Saturday, October 19, 2002

This site is legit too.

Oh My God.



Potomac Fever?

We need your help to better diagnose and treat a major DC malady.

The end of summer brings on health concerns such as fall allergies,
common colds, sore throats, the coming flu season, and even holiday
weight gain. While these concerns are by no means trivial there is an
even more significant health concern that may be impacting you or
some of the people you love and respect. It's called Potomac Fever.
Following is some information to assist you in recognizing, preventing,
and combating Potomac Fever.

General Symptoms include: Extreme disorientation, memory loss, and
occasional delusions of grandeur.


[..]
Prevention/Treatment: Frequently listen to or reading the President's
vision for America. Also review the writings and remarks of past
Presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George
H. W. Bush. Listen to their principles, message, and vision.



Dick lays off 34 workers

Enron owes Dick Money.

You think I'm kidding?
Sisyphus nails the Bush Admin's Bold New 401K Protection Plan.
Since I've been branded a left-wing homophobe by noted queer theorist Glenn Reynolds (indirectly, through a link, natch), I thought I'd bring your attention to some right wing homophobia.

This quote accurately reflects the 'sensible middle' over at the Free Republic:



I have no great love for fudgepackers either but if they vote Republican fine.


UPDATE: This guy was nice enough to send me a link to his rant about me.

He says my "defense" amounts to:


The tired, time-worn: "The other guys are as bad, or worse than I am, so that means it's okay, and you're being unfair to criticize me."


Actually, I didn't realize I was trying to defend myself - just highlighting the difference between some folks desiring biblical justice for sodomites and some jokes about Andy's sexual hypocrisy, his rather disturbing take on HIV, and his obsession with all things liberal/Clinton, which were written by some apparently homophobic posters at Datalounge.


Oh, and Matthew Yglesias weighs in with a bit of snark:



[Y]ou have a President of the United States who believes:

People should not have sex until they are married.
Gays and lesbians should not be allowed to marry.

Put one and two together and what do you get?


More fun with Freepers. Once less freak on in the world.

More Good Howler

NOT IN THEIR SCRIPT: During Campaign 2000, your “press corps” was willing to look away from endless dissembling by Nicholson. Consider the hitman’s endless, rank and vile dissembling about Gore and Willie Horton.

On January 25, 2000, Nicholson appeared on CNN. He rattled his usual dimwit attacks. “The American people know they cannot trust this guy,” Nicholson said of Gore (who was, of course, widely scalded by the press for being so nasty and negative). “He’s claimed to have invented the Internet. He’s claimed to be the object of the book, Love Story. He’s claimed to have discovered the Love Canal…But there is one thing that he did invent. He invented Willie Horton in the 1988 campaign. He cannot be trusted.”

In his comments about Gore and Willie Horton, Nicholson was reciting classic RNC spin. (The party had recited this nonsense for years.) But did Gore “invent Willie Horton” in 1988? During the campaign, Gore never mentioned Horton by name. He never referred to Horton’s crimes. What did Gore do? At one Democratic debate in New York, he criticized Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis for the (virtually indefensible) prison furlough program in which several convicts serving life sentences committed murders while on weekend release. Horton, of course, wasn’t one of those men. In this one brief critique at this one debate, Gore didn’t mention any prisoner by name. He didn’t mention anyone’s race. He never ran an ad on the subject, and never used any visuals at all. He obviously didn’t “invent Willie Horton.” Later, Gore said he had never even heard of Horton at the time of the primary race.

Did Candidate Gore “invent Willie Horton?” This nasty claim—recited again and again by Nicholson—was impossible to explain or defend. Simply put, it was a scummy, vile lie. And it was exactly the sort of “embellishment” and “embroidery” the deeply moral corps claimed to hate—when the corps was able to pretend that such conduct was coming from Gore, of course. But Timothy Noah’s trembling cohort never said a word about Nicholson’s conduct. Indeed, in a remarkable frenzy in December 1999, most major papers repeated this canard—often couching their bogus charge in the careful way otherwise called “Clintonesque.” (They wanted to slime Gore with this ludicrous charge, while making statements which could be defended as technically accurate. Dissembling reporters—who simply hate this conduct in targeted pols—are exceptionally advanced at this skill.) In short, your press corps was far too cowardly, and far too well scripted, ever to criticize the RNC’s Nicholson for his endless dissembling and his rancid attacks. Do you think you actually have a “press corps?” You didn’t then, and you still don’t now. E. R. Shipp explained what you have—a gang of playwrights, typing dim-witted scripts. Noah—questioning us and questioning Parry, and giving a pass to the org which misled him—shows we still have a way to go before we get a real press corps back.



Krugman

Has Glenn Reynolds gotten all outraged because Krugman called him a "conservative cyperpundit" yet?*

But, in any case - Krugman's NYT magazine article is interesting and, thankfully, so long that it'll keep the Fiskers busy for days...


In the middle of the 1980's, as economists became aware that something important was happening to the distribution of income in America, they formulated three main hypotheses about its causes.

The ''globalization'' hypothesis tied America's changing income distribution to the growth of world trade, and especially the growing imports of manufactured goods from the third world. Its basic message was that blue-collar workers -- the sort of people who in my youth often made as much money as college-educated middle managers -- were losing ground in the face of competition from low-wage workers in Asia. A result was stagnation or decline in the wages of ordinary people, with a growing share of national income going to the highly educated.

A second hypothesis, ''skill-biased technological change,'' situated the cause of growing inequality not in foreign trade but in domestic innovation. The torrid pace of progress in information technology, so the story went, had increased the demand for the highly skilled and educated. And so the income distribution increasingly favored brains rather than brawn.

Finally, the ''superstar'' hypothesis -- named by the Chicago economist Sherwin Rosen -- offered a variant on the technological story. It argued that modern technologies of communication often turn competition into a tournament in which the winner is richly rewarded, while the runners-up get far less. The classic example -- which gives the theory its name -- is the entertainment business. As Rosen pointed out, in bygone days there were hundreds of comedians making a modest living at live shows in the borscht belt and other places. Now they are mostly gone; what is left is a handful of superstar TV comedians.

