31 Ağustos 2005 Çarşamba

New Orleans' blessing; New Orleans' curse

New Orleans' blessing; New Orleans' curse

"Geographers refer to this as the difference between a city's 'situation'—the advantages its location offers relative to other cities—and its 'site'—the actual real estate it occupies. New Orleans has a near-perfect situation and an almost unimaginably bad site."

NASA Images - Flooding in New Orleans

NASA Images - Flooding in New Orleans

Hurricane Donations (Brett Favre website, 100% of $ to Mississippi relief organizations) or any other relief organization is good too.

Here comes the story of the hurricane

Here comes the story of the hurricane

The sheer scale of the disaster on the Gulf is likely to have as much or more impact on everyday life than 9/11. I have little to add but a few links.

  • Boing Boing quotes email attributed to a rescue worker in New Orleans:

    The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number -- 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn't leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn't be able to get out. The resources -- meaning, the political will -- weren't there to get them out.

  • MyDD has an overwhelming but excellent overview of the economic impact of the disaster.

  • Media: enough with the looting already. There's more important life and death stuff to worry about. And a pox on those who say the storm was God's retribution on either a) white supremacists or b) the New Orleans gay community. (I've seen both but refuse to give `em the links.)

  • And sports may seem irrelevant now but as a Wisconsin native, thoughts of Southern Mississippi naturally make me think of Brett Favre, a guy who's made millions of us very happy and had more than his share of personal bad breaks. Once again:

    His mother and grandmother spent Monday night in the attic as water inundated their entire house in Kiln, Miss. in five to 10 minutes. Bonita Favre told Brett that Hurricane Camille did not compare to this one. She indicated the family home is "destroyed" and probably will be bulldozed.

    That's just one of hundreds of thousands of stories.

    This feels like one of those Jason or Freddy or Alien movies where the killer seemingly comes back from the dead, then strikes back unexpectedly. That Monday morning sigh of relief seems so long ago...
  • 30 Ağustos 2005 Salı

    Political Wire: Most Americans Favor Teaching Creationism

    Most Americans Favor Teaching Creationism

    The results of this poll, and others that are similar, continues to shock me. Am I so far out of the mainstream to think this is nuts, that half of America takes the Adam and Eve parable as literal truth? And as we slip further and further behind the rest of the world in educational standards, we seriously think we should now submit our woefully lacking science education to a theocratic litmus test?

    Here's a hint of how out of touch we are:

    American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

    Three word rebuttal to evolution deniers: drug resistant infections. At somepoint in the not too distant future we will enter the post-antibiotic era of medicine. But I digress.

    I read a great article about a month ago about the scale of time, and how that works against evolution supporters. Human perception simply can't concieve of time frames of millions or billions of years. It's much easier to fall back on something we understand - what we see here and now - and to think it was created that way from whole cloth. It's counter-intuitive to believe the universe was created through time so huge we literally can't imagine it.

    But what takes more faith? What's the greater miracle?

    From the not so sublime to the ridiculous:

    "We're putting evolutionists on notice: We're taking the dinosaurs back," said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian group building a $25-million creationist museum in Petersburg, Ky., that's already overrun with model sauropods and velociraptors.

    If anything sinks the creationists, it'll be Dino. Everybody loves Dino.

    Texas abortion law could mean death penalty for docs

    Texas abortion law could mean death penalty for docs

    Texas doctors who perform abortions without parental approval or after the third trimester could face capital murder charges because of a new law that takes effect this week.

    The Texas District and County Attorneys Association has outlined that scenario in its new book updating the Texas penal code and in public presentations around the state. The group says such charges could occur under the new law because of the 2003 fetal protection law.

    Key legislators said Monday that wasn't their intent.

    Ah, but the skeptic in me wonders...

    Firefox Memory Leaks/Other Issues

    Firefox Memory Leaks/Other Issues

    One of the few problems I've noticed since starting my love affair with Firefox has been its apparant tendency to eat up memory and not release it. I never really compared it against IE for this, but I did notice that the longer I had Firefox open the more memory it seemed to take up.

    I first addressed this issue by restarting Firefox, then I found an excellent memory manager. But this blogger seems to have found a geek tweak.

    Other items not really worth a full post:

  • I seem to have climbed to the level of Slithering Reptile in the TTLB Ecosystem. The increase in traffic is good but it makes me think of Slytherin too much, so indulge the traffic obsession, hit me a few more times, and make me a Flappy Bird. (I started out all the way down at Wiggle Worm!)
  • The Smallest Farm is all but abandoned, though I did pick some catnip this past weekend which was much enjoyed by the furry roommates.
  • We're on a mission from God.
  • US 'harming' Uganda's Aids battle

    US 'harming' Uganda's Aids battle

    "At the moment, the government of Uganda appears to be under the influence of the American policy through the presidential initiative of emphasising abstinence far and away over condoms..."

    'Swift Boating' Science

    'Swift Boating' Science

    Book review:

    Bush's comments about deus ex machina versus book learnin' are not just a goofy one-off. They are, as science writer Chris Mooney so brilliantly shows, part of The Republican War on Science.

    It's not news that the reign of Bush fils has been marked by an antagonism toward science and scientists unlike any since 1954, when Robert Oppenheimer had his security clearance revoked and Linus Pauling had his passport pulled. The many times this administration and its supporters have fudged or even lied about scientists and scientific research are well-known. Global warming, stem cells, cloning, sex, land use, pollution and missile defense come to mind...

    29 Ağustos 2005 Pazartesi

    NJ-Gov: In Desperation, Forrester Attacks... Mya?

    NJ-Gov: In Desperation, Forrester Attacks... Mya?

    MyDD reports:

    That's right. Mya. The singer. The singer whose single "Take Me There" was a big hit off of the soundtrack to the 'Rugrats' movie. Now, why would the Republican candidate for Governor of New Jersey be attacking Mya? Mya is not running for office in New Jersey. Nor is she helping the Corzine campaign to formulate policy. And no, she's not having a torrid affair with Dick Codey.

    Mya is set to perform tonight in Atlantic City at a fundraiser for Jon Corzine. And the state GOP... doesn't approve of Mya's lyrics.

    Apparantly Forrester has Tipper Gore managing his campaign...

    28 Ağustos 2005 Pazar

    Study says coffee delivers more health benefits than fruit and veg

    Study says coffee delivers more health benefits than fruit and veg

    No wonder I'm so damn healthy!

    OK, the headline's a bit misleading. Still.

    "Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source - nothing else comes close," said the leader of the study, Professor Joe Vinson, of Scranton University, Pennsylvania. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee appeared to provide similar antioxidant levels. The US findings probably reflect a similar trend in the UK, with 47 per cent of the population drinking about 70 million cups of coffee each day.

    Antioxidants help to rid the body of harmful free radicals - destructive molecules that damage cells and DNA - and have been linked to a number of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer.

    Studies have associated coffee drinking with a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type two diabetes and Parkinson's disease. But Prof Vinson urged moderation, recommending that people drink only one or two cups per day.

    Sure, Doc, spoil my caffeine buzz.

    Cannonball man flies over border

    Cannonball man flies over border

    Smith, a professional cannonball, was launched head first across the border between Tijuana, in Mexico, and the US city of San Diego.

    Mr Smith waved his passport in the air as he sat on the lip of the cannon, before leaving on the brief journey.

    I'm sure Steve King and Tom Tancredo will call on the Air Force to stop this in the future - or perhaps a 500 foot tall border wall.

    President Dick Cheney? Bettors think Americans prepared to put Vice President in charge

    President Dick Cheney? Bettors think Americans prepared to put Vice President in charge

    You mean he's not already?

