Jack O'Toole is building a "grass-roots" website for John Edwards. Take a look and let him know if you manage to break something, he'll thank you for it...how often do you get that?
The strategy on the Medicare bill has angered even more lawmakers from both chambers. Those members of the House-Senate negotiating committee who were not invited to the real meetings where the bill was written were given a copy of the 1,100-page measure less than an hour before being asked to vote on it on Thursday.There is, of course, no possible defense. However much we want to set aside partisanship, there's the inconvenient fact that we're dealing with cheats and crooks.
In Saskatoon, the penalty for public drunkenness is death.
Two white policemen picked up Darrell Night outside his uncle's apartment one January before dawn. There had been a quarrel, and Night, who had been drinking, was shouting obscenities.
Night, a member of the Cree Nation, recalls thinking the cops were going to throw him in the drunk tank, but they drove straight out of town. They took him to an isolated spot three miles outside Saskatoon.
"Get the [expletive] out of here, you [expletive] Indian," he recalled one officer saying, and they slammed his face on the hood of the trunk, took off his handcuffs and left him standing alone on a riverbank.
"I'll freeze out here," he yelled. "What's wrong with you guys?"
A voice echoed in the cold: "That's your [expletive] problem."
Night watched the car drive off, its lights trailing out of sight. The wind was whipping on the night of Jan. 28, 2000, in Saskatchewan, where there can be sudden blizzards and temperatures may drop to 40 degrees below zero. He was wearing a T-shirt, jeans, a jeans jacket and running shoes.
Night lived. And his testimony, given the circumstances, is especially damning.
Night's account of his survival transfixed Saskatoon and opened a window on what some have called the dark side of the city's police force, which may have imposed its own death penalty on the wind-whipped prairie. Over the years, at least five frozen bodies of aboriginal men have been found in the same area. There were always rumors the police had dropped them off, but there was nothing to prove it until Night made it back alive.
And so it goes for North America's natives, nearly four-hundred years later.
Japan's military budget is close to $50 billion, but it is constitutionally prohibited from deploying military forces for anything except self-defense. Self-defense, of course, is a slippery term, and these days self-defense might include a first-strike against Pyonyang, and of course sending Japanese troops to fight anti-Japanese terrorism, in Iraq.
How do you convince able-bodied young Japanese men (and women!) to join the proud ranks of "Peace People Japan"? Social Design Notes links to and analyzes the posters.
I almost always miss the Thankstmas season's Peanuts specials, so I almost always miss out on having my yuletide melancholia adequately validated. Not this year, thanks to this list of holiday TV specials, which is in turn thanks to Freakgirl. Popcorn and toast 11/27 at 7 ET, and not such a bad tree after all 12/2 and 12/13.
Dan Drezner, spot on and far more restrained than I could have been.
GALL DANG: Glenn Reynolds opines,
Salam showed real courage in his blogging, if not the kind of courage that would (directly) overthrow the tyrant. But I just think that Salam has lost a bit of perspective hanging out with Guardian types in London.
Has anyone actually read Salam's letter? Is the core of that letter not, "thanks, but you misled us and it's time to stop?" Does that now count as "losing perspective?"
I CAN'T STOP: One thing Lileks implies, and that I've seen several commenters elsewhere argue explicitly, is that the fact that Iraqis didn't overthrow Saddam is evidence of cowardice. That's ignorant.
If you're going to make the cowardice charge, you've got two options: explain how one person could have overthrown the regime or explain how a coordinated effort to overthrow the regime might have been possible. I take it that even intrepid bloggers recognize the impracticality of the first option.
But, in a totalitarian state, coordination is similarly futile. Anyone could be an informant. Some percentage of your fellow citizens are informants. Long before you've gathered enough support to be a threat to the regime, your plan will almost certainly be revealed to an informant. Then you die. So does everyone else who had been brave enough to talk to you.
