Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Friday, October 31, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Bush Frightens Me - Vote Dean

The first 10,000 people to give $31.00 or more get a "Bush Frightens Me - Vote Dean" button. Go!


Night Of The Living Ladybugs

It was 67 degrees today, which is a nice contrast to the usual cold and rainy (or cold and snowy) Halloweens. That might be why we're being overrun by ladybugs in the house. Like ghosts, they appear to have the ability to walk through walls. How else to explain it? They are everywhere. Aaahhhhhhh!


Ayn Clouter Needs Help

Go suggest a new name for the Democratic Party. Losercrat has already been suggested, so you'll need to work harder than that.


Shorter Ann Coulter

We on the Right aren't the racists, it's you liberals. My proof? You won't approve Bush's latest judicial nominee, Janice Rogers Brown, because she's black.


This Can't Be Good

U.S. warns of 'day of resistance' in Iraq.

Probably not equivalent to Tet, but damn this is threatening to get uglier. I still don't think anything super big, if the Iraqis can organize such a thing, is going to happen until after Ramadan. No real data to support that position, just a hunch. I hope it doesn't come at all, but I can't be that optimistic.


Northern Lights

A few pics of the Northern Lights in Vermont last night. Taken by somebody other than us, damn it. We missed 'em. Apparently much more spectacular than the usual white and pale green stuff we get here.


OSP For Your Reading Enjoyment

Go to Open Source Politics and read:

* My post The Company We Keep, which takes a look at what's been going on in Russia. Between the amount of natural resources in Russia, and the nuclear arsenal entrusted to them after the Soviet breakup, the future of Russia is important to the future of the world. From these details, the future of the democracy in Russia doesn't look so great.

* War Profiteering: Irresponsible - Received wisdom says that Democrats have to fight the public's trust of the GOP when it comes to matters of war. Jeff Alworth identifies one such matter that should be a lock for the Dems: war profiteering.

* Closing our doors to refugees? - Fleeing persecution and torture in your own country, you arrive in the U.S. hoping that it will give you refuge. Instead, you find yourself detained and investigated as a national security threat. Laura Poyneer reports on disturbing signs that this is America's new refugee policy.


PS--Happy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 30, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Good News: Bush Has Cured Cancer!

Not really, but I just received this e-mail from his campaign:

The U.S. economy surged ahead at the fastest pace since 1984 in the third quarter of this year! The Department of Commerce this morning announced that the nation's gross domestic product increased at the astounding rate of 7.2 percent, exceeding economist expectations and more than double the 3.3 percent rate the economy posted in the second quarter of this year.

Today's good news shows that the economy and consumer confidence is responding to President Bush's jobs and growth economic policies. The President's tax relief put more money back in the pockets of working families and helped American businesses to make new investments.

All signs point to a strong recovery.

Well, I guess I'll be changing that Dean Troll Tax into a Bush Troll Tax now. I'm sure one strong quarter of growth in a jobless economy means everything is hunky dory, right? According the web page the e-mail pointed me to, the answer is a resounding "yes!"

[Important Update: the new meme is officially all of this is part of the "Bush Bubble". Say it as often as you can. Thanks to faithful reader vaara.]


How Do You Solve A Problem? With SOFIA!

Don't worry, everything's under control in Iraq and Afghanistan: the DoD has set up a website!

The Department of Defense announced today that it has established an Internet site for recruiting temporary contract federal civilian workers to assist in rebuilding the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan

Supporting Our Friends in Iraq and Afghanistan (SOFIA) is a Department of Defense program that seeks to hire motivated civilian employees to help the fledgling Iraqi and Afghani governments in their quest to become full-fledged democracies.

SOFIAs web site is located at:

Why does this not make me feel good?


Possibly Good News For Dean

MSGOP: Huge union to back 'Dean or no one' - But 1.6 million-member SEIU could decide to delay decision.

Wow, this on top of the coveted Dohiyi Mir endorsement should really give him a boost...


Pretty Good Economic News

3rd quarter GDP grew a very healthy 7.2% according to the Dept. of Commerce:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 7.2 percent in the third quarter of 2003, according to advance estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.3 percent.
The major contributors to the increase in real GDP in the third quarter were personal consumption expenditures (PCE), equipment and software, residential fixed investment, and exports. The contributions of these components were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment.

Not surprising that consumer spending fueled this boost, since that's the major component of our economy. As I speculated earlier this month, a lot of that appears to be due to the child tax credit checks this summer. Nice to see something good from BushCo policies, even though it's likely temporary and opens up a huge can of worms.