The debates among these hypotheses -- particularly the debate between those who attributed growing inequality to globalization and those who attributed it to technology -- were many and bitter. I was a participant in those debates myself. But I won't dwell on them, because in the last few years there has been a growing sense among economists that none of these hypotheses work.

I don't mean to say that there was nothing to these stories. Yet as more evidence has accumulated, each of the hypotheses has seemed increasingly inadequate. Globalization can explain part of the relative decline in blue-collar wages, but it can't explain the 2,500 percent rise in C.E.O. incomes. Technology may explain why the salary premium associated with a college education has risen, but it's hard to match up with the huge increase in inequality among the college-educated, with little progress for many but gigantic gains at the top. The superstar theory works for Jay Leno, but not for the thousands of people who have become awesomely rich without going on TV.


*He always bristles when called a conservative. It's kinda cute.

Republicans Love to Lie

I can't believe the media lets them get away with this obviously false one.


WALKER: Well, the fact is that privatization is a term that Democratic pollsters came up with as a way of trying to demonize Social Security reform. Social Security is something that is badly in need of reform. Nobody is talking about privatizing it. What people are talking about is what Daniel Moynihan, a Democrat, said in his...



Dr. Limerick tells us about polls and statistical signifiance.

Daniel Ellsberg on Aaron Brown's Show




BROWN: We've got about a half a minute left. Do you think there is -- is it your view then that there is some hidden agenda here?

ELLSBERG: Well, I feel confident that the reasons being given for this war by the president, the vice president and the secretary of defense, they can't be right. They're contradicted by everything that comes out from the Senate Intelligence Committee, from the CIA and so forth. So we have to look for other reasons.

That's, by the way, part of the job. That's what I did when I worked for presidents. They -- the message of my book and of the Pentagon Papers, unfortunately, is that officials, like me and my bosses, lie and conceal far more than any outsider can even imagine.

But there is another side to that. It's possible to tell the truth. The message I would like to get to people inside right now: if they feel that what the president and the vice president and the secretary of defense are deceptive of the public, are not founded on the evidence that they know passing across their desks or they know, by expertise, I would like them to consider doing what I wish I'd done in 1964 and 1965, rather than waiting five years, as I did until 1969.

They should consider going to Congress and the press and telling the truth with documents. They shouldn't do what I did, wait until the bombs are falling. That's why I think the message in my book is urgent. So urgent, in fact, that I decided to put the first chapter on the Internet tonight on Ellsberg.net. You don't have to buy the book to read that.

That tells us what is happening right now. It's about the week that Congress passed the first Tonkin Gulf Resolution, having now that -- this is the time to read it, when they've just passed the second one.

Oh No! Not the Golf Courses!

pffff
Molly Ivins says that you should look for the photo op to see what Bush is planning to cut next.



WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 — Less than three months ago, President Bush signed with great fanfare sweeping corporate antifraud legislation that called for a huge increase in the budget of the Securities and Exchange Commission to police corporate America and clean up Wall Street.

Now the White House is backing off the budget provision and urging Congress to provide the agency with 27 percent less money than the new law authorized.

Administration officials say their proposed increase is enough and that other budgetary needs, like the military and security against terrorism, make it impossible to
afford more.
Agonist on Korea.

Friday, October 18, 2002

100 things about Jim Capozzola, editor of the Rittenhouse Review.

101. He likes vodka and grapefruit juice.
102. He's never been to Walmart.

Stupid Weekend Poll!

Best cheesy love song. In comments..
Martin Wisse goes all Schadenfreude on the collapse of the LPF coaltion in the Netherlands.

ahhh...Schadenfreude, my favorite emotion.
SparklyFairyPrincess says:


Once a member of the MIMS administration uses a phrase, the media just won't let go of it. (Like the now-nauseating "making his case...")

The current term-du-jour is the "reconstituted al Qaeda." Every talking head seems to be repeating the word "reconstituted."

This has my husband and I asking some questions. For example:

- Were the terrorists freeze-dried?
- Do we just need to add water?
- Are there both stovetop and microwave instructions?
- How many cans of water to one can of terrorist concentrate?

Friday Night Flashback!!

Who said this?


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
Sisyphus shrugged has a great list of hot races- and what you can do, where you can volunteer, etc...So, go do your part!

Another one for the "if this were Clinton" files..


Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has released documents outlining a sustained lobbying campaign by his office on behalf of a major Republican donor, which included efforts to get political appointees of President Bush to overrule career employees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

The disclosures, prompted by a Freedom of Information request from the Florida Democratic Party, add new details about the time and effort the governor and several top aides devoted to the matter, which centers on a trademark battle between Bacardi Rum and a foreign rival. The inch-high pile of documents indicate that the process began early this year and gained momentum with an April 18 e-mail to Gov. Bush from Jorge Rodriguez-Marquez, Bacardi's vice president for corporate communications. With a subject line reading "BACARDI NEEDS YOUR HELP. Importance: High," Rodriguez-Marquez complained about "U.S. government bureaucrats.'' He added, "Someone needs to tell PTO to stop interfering.''

And, Michael Medved says:



He never bothers to challenge politically correct assumptions, and typically dispenses with any untrendy or unpopular idea – such as Heston's connection of high murder rates to the nation's racial composition – as if it remained so obviously idiotic that it required no rebuttal.

As a matter of fact, the suspicion voiced by Mr. Heston that our homicide rate relates directly to our unusually diverse racial makeup proves more right than wrong. The most recent Department Of Justice statistics indicate that African-Americans commit murder at a rate more than eight times higher than white people, and now represent the majority of U.S. homicide arrests (while only 12 percent of the total population). In other words, if you isolate the murder rate among white people only, on both sides of the border, the difference between the U.S. and Canada almost entirely disappears.


