Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Must reading:

Glenn Greenwald on supporters of the Iraq War shifting blame. Be sure to read the excerpt from Protein Wisdom blaming war critics for the failure in Iraq - it has to be seen to be believed.


John Tierney: Women want to return to the 1950's (or earlier)

John Tierney has a column today that, in David Brooks fashion, makes big assertions about all women, based on a survey of only married women. A substantial excerpt can be found here. There are dissenting views expressed by other bloggers (1, 2), and even Ann Althouse isn't on board.

Taking the excerpts provided by the bloggers, here is a rough summary of Tierney's column:
Freud confessed that his "thirty years of research into the feminine soul" left him unable to answer one great question: "What does a woman want?" Modern feminists have been arguing for decades over a variation of it: What should a woman want?

Women today expect more help around the home and more emotional engagement from their husbands," Wilcox says. "But they still want their husbands to be providers who give them financial security and freedom.

... look at how men and women behave when they're living by themselves: the women do twice as much housework as the men do. Single men do less cooking and cleaning, because those jobs don't seem as important to them. They can live with unmade beds and frozen dinners.

...there's a gender gap in enthusiasm for some outside jobs. Men are much more willing to take a job that pays a premium in exchange for long hours away from home or the risk of being killed. The extra money doesn't seem as important to women.

The happiest wives in their study were the ones who said that housework was divided fairly between them and their husbands. But those same happy wives also did more of the work at home while their husbands did more work outside home. Nock doesn't claim to have divined the feminine soul, but he does have one answer to Freud's question.

"A woman wants equity," he says. "That's not necessarily the same as equality."
Yup, those women. They want equity. Lots of it. And they're willing to stay at home to get it.

Tierney is following in the footsteps of George Will, who also tells you that, if you want to be happy, embrace conservative positions. But this is the bankruptcy of an ideology. Up until about now, the claim made by conservatives was, broadly speaking, that conservative policies would give you material things and other goodies (like a secure retirement and health services). But those things didn't come to pass. So now, with household earnings flat or worse and the middle-class feeling insecure - partly due to tax&budget cuts, extreme free-trade legislation, and other Social Darwinist policies - people are asked to take their eye off the materialist ball. Instead, they are exhorted to buy into the notion that happiness, in the abstract, can be obtained somehow by continuing to follow the conservative (or more properly, the Republican) path.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Richard Cohen is an ass:

First it was Limbaugh calling opponents of the Dubai Port deal "racists". Later on in that same week, it was David Brooks, only he was genteel and said they were "nativists". By the weekend just past, the "anti-Arab" slur was being repeated by Chris Wallace on Fox News Channel and Tim Russert on Meet the Press.

So, what do we read in the latest Richard Cohen column? That the "you're a racist" charge used by the White House to defend itself, it actually, get this, a high-minded stance against "bigotry".
[Bush] has refused to indulge anti-Arab sentiment over the Dubai ports deal. [...]

To overlook the xenophobic element in this controversy is to overlook the obvious. It is what propelled the squabble and what sustains it. Bush put his finger on it right away. "What I find interesting is that it's okay for a British company to manage some ports, but not okay for a company from a country that is a valuable ally in the war on terror," he said last week. "The UAE has been a valuable partner in fighting the war on terror." It is a long way from a terrorist haven.

Somewhere in the White House, a political operative -- maybe the storied Karl Rove -- must have slapped his head in consternation as Bush made that remark.
Oh yeah, Rove must have been really worried that Bush was implying his opponents were racists.

Cohen even trots out a variant of the Frances Townsend defense, the one that categorizes governments, not on the basis of how they behave, but whether terrorists have ever spent time in a given country:
Whatever their concerns may be, whatever their fears, they would not have had them, expressed them or seen them in print had the middle name of the United Arab Emirates been something else. After all, no one goes nuts over Germany, the country where some of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists lived and attended school.
What's truly obnoxious is that Bush has, time and again, blurred any distinction between players in the Middle East. That's how the public came to believe that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks. Bush's hands are not clean.