My main concerns are about sustainability, consumer debt, the Federal deficit, state budget woes and the job market. Consumer spending appears to have slowed this quarter--I've seen plenty of anecdotal (admittedly not quantitative) evidence to support that notion. So what we've just had is a short bounce and we'll recede back to the doldrums.

Further, we still seem to have a huge individual debt load that is only going to suppress further consumer spending in the long run. Not to mention saddling the states and ultimately our children with immense deficits at the Federal level. How are we going to pay for all this when new jobs still aren't being created fast enough even to cover new entrants into the workforce, let alone bring back the 3 million jobs lost since Bush took office?

That said, it's great to see business spending is starting to pick up and that the economy did grow at such a torrid pace last quarter. I'd like to take that as 100% good news, but with all the false starts we've had before, and the caveats above, I'm not convinced we're out of the woods yet. Here's hoping...


Toot Toot

Thanks to all the Eschaton readers following Atrios' front page link to this humble blog's comments about Donald Luskin. While a mere fraction of a fraction of a fraction of Atrios-level traffic, I had a new record of 700+ visits yesterday because of you. Stick around, check out some other stories, and I hope some of you come back!

On a related note, DM has now reached Large Mammal status, coming in at #225 in the TTLB Ecosystem. And while the boost in visitors can't possibly last, right now I'm at 261st place in the traffic rankings.

As always, I appreciate your patronage.

Rock on,

PS--Also a hearty thanks to my faithful readers! 

One More TTLB Vote

ink from the squid. A Texan for Dean.

That is all,

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Speaking Of That Psychotic Stalker, Donald Luskin

Another word we might use to describe him is asshat:

Asshat is by no means just a replacement for the word 'asshole,' but at the current state of the economy there is no better word to compare it to.

n. slang
1. A thoroughly contemptible, detestable person.

I've been using that word a lot these days, but I never knew an official site existed until my wife brought it to my attention. Anyway, let's practice using it in a sentence: "Donald Luskin is not only a stalker, he's also an asshat." Very good!


Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Bill And Opus

So I think I finally have come to blame the Green Party for our current mess. I came to that conclusion on my extra long drive home from volleyball.

I'm not a member of any party, and vote pretty much all over the map: Dem, GOP, Libertarian, Progressive/Socialist, even Natural Law. I seriously considered voting for Nader in 2000, but I wasn't entirely impressed with him, and yes, I did the electoral calculation that I would rather not take a chance that a vote for Nader would be a vote for Bush. Cynical, but it's my right as a voter to decide how to exercise my franchise.

And of course that means so do all you folks who voted Green in 2000. I'm not blaming you in the sense that some angry Dems do. What I'm blaming is the choice(s) the party made. I already had a sense that Bush was going to be very destructive to this nation and certainly my fears have been borne out, albeit a bit more in the extreme than I anticipated. So I didn't want to take any chance that he would get elected.

I'm one of those pragmatists who doesn't like the 2 party system, but am willing to live with it for the moment if all we're going to get is symbolic victories. Great, so Nader got 5%. Congratulations! Now we have an economy in the shitter, eroding civil rights and two quagmires.

Gore might not have been as liberal as the Greens wanted, but he would have been infinitely better than what we got. I think where the Greens should focus is making the party a viable local force. Work on getting viable candidates at the State level. Get a couple seats in Congress.

In other words, let's take some baby steps. Try to build a good grassroots organization and local strength first, rather than trying to leap into the fray for the Executive Branch of the US. If you can prove to be a good alternative to the Dems and GOP, then you'll be able to springboard into higher office. Until then, I think all you're going to do is give the GOP even more opportunities to fuck up this country.

I think at least one of my readers is a Green (who this time 'round advocates voting Dem). Any others? Am I full of shit, or on to something?

Rock on,

More On Deathmatch: Luskin Versus Atrios

So I had some extra time to think on my way to volleyball tonight (had a 10 minute detour around a road that splits a cornfield that often floods). I got to thinking about this whole letter from Luskin's lawyer calling Atrios' post libel.

As you see below, there seems to be a difference between traditional media and the samizdat publishing of the blog world. However, I'll note that the court decision cited in the Wired magazine article discusses republished material. In other words, if Atrios calls Luskin a stalker, and I quote Atrios, I'm cool.

It's unclear to me that Atrios is off the hook from a legal POV. That said, I do believe we have a different burden than Faux News. Why? Because as the article notes that we are merely engaging in free speech. Consider this a personal log, and oh by the way, you're welcome to read it. I guess we'll need a test case to see if the 9th Circuit ruling can be extended to cover original content.

