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No, Really

Posted by Ogged
on 10.11.03

Gregg Easterbrook suggests that, since "No" so often means "Yes," women should say "This is rape!" to make men stop, you know, raping them. Dahlia Lithwick bends him over and spanks him.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has some thoughts on this.


 

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More Plame Facts

Posted by Ogged
on 10.11.03
Nicholas Kristof has more pertinent information and perspective on the Valerie Plame affair. Kristof knows Plame and also give us some new facts.
First, the C.I.A. suspected that Aldrich Ames had given Mrs. Wilson's name (along with those of other spies) to the Russians before his espionage arrest in 1994. So her undercover security was undermined at that time, and she was brought back to Washington for safety reasons.
...
I think the Democrats are engaging in hyperbole when they describe the White House as having put Mrs. Wilson's life in danger and destroyed her career; her days skulking along the back alleys of cities like Beirut and Algiers were already mostly over.
...
If Democrats have politicized the scandal and exaggerated it, Republicans have inexcusably tried to whitewash it. The leak risked the security of all operatives who had used Brewster-Jennings as cover, as well as of all assets ever seen with Mrs. Wilson. Unwitting sources will now realize that they were supplying the C.I.A. with information, and even real agents may fear exposure and vanish.
...
We in journalism are also wrong, I think, to extend professional courtesy to Robert Novak, by looking beyond him to the leaker. True, he says he didn't think anyone would be endangered. Working abroad in ugly corners of the world, American journalists often learn the identities of American C.I.A. officers, but we never publish their names. I find Mr. Novak's decision to do so just as inexcusable as the decision of administration officials to leak it.
This scandal leaves everybody stinking.

 

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Media Unbound

Posted by Ogged
on 10.10.03

Here's a good weekend link. A few years ago, "personalization" was a hot topic, just as Amazon was rolling out "people who bought...also bought...." What people (ok, I) really wanted was such a service for music. Here's the best one I've found.


 

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Who?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.10.03
Think well, friend, before the needle pierces your skin! From a recent poll (via Drudge):
The fact that tattooing has become a conscious style choice rather than a drunken mistake was reflected in the fact that 83 percent of people with tattoos voiced no regret about having them.
Among those who did acknowledge having made a mistake, the reason cited most often was "because of the person's name in the tattoo."
Regret was highest among tattooed Republicans at 24 percent.

 

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What?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.10.03
Not quite 100% noble, but Rush more or less comes clean: he's addicted and is checking into rehab.


 

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I deserve a Nobel!

Posted by Bob
on 10.10.03

Bob Park has a nice take on the doctor who's claiming that he deserves this year's medicine Nobel:

Science is open. We share our thoughts and our data, everything. We can't always recall the source of our ideas. Sometimes, even friends feel slighted. But the Nobel Prize is valuable to all of us. It's a chance to give the public a glimpse of what science can do. We honor the winners, but in truth we all contribute by stirring the intellectual stew from which new insights emerge.

By the way, I Bob am the person (along with my girlfriend in 1989) who came up with "tar-ZHAY" for Target.


 

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Getting Along

Posted by Ogged
on 10.10.03

There's an interesting idea floating about. Here's Von's take,

Schwarzenegger is pro-choice, pro-gay rights (though not gay-marriage), and pro-free trade. He wants to legalize marijuana for for medical purposes. He opposes offshore drilling and supports a ban on assault rifles. He has been coy about whether he intends to raise taxes -- suggesting that he may do so to balance the budget. Indeed, he has about as much in common with Tom Delay or Trent Lott as Bill Clinton does. He even seems to have some of Clinton's "women troubles", if you know what I mean.
Schwarzenegger is the model of the "new Republican". And his new Republicanism is starting to engulf the party. The party is starting to turn back to the center. The "big tent" is shifting. But it's doing it with so little fan-fare, it's being missed.

