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Just leave it to the experts

Posted by Bob
on 06.19.04

From Bob Park:

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted this week to proceed with President Bush's proposed missile defense system, which is scheduled to be deployed in October. Amendments that would subject the system to independent testing before deployment were proposed by Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and were voted down. This is perfectly reasonable, since a non-working missile defense system should be sufficient to deter a nonexistent missile threat from Iran or North Korea. Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) proposed that the Pentagon test its own system, rather than risk faithless skepticism of an independent agency. However, inability of the system to shoot down incoming missiles is irrelevant, since John Kerry is the real target.

Also: who knows what they're doing better than the DoD?


 

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Prehistoric

Posted by Bob
on 06.19.04

This deserves to be plastered up everywhere. It's Bill O'Reilly on The Radio Factor, courtesy of Media Matters for America:

O'REILLY: Because look ... when 2 percent of the population feels that you're doing them a favor, just forget it, you're not going to win. You're not going to win. And I don't have any respect by and large for the Iraqi people at all. I have no respect for them. I think that they're a prehistoric group that is -- yeah, there's excuses.

Sure, they're terrorized, they've never known freedom, all of that. There's excuses. I understand. But I don't have to respect them because you know when you have Americans dying trying to you know institute some kind of democracy there, and 2 percent of the people appreciate it, you know, it's time to -- time to wise up.

And this teaches us a big lesson, that we cannot intervene in the Muslim world ever again. What we can do is bomb the living daylights out of them, just like we did in the Balkans. Just as we did in the Balkans. Bomb the living daylights out of them. But no more ground troops, no more hearts and minds, ain't going to work.

[...]

They're just people who are primitive.

How does this kind of hatemongering get on the national airwaves -- and where is the public outrage that leads to his disgrace and unemployment? This is the kind of thing that keeps me pessimistic about race relations in America. All the work of the civil-rights movement -- and then the moment we hit a crisis it's genocide time. Would anyone bet $10 that if a war with China started today we wouldn't be dusting off the old internment camps?

(O'Reilly stuff via Daily Kos.)


 

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A good egg

Posted by Bob
on 06.19.04

James at Rittenhouse Review (which I like a lot) has a book idea: cooking tips, including the perfect way to hard-cook an egg. I look forward to his book, but I also know that writing books take time. As a service to our readers, I present this fruit of my many years of painstaking kitchen research. (Due credit: steps 1 and 5 are from Jacques Pepin, and the rest is from the Greens cookbook. I generally skip the Pepin steps if I want to keep the shells intact, like for Easter.)

The perfect hard-cooked egg

1. Use a needle or sharp, pointed knife to poke a tiny hole in the shell at the blunt end of the egg. There is air in a compartment at this end of the egg. As the egg is heated, the air will expand and escape through the hole. If you don't give the air a place to escape from, the egg might crack.

2. Place the egg in a saucepan. Add enough cool water to just cover the egg.

3. Place the pan on the stove and heat uncovered until the water just starts to boil.

4. Cover the pan and remove from heat. Let sit covered for 43/4 minutes.

5. Remove egg from hot water and crack slightly. Leave cracked egg in cold water for a few minutes, changing water one or two times. The cold water will draw sulfur from the egg and leave the egg looking, tasting, and smelling fresher.

These times are great at sea level, but they might not be at other elevations.


 

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Skilled Deceiver or Inarticulate Frat Boy?

Posted by Ogged
on 06.19.04

The apostropher found this Bush quote, about Saddam and Bin Laden, from September 2002.

"They're both risks, they're both dangerous. The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda likes to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government. Al Qaeda hides, Saddam doesn't, but the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world."
"Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is -- I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive."

The "danger is, is that they work in concert." Bush just plain says that. What he seems to mean, as the "becomes" in the next sentence indicates, is something like, "the danger is that they will work in concert."