This does make me wonder, though. If blogging becomes the real force for change and a bigger alternative to mainstream news outlets that people envision (color me optimistically skeptical), will we bloggers be taking on a mantle of greater responsibility for the truth? Or will we all get away with acting like Drudge? Should we be able to get away with saying anything?

Right now Atrios doesn't reach as many people as the Moonie Times, but some day he might. Then maybe he'll have the power to destroy somebody's reputation unfairly, and I would think he would need to be more careful about what he says. Unless, of course, it's clearly satirical as we saw in the whole fair and balanced Faux vs. Franken debacle.

Back to the present. Given what Luskin himself has said in the past (see Donald Luskin Greatest Hits at Eschaton), it would seem that one could label him a stalker of sorts, certainly in the spirit that Atrios used it. Regardless, I think it's clear to people who can read that Atrios was having fun with that rep, and even if his commenters got a little carried away, it's nowhere in the neighborhood of libel. And that 9th Circuit ruling does seem to give him cover, but still, it's murky to me. Maybe some of my more legal-minded readers can help. that rambled a bit. Hope it made sense.

Over and out,

Missed It By That Much

Argh! Our v-ball team played extremely well today. Alas, we came up just a tad short: 12-15, 15-7, 14-16. We blew an 11-5 lead in the tie-breaker--it was a "rally point" game (every side out gives a point to the other team), and we suck at those for some reason. But we played a great team, and I think we're coming together as a team ourselves.


Donald Luskin Stalking Atrios

Start the Atrios Defense Fund:

This firm represents Donald L. Luskin, a Contributing Editor to National Review Online and author and host of, among other activities. You recently linked to Mr. Luskin’s October 7, 2003, posting on his website entitled “Face To Face With Evil,” in which he chronicles his attendance at a lecture and book signing presented by Paul Krugman. You chose the unfortunate caption “Diary of a Stalker” for your link. More importantly, your readers, in responding to your invitation to comment, have posted numerous libelous statements regarding Mr. Luskin. Picking up on the theme you introduced, several have made false assertions that Mr. Luskin has committed the crime of stalking. Such a statement constitutes libel per se, an actionable tort subjecting both the author and the publisher to liability for both actual and punitive damages.

BTW, Luskin's lawyer, one JEFFREY J. UPTON, buys OxyContin from Rush Limbaugh's maid. And he boils kittens.


[Update: eyeteeth over at Atrios posted this tidbit:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers.

Online free speech advocates praised the decision as a victory. The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists. One implication is that DIY publishers like bloggers cannot be sued as easily.

"One-way news publications have editors and fact-checkers, and they're not just selling information -- they're selling reliability," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "But on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward."

Excellent, so even if I claim that Luskin is not only a psychotic stalker, he's also a child molester, and Upton used to dump bodies in the East River for the mob, it doesn't matter. Whew!]

[More thoughts in a new post above...] 

Mission Accomplished: Ukrainians Ambushed In Iraq


The ambush of the Ukrainians occurred Tuesday night when two armored personnel carriers rolled over land mines near Suwayrah, about 40 miles southeast of Baghdad.

After the vehicles were disabled, unidentified gunmen opened fire on the disembarked soldiers, a spokesman for the multinational division at Camp Babylon said on condition of anonymity.

About 1,650 Ukrainians are serving in the Polish-led stabilization force patrolling central and southern Iraq. The spokesman said it was the first ambush of coalition forces in the Polish sector.

Disturbing to see the attacks on non-US troops, because it would appear to indicate a widening of the war. The Polish force was supposedly in a "quiet" sector. What's more, the Ukrainians are my peeps. If you'd like to know a smidge more about Ukraine and its involvement in Iraq, check out the short OSP piece I wrote a couple weeks ago...


[Update: fixed the URL to my OSP article. Thanks to Vivian for the catch.]

TTLB Vote: LGF Watch

Because I truly despise Little Green Footballs (LGF), the hateful blog run by nutbag Charles "If you say anything I don't like, you're an anti-semite and I'll ban you" Johnson, I'm casting my vote for LGF Watch in this week's TTLB New Blog Showcase, sponsored by the League of Liberals.

No bloc voting this time from the League, but there are 5 links on the the front page of our official site for your consideration.


