Sunday, October 31, 2004

Assigning Blame for the Flu Shot Fiasco

Actually, this other letter in the Bee is interesting, too:

At 8 a.m., two hours before 250 flu shots were scheduled, many of the frail elderly in wheelchairs or on lawn chairs, wrapped in blankets, were already there. The mood was surprisingly jovial. Some brought cookies. Water was provided by the Price Less Pharmacy at Roseville Square, as was access to their restrooms. I was number 226.I lamented to the man next to me that Homeland Security screwed up. After all, if a vaccine that we use annually was not available to everyone who needed it, America is vulnerable to a biological terrorist attack. He smiled and nodded in agreement, but the guy in front of us whipped around, planting his rubber-tipped cane in the middle of my chest. He screamed an epithet, and cried out, "Hillary!"

He was certain that Hillary Clinton's 1993 failed health care reform caused this shortage. I took another bite of my cookie, and explained: "1993 was 11 years ago." There was no way this is Hillary's fault.

Six hours later, I received my flu shot, still wondering just what would happen if we were subjected to a biological attack. This was a failed rehearsal with fatal consequences for some.

- Marshall H. Chazen, Lincoln

Hillary Clinton? Biological attack? It's just the flu, folks!

Media Flu Shot Hype?

From the Sacramento Bee:


Don't Forget to Bring Your Lawyer

This sort of thing is going to pump Democratic turnout WAY up. From NPR:

Friday, October 29, 2004

Kerry: a Fresh Slate, or Slate: A Fresh Kerry?

Dan Drezner's readers are really taking out their frustration on Slate. One comment:

"Slate: the online magazine of, by, and for Kerry-hating Kerry supporters!"


Hitch Endorses... Someone

To respond to posts by Dan Drezner and Jim Lindgren, I think Hitchens is still voting for Bush. If Bush should be re-elected based on a "subjective" calculation, what more is there? Do people vote "objectively"?

It IS, however, ironic for El Hitcho to criticize Kerry for flip-flopping in what must be the most tortuously muddled and indecisive "endorsement" ever:

I am assuming for now that this is a single-issue election. There is one's subjective vote, one's objective vote, and one's ironic vote. Subjectively, Bush (and Blair) deserve to be re-elected because they called the enemy by its right name and were determined to confront it. Objectively, Bush deserves to be sacked for his flabbergasting failure to prepare for such an essential confrontation. Subjectively, Kerry should be put in the pillory for his inability to hold up on principle under any kind of pressure. Objectively, his election would compel mainstream and liberal Democrats to get real about Iraq.

The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan's anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry's pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at I can't compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.

All one cay say is, "What the hell...?"


Interesting list of dead cash cows. Good to see Richard Rodgers and Irving Berlin on the list, though I think Irving's about to drop out in a few years.

Instead of "rest in peace," perhaps RIM -- "royalties in mail"?

Fear and Loating in the Younger Electorate

I think this is a great idea -- and "kids" should be construed broadly. The reason this might be effective is not that it makes voting cool, but that it demystifies the process. A lot of high schoolers are REALLY nervous that somehow in the process of registering to vote and voting they might make a mistake and be outed as young and naive. Spend half an hour in the schools (or in the polls) with these kids going through each step of the process and a lot of those fears can be neutralized.

A good idea. So let's go do it.

Passion and Confusion in '04

Well, I talked to a tractor-trailer driver this morning at the Coos County (New Hampshire -- sorry no umlaut) Democratic Party HQ -- apparently truckers despise Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, and not just because of their Teamster affiliation. They blame Mineta for lowering the limit on the number of hours drivers can log without a break. (Sadly, the guy got Leon Panetta and Mineta confused, which substantially delayed my comprehension of his point -- never heard those two mixed up before. I reassured him that Leon Panetta would probably not figure into either a Kerry or Bush administration.)

Everybody's got their own anti-christ in the Bush administration.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Heisenberg Idiocy Principle

Why is this trash in the Science section?

If I ever have the good fortune of rising to an editorial position at a major American newspaper, the first thing I will do is send out a memo to all my reporters and columnists insisting that they NEVER bring up the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to explain ANYTHING, because there is really NO general-interest story that requires mention of that principle, or that could even benefit from it without tortuously and intolerably perverting the science behind it.