For a long time, we've been inclined to give Cohen plenty of slack, but he's deteriorated a lot in the last five years and now is basically worthless as a serious commentator. (Just like Joe Klein.)


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ground attack:

Last week there was an attempt, later claimed to be by al Qaeda, against a huge refinery in Saudi Arabia. From the news:
Saudi security forces Friday thwarted an attempted suicide car bombing at an oil processing facility in eastern Saudi Arabia, Saudi security sources told CNN.

Three Saudi security forces were killed and 10 were injured after they opened fire on three cars believed to have been carrying suicide bombers, Saudi security official Nawaf Obaid told CNN.

The cars had forced their way through an initial entrance to the Abqaiq plant, and were met with gunfire between the first and second security perimeters, Obaid said.

The gunfire is believed to have caused two of the vehicles to detonate before they could enter the facility, he said.
This just reinforces our view that al Qaeda is nothing more than a bunch of suiciders with car bombs. They sure don't seem to have any RPGs or Stingers.

But even given their lack of real military hardware, why a car bombing? Couldn't Osama fork over the money for a used airplane? Not a jet liner, but perhaps a Lear Jet, or even a Piper Cherokee? (You can purchase an old Cherokee for under $50,000) An explosives-laden small craft could certainly do a hell of a lot of damage if it were flown into the most critical part of a refinery. But it wasn't done. Why not? Is al Qaeda without the funds? Isn't bin Laden still a guy with lots of money?


Also curious, why, in the wake of the failed attack, the oil markets were relatively sanguine.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Spread the word!

Via Kos, this UPI story:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported.

The Bush administration has approved the takeover of British-owned Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to DP World, a deal set to go forward March 2 unless Congress intervenes.

P&O is the parent company of P&O Ports North America, which leases terminals for the import and export and loading and unloading and security of cargo in 21 ports, 11 on the East Coast, ranging from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida, and 10 on the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Miss., to Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the company's Web site.
[Ports listed at P&O website.]


Friday, February 24, 2006

Another point of view:

There is a website,, that has a bunch of articles, all about the U.S., but from the foreign press (Le Monde, Le Figero, Der Speigel, Haaretz,...). It's remninds one of the magazine, World Press Review. If you liked WPR, you might be interested in


Thursday, February 23, 2006

This time it's true:


Naming names:

Who are these people?
  • Spencer Abraham
  • Steve Forbes
  • Francis Fukuyama
  • Jack Kemp
  • Jeane Kirkpatrick
  • Professor Bernard Lewis
  • Dennis Ross
  • Alan Simpson
  • Fred Thompson
  • R. James Woolsey
They're on the Advisory Committee for the Scooter Libby Defense Trust ( It is something of a surprise to see Dennis Ross, Bill Clinton's envoy to the Middle East, on the list. Also, Fukuyama, who is supposed (?) to be distancing himself from the neocon cabal. And finally, adademic Bernard Lewis, who seems to have abandoned any claims to objectivity.

Oh, here's one connection. From the Ross entry in Wikipedia: (emp add)
n 1981, following the election of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the newly appointed U.S. National Security Advisor Richard V. Allen was put in charge of putting together the Reagan administrations foreign policy advisory team. Allen offered Paul Wolfowitz the position of Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. In this position Wolfowitz and his newly selected staff, that included Lewis Libby, Francis Fukuyama, Dennis Ross, Alan Keyes, Zalmay Khalizad, Stephen Sestanovich and James Roche, were responsible for defining the Reagan administrations long-term foreign goals.


Vox populi:

A Yahoo message board post:
Put Saddam Back in Power and Leave

He keeps control of the country. He's a secular dictator and an enemy of Al Qaeda. He also is a counterbalance to Iran.
Whadda ya think?


Turning point in Iraq?

The bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra looks to be a very serious development. At this early stage, it's not easy to see if it will lead to out-and-out civil war, but it could. While an immediate shift to civil war (in terms of hours) is unlikely, what happens over the next week or so should be watched closely. Right now, voices are calling for restraint. But if tempers flare, we could see substantial bloodshed.

That said, there are some interesting questions that don't have any answers at the moment:
  • Who planned the demolition of the shrine, and why? It looks like an attack on the Shiites, but are the Sunnis really up for a fight? They are substantially outnumbered in the country. It doesn't make sense.
  • Related: If there is going to be a fight, who'se got the weapons and the organization? Who would lead the Shiites? Sistani and al-Sadr have both called for restraint (though this is a fast-moving story and their positions may change). And what have the Sunnis got up their sleeve? Not artillery or tanks. Is this going to be a civil war with rifles and grenades?
  • What is the U.S. going to do about it? Who is running the country? Reports from late last year seemed to indicate that the U.S. was basically out of touch and staying inside safe zones. Are those troops unable to quell domestic unrest?
It's all confusing.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cui bono?

In a Weekly Standard article about the abuses of team owners that bully cities into paying for stadiums, we read:
OF COURSE, someone always profits from money shuffling, and in this case it's the owners. The main economic effect of publicly-subsidized stadiums is to dramatically increase the value of the teams, to the benefit of the owners. Financial World magazine studied increases in valuation of professional sports teams between 1991 and 1997. The value of baseball teams with new stadiums increased 79 percent in those years, while the value of teams without new stadiums rose only 11 percent; ...

Here's how it works: B/R Rangers Associates purchased the Texas Rangers in 1989 for $86 million. Threatened with losing the team in the early 1990s, Texas taxpayers forked over $135 million to help build the new Ballpark at Arlington, now called Ameriquest Field. B/R Rangers Associates then sold the team in 1998 for $250 million.
Of course, being the Weekly Standard, they do not inform the readers that it was George W. Bush who was part of the ownership, who campaigned for a tax to pay for the new stadium, and who became rich as a result.


By Bush's standard, he is not fighting the terrorists:
  United Arab Emirates Iraq
Number of 9/11 hijackers 2 0
Laundered money used for 9/11 attack YES no
Leadership met with Osama YES no
Recognize Taliban YES no
Facilitate A.Q. Khan smuggling of nuclear
components to Libya, N. Korea, Iran
YES no
Bush's action Approve sale of U.S.
port management to UAE


8.4% annual rate:

In the news: (emp add)
U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in January but costs outside of food and energy were contained, a Labor Department report showed on Wednesday, sealing expectations for more interest rate hikes.

Consumer prices surged 0.7 percent last month, above Wall Street forecasts for a 0.5 percent increase, as energy costs soared. But the closely watched core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose just 0.2 percent, matching economist expectations.

Analysts said the big gain in overall prices will catch the attention of the Federal Reserve and cements market expectations for an additional rate increase in March and perhaps one more in May.

"We can't dismiss the 0.7 number because people actually do spend money on food and energy ...
No kidding.

In our circle of friends, there has been considerable talk of the higher prices of both food and energy. Energy (mainly gasoline) we all know about, but food has also jumped sharply, yet there hasn't been much reporting on that fact.

And there's this:
Over the past year, consumer prices have climbed 4.0 percent, the largest 12-month increase since October 2005 and an acceleration from December's 3.4 percent increase.

The rise in consumer prices since January 2005 is well above the 3.6 percent increase in average weekly earnings in the same period -- meaning consumer budgets are not keeping pace with rising prices.
So that's why Bush gets the low approval on handling the economy. And 'average weekly earnings' means ...? The numbers might be worse if 'median weekly earnings' is used (since average can include huge executive compensation that gives a misleadingly rosy picture).