Freeper Quote Of The Day

If the Detroit Tigers were liberals, Dan Rather would have cheerily reported each of their 43 wins, and conveniently ignored their 119 defeats. A casual listener would believe they were 43-0. - TruthShallSetYouFree, as quoted in the Columnist's Corner

Discussion: interesting that they would choose a losing team for the analogy. Allow me to edit slightly for clarity:

If the Detroit Tigers were the Bush Administration, Faux News would have cheerily reported each of their 43 wins, and conveniently ignored their 119 defeats. A casual listener would believe they were 43-0.

To be fair, spellcheck wouldn't have caught the freeper's mistakes.


Shorter Free Republic

Gay marriage is a Communist plot.


Mission Accomplished: New Milestone

Reuters (via Lunaville):

Two U.S. soldiers were killed in an attack north of Baghdad late on Tuesday, the U.S. military said on Wednesday, taking the combat death toll among U.S. troops in Iraq since the war higher than the wartime total.

Um...with so many troops continuing to be killed, doesn't that mean THIS IS STILL A WAR?

And how is that mission going, anyway:

* Saddam still missing.
* WMD still missing.
* Al Qaeda calling for battle in Iraq (Osama who?), now openly in the country.
* Al Qaeda threatening attacks on US soil because of our occupation of Iraq.
* "Coalition" soldiers, Iraqi civilians, and other people being killed on a daily basis.

Gosh, maybe our mission wasn't accomplished.


OSP Selections For The Day

I direct your attention to these pieces at Open Source Politics:

* MPAA vs. You: Now on HDTV - Earl Dunovant raises the red flag about the MPAA's proposed "broadcast flag" for High Definition Television (HDTV) content.

* Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Terrorists - Patrick Taylor digs into the MiniTruth, er...DoJ website dedicated to a correct interpretation of USA PATRIOT.

* A Job To Do - Bush complains that the media "filter" is preventing the public from hearing all the "good news" coming out of Iraq. But as Paul Heller reports, the bad news underscores the fact that Bush's real worry - and ours - should be the fact that when it comes to Iraq, the U.S. still has a job to do.

Enjoy, and be enlightened!


Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Mission Accomplished

President Bush today tries to remember who was responsible for displaying the "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln in May.

President Bush in May on the USS Lincoln, not minding at all having his photograph taken under the "Mission Accomplished" banner the sailors allegedly wanted put up.

One month later, President Bush said to troops in Qatar:

America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished. (Applause.)

Know what? I don't give a rat's ass whose idea it was to put up the banner.

Fact is, BushCo made damn sure the President got the chance to pull his stunt on the Lincoln in his custom flight suit. BushCo made damn sure the President was right under that banner while declaring, "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." BushCo made damn sure that people believed the mission was in fact accomplished in subsequent words and actions. And now we must make damn sure they don't get away with their "technically accurate" deceptions.

Far be it from me to quote Revoltin' Joe Lieberman, but he said it best today*:

"Today was another banner day in George Bush's quest to bring honor and integrity to the White House," Lieberman said. "If he wanted to prove he has trouble leveling with the American people, mission accomplished."

Say it ain't so, Joe.


* Dean had a statement as well. 


A little shifting in the Top 10 belief systems that I would fall into. Last time I took this quiz, SH was #1 at 100%, but Lib Quaker was #2 and UU was #3 (don't recall the %):

1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (99%)
3. Liberal Quakers (87%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (82%)
5. Neo-Pagan (77%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (73%)
7. Nontheist (69%)
8. New Age (63%)
9. Mahayana Buddhism (52%)
10. Taoism (50%)

(thanks to Amy for reminding me about the quiz)

I used to subscribe to The Humanist, and humanism does seem to describe my attitudes the best. I know lots of Quakers who have ultimately become Unitarians, so it's not surprising that UU is so high on my list. I've also in the past experimented with Taoism and Buddhism.

In reality, I still consider myself an agnostic Quaker. I reject the term "atheist" because I do have a sense of spirituality, and my Gandhian beliefs (e.g., satyagraha) make me recognize I don't have a monopoly on truth, so who am I to judge whether there is definitely no higher power?

So, what are you?


Bush Press Conference Redux

Transcript is now available. I think my favorite part was this (alluded to below):

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You recently put Condoleezza Rice, your National Security Advisor, in charge of the management of the administration's Iraq policy. What has effectively changed since she's been in charge? And the second question, can you promise a year from now that you will have reduced the number of troops in Iraq?

Bush's first response:

THE PRESIDENT: The second question is a trick question, so I won't answer it.