250,000 Unique Visitors

In exactly 6 months.

Yay me.

To help me celebrate this particular milestone, go buy some stuff from Amazon. You can even pre-order the Buffy season 3 DVD set!!!!!
Charles Kuffner writes on some more obvious homophobia:


Local GOP activist Dave Wilson is sending an automated telephone message to Republican voters urging them not to vote a straight ticket because a down-ballot GOP candidate is (shudder) gay.


Some from the article:


Why would Dave do this?" Woodfill said. "I mean, I agree with him on the homosexual issue, and the party position on that is clear."

"But it is wrong for Republicans to send the message not to vote straight ticket," he said. "The straight ticket helps all of our judicial races in Harris County."


Kuffner sums it up:

So, to summarize Jared Woodfill's position, the state GOP doesn't like homos, but they do like their votes. I find Dave Wilson's position to be the more honest of the two.


indeed.


The money quote from the story about Enron's Timothy Belden is:


As part of his plea agreement, Belden, who was paid a total of $5.5 million in 2001, promised to turn over $2.1 million in salary and bonuses, "which represents the portion tied to the fraud." He faces a possible sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but his sentence could be reduced significantly if he cooperates with investigators.


Pass the popcorn and please don't let him get depressed.
Neal Pollack gives us a cautionary tale on the dangers of technology.

Hey, Josh Marshall actually does some journalism!!!


Go read the whole thing now.

NOWNOWNOW.
Heard on CNN just now:

"[President Bush] may have some comments on Iraq or North Korea Coming Up."

Says it all..
Charles Murtaugh says this post is an example of left wing homophobia.

Given that I took it from the Datalounge forum, not known for being a hotbed of homophobes, I don't quite see it. The context was a contest that Andy had run for his readers to name titles for Clinton's next book, and the ones that Andy chuckled about were similar in nastiness and tone to the ones various anonymous posters submitted as a joking response on Datalounge.

Nasty, perhaps, but homophobic?


Feedback welcome...

UPDATE: Tracked down Andy's Book Contest.

God it was hard. Doing a search through Andy's archives using the word Clinton takes all goddamn day -- pops up in every other freaking post.

Many people have commented on the fact that Jeb wasn't at Noelle's recent court hearing. But, why wasn't Columba there either?

Do we really have to see Steve Dunleavy's ass?

Steve says:


If, when the shooter is caught, if he is not a foreigner, I will bare my derriere in Macy's window.


The Sniper could be Martian for all we know right. However, it is interesting that people's instinctive belief about who the sniper is and what his motive is can be predicted by their political leanings.

So, playing against type, I make this promise:

If, when the shooter is caught, he is not an Eco-Terrorist, I will bare my derriere in Macy's window.
*


*not really.

(via Adam Felber)


Sure will be fun watching Mitt Romney lose again. Second time he ran for high profile office in Mass., second time the media bet on him, and the second time there's egg on their collective faces.
There are so many reasons to dislike Slate , not the least of it being that its Microsoft website regularly crashes my Microsoft browser.

Another one, of course, is Tim Noah. Let's look at this paragraph:


What can we say about these six errors? First, they are all extremely minor. (Missing Rhonda Shearer and her daughter was a big political mistake, but a small journalistic one.) Second, if you find only six errors in a 205-page book, it's a red-letter day for nonfiction. Shearer's oral-history project on the World Trade Center sounds like a worthwhile effort. Her crusade against Langewiesche, though, is utterly cracked.
(emphasis mine)

I have 0 idea about the subject he's talking about, but I found that particular sentence interesting considering Noah's ridiculous attempts to find such errors in David Brock's recent book.
Brad DeLong says: (in response to this)


The people who said that the California energy crisis was due not to market manipulation but just to excessive pro-Green government policies seem to be very quiet these days...


Well, they're still out there of course, and someone needs to remind them to take their medicine.
Daily Kos brings this to my attention from Talk Left about a man with dual Candian-Syrian citizenship who was deported to Syria by the U.S.


Mr. Arar, 32, was deported to Syria on Oct. 7 or Oct. 8 from Kennedy Airport in New York during a stopover on his way home to Montreal, officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed yesterday. The Canadian government was not contacted about Mr. Arar's case until after he had been deported, on Oct. 10."

"Mr. Arar, who holds dual Syrian-Canadian citizenship, has not set foot on Syrian soil in 16 years. The thought that her husband is back in the country he chose to leave pains Ms. Mazigh. "Just the idea is a torture for him," she said. "Syria is not a democratic country. Anything can happen there. "The proof: I don't know where he is and I have no contact with him."

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Digby sez:


Who says regime change is the official policy even now? Bush has been talking about "disarmament" and a peaceful solution for the last few days, so one can only wonder what happened to our tough talk about pre-emptive, unilateral blah, blah blah. From the way he's been talking lately, the last thing we ever wanted was a big, bad war --- we just wanted everybody to all get along.

Of course, now we find out that coincidentally, it was 12 days ago that N. Korea dropped it's little bombshell, so maybe they don't think it's a good idea to push that axis-of-evil line at the moment. It's probably another one of those fiendishly clever "enigmas wrapped in a riddle" foreign policy strategies that we just KNOW are brilliant in some way but are so byzantine that we shouldn't worry our little heads about it. All of this shucking and jiving between the foreign policy mavens and the military and the old guard Republicans is political theatre. It only looks as though they are making it up as they go along.

And, can you please explain why, at long last, if the overthrow of Saddam has been the policy since before 9/11 (which, I agree was the fondest hope of the Wolfowitz cabal if not the official policy) we have been forced to to swallow this utter bullshit from them about "imminent danger" and al Qaeda linkage and the urgent need to authorize Bush to have a free hand right this minute? I don't doubt that they've wanted to invade Iraq since 1991, much less since 9/11. Which means that their amateurish, unconvincing attempts to persuade the American people that bin Laden and Saddam are connected and, even more suspiciously, that we had to get a war authorized by the congress before the midterm elections is just plain insulting.

