. It can even argue about whether or not Lomborg is a crank. But what's important is the principle that dissent makes us think better.

We need those cranks out there who make us uncomfortable. Ideas, even silly ones, foster other ideas.

I don't share Lomborg's conclusions. But this I know: He's not a liar.
Selecting only evidence to support your argument and ignoring the rest isn't lying. That's some convoluted logic there Mark.
Noam Chomsky is the master of looking-glass politics. His writing exemplifies the ability of the Western Left to criticise everything from the West - except itself. He is immensely popular; but his popularity is mystifying on the first reading. His work is dense and filled with non sequiturs (here he seeks to use the Cuban missile crisis to explain the Iraq war, which is a little like using the first Moon landing to explain the dotcom boom). He claims to confront the comfortable with uncomfortable facts they don't want to face. Yet his audience is primarily a comfortable Western audience.
Encouraging the patient to let it all hang out should be empowering for the "analysand". In fact, the reverse is true. Nobody except a megalomaniac can "talk" (in a monologue) indefinitely without rendering themselves vulnerable to the suggestive interventions of that dictatorial wizard: the analyst. What may begin as a minor character trait is inflated into an obsession, then a phobic neurosis. There is little chance that an analysis will last less than several months, years or, in the most lucrative cases, decades.
Killing Freud is the latest salvo fired in the Freud Wars, which got seriously under way during the "recovered memories" furore that gripped 1990s America. Dozens of parents faced imprisonment because their grown-up children were seduced into believing, by the inchoate shibboleths of Freudianism, that they had been abused as youngsters.
Wasn't "recovered memories" started by a doctor that had been accused of child abuse in order to discredit the charges? In other words, it's not related to "the bearded shadow of Freud."
I never said all CEO's are bad.
Stine, the founder of Stine Seed Co. in Adel, informed his 270 employees recently that they would be receiving a Christmas bonus from the company. This would not be a holiday turkey or a box of candy.

Stine gave employees $1,000 for each year of service to his company - more than $1 million in all.
This Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the disorder of the Universe can only increase in time, but the equations of classical and quantum mechanics, the laws that govern the behaviour of the very small, are time reversible.

A few years ago, a tentative theoretical solution to this paradox was proposed - the so-called Fluctuation Theorem - stating that the chances of the Second Law being violated increases as the system in question gets smaller.

This means that at human scales, the Second Law dominates and machines only ever run in one direction. However, when working at molecular scales and over extremely short periods of time, things can take place in either direction.
ASK Metafilter: Good music gifts?
“Does anyone have a light for Santa?” asked an elf-sized woman. Some Santas were belligerent, swearing at passerby. One, looking at my big body, asked why I was not among them. “A missed opportunity,” said that Santa's friend, shaking her red-hatted head, white pom-pom swinging. A mother with two little girls passed; the little girls looked around, confused, then afraid, and one began to cry.
Today's lavish displays do more than brighten the night. They tell a story of economic progress. Like the electronic gadgets aimed at gift buyers, the tiny lights outlining rooflines and tree limbs illustrate new sources of growth, productivity, and prosperity. Aesthetic pleasure, they tell us, is an increasingly important source of economic value and hence of new jobs and business opportunities. And the same trends that boost living standards in other areas also make Christmas lights more abundant.

A holiday-lighting dollar simply goes further than it used to. Homeowners buying Christmas lights benefit from the same intense retail and manufacturing competition that have driven down prices and improved reliability in so many other industries, raising the American standard of living.
And I thought it was just a kind of Clark Griswald sense of competition, a keeping up with the Jones's kind of deal combined with the fact that people can pick up tons of these lights really cheap in January and their collections grow and grow since (though she does note this part) the lights of today are obviously better quality. Though all that competition seems to be happening in China where almost (though I've never found any that are not) all these lights are made.
Suicide of The Astronaut by Muammar Al Qadhafi
The Metafilter thread on global dimming
which has Slithy Tove pisssy and the thread goes off in strange directions, but I wish to keep track of the links provided by troutfishing.
Anyway, here's an interesting article for the GD thread "Industry Promotes Skeptical View Of Global Warming," which has an interesting bit of info.
The column was posted to a pro-industry Web site called Techcentralstation.com. A spokeswoman for the Web site said all of its revenue comes from small advertisements that appear at the top of its screens.

Advertisers include McDonalds, Microsoft and ExxonMobil.
Yes, that's the place that often publishes Glen "Instapundit" that was fighting for Lomborg's credibility.

Saturday 20
James and Anetta White said the 2-foot-tall elf that they have put out every Christmas for 25 years was taken two weeks ago.

Since then, the "elf-nappers" have been mailing them pictures.
There's a slideshow
It could be worse for that gnome. "Die screaming with sharp things in your head"
I watched this one. O'Reilly is so intimitated by Franken that he can't even bring himself to mention his name.
So these sales figures O'Reilly talks about are BS and Drudge posts the real ones online. Clinton's Living History gets 1,084,520, Franken's Lies and The Lying Liars gets 674,024, and O'Reilly's Who's Looking Out for You gets 430,407.
This makes O'Reilly flip out.
"There is no other cure than to kill Matt Drudge," O'Reilly charged on the IMUS in the MORNING radio show.

