Archive for February, 2004

Purty Pictures of Networks

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

Just some random net.kookery to liven up your morning: Gallery of network images. I especially like how the “teen dating” image shows one blue dot who dated both a pink dot and a blue dot. Yay diversity!

Rumsfeld Photo Phun

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

What are we going to do when we no longer have Donald Rumsfeld to entertain us? Anyway, enjoy him while you can: Rumsfeld fighting techniques.

2003 Stella Awards

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

A recent email forward containing a bunch of made up lawsuits prompted someone to reply with a link to “The True Stella Awards” — which caps off with a real gem of a winner: City sues Taser International because a cop shot a handcuffed suspect with her firearm by mistake.

My favorite new “duh” quote: “…said in a telephone interview that officers no longer carry their handgun and Taser on the same side — something that contributed to the Torres shooting.”

Conason on Coulter on Cleland

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

There was some great stuff about the Ann Coulters of the world in that David Neiwert piece I linked to earlier today, and here’s another item to add to the list of reasons to despise her. From Joe Conason, a debunking of Coulter’s attacks on the patriotism and courage of Max Cleland: Vile Ann Coulter smears a war hero.

I so want Coulter to be gone from public life. She just drags the whole species down.

Klein: Being a ‘War President’ Is Complicated

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

Joe Klein has a column in the latest Time magazine that points straight at a significant problem that I, and I suspect a great many other people, have with Bush’s “I am a war president” routine: Why the ‘war president’ is under fire.

What Did You Do In the War?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

I saw this a while back, and meant to link to it, but forgot to. But it’s still definitely worth a look. From Mother Jones, a timeline showing what our two favorite Yale men were up to during the time they were eligible for service in Vietnam: Brothers in arms?

The Onion’s Ongoing Satire-Related Program Activities

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

I really, really love The Onion. No, really.

The latest shining beacons of sanity, brought to my attention by ymatt, are these: Fuck everything, we’re doing five blades. And in a more tender vein, reminiscent of the great God angrily clarifies ‘don’t kill’ rule: Osama bin Laden found inside each of us.

Neiwert’s Political and Personal

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

I hadn’t seen this before, but the Koufax Awards listed it as a finalist in the Best Post category, and I really, really like it. From David Neiwert of Orcinus: The political and the personal.

This Machine Kills Fascists

Monday, February 16th, 2004

AlterNet has a nice piece by Siva Vaidhyanathan about failing to live up to the legacy of his idol, Woody Guthrie … “This Machine Kills Fascists“.

This is the third or fourth time I’ve been forwarded something from David Faber’s Interesting People mailing list. I’m starting to think I should just subscribe.

Anybody want to CUDDLE with me?

Sunday, February 15th, 2004

This link care of my buddy Wess, who’s always curious about what laws he’s breaking: C.U.D.D.L.E — Cousins United to Defeat Discriminating Laws through Education.

Tyler Cowen on Self-Deception and Political Failure

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

I’m not sure anyone in my readership is actually going to be interested in this, but that’s never stopped me before. One last item (I promise, for now at least) from Prof. Tyler Cowen: Self-deception as the root of political failure.

Granted, I majored in political science, which gave me some exposure to, and resignation in the face of, sentences like, “The endogeneity of voter participation holds back convergence at the median.” But even for non-poli-sci geeks, there’s some interesting ideas being discussed here, at least if you have a thing about self-deception and politics, which I obviously do.

Indicators of Whether Your Marriage Will Last

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

As a special Valentine’s Day public service announcement for those in the readership who suddenly have the ability to actually marry their chosen life partners, here’s another one from falsehood-obsessed Professor Tyler Cowen: How to stay together. The short version? Don’t grimace and roll your eyes when looking at your partner. Or, more to the point, maintain those rose-colored glasses that let you overlook your partner’s flaws and criticisms, while noticing his/her nice legs and sweet nothings whispered tenderly in your ear.

The Mrs. and I will be celebrating our 20th next month. Hooray for the power of long-term self-deception!

Advances in Lie-Detector Technology

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

This economics prof named Tyler Cowen at George Mason University seems to have a thing about lying. Anyway, he has lots of interesting postings at the Marginal Revolution weblog on various aspects of the phenomenon. Like this one: No baby, you really ARE beautiful. It’s about some nifty little goodies that will do real-time voice analysis to help you figure out, among other things, whether the special someone whispering sweet Valentine’s Day nothings to you really means it.

Thanks to reader Rick for the link.

Morford: What Are You So Afraid Of?