The Comeback Kids

Clinton and Schilling have more in common than one might think, says the New York Post...

UPDATE: Sadly, I did not recognize the irony of this post, given Schilling's comments and behavior the last few days. At least his doctors nixed his Florida travel plans -- he was going to stump with Bush over the weekend.

It seems that BOTH Schilling and Bill Mueller are some species of evangelical Christian. ("What are you going to do next, Curt Schilling and Bill Mueller?" "We're going to Disneyland -- for a Bush rally!")

From the AP:

World Series star Curt Schilling canceled a scheduled campaign appearance with President Bush on Friday. An e-mailer identifying himself as Schilling posted a message on a fan Web site saying an ankle injury would prevent the Boston Red Sox (news) pitcher from attending.

"I am now not medically cleared to do anything until I see Doc on Sunday, so I cannot travel with President Bush," the message read.


True Modesty

Safire on (hush hush) himself:

The standard English synonym for the flip-flop verb is ''vacillate.'' A speechwriter in 1970, familiar with Vice President Spiro Agnew's attraction to alliteration, offered ''vicars of vacillation,'' a mouth-filling epithet with little punch.

A speechwriter? Thou doth protest too much.

The Real Deal

Just picked up a copy of Lenny Bruce's autobiography/confession/rant, "How to Talk Dirty and Influence People." It's published by Playboy Books, has an introduction by Kenneth Tynan (who tried repeatedly and failed to bring Bruce to Britain -- the Home Office labelled the comedian an "undesirable person"), and is dedicated to Jimmy Hoffa ("because he hired ex-convicts as, I assume, Christ would have"). Now THAT'S a book.

Sitting on the (Security) Fence?

This morning, Safire repeats the Kerry "security barrier" flip-flopping canard:

To hold the bloc's usual support, Kerry has me-tooed every policy decision Bush has made affecting Israel - finding old armistice lines "unrealistic," keeping Jerusalem undivided, favoring Arafat's isolation. Though at first he told an Arab-American audience that Israel's security fence was "a barrier to peace," Kerry changed his mind to comport with Bush's support of Ariel Sharon's plan.

Yet, as Etgar Lefkovits of the Jerusalem Post pointed out to me last night, nobody had any idea how effective the barrier would be even a year ago -- and even much of the Likud opposed it (some hard-rightists still do). And Kerry voiced opposition to the barrier BEFORE the Supreme Court forced re-routing to avoid annexation of Palestinian olive groves and farmland.

Michigan (with its half million Muslims) goes to Kerry, plus 80% of the Jewish vote.


Monday, October 25, 2004

What Fox News and the New York Times Can Agree On...

... Blogs are a menace.

A friend points out this all-too-casual anti-bloggerism from Daniel Okrent:

Before I turn over the podium, I do want you to know just how debased the level of discourse has become. When a reporter receives an e-mail message that says, ''I hope your kid gets his head blown off in a Republican war,'' a limit has been passed.

That's what a coward named Steve Schwenk, from San Francisco, wrote to national political correspondent Adam Nagourney several days ago because Nagourney wrote something Schwenk considered (if such a person is capable of consideration) pro-Bush. Some women reporters regularly receive sexual insults and threats. As nasty as critics on the right can get (plenty nasty), the left seems to be winning the vileness derby this year. Maybe the bloggers who encourage their readers to send this sort of thing to The Times might want to ask them instead to say it in public. I don't think they'd dare.

Forget the issue of whether the Times is too liberal or too establishment, and whether or not Okrent is a blind defender of the Gray Lady. The real issue is Dan Okrent's anti-blog bias!

Alll The President's Ziggurats

Tristam Hunt in the London Observer (reprinted in the WSJ's "Notable & Quotable") on the hidden context of the final presidential debate:

In his fading years, the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright embarked on a final grand projet . Invited in 1957 by King Faisal of Iraq to design a new opera house, Wright expanded the brief into a plan for Baghdad complete with museums, parks, university and authentic bazaar. Dispensing with his 'prairie style', he peppered the scheme with domes, spires and ziggurats.

The 1958 revolution meant that none of it was built. But the ever-resourceful Wright simply offered the design to a new client. And today, the Baghdad opera house is the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium at Arizona State University: an example of Wright's versatility and the forum for next week's presidential debate. Under the arches of a lost Iraqi skyline, George W Bush and John Kerry will meet in debate for the final time.