But I'm reminded of Heidegger saying that we need to learn to read Nietzsche with the same rigor with which we read Aristotle: we need to parse Bush just as carefully as we ever parsed Clinton. Despite his genuine difficulty with the language, the "ties/connection" business has made it clear that Bush chooses his words very carefully. (Or, if you're feeling quite partisan, once his words are chosen for him, he sticks to them faithfully.) So, while even a month ago I would have assumed that he just spoke inelegantly, now I'm undecided about whether his "danger is" phrasing was a deliberate deception or just a stumble. What wonderful choices our president presents to us.


 

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The Paper of Record, Setting it Straight

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04

The New York Times responds to the Bush/Cheney revisionist counter-offensive.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have not only brushed aside the panel's findings and questioned its expertise, but they are also trying to rewrite history.
Mr. Bush said the 9/11 panel had actually confirmed his contention that there were "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said his administration had never connected Saddam Hussein to 9/11. Both statements are wrong.

Read the whole thing. Then save it, and keep it handy.


 

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Clarification from Condi

Posted by Bob
on 06.18.04

From Reuters:

In publishing a report that cited no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, the Sept. 11 commission actually meant to say that Iraq had no control over the network, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

[...]


"What I believe the 9-11 commission was opining on was operational control, an operational relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq which we never alleged," Rice said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Also:

George Bush meant to say that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that no longer exist -- and that turns out to be true.


 

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Fun!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04

Two very cool things from Language Hat. First, a clickable, customizable map of where and in what density speakers of various languages can be found in the U.S.

And word of a project to render the entire OED in limerick form.

Consider this curious word:

He who steals cows from your herd

Commits the infraction

That's known as abaction

(But rustling's the term that's preferred).


 

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God Damn It

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04
Hostage Paul Johnson has been killed in Iraq [corrected] Saudi Arabia. Are we going to get used to beheadings now? Jack O'Toole is exactly right.

 

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Dylan, Due

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04

I'm regularly telling friends that Bob Dylan deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature, so I was thrilled to read this from the opening paragraph of a review of a new (serious, scholarly) book about Dylan.

Christopher Ricks and I share a privilege. It's one you share too, assuming you join in our almost fathomless esteem for the songs and performances of the sui generis poet-singer Bob Dylan. That is, to have had our lifetimes overlap with an artist whom stone Dylan fans like Ricks and I suspect future generations will regard, in his visionary fecundity, with the awe reserved for Blake, Whitman, Picasso and the like.

It's a very good review of what sounds like a great book.


 

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Tiez

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04

Spencer Ackerman, blogging at TPM, on what the administration has said about Iraq and Al Qaeda, and what the 9-11 report says.


 

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More Soon...

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04

I have some work to do and haven't read the stories carefully yet, but god forbid a liberal blog buries a story potentially favorable to Bush: Putin says Russia told the U.S. that Saddam wanted to attack inside the U.S.

PIFFLE: What's to say? No one has a clue why Putin mentions this now, why we haven't heard about it earlier, why he opposed the war if he knew this, etc.


 

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Still At It

Posted by Ogged
on 06.18.04
Anyone care to explain this one away? [But see correction below] via Slate, a letter from the President to the Speaker of the House, justifying the invasion of Iraq.
acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Go ahead, how broadly do you want to read "aided?" Cheney, by the way, is sticking to his story. He's even still talking about Atta and the Czechs.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9th of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down.
BORGER: Well, now this report says it didn't happen.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: No. This report says they haven't found any evidence.
BORGER: That it happened.
Vice Pres. CHENEY: Right.
BORGER: But you haven't found the evidence that it happened either, have you?
Vice Pres. CHENEY: No. All we have is that one report from the Czechs. We just don't know.
And he hangs much of his case for an ominous connection between Iraq and al Qaeda on Zarqawi. Is someone finally going to ask why we didn't take Zarqawi out when we had the chance? Anyone? MORE: Kevin is also wondering why the Zarqawi question hasn't been asked. ANOTHER: Peter Bergen, who himself met with Osama, has interesting things to say about the "connection" claims. CORRECTION: As to the first part of this post, Eugene Volokh points to a pretty convincing explanation. So consider that one retracted.