And, this news that North Korea told them 12 days ago and they were so stunned they just couldn't inform the congress before they voted is one of the most despicable examples of crude, dishonest power politics we've ever seen in this country. How anyone can continue to defend this sorry excuse for an administration is beyond me. After all, we're only talking about nuclear war, global terrorism and the rule of law. It's not as if we need to worry that our foreign policy is completely incomprehensible.


Meryl Yourish and Alex Frantz take issue with D-Squared's post regarding divestiture I linked to previously.


I'll stake out the sensible middle and say they're all correct!

Kidding, of course. But, in this area I'm generally happy to defer to others..
18 new voting machines missing from Broward.
Unqualified Offerings has become sniper central.


Including, of course that report of an 'olive skinned' sniper appear to be bunk.
Interesting analysis in the London Review of Books. I only took a quick look, but it appears to be worth reading.
Rack Jite has Headlines 2003. A taste:



War Bomb Kills Interim President Kaffer of Iraq

CIA Says Hussein May be in Pakistan

Kurds Attack Shites Across Tigris

Powell Resigns

US Gas Prices Tops $4 a Gallon

Putin Invades Afghanistan

Egypt Discontinues Camp David Accords

Rush Limbaugh Replaces Jim Lehrer on PBS News Hour

Dow Jones Hits 5000

Still No Suspects on Sears Tower Bombing

Dirty Bomb Explodes on US Air Base in Southern Iraq

21 Million US Flags Sold in 9 Hours on Ebay

Clinton Caught with Janet Jackson Backstage at the Apollo

Fox's "Candidate" Chooses Brittany to Run against Bush

Israel Attacks Mecca on Ramadan

Kuwait Ousts American Embassy

Fox News Corp Buys CSPAN



Just in case you aren't reading Talk Left every day, go read.
Wyeth on Orwell.
Somerby on why Noah is a ridiculous, disingenuous RNC stenographer.


First, consider the way Noah slimes our motives, and slimes the motives of Parry. In these passage, he turns simple logic on its head. People may reasonably turn to motive to explain misstatements or bits of odd conduct. For example, if someone makes a weirdly false statement, we might search for an underlying motive. But here, Noah tries to explain the motives of the people who got the facts right. Weirdly, Noah feels the need to explain away statements which were actually accurate.



This is journalism? My god.
U.S. to drop force requirement from U.N. resolution.

All part of the cunning plan.
Einhorn guilty.
From the Note:


The most anti-Clinton feeling gathered in one place, except when Ann Coulter dines alone: Page Six says Dick Morris met Richard Mellon Scaife at Le Cirque the other day.


Noelle gets 10 days in jail. Is contempt of court the standard charge for crack possession?


Her caring father, too busy going on the Today Show, was not present.

UPDATE: Just wanted to add what shouldn't be necessary from some bleeding heart liberal like me, but inevitably is. Like most of my ilk I favor treatment over punishment. Noelle obviously has a serious drug problem and should receive treatment. It does sound like the kind of treatment she's getting - when the rehab repeatedly looks the other way - isn't going to help, but that aside she has a disease which needs treatment not punishment. Her father has overseen budget cuts in drug treatment funds and been a strong supporter for prison time for addicts.

I feel for Noelle, but I also feel for the numerous people Jeb has condemned to decades in prison for their diseases.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Hahaha, the local news just showed the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans. All 8 of them in a hotel ballroom.
BusyBusyBusy gives us Kristolvision.
Charles Kuffner discovers TAPPED's sneaky redesign.
One statistic which was paraded through the blogger world was that the Arab world only translates about 300 books anually, one 5th the number that Greece does.

Of course, a more interesting comparison would be, say, the number of books translated into English in the U.S. A letter writer to the newest Harper's notes that this number is also about 300,and only 10 Arab language works in the past 4 years.

Who is parochial?

UPDATE: Some people have questioned the numbers. One source says 297 works of fiction and poetry were translated for the U.S. market in one year, leaving open the possibility of other genres of course. Fair enough. Another person says many more are translated into english worldwide - well, we're talking about the U.S. here. While books published elsewhere are available through, say, mail order -- they aren't distributed here. And, the U.S. and the 'Arab World' have roughly the same population. Besides, one should control for the purchasing power of the book buying population as well.

IN any case, the broader point is - not too many books are translated for the U.S. market either - what should we conclude from that?

Another UPDATE: Other bloggers desperate to pick a fight think I'm praising the Arab world. Actually, I don't know squat about the Arab world and don't claim to. I'm just talking about how THIS ONE STATISTIC was thrown about the Blogosphere in an orgy of condemnation a couple of months ago as proof of the closed backward nature of the Arab world by a bunch of other people who don't know squat about the Arab world.

Freepers start enemies list

Damn, I didn't make it.

UPDATE: Hey, Les Dabney of Testify! Made the list. Congrats Les!

And congrats to Micah Holmquist as well.
There are those of us who think that the military's discrimination against gays and lesbians is no different than would be discrimination against African-Americans.

Now I know some people reading the weblog may not agree, and I don't wish to argue it, but once you understand it as my view you can understand my revulsion against those who think a Federalist Society circus stunt designed to show up those evil liberal professors for one more silly piece of red meat in the culture war is somehow more important than the discrimination itself.

There are plenty of bloggers out there who see anti-Semitism behind every tree. I myself see it behind every other tree. But, I also see racism and homophobia behind plenty of trees too, and I fail to see how a principled stance against the military's recruiting policies should be fodder for these bigots.

People can claim all they want that "liberal academy" just hates the military, you know - 'cause they hate America - and are using the whole gay discrimination angle as a cover. Who knows? Sounds rather silly to me, but it really doesn't matter.