And here's Vanderleun,

What the California Recall signals is not, to my mind, a shift from one party to the other, but a signal that, in a very real sense, the party's over for both parties ... a lot of people here in 21st century America who are fed up with a political structure built in 19th century America ... The fewer people that voted, the easier and cheaper it was for them to load up the vans with the aged, the infirm, and the unionized, and truck them on down to the polls on election day. The fewer people who actively engaged in politics, the better the control of the professional political establishment over them. And the better the control, the more controllable the outcome. And the more predictable the outcome, the fewer the people who voted ... William Gibson has written that "the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed." Well, the future has arrived in California and it doesn't look like the Democrats or the Republicans.

The questions will never be wholly settled, but it does seem that, for now, the Republicans have won the fiscal responsibility / small government debate (nevermind if they're following through) and the Democrats have won on the cultural issues. Schwarzenegger, the thrifty libertine, was the most appealing, least scary, (I'd even say, least foreign) candidate to a wide swath of people. And, as Lassen pointed out, California as a whole isn't nearly as liberal as people suppose. Voters really are wary of candidates who seem beholden to interest groups and they really don't like puritanical moralizing. I guess we all knew that, but it took the singular celebrity of Schwarzenegger to make the it flesh. It don't know if either party, or any group, will be able to capitalize--certainly not in the next election cycle--but the opportunity is there.


 

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My Name Is Carnac

Posted by Ogged
on 10.10.03
Brian Leiter promises "more soon" on the "civility cult" and tries to ally himself with Paul Krugman on the side of the pointed truth-tellers. Let me offer a counter-argument cum prediction: Leiter will fail to recognize the distinction between the kind of "no bullshit" that is pointed but dignified and rhetorically effective and that peculiarly Leiterian mode of argument that might be characterized as "no substance." Also, let me note in wonder that another basic distinction consistently eludes Prof. Leiter. Here, where, in the spirit of communal solicitude*, I tried to point out that he was "making an ass" of himself, he took me to be calling him an ass. Here, in response to Josh Cherniss's reference to Chomsky's "idiocy," the good professor takes Cherniss to be calling Chomsky an idiot. Surely, even a philosopher banished to the School of Law can understand the distinction between the agent and the act. What is happening to education in Texas? * No doubt you're reading that as a sarcastic remark, but not so: I even received email from an astute (and, I now understand, wise) reader who counseled me not to waste my time trying to reform Prof. Leiter. O the dreams of youth!

 

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The Peace Prize

Posted by Ogged
on 10.10.03
Of course I'm thrilled that an Iranian has won the Nobel Peace Prize, but...how can you pass up Vaclav Havel, who's an inspirational figure around the world? Clearly, the Nobel committee is making a statement about Iran and hoping to influence events there a bit, which is all to the good, but the Peace Prize in particular is important precisely because it's a recognition of someone's global contribution and stature and not just a chance for some Scandinavians to throw in their two cents. And, if you're going to award the Prize to an Iranian, how can your choice be anything but arbitrary? Shirin Ebadi is prominent and seems to have done noble things, but there are a few dozen people in Iran about whom one can say those things and several thousand who have put themselves at even greater risk. The suspicion that Ebadi won in part because she's female and Muslim furthers the impression that it's a statement rather than an award, and that cheapens the Prize and, frankly, insults the recipient. I didn't intend to write such a negative post. My apologies. I may decide that I've gone off half-cocked here, but I guess the Iranian in me finds the whole thing a bit condescending.

 

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UPDATE

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

Kieran Healy's been reading Unfogged!



 

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Nice

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

Am I square for even thinking that everyone doesn't know this song? Surely, at some point in your life, someone played for you Two Nice Girls singing like so.

When I was a young girl like normal girls do

I looked to a woman's love to help get me through

I never needed any more than a feminine touch

I hated the thought of kissing a man it really was too much

I did not drink, I did not smoke I did not say "goddamn"