Monday, February 20, 2006

Too late:

The Los Angeles Times has an editorial, Navigating the new court, where we read: (emp add)
A LOT OF FOLKS ARE IN A TIZZY about Tuesday's Supreme Court session. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. will hear his first oral arguments. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will hear his first environmental cases. The Bush administration, hardly known for its enthusiastic enforcement of federal environmental laws, will argue vehemently in favor of one of the most comprehensive environmental laws on the books, the Clean Water Act. Most exciting of all, at least for court junkies, the cases could provide clues about the new justices' view of the Constitution's commerce clause, which established the federal government's power to regulate local matters that at least theoretically affect interstate commerce. Depending on its interpretation, the new court could decide to upend the balance of state and federal power as we know it.
It should not be exciting. We shouldn't have to wait until after a justice is already on the court to learn how he or she views the commerce clause. That should be known, discussed, and voted on during the confirmation process.

The Los Angeles Times is wrong to portray major issues like a justice's stand like it's a game wherein "court junkies" get excited over "clues" as to what's going on.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

How to save Venice, Athens, Naples, ...

If the scientific predictions about global warming are true:
The Greenland Ice Sheet covers an area just slightly smaller than Mexico with a thickness of nearly 2 miles, enough to raise global sea levels by nearly 28 feet if it all melted.
What do you do to prevent Venice from being submerged?

Stop the Atlantic Ocean from spilling into the Mediterranean by plugging the Straight of Gibraltar. It happened 6 million years ago. Might as well do it again. The gap is 1000 feet deep and ten miles across. That sounds like something within current engineering capabilities.

NOTE: We thought we were being original, but blocking the straights has already been discussed in terms of global warming. From Wikipedia:
In the event that the earth's general sea level rises significantly due to global warming, then a barrage, (i.e. a dam across the strait ) becomes an option worth study. Such a barrage would incorporate locks to pass ships, a road and rail link to connect the continents, and hydroelectric power plant to generate power from the flow which would be generated by the Mediterranean's excess evaporation.

To prevent the Mediterranean becoming inexorably saltier, a large pipe would be led from the deep part of the dam, down into the depths of the Atlantic ocean. Because of the salinity difference, the outward flow of deep Mediterranean water would not require pumping.

The costs of such a barrage would be astronomical, but the costs could be spread among the large number of countries which would be protected—including those of the Black Sea basin.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Get 'em while they're hot:


Available in Yellow and White. Sorry, no Hunter-Orange, but then, that's not going to help you if you're out with Dick.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

George Will tells the truth:

On Sunday's This Week, George Will expressed disdain for the administration's sweeping claims of freedom to act without regard to the Congress or the courts. Now he's put it in writing in a Washington Post Op-Ed, No Checks, Many Imbalances. Some key entries:
  • the present administration ... asserts ... that whenever the nation is at war, the other two branches of government have a radically diminished pertinence to governance, and the president determines what that pertinence shall be.
  • the administration's stance that warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency targeting American citizens on American soil is a legal exercise of the president's inherent powers as commander in chief ... violates the clear language of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was written to regulate wartime surveillance.
  • the administration's argument that because the president is commander in chief, he is the "sole organ for the nation in foreign affairs." ... is refuted by the Constitution's plain language, which empowers Congress to ratify treaties, declare war, fund and regulate military forces, and make laws "necessary and proper" for the execution of all presidential powers.[emp original]



This appears to be a gathering consensus:This story is incredibly dense. There's all sorts of things to talk about:
  • Heart conditions and diagnosis.
  • Forensic details about firearm injuries.
  • The nature of 28 gauge shot.
  • Hunting safety. Hunting rules (including getting permits).
  • Cheney's drinking habits.
  • The changing explanations coming from Camp Cheney.
  • McClellan's big fight with the press corps.
  • Metaphors galore: Body armor; Shooting bin Laden; Iraq War; No WMD; Solution to Social Security / Medicare (just kill 'em); Anything goes with these guys, just like NSA spying;
  • Timeline of who knew what and when information was disclosed to whom.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

As long as housing prices stay high and interest rates low, the GOP won't feel voters' ire about shrinking paychecks:

So says Michael Mandel in a new Business Week report (via Angry Bear). Nothing earthshattering in the essay, but a reminder why Bush still manages to limp along politically.