In The Line of Duty

Dexter Filkins of the NYT on reporting in Iraq:

Stepping out of my car at the scene of a suicide bombing last fall, I stepped into what appeared to be a placid crowd, only to find that it was seething and angry, blaming the Americans, as Iraqis often do, for the death and destruction all around them. The crowd surged before I and my colleagues could get back into the car.

"Kill them!" an old man shouted. "Kill them!"

We barely got away. Back at the office, we counted 17 bricks inside the car, whose every window was smashed. One of the bricks is now on my bookshelf.

And that's just how dangerous it is for a REPORTER. Imagine being a uniformed soldier.

Is Zarqawi a Pervert?

Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a pervert? Well, of course, but what kind? From Rod Nordland and Christopher Dickey's Newsweek bio this week:

"What a loser. At 17, he dropped out of high school in the small industrial city of Zarqa in Jordan. One of 10 children of a Bedouin herbal healer, he quickly developed a reputation as a drunk and a rabble-rouser. By one account, he was jailed for sexual assault, and took up the ideology of jihad in prison."

Let's see -- herbal healing, then sexual assault, then terrorism. It just proves what Jerry Falwell et al. have been saying all along -- subscribing to hippie philosophies like homeopathy is a gateway to cold-blooded murder!

Gallup: Prophet or Sitting Duck?

It's one thing for everyone to say that polls are woefully imprecise. It's another thing to tolerate a poll that simply ignores furious criticism of its methods and then gets torpedoed on election day by a final tally totally unfamiliar to the polls. Today's Gallup poll has Bush up 5 points. I have no idea if this number will hold in the Gallup, and even less idea if it will accurately capture what voters do on November 2. But what is clear is that Gallup has really staked its reputation on NOT correcting for Republican over-representation in its voter samples. This methodology could be hailed as prophetic -- or it could become a huge liability for the country's oldest polling institution. If Gallup gets it wrong, it's going to look like the biggest asshole around.

Today's polls:

Funding = Last Word?

John Kerry has argued that voting against the $87 billion funding for the war doesn't mean being against the war itself. Now former California Attorney General Dan Lungren, a hard-right Republican, is making an analogous argument in his bid for Congress...

(What do we at the Merry Punditocracy think of Lungren? This guy couldn't even beat GRAY DAVIS -- enough said.)

Let's Hope They're... Lying To Us?

The Christian Science Monitor is already talking about the details of withdrawing from Iraq. Basically just a reminder to keep an eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than the tunnel itself:

"The candidates may not want to talk about anything less than the best-case scenario out of concern for dampening troop morale or boosting the insurgents. But inside their respective headquarters, let's hope they're seriously considering them all."

How can you give such sensible advice and yet refuse medical care because it defames God's healing powers?

Thou Shall Not Make Meth With Cold Medicines

Dual-use sanctions worked against Saddam, but will they work against Oregon?

The Origins of the Lebanese Resistance

It's amazing what a little Israeli withdrawal can do.

Is this Jumblatt a Lebanese Lech Walesa? (Actually, he sounds a bit more like the Dalai Lama.) From the Christian Science Monitor:

Thanks for Your Vote -- Here's Some Crack

Music-maker cum-political pundit Moby says "the Republicans have lost their minds":

ed gillespie, the head of the republican party in the u.s.a, has sent out an email to republicans saying that the democrats are using crack cocaine as an incentive to vote...
the republicans have lost their minds.

(Go to the link and click on "Oh My." For some reason no RSS feed.)

Get on It, Schwarzenegger!

If Brazil can have flex-fuel cars, why can't we? The answer is simple: they got REALLY committed to independence from foreign oil 30 years ago, and well, we didn't:

Brazil first started toying with the idea of nongasoline-powered cars at the peak of the global oil crisis in the 1970's, when its military dictatorship began a campaign to reduce dependence on costly foreign oil. With the help of government subsidies and generous tax breaks, automakers here designed and started manufacturing cars that ran exclusively on ethanol. Sugar millers also benefited from the pro-alcohol campaign, getting the equivalent of millions of dollars in government subsidies to refine sugar cane into ethanol. The government no longer offers the subsidies, but demand serves as an incentive to keep making ethanol.