I was polite I was sensitive before I loved a man

My family, they were proud of me were proud of what I am

But then along came Lester and my tale of woe began

I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer

My life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer

But the love of a strong hairy man has turned my head I fear

And made me spend my last ten bucks on birth control and beer

It was June 1983 when Mary Lou and I did part

She said she loved another dyke my god, it broke my heart

I was bitter and disillusioned to lose another girlfriend

Lester came to work at Papa's store and decided to ease on in

Before my last heartbreak nothing made me more sick

Than a hairy-chested, cheap double-breasted suited man with a hard dick

I guess that I was curious I guess that I was young

I guess it was that rum and coke I guess that I was dumb

I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer

My life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer

But the love of a strong hairy man has turned my head I fear

And made me spend my last ten bucks on birth control and beer

For of course, for a woman to love a man she must also love to booze

If a woman don't drink beside her man then she will surely lose him

As I sit in this hetero honky-tonk and reflect upon my past

I think about those girlfriends and why they didn't last

For there's certain thrills that lesbian love simply cannot supply

Like paying for abortions from sperm gone awry

And so I say to you my friends without this man I'd die

So listen to my tell of woe and hang your head and cry

I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer

My life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer

But the love of a strong hairy man has turned my head I fear

And made me spend my last ten bucks on birth control and beer


 

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Call Me Tom

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

Why did I do it? Who the hell knows. But I'm 50% Welsh.

Random guessing, echt Welsh.

via A Welsh View, naturally


 

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Newly Coded

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

PacMan, Asteroids, Space Invaders, for old times' sake.

via starkittn ink


 

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Tell Me

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

I warn you: you won't be able to decide if it's just for yucks or revealing deep and hidden truths, so you might keep using this all day. When you come back, you'll appreciate:

the ball is blue--->Concreteness is the color, this clearly green bulb is one
go forth and multiply--->the increase disappears

thanks to planned obsolescence for the link


 

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Plame, Deflation?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

There's an interesting update on the Plame story. Consistent with my conjecture that the original Washington Post story that re-broke the Plame affair was in error, Newsweek reports,

But more than 10 days after the story exploded, an alternative theory is emerging among those who are directly involved in the leak case: that the "senior administration official" quoted in the Washington Post piece simply got it wrong. There were indeed White House phone calls to reporters about Wilson's wife. But most, if not all, of these phone calls, were made after the Novak column appeared, some government officials now believe.

I think that's right. The article also contains information relevent to Josh Marshall's recent musings. Josh writes,

But, as you'll remember, I've been making quite a point of late of the administration's extremely disciplined use of the phrase "leaks of classified information" when referring to anything about Plame. They never mention Plame's name --- which is perhaps understandable. But they don't even make any mention of exposing a CIA operative. It's always "leaks of classified information" this and "leaks of classified information" that.

...

Now presumably Plame's identity was classified information. But why frame this denial in such a precise, lawyerly and frankly off-point fashion? Why not just say they told no one about Plame's identity. Or even just, they did not disclose the identity of any agent from the Directorate of Operations?
Something's up here ...

Newsweek speculates,

White House spokesman McClellan has denied only that three senior officials—Libby, Rove or National Security Council official Elliot Abrams—leaked any "classified" information to Novak. One possible translation: whatever they may or may not have said to Novak, nobody passed along anything they knew to be classified at the time.
And that may make all the difference in the world. As former CIA director James Woolsey points out, the 1982 law that makes it a federal crime to disclose the identify of an undercover CIA agent was carefully written to target witting perpetrators. Congress had in mind actors such as ex-CIA agent turned left-wing critic Philip Agee who, for political reasons, wrote a book "outing" many of his former colleagues, leading to considerable and justifiable concern about their safety. The law "was quite narrowly drafted," notes Woolsey, and much will depend on "whether there was criminal intent" by the leaker. If the leaker did not know that Wilson's wife was undercover at the time of the conversation with Novak, that alone may get him or her off the hook.

I hate to say it, but it's not unlikely that someone in the government would know that Plame was CIA, but not know that she was a NOC. Which means it's possible that no crime was committed. That remains to be seen, but it will be very hard to prove that someone knew Plame's status. I still believe, though, that how the White House handles this will determine whether a cloud lingers over them. Even if no crime was committed, it was damaging to Plame and her operations and a very nasty thing to do.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall thinks that preliminary indications are that Novak and his souce did know that Plame was undercover.


 

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Cherniss Responds

Posted by Ogged
on 10.09.03

Josh Cherniss, in his fair and reasonable way, has responded to Brian Leiter's latest personal attack on him: in the comments here and on his own blog here.