After a draining practice session, Alonzo Mourning and half of the Nets team, mostly second-unit players, were making their way through the final strides of a set of suicide drills ... As Mourning trudged to the finish behind his teammates, already unhappy, he heard laughter from the players who were watching. Mourning snapped in reaction...in a profanity-laden diatribe, [he] shouted in part: "This ain't funny. This is about winning."
Richard Jefferson, a third-year forward who was one of the players who were laughing, told Mourning that indeed it wasn't funny, it was "hilarious."
When Kenyon Martin, a fourth-year forward, jumped in by mocking Mourning's recent performance on the court and commenting that Mourning would not have to run if he would improve his rebounding, Mourning attacked Martin's leadership and toughness.
Mourning, who signed with the Nets this summer after kidney disease cost him all of last season and nearly the entire 2000-1 season, told Martin: "At least I'm out there on the court, not in the training room. I'm trying to make the best of my time."
"You can't be a leader in the trainer's room crying, `My ankle, my ankle,' " Mourning added, referring to the sprained ankle that sidelined Martin for five games. Martin responded by mocking Mourning, muttering, "My kidney, my kidney.""My kidney, my kidney" may be the most absurd taunt ever, so you can hardly blame Mourning,
What did you say about my kidney? Don't talk about my kidney. I'll put you on your back.The man's got a point, you really shouldn't talk about people's kidneys.
John Holbo just received a CD as a gift. And the copy protection is so good, he can't play it.
Oh, that's all right then. They never said it would play on equipment I buy to play it. Alles in Ordnung, Herr Valenti. To be precise, I can input all the tracks but one at home, and I can play the final track at home if I actually go and get the CD out of its little slip in the large volume of CD's under the sofa. So I can play. One. Lousy. Track.
I'll never buy another disc with one of these RIAA warning labels on the back. Seriously. Lots of good music I'll miss out on because I'm no longer willing to risk it.
And inside the case there's this little note they wrote me, thanking me for doing something I'll never do again if I can help it and assuring me piracy is killing music and hurting artists. Gee, with friends like these, I sure hope music and artists don't have any enemies.
Frankly, I think the RIAA is brilliant: there can't be pirated music if there's no music. Well done!
May I just say that I would be very happy to go out with the lovely Miss Lewinsky, if only she would give me the chance. I'm a centrist Democrat at heart, so I'm sure we'd get along real well. Ogged - do you think she's listed? You're good at tracking down celebrities.
It's time to edify the blogger.
What is it about the Beatles? Matt Yglesias points to a Rolling Stone list of the top ten albums of all time that includes four (!) from the Beatles; Greg Greene writes, "overestimating the influence of the Beatles is pretty tough."
What's the story? Truly, I'm ignorant. There's one and only one Beatles song I would ever play voluntarily (Norwegian Wood). I can say the same thing about Men Without Hats.
Michael Bowen examines "keeping it real."
The black experience continues to be interpreted by whitefolks in pop culture, wrongly, exactly as the black pimp says. What's real, via the majoritarian view of black culture, is 'Whazzap my nigga' and all you might imagine follows. But most crucially and gallingly, that blacks of refinement must heed those cultural guidelines because this is the best we can expect 'America' to recognize.
Michael's not buying.
If you believe in Nelly's brand of black instead of Wynton Marsalis' version, then you are not on the right side of history, nor truth. Furthermore if you're on that side, I'm looking to put you down.
Read the whole thing.
If you've ever gone to kiss someone and accidentally bumped teeth, you'll agree when I say, thank god for flesh.
In a joint press conference following his talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the president said he would do "whatever is necessary to secure Iraq" whether that means fewer troops or more troops.
His comment appeared to take top aides by surprise. As the president spoke, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice glanced pointedly toward the press corps assembled inside Britain's foreign office as if to suggest that there might be some clarification coming.UPDATE: Anything you'd like to say, Ms. Rice?
A top aide to Bush, who briefed reporters after the news conference on condition that she not be identified, said that Bush was not announcing a change in policy and that expectations remained that troop levels would be reduced. "There is simply nothing to suggest that the number of American forces would need to increase," the official said. "In fact, the conversations with the commanders have gone the other way."Thanks.