    Sportsbook.com says bettors are zeroing in on Vice President Cheney as the next American President. The world's largest online sportsbook and casino has seen a significant rise in wagering on Vice President Dick Cheney as the likely winner of the presidential race in 2008. Odds on Cheney have improved from 100-1, when

    betting on presidential candidates opened in May, to 20-1 currently.

    I though third terms were banned?

    Strategizing a Christian Coup d'Etat

    Strategizing a Christian Coup d'Etat

    The theocrats want to take over South Carolina. I thought they already had...

    Christian Exodus activists plan to take control of sheriff's offices, city councils and school boards. Eventually, they say, they will control South Carolina. They will pass godly legislation, defying Supreme Court rulings on the separation of church and state.

    "We're going to force a constitutional crisis," said Cory Burnell, 29, an investment advisor who founded the group in November 2003.

    "If necessary," he said, "we will secede from the union."

    Which of course is a great tradition in South Carolina.

    27 Ağustos 2005 Cumartesi

    Sunset Planets

    Sunset Planets

    "Venus and Jupiter are converging at the noticeable rate of 1 degree per day, with closest approach coming on September 1st when the two will be a little more than 1 degree apart.

    Try catching the pair just after sundown and just before the first stars appear. Venus and Jupiter pop into view while the sky is still twilight-blue.

    After September 1st, the two planets separate, but the show's not over. On September 6th, with Jupiter and Venus still pleasingly close together, the slender crescent Moon will leap up from the sun's glare and join the two planets."

    Conlin backs Judge

    Conlin backs Judge

    Women maybe winning in Iowa...

    The timing of this move is really good news for Patty Judge, coming the same week as Mike Gronstal decides not to run. Lots of liberals were hoping for a Gronstal bid, and now face what appears to be a final set of choices:

  • Culver, who continues to suffer from a gravitas gap;

  • Blouin who is absolutely unacceptable on choice;

  • or Ed Fallon, Iowa's own Dennis Kucinich, who burned a lot of party bridges in 2000 with his Nader endorsement. (I loved it, but there's lots of folks who'll never forgive Ed - or me.)

    Patty Judge looks pretty good in comparison. And with the Conlin endorsement, she reminds Iowa Dems that we join only Mississippi on the never elected a woman list.

    I'm counting out Mike Fitzgerald, who doesn't seem to be moving very fast and who is all but tenured in his job as state treasurer.

    Sal Mohamed is worth mentioning for sheer comic relief. He's adopted the unique strategy of standing at busy intersections holding up his sign and waving. I've seen him twice - at the Coral Ridge Mall exit where he stood for at least an hour and a half, and on Burlington Street in downtown Iowa City. Still, that's a more active campaign than some of the major contenders seem to have managed. And give the guy credit for coming to the U.S. and taking the American dream at face value, and for being a Democrat in unfriendly Steve King territory.

    In terms of biography, and it feels weird to say this, but Chet Culver and Jim Nussle feel a lot alike. Two 40-something slick big white guys who, let's be honest, didn't grow up in Iowa. A tune in at the last second voter might have a hard time telling them apart despite clear policy differences (tune in at the last second voters don't notice that). Patty Judge presents a hell of a contrast in biography; a Genuine Iowa Farm Gal and about a generation older. Someone rural Iowans can picture out in the barn - a quality Roxanne Conlin and Bonnie Campbell conspicuously lacked.

    So Iowa progressives can take a chance on the Culver machine, or cast a protest vote for Fallon and risk throwing the nomination to Blouin. Or they can try something really different. I'm still thinking but I have a good idea what I'd do TODAY...

  • 26 Ağustos 2005 Cuma

    Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides

    Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides

    This is the second story on this subject by Capitol Hill Blue, which was a leading conservative political site back in the pre-blog years, the dark ages of the Starr Report and framesets and excessively large animated MAIL .gif's, when browsers were something you had to BUY. Before "Blue" implied Democratic states. I didn't even know the site still existed till this came along:

    Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.”

    White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the President’s honesty.

    “Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”

    Language worthy of LBJ. But no one else is picking up on this story. Is Capitol Hill Blue's Doug Thompson resurrecting his site's significance from beyond the Internet grave, or does he need to upgrade to Windows 98?

    Leach Joins Demand for Documents on Downing Street Memos

    Leach Joins Demand for Documents on Downing Street Memos

    Good for Jim. He needs to get beat anyway:

    Leach is the first Republican member of Congress to publicly support a demand for an inquiry into the Bush Administration's pre-war claims. The 131 congress members who have signed Congressman John Conyers' letter to the President about the Downing Street Memo are all Democrats. The 11 Senators who have asked the Senate Intelligence Committee to do the investigation it committed to in February 2004 but never did are all Democrats.

    Even though Leach on occasion does something good, he's a vote for Republican control, a vote for Republican committee chairs, a vote for DeLay, a vote for stonewalling the very Downing Street Memo he votes to release.

    Partisanship matters. Party matters. A majority of Democrats have signed on to Conyer's inquiry, as opposed to less than one percent of Republicans.

    Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb

    Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb

    Interesting title. Interesting article about troubleshooting and the thought process; the simplicity principle of Occam's Razor seems to be at play. "Is the network cable plugged in?" may seem like a dumb question, but something that basic usually solves the problem...

    The Annual I'm Old List

    The Annual I'm Old List

    Each year Beloit College kindly (HA!) notes the birth year of the incoming freshman class and notes various cultual milestones associated with that year:

    “It is an important reminder, as faculty start to show signs of ‘hardening of the references,’ that we think about the touchstones and benchmarks of a generation that has grown up with CNN, home computers, AIDS awareness, digital cameras and the Bush political dynasty. We should also keep in mind that these students missed out on the pleasures of being tossed in the back of a station wagon with a bunch of friends and told to keep the noise down, walking in the woods without fearing Lyme Disease, or setting out to try all of the 28 ice cream flavors at Howard Johnson’s.”

    Uh, thanks.

    Maybe that's why the 19 year old checkout clerk didn't get my joke last night. Excuse me while I go comb my backwards Mohawk and take my Geritol.



    "A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy—a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper—has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers."

    Lengthy must-read on American health care.

    25 Ağustos 2005 Perşembe

    Whiskey Bar: Settling All Family Business

    Whiskey Bar: Settling All Family Business

    The Badr Organization -- the party militia of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- moved against its enemies on several fronts today, possibly triggering the start of a full-scale civil war in Iraq.

    At a minimum, it's going to make the Cheney administration's stay-the-course snow job an even harder sell...

    Somehow I have a bad feeling we'll get involved, but in the short term I'm just following the Godfather reference:

    Well, let's just say it's not a good day to be associated with the Barzini family.

    Sonny: You're taking this very personal. Tom, this is business and this man is taking it very personal.

    Michael: It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.

    TalkLeft: Stevens on Raich

    TalkLeft: Stevens on Raich

    Regular readers may recall my dissatisfaction with the medical marijuana ruling, though after being called to task I later rethought the jurisprudence of federal supremacy vs. state's rights. Justice Stevens, it seems, was of mixed mind as well:

    "I have no hesitation in telling you that I agree with the policy choice made by the millions of California voters," he said. But given the broader stakes for the power of Congress to regulate commerce, he added, "our duty to uphold the application of the federal statute was pellucidly clear."

    TalkLeft offers more worthwhile thoughts.

    Today is an important day for me.

    I thought I'd be excited about it, but it pretty much feels like just another day.