"I just want to tell everybody that Matt Drudge is smoking crack - right now, in South Miami Beach on Washington Avenue... And the authorities should know it."
The whole thing is summed up here.
This is a really good race and only ridiculous if you believe those dopey Web sites. Oh, man. I -- I can't do it. I'm not going to do it. But I've got to tell you just please don't believe the Web sites.
Don't believe!!!!!
The recording industry says the widespread copying of music over the Internet is partially to blame for falling CD sales.
And I thought it was that today's music mostly sucks. MTV doesn't play anything but crap rap and the radio-bah.
Nothing desperate about this at all.
The Bush Tax.
The key point is simple: Government debt is future taxation.
The internet has spoken on gay marriage
Hilarious freak out over someone posting a link to the Diane Sawyer interview with Bush.
While I was watching FOX NEWS the guy wanted to make sure to point out that Libya would have never done this if not threatened by what we did to Saddam. They've been on this road at least since 1999 (as in before Bush). EAT CROW FOX!
In the five excerpts here, Ninio examines America's self-image: the "cradle of democracy", the "land of plenty", the "beacon of justice", the "best way of life", the "land of the free". He finds gaps between the self-image and the reality, which he calls the "symptoms" of the disease. He argues that the symptoms can be traced to a powerful cocktail of ignorance, hypocrisy and obedience - the "IHO syndrome". As a cure for this disease, Ninio proposes that people replace ignorance with knowledge, hypocrisy with sincerity and obedience with resistance.
Spectacular shots shown by Spitzer Space Telescope
An investigation by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also found that officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, improperly taped meetings between detainees and their lawyers, and used excessive strip searches and restraints to punish those in confinement.

The report concluded that as many as 20 guards were involved in the abuse, which included slamming prisoners against walls and painfully twisting their arms and hands. Fine recommended discipline for 10 employees and counseling for two others who remain employed by the federal prison system. He also said the government should notify the employers of four former guards about their conduct.
Because the world really needs more nuclear weapons

Thursday 18
They told the Senators Iraq could bomb them.
I thought you were supposed to capture the wounded. This needs to be investigated. If we don't take prisoners, why should they? The Geneva Convention was set in place to protect soldiers. This is not a debate. This is not political.
How Saddam could embarrass the West
Question for all you amateur lawyers out there: Would it be illegal to go on TV and call Ose a fucking asshole who's wasting everyone's time with shit like this?
Earth is 20% darker, say experts
Global warming is killing us too, say Inuit
The Penrose Influence on Escher
We can't do it all, but why do we choose to not do some things....heheh I know

Wednesday 17
Glenn Reynolds is a fan of politizing science.
Are the folks at Reason Magazine?
SPECIAL security equipment installed in vehicles in the motorcade of President Pervez Musharraf saved his life when a bridge was blown up just after he crossed it, an official said today.

"The presidential motorcade has special jamming equipment, which blocks all remote-controlled devices in a 200-metre radius," a senior security official investigating the blast said.

"That is why the bomb exploded after Musharraf's motorcade had crossed the bridge," the official said, requesting anonymity.

Five high explosives were detonated seconds before Musharraf's car travelled over the bridge near military headquarters in Rawalpindi on Monday, but they didn't explode until after he'd passed over it.
Here's how it works, kids.... Wisconsin sucks, Indiana blows. Chicago is therefore the windy city.
Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was charged today in a federal racketeering indictment with conspiracy and fraud while he was governor and secretary of state.

Ryan allegedly engaged in a pattern of corruption that included performing official government acts, awarding lucrative government contracts and leases and using the State of Illinois for his own benefit, members of his family, his campaign organization and certain associates, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
The federal investigation was launched after six children in one family died in a fiery accident on a Wisconsin expressway involving a trucker who may have bought his drivers license.
Ryan declared a moratorium on capital punishment in Illinois after it was discovered that 13 wrongfully convicted men had been sent to death row.
I wonder if that fact that the ultimate responsiblity for the death of those children was his, caused him to not have wrongful executions until his term haunt him too.
Ryan has neatly bookended the news out of Illinois in 2003.

Eleven days into the year he made national news by commuting the sentences of 164 Death Row inmates to life without parole. With 15 days left in the year he's again in the national headlines.
-Eric Zorn
Metafilter on Ryan
Find those WMD and win a prize!
Unprecedented demand for the flu vaccine has caused its price to skyrocket across the United States, from $40 a vial two months ago to as high as $215 today, leading to charges that companies are price-gouging health agencies amid fears of an unusually harsh flu season.

"It's pretty clear someone is being taken advantage of here," said Sue Denny of Missouri's state immunization program, "and it's easy to see who."
Speaking before a group of 30 representatives from the hardware industry Monday night at the Freedom Technology Center in Mountain View, California, Lampret unveiled the organization's most recent development: a functional system-on-chip microprocessor, developed entirely from freely available open-source blueprints.
Want to buy a cookie? If you are a white male, that'll be $1; for white females, 75 cents; blacks, 25 cents. The price structure is the message.