Will Dick Cheney's hunting accident become his "killer rabbit"?

At Kos, they say it could be a signature event.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Received an e-mail today:

Got past a server spam-catcher. Got past Norton A/V.
TITLE: You've received a greeting from a family member!

CONTENT (partial): You have just received a virtual postcard from a family member!

You can pick up your postcard at the following web address:

If you can't click on the web address above, you can also visit 1001 Postcards at and enter your pickup code, which is: a91-valets-cloud-mad
The link is not to, but is in fact, an executable:

What's up at IP address ? It's where InstaJob, Inc. resides , and yes, the executable is there right now (just downloaded it).

What is postcard.gif.exe? It's a trojan of some sort (net abuse message boards are not uniform on exactly which one it is). Postcards1001 are very unhappy about this, which has been going on for over a year (with different websites being the location of the executable).

It's unclear what role is playing here. Their site may have been hacked.

Be on the alert for this sort of stuff around Valentine's day.


Way under the radar:

Via Economist's View (quoting Bloomberg), we learn the following: (Feb 10)
Most of President George W. Bush's nominees to the Federal Reserve have earned accolades from across the economic and political spectrums. And then there's Kevin Warsh. Bush's nomination of the 35-year-old White House aide -- a lawyer by training who would become one of only two members of the Fed's seven-member board of governors without a Ph.D. in economics -- has been greeted by criticism and bewilderment by some former Fed officials and economists. They point to his political connections and inexperience, and say the White House could have found a better-known, more qualified choice.


If both Warsh and [another appointee] are confirmed, said Fed-watcher Schlesinger, "for the first time in recent decades, and maybe the first time ever, the board would include three governors who recently served in the administration that appointed them.'' That, he said, "unavoidably make the board a more political cast.''


Senator Pat Roberts (R) - king of obfuscation:

If you watched yesterday's Meet the Press, you witnessed some fine mumbo-jumbo (as Josh Marshall might say). Get a load of this exchange:
MR. RUSSERT: Stop there. Then why not change the [FISA] law


MR. RUSSERT: ...rather than just ignore it?

SEN. ROBERTS: There was a lull about a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago, where that was considered. And everybody took a look at it and said, “Now wait a minute. If you change the FISA law and you have say a streamlined FISA law on top of FISA, you”—you’ve got to understand that these FISA cases are this thick and on emergency cases they are stacked up and on nonemergency cases even higher, and the time delay, we need action by minutes and hours to stop a terrorist attack. We’re talking about days—days delay. So, consequently, you could do an amendment to FISA to say this particular program does fit under FISA, but it would be a streamlined FISA.

Now, understand that’s only from a call from a foreign terrorist cell, an al-Qaeda terrorist cell to the United States; not a phone call in the United States to another person in the United States. Now, after you do all that, and you got to figure out what committee you go to and what jurisdiction you go to, and how many details you’re going to reveal, and the operational details that you reveal—and I agree with Pete. We’re to the point now where we’re about to lose the capability. That’s the big issue here in terms of going deaf. You’re right back where you started from with a president’s authority that he has under the Constitution, and you have that—the very same thing that you have now.
Taking Robert's comments seriously and breaking it down, here are his reasons why the FISA law shouldn't be changed:
  1. It would mean adding a "streamlined FISA" element to the overall FISA program
  2. An updated FISA would only apply to phone calls where one party is outside the United States
  3. Changing the law requires figuring out what Congressional committee has jurisdiction
  4. Changing the law means that Congress has to know some details of the program
  5. The U.S. is about to lose the capability to eavesdrop on such calls
  6. The president already has the authority to order wiretaps without a warrant
Reasons 1 - 5 don't make the case that FISA shouldn't be changed. That leaves reason six: The president already has the authority, and therefore no law applies. It's John Yoo's position. But it was tucked at the end of a whole lot of nonsense from Roberts.