UPDATE: For those still unclear, this post from awhile back makes Glenn's position on this general issue clear. Discrimination not good, but being "anti-military" even worse.
People have objected to my post below regarding Instapundit so let me explain. It was, first, a deliberate parody of the kind of hyperbolic rhetoric Reynolds sometimes uses, and used in that particular headline/post. The details of what he links to aren't quite justified what he writes - in particular, the lawyers were issued a challenge to debate someone, many apparently with only a week's notice, and they declined. This isn't quite the same thing as "NYU CAN'T FIND A SINGLE PROFESSOR willing to defend its policy."

As for my claim that he supports discrimination against gays, despite his claims to the contrary I think that's a fair characterization. Regardless of the historical relationship between the military and some universities, most of those universities have policies against campus recruiting by employers which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. So, Glenn and others want them to make an exception for the military. He's chosen his side on this, as is his right, but it doesn't change the fact that what he is objecting to, in the end, are discrimination policies by these institutions, private or public.

As for the charges of bias by our favorite homophobe over at NRO, Stanley Kurtz, that this is proof that the academy is out of step with America and therefore a menace to society - if you don't like it start your own damn university. It's a very liberal perspective on powerful institutions these people seem to have.

So, in a news conference just now Bush totally side-stepped the question of what Israel should do if Iraq attacks them after we attack them.

UPDATE: just wanted to clarify my bad writing - the final 'them' referes to Iraq, not Israel.
Glenn Reynolds supports discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Has no problem with legal public discrimination for thought crimes.

There you go.

Scare Your Children Well

Cal Pundit has a post I wholeheartedly endorse regarding the U.S.'s ridiculous culture of fear.

The problem to me is twofold. First, the belief that low probability events are actually high probability events people to be unwilling to subject themselves or their children to what are, in actuality, relatively risk free endeavours. However, there is also a second effect - a kind of "blame the victim" mentality which arises when what should be perfectly normal, ordinary, and sensible behavior is deemed to be dangerous and therefore when those low probability events do occur, there is little sympathy for the victim, and when bad things happen to children their parents are demonized.

We aren't alone this. Some years ago in the U.K. there were a few stories of bad things happening to children in London who rode public transportation (the bus) to school. Much as here, the sudden media coverage wasn't due to any real uptick in the number of abductions, just an uptick in the media's focus on it. Suddenly, it became socially inacceptable to let your kids take public transport to school and over time the percentage of kids riding the bus dropped from about 50 to 10 percent (numbers approximate, from memory, but you get the idea). The late afternoon "school run" is considered to be perhaps the major factor in the increase in london traffic congestion over that time. But, what can parents do? Only bad parents would actually let their kids take the bus.

William Burton on the real issue of civil service protections for the Office of Homeland Security - patronage or not patronage..

Go read - he's absolutely right. And, for those on the other side -- if Bill Clinton were proposing this Rush Limbaugh would be screaming about it in roughly the way William Burton is. The issue would framed not as union vs. not union as our media has now, but as partronage vs. non-patronage. And, Limbaugh would be right.
Dictionary.com says:


ter·ror·ism (n. )

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.


Clearly what differentiates terrorism from other crimes is the intent . That's it. Period. I've long said that advocates of Hate Crimes legislation would do better by calling it "Domestic Terrorism Legislation." People who have no problem with elevating the importance of an act of terrorism simply due to its intent begin screaming about "thought crimes" whenever Hate Crimes legislation is proposed.

But, in any case, back to the sniper. All this back and forth about "is it or isn't terrorism" doesn't rest on whether or not the perps are al-Qaeda. And, the fact that the sniper is "causing terror" also doesn't make him a terrorist. All that matters is his motive - whether or not he is doing this "with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments."
Tbogg slips in perhaps the best name for the new war.

Operation Inigo Montoya
Oh God, someone get me some drano so I can inject it directly into my brain. I made the mistake of actually reading even more of Sully's website.
Pandagon to Michael Kelly: Bite Me.
D-squared brings some perspective on Friedman's column on Israeli divestiture.

Friedman's column was quite dumb, regardless of where you stand on the issue, IMHO.
Sully says:


A REPORTING NOSE-DIVE: So says yet another critical piece about the Times' new management. Don't expect Romenesko to link.


Of course, Romanesko had it linked yesterday, and it is still there today.

What did we know?

Apparently the Taiwanese gov't had a warning?


Despite the fact that the bombing in Bali caused many deaths and injuries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not move immediately to list Indonesia as a highly dangerous area or restrict travel to that country, but only issued a safety warning to travelers from Taiwan.

Kuomintang legislative leader Lee Chuan-chiao (ÀîÈ«½Ì) pointed out that the incident had exposed the DPP government's poor crisis management skills, particularly in view of the Executive Yuan's claim that it had, last Friday, obtained intelligence on a possible terrorist attack in a southeast Asian Muslim country.

According to Lee, the worst part is that the government did not issue a warning because the United States government asked it not to disclose the information.

Right Wing coaliation government in the Netherlands collapses.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Tim Noah discovers that maybe, just maybe, he was wrong about Gore. Calls it "split decision." I call it a split decision on Noah -- nice he could revisit the issue, but characteristically whorish that he can't just admit the truth - he spun Gore's comments in the present one way, in the past the other way, and groped for the inconsistency. He should apologize. Or, hey - here's an idea - Call Al Gore and *ask him what he meant.* But, that would, you know, require real journalism instead of the onanism which has taken its place.
As someone pointed out in my comments, it is no accident that Randy Andy's column in Salon is called "Idiocy of the Week."
Normally I can't stand either Hitch or Sully, but this roundtable discussion about Orwell is fascinating.
Strickland v. Allard is proving itself to be a close and winnable race. As Talk Left points out, money for a last minute media blitz can be key. So, GIVE GIVE GIVE.
Democrats' phones not bugged after all

(pointed out by Steve).
Signorile says he's with Ashcroft.
The Weblog formerly known as TNR thinks there's a reasonable chance that Wesley Clark will run as a Dem for President. I've always thought the nomination is Gore's if he wants it, barring some weird wildcard candidate. Well, Clark would definitely muddy the waters. He would be the media's candidate, at the very least.
This is just kinda weird...