Through Affirmative Action Bake Sales, conservative groups on campuses across America are satirically and peacefully spotlighting the injustice of AA programs that penalize or benefit students based solely on gender and race. The cookie rebels are being slammed by such a backlash that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) -- dreaded by many university administrators -- just shot "an opening salvo" in the rebels' defense.
I don't really care about the bake sale, but if FIRE wants to counter it they should have a Rich Action Bake Sale where the cookies all cost 50 thousand dollars and to insure you get one you can donate a new bakery, etc.
Oh, here's your "Fair & Balanced" part of the article
Meanwhile the most effective thing the rest of us can do is to keep laughing.

Boss Tweed -- that symbol of political corruption from 19th century New York -- used to rail against cartoonists who parodied him without pause. Tweed knew he could politically survive anything except being the brunt of jokes. As with Tweed, so too with AA. That's the way the cookie and policy crumble.
PETA must remind the world every so often that being a vegan may drive you mad.
Yes, the PETA thread brings out the real Mefi, but a thread like this and what it links to is total Mefi.
Yes, that thread was total Mefi, but the complete package has to have an anti-hummer2 thread (that I comment in)

Monday 15
Trade Center Fireproofing Tests Suggest a Wider Safety Problem
Why the World Trade Center Buildings Collapsed: A Fire Chief ’s Assessment
Farnsworth house stays where it is.
Bechtel Fails Reconstruction of Iraq's Schools.
Halliburton-Kellogg Brown and Root's promises to improve "have not been followed through," according to a Pentagon report that warned "serious repercussions may result" if the contractor did not clean up.

The Pentagon reported finding "blood all over the floor," "dirty pans," "dirty grills," "dirty salad bars" and "rotting meats ... and vegetables" in four of the military messes the company operates in Iraq, NBC said, citing Pentagon documents.

The report came as President George W. Bush fended off Pentagon reports that Halliburton-KBR overcharged US$61 million for gasoline it sold the military in Iraq. Dick Cheney ran Halliburton for five years until becoming vice president.

The company feeds 110,000 US and coalition troops daily at a cost of US$28 per troop per day, NBC said.

The Pentagon found unclean conditions at four locations in Iraq, including one in Baghdad and two in Tikrit. Even the mess hall where Bush served troops their Thanksgiving dinner was dirty in August, September and October, according to NBC.

This adds up to "a company that arrogantly is overcharging when they can get away with it and not providing the quality of service that they agreed to do," Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, told NBC.
Theory Is Finished
Why have natural gas prices risen nearly 50% recently? Corruption?
Several large energy companies, including Duke Energy of Charlotte, N.C., and Dynegy Inc. of Houston, have recently paid millions of dollars in fines to settle federal charges that they tried to manipulate prices of natural gas contracts improperly.
Tehran :: Jim Muir :: 1105GMT

The news of Saddam Hussein's capture has resonated across Iran. For years he's been a target of hatred here, not just officially inspired by the regime but deeply felt by many ordinary people whose lives were scarred by the war he launched in 1980.

But the deep divisions between hardliners and reformists is reflected in the way their newspapers deal with events. For the right wing papers the main emphasis is on the war of the 1980s and the United States' role in backing Saddam Hussein at that time. One carries the headline "Saddam returns to the arms of America".

But the reformists take a different tack, stressing the unpopular dictatorial nature of Saddam's power. "This is the fate of those who don't have the support of their people", one reformist daily says, drawing a thinly veiled parallel with the situation in Iran itself, where a powerful hard line minority have been blocking the wishes of the elected reformist majority.

Sunday 14
Will he tell us where the WMD are? (hopefully we can get the hell out of there now)
Metafilter reacts to capture
Bush signs sanctions against Syria. Does this signal we're going to stick it to those suckas next?
Like this guy from Metafilter, I nearly fell asleep during the first film. I think that after reading the books, I've already had my fill of hobbits for a lifetime.
Issue by issue of Dean vs. Kucinich.
How Paul Harvey is making enemies
How Michael Kinsley has to pretend Kucinich doesn't exist in order to write this article. Bringing up Kucinich would destroy the whole premise.