    24 Ağustos 2005 Çarşamba

    Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-free In Summer Within 100 Years, Scientists Say

    Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-free In Summer Within 100 Years, Scientists Say

    Another day, another Daily Sign Of The Apocalypse:

    The team concluded that there were two major amplifying feedbacks in the Arctic system involving the interplay between sea and land ice, ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, and the amounts of precipitation and evaporation in the system.

    Such feedback loops accelerate changes in the system, Overpeck said. For example, the white surface of sea ice reflects radiation from the sun. However, as sea ice melts, more solar radiation is absorbed by the dark ocean, which heats up and results in yet more sea ice melting.

    Such substantial additional melting of Arctic glaciers and ice sheets will raise sea level worldwide, flooding the coastal areas where many of the world's people live...

    Robertson: I Was Misinterpreted

    Robertson: I Was Misinterpreted

    "I didn't say assassination," Robertson continued. "I said our special forces should take him out. Take him out can be a number of things including kidnapping."

    Oh, that's SO much better. Thanks for clearing that up, Pat.

    But HERE's the interesting twist, Matt Iglsias notes:

    Is it just me, or was Pat Robertson's call to break out the hit squad something of a subtle dig at the Bush Iraq policy?

    We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.



    Found this while I'm in the midst of sorting out my hard drive from a massive music collection trade:

    In some ways, then, the iPod revolution is a Rock Snob's dream. Now, nearly all rock music is easily and almost instantly attainable, either via our friends' computers or through online file-sharing networks. "Music swapping" on a mass scale allows my music collection to grow larger and faster than I'd ever imagined. And I can now summon any rare track from the online ether.

    But there's a dark side to the iPod era. Snobbery subsists on exclusivity. And the ownership of a huge and eclectic music collection has become ordinary. Even the Rock Snob's habitat, the record shop, is under siege. Say farewell to places like Championship Vinyl, the archetypal record store featured in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity...

    Grooming Politicians for Christ

    Grooming Politicians for Christ

    Well, not the Christ I know, anyway...

    Through seminars taught by conservative college professors and devout members of Congress, the students learn that serving country means first and always serving Christ.

    They learn to view every vote as a religious duty, and to consider compromise a sin...

    The Media Want the War

    The Media Want the War

    The bias of the press is toward a hot story:

    All of that should lead any honest person to conclude one thing: other than a few truth-telling reporters, the Beltway media -- spurred on by the elitist, bipartisan foreign policy establishment that doesn't want to admit it was wrong -- actually wants the war to continue, no matter how many American casualties mount, no matter what the ramifications for U.S. national security, no matter what the consequencs for our country over the long-term.

    Think about it: The reporters who cover politics are comfortably insulated from the war -- the violence and death of American soldiers to them is an interesting talking point on the Washington cocktail party circuit, nothing more. And besides, they cynically look at it all as a spectacle that makes for good TV -- rather than a national security crisis, and a human disaster...

    23 Ağustos 2005 Salı

    Solon Schools Provide Useful Link

    Solon Schools Provide Useful Link

    On the home page of the Solon, Iowa School District web site they provide this link:

    NCLB Military Recruitment List "Opt Out" Form

    WAY cool. Thanks, Solon.

    Didn't find it on the IOWA CITY site...

    Aurora Watch

    Aurora Watch

    "Big sunspot 798 exploded twice yesterday, August 22nd, and hurled a pair of coronal mass ejections apparently toward Earth. Geomagnetic storms are possible when the clouds arrive. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras during the nights of August 23rd and 24th. High latitudes are favored: e.g., Canada, Alaska and northern-tier US states from Washington to Maine."

    King: Fence off Mexican border

    King: Fence off Mexican border

    "U.S. Rep. Steve King said Monday he's not ready to propose building a wall between the United States and Mexico, but a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence topped with razor wire would be a good start.

    'It could well find its way into legislation in the next month or two,' King said during an immigration control forum in Des Moines.

    The Iowa Republican said building a 2,000-mile-long fence would cost about $680 million and slow border crossings. But he and other supporters of dramatic reduction in illegal immigration have more immediate policy proposals - and a national political agenda - they hope will fundamentally slow the illegal flow out of Mexico."

    He must have stole the idea from Ariel Sharon... or maybe from Stalin.

    22 Ağustos 2005 Pazartesi

    Today's Sign Of The Apocalypse

    Today's Sign Of The Apocalypse

    The plague of frogs hits France...

    US relents on Islamic law to reach Iraq deal

    US relents on Islamic law to reach Iraq deal

    UK source:

    "American diplomats backed religious conservatives who threatened to torpedo talks over the shape of the new Iraq unless Islam was a primary source of law. Secular and liberal groups were dismayed at the move, branding it a betrayal of Washington's promise to advocate equal rights in a free and tolerant society."

    Better than Saddam HOW?

    Meanwhile, in another sign that Iraq = Vietnam, Joan Baez is hanging out at Camp Casey. Country Joe and the Fish were booked.

    Thompson considers run for U.S. presidency

    Thompson considers run for U.S. presidency

    It just gets scarier:

    Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson acknowledged this week that he is considering a run for the White House in 2008 as an extension of his mission to improve the nation's health care.

    "I can't think of anybody else as vocal on this issue as I have been," he said.

    Elected four times as governor of Wisconsin, Thompson, a Republican, said that "anybody that's ever been in public office has thought about" being president...

    Police active downtown

    Police active downtown

    Looks like the new chief has the same priorities as the last one: "Iowa City police cited nearly 40 underage drinkers for possession of alcohol this weekend with University of Iowa students back in town..."

    Story fails to mention how many of them are 18 and over but since "all citations were given at downtown bars or on nearby residential streets" I would guess roughly all of them.

    21 Ağustos 2005 Pazar

    Not really up for much analysis, writing or ranting and may not be for a bit. Stay tuned anyway because I'll keep link stealing. I know that's what I usually do anyway but I expect the level of value I'm adding will be less than usual.

    19 Ağustos 2005 Cuma

    Kidsbeer proves hit suds for minors

    Kidsbeer proves hit suds for minors

    Usually I'm not a fan of do-gooders who want to ban this and ban that, but here I'll make an exception:

    Kidsbeer, a nonalcoholic brew aimed at children, is catching on with young drinkers and is posting monthly shipments of 75,000 bottles, according to maker Tomomasu Co.

    The beverage, one of whose ingredients is the Latin American plant guarana, sells for around 380 yen per 330-milliliter bottle. The bottles themselves are colored brown to make the drink look even more like its more potent counterpart, the company said.

    Of course, the MADD-types I normally disdain will probably keep it from getting marketed here.

    Smallest Farm = Smallest Harvest

    Smallest Farm = Smallest Harvest

    Haven't reported much on Iowa's Smallest Farm lately - because there has been so little to report. But at last, yesterday, I was able to harvest the bounty of the land:

    Four beans.

    The VINES are just fine, and I'm even seing blossoms, but by mid-August I should be picking about four QUARTS of beans a DAY, not four BEANS.

    But at least I put something in the ground. Now that I have wheels, I may next year investigate rented plots.

    Town is coming back to life as the dorms open up and the frats slash sororoties start rush. Lots of t-shirts and shorts, prompting a curmudgeonly rant.

  • Shirts bearing the names and logos of schools or teams should be in official colors ONLY. Hawkeye shirts? BLACK and GOLD. A properly colored logo on a neutral color like black or white or gray is acceptable, but what's with Iowa Hawkeye Shirts in purple or pink?

    (Exeption allowed for the pink Packer gear that's being sold for Deanna Favre's breast cancer fund. That's sanctioned and for a good cause so it's coool. But be sure to get the real thing, with a breast cancer ribbon, otherwise it's a knockoff and no $ goes to the fund.)