 

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The Outlier

Posted by Ogged
on 06.17.04

There's nothing like a graph to drive a point home. Not new information, but still, take a look at nations plotted by life expectancy vs. per capita expenditures on health care and life expectancy vs. % GDP spent on healthcare. Wow.

via rc, again, in comments. thanks!


 

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Reality

Posted by Ogged
on 06.17.04

The Medium Lobster, who doesn't know jack about pies, nevertheless understands our political situation perfectly.

Remember that 9/11, after all, changed everything - even elementary rules of logic - and we cannot pursue the real threats of today before we've finished eliminating the more deadly potentially-shadowy threats of tomorrow.

Amen. Next target: the folks who want to reclaim the southwestern U.S. for Mexico.


 

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At Least He's Honest

Posted by Ogged
on 06.17.04

Brad DeLong gets a call from a reporter.

"Dad! The phone is for you!"
"Who is it?"
[Silence]
"He says his name is [redacted]."
"No last name?"
"No last name?"
"Hello?"
"Hello, Professor DeLong. I guess I got your name from [redacted] at Berkeley. I'm [redacted] [redacted] from [redacted] magazin e. Were doing a story on the performance of the economy under the different post-World War II presidents, and..."
"Now presidents don't control the economy. They influence it. And their policies influence the economy not just while they are in office but afterwards as well."
"That's very true. What we are looking for is..."
"Now there are two kinds of stories you could be writing. The positive one would be to start by saying that presidents influence but do not control the economy--that most of what happens is the economy following its own path. It would go on to say that presidential policies do influence the economy, to lay out how policies influence the economy, and to evaluate presidents' economic policies. The negative one--the actual subtraction from the American people's knowledge--would be to throw together some simplistic indicators of presidential economic performance over which presidents have little or no control, and rank presidents by those indicators. Which are you doing?"
"The negative one..."

 

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Delicious

Posted by Bob
on 06.17.04

Yet another career official is leaving Bush's White House with a tell-all book. Don't tell me it's personal, not political: he's French.


 

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Yes, Republicanism is a public-health problem

Posted by Bob
on 06.17.04

Bad news! Fat states vote Republican and America is getting fatter. It's a trend I suspect Ruy Teixeira has missed.

Here's the original graph. (I first saw it in our comments, and today it appeared in Salon. It's the states' Bush-Gore vote differentials in the 2000 election vs. self-reported obesity rates.

Here is my hand-drawn trendline. The intercept is someplace between 18 and 19, where states with greater than 20% obesity are more likely to have voted Bush than Gore.

Here are the number of states with greater than 20% obesity from 1997 to 2002, as reported by the CDC. It's a clear upward trend (though it slows as the majority of states comes to have significant obesity). The fat states in 2002 included some big electoral states: Texas, New York, Pennsylvania. (Not California.) How many electoral votes total? 344 for Bush.

Lose weight for America's future. Run Against Bush.


 

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Relevance implicatures at the edge of panic

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.17.04

Via The Poor Man, we learn that Cheney is sticking by his claim of a Saddam-al Qaeda link, and claiming that this is consistent with the 9-11 commission report.

According to the commission's staff report, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in 1994 and had explored the possibility of cooperation, but the plans apparently never came to fruition.
"We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," the report said.
Administration officials disputed suggestions that Cheney's comments conflicted with the report's findings.
Officials said Cheney asserted on Monday that there were links between Saddam and al Qaeda, not that Saddam helped al Qaeda carry out attacks against the United States, although critics say Cheney and other officials at times created the impression that Saddam was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

A few quick points. First, this is a good time to keep in mind that those of us following this story are in a small, small minority. Second (as I noted in some comments below), the question is not "were there links?"-- it's "were there links of a sort to justify an invasion?" As we get more lax about what constitutes a link, the justificatory force of "hey! there were links!" is reduced. Consider an argument like this:

1. Iraq had links with al Qaeda

2. Any nation with links to al Qaeda should be invaded

3. Thus Iraq should be invaded

There's no single parsing of 'links' that makes both (1) and (2) true, but Cheney is trading on the equivocation to make this look all right. This is what we in philosophy call "being a [redacted]." Third-- as a sort of follow-up to this-- Cheney isn't quite lying, but he's uttering propositions he believes are true with the intent to deceive. (If I want to set you up with someone hideous, I might say, truthfully, that you have a lot in common-- since, say, you're both not identical to the number seven, you're both located in space, and so on.)

All this will be worthwhile if Cheney ever utters the phrase "what I said was true, strictly speaking" on camera. In a debate with John Edwards, maybe, but that's just the icing.


 

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Parsed

Posted by Ogged
on 06.17.04
For a guy who can't speak English, our President sure does choose his words carefully: They really are going to take the "ties don't mean cooperation, and we only said 'ties'" angle. Look, that's true. But the impression they left was certainly not that there were "mere" ties, but that "ties" were ominous. More on this later... UPDATE: When I said "more later," of course I meant the great post Fontana was about to write, directly above... MORE: Yeah.

 

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It so totally is fixed

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.16.04

Last Comic Standing: apparently the finalists are chosen at random. More here and here. I for one am shocked.


 

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This Time, He Leaves Marks

Posted by Ogged
on 06.16.04

I don't think there's an un-juvenile way to put this: go see Gary Farber kick ass. Read the comments. I promise you'll enjoy it.

TOO BAD: John Cole has deleted some of the more entertaining sputtering responses to Gary, including one guy who must have thought and thought, and finally called Gary a "pneumoniac." Before you heap contumely on John however, you should read his gracious and convincing explanation.


 

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Frigo

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.16.04

Derek Frigo, ex-Enuff Z'Nuff, dead at 37.


 

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I'd Rather Watch, Thanks

Posted by Ogged
on 06.16.04
Our "I Did it For Science" man goes to a "cuddle party."
I was invited to the next party, as long as I understood the rules: pajamas stay on at all times, and no dry humping ... There was an even breakdown of people in their thirties through sixties. My concerns about having an erection slowly began to dissipate as the thirteen of us formed a "welcome circle."
via fleshbot

 

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Sneak & Peek

Posted by Ogged
on 06.16.04

Brett Marston notes two Patriot Act abuses, one of which I hadn't heard about at all, despite the heavy coverage of the case.


 

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Yes, Liars

Posted by Ogged
on 06.16.04

Will someone please finally call Dick Cheney a liar? Please?

Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was ``no credible evidence'' that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States.

Days ago.

``He was a patron of terrorism,'' Cheney said of Saddam during a speech before the James Madison Institute, a conservative think tank based in Florida. ``He had long-established ties with al-Qaeda.''

And Bush.

President Bush yesterday defended Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion this week that Saddam Hussein had longstanding ties with Al Qaeda, even as critics charged that the White House had no new proof of a connection.
At a news conference with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Bush stood by his vice president, saying Hussein ''had ties to terrorist organizations," though he did not specifically mention Al Qaeda.

That's a weasel. He didn't mention Al Qaeda because he knows there's no connection (he's relying on Saddam's funding for Palestinians to make his statement true) but Bush nevertheless leaves the impression that he's backing Cheney (the reporter fell for it, at least).

UPDATE: An attempted rescue of the administration (with a rather telling parenthetical concession). via james joyner

MORE: If you prefer a picture.

ANOTHER ONE: Don't forget Atta and Prague.

The panel also cited numerous pieces of FBI evidence in concluding that Atta never met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague on April 9, 2001, as Vice President Cheney and some other Bush administration officials have alleged.

Two things in the report should give us pause, however. First, the "sectarian wall" between Islamists and secular groups and between Sunni and Shia groups was quite porous. Those who were concerned about cooperation were correct (note that this doesn't mean that Cheney hasn't been lying).