Friday 12
We Love the SCO Information Minister
Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.
We're like the Saber-toothed Tiger sinking into the tar pit. And over on dry land are a few giraffes munching away on some leaves. And we're taunting them with what terms we're going to give them to buy into the good thing we've got going on.
The Japanese SAQ
Why Michael Crichton should stick to writing sci-fi
The cabal - which we can define as the pack of con artists who've been in charge of the nation since 1980 (seeing how they ran most things even during the Clinton years) - exists for one purpose: to maximally loot the republic for every last dollar they can get, and damn the proles. The biggest unknown component of the looting phase was the savings and loan so-called fiasco in the 1980s, which we - the proles - are still paying for today. It was not a matter of those in charge of the S&Ls being incompetent or in over their head or bumbling fools. It was a systematic plan to steal money, and worked to the tune of half a trillion dollars (at least). Anyone not in the top 1% on the net worth charts, i.e. anyone who hasn't made out like a bandit from this looting, who still supports the cabal deserves every kick in the balls they will continue to get. My only regret is that I won't also be able to apply my steel-toed boot and hear them say, "Thank you sir! May I have another?"
on Hugh Kenner:
Kenner's talent for mathematics (which he once considered as a career) saved him from the pathetic fear of technology that paralyzes many literary people. Uniquely, he was comfortable with engineering. In 1973 he wrote a wonderful book about the inventor of geodesic domes, Bucky: A Guided Tour of Buckminster Fuller; three years later, moving farther into Fuller's world, he wrote Geodesic Math and How to Use It. (Kenner, never lacking chutzpah, claimed he understood the subject better than Fuller.)
You can read Buckminster's book, Grunch of Giants.
Read a bit of horror: The Marker by Robert Coover
"I think that age as a number is not nearly as important as health. You can be in poor health and be pretty miserable at 40 or 50. If you're in good health, you can enjoy things into your 80s. Beyond that, if there's a secret for health and energy, it lies in exercise and nutrition. I exercise regularly. I'm a vegetarian - I think there's a strong possibility, had I not become a vegetarian, I would not be working now. I became a vegetarian about 25 years ago, and I did it out of concern for animals. But I immediately began having more energy and feeling better."
We'll Kick Your Ass
A little-known provision buried within the omnibus federal spending bill that the U.S. House of Representatives approved yesterday would take away federal grants from local and state transportation authorities that allow citizens to run advertising on buses, trains, or subways in support of reforming our nation's drug laws. . . Meanwhile, this same bill gives the White House $145 million in taxpayer money to run anti-marijuana ads next year. "The government can't spend taxpayer money promoting one side of the drug policy debate while prohibiting taxpayers from using their own money to promote the other side," said Bill Piper, Associate Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This is censorship and not the democratic way."
Conclusions Gulf war veterans remain a group with many symptoms of ill health. The excess of illness at follow up is explained by both higher incidence and greater persistence of symptoms.
The Power of Magic
Browser Wars
MAME cabinet-COOL!
Norbert's Online NES emulator

Thursday 11
When Aki and Paw Paw, famous Nigerian midget entertainers, were replace by a local midget duo it was too much for those at Sierra Leone’s national stadium to take without starting a riot.
Koppel threw out the script, asking Wesley Clark whether he would accept an endorsement from the Clintons.

"You know, I've never really thought about that," Clark said.

"Oh sure, you have," Koppel said, drawing laughs. The anchor soon added that he smelled "sour grapes" in the reaction to the Gore endorsement.

Kucinich pounced. "With all due respect to you, Ted Koppel, who I admire greatly -- "

"There's a zinger coming now," Koppel cracked.

Kucinich said that to kick off the debate by talking about endorsements "trivializes the issues that are before us."

Koppel then voiced his apparent disdain for Kucinich, Sharpton and Braun, asking whether they would eventually "drop out" or continue a "vanity candidacy."

Again, Kucinich punched back. "I want the American people to see where the media takes politics in this country," he declared to loud applause. Koppel had become one of the debaters, and he had just taken a hard right to the jaw. The candidates, many of them, were in open revolt against the moderator.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks it's time to "time to move on" concerning the allegations of sexual harassment and *surprise* changes his mind about starting an investigation. Perhaps he could give those women parts in the next Terminator movie.
Three men who broke into an Aurora home and shot a man pulled off another trick that left police scratching their heads:

They all somehow ended up shooting one another on the way out, police said.
Let's just say the possibilty that this is drug-related is a pretty damn good one.
Authorities did not expand on how the men shot one another, saying only: "It appears that the three suspects ... attempted to leave the scene, and somehow ended up wounding themselves with their own gunfire as they tried to flee."
Police are investigating the death of a baby whose family had tried to heal him with prayer.

Four-month-old Caleb Nathaniel Tribble died last Friday, two days after a Northland district health nurse advised his parents to take him to a doctor.

Police have confirmed they are investigating but will not discuss the case. No charges have been laid.

The baby's father, David Tribble, said the family had strong Baptist beliefs and believed in the healing power of God, but were not part of any extremist sect or cult.

He said his father, John, had been trying to heal the baby by laying his hands on him and praying, according to the beliefs of the Auckland-based Liberty Christian Church, to which the family belonged.
The book, Der Kleine Frieden im Grossen Krieg, or The Small Peace in the Big War, shows that the German and British soldiers who famously played football with each other in no man's land on Christmas Day 1914 didn't always have a ball. Instead, they improvised. On certain sections of the front, soldiers kicked around a lump of straw tied together with string, or even an empty jam box.