Because you never have enough to worry about, there's this reminder that we still don't know if cell phones cause cancer.
Gary Brown, an adjunct professor in technologies at Nova Southeastern University, said people don't realize the issue of cell phone safety has not been settled.
"The industry says there's no problem and the public remains ignorant. Adults can do what they want, but where the issue becomes critical, is with children," Brown said.
The new federal research will follow up on studies that have been going on in 15 other countries around the world under a World Health Organization research agenda developed since the Reynard case prompted consumer worries.
At least one of those studies has caused concern that children and teens might be adversely affected.
Unfortunately, we won't be getting a definitive answer soon.
Because of time it takes to plan such a project and seek proposals for carrying out the research, the work is not expected to get underway until 2005 and won't be completed for six to seven years.
I guess we can look forward to the day when we all rely exclusively on cell phones that we can't use. (More seriously, if you use a cell phone, get an ear bud, don't hold the phone up to your head.)
Will Saletan makes the best attempt yet to explain how gay marriage could be a winning issue for the Democrats.
Homosexuality can be separated from marriage in roughly the same way [that choice was separated from abortion]. Marriage is a broadly shared American value. You don't have to support homosexuality to support marriage. A politician can say, "I'm pro-marriage. The issue isn't whether you're straight or gay. The issue is whether you support marriage."
This message strikes directly at the posture of anti-gay forces ... Last month, Bush expressed his opposition to gay marriage in a statement proclaiming "Marriage Protection Week." In response to the Massachusetts ruling, he pledged to "defend the sanctity of marriage."
It's an odd claim, since Bush and his allies are the only ones trying to stop anybody from getting married. That's the first point to make in rebutting them. Next, you explain that what you care about isn't sexual orientation but marriage. You allude to the reasons we value marriage: commitment, stability, fidelity, community ... the debate is surprisingly winnable ... Some anti-gay advocates will say marriage is for procreation. But that position is politically disastrous, alienating singles, infertile couples, and any married person who uses contraception. Other critics will warn of moral chaos. But moral chaos is what marriage prevents. If you want family values, the simplest thing to do is to let people form families.
Many lifestyle liberals, gay and straight, will balk at this emphasis on marriage. Good. That will distinguish proponents of gay marriage from proponents of license—thereby frustrating conservatives who want to conflate the two.
That's smart stuff. But I don't think it will work. It's true that "choice" and "abortion" were separated and that was a winning strategy, but marriage isn't the same kind of idea as choice. Choice is most like a right, but marriage is most like a club. What mystifies the tolerant is the notion that someone else's marriage can somehow "taint" their own. But, no matter how common it is, marriage remains an institution that we enter with at least some ceremony: it distinguishes the married from the unmarried and has social and personal meaning.
Take a trivial example to get a sense of what I mean: when you love a band, how do you feel when it becomes very popular or becomes associated with a kind of person you don't want to be associated with? Who else listens to the music and how they're perceived should make no difference to whether you enjoy the music, but it does; it changes the meaning of the music for you. So it is with marriage.
And so it is that gay marriage can't be separated from homosexuality, because marriage isn't just something that many of us do, it's something we participate in, and a way in which we're bound to everyone else who participates. Is that anything like a good argument against gay marriage? Of course not. But I think it is a good argument for not making gay marriage a central political issue before the next presidential election.
"If you don't understand how intelligence works, you could look at this memo and say, `Aha, there was an operational connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda,' " a Pentagon official said Wednesday. "But intelligence is about sorting what is credible from what isn't, and I think the best judgment about Iraq and Al Qaeda is that the jury is still out."Once again: you'll have to do a lot better than a memo from Doug Feith, one of most aggressive advocates of war, to get people to believe that there was a Saddam / Al Qaeda connection. It's possible that there was, I don't question that, but nothing Feith writes is evidence.