By the mid-1980's, ethanol-only cars accounted for almost 90 percent of all new-auto sales in Brazil, making the country the biggest alternative fuel market in the world. But a poor cane harvest and high sugar prices led to an ethanol shortage in 1990, enraging motorists who eventually migrated back to cars powered by gasoline. Today, fewer than 20 percent of Brazil's autos run exclusively on alcohol, but all gasoline here has a 25 percent mix of ethanol.

Interesting LTE in the NYT Today...

To the Editor:

Re "As Gaza Pullout Vote Nears, Tension Among Israelis Rises" (news article, Oct. 21):

The dirty little secret of Israel's settler movement is that it is filled with people who elevate the immutability of their religious convictions above the well-being of the state.

For many settlers, as long as Israeli policy furthers their own religious convictions, they will present themselves as loyal citizens of the state. But if the policy deviates from their religious truth, they will turn on Israeli democracy with a vengeance.

Rabbinic rulings compelling soldiers to disobey orders and the increasing threats against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are daggers aimed at the heart of Israeli democracy.

After Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, we in the American Jewish community swore never again to keep silent in the face of Jewish religious fanaticism. Now is the time for us to proclaim loudly, clearly and with one voice that while democratic dissent is legitimate, we will not tolerate the hijacking of our faith or the destruction of Israel's democracy.  [emphasis added]

Ammiel Hirsch
New York, Oct. 21, 2004

Also, an interesting column by M.J. Rosenberg in last week's IPF (Israel Policy Forum) Friday newsletter, courtesy of Debbie Elkin (link at end is to the Rosenberg column):

Next month marks the ninth anniversary of the worst single moment in Israel's history: the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.  With hindsight -- although many recognized it at the time – it is clear that the Rabin murder achieved the goal of its perpetrator.

The assassin, and those who encouraged him, wanted to end the Oslo process. They understood that Rabin was uniquely equipped to achieve the exchange of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for security and peace.  They believed that unless he was stopped, the old warrior would take Israel out of the territories, a Palestinian state would arise there, and Israel’s isolation (an isolation the extremists welcome) would be over.

So they murdered him and, within a very short time, the peace process was in tatters while Israel’s control of the West Bank and Gaza and over the lives of nearly four million Palestinians was stronger than ever.  Mission accomplished.

This pattern -- an assassin eliminates his target and thereby alters fundamental policies – is not common.  President Kennedy’s murder traumatized America (perhaps permanently) but the policies he pursued were implemented by his successor, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ never missed an opportunity to say “let us continue” or to invoke his martyred predecessor as a means of building support for their shared policies.

Unlike Rabin’s, Kennedy’s murder was not political.  He was, most likely, murdered by a single unbalanced individual whose agenda, if he had one, remains unknown.  He was probably not trying to thwart Kennedy’s programs and the assassination had no such effect.  In fact, it had the opposite effect.

It was Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s assassination that foreshadowed Rabin’s.  He was murdered by Islamic extremists who opposed peace with Israel.  They hoped that Sadat’s successor, Vice President Hosni Mubarak, would repudiate the peace treaty and Sadat’s legacy.  They were wrong. Twenty-two years have passed and Sadat’s policy is firmly in place.

There is a certain irony here.  Until Rabin’s assassination, and the ensuing collapse of the peace process, a staple of the pro-Israel argument was that Israel had to be very cautious about signing treaties with undemocratic Arab nations like Egypt.  After all, it was argued, a single bullet could eliminate Sadat and leave Israel in a situation where it relinquished territory only to have some radical new leader repudiate the treaty and revert to the war policies of the past.  It was only in a democracy like Israel that continuity between governments was guaranteed.

It didn’t turn out that way.  Egypt’s policies were unchanged by an assassination while Israel’s were up-ended.
The lesson is that in Israel assassination can achieve what politics can not.

So it is no surprise that so many people in Israel are worried that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon might be assassinated to stop the withdrawal from Gaza.   Shimon Peres, leader of the Labor opposition, said this week that the atmosphere in Israel today resembles the period just prior to Rabin’s murder. “I am very fearful of the incitement, from the grave things that are being heard," he said. "I hope the defense establishment…. is keeping a close eye on Sharon."

There is no doubt that it is, especially in the days leading up to Tuesday’s Knesset vote on the Gaza withdrawal.