According to previously unseen letters and diaries sent home by Germans from the trenches, many of the passes went wildly astray and shot off the icy pitch. The soldiers used sticks of wood, their caps and steel helmets as goalposts. The games lasted about an hour. The sleep-deprived players then collapsed, exhausted.
Levine, a non-medically-trained psychologist, not an MD, is guilty of basic mistakes in his understanding of the psychiatric theory he criticizes.
The Rampage
The Key to Genius
"Subject No. 4" died at 1:44 a.m. on June 14, 1999, in the immense federal research clinic of the National Institutes of Health.

The cause of death was clear: a complication from an experimental treatment for kidney inflammation using a drug made by a German company, Schering AG.

Among the first to be notified was Dr. Stephen I. Katz, the senior NIH official whose institute conducted the study.

Unbeknown to the participants, Katz also was a paid consultant to Schering AG.

Katz and his institute staff could have responded to the death by stopping the study immediately. They also could have moved swiftly to warn doctors outside the NIH who were prescribing the drug for similar disorders. Either step might have threatened the market potential for Schering AG's drug. They did neither.
Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies, an Observer inquiry reveals.

The journals, bibles of the profession, have huge influence on which drugs doctors prescribe and the treatment hospitals provide. But The Observer has uncovered evidence that many articles written by so-called independent academics may have been penned by writers working for agencies which receive huge sums from drug companies to plug their products.

Estimates suggest that almost half of all articles published in journals are by ghostwriters. While doctors who have put their names to the papers can be paid handsomely for 'lending' their reputations, the ghostwriters remain hidden. They, and the involvement of the pharmaceutical firms, are rarely revealed.
Scientists have successfully immunised mice against the deadly Ebola virus which has killed thousands in Africa.

They used virus-like particles (VLPs) which are non-infectious but are capable of triggering a strong response by the immune system.

Usually lethal doses of ebola had no impact on the vaccinated mice.
I love opinions so much, I keep on having more of them. The famous Telegraph journalist Colin Welch had lots, too. His critics called him "viewy", a term that cheered him greatly. Interesting opinions are surprisingly rare so, when the timorous come across them, they are often alarmed. That rarity has real value. Yet although opinions are valuable, they can be disturbing. The best ones almost certainly are.

But how odd that to be called "opinionated" is to be insulted. It's always happening to me. Some years ago, I expressed unpolitical views about the dire practical and aesthetic deficiencies of a candidate for an award in the Design Council's Millennium Products scheme that I was judging, along with a lot of po-faced high-ups.
In recent weeks, cracks have appeared in a three-year-old Israeli consensus that there is no Palestinian partner for a peace process, that the Palestinians' real goal is the liquidation of Israel, and that to negotiate with Palestinians before terrorism is ended is to "reward terrorism."

This consensus has enabled Prime Minister Sharon's government to maintain that its only option is to wage an unrelenting war against the Palestinians that, in the words of the Israeli Defense Force's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Moshe Ya'alon, will "sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people" before any political process can begin.

A number of recent events suggest that this consensus is beginning to erode. About a third of Israel's public expressed support for an Israeli–Palestinian peace proposal announced by former justice minister Yossi Bei-lin and former Palestinian Authority minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. Some 200,000 Israelis and Palestinians signed a statement supporting a parallel peace initiative led by a former head of the Shin Bet, Israel's intelligence agency, Ami Ayalon, and a former official of the Palestinian Authority, Sari Nusseibeh. One hundred thousand demonstrators turned out at a rally sponsored by the previously dormant peace camp. Twenty Israeli fighter pilots, considered the military's elite, issued a public protest of Israeli policies in the territories.

Wednesday 10
Constant sobriety is not a natural or pleasant condition, and intoxicants are an essential part of life and literature. "Life is an incurable disease," Abraham Cowley wrote in 1656, and until the 20th century there was little shame attached to using drugs as a crutch to help with life's emotional strains or as an aid to productivity in work. Sir Clifford Allbutt, the great Victorian physician on whom George Eliot modelled Dr Lydgate in Middlemarch, believed that all human beings required drugs "to soothe the nervous system, to restore it after fatigue". Even opium, he wrote, could be used "not as an idle or vicious indulgence, but as a reasonable aid in the work of life".
Recently, Congress passed a law which allowed credit card companies two months leeway in crediting an account. Which means, in essence, that if you accidentally order, say a size 10.5 Bean, er, generic "Legume" boot versus a size 10, and do a "quick exchange", where the new item is sent at the same time you send back the old one, good ole MBNA can sit on both purchases for two months, meaning while they immediately charge your card for the replacement item, they don't have to credit your account back for the old one, even if it's the seller receives it three days after the original purchase date.
First, a quick note to the Gothamist:
1. As much as I dislike the word, I really don't care what people call what they are doing. Also Meg is no more an authority than anyone else.
2. So you are clueless to why people do this in the first place.
3. Whatever. Quantity means nothing to me.
4. Links are there so you don't have to wade through bookmarks.
5. You can't steal a link. That's a myth.
6. Write whatever you like, but what you reap may end up being what you sow.
7. Overreact, otherwise I will never find your silly fit to laugh over on blogdex, etc.
8. Screw you. ;)
The National Institute on Media and the Family, an independent, nonprofit group, said "killographic" scenes are featured in a number of video games within reach of children.
The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. In interviews over the past month, American officials and former officials said that the main target was a hard-core group of Baathists who are believed to be behind much of the underground insurgency against the soldiers of the United States and its allies. A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination.