 

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We Called It Boogie

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03

What a great ad.



 

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Tree Hugger

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03
How do you popularize science? Give it breasts.
But now comes what may be science's blondest and most curvaceous attempt yet to reach the public, the Treetop Barbie. Outfitted with a safety helmet, crossbow for shooting ropes up into trees, field notebook and measuring tape, this Barbie, still a concept doll, does not worry about how hard math is or where Ken has gone. She is ready to swing from the treetops and take reams of data while she's at it.
Actually, it sounds as if Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, the woman behind Treetop Barbie, has lots of good ideas.
So she has invented a line of botanically correct clothing whose textiles look like actual species of mosses and liverworts. ("People say, `Wow! That looks great!' " she said of the clothes, which do in fact look better than they sound.) She has developed skateboards whose wooden tops bear canopy logos and baseball cards showing players saying things like "Without trees, I'd be batting zero." And she is teaching prisoners how to raise valuable forest mosses. ("They have a lot of time on their hands, and you don't need sharp tools.")
And, being a good Evergreen professor, she's a bit wacky.
She has had her greatest effect, she added, speaking at places of worship. "I tell people I've been reading about trees in your religion," she said, describing herself as half-Hindu and half-Jewish. "There are 328 references to trees and forests in the Old Testament. There it is, I tell people. I guess you better start thinking about conservation. I'm not a Buddhist, but being silent and sitting — who does that better than trees?"

 

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Undetectable

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03

Some days you feel like a colt, some days you feel like a stallion.

via Quixotic Crap


 

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Shift

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03
I love this.
The copy-protection mechanism in question is SunnComm's MediaMax CD3 system. Launched in September, the company claimed its technology had passed strict testing to Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) copy-protection standards with "flying colours".
The "comprehensive test procedures" - SunnComm's words - were performed by "world-renowned" Professional Multimedia Test Centre (PMTC), based in Belgium. PMTC Division Manager Frans Pender is quoted by SunnComm as saying MediaMax C3 offered "an incredible level of security for the music".
What is an "incredible level?" Must be this.
A Princeton PhD student has published a paper detailing the music industry's latest CD copy protection scheme - and how the technique can be bypassed by simply holding down the host computer's Shift key when a 'protected' CD is inserted.

 

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Sloggi

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03
What if the children discover their bottoms!? Glad France isn't immune.

 

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It Must Spring From Among Us

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03

A great--essential, even--post from Jim Henley on life and liberty. Do read the whole thing (it's short), but let me make a comment on this part.

It occurs to me that this is yet another problem with accepting the idea of a tradeoff between liberty and security. Every time Bush and Ashcroft evoke fear to justify new domestic security legislation, every time Bush and Rumsfeld conjure some new bogyman from a two-bit thug with a palace, they weaken the country's anti-tyranny immune system by insinuating that life is more important than liberty. Get people to believe that hard enough and you have established the preconditions for the Caliphate, the Soviet or the Bund.

There are a couple of phrases in Farsi that are very interesting in this regard. The first is "joon-doost" or "joon-azeez", which basically mean "one who likes life" or "holds life dear." Not so strange, right? But they're pejoratives. They're said with disdain of people who fear death or lack physical courage. There's a real understanding underlying that phrase that life isn't the most important thing we have and that it's unseemly to prize it too highly.

I'm sure you can take it less charitably as well: as a partial explanation of suicide attacks. But suicide attacks haven't been part of the Iranian repertoire and I don't know if Arabic has a similar phrase. I should also point out the distinction between "joon" (life, as in "the spark of life," that which animates the body) and "zendeggi" (life, as in "living the good life," the sum of our experiences). To say that someone loves or enjoys zendeggi is a fine compliment.

The other phrase, less striking, but still interesting, is "zendeggi-eh:" that's life. It's something people close to you might say if a loved one dies. It sounds horribly callous in English, but it still carries its weight in Farsi because death isn't unutterable and incommensurate with our understanding and power to grieve; it's part of life.