So, Girl27 linked to this dissection at McSweeney's of the implausibility of the Death Star (the first one) having a trash compactor -- or at least the trash compactor in the first (or fourth) Star Wars episode. It's good and all that, but it had me wondering about the Death Star's volume:surface-area ratio, which of course then had me wondering how big the Death Star is (or was) to begin with. Turns out that that fact, like everything else, is available on the web. It was big. Fictional, but big.
Okay, so if the Death Star was 160 km in diameter, then its volume was about 2.14 x 1015 m3, and its surface area (on the assumption that its surface was smooth, and we all know that its surface was actually intricate with silos, turrets, etc.) was 8.04 x 1010 m2. V:SA was about 27,000 m.
My physics has always been a little shaky, and I welcome corrections. Say the Death Star had been illuminated by one 100 W light bulb every hundred cubic meters. For the Death Star to maintain a constant temperature, in every second, the Death Star would have had to remove on average 27000 joules of energy through each square meter of its surface. Okay. And say every ten cubic meters of the Death Star generated, on average, 100 kg of trash every year. That's 50 kg of trash per square meter of surface per minute. Also okay. Now, how many compactors? Figure that every hour, one compactor could reduce 1,000,000 kg of trash down to having no volume. I think that comes out to 2.44 x 106 compactors.
Something about a long, simple list of celebrity gossip makes the entire genre seem more absurd and more human (more absurd because more human?). In any case, there's enough here to hold you for a very long time.
Incidentally, for something similar, which is nevertheless one of the best books I've ever read, there's this.
From Drudge, my emphasis, and I should note that the world has gone mad.
EMOTIONAL GEN. WES CLARK '60 MINS II' DAN RATHER INTERVIEW TONIGHT: MISTS UP, TEAR FORMS, DOES NOT FALL DOWN CHEEK A SIDE OF HIM WE HAVE NEVER SEEN, SOURCES TELL DRUDGE... DEM CANDIDATE ASKED ABOUT KOSOVO AND CLEANSING. CBS CAMERA GOES FOR CLOSE-UP. TEARS, NO CRYING; SHOWS PICTURES OF DEAD CHILDREN... DEVELOPING...
A senior Justice Department official personally approved sending a Syrian-born Canadian citizen suspected of terrorist links to Syria last year after consulting with CIA officials, according to U.S. officials ... Then-Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, in his capacity as acting attorney general, signed the highly unusual order....Unfortunately, the article doesn't try to reconcile these two statements.
The U.S. immigration law used to carry out the "expedited removal" of Arar strictly prohibits sending anyone, even on national security grounds, to a country where "it is more likely than not that they will be tortured," said a U.S. official familiar with the law applied in the Arar case....and...
In response to questions, a Justice Department spokesman said "the removal of Mr. Arar was accomplished after interagency consultation and in full compliance with the law and with all relevant international treaties and conventions."One does, however, have one's suspicions about which statement is likely true. This latest revelation seems to be in the interest of "explaining" what happened to the Canadian government, which has protested. Whether Thompson becomes the scapegoat while this practice continues in secrecy...I guess we may never know. via chun
Things I didn't know. Very interesting.
Still, in the end, gay leaders argued that the damage to the Democrats could prove minimal.
"Anybody who feels intensely about this issue, where this is a priority issue when they go into the voting booth, are already going to vote Republican," said David Mixner, a gay activist who is supporting Representative Richard A. Gephardt.But that's just it. There are plenty of people who don't feel "intensely" about the issue, but who will be swayed nevertheless, particularly if the Republicans can make it seem central.
Police swarmed over pop superstar Michael Jackson's opulent Neverland Ranch, near Santa Barbara in central California, on Tuesday as part of an unspecified criminal investigation, police said ... Police did not specify the nature of the investigation, but cable channel Court TV said it stemmed from allegations of sexual abuse brought by a 12-year-old boy against the self-styled King of Pop.
It's only funny until someone gets molested. It's not like there are no other famous people in the world; what happened to this guy?
This is the kind of post that makes friends say the blog is "obscure" but here goes:
The Weekly Standard excerpted a Doug Feith memo which claimed links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. The story has been largely ignored (Kevin Drum did have a post), much to the consternation of some. Jim Henley takes time to explain.