The revitalized Special Forces mission is a policy victory for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has struggled for two years to get the military leadership to accept the strategy of what he calls “Manhunts”—a phrase that he has used both publicly and in internal Pentagon communications. Rumsfeld has had to change much of the Pentagon’s leadership to get his way. “Knocking off two regimes allows us to do extraordinary things,” a Pentagon adviser told me, referring to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Steve Jobs Rolling Stone interview.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Rolling Stone interview.
"We can easily distort memories for the details of an event that you did experience," says Loftus. "And we can also go so far as to plant entirely false memories - we call them rich false memories because they are so detailed and so big."
A collection of reads.
Yoyo masters in action.
Making it obviously about money.
A heavy dose of fear and violence.
With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them.

Monday 08
antartic eclipse
Give the gift of historic hair this Christmas
Beavers no match for Trojans
FARKers rudely remember Jennicam
A financial analyst wanted for stealing $150,000 paid the price for failing to cough up $2.50 at a highway toll.
The NYC Human Rights Commission declares to world, "We are stupid!"
A while back I tried to understand Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's racist remarks and highlighted some of the interesting bits in his speech. It was in order to understand the man so we call all learn how to deal with this kind of thinking. When Paul Krugman did it, they hound him for it. Sound like people desperate to discredit Paul.
Speaking of desperate nitpicking. How many days before the folks at Moorewatch go postal?
How many days before we see a Babes for Bush calender?
Halliburton, the engineering group formerly run by US vice-president Dick Cheney, has been given $1 billion worth of reconstruction work in Iraq by the US government without having to compete for it, thanks to repeated delays in opening up a key contract to competition.
4:27 p.m. A tangle of fuzzies attenuated pedestrian bandwidth along Tavern Row. Official narrative describes the love-in’s participants being contacted and sent on what’s euphemistically described as their "way," however, that appears to be more liberal media spin, since...

5:33 p.m. ...A scant hour later, the cluster of junketing Fun Bunchers, so far from the greasy, forgiving train tracks just a wander away, were back in hostile territory with dogs and alcohol as force multipliers. But their resistance faded faster than a circling 40-ouncer in a recessed gift shop alcove, with one soul arrested on public drunkenness charges and two others cited for lesser naughties.
Thursday, October 2 4:32 p.m. Time to put on the old ski mask, stagger drunkenly over to the bank, unnerve passersby and get arrested.
This study is about the situation in Iraq by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Particularly interesting are the notes from visits to Army units deployed in the field, starting on page 10. The situation described is a well orchestrated guerrilla war.
Why have we lost helicopters needlessly?

We have forgotten how to fly them tactically. In Vietnam the greatest threat we faced in helicopters were AKs and .51 Caliber Machine Guns. RPGs were only a threat in the LZs or on short final or immediately after takeoff. How did we fly to avoid the threat? Either at 1500 feet above the terrain above the threat of AKs and RPGs or right on the deck as fast as we could go. 51s scared the shit out of us. If they were known or suspected we were on the deck. You couldn’t get high enough to get out of range of a .51.
It seems the Army has no institutional memory of lessons learned in Vietnam about truck convoy defense. As a former Transportation Corps officer, we did the following with our trucks and personnel. If you think it's worthwhile, please pass along to your contacts in Iraq. I know they work since we were responsible for our own defense against attack--nobody was going to come save us.
IAs Commonwealth countries moved Sunday to continue the 20-month suspension of Zimbabwe from the prestigious Commonwealth group, a statement came swiftly from Harare announcing Robert Mugabe's country is withdrawing from the organization.
Sun is challenging Microsoft on a new front: the consumer market. Believing its Java Desktop System is "a more effective home and retail solution," the company is negotiating with major retailers Wal-Mart and Office Depot to include the desktop on consumer PCs and laptops.
They never learn do they?

Sunday 07: bleh...I feel like crap
How do you make lots of Slashdotters angry? Say, "Low-skill jobs like coding are moving offshore and what's left in their place are more advanced project management jobs."
Metafilter passed the 30,000 post mark
Jennicam finally shuts down with hardly anyone caring

Friday 05
The Second Coming of Philip K. Dick
The Battle for Water

Thursday 04: Where you discover that less what I think doesn't mean, "nothing of what I think."
Politely bending the truth gave way to full-blown, shameless lies on "Survivor" this week, courtesy of none other than Dippy Wrongstockings. Everyone from loyal fans to God-fearing bystanders were appalled by Dippy's latest antics, which easily qualify as the most demonic behavior ever captured on a reality show. For those who weren't watching the show last Wednesday night and haven't walked past the office water cooler for several days, that creepy guy Jon who, just for the record, I've always hated", told one of the most unsettling lies ever, a lie so bold it would make most normal humans with blood flowing through their veins flinch visibly, waiting for God to strike them down.