I'm not sure what conclusions to draw. Iran now has a history of being ruled by oppressive governments but always with a strong indigenous resistance. It may be that these phrases exists because the oppressed have identified something about their oppressors and their cowed compatriots. It may predate the oppression and be the bulwark against it. I don't know. But I do know that Jim's plain English is eloquent and dead right.

Terrorism is a threat to our lives, not our liberties. Osama bin Laden and his ilk can not take away a single freedom - we can only do that ourselves.

 

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Green State Red State

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03
Maybe the California coast really would be happier as its own state. Check out this map of how California counties voted on the recall. From 76% for to 80% against. And the twain shall never meet. Except in Sacramento, where they all have to get along now. Ha! MORE: George Schwartzman, do you not have ten friends? Via JHolbo MORE ON MORE: Anthony corrects the Schwartzman number in the comments.

 

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Ms. Plame

Posted by Ogged
on 10.08.03
Via Kevin Drum, a fascinating (really, you'll want to read the whole thing) profile of Valerie Plame. First, the deception of the neighbors.
"I would never have guessed in a million years" that she was a spy, Wittenberg said.
Another acquaintance active in the postpartum issue, Jane Honikman, briefly contemplated the image of Valerie Wilson slinging an AK-47 and said, "I can't imagine her holding anything other than a spoon, or a baby."
AK-47? A spy, you say? Wasn't she "just an analyst?"
Plame underwent training at "The Farm," as the facility near Williamsburg, Va., is known to its graduates. As part of her courses, the new spy was taken hostage and taught how to reduce messages to microdots. She became expert at firing an AK-47. She learned to blow up cars and drive under fire -- all to see if she could handle the rigors of being an undercover case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, or DO.
...
Her activities during her years overseas remain classified, but she became the creme de la creme of spies: a "noc," an officer with "nonofficial cover." Nocs have cover jobs that have nothing to do with the U.S. government. They work in business, in social clubs, as scientists or secretaries (they are prohibited from posing as journalists), and if detected or arrested by a foreign government, they do not have diplomatic protection and rights. They are on their own. Even their fellow operatives don't know who they are, and only the strongest and smartest are picked for these assignments.
And finally, something relevant to my story of the leak. The Post sounds more confident than ever about the following.
Before the Novak column was published, at least six reporters were contacted by administration officials and allegedly told that Valerie Plame Wilson worked at the CIA.
Maybe the certainty with which this is written is the result of a newspaper convention (it was sourced in a previous story, so we don't need to source it now), but previously, this was attributed to one anonymous official. Now it's presented as fact. Interesting. You haven't forgotten about the profile, have you?

 

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A Party

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03
Well, I do feel bad for the bears.
A self-taught bear expert who once called Alaska's brown bears harmless party animals was one of two people fatally mauled in a bear attack in Katmai National Park and Preserve - the first known bear killings in the 4.7-million-acre park.
...
Over the years, Park Service officials, biologists and others expressed concern about his safety and the message he was sending out.
"At best he's misguided," Deb Liggett, superintendent at Katmai and Lake Clark national parks, told the Anchorage Daily News in 2001. "At worst he's dangerous. If Timothy models unsafe behavior, that ultimately puts bears and other visitors at risk."
That same year, Treadwell was a guest on the "Late Show with David Letterman," describing Alaska brown bears as mostly harmless "party animals." He said he felt safer living among the bears than running through New York's Central Park.
Actually, I probably could have stopped at "self-taught bear expert." via Fark

 

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Explanation

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03
Amira Hass (who is she?) makes the point that, apparently, keeps needing to be made.

 

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Clark, Stumble Stumble

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03
Wesley Clark is in trouble folks. First, his campaign manager quit, now it seems pretty clear that he violated election rules by taking money for speeches in which he mentioned his campaign. I won't get into whether Donnie Fowler's departure is bad or not so bad (the Clark blog, to its credit, isn't hiding). Clark was the special candidate, with buzz and momentum. But he was a bit too, let's call it nuanced, in answering questions about Iraq, and now he's had some clear stumbles that are being covered. He's in danger of becoming just another candidate, in which case those classic disadvantages (no grassroots organization, late funding start) will hurt him. The next time Clark makes headlines, if it's not a positive story, he may be finished. A BIT MORE: Jack O'Toole has a more personal observation on Fowler's departure.