Investigators concluded that the Khobar Towers attack was carried out by a Saudi Shiite Hezbollah group with assistance from Iran. Initially, because of the historical hostility between bin Laden's extremist brand of Sunni Islam and Shiites, analysts had discounted cooperation between the two.

Second, this is scary shit.

As al Qaeda developed, its terrorist training camps in Afghanistan provided fertile ground for its operatives "to think creatively about ways to commit mass murder," it says. Among the ideas that were raised: taking over a nuclear missile launcher in Russia and forcing Russian scientists to fire a nuclear missile at the United States....

COME ON: Two right-wing responses seem to be popular. First, that there's no evidence that "nothing resulted" from meetings between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Haven't we been over this "evidence of absence" business before? At this point, even if we found a memo from Saddam saying, "Don't do business with Al Qaeda," wingers would be lining up to tell us it was crafty Saddamite disinformation, or that "business" doesn't exclude terrorism, or some other cockamamie argument I can't even anticipate. We invaded the damn country folks, it's not as if our inspectors are barred from inspecting key documents. We've been "interrogating" senior Al Qaeda and Iraqis for months. If there were a link, we would have found it.

But then there's argument number two.

The Bush administration said Iraq and al-Qaida had contacts. The 9-11 commission says the same thing. The Bush administration hasn't said Iraq aided al-Qaida in any of its attacks. The 9-11 commision says there is no evidence that Iraq aided al-Qaida in any of its attacks. According to the Washington Post, this is "contradiction". Apparently somebody needs to sit the reporters and editors of the Washington Post down for a remedial logic course.

No, really, somebody needs a course in how not to be a tool of a dishonest government. Edward, in QandO's comments, puts it well.

There are technically links between Al Qaeda and George Bush too, if you want to water it down that far. It's hardly what Cheney expects his audience to take away from his relentless rattling on about "long established ties." Really, if we're only talking about abstract ties and not cooperation, why the hell is Cheney beating that horse?

You can torture "ties" "links" "relations" and "connections" as long as you want (and I know a lot of people will be happy to do it -- for the sake of security, of course), but keep in mind you'll be going way beyond "meaning of 'is'" territory when you do.

AND FINALLY: Kevin makes an excellent point and offers some perspective on the larger issue.


 

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The comments of the gods/will drive our blog to new lands

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.15.04

This deserves more exposure. Dig it:

Would Carter have blockaded Cuba? Would Carter approve of the Berlin airlift? What would Carter have done on D-Day?
What would Carter have done as a guard in Aushwich?

Sweet.


 

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The Cloud

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.04

I was so enjoying the Piston's victory, and then they showed Bill Laimbeer. Nothing's perfect, but that was a bit much.


 

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Chun

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.15.04

Chun the Unavoidable throws in the towel.

A long time ago, Ogged remarked to Ralph Luker, "I think it's time for you to admit that you'd miss Chun if he went away." Indeed it is; and we will.

Thanks to Adam for the tip.


 

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My Name is Elizabeth and I Will Say Anything

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.04

"Whore," however, is probably still considered offensive.

[A] suit was filed by women who say they were sexually assaulted by CU football players and recruits.
A lawyer for one of the women asked [University of Colorado President Elizabeth] Hoffman about former CU kicker Katie Hnida being called the "c- word" by a teammate.

...

In the deposition, Hoffman was asked whether the "c-word" is "filthy and vile."
She said she knows the word is a swear word, but "It is all in the context of what--of how it is used and when it is used."
She was asked, "Can you indicate any polite context in which that word would be used?"
Hoffman answered, "Yes, I've actually heard it used as a term of endearment."

University presidents must run with a pretty edgy crowd. No, wait, that's not it.

"Because she is a medieval scholar, she is also aware of the long history of the word dating back to at least Chaucer," [University spokeswoman Michele] Ames said. Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the earliest English writers, lived in the late 1300s and used the word in "The Canterbury Tales."