  • Concert t-shirts are a special trophy meant to indicate you actually attended the show in question. If you're 19, you were born in 1986 and did NOT attend a show on the 1977 Led Zeppelin US Tour. Led Zep shirt, pledging your retro support to a classic band? Fine. Concert shirt? Only if it's tattered and you stole it from your dad.

  • Pseudo-retro shirts for campy products, shows, etc. that were in fact purchased at the mall. I work hard scrounging through junk shops for genuine retro-cool; you can't mass-produce it.

  • Shorts with words on the back - you know, IO on one cheek and WA on the other. It doesn't matter what the words are, because no matter what the text is, the sub-text is LOOKAT on one cheek and MYASS on the other. And if it's worth a look you don't need the words.

    Enough ranting, time for my Geritol.

  • 18 Ağustos 2005 Perşembe

    Gaza Disengagement and 1947 UN Partition Plan

    Gaza Disengagement and 1947 UN Partition Plan

    Haven't said much this week re: Israel's pullout, disengagement, whatever from Gaza. It's a good, albiet small, first step.

    As I may have said before, I don't like the idea of a special country for anyone's religion. I also like the idea of people being able to freely travel and live wherever in the world they want. In keeping with those two principles, my preferred solution for Palestine-Israel would be a unitary, multicultural state.

    I also realize that next to no one who lives there wants that.

    So let's look back to the original UN plan from 1947 as mapped above. As you see, the proposed Palestine was MUCH larger than the post-1967 West Bank plus Gaza. Jerusalem is trickier. I'd think residents could hold one passport or the other and both governments could meet there.

    In any case Gaza as we know it is maybe a tenth of the land promised in 1947, so Israel has a long way to go.

    McCain Has Broad, but Not Deep, Appeal

    McCain Has Broad, but Not Deep, Appeal

    Gallup crunches the numbers and it's really interesting. The key findings: John McCain's appeal is flat and actually drops off among conservatives, while Hillary Rodham Clinton's popularity is directly correlated with ideology.

    This looks like a plus for the Democrats to me: McCain may be liked by moderate to liberal Democrats, and against an unpopular Democrat would have some pick-off appeal. But Clinton is beloved be Dems, insulating them from Republican raids. Of course, she's loathed by Republicans but there's nothing to lose there.

    Here's the other interesting finding (I'm out of time and having layout issues, scroll down):

    Preference for the Republican Nomination
    August 2005 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll

    All Republicans

    Liberal/Moderate Republicans

    Conservative Republicans




    Rudy Giuliani




    John McCain




    Condoleezza Rice




    Bill Frist




    Mitt Romney




    George Allen




    Sam Brownback




    George Pataki




    Chuck Hagel




    HUGE huge gap on the right. Giuliani and McCain are leading on sheer name ID. Rice is the one I'm scared of (as a tough opponent - they'd ALL be pretty scary as president!) but she's untested in electoral politics and waiting for a draft. That strategy gets her off to a slow start and fools no one. If you want the job, apply. Frist is floundering and sinking, pandering in both directions with Schaivo and stem cells, and instead of winning both sides over he's alienating everyone.

    It's a real opportunity for a wingnut.

    U.S. service men, women who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan

    U.S. service men, women who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan

    Mapping the carnage on the home front. The dots represent troops killed.

    Of course, a map of Iraq would be one big red dot... but this helps explain the nationwide impact of Sheehan.

    17 Ağustos 2005 Çarşamba

    Hunter Thompson’s Final Blast-Off

    Hunter Thompson’s Final Blast-Off

    The last act:

    Things are shaping up nicely for Hunter Thompson’s final blast-off this Saturday. The 150-foot tower, from which Hunter’s ashes will be blasted, is on Hunter’s Woody Creek property. The ashes have been placed in 34 shells by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale...

    Vigils For Cindy Sheehan Tonight

    Vigils For Cindy Sheehan Tonight

    Got back from ours an hour or so ago. About 150 people in downtown Iowa City. I was hoping for a rousing speech or two but it was quiet and subdued. A little short on the big fish politicos of our small pond, with the notable exception of congressional candidate David Loebsack. Saw a couple pen and paper reporters but no TV.

    Bush's 50 State Unpopularity

    Bush's 50 State Unpopularity

    Survey USA has once again put out the 50 state Bush ratings. Assuming - and it's a big and fallacious assumption - that Bush Unfavorable equals a Democratic vote, here's the map:

    A 435 to 79 electoral college landslide, with Louisiana and North Carolina too close to call.

    Bikes, Bush, and Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

    Bikes, Bush, and Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

    Bush to ride with cycling champion Armstrong

    Well, that's a revoltin' development, considering the post Tour de France touting of Lance as a potential candidate.

    But apparantly, according to Maureen Dowd, they will be Biking Toward Nowhere:

    Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."

    Ah, the insensitivity of reporters who ask the President Bushes how they can expect to deal with Middle East fighting while they're off fishing...

    In any case this unique form of athleticism - "I'm the President so I get to hang out with the champ" (who's obviously smart enough to slow down and let the King win) - has many possibilities. Perhaps he'll take an interest in boxing and figure he can spar a few rounds with the heavyweight champ...

    My childhood was the era when people became concerned about cartoon violence. Along about this time Tom and Jerry became buddies and, not coincidentally, less funny. Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots was a brilliant dodge: the boxing violence was OK because it wasn't people or animals, it was ROBOTS!

    Now, note that the Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots (yes, we had a set, everyone I knew did) are red and blue - just like states! Our networks could use this gripping political metaphor in 2008 election coverage, and I won't even claim copyright on the idea.

    However, Marx Toys, makers of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots (do they still make them?) might.

    In my fond hopes I can just hear the GOP getting knocked out and Bush saying, as in the ad that was omnipresent on my childhood Saturday mornings, "Hey! You knocked his block off!"

    Basu: Honor Doderer's legacy by protecting women's rights

    Basu: Honor Doderer's legacy by protecting women's rights

    There's been a lot of local tributes, but her legacy was statewide and beyond.

    16 Ağustos 2005 Salı

    Sheehan stuff

    Sheehan stuff

    Another neat thing about Sheehan: the right knows they can't attack her and it really, really pisses them off. Leading them to do rhetorically stupid things:

    The campsite has close to a thousand white crosses, each representing GIs who, like Sheehan's son Casey, were killed in Iraq.

    While Sheehan has gotten a lot of support in her vigil, and has been joined by dozens of sympathizers, she's also sparked some opposition.

    Monday night, a pickup truck tore through the rows of white crosses.

    The "spitting on the troops" myth has haunted war opponents for 35 years - but how is this any different? (other than "it really happened.")

    $50 laptop sale sets off violent stampede

    $50 laptop sale sets off violent stampede

    A rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede Tuesday, with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and nearly driven over. One woman went so far as to wet herself rather than surrender her place in line.

    Now, a cheap used computer isn't a bad thing, but it's nothing to piss yourself over. I've acquired three free computers in the last year - one of the advantages of being a low end techie is getting people's parts and old machines to fix up and pass on to other friends.

    The funny part? They were fighing over 4 year old iBook. That's right, Macs. And they'll get them home and wonder why their Windows software won't work...

    Babies Caught Up in 'No-Fly' Confusion

    Babies Caught Up in 'No-Fly' Confusion

    Homeland Security blanket (and pacifier):

    Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."...

    15 Ağustos 2005 Pazartesi

    U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq

    U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq

    So here's what thousand of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died for:

    "'We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic,' said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. 'That process is being repeated all over.'"