Petulant boy. He continued by explaining Condi's role in managing BushCo Iraq policy thus:

Her job is to coordinate interagency. She's doing a fine job of coordinating interagency. She's doing -- the role of the National Security Advisor is to not only provide good advice to the President, which she does on a regular basis -- I value her judgment and her intelligence -- but her job is also to deal interagency and to help unstick things that may get stuck, is the best way to put it. She's an unsticker. And -- is she listening? Okay, well, she's doing a fine job.

Isn't there something vaguely Clintonian about "unsticker"? I guess that's better than a pot sticker. Ooh, let's start a rumor: Condi is Bush's "little dumpling".

Anybody else have a favorite moment?


People Getting On The Clue Train

Pew Research Center:

[E]ven as Bush's complaints about the media "filter" of news from Iraq ring true with many Americans, an increasing number believe U.S. forces in the country should be withdrawn as soon as possible. 39% say that now, compared with 32% in late September. A 58% majority wants U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until a stable government is established, down from 64% last month.
Public support for the decision to go to war is slipping as well. Six-in-ten Americans (60%) now say it was the right decision to go to war in Iraq, down from 63% in September, 67% in July and 74% in April, shortly after the fall of Baghdad. However, the public's assessments of the military situation, which turned much more negative in the summer, have not changed much in the past few months. Fewer than one-in-five (16%) believe things in Iraq are going very well, with a plurality (44%) saying things are going fairly well; both numbers are largely unchanged from September (15% very well, 47% fairly well). In April, 61% of Americans said the military effort was going very well.

I don't think today's press conference is going to help Bush deal with the "perception gap".


Today's Bush Press Conference

President Bush. Gave a press conference. His tenth. It is unclear why.

It was disjointed. And Bush was flat. Monotone you might say. He trotted out old memes.

More to come...


[Update: the first big laugher, in response to CNN's John King's question about releasing documents to the 9/11 Commission (paraphrase, verbatim words when transcript available):

We don't want to give out the Presidential Daily Briefs because we want to people who write them to be comfortable that their words won't be politicized.

Riiiight. Another, in response to a question about whether he was pre-mature in declaring "mission accomplished":

Look at my speech, I said Iraq was a dangerous place. That "mission accomplished" banner was for the USS Lincoln people, I don't know how that's gotten somehow related to some genius on my advance team, who wasn't a genius.

He's rambling, calling on 9/11 as much as he can, and sounding really weird. Don't expect an 11th press conference anytime soon...

When asked if he could promise that troop numbers would be reduced in Iraq a year from now, Bush replied: "that's a trick question, so I won't answer it."

Answer to a question about campaign fundraising: "we're arming...raising money to wage...a campaign."

One last item. Bush has said a number of times that Saddam was a "gathering threat" or "gathering danger" (presumably to reinforce the meme that he never said and/or implied "imminent"). Anyway, he also said "Our economy is showing signs of broad and gathering strength". Does that mean it's imminently going to be strong?]

Dangerous RPS Gap

We must catch up with the Canadians and close the RPS gap before it's too late!


Support Our Troops

A letter from Gerson J. Subotky, U.S. Army (Ret.) of Vine Grove, KY, in Stars and Stripes yesterday:

George Washington once warned Congress, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
A law dating back to the post Civil War era, promulgated by a Confederate veteran who wanted to get back at Union veterans, requires that military retirees who are disabled must give up from their earned retirement pay an amount equal to that of their disability compensation. In short, we are required to subsidize our own disability on a dollar for dollar basis. No other federal retirees, civil service or congressional, are subject to this unjust law.
For the past two years, relief from this onerous law has been blocked by the Bush administration.
This year, the Bush administration offered restoration only if older veterans were willing to see disability benefits drastically cut for future disabled veterans. The older veterans, mindful of George Washington's charge, refused such shameful action.

George Washington foresaw a nation which might forget its older veterans of past wars. But I don't think he expected the nation to so quickly forget current veterans of current wars.

How dare anybody question whether Bush's opponents support our troops. We do. He doesn't. End of story.


Stay The Course

Bush yesterday:

It's in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerge. And we will stay the course in order to achieve this objective.

I've been hearing him say "stay the course" a lot lately. It always reminds me of the SNL skit "ABC Presents Debate '88":

Bush (Dana Carvey): So, in summary . . . stay the course . . . thousand points of light . . . thousand points of light . . . stay the course.

Moderator (I forget): Governor Dukakis? Rebuttal?

Dukakis (John Lovitz): I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.

One of my favorite skits.