But Sharon will be in danger right up to the moment that the last settler has left Gaza because the Rabin precedent demonstrates that eliminating just one man can eliminate the policy.

The writer is senior rabbi, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

How To Lose Friends and Disenfranchise People...

...while becoming a made man?

How do you assure yourself an auspicious future in the Republican Party? Just do what Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has done these last few weeks...

Let's Just Call It a Tie...

It's not just Paul Hamm who can't seem to win, even when he wins, and can't seem to lose, even when he loses.

Ken Rudin explains precisely how an electoral college tie could take place. If Colorado passes Amendment 36, it could actually happen a few different ways...

Kulchur Klash

Paris and Nicole -- the new Betty and Veronica?

A-Rod -- A Bush-Leaguer Forever?

Richard Reeves on what is coming to be known as "the play":

I saw "the play," when Alex Rodriguez deliberately karate-chopped Bronson Arroyo's arm to knock the ball out of his glove in the eighth inning of Game 6. The umpires caught it, which made the game fairer, but so did the cameras, which means A-Rod will look like a bush-leaguer forever.

Exactly. $250 million just can't make up for that kind of "girly-man" image.

OK, yes it can.

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Tom Friedman's column from this morning, and a peacenik's response:

Friedman in this article says that the US has to shape an alternative to Arafat--he doesn't recognize that the Palestinian Geneva partners already exist, nor that Sharon came up with  Gaza withdrawal not simply because he "has finally realized the demographic threat posed by Gaza to Israel and wants to get out" but that he recognized that the Geneva Accord put a viable plan for a two-state solution out there and he wanted to take attention of that so he could hold onto the West Bank.

Bait and Switch

Call it "cancer-fighting" instead of "arthritis-fighting," get a new patent! (Isn't it quaint how they refer to Vioxx as "the late Vioxx"?)

"Come Back When You Get Your Braces Off"

Jenna Jameson, finally getting the recognition she deserves...

Don't Forget to Announce Your "Privacy"

Privacy, uh, except for the Coast Guard...

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Praise Is Relative, Says Stewart

Jon Stewart is on 60 Minutes tomorrow, picking up where he left off with Tucker Carlson. From

When reminded that the Television Critics Association voted his "The Daily Show" the best news and information program of the year, Stewart says, "I think in some respects, they were punking you, as opposed to praising us."



The President is not pleased that the polls in Pennsylvania (alluring alliteration, no?) aren't going his way... over-reacts...

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Frankfurt School

I saw Judith Butler give a lecture last night. When somebody's cell phone went off in the middle of her talk, she joked that the pizza delivery man had gotten lost and was calling her for directions (hasn't mapquest taken care of that problem?) Nobody laughed. So then, taking a different tack, she declared that such interruptions were part of the "Benjaminian aura," and everyone went wild. Evidently she stoops to conquer.

Ah, academia.

James Mann on a Lame-Duck Bush Cabinet Reshuffle

This article fails to mention Mann's standout point: if Bush wins Nov. 2, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage are headed to the glue factory, and Don Rumsfeld has his eyes on the top job at Foggy Bottom.

UDPATE: Mann's thesis about the ideological contraction/homogenization of a Bush second term conflicts with what Al Hunt wrote two weeks ago in his Wall Street Journal column -- that Rumsfeld was becoming too much of a political liability and would be dismissed.

See How Simple It Is

Economics profs rank colleges in terms of students' enrollment patterns when they are accepted at multiple institutions. In other words, instant run-off voting...

Not a Song From Cats

If only Bill Clinton's publisher had come up with this title:

"Fans of Mr Garcia Marquez have been waiting 10 years for his latest offering, which has sparked even more interest than usual because of its title, 'Memories of My Melancholy Whores.'"

James Levine for President

Since when does the Boston Herald give a shit about the symphony?

(Incidentally, the Herald endorsed President Bush the other day, calling him a "good man who became a great President." Surely James Levine knows how to schmooze with Republican donors, but still. Levine in 2008?)

A Stinky Smell in LA, and It's Not the Smog

More on the Gribbon resignation controversy that's roiling the art world. Unfortunately, this seems like recyclyed information mostly, and strikes a completely wrong note about the Barnes move.

Guess you can only say so much about what everyone agrees is a nasty stink.