    The really interesting thing about the Sheehan standoff is it's become the first rhetorically successful peace statement of the post-Vietnam era. The "support the troops" tactic, as perfected in Gulf War I, has stymied any kind of effective argument. Back in `91 I was a journalist, and one of the more unsubtle pro-war counter-demonstraters spelled it out: "You can't support the troops and oppose the war." When you have to start your argument for peace by backpedaling, you're already in retreat.

    I myself make no pretense: in an era of an all-volunteer military, I hold everyone in the armed forces complicit. Self-righteous from my middle-class high horse, I know, but I DON'T support the troops or pretend to. I also know that's an extreme minority position. But here's: here's the attitude that we're fed as supposedly representing the military family:

    "Most families encourage the president to stay the course in Iraq. 'To oppose something my husband lost his life for would be a betrayal,' says Inge Colton, whose husband, Shane, died in April 2004 when his Apache helicopter was shot down over Baghdad."

    Or, as I see it, it's psychologically intolerable for survivors to admit their loved ones have died in vain: for a 9/11 "connection" based on lies, for WMDs that never existed, and for the establisment of an Islamic republic that will be worse than Saddam for many Iraqis.

    What Sheehan has done is, through her own combination of ethos and pathos, broken the thin green line of the military families and addressed that "support the troops" issue that is so important to everyone but me, making it rhetorically acceptable to challenge the war, challenge the policy, without anyone being able to successfully (despite lots of effort) attack her patriotism. And she has backed Bush into a no-win corner. The challenge now is to take that momentum and build it into a broader peace movement.

    13 Ağustos 2005 Cumartesi

    Not all Christians back 'Justice Sunday'

    Not all Christians back 'Justice Sunday'

    The Lutherans may have failed miserably yesterday but progressive Christians still exist:

    "There is always a great sadness whenever faith leaders call for a theocracy," Knox said during a telephone interview. "They want to impose their particular brand of religion on the country. It is so limiting that it is very disappointing to all of us, and dangerous because what they are calling for is a limitation on the right of GLBT people and the rights of women to control their own bodies and approaches to international relationships tending toward war and not peace."

    In other justice news, it seems And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty of, apparantly, being manipulated by his clerks?

    Pirro took mob cash

    Pirro took mob cash

    As Don Corelone once said, "It's true, I have a lot of friends in politics":

    The Westchester District Attorney pocketed nearly $12,000 in campaign checks from firms and associates with alleged links to organized crime, the Daily News has found...

    Hm. Can anyone else think of why it might be a Bad Idea for a prosecutor to be taking checks from wise guys?

    Hopefully, these friends of Hillary's opponent on't take a greater interest in the campaign. Otherwise I might have reason to use that line I said I won't use.


    12 Ağustos 2005 Cuma

    Campaign Battlefield May Grow

    Campaign Battlefield May Grow

    Blogging from the road this weekend in MinneSOta (say that with a Fargo accent like my great uncles). Playing catchup on the news after a day on the road, but the latest blogosphere vs. Beltway story caught my eye:

    With Democrats needing to capture 15 seats to regain a majority in the House, party leaders in Washington have argued that it is most efficient to focus money on the districts most evenly balanced between the parties. Gersh said that in the last decade, each side had won only a single district where, in previous elections, more than 55% of the voters leaned to the other party.

    Internet activists see Hackett's 52% to 48% loss to Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's 2nd District as proof that Democrats can compete in districts outside those guidelines. President Bush twice won more than 60% of the vote in the Ohio district.

    Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has responded to the pressure from liberal activists by saying he intends next year to fund Democratic challengers for 50 Republican-held seats, about double the number the campaign committee backed in 2004.

    But the committee, and many leading Democratic strategists, say that funding a wider circle of challengers in heavily Republican areas would divert money better spent on districts more closely balanced between the parties...

    Maybe there are 218 winnable districts after all, though there's always the prospect of re-gerrymandering...

    Divers In Gulf Report `Zero Things' Alive

    Divers In Gulf Report `Zero Things' Alive

    This morning's Sign Of The Apocalypse:

    Divers say they have documented a dead zone 20 miles offshore in the Gulf waters from Johns Pass to Clearwater. This information, combined with an unprecedented number of dead turtles washing up on Pinellas County beaches this week, has divers, fishermen and scientists worried that red tide is killing more efficiently.

    ``Normally when we get a red tide, you can go a little north or a little west or south or someplace else and dive,'' said Ben Dautermen, who takes divers out of Clearwater on his charter boat. ``Usually it doesn't kill every single thing.''

    Red tide, an algae toxic to fish and an irritant to humans who breathe its choking vapors, has hung stubbornly to Florida's west coast for close to three months. Miller and other longtime locals who make their living in the Gulf say it's the worst outbreak in their experience...

    11 Ağustos 2005 Perşembe

    McCain Tops First NH '08 GOP Primary Poll

    McCain Tops First NH '08 GOP Primary Poll

    More on this morning's topic.

    2008 NH GOP Primary - American Research Group

    John McCain - 39%
    Newt Gingrich - 14%
    Mitt Romney - 8%
    Bill Frist - 5%
    George Allen - 1%
    Tom Tancredo - 1%
    Sam Brownback - 0%
    Chuck Hagel - 0%
    Mark Huckabee - 0%
    Undecided - 32%

    The most notable omission here is Rudy Giuliani, who polled second to McCain in the most recent Gallup poll among national GOP primary voters. Interestingly, a notable omission from that poll was the man who polled second to McCain in this poll, Newt Gingrich.

    And that's almost as scary as Cheney. Speaking of The Newt, he's a-headin' to the Iowa State Fair...

    And I'm not sure if American Research Group or MyDD made the typo but it's MIKE Huckabee.

    I'll stay with my analysis that McCain is un-nominatable. He beat W in NH in 2000 only to get wringered in the South. The Money Republicans whill accept him, but the Theocratic Republicans won't - and they're the ones that control the nomination.

    Hillary Clinton Easily Paces Democratic Field

    Hillary Clinton Easily Paces Democratic Field

    Gallup runs the numbers for 2008:

    Clinton has a sizeable lead over the rest of the Democratic field, as 40% of Democratic registered voters prefer her to other possible nominees. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards are the closet pursuers, at just 16% and 15%, respectively. Nine percent favor Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, while 5% or less currently support retired general Wesley Clark (5%), New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3%), Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (3%), and Virginia Governor Mark Warner (2%).

    On the Republican side, 27% of registered voters support Giuliani and 24% back McCain. Rice is the choice of 19% of Republican registered voters. The remaining Republicans tested in the poll are all in single digits, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee (9%), Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (4%), New York Governor George Pataki (3%), Virginia Sen. George Allen (3%), and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (2%). Less than 1% chose Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel.

    At this point we're just polling name ID. In August 2001 - a geological era ago politically - Al Gore was still lapping the Democratic field and he wound up not even running (thank God). But HRC clearly IS running and I'll repeat she's unstoppable. Not that we should necessarily WANT to stop her (though I'd like to see her stop pandering on free speech issues - aren't there bigger things to worry about than video games?)

    I have a favorite phrase that describes how likely HRC's nomination is but I won't put it in print. It might be misinterpreted and I've gotten hits from some really weird government domains. (Pardon me while I adjust my tinfoil hat.) If anyone is going to catch her it won't be Kerry; there's an overwhelming "you had your chance" sense. MAYBE Edwards. That "two Americas" speech was sheer poetry. The netgeeks seem to like Clark, but I don't trust anyone who was career military.