True! In fact, checking the OED reveals what some might be tempted to call the Best. Address. Ever. circa 1230 in London: "165 Gropecuntelane." And I have no doubt, at all, that Chaucer and medieval street names were foremost in the minds of the fine student-athletes of the University of Colorado football team. Hnida, you ignorant slut, we mean "cunt" in ye olde Chaucerian sense, as a term of endearment....


 

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Site R

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.04

Drudge relates that the White House is upset that Time magazine "revealed" "Site R," where Dick Cheney goes when he goes where nobody knows. Pure bluster.

Gary Farber, back in March of 2002: "Remember, if you're visiting Site R, it's past the antique store."

Tons more info in that post. And more here, including a phone number.


 

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Moammar's angels

Posted by Bob
on 06.15.04

Moammar Gadaffi's bodyguards are all women who carry AK-47s and have black belts in karate.

picture 1
picture 2
picture 3
picture 4


 

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So That's What It Takes

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.04

Chun plays it straight for an entire post. Well, the NBA finals are serious, dude.


 

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Explanations?

Posted by Ogged
on 06.15.04

Is the U.S. transporting radioactive materials into Iraq? I'd love to hear more about this. Via a commenter at Political Animal

TEHRAN (MNA) - The UAE-based daily Al-Khaleej reported on Monday that Kuwaiti tariff officials have intercepted a truck loaded with radioactive materials in the Iraq-Kuwait border.
The daily quoted informed sources as saying that the radioactive control team from Kuwait's Health Ministry discovered that one of the trucks belonging to the U.S.-led coalition forces was carrying heavy radioactive materials trucks. The trucks were headed for Iraq.
The daily said that such materials could only enter a country when there is permission from related bodies while the materials were secretly being carried to Iraq.
Security forces stressed that no contamination had been caused by the material.
The MNA reported for the first time the coalition forces' suspicious transfer of WMD parts from Kuwait to Southern Iraq by trucks.
The possible presence of WMD in Iraq and its likely nuclear programs were the main U.S. pretext for attacking the country.
However, their failure to find weapons of mass destruction in the country and the continuing turmoil in Iraq questioned the legitimacy of the U.S. war against Iraq and their presence in the country.


 

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Grisly memo question

Posted by Bob
on 06.15.04

According to that OLC memo, it's not torture unless it feels (to the torturee) like death or organ failure. But the memo is presumably meant to be read by torturers and their bosses, not by torturees. A criterion defined by the torturee's experience of pain is useless for the torturer. Not only can the torturer not measure the torturee's level of pain, but few torturers and torturees have even experienced organ failure and thus wouldn't have a basis of comparison. Same goes for death.

Torturee: It's torture, I tell you!

Torturer: Are you experiencing pain at "the level that would ordinarily be associated with a sufficiently serious physical condition or injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of bodily functions"?

Torturee: I don't know what death or organ failure feels like!

Torturer: Well, let me know when you do.

I know the memo's not meant to be a how-to manual -- but given how difficult it would be to operationalize the criterion, what function was the "death or organ failure" test supposed to serve?


 

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On the distinction between "not a joke" and "not sincere"

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.04

Via Gawker. Boy and girl go out, girl doesn't return boy's calls. Boy reveals true nature, to the merriment of thousands.

To: [X] Subject: Invoice 6/12/04 Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 17:15:59 EDT

Dear [WOMAN'S NAME]

On June 5, you agreed to accept dinner, paid for in full, by me, based on your stated offer that we would go out again. In that you have ignored all overtures to said follow up meeting, you are hereby considered in breach of contract.

To that end, you are being invoiced for 50% of the cost of the dinner, pursuant to the offer. For the record, the offer presented you with the option of not going out again and paying for half of the dinner, or going out again and not paying at all. You accepted these terms, choosing to go out again, as stated above, but have since failed to deliver your end of the agreement. In that this was merely a promise to meet, and not a promise to marry, the agreement is binding under New York law and does not require a written agreement (i.e. statute of frauds).