Hawks sincerely puzzled (as opposed to insincerely puzzled) why non-hawks aren't bowled over by the Feith memo reported on by the Weekly Standard, may gain some insight by substituting "Fisk" for Feith and "BBC" for Weekly Standard.
The hunt for suspected militants sent Sgt. Lirom Hakkak bashing his way through a wall into a Palestinian family's threadbare living room, his slender frame sweating under nearly 35 pounds of body armor and combat gear, his M-16 rifle ready.
He noticed the grandmother first, her creased face so blanched with terror that she appeared on the verge of collapse. A middle-aged couple huddled close by, trembling.
"They could be my parents," Hakkak, the 22-year-old son of an Israeli poet, recalled thinking. In that split second of recognition, he said, "you really feel disgusting. You see these people and you know the majority of them are innocent and you're taking away their rights. You also know you must do it."There's far too much good stuff to excerpt. If there is another terrorist attack in the States, one can only hope that some members of our military are similarly humane. Read the whole thing.
The bodies of Neil Sharman and American tourist Charles Dean, brother of front-running US presidential candidate Howard Dean, have been uncovered in a grave in central Laos.
The discovery ends a 30-year mystery after the men were taken by communist forces in September 1974.The only oddity is this line toward the end.
Mr Dean, 24, was the son of John Dean, a former adviser to US president Richard Nixon.What? Howard Dean's brother is John Dean's son? That can't be right. Does anyone know anything about this? via Political Wire
What the hell, I couldn't resist. We just got one of these in the office (not for me) and I had to try blogging from it. I'm sitting at home, wireless on the couch, breaking my thumbs (happily). This thing really is a whole computer.
Everyone loves a pervert and pancakes story. Right?
Have they learned nothing from Coupling? I vote no. I vote yes on American Faking It, no on American The Office.
Have women stopped throwing themselves at you? It's the soy.
Soy supplements can decrease normal sexual behaviour by as much as 70 per cent, a study of female rats has shown.
When female rats are on heat, they typically encourage nearby male rats by changing their posture. Once a male rat has approached, they change their position to be more receptive to their mate ... [scientists] gave female rats small doses of soy supplement ... The "encouraging behaviours" in the rats decreased by 70 per cent, while the "receptive behaviours" decreased by up to 40 per cent.
Oh god. Like a fool, I've been telling my single friends that the best place to meet people is their local upscale grocery. Could I have been more wrong?
But this is pretty serious (yes, the study was done on rats and with supplements, but still). Soy consumption is way up in this country. Has their really been a silent de-sexing in the affluent communities where it's most popular? Weird.
So, how long before some soy product works its way into the language? "I thought it was going really well, but when we got back to her place, she was pure tofu." Will "yo soy," become shorthand for "I keep getting shot down and it's been a long long time?" Will slang's less-than-rigorous distinction-making let this jump the gender barrier and inaugurate "soy dog" as the 21st century's version of "whiskey dick?" The possibilities are endless, and endlessly depressing.
The United States has permitted American companies to ship electric-shock weapons and mechanical restraints to 39 countries accused of torturing dissidents and detainees....I guess that's globalization. I know the torturers would get their tools elsewhere if not from us, but do we really want to be the suppliers--even incidentally and roundabout--for this stuff?
Top DISNEY executives continue to grow more and more disillusioned by subsidiary studio MIRAMAX, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, this time over a controversial interpretation of a post-modern Santa Claus! ... Santa Claus, played by Billy Bob Thornton, is shown, drinking, sexing and robbing his way through the holidays.Here's his money quote.
"Nothing appears sacred, anymore, this is just not in the spirit of Walt Disney," a top source close to DISNEY Chief Executive Michael Eisner said this weekend from Los Angeles.Is the bemused look on my face also on your face? Isn't Santa himself considered sacrilegious? Why yes, he is (you owe me for that one). So the self-appointed defenders of the sacred are decrying the denigration of the profane by saying that it's no longer considered sacred. Try not to laugh, someone might take it the wrong way.