    The GOP side is more interesting. The very top of the field is tough competition - but Giuliani and McCain are un-nominatable, and Rice is untested in electoral politics, Frist is very clearly out of his league, and Pataki is running for President because he can't get re-elected governor of New York.

    The Republican tradition of nominating the guy whose turn it is next seems to be at risk here - unless, as I assume, Jeb gets in.

    Or Bob Woodward has a scarier concept:

    Woodward predicts Dick Cheney will be the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2008 and that the vice president could face Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton in a dramatic partisan showdown...

    Remember how Cheney was in charge of finding the most qualified VP candidate, and looked in the mirror?

    Final prediction: Hillary vs.Jeb.

    10 Ağustos 2005 Çarşamba

    Tonight's Sign Of The Apocalypse

    Tonight's Sign Of The Apocalypse

    "It's a frozen Siberian peat bog the size of France and Germany combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting..."

    Bigger Than AIPAC

    Bigger Than AIPAC

    So far, at least, the media frenzy attending to the Plame affair is matched by nearly total silence about the Franklin-AIPAC affair? Can it be true that reporters are more courageous about pursuing a story that involves the White House than they are about plunging into a scandal that involves Israel, our No. 1 Middle East ally?

    Bush 44

    Bush 44

    Dynasty Alert, confirming what I suspect will happen:

    As the clock advances towards 2008, things are starting to fall into place to give Jeb Bush the momentum he needs to win the White House...

    In a field of lightweight wingers (Tom Tancredo and Sam BROWNBACK are being taken seriously, for cryin' out loud) and highly electable moderates who don't have a prayer (hee) of nomination (McCain and Giuliani), Jeb has a real shot.

    Dean Predicts Changes for 2008 Primaries

    Dean Predicts Changes for 2008 Primaries

    "There will be a little surgery, not major surgery," said Dean, a doctor, former Vermont governor and presidential hopeful in 2004.

    But from the context it doesn't look like an Iowectomy is planned.

    Falwell's 'Vote Christian' Criticized

    Falwell's 'Vote Christian' Criticized

    Does that mean blessed are the peacemakers? Does that mean driving the moneychangers from the temple?

    Oh, wait. This is FALWELL. He IS one of the moneychangers in the temple:

    Falwell, founder of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and Moral Majority, included with his mass fundraising letter for Falwell Ministries a sticker that reads, "I Vote Christian."

    "What I was saying was for conservative Christian voters to vote their values, which are pro-life and pro-family."

    The stories (ABC's is typical) all focus on Jewish groups being offended by the remark, without one word from any progressive Christians.

    Meanwhile, more hand-wringing from Dems about the "Culture Gap":

    The study is based on focus groups of rural voters in Wisconsin and Arkansas and disaffected supporters of President Bush in Colorado and Kentucky. The good news for Democrats: All the groups expressed dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and with the leadership of the president and the GOP-controlled Congress.

    Then came the bad news: "As powerful as the concern over these issues is, the introduction of cultural themes - specifically gay marriage, abortion, the importance of the traditional family unit and the role of religion in public life - quickly renders them almost irrelevant in terms of electoral politics at the national level," the study said.

    Now, the last two we can perhaps work with: we support families by promoting education, health care, day care, those bread and butter issues. And faith isn't a BAD thing in public life, as long as it's not the forced school prayer variety. The Dem's weakness here is we have a dearth of credibility, of people who can express faith in an integrated way like, say, Jimmy Carter could.

    That's all symbolism (except school prayer and those related issues). But we can't cave on substance.

    Choice is a majority position anyway so that's a non-starter. I'd like STRONGER pro-choice positions and rhetoric myself. And we need to LEAD on gay issues, portray them as matters of personal freedom. That's a "problem" that will solve itself in a generation anyway; a look at the numbers shows opposition to gay marriage increases with age.

    9 Ağustos 2005 Salı

    Meth gets a coat of whitewash

    Meth gets a coat of whitewash

    My generalized rage against the excesses of the drug war often keep me from commenting about it rationally. This is the best piece I've read on the subject in ages, and gets closer to my true feelings about the nature of addiction:

    Just as someone needs to tell the drug warriors that not all illicit drugs are equally dangerous, someone needs to tell the extreme libertarians that not all illicit drugs are equally safe. Some illegal drugs are actually quite nasty. And anything that makes it harder for policy-makers and drug users to accurately distinguish degrees of risk makes the drug abuse problem worse.

    The libertarians may have the advantage of ideological consistency. But a blind adherence to such consistency weakens their own case.

    Of course, it's difficult to objectively and clinically test the relative harm and danger of illegal drugs - since doing so requires some level of cooperation from law enforcement, and thus the policing agenda gets superimposed on the scientific model. But common sense, anecdotal evidence suggests that meth is several leaps of danger beyond marijuana. And given an environment where both are illegal, meth is far easier to produce because it's easier to hide. One could very easily grow a field of hemp in Iowa's rich soil IF it were legal, but grow lights and hiding places are almost as complex as a meth recipe.

    This goes back to my pet theory why alcohol is the sanctioned drug: it's big and bulky and liquid, and takes time and space to produce especially if you want a quality product, aged in an oak barrel or wine cellar. Thus it's a better source of government revenue, easier to regulate and tax.

    In any case, Kleiman seems to have a very practical approach that should be taken more seriously.

    New Study Reveals Harm Done By Electoral College

    New Study Reveals Harm Done By Electoral College

    Someone's finally looking at the REAL election reform issue:

    Direct popular election of the President would encourage presidential candidates to campaign everywhere and would likely increase voter participation for all groups. It would help reduce cynicism about the political process and give all voters a sense that their vote is as good as anyone else's. Most importantly, it would end the very real threat of the will of the majority being thwarted in consecutive presidential elections, which could have a devastating effect on voter turnout in the future.

    Way more important than equipment...

    8 Ağustos 2005 Pazartesi

    No More Electric Bills

    No More Electric Bills

    Our energy independence Manhattan Project, one subdivision at a time:

    Set flush with the roof tiles, the two-kilowatt photovoltaic panels unobtrusively turn the sun's rays into AC power with the help of an inverter in the garage. If a home generates more power in one month than it uses, the bill is zero.

    That sounds like a bad deal for the power company, but it's not. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District's solar expert Mike Keesee says that's because solar homes produce the most power on the hot sunny afternoons when everyone rushes home to turn up the air conditioner...

    Leach gets Wonk'd

    Leach gets Wonk'd

    Leach makes a metion on Wonkette, but it's not nearly as salacious as her usual fare:

    Wonk'd special "phoning it in" August editions including sightings by readers of famous-for-D.C. types spotted outside of D.C.:

  • Everyone's favorite Moderate-Republican-The-Nutjobs-Can-Depend-On-When-The-Chips-Are-Down Jim Leach (R-IA) is a regular at my local Hy Vee grocery store. If you think he dresses dowdy in the DIstrict, at home it's wrinkled LL Bean circa 1988. Next time I see him I'll make sure I get in line behind him and report on the contents of his cart!

  • Detainees under Harry Potter's spell

    Detainees under Harry Potter's spell

    Gitmo meets Azkaban:

    Harry Potter's worldwide popularity is so broad-based that it has become favorite reading for Islamic terror suspects at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

    J.K. Rowling's tales about the boy wizard are on top of the request list for the camp's 520 al Qaeda and Taliban suspects, followed by Agatha Christie whodunits.

    Administration officials denied reports that guards had flushed Harry Potter books down the toilet, but had no comment on allegations that prisoners had been tortured by Half Blood Prince spoilers.