Russert could have come back at Sen. Roberts and nailed him to the wall for such sloppy argumentation, but instead, he chats it up with Republican Representative Hoekstra: (note the end comment by Roberts)
MR. RUSSERT: But people go back to, Democrats and Republicans, many, to the law, and they’ll say the law is very clear: You cannot engage in this activity unless authorized by statute. Vice President Cheney offered this: “When we were hit on September 11th” he “was granted,” the president, “the authority by Congress to use all necessary means to take on the terrorists. And that’s what we’ve done.” Congressman Hoekstra, do you believe that the authorization to go to war, passed by Congress in 2002, excuse me, September 15, 2001, to go into Afghanistan, to take out al-Qaeda and the Taliban, that authorization granted the president the authority for this eavesdropping program?

REP. HOEKSTRA: Eleven-fifteen 2001 we were concerned about one thing; we were concerned about taking out al-Qaeda. We authorized the president, “If you find bin Laden in Afghanistan or if you find him in Pakistan, you’ve got the authority to take this guy out. You’ve got to—the authority to take out his operatives.” But on one—on 11/15, we were concerned about the operatives in the U.S., his—his operatives.

MR. RUSSERT: September—September 15.

REP. HOEKSTRA: Yeah, September 15, 2001. And to believe that we gave the president the authority to kill bin Laden, but if he was on his cell phone we said, “Oh, but if you want to listen to him calling into the United States, perhaps planning the next attack,” because we didn’t know what that might occur, “I’m sorry, you’ve got to go to the court, and you’ve got to do this one-inch thick document, and you’ve got to have a legal review before you can actually listen to what bin Laden is saying.” Intercepting communications from your enemies is an essential element of war. We’ve—it’s always been a key component conducted in war.

MR. RUSSERT: So you believe the authorization passed in September of 2001 granted the president the authority for eavesdropping.

REP. HOEKSTRA: We gave the president to conduct—we gave the president the necessary authority to use the tools to effectively fight and eliminate al-Qaeda. Absolutely.

SEN. ROBERTS: And he already has that under the Constitution anyway.
Roberts is an example of a member of Congress who is essentially an agent of the executive - willing to toss Congressional power. We saw the same thing when Frist and other Republicans wanted to eliminate the filibuster - which is basically a power that the Senate rules grant to a minority of its members.

It's really surprising to see members of the legislature so willing to transfer their authority to the executive. It's happened before in other times and in other countries, but to see it done here - and by self-proclaimed conservatives! - is truly remarkable.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Essential reading:

If you read only one blog this month/day/hour, read Glenn Greenwald's Do Bush followers have a political ideology? Which contains this neat summary about prominent commentators on the right:
... people like Michelle Malkin, John Hinderaker, Jonah Goldberg and Hugh Hewitt are not conservatives. They are authoritarian cultists. Their allegiance is not to any principles of government but to strong authority through a single leader.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

And the beat goes on:

First, Bush cuts programs for the poor, elderly, and sick, in order to keep on slashing taxes for the rich. But what does he do when one program, subsidies for rural schools and roads, is eliminated in his 2007 budget? Well, to keep the Red Staters happy, Bush plans to make up for the subsidy by selling 300,000 acres of forest, which will no doubt be at bargain prices, further enriching the well-off.

In other news, Bush is cracking down on drug importation, so poor seniors can't obtain what the market offers at cheaper prices. So much for the benefits of competition and the free market.

This administration is so blatent in its support of business at the expense of labor, the consumer, and national assets. When will the public wake up and realize what's going on?

NOTE: 300,000 acres = 468 sq miles = a square 21 miles on each side. That may not sound like much, but it can be very valuable depending on where it is. Either for timber or for commercial use.