 

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Why Arnie Mickey?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

Mickey Kaus explains why he voted for Schwarzenegger and makes it sound...almost...reasonable. But to this I object,

Maybe a governor who is manipulative and mean is just the man to subdue the unions, the casino tribes and entrenched, free-spending Democratic legislators.
I'm willing to take a flyer on that possibility, given the possible upside virtues, comforted by the knowledge that, thanks to the Constitution, Schwarzenegger can't use his governorship as a steppingstone to the presidency. It's only a state we're talking about! (That's another reason the poli-sci argument against mid-term ousters of temporarily-unpopular leaders doesn't apply with much force.. We're not talking about booting Lincoln in the middle of a Civil War. We're talking about a car tax.) If Schwarzenegger flies into a fascistic, steroid-fueled rage--well, he doesn't have his finger on the button. He can't suspend the bill of rights.

That "we're talking about a car tax" is the voice of privilege, plain and simple. Yes, Mickey and his "we" are worried about a car tax, but unless Schwarzenegger comes up with a credible plan to address California's financial straits, poor and even not-so-poor people will be left scrambling to pay for healthcare, schooling, and food. I don't mind Kaus's argument that Schwarzenegger may be an effective governor, but don't pretend that it doesn't matter just because you're typing from Santa Monica with the ocean surf in your ear.

MORE: Words of wisdom from Kevin Drum.


 

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Sammy, Why So Calm?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

I just watched Sammy Sosa strike out. His home runs were down this year, and isn't his complexion a lot clearer too?

AHEM: And clear is good!


 

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Arafat Ill?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03
The Jerusalem Post reports that Yasser Arafat is seriously ill (registration required) Jeff Jarvis has excerpted most of the story. UPDATE: Ill indeed. Arafat suffered a "mild heart-attack" last week.

 

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There is No Try, Only Do

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03
Attu hypothesizes: are this and this related?



 

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Palme and the Kurds?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

I have no idea how credible this is, but here's a story that says Olof Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister assassinated in 1986 was killed by people connected to the Kurdistan Worker's Party, that police figured out who the killer was, but he had already been murdered himself. Um, like I say, I have no idea...but stranger things have happened.


 

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Lousiest New Yorker ever

Posted by Bob
on 10.07.03

From The Dishery's description of the Oct 6 New Yorker, aka "the lousiest one ever":

I can't count how many times my eyes glazed over while I was reading Jonathan Franzen's lengthy profile of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. In fact, they glazed over yet again even as I read on my laptop screen, Jonathan Franzen's lengthy profile of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. And I am betting yours did too. Whose bright idea was this? I read with horrified glee the section late in the piece where, under the guise of sketching Hastert's son, Franzen takes pains to show readers via his helpful annotations that he is seriously down with the Mekons. And how he stops the profile in its tracks to point out with actual parentheses that his familiarity – reader: Jonathan Franzen's familiarity – extends to the Waco Brothers? I swear my head almost exploded.

Glee indeed, which is my habitual reaction to seeing Franzen called on for his preening self-satisfaction. Also funny: Louis Menand's essay on the new Chicago Manual of Style is "to the review essay what Ripley's Believe It Or Not is to science journalism."

(Thanks to Bookslut.)


 

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Who's Counting?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

Just how did vote-counting become a privatized, compromised affair?

Salon has an informative story here.

Jack O'Toole has the latest problems here.

And jhp makes a compelling case that any voting software must be open source.


 

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Discover Illinois

Posted by Unf
on 10.07.03

I would like to point out that while all you morons out in California are screwing up your state with this crazy recall, we here in Illinois are quietly doing nothing but win Nobel Prizes.

Plus, we appear to have a pretty good baseball team, to boot.


 

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Russtert

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

A simple observation that keeps surprising me: Tim Russert loves to read long blocks of text to his guests, but he can't read. He misreads, stumbles, rushes and pauses. I don't get it.


 

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Get Mo'

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

The illegal hell of "Camp X-Ray," examined here.