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Columnist Mark Morford has a great piece running at What are you so afraid of? It talks about how artificially enhanced fear is used to sell us everything from politicians to SUVs. And he talks about the antidote to fear, which is, appropriately enough on today’s artificially manufactured commercial holiday, love.

Sullivan (!) on Bush’s MTP Performance

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Yes, I’m linking to Andrew Sullivan. What can I say? He makes a good point about Bush’s weak performance on domestic issues during the second half of his Meet the Press appearance. Anyway: Attention deficit.

McClellan Under Fire on Bush’s Guard Duty

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

I’ve been following the coverage of the Bush-AWOL story at CalPundit and Talking Points Memo, so this information wasn’t really new to me. But it’s still pretty wild reading the transcript of yesterday’s White House press briefing, in which presidential spokesperson Scott McClellan was taking fire from all sides, and responded to all of it with a broken-record “nothing to see here, move along”: Press briefing by Scott McClellan.

Thanks to reader Steve D. for the link.

Gore on the Politics of Fear

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Another great speech from Al Gore: A coalition of fear. (From Salon; subscription or free one-day pass required). An excerpt:

Over the past 18 months, I have delivered a series of speeches addressing different aspects of President Bush’s agenda, including his decision to go to war in Iraq under patently false pretenses, his dangerous assault on civil liberties here at home, his outrageously fraudulent economic policy, and his complete failure to protect the global environment.

Initially, my purposes were limited in each case to the subject matter of the speech.

However, as I tried to interpret what was driving these various policies, certain common features became obvious and a clear pattern emerged: In every case there was a determined disinterest in the facts; an inflexible insistence on carrying out preconceived policies regardless of the evidence concerning what might work and what clearly would not; a consistent bias favoring the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the broader public interest; and a marked tendency to develop policies in secret, avoid accountability to the public, the Congress or the press; and a disturbing willingness to misrepresent the true nature of the policy involved.

And no matter what the issue, it is now clear that in every instance they have resorted to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit debate and drive the public agenda.

Thanks to Yian for the link.

Drum Goes Down the National Guard Rabbit Hole

Monday, February 9th, 2004

If you haven’t been following Kevin Drum (of Calpundit) as he tries to get to the bottom of just what it was that young fighter pilot George W. Bush was up to in 1972-73, it’s pretty interesting stuff. Check out this latest item, in particular: Arf!

Thanks to reader Barry for reminding me that I hadn’t mentioned this here.

Saletan on Bush’s Platonic Relationship with Reality

Monday, February 9th, 2004

Slate’s William Saletan has an interesting commentary on Bush’s performance on Meet the Press: You can make it with Plato.

Thanks to Yian for the link.

Bush, the Guard, and Drug Testing

Saturday, February 7th, 2004

From Salon’s Eric Boehlert (via Hiro): Did Bush drop out of the National Guard to avoid drug testing? (One-day pass commercial, or Salon Premium subscription, required to view the whole story.)

A very good question. There certainly is a lot of secrecy about Bush’s days in the Guard. Apparently no other president with any sort of military record in the past 50 years has attempted to keep that military record secret, as Bush has. What’s he hiding? The evidence is circumstantial, but especially when you take into account the specifics of just what Bush has denied, and how he has denied it, the desire to keep a cocaine habit under wraps seems pretty darn plausible:

During the early stages of his 2000 campaign for president, Bush was dogged by questions of whether he ever used cocaine or any other illegal substance when he was younger. Bush refused to fully answer the question, but in 1999 he did issue a blanket denial insisting he had not used any illegal drugs during the previous 25 years, or since 1974. Bush refused to specify what “mistakes” he had made before 1974.

Perhaps realizing that explanation pointed reporters toward possible drug use during his time as a guardsman, Bush insisted he hadn’t taken any drugs while serving in the Texas Air National Guard, between 1968 and 1974. “I never would have done anything to jeopardize myself. I got airborne and I got on the ground very successfully,” he told reporters on Aug. 19, 1999. But today we know that for his last 18 months in the Guard, from April ’72 to late ’73, Bush didn’t have to get airborne, because he simply quit flying.

Apropos that, see this juicy speculation, from Bad Attitudes’ Lead Balloons: Yes, Barbara and Jenna, there is a snuffleupagus. Basically, he wonders if, by virtue of having been a Skull and Bones man at Yale just a few years behind Bush, John Kerry might have some dirt on just what was involved in the Underachiever-in-Chief’s hard-partying days in college. (Or, a few years ahead of Bush, actually, per Tim Russert in the MTP interview.)