Just like Bush squeezing the last bit of juice out of the armed forces (including the National Guard) without calling for a draft, this is another case of hiding the real cost of the administration's policies - in this instance, tax cuts.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Channeling Krauthammer: is a progressive website (a fancy way of saying a group blog) that includes in its roster, atheist Sam Harris. This week he penned a blistering attack on Islam. Not radical Islam. All of Islam.

Harris charges Islam with characteristics that apply, or applied in the past, to Christianity: Non-ecumenicalism. Claim to know the Truth. Are the Elect. Violence is an appropriate means of attaining goals.

Taking a simple view of the situation, it would appear that it's only a matter of time for Islam to, like Christianity did, transform into a more pacific faith. Harris seems unduly alarmist.

NOTE: Tht Krauthammer reference is to his column, "Curse of the Moderates", saying that, in effect, Muslim moderates are not moderate at all. (Actually Krauthammer's column was published today, so should have been Krauthammer channeling Harris.)


Thursday, February 09, 2006

George Deutsch - the radio interview:

The New York Times has excerpts of an interview Deutsch had on a radio program, and it gives a pretty good overview of what he had to say in his defense - which wasn't much except to assert that a NASA scientist, Dr. Hansen, had an agenda of promoting a worst-case scenario of global warming, and that anybody who disagreed was going to get vilified in and by the media ("the media of course is a willing accomplice here").

In the Times story, they provide a link to radio station WTAW, which has an audio feed of the interview. In it, Deutsch said things which were even more accusatory. Here is a transcript of the first part of the interview: (emp add)
"Dr. James Hansen has for a long time been a proponent of a particular global warming agenda - that being that global warming is a horrific problem that will destroy the earth very soon and that steps need to be taken to stop it. What he's willing to do is to smear people and to misrepresent things to the media and to the public to get that message accross. What's sad here is there are partisan ties of his all the way up to the top of the Democratic party and he's using those ties and using his media connections to push an agenda, a worst case scenario agenda of global warming, a "the sky is falling" agenda of global warming. And anybody who is even perceived to disagree with him is labeled a censor and is demonized and vilified in the media - and the media of course is a willing accomplice here.

It bears mentioning that there has yet to be any proof of any scientific watering down or any scientific censorship coming from NASA in regards to Hansen or anybody else. What you do have is hearsay coming from a handful of people with who have clear partisan ties, and they're really coming after me as a Bush appointee and the rest of the Bush appointees because this is a partisan issue. It's a cultural war issue. They do not like Republicans. They do not like people who support the president. They do not like Christians. And if you're perceived as disagreeing with them or being one of those people, they will stop at nothing to discredit you."


Bush rattled by speech at King funeral:

Yeah, like we should care about his feelings. This guy, don't forget, ridiculed the pleas of Karla Faye Tucker.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Theological question:

You may recall that in 1996, somebody discovered a cinnamon bun that looked a lot like Mother Teresa. It was given the name Nun BunTM (aka the Immaculate ConfectionTM) and put on display at the Bongo Java coffee shop where it remained until it was stolen Christmas Day 2005. Generally speaking, nobody took offense with the discovery and promotion of the Nun Bun.
Now, in light of the recent controversy over the cartoons, what would happen if somebody discovered a pastry, a Danish perhaps, that looked like the prophet Mohammed? (Or at least one's conception of Mohammed, since nobody knows what he looked like.) It wouldn't be a deliberate representation like that an illustrator or cartoonist would make. It would be a natural occurrence, and therefore not in violation of the Koran's injunction against a person "making" an image.

Perhaps if such a confection were to emerge from a baker's oven, we could stop arguing over the cartoons and, instead, focus on important messages found in rolls of dough (or failing that, the entrails of sacrificed animals).