 

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Thou

Posted by Ogged
on 10.07.03

How's this?

MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God's Warning: 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.' Leviticus 18:22.

A monument with that inscription couldn't be put in a town square, right? And not in Casper, Shepard's hometown? Guess again. The apostropher has the story and nails the analysis.

[I had Laramie for Casper, now fixed.]


 

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Problems

Posted by Ogged
on 10.06.03

Having major hosting problems, this probably won't be up for long...I hope this is all resolved by tomorrow. Sorry...

MORE: I have no idea what's going on. They've now shut me down twice without warning because my site is causing "high loads" on the server. They haven't told me whether the site is misconfigured or if it's a denial of service attack or what. They haven't told me much at all. If it disappears again, my apologies; you can rest assured that I'm somewhere seething for all of us. I expect to know more by tomorrow.

To those of you who were kind enough to send me email letting me know that the site was down, thanks. But because my email address here is tied to my account, I didn't get them until the site was back up. Haha. Laugh's on me. I've set up unfoggedisdown@yahoo.com if you want to reach me when the site goes kablooey again.

YET MORE: The latest word from my host is that simple traffic to the site was causing high loads on the server. I'm incredulous. But they're doubling the RAM in the server and we'll see if that solves the problem. TotalChoiceHosting stays in my good graces!


 

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Kartoo

Posted by Ogged
on 10.06.03

A search engine that isn't much good for searching is...still a lot of fun to play with.


 

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Total Control

Posted by Ogged
on 10.06.03
Speaking now without hyperbole or sarcasm, this is a scary, mind-bending post by Mickey Kaus on Schwarzenegger's recall campaign.

 

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I'm Tense and Nervous and I Can't Relax

Posted by Ogged
on 10.06.03
Apparently selective quotes and all, I can't resist this one.
Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-N.C.) blames the breakup of his 50-year marriage partly on the stress of living near a leading Muslim advocacy group that he and his wife worried was so close to the U.S. Capitol that "they could blow the place up."
...
His wife, Donna, said the couple had kept a close eye on CAIR since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and worried that the group's activities might jeopardize security on Capitol Hill.
"This gang across the street is questionable," she said.
But their wackiness isn't confined to bigotry.
In addition to CAIR, Ballenger told the newspaper that another source of stress on the marriage was the 1995 decision by "holier-than-thou Republicans" in the House to ban gifts from lobbyists. The meals and theater tickets from lobbyists once meant "a social life for [congressional] wives," Ballenger said. His wife agreed, saying, "Just a dinner now and then" would do no harm.
Cass Ballenger, by the way, is a nine-term congressman. (also via Jack O'Toole)

 

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Collection

Posted by Ogged
on 10.06.03

Jack O'Toole has a bunch of good posts up already today, including a very good, short, link-filled post on the just-below-the-radar voting machine controversy that I'm sure will be big news next year. Take a look.


 

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Airport monologue

Posted by Bob
on 10.06.03

Thoughts while listening to the final-call announcement for Delta Flt. 1776 from Salt Lake City to Boston:

1. Cute that they assigned a patriotic flight number to the Boston flight.

2. But wait -- the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, not Boston. 1776 should be the Philly flight, but the Philly flight is 1930.

3. Delta's not in the history-education business, but they're not helping anyone by mashing all of US history into one mixed up east-coast jumble. They're really just invoking history to seem patriotic, but without the substance they're just furthering the stupidization of America.

4. But the Philly (or Boston) flight from Salt Lake? Sure, Salt Lake is a Delta hub, but it can't be the really prominent Philly (or Boston) flight. It can't be more deserving of the cute flight number than, say, the London-Philly flight.

5. If such a flight exists.

6. That'd be great. I could hop over to London and grab a pint after work.

7. Wait, what am I thinking?? 1776 being a deliberately chosen cute flight number was just a hasty conclusion, so I can't use it as evidence to criticize Delta Airlines's historical accuracy. Sorry, Delta!

8. Clearly my grumpy hypercritical spoilsport is taking over. I must be in some kind of intellectually snarky mood.

9. I blame the Mormons.

10. I wonder what happened in Philadelphia in 1930.


 

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Wesley Clark, Losing Me?