    Hillary Seen as 'Goddess'

    Hillary Seen as 'Goddess'

    Well, THAT was an intriguing enough headline that I had to check it out. But it wasn't the Weekly World News since they seem to believe that

    In a major sign that President Bush believes he has a huge mandate from his reelection, he's changing his name to "God."

    "Bush has already remarked that God wanted him to be President," a top cabinet official says. "By changing his name to 'God,' he's just making it official."

    No, the headline on the junior senator from New York is courtesy of CNN's Candy Crowley:

    2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is considered a "goddess" in Democratic Party circles, CNN's Candy Crowley reported Saturday.

    "I honestly hear the word 'goddess' attached to her," Crowley told fellow CNN'er Joe Johns, who asked her to survey the 2008 political landscape.

    "She's kind of this – she doesn't have to show up in New Hampshire for another three-and-a-half years, because she's such a presence there," Crowley continued to gush.

    NewsMax felt the need to pass this on, implicitly tut-tutting their disapproval. But Crowley's analysis is dead on. It's difficult to envision a scenario where she's not the nominee. And, to repeat my oft-repeated point, she's completely electable. The Hillary-haters are already Republicans and won't vote for anyone else we could concievably nominate.

    Which leaves only the lie to the pollster factor. How many men will quietly backlash (now THAT was a buzzword of the early 1990s) in the booth? There's no way to really test for that because there's no benchmarks for "do people lie to pollsters when faced with a female presidential candidate"? We know the lie about matters of race - Doug Wilder's 15 point lead in the last polls translated to maybe a half a point in the election; conversely, David Duke ran better in the real election than in surveys. (I am really fixated on the early 1990s this morning - break out the flannel shirt and turn up the Nirvana.) You're not supposed to admit to being a racist - or a sexist either - though of course many people quietly are.

    On the other hand, how many Republican women will silently say "it's time"? It should make for an interesting night of election returns.

    Adding to the surreal, not only is Sen. Clinton a goddess, she appear to be a different sort of political heavyweight, quotes the New York Post: "She can beat Bush. She can beat Pataki. She can beat Giuliani. She can even beat Lennox Lewis, " says NY state Sen. David Paterson. I wonder if he got Hillary Clinton mixed up with Hilary Swank.

    7 Ağustos 2005 Pazar

    U.S. Presbyterians target companies linked with Israel

    U.S. Presbyterians target companies linked with Israel

    A Presbyterian committee accused five companies Friday of contributing to "ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine" and pledged to use the church's multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop.

    The move follows a vote last year by leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to put economic pressure on companies that profit from Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

    The targeted companies are Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies Corp.

    Jewish leaders are deeply disturbed that the campaigns threatening divestment essentially borrow from the 1980s movement against South African apartheid.

    Well, the shoe seems to fit...

    'Junior' Gotti Seeks to Clear His Name

    'Junior' Gotti Seeks to Clear His Name

    The hank Williams Jr. of organized crime:

    On Monday, the younger Gotti goes on trial, and jurors will begin hearing testimony from Gambino family turncoats, evidence from electronic surveillance and a recounting of crimes that include the attempted assassination of the crime-fighting founder of the Guardian Angeles.

    Hm. Maybe that's too much credit. Maybe the Desi Arnaz Jr. of the mob?

    Sex Offenders Banned From Storm Shelters Sex Offenders Banned From Storm Shelters

    Sex Offenders Banned From Storm Shelters

    I suppose someone somewhere feels good about this:

    Sex offenders tracked by the state are banned from public hurricane shelters in Florida under a new policy that allows them to weather the storms in prison instead.

    About as useful and practical as Iowa's 2000 foot zone of doom.

    6 Ağustos 2005 Cumartesi

    Bush Ignoring Domestic Alternatives to Saudi Oil

    Bush Ignoring Domestic Alternatives to Saudi Oil

    One more step to energy independence:

    Up until now, America hasn't explored using coal gasification because it is not profitable unless oil is above $35 a barrel. But now oil is at around $60 a barrel, and at that level to stay. Combining coal gasification, with solar, wind, ethanol energy and hybrid technology really means we can get our country off foreign oil. But it is up to our leaders to take the initiative to make it happen.

    But if you look at how the Bush administration is ignoring major domestic oil potential at home, it seems more like the White House is trying to justify its all-too-close relationship with the Saudis...

    Setting standards and lonely old men

    Setting standards and lonely old men

    A pair of fascinating posts on cultural standards of feminine beauty - and how this affects MEN. First, this at Alley Rat, then Amanda Marcotte's react.

    This is a subject I've thought much about - look for my updates later since now is not a great time for me to write.

    5 Ağustos 2005 Cuma

    BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Art prankster sprays Israeli wall

    Art prankster sprays Israeli wall

    The wall isn't funny but the graffiti is:

    The nine paintings were created on the Palestinian side of the barrier.

    One depicts a hole in the wall with an idyllic beach, while another shows a mountain landscape on the other side.

    Banksy's spokeswoman Jo Brooks said: "The Israeli security forces did shoot in the air threateningly and there were quite a few guns pointed at him."

    Israel says the structure is necessary to protect the country from suicide bombers, but the International Court of Justice has said it breaches international law.

    Banksy, who hails from the UK city of Bristol, is well known for his art stunts around the world. He condemned the wall but described it as "the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers".

    4 Ağustos 2005 Perşembe

    FunReports.Com: Noise-making CD to take revenge on noisy neighbors available

    FunReports.Com: Noise-making CD to take revenge on noisy neighbors available

    Living in college student housing I occasionally am tempted to play stereo war. I prefer to fight fire with fire using my own music, but this approach has a new twist:

    The list of noise-making tracks includes:

    1. Drill.

    2. Party (at least 200 People).

    3. Orgasm (Outstanding).

    4. Train.

    5. Drum (Played by a Child).

    6. Inhuman Screams.

    7. Walking (High Heels).

    8. Domestic Squabble.

    9. Doors Banging.

    10. Bowling.

    11. Unhappy Dog.

    12. Practicing a violin.

    13. Traffic Jam.

    14. Garbage Truck.

    15. A screaming newborn baby

    16. Phone Ringing.

    17. Ball Game.

    18. Pigeons.

    19. Spring house cleaning.

    20. Cock-a-Doodle-Do!

    Pro-Israel lobbyists charged in US Pentagon case

    Pro-Israel lobbyists charged in US Pentagon case

    "A federal grand jury indicted two former officials of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC Thursday on charges they received classified national defense information from a Pentagon analyst, court documents show.

    The indictment charges Steven Rosen, the former foreign policy director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, with receiving classified information from analyst Lawrence Franklin and helping Franklin pass on written classified information..."

    Three ways to make us all safer

    Three ways to make us all safer

    London Mayor Ken Livingstone: "Support the police, treat Muslims with respect and pull out of Iraq."

    The whole thing is a good read but note these couple paragraphs:

    Which leads directly to the question of whether Britain should ban Sheikh Qaradawi - a matter with major consequences for the treatment of Britain's Muslim community. Last week, Jonathan Freedland honestly reported on these pages that Qaradawi utterly condemned the London bombings. However, many have suggested that Qaradawi should none the less be banned because he says Palestinian suicide bombing can be justified under Islam in the specific conditions of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I am utterly against both suicide bombings and Israeli killing of civilians - I didn't oppose capital punishment decade after decade to turn round and say it's all right when suicide bombers blow people up.

    But if supporters of the Palestinians should be banned on the grounds that Palestinians kill civilians, then consistency would require banning Israeli leaders, who have been responsible for killing several times more Palestinian civilians. Someone advocating that both Sharon and Qaradawi be banned would be wrong, but at least they would be consistent.