Not that I'm fond of little Jonny Fairplay, but isn't this same trick something we were amused about in Ferris Bueller's Day Off? This bit has made Survivor the most interesting one yet, even despite the fact I never watched one the whole way through yet. PS Arrested Development is far more funny than she gives it credit for.
the president of the company, Peter Osnos, sat down and told me at lunch that I would need to get balancing comments from General Electric for whatever I was saying about them in the book. And I said, "I'm not gonna do that. I didn't get balancing comments from Major League Baseball when I wrote Ball Four. And I'm not gonna do that with Foul Ball." I said, "Let them write their own book."

Then he tells me that the top lawyer for General Electric is a friend of his. And he was gonna become a partner in Public Affairs. A week after that, the editor with whom I've been working on the book told me I had to remove all references to pollution and General Electric, or they weren't gonna publish the book.

I said, "Well, that's ridiculous. I'm not doing that. I want a termination letter." They wouldn't give me one. Months went by. I finally had to hire a lawyer to get my termination letter. And during the discussions about whether they were gonna give me a termination letter, the lawyer for Public Affairs told me agent that I could keep half of my advance if I promise not to say why I was leaving Public Affairs. I told my agent, I said, "I don't know what my price for silence is, but I know it's not $25,000."

MOYERS: So you left and you published the book yourself.

BOUTON: Yeah. I had to.
The government's announcement on Tuesday that the economy grew even faster than expected makes the current "jobless recovery" even more puzzling. To give some perspective, unemployment normally falls significantly in such economic boom times. The last time growth was this good, in 1983, unemployment fell 2.5 percentage points and another full percentage point the next year. That's what happens in a typical recovery. So why not this time? Because we have more to recover from than we've been told.

The reality is that we didn't have a mild recession. Jobs-wise, we had a deep one.

The government reported that annual unemployment during this recession peaked at only around 6 percent, compared with more than 7 percent in 1992 and more than 9 percent in 1982. But the unemployment rate has been low only because government programs, especially Social Security disability, have effectively been buying people off the unemployment rolls and reclassifying them as "not in the labor force."

In other words, the government has cooked the books. It has been a more subtle manipulation than the one during the Reagan administration, when people serving in the military were reclassified from "not in the labor force" to "employed" in order to reduce the unemployment rate. Nonetheless, the impact has been the same.
The Loneliest Mile in Town
The oil industry is buzzing. On Thursday, the government approved the development of the biggest deposit discovered in British territory for at least 10 years. Everywhere we are told that this is a "huge" find, which dispels the idea that North Sea oil is in terminal decline. You begin to recognise how serious the human predicament has become when you discover that this "huge" new field will supply the world with oil for five and a quarter days.1

Every generation has its taboo, and ours is this: that the resource upon which our lives have been built is running out. We don't talk about it because we cannot imagine it. This is a civilisation in denial.

Oil itself won't disappear, but extracting what remains is becoming ever more difficult and expensive. The discovery of new reserves peaked in the 1960s.2 Every year, we use four times as much oil as we find.3 All the big strikes appear to have been made long ago: the 400 million barrels in the new North Sea field would have been considered piffling in the 1970s. Our future supplies depend on the discovery of small new deposits and the better exploitation of big old ones. No one with expertise in the field is in any doubt that the global production of oil will peak before long.
David Neiwert's essay about The Political and the Personal has generated much discussion in the blogosphere. In this post, David talks about why he cannot see himself voting for a Republican -- because the tactics of the party are so destructive that even good and decent Republicans are being used by an entity that is destroying the country and its constitution. The Republican party has been so corrupted by the negative forces that a vote for them implies support for the the anti-democratic and totalitarian policies that the Bush, DeLay, Frist and Scalia promote.

Along with David I also wonder: Where are the Republicans that believe that the politics of destruction is antithetical to everything our representative government should be? Why are they unable to see that going along with the bullying tactics of the current Republican party is undermining our form of government? The distrust that is engendered by the tactics used by those who will do anything to win (where the ends justifies any means) is totally corrosive to our body politic and as long as this is the way our government works, we cannot claim to have a democracy.

OK, but isn't Howard Dean making a name for himself by being just as nasty with his comments about Bush? Maybe the American people are used to and expect polemic debate. Maybe it's the only way to get people to listen. It's like the comedy of Sam Kinnison, shouting the people out of their slumber.
Frontline's Baghdad dispatches
Leeve know kid bhind
Blogshares bites it, but at least I didn't blow money on the thing
Get your geek on over Galactica
Hillary was in Iraq on Turkey day too.
The convoy which was attacked while driving through Samara was not a supply convoy as reported, but was carrying large amounts of new Iraqi currency to stock local Iraqi banks and US greenbacks used to pay for goods and services the US forces need to accomplish their missions in Iraq. This convoy was heavily guarded by Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. It was akin to a huge Brinks Truck delivery.