Furthermore, this is absolutely not a joke.

Your share is 50% of $74.51 which is a total of $37.25. Payment in full is expected within 30 days.

You may remit to:

[MAN'S NAME AND ADDRESS]

Well, he did forgive her half-a-cent.


 

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Reasons & Parsons

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.14.04

Via TPM, an old Washington Post article on the Communion thing. What interests me about this is Deal Hudson's ability to talk complete [nonsense] while keeping a straight face.

Set-up: if priests deny communion to abortion-rights supporters, they really should deny it to others, e.g., fans of capital punishment, pre-emptive wars, brown-paper packages wrapped up in string, and so on. What sounds like a sane reaction...

"Once you open this door, what's going to come rolling through it?" asked Deal W. Hudson, editor of the magazine Crisis and a key Catholic ally of the Bush administration. "Pretty soon, no one would be taking Communion."

...goes horribly wrong:

Hudson said he believes the denial of Communion should begin, and end, with Kerry. Even better, he said, would be if priests would read letters from the pulpit denouncing the senator from Massachusetts "whenever and wherever he campaigns as a Catholic."

To paraphrase an old philosophical dictum, one person's modus tollens is another's fuck you, John Kerry! Sure to generate more good will toward the church that acts like a witness protection program for pedophiles.

Deal Hudson: pimping his church for political advantage. Nice.


 

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sexual congress

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.14.04

(a) Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) is dating Max Sandlin (D-TX). Damn.

(b) He's 19 years older. Daaaaamn.


 

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Happy meal

Posted by Bob
on 06.14.04

On April 29 Chris Bergland ran 154.76 treadmill-miles in 24 hours, after which he ate a McDonald's cheeseburger, fries, and a Diet Coke. TechCentralStation editor Nick Schulz thinks Bergland is an athlete America could learn a thing or two from. The first thing is that there's no such thing as corporate responsibility:

While the message of [the Morgan Spurlock film Supersize Me] seems to be that most folks are not responsible for their physical constitution and that predatory food companies are responsible for our health and fitness, America's greatest unknown athlete has a different message.

The second thing (the aforementioned message!) is that you too can enjoy a McDonald's meal with no threat to your health, if you become an ultramarathoner.

On-topic reminder: Run Against Bush. They've already raised $100K, and some awareness.


 

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Ok, But

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.04

Via Gary Farber (noted Liguistic Thinker) I took this test, which tells me that:

You are an Interpersonal Thinker
Interpersonal thinkers:
* Like to think about other people, and try to understand them
* Recognise differences between individuals and appreciate that different people have different perspectives
* Make an effort to cultivate effective relationships with family, friends and colleagues
Other Interpersonal thinkers include
Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, William Shakespeare
Careers which suit Interpersonal thinkers include
Politician, Psychologist, Nurse, Counsellor, Teacher

I suppose that's all fair enough. And every time I take the Keirsey personality test, I come up as a "healer" (infp). But I'm still waiting for the test that accounts for the interpersonal/healer bits, but manages to incorporate the fact that I don't really like people.


 

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Missed Opportunities

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.04

Is That Legal? guest blogger Jenny Foreit posts a very yuppy post.

a few weeks ago, my husband and i decided we needed a new car. edward, my trusty (and slightly rusty) '94 wrangler, gets awful gas mileage and isn't particularly child-friendly (yes, we're at the "considering kids" stage). tara, his ultra-comfy '97 e-class, is very expensive to fix and also doesn't get the greatest mileage. enter eco-consciousness, my husband's desire to one-handedly undermine the middle eastern oil economy, and the fact that most of our driving is of the commuter variety.

I feel like I should have a very strong opinion about naming cars. It's the kind of thing a blogger could really carry on about. But it's not in me. I don't care. Yeah, I can see naming a car. You want to name a car, name a car. You think it's weird? Yeah, I can see that too. Damn.