    Morning Apocalypse Watch

    Morning Apocalypse Watch

  • Flu could infect half world's people in year

  • Antarctic ice shelf collapse

    first in 11,000 years

    The plague of boils must be next...

  • 3 Ağustos 2005 Çarşamba

    The Netroots Draws The Line On Roberts

    The Netroots Draws The Line On Roberts

    "Roberts, unless he expressly states that he will not overturn Griswold and Roe, must be filibustered" - Kos

    Which won't happen. The question is, what happens in the netroots when the filibuster DOESN'T happen?

    Nugent Out, Reeves In

    Nugent Out, Reeves In

    This should leave The Nuge more time for shootin' varmints:

    "After as much gungho hardcore scrutiny, review & disecting (sic) as put forth toward any endeavor or consideration in my life, the Nugent family has decided that for a variety of reasons, I will not run for MI Guv in 06."

    In other Michigan political news, Martha (of And The Vandellas fame) Reeves is on track for the Motown city council:

    The top 18 vote-getters earned slots on November's ballot, and she finished ninth with 27,313 votes. Nine City Council members will be elected in the fall.

    Dancing In The Streets references aplenty.

    Saudi Arabia's Gerontocracy

    Saudi Arabia's Gerontocracy

    There are our "friends."

    Saudi Arabia is facing a future of kings with short reigns. They will probably be dubbed "Saudi Brezhnevs," after the increasingly decrepit leadership in the final years of the Soviet Union. It was entirely predictable: 12 years ago, a former British adviser to the Saudi royals preferred a Monty Python metaphor, "The parrots will fall off their perch in rapid succession."

    The logical way around this problem is for the House of Saud to choose a significantly younger king — although for him to be called a "Saudi Gorbachev" would give Riyadh heartburn. Within the line of sons of Ibn Saud, Interior Minister Prince Nayef (born 1933) and the governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Salman (born 1936), would be contenders.

    Ever hear of democracy, people?

    One more reason for energy independence: so we can stop propping up people like this.

    Ohio 2: Beating The Point Spread

    Ohio 2: Beating The Point Spread

    The buzz of the blogosphere this AM is the Ohio congressional special election in suburban Cincinnati. We had no business even TRYING in the 2nd CD, the kind of safe GOP conservative district we usually just let go, sometimes without a canidate.

    But Paul Hackett just missed with 48% in a 70% Republican district. That means if we make a good effort an a 65% Republican district, we can win. I've been caught saying "there aren't 218 winnable districts" but I may have to reassess that.

    A loss is still a loss but we made this close when it never "should" have been. And it's not really a "loss" since it was a GOP seat to begin with. I wonder what the demographics are in Christopher Cox's soon to be vacant district in California? Can't win if we don't try.

    More roundup at Daily Kos and MyDD and Mathew Gross.

    2 Ağustos 2005 Salı

    GOP targets school boards

    GOP targets school boards

    A national organization known for grooming Republicans for congressional and state legislative offices is pointing its efforts at Iowa's school boards.

    Smart move. Today's school board candidate is a legislative candidate in five years, and maybe a congressional candidate in fifteen... but of course we Dems aren't thinking like that:

    "People should elect school board members based on the person who will best represent their children and Iowa's schools, not their political parties," said Erin Seidler, press secretary for the Iowa Democratic Party.

    Yep, she said "vote for the person not the party." Any wonder Jim Leach keeps getting re-elected? Every election Dems talk about education as a key issue, but when it comes time to take action, we get implicit discouragement.

    As for me, I've never voted for a registered Republican for any office. In this town even a lot of Republicans are "Democrats," so to actually BE a Republican is a strong statement of political philosophy. And of course education is ground zero for some of the theocrat's favorite issues - school prayer, evolution (see today's headline Bush: Schools should teach intelligent design), sex ed or the lack thereof, and the whole impose your values on others mindset.

    We shouldn't vote against people simply because they are "partisan." Partisanship has got a bad name. We should vote against them based on the issues, and partisanship is a very usefal shorthand in this case.

    No, on this one the GOP has it right and we're once again left in the dust. At least on the STATE level. Of course, we know better in Johnson County. Several good school board members with Democratic Party roots have served in recent years: Dale Shultz, Nick Johnson, Aletia Morgan, Lauren Reece, Matt Goodlaxson, and I know I'm forgetting a few. In 2004 we nominated sitting school board member Dave Franker for Congress against Leach.

    Not to say we can't do better. The Official Party is losing ground on local issues to other organizations who aren't afraid to do little things like, oh, endorse candidates. In some ways the party's quasi-official status ties our hands; if a conservative Dems wins a primary they're on the ticket whether the party activists like it or not. But in the blogosphere era, issue activists don't buy that. They define "being a Democrat" as taking a stand on issues, even local issues like zoning and development fights, the defining line between "progressive" and "conservative" in this town. Those fights are the most bitter - because that's where the MONEY is.

    Locally we had a tough era in the early 1990s with some bitter and divisive local contests, and the party is still gun-shy about that, chasing after conservative rural "Democrats" who could care less while potential activists move in other directions.

    As for the school board: watch for the names Patti Fields and Jerry Gilmere in the coming weeks.


    1 Ağustos 2005 Pazartesi

    MyDD :: 2008 Roundup - GOP Edition

    MyDD : 2008 Roundup - GOP Edition

    I'll disagree with the last. They're just shameless enough to run Bush the Third against Hillary.

    Young Democrats to hit streets of S.F.

    Young Democrats to hit streets of S.F.

    Image problems:

    But the Young Democrats face some challenges in transforming themselves.

    "They're not cool," said Mike Burkett, better known in punk rock circles as Fat Mike, frontman for the band NOFX and the driving force behind Punkvoter. com. The youth-organizing effort registered 20,000 voters through tours and sales of its "Rock Against Bush" CDs, featuring chart-toppers such as Green Day and the Foo Fighters.

    Even Fat Mike's cachet has its limits.

    "I'm pretty cool, but I'm not cool enough to get to some people," the 38- year-old Burkett said. "Once you become a Democrat, you're not cool (to some young people). Most of my friends are anarchists or in the Green Party."

    EXACTLY. Living in a college town these last two presidentials I saw exactly that. In 2000 it was COOL to be for Nader. In 2004, well, it wasn't exactly cool to be for Kerrybut it was sorta cool to be against Bush. The Dean thing wsn't "cool" we were too earnest for that. The Kucinch folks sure tought they were cool...

    In any case I'm too old to be a "young" Dem anymore.

    Anti-women weirdness in Wisconsin

    Anti-women weirdness in Wisconsin

    What is going ON in my native state?

    "Wisconsin has the distinct honor of becoming the first state in the nation to limit college students’ access to full birth control options. UW Birth Control Ban-AB 343 prohibits University of Wisconsin campuses from prescribing, dispensing and advertising all forms of birth control and emergency contraceptives. Wisconsin State Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, introduced this bill based on the belief that “dispensing birth control and emergency contraceptives leads to promiscuity.”"

    Nothing in the article about a veto, which I'd think is likely. But it's almost enough to make me want to move back to my home town and run against the fundamentalist wingnut I went to high school with who (mis) represents the area in the state House...

    We'd best leave that to someone else. But the great Amanda, who pointed this out, cuts to the chase: "I've noticed lately a reduction in the amount of pooh-poohing feminist fears that once a genuine ban on abortion is within the grasp of the Wingnutteria, they will dispense with the fakey concern about saving babies and proceed to attack contraceptive rights."