Be Catholic, Be Proud!

A friend tips me off to this "grand geste" of spirituality in gay (goy?) Paree. She writes:

"The way to reconstruct the Franco-American alliance? You can almost hear Chirac referencing the Dred Scott decision."


Rage Against the Machine

I've felt like doing this before -- but wouldn't it make more sense to torch the meter-maid (is this no longer PC?) vehicle?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Reality TV Meets Horse-Race Election Coverage

I didn't actually find this ALL that funny, but I do like the idea of a poll-based sitcom. From NPR:

Willing But Not Eager?

"May be willing" to vote for President Bush? What the hell does that mean?

Time for a Cabinet Re-Shuffle

Hmmm, maybe Bill Belichick should be running our operation in Iraq... Frank Deford reports.

Government's Gonna Get Your Granny!

I don't think Dan Weintraub gets it:

I am intrigued by the important argument that the government's involvement in the vaccine industry has helped lead to the current shortage. Particularly the idea that government purchasing in bulk has lowered the profit margin to such a point that companies no longer had an incentive to produce the vaccines. But I have yet to see any data supporting this hypothesis. Does anybody out there know where to find good data on the percentage of the flu vaccine purchased by the government (versus the private sector) over the years, and the price paid for that vaccine? I'll be checking the usual government sources but if anybody has quick access to this data I would love to see it.

But those statistics don't exist. The vaccine is in short supply for various reasons, partly because of legal restrictions on mass production. That's the kind of legal restrictions that Cafe Hayek types like -- excessive patent protection. You're going to tell me that you can't make it economical to sell a vaccine that costs $.02 a unit to produce? If that's true, it's because drug companies have an unconscionable policy of giving up on a product just because it has a smaller or smallish profit margin. (No, it's not unconscionable, it's just capitalism!) That may be a reason just to nationalize completely the vaccine production and distribution system.


Humor Like a Desert

David Duchovny was pretty good guest-hosting for Craig Kilborn last night. Very dry, but good. And the X-Files and "plugging Gillian Anderson" bits were mighty fine.

Don't bother tuning in to see him tonight, though -- they're handing the reins over to Dom Deluise. Booooooo.

Quid Pro Cha-Ching!

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association endorses the latest casino gaming initiative, then a few weeks later the casinos donate $2 million to the anti-tax group. Does this smell fishy? You bet.

Courtesy of Dan Weintraub.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A Big Ol' Honkin' Constitutional Fight

Texas political scientist GeorgeEdwards explains why the Electoral College is nonsense (in other words, he's not mincing words). In fact, its contemporary manifestation doesn't even reflect the Founders' intentions. If they'd had mass communications in 1787 Madison et al. would never have devised the College. I completely agree, and agree, and agree.

The one thing I don't get is, what's so bad about amending the Constitution? College critics like Edwards and Akhil Amar want to get rid of it without amending the Constitution. But sometimes you've just go to go out and have a big ol' honkin' constitutional fight.

Stay Tuned

This AP dispatch is clearly only part of the story -- Sinclair's decision to back down on "Stolen Honor" seems to raise more questions than it answers.

I just heard from George Butler (who made a stop today in New Haven) that Sinclair has been talking to him about airing his adoring Kerry biopic "Journey Upriver" before (after?) "Stolen Honor" to meet equal-time requirements. But that seems like a different solution than fitting it into a documentary about political documentaries described in the AP story. So stay tuned.


Top 10 Outrages of the 2004 Corporate Tax Bill

NPR commentator Connie Rice has another top-ten list, this time for "outrages" in the 2004 Corporate Tax Bill. A highlight:

(4.) The Marlboro Man FDA Escape Clause:
"In exchange for the $10-billion bailout, Big Tobacco was supposed to agree to regulation by the FDA," Rice says. "But while the bailout got through the special interest gauntlet, the FDA regulation did not -- and will not become law, despite Ted Kennedy's symbolic passage of just such a mandate."

Read the whole thing here:

Uranium Enrichment Hanky-Panky Down South

I've researched Brazil's nuclear weapons program, and as far as transparency goes, it's been a mess for 50 years. A huge proliferation scandal in 1989 made it clear that grave NPT infractions did not stop with the dissolution of the military dictatorship in 1985.