We're going to war, midterm elections are almost here, economy's in the crapper, and what will Judy Woodruff spend some time talking about today? Poll numbers about whether or not Hillary Clinton should run for president in 6 years.
I'm really getting tired of TAPPED just taking these extended vacations whenever they feel like it.


Lazy liberals.


Oops, I spoke too soon. They're back.
I took down the comments as it seems that was what was slowing the page down..argh..



okay, switched back to YACCS for now. We'll see how that goes.
Howler takes a jab at Crazy Andy.


SMEAR BOY: We occasionally think we’ve seen it all from Andrew Sullivan, our nastiest current smear boy. But Sullivan outdid his own ugly precedents in yesterday’s work on his website. First, he craftily made it sound like Al Gore is anti-Semitic. Then he slimed treasured target Robert Fisk in this nasty, moronic presentation:

SULLIVAN (10/14/02):
THE TERROR SPIN: If you were the p.r. spokesman for al Qaeda, what would you have to say about the Bali massacre? I think you’d say it was payback for Australians’ support for President Bush’s war on terror. Funny, that’s just what Robert Fisk has just written. Fisk goes on to warn the Brits that they’re next, among others, if they don’t stop backing Bush…
Try to follow Smear Boy’s “logic.” According to Smear Boy, if you asked al Qaeda, they would say that the Bali attacks were retribution aimed at Australia. If Smear Boy is right in that judgment, then Fisk is simply making an accurate statement when he presents the same point. But Smear Boy is skillful at slimy attacks; in this case, he makes it sound like Fisk is defending these attacks. Of course, if you actually link to the Fisk piece, you will find him, in his very first sentence, describing the Bali attacks as a “crime against humanity.” And you will also find Fisk, in his very first sentence, referring to “the atrocities of September 11.”

[...]
This slimy man shows no sign of stopping—all who stand in his way must be smeared. Andrew Sullivan keeps emerging as one of the nastiest characters in our public discourse. There’s nothing so stupid that Smear Boy won’t say it; no insinuation so slimy he won’t toss it out. It’s amazing to think that so ugly a man was editor of one of our great publications. Socrates warned about people like this. Why, oh why, does the insider press corps keep taking this small man so seriously?

This has got to stop. Really.


WASHINGTON (AP) - Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) wants to use al-Qaida as his "forward army" against the West, President Bush (news - web sites) warned, pointing to the Indonesian car bombing as fresh evidence of the need to stamp out the terror network.

"We need to think about Saddam Hussein using al-Qaida to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind," Bush said Monday at a rally for Michigan's GOP candidates.



"This is a man who we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army," Bush said later at a Dearborn, Mich. fund-raiser.


Just stop it!

Please!

"Forward army" is the meme- run with it all you 'idiotarians.'
Leah writes in with:

Want another primo instance of irony deficiency on the right? Well, even if you don't.... look no further than Andy's just posted latest on Salon, Oct 15th. It's a stunner.

He goes after a Harold Meyerson piece in last Sundays WaPo.

The whole column is chock full of the usual nonsense.

But this is the bit that got my eyeballs pinwheeling..

Here's the classic in Meyerson's piece: "And never mind that after 45 years of containment, the Soviet Union was appeased into collapse." Now I'm assuming here that Meyerson is referring to the collapse of the Soviet Union under the last president Bush after eight years of Ronald Reagan. So here we have a serious thinker on the left arguing that Ronald Reagan and George Bush first contained and then appeased the Soviets.

You don't even have to have read either the Meyerson piece or Sully's to know that Meyerson is being.....tada...."ironic"....here.

Sully follows his incredulity at Meyerson's accusation of Reagan appeasement with a long list of Reagon policies that, in Sullivan's view, caused the Soviet collapse.

Then the coup de grace:

Assume for a deranged moment that he's right. (that Reagan was an appeaser he means) Why, then, did Meyerson and every other good lefty so passionately oppose Reagan's policies toward the Soviet Union in the 1980s? Why did they join the nuclear freeze movement? Why did they campaign against SDI? Why did they go ape-shit about support for the contras? If Reagan was such an appeaser, what on earth was the left complaining about? Similarly, what was the right doing? Surely they should have been accusing Reagan of being a complete sellout from his earliest days. Strangely, perversely, bizarrely, they weren't.

The moment that is deranged is the one in which Sullivan doesn't get that that Meyerson is making an ironic comment on the notion that the forty years of American opposition to the Soviet Union during the cold war, limited as it was to various forms of containment, was, in fact, a form of appeasement, because if it was, then it was an appeasement that brought down an empire.

One could say so much more about Mr. Sullivan's own idiocy, as opposed to Meyerson's:

Nuclear freeze movement? Supported by almost no one in the democratic party and hardly every person on the left. Why non-support for the Contras? Hardly as a sop to the Russians. The Sandanistas, as we now know for sure, we're not a Soviet beachead in this hemisphere. Nor was our support of that homicidal regime in El Salvador an effective anti-Soviet strategy. Star Wars? We opposed it because it was an expensive hair-brained notion this country couldn't afford, and still can't afford, not if cost/benefit analysis means anything at all in any other context than deciding who gets what medical procedures.

What struck me, though, once again, at the heart of a rightwing idiocy, that rightwing inability to get irony, or perhaps its a rightwing refusal to acknowledge leftwing irony, or maybe they really are that dumb, or maybe there's some kind of anti-irony innoculation we just don't know about. Cause if Andy had gotten it, writing that column would have been a whole lot harder.


Hickey Yglesias is on the Sully beat today.
When you need a giggle, download Rush Limbaugh's #1 hit song "I'm a Nazi!"
Neal Pollack writes a moving tribute to Tim Blair and his countrymen.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Holy Crap! Public Nuisance points us to this Reason article.