Posted by Ogged
on 10.05.03

Two items on Wesley Clark. One of the smear tactics that will be used against Clark is that he's mentally unbalanced (I have no idea where this comes from). So, via Josh Marshall, note the words used to describe Clark's in-fact-astute take on foreign policy in the past few decades.

It's really a little bit crackpot

That courtesy of William Kristol. In the same article, there's also this,

A director of the Project for a New American Century, Randy Scheunemann, called General Clark's comments "bizarre."

Just something to keep an eye on.

But in another development, it turns out that Clark was a lobbyist for Acxiom Corp., a data collection firm that works with the government on their CAPPS II passenger screening system. That's disturbing.

Let me spell this out a bit, since it drives me batty when my far-left friends present facts as if they speak for themselves.

Above a certain level of income (or, above a particular economic class), it's easy to forget the weight of a simple fact: the government has a lot of power. It can take our things and it can put us in prison. Innocence is, in most cases, ultimately a saving defense. But between being charged and that "ultimately" is a lot of suffering. I've known two people in the US who have been falsely (and indubitably falsely) accused of serious wrongdoing. What looks like justice from the outside--charges ultimately found to be baseless--is years of hell from the inside. It is a life-changing and sometimes life-shattering thing to be accused. Despite the kindness of given individuals in the system, the system itself is impersonal, systematic, and completely without reassurance. Pray you're never accused.

I've made another point on this blog before: there are so many laws that we can't possibly know them all and, on any given day, it's likely that we break at least one. In the normal course of events, this doesn't matter, because we are, for the most part, effectively invisible to the government. The web of extant laws is already oppressive, but we don't notice, because the law doesn't see us. But information translates into visibility. If you've ever tried to track someone down on the internet, or to find the identity of someone posting anonymously, you already know that it's random, apparently meaningless bits of information that usually lead down the right path. Every bit matters.

Also keep in mind that it is the job of those in the business of "homeland security" to be suspicious and pull bits together before those bits have amounted to a conclusive whole. In other words, "innocence" is not sufficient to keep you from being pulled into the system, even if it is usually sufficient to get you out.

We should surrender information--any information--only if the case for doing so is extremely compelling. Unfortunately, in the case of airline security, the gravity of the threat (and the fear it engenders) are used as a substitute for an explanation of the efficacy of the solution. The implied argument is something like: "this is so serious and scary that anything we can do is probably worth it." But let me make a simple assertion of fact that renders arguments for information screening absurd: given reinforced cockpit doors, an airliner cannot be hijacked or brought down by the passengers without weapons or explosive devices. The best way to ensure that flights are safe is to rigorously screen persons and their luggage. We already consent to searches of our persons; but they're handled poorly and conducted "randomly." Luggage screening is effective and advanced, but not widely available. These are problems of training and logistics that are easy to solve and, especially in the case of training, would leave us feeling less violated than we do now. The only argument of which I'm aware against rigorous screening of persons and their luggage is that it would take too much time. Please note where that leaves us: we're no longer weighing "civil liberties against security," as the rhetoric usually has it, we're weighing rights against convenience. And even that's a generous phrasing, because "convenience" is a floating standard that derives meaning from our expectations and is measured by criteria that can be changed through improvements in infrastructure and training. If I were a political consultant, I'd say "the government would rather spend money finding things out about us than spend it making it easier and safer for us to fly."

So, Clark's lobbying on behalf of Acxiom is very disturbing. Clearly, he has no personal compunction about harvesting information. In a time of loosely-defined, open-ended "war," that is a very serious lack in a chief executive. Ultimately, only a strong executive absolutely committed to preserving civil liberties can so shape the discourse that civil liberties are not abridged. Congress will react to a scared public; those counseling caution in the face of a "threat" will always be in the minority. The President is the safeguard; this is an instance in which he matters very much as an individual. Clark has made nice noises of concern about the curtailment of civil liberties, but unless he addresses his involvement with Acxiom, I'll treat that as so much rhetoric and the check to his campaign that was heating up in my pocket just got a lot cooler.


 

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