Second, this Middle-Eastern oil business. Why don't people understand that the market for oil is global, and even if we all stopped driving tomorrow, there would be a need for all that middle-eastern oil? Before my ex-fiancee unengaged me, I knew she was the one when I told her that the only way to break the power of OPEC was to use up the oil as fast as possible and she said, "that's what my dad says." Damn.


 

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Doing Fulbright Proud

Posted by Ogged
on 06.14.04

I don't normally write about New Criterion pieces, which, as near as I can tell, are just meant to inflame and provoke, and this one is so incoherent and mean-spirited that I can't actually recommend that you read it, but here's the final sentence, which captures the bizarre (unargued) moral calculus.

The sad fact is that we cannot rely on Spain or the rest of Western Europe for anything but continued moral failure while its citizens are still too self-obsessed to replace their own populations.

via aldaily


 

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Bah!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.14.04

Technicalities suck! The Newdow case ends with a whimper:

The court said the atheist could not sue to ban the pledge from his daughter's school and others because he did not have legal authority to speak for her.

Bad: no comical posturing. Good: less culture war.


 

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Second Shoe?

Posted by Ogged
on 06.13.04

I haven't been following much news over the past few days, but I see that the torture investigations are branching out. I wonder if the time has come, and this will be the week Rumsfeld finally resigns.

UPDATE: Michael Froomkin (the lately indispensible Michael Froomkin) analyzes the latest torture memo.


 

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Charity

Posted by Ogged
on 06.13.04

Jack Shafer says the National Enquirer is just as reliable (with some caveats) as mainstream news sources. Ok. I'll note it here, and see how it plays out.

Hidden stockpiles of deadly terrorist weapons that Al Qaeda planned to use to murder innocent Americans, have been found in the U.S. ... The weapons discovered by the feds included automatic rifles, bomb-making materials and rubber boats.

According to the piece, about 100 Al Qaeda members are being tracked in the U.S., and one cell has been infiltrated. Stay tuned.


 

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[The artworld]

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.13.04

Andrea Fraser, making art the old fashioned way:

Fraser's videotape ''Untitled'' (2003) was scheduled to go on view at the Friedrich Petzel Gallery in Chelsea on June 10. In it, the artist is seen having sex in what some have characterized coyly as ''every imaginable position,'' with an unidentified American collector who paid close to $20,000 to participate in this curious 60-minute work of art.

 

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Eggers: breathtakingly vapid

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.13.04

This is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of Mr Eggers. It's an argument for requiring some community service of college students-- something I never found objectionable, until I read this. Because, you see, everyone is like Dave Eggers.

The point is that college is too long it should be three years and that even with a full course load and part-time jobs (I had my share) there are many hours in the days and weeks that need killing. And because most of us, as students, saw our hours as in need of killing as opposed to thinking about giving a few of these hours to our communities in one way or another colleges should consider instituting a service requirement for graduation.

No, not everyone:

It probably wouldn't be feasible, for example, for community college students, who tend to be transient and who generally have considerable family and work demands.

I taught at Big State, baby: it happens there too. Don't be a [redacted]. Why am I so annoyed by this? Because there are better reasons for volunteering than I sure did play a lot of foosball. Because he never picked up the phone to ask what kind of volunteering would be useful to the various organizations he's talking about-- do you want college students by the SUV-load? If so, how long a commitment would make training the volunteers worthwhile? How could we structure the program so that it really helps, instead of getting in the way? No, it's all about the foosball.


 

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Sure to garner little sympathy

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 06.13.04

The University of Texas's 'top 10%' admissions policy has come under attack

as many wealthy parents complain that their children are not getting a fair shake.

Let justice flow down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream: let us admit more rich students into college.

As a result of Supreme Court decisions last year, the University of Texas plans to resume using race as a factor in admissions decisions, so it would have a way to maintain diversity independent of the 10 percent rule.

Affirmative action ad campaign: hey, they may be black, but they aren't as poor.


 

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