Sometimes I feel bad for the hardcore tinfoil hat crowd - this stuff must really send them over the edge.


Suppose you're devising a logo for a new wing of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an office charged with developing intelligence tools and integrating the government's existing surveillance networks. Suppose that it has a vaguely sinister name—say, the Information Awareness Office—and that it's to be run by a former Iran-contra conspirator. What would your design be?

If you work for the actual Information Awareness Office, created earlier this year with one-time National Security Adviser John Poindexter at its helm, you'd depict a Masonic eye-in-the-pyramid blasting a sci-fi death ray across the globe

Go read the rest. Here's the logo:




The article concludes:


Semiotically speaking, this is the most inept administration in years. Either that, or its art department is trying to tell us something.




UPDATE: Add this little gem from Cryptogon regarding the motto:


Subject: Scientia est potentia

These guys at the Information Awareness Office either don't know their Latin very well, or they are being blatantly evil.

Potentia means power but it has the connotation of unconstitutional private power. Power attained by private means and used for personal ends. What they should say is "Potestas." This is power attained by and for the public good. As in this famous quote by Francis Bacon: Ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge itself is power.

In my copy of the "New College Latin and English Dictionary" potentia is defined as: "force, power; political power (esp. unconstitutional power)". Whereas potestas is defined as: "power, abililty, capacity; public authority, rule, magisterial power; possibility, opportunity, permission..."

So by saying "Scientia est potentia" they're just coming out and saying, "Knowledge is unconstitutional political power for a few private individuals." Sounds about right to me. Maybe they do know their Latin after all.


Isn't that precious?

What fun.
I just noticed that in the picture of Matthew Yglesias that I posted posted below it really looks like he has one big ass hickey.

Crap. Shooting in the Home Depot in Seven Corners. 1 dead.
Uh-oh, guess the Pod clan will be expanding.
Remember that scene in American Pie 2 when Jason Biggs said to Willow "I am a band geek, I just never joined the band." (or something like that).

I've always felt that way about comic books - I've always been a comic book geek, I just never really read any comic books. Point being - I probably would have really gotten into them as a kid if they'd been around.

I did have all the Tintin comics and Asterix comics, but that was about it.


Anyway, there's a point to all this. Was listening to the Tavis Smiley show earlier and the segment was about how they're doing a Captain America series inspired, in a way, by the Tuskegee Experiments. It will be revealed that the original testing of the serum used to create Captain American was done on African Americans.

Well, anyway, I'm sure it'll piss off the usual suspects but it sounded cool to me.
Talk Left tells us something we didn't know about Ira Einhorn:


A not-so-well-known fact: Ira's first defense attorney following his arrest in 1979 was Arlen Specter, who is currently a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania.


GOP Anti-war vote popular ?!!???!



CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, Oct. 10 — It ought to be dangerous for a Republican congressman in a competitive election to break with his president and vote against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. That, at least, is what the conventional wisdom in Washington would hold.

But Representative Jim Leach's decision to oppose President Bush on Iraq looks very different here in Iowa's Second District. Calls and e-mail messages to his Congressional offices are running overwhelmingly in support of his stance. Contributions are coming into his campaign headquarters with handwritten notes, thanking him for his vote. Letters to the editor at The Cedar Rapids Gazette are running eight to one against a unilateral strike on Iraq.


But, how could that be Wolf Blitzer? HOW????
Almost feel bad for Ari.

Nah.


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) A lecture by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer prompted a loud protest that drew as many as 1,500 people.

The protest began with march through downtown Middlebury on Sunday. Marchers were prompted primarily by opposition to the Bush administration's policy on Iraq.



You know, every time I post a link to Neal Pollack people either take him seriously or ask me if he's kidding. IT'S A JOKE.

More often than not he's poking fun at Crazy Andy's latest.
Experts Agree: CNN run by monkeys

And not the really smart ones. Or those happy horny ones.

One day someone will explain how the liberal media ignored the story of George W. Bush, wartime deserter.
Another new word!


Sullivation (n)
- the drooling sensation some reactionary bloggers get whenever a dark-skinned person is suspected of doing something bad. from the verb "to sullivate"
From Medianews:



Posted October 14, 2002

Different slant
From ERIC BOEHLERT: Today's New York Times media piece about the tight-lipped Bush White House contains one notable flaw. Looking back to previous administrations, the article notes, "Media relations during the Reagan White House had so soured that they prompted a book, 'On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency,' by Mark Hertsgaard, an author and commentator." Actually, Hertsgaard's excellent book chronicled the opposite; how media relations flourished during the `80s while the White House press corps fawned over Reagan.


Hey, Mr. Hertsgaard, sounds like the world is ready for 'On Bended Knee II.'


Daily Kos on the Texas Insurance Crisis.

Short version - Homeowners' insurers cancelling policies. People who have made claims in past 3 years unable to get new insurance anywhere. No insurance and the banks can take your house.

This should be fun.
Both blogger and haloscan (comments) seem to be fubarred today, so...
Will the real Mullah Omar please stand up?
Neal Pollack rightly condemns Jimmy Carter for his inaction in Bali.
Please take a moment and give a few bucks to some candidates in close races. Liberal Oasis has a nice list of competitive races where your bucks could make a difference- scroll down and to the right.
Bugging a candidate's phone.


Campaign officials for Democratic congressional candidate Dave Thomas told state investigators that a listening device was discovered on one of Thomas' phone lines. Ryan Hawkins, campaign manager for the 1st Congressional District candidate, said a Qwest repairman found "some kind of listening device" on a phone line at the Cache County Democratic Office during routine service Wednesday.

It isn't about oil, but, well, then again it is.