A Personal Take On Terri Schiavo

Go read the very personal perspective faithful reader Steve Bates shares on the Terri Schiavo case.


Monday, October 27, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

FPS Saves The Day In Iraq

The DoD spin on the attacks against the Al Rasheed Hotel yesterday:

Facilities Protection Service forces responded within minutes when 1st Armored Division soldiers sighted a suspicious generator trailer being moved into a park near the hotel. As a result, the perpetrators fled the scene before they could fully arm the launching device hidden inside, Wolfowitz said, calling the two Iraqi Facilities Protection Service members who suffered shrapnel injuries during the attack "real heroes."

Interesting, given that the "science project" was alleged to have been designed to operate *after* the perps left the scene anyway. Killing a US Colonel, wounding 18 or so people, and nearly missing US officials: our strategy clearly is working!


Shorter Jonah Goldberg Redux

I have an irrational hatred for lots of things. Oh, but wait: I *rationally* hated Bill Clinton, which makes me superior to you Bush haters.


You Win Some, You Lose Some

Okay, so it looks like Hell for Halliburton isn't going to win this week's TTLB New Blog Showcase. But in a sense, that doesn't matter because the League of Liberals won the sponsorship prize (you know how we Lefties care so much about collective good):

Preliminary results for the New Weblog Showcase have Irreconcilable Musings in a strong lead with the post Defending the Blogosphere Front in the War on Terrorism. Musings has 57 votes as compared to the nearest competitor, liberal favorite Hell for Halliburton, which trails at 42 links for the post Halliburton Again - and again - and again.
In the Alliance contest for Showcase sponsorship, however, there seems to be no point in waiting. The League of Liberals comes roaring out of the gate in their first official week in the contest to deliver a staggering 100% (yes, 100%) participation rate among their 27 members. Full results are:

League of Liberals: 27 of 27 = 100.0 % participation
Blogger Alliance: 40 of 89 = 44.9 % participation
Axis of Naughty: 6 of 24 = 25.0 % participation

I am therefore declaring the League the winners for this week effective immediately, and their logo now hangs in the place of honor atop the Showcase. Congratulations to the League for their victory!

We rule.


Bush Tells Three Whoppers

Yes, I'm doing everything I can to help the 9/11 Commission, things are going swimmingly in Iraq, and I filled out that codpiece with my own, er, it was this big, question.


Straightforward, As Always

Bush today:

Question: Can you tell us if you will direct your staff to turn over the highly classified intelligence documents that the 9/11 commission has so far been unsuccessfully seeking, even if they are presidential daily briefings, and if so, when?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, those are very sensitive documents. And my attorney, Al Gonzales, is working with Chairman Kean.

So I guess when Bush calls on the PA, or US corporations to be more transparent, it's a case of "do as I say, not as I do", eh?


CA Fire Pics

From League of Liberals member Kynn Bartlett at Shock and Awe:

I've uploaded pictures I took yesterday of the Mountain Fire in southern California. This one is near Temecula...
Suddenly the fire jumped the road, and there were flames on either side of me:

That's when I left.


Dean Documentary

From faithful reader, Bill Simmon:

The biographical documentary on former Vermont governor and presidential candidate, Howard Dean, that some of us were working on this past summer is now online and available for your streaming pleasure. Burlingtonians Mark Sasahara, Dan Mazur, Michael Burke, Nick Haggerty and myself shot some of the footage for this piece.

Some Hollywood directors including Charlie Herman-Wurmfeld (Kissing Jessica Stein, Legally Blonde 2) and Doug Liman (Swingers, Go, and The Bourne Identity) came to town and worked with us on the project. It was edited out in California and it's called "The Doctor is In."

For those of you who care, the footage shot by us includes all of Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean's interview, much of the Governor's announcement speech in Burlington, and other interviews with Vermont politicians. Mark Sasahara, Michael Burke and I shot loads of b-roll over several weekends, which was then FedExed to California in an emergency rush situation and... none of it was used! Typical.

Anyway, enjoy and Go Dean!

I command my loyal cadre of 14 readers to go to to see what my friends have put together*.


* You'll need to select the appropriate video options first. Then select The Doctor Is In" Biographical Documentary from the Video Menu.  

Fair And Balanced Debate On Fox

Fox was certainly fair and balanced during yesterday's Democratic debate. For example, look at the very first question, from Fox News Chief BushCo Mouthpiece, , er...Political Correspondent, Carl Cameron, directed at Howard Dean :

Governor, there was more violence this morning in