Why does Brazil's case deserve scrutiny? One expert in this NPR report says Brazil and Iran's weapons programs look pretty much the same from the outside. More important is the light that Brazil's case sheds on the nonproliferation climate since the invasion of Iraq. Lula's decision last year to give up on Cardoso's 1995 nuclear freeze may have been a huge mistake, but he was able to get away with it because of international resentment over the Iraq war (and, to a lesser extent, US agricultural subsidies). Lula has since chosen to mount a challenge to the US and assert himself as a leader in Latin America and a spokesman for the developing world.

Can the genie be put back in the bottle?

Ohio's Growing Pains

700,000 new voters -- a recipe for disaster?

No Shit, Sherlock

Shimon Peres states the obvious:

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Avoidable Crisis (No, Not Iraq)

Apparently it's not just Kerry and Edwards who have been neglecting their responsibilities as public officials in order to pound the purple-state pavement. From NPR:

With tens of millions going unvaccinated this year due to a flu vaccine shortage, health professionals warn of a pending crisis in America's hospitals and emergency rooms. Many question why federal officials haven't yet met with hospitals to plan for

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Rebirth of 'Birth'

A video remix of "Birth of a Nation"? Wowser...

Forget Etiquette, It's Time to Embrace Israeli Counter-Intelligence!

Israeli counter-intelligence? Is that really what the priest said?

Friend, Lend Me Thy Name

Buck up, Red Sox Nation! Your team is about to suffer a crushing defeat to the antichrist, but you can still shake it for the booty cam in a new Club Paris!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Few, The Brave, The In-Need-of-a-Good-Lawyer

That sounds like a lot of prosecutions, doesn't it? From NPR:

Two years after the deaths of two prisoners in Afghanistan, investigators have recommended the Army bring charges against 28 American soldiers. Some human rights groups claim the slow investigations may have lead to prisoner abuses elsewhere.

Let Them Eat Tax Cuts!

According to this US News story, the President has come up with another reason not to tax the rich:

No sense trying to raise taxes on the rich as my opponent wants. The rich will just hire more "lawyers and accountants," and you ordinary folks will end up paying the bill for them. Or, as he put it in Lima, Ohio, last month, "The rich dodge, and you get stuck with the bill."

Um, right.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Too Fat For More Violence?

If there was ever an incentive to make peace, it's being too fat for a bulletproof vest. Actually, given what happened to Rabin, you might say just the opposite: no wonder Sharon HASN'T made peace.

Needless to say, obesity explains a lot in international affairs.


Debates Beat Yankees in Ratings, Zimmer Head-Butts Schieffer?

Hooray for civic responsibility! Hooray for America!

Why We Don't Secure the Syria-Iraq Border

I just don't get why we allow Syria to get away with these shenanigans... Or maybe Assad et al. aren't getting away at all -- if you were Richard Perle, how would YOU go about justifying another pre-emptive strike against one of the pole-stars of the axis of evil?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Unrepentant About Outsourcing

Kind of refreshing, actually. From the AP:

Google Inc. founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin said Wednesday that some new features on the world's top search engine and other services will come from its research center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, where they are on a hiring spree.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bin Laden's Modest Objective: 4 Million Americans Dead

Well, at least it doesn't have anything to do with reproducing the Holocaust (i.e. 6 million dead). Graham Allison:

Bin Laden's objective for America--and it is to kill 4 million Americans, he says, quote, "Four million Americans, including 2 million children."

And you think, Where in the world does somebody get such an estimate? As I point out, he puts it up on their website. This doesn't come out of thin air. This is what he believes is required to balance the scales of justice for the Muslims who have been killed by what he calls the Jewish-Christian crusaders, by which he means Israel and the United States. And he goes through all the battles and incidents--Jenin, this many; Shatila, this many; sanctions against Iraq, this many--and gets this calculation. So I would say on the negative side, not only do we have the factors out there that there's plenty of places where they might get a weapon, but if there's any doubt--as there was in some people's minds before--that there's somebody out there who would like to kill large numbers of Americans, I would say that story should be concluded.

Awwww, Poor Scooter People!

Here's a sad little story from NPR.

And this is not to mention that those little pocket scooters are getting legislated right off the road out here in the bobo-burbia. You can't see those little suckers if you're sittin' way up high in your SUV!