The reports of 54 enemy killed will sound great on the home front, but the greater story is much more disturbing and needs to be told to the American Public.

When we received the first incoming rounds, all I could think of was how the hell did the Iraqis (most of these attackers being criminals, not insurgents) find out about this shipment? This was not broadcast on the local news, but Iraqi police knew about it. Bing, Bing Bing, You do the math.
Some lies about drug use.
A primate study it published in 2002, with heavy publicity, warned that the amount of the drug Ecstasy that a typical user consumes in a single night might cause permanent brain damage.

It turned out that the $1.3 million study, led by Dr. George A. Ricaurte of Johns Hopkins University, had not used Ecstasy at all. His 10 squirrel monkeys and baboons had instead been injected with overdoses of methamphetamine, and two of them had died. The labels on two vials he bought in 2000, he said, were somehow switched.
Talking Points hates repetition, but wants you to know that certain courts in this country are trying to change our legal and social systems. And the Ninth is leading the way. It's apparent that this San Francisco court wants to legalize drugs.

Item: in 1999, the Ninth okayed medical marijuana clubs. The Supreme Court said no. In 2001, that court overturned Bill Clinton's policy of evicting drug evolved people from public housing. The Supreme Court again reversed the Ninth. Item, in 2002, the Ninth ruled that people in Idaho could drive under the influence of marijuana. Unbelievable. Also in 2002, the court ruled that Rastafarians could smoke pot on federal property, no less.
The WSJ, apparently worried that its fulltimers might not be barking mad enough, has taken to using hired psychos willing to rant freelance on the pages of the Journal. And none of these crazies is more utterly deranged than our friend Vladimir Socor. Socor's an old favorite of Moscow expat press-watchers, and was featured in an eXile press review last year. His one gimmick is Russophobia. But that's like saying that Andy Roddick's one gimmick is his serve. Socor is the incarnation of Russophobia, its avatar, the supreme expression of it.

Socor's latest work, an essay published in the WSJ a few days before the France/Russia editorial, may be his best and craziest ever. Even the title makes your jaw drop in sheer wonder: "Standing up to Putin's Imperial Ambitions." The thesis is that a too-trusting, too-gentle America is in danger of being overwhelmed by an aggressive, imperialistic Russia.

No, seriously. That's Socor's thesis.
The CIA's feelings are hurt over how everyone is chiding them over the missing Iraq WMD and it "may undermine analysts' willingness to make bold assessments in the future." Maybe we should increase their funding and tell them, "We know you can do better next time, don't cry now. Lemme see that smile! Come on! AWWWW!"
How the White House Fooled NPR
Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts.
Orson is right that the media needs to be truthful, but fails to understand that Iraq has never been about the war on terrorism (though the war has made it easier for terrorists to operate there). The war on despots perhaps, which at least has a limit. He's also deluded to think terrorism needs state support. Not the best political pundit, but I hear he can write fiction.
Friedman talks the same line as Orson:Thou shall not oppose a war once started. Keep your eye on the ball. Iraq was not involved in terrorism. It was a bad state, but it had nothing to do with 9/11. Therefore, being opposed to the war does not make you for the terrorists, it makes you for going after the terrorists and not old enemies like Iraq.

Wednesday 03
Canadians and Americans still dress alike, talk alike, like the same books, television shows and movies, and trade more goods and services than ever before. But from gay marriage to drug use to church attendance, a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values.
I guess the old Battlestar Galactica lacked cleavage
Nano, Nano!
Let them sing is for you
Ghost Stories
String Figures
The Cage of Fleshly Existence
Well, It's Nice...But is Catholic Social Teaching Realistic?
The Left Hand of Capitalism
Derrida's Deconstruction of Authority
Jorn of Robotwisdom has been missed and spotted
FMH on Jorn of Robotwisdom

Tuesday 02
A Norwegian who defeated Hollywood on piracy charges pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in a landmark appeal hearing that the movie industry is anxious to win to protect its lucrative DVD business.

Prosecutors, on behalf of major U.S. film studios, will try to prove that 20-year-old Jon Johansen broke Norwegian law when he developed and distributed a computer program that enables consumers to make personal copies of their DVDs.

The industry hopes to send a message to hackers that it will fight on any turf those who crack into their copy-protection systems in a global crackdown on piracy.

The plaintiffs, the Motion Picture Association of America -- representing Hollywood studios like Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios and Warner Bros -- estimate that piracy costs the U.S. motion picture industry $3 billion annually in lost sales.
Anderson called it "a hate movie." Chavez said it was "the Hollywood left's fantasy of who Ronald Reagan was." Anthony, whose co-producing credit on the movie was largely courtesy, was out of his league. Neither the executive producers nor the writer were present. As a stand-in, the movie's hairstylist would have been as potent as Anthony.

Moderator Frank Sesno also displayed results from an overnight e-mail poll. Only 7 percent of the respondents said the film negatively affected their opinion of Reagan, but 46 percent worried that it would negatively impact others. say when and where poll conducted?
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