Oct. 14, 2002 | With a strong congressional war resolution in his pocket, President Bush now must convince a handful of world powers on the United Nations Security Council to sign off on his campaign against Iraq's Saddam Hussein. By all accounts, it remains a tough sell. The days leading up to the council's vote will feature lofty debate and pointed questions about U.S. intentions, but the actual deal may be cut behind the scenes, where foreign policy matters far less than nationalism, brinksmanship and greed.

Billions of dollars in old debts and billions of gallons of untapped Iraqi oil seem to be critical to the stalemate. Russia and France are anxious to make sure that their long-established energy interests in Baghdad are respected in a post-Saddam world, and that U.S. and British companies are not given economic preference in the region. While both countries seem to be generally concerned about America's military plans, experts say those concerns could be greatly allayed in the form of upfront White House concessions.


Rea points us to this link. It isn't just left-wing conspiracy types that think this, you know?


Hours after Congress authorized President Bush to use force in Iraq, an economic adviser under four U.S. presidents told Grand Rapids business leaders Friday that going to war "is probably the most bullish thing I can think of."





Former FDIC chairman Bill Seidman, who served during the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and the senior Bush administrations, said defeating Saddam Hussein and controlling Iraqi oil is "at least as important as eliminating weapons of mass destruction."

Seidman, a chief commentator for CNBC, said the prevailing view that a war would prolong and even deepen a bear market is the "most misleading to the market today."

"Oil prices fluctuating is a very large drag on the economy -- ours and the world's," said Seidman, 81. "If we are in Iraq, nobody can use oil as a weapon."

Speaking to a crowd of 35 at the Peninsular Club, Seidman had just arrived from a State Department briefing in which the Bush administration outlined for the first time a post-Saddam power structure in Iraq.

"I think probably the most bullish thing I can think of today is winning the war. We are planning to set up a MacArthur-like" government, said Seidman, referring to U.S. General Douglas MacArthur's temporary rule over Japan after its surrender in World War II.

"Getting control of that oil," and thereby gaining sway with neighboring Saudi Arabia's oil production, "will make a vast difference (to the economy) in all sorts of things, but particularly the price of oil."

"Having the two major oil producers not part of any radical Muslim or any other unfriendly government," he said after the speech, would be "a huge additional factor in the world's economy."

Seidman said he was befuddled by popular warnings of a further economic slide in the event of war with Iraq.

But he's not surprised the Bush administration isn't the one heralding a return to profitability by way of war.

"I deny it, specifically, on behalf of the government," Seidman said, joking.


The Negroes are Coming!
Sullivan displays his Glenntuition, or is it is Andtuition. Ah, whatever...(from TBogg)



The Brits and Australians, who were again among the dead, have already been spectacular in the war on terror. But perhaps now that more Germans have been murdered, Chancellor Schroder will rethink his hostility to confronting Saddam and his terrorist allies[my emphasis]



Oh, and Sullywatch catches Andy making a truly stupid remark:

“Here are two stills from the ad for those of without internet connections.

Just think about it.





Sunday, October 13, 2002

I love it when the Freepers argue about evolution. It truly is their wedge issue.
For profit mercenaries. Lovely.
Paula Radcliffe set the world record for women's marathon times at 2:17:18.

While still behind the mens' record, men didn't break that time until 1958.
PLA on why, among other things, Michael Kelly is an idiot.


mm...there is a bit of a resemblance...

This is kinda funny...


In addition, police have borrowed the FBI's sophisticated Rapid Start software, which sifts through the thousands of calls people have made to the special tip line, looking for connections. So far, the police say they've gleaned thousands of useful leads. "We're also getting a lot of pissed-off ex-wives calling in about their hunter ex-husbands," says a detective working the investigation.


A few more comments like that and we'll thankfully kiss TIPS goodbye.
More lying unethical Republicans. God I hate that Feeney prick.

TALLAHASSEE -- Despite repeated claims that he never used his influence to benefit his client, House Speaker Tom Feeney arranged at least one meeting between state officials and an Oviedo computer firm that was having trouble with its state contract.

E-mails obtained by The Daytona Beach News-Journal through the state's public records law contradict statements made by the Oviedo Republican to the state Ethics Commission, which cleared him of ethical missteps surrounding his ties to his client, Yang Enterprises.


Damn, I wish I'd known about this stock fund a few months ago.
Josh Marshall tells us that "massive voter fraud" might be two improper registration forms.

And, though he doesn't come out and say it, the whole think smacks of race-baiting.
How dumb is Jonah Goldberg?

Just go read this post at the Corner.


And they say us liberals don't have a sense of humor....

I hope no one ever forwards that man a copy of "A Modest Proposal."
Without naming names, but you know who you are, I can't fucking believe people are upset that the initial wire reports about the bombing in Indonesia don't explicitly link it to Muslim extremists - before there is any evidence, proof, acceptance of responsibility, or statements by law enforcement or government officials. That's the kind of journalism you want?



They're still counting bodies, and you want headlines screaming "Bomb Kills 100 or more - Probably Muslims! Or Saddam! Or Al Qaeda! Ah, hell, what's the difference???? Who can tell anymore?!?!"

Really fucking amazing.

Our own media rushed to judgment on OKC and the Anthrax killings. Oops!


Of course, in a huge Muslim country like Indonesia it wouldn't be too surprising if the perpetrators were... Muslim! Though, they wouldn't exactly be Arab necessarily...But, it doesn't really matter. Charging that the media is trying to whitewash these things before there is, well, *any* information basically implies that you want the media to make a story up before there are any facts. That's one way to do it, I suppose.

UPDATE: Haha, I wake up to find vaara has given us a new word:


Glenntropy (n.):
The devolution of hard, fact-based news into sheer fantasy.


UPDATE 2: Looks like it is new word Sunday!


Glenntuition (n.) The ability to just know that the boogeyman of the moment is behind something, regardless of facts, reality, or evidence blatantly to the contrary.


and

Noonanism (n.) - what results when Glenntropy leads to journalists employing a near masturbatory self-focus, i.e., global trials must be validated by passage through the author's own experience, no matter how trivial or fantastic.