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

This guy's been a menace since day one:

Watched the Super Bowl. Sort of enjoyed the Stones at half-time. Got curious about how old Jagger was. Looke him up in Wikipedia (he's 62). On the same bio page, encountered this:
Drug controversy

In 1967 Jagger and Richards were arrested and charged with drug possession after a highly publicised raid on Richards' country house, during which it was alleged that Faithfull was found naked except for a fur rug wrapped around her. The raid was later revealed to have been prompted by a tip-off to the London Drug Squad by journalists working for Rupert Murdoch's News Of The World, which at the time was running a series of lurid reports about the alleged use of illegal drugs by British pop stars.
Murdoch. And now he runs Fox News, the NYPost, Weekly Standard, and other influential media entities.

CORRECTION: Commentator Namdoog points out that Murdoch didn't take control of the News of the World until 1969. The Wikipedia entry (quoted above) was misleading. Uggabugga regrets the error.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Where is the outrage?

Muslims throughout the world are protesting those cartoons that depict the prophet Mohammed. But to our great surprise, there haven't been any complaints (so far) about the U.S. Supreme Court.

What are we talking about?

A while back - maybe 15 years ago - there was a bit of a ruckus over the depiction of Mohammed at the Supreme Court. Inside the building are several friezes. From Snopes:
The friezes which adorn the north and south walls of the courtroom in the Supreme Court building (also designed by Adolph Weinman) depict a procession of 18 great lawgivers: Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius and Octavian (south wall); Justinian, Mohammed, Charlemagne, King John, Louis IX, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, John Marshall and Napoleon (north wall):
Here's the part of the frieze that depicts Mohammed:
Back then one of the complaints, besides the depiction of the prophet, was that he was shown with a sword in his right hand (no problem there), but in his left hand, he's holding the Koran. And using the left hand was deemed offensive.

Yet in all the furor over the Danish cartoons, this old grudge about the Supreme Court frieze has been forgotten. C'mon guys, start protesting in front of Justice Roberts!

NOTE: For those who think the Internet has everything, just try to find a good image of the north frieze inside the Supreme Court. Amazingly, the only image we could find was at a personal geocities web page.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Pay no attention to the stock market bug on ABC:

Here in Los Angeles, we like to tune in to ABC's Good Morning America to see what's up. In addition to the news and features, GMA has a stock market "bug" in the lower right corner of the screen.

It cycles through DOW, change in DOW, NASDAQ, change in NASDAQ. But viewers should be warned. It's flat out wrong - at least when it starts out for the first half hour.

Here is what the bug had for the DOW at the start of the program:


The early hours for the DOW had it well below closing.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

At least the White House was honest in this one instance:

Josh Marshall writes:
TPM emailers tell me that the best moment of the speech came when the president said that last year Congress 'failed' to act on his plan to phase out Social Security. Dems cheered; Republicans sat with stony silence. I would like to have seen that.
So, how did that event get recorded over on the White House website? From their page of the speech:
Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security -- (applause) --



In the New York Times editorial about Bush's SOTU remarks on energy independence, we read:
It should be a humbling shock to American leaders that Brazil has managed to become energy self-sufficient during a period when the United States was focused on building bigger S.U.V.'s.
Brazil did it? I was in Brazil in the early 1980's (doing a computer installation) and they were in the process of switching over from gasoline to ethanol. The oil shock of 1979 was still fresh in everybody's memory. Ethanol was what you put in the tank, and the odor was pervasive. The joke was that it smelled like they'd poured cheap wine on all the streets.

Brazil's ethanol policy was criticized at the time and for almost two decades forward. Oil became cheap again. Ethanol production has its problems. Etc.

But it looks as if Brazil made the right choice after all.


"the economy" doesn't mean you:

In the State of the Union speech, like in other venues, Bush talks about all sorts of things that help "the economy", implying that if "the economy" is robust, you will benefit. Some examples from the speech:
  • We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy -- even though this economy could not function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction -- toward a stagnant and second-rate economy.
  • ... our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest. In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and families -- and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth.
  • Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy.
"The economy" is the sum of everything, much of which goes to the wealthy. Bush's frequent use of this aggregate measure is a way of avoiding the reality that for most of us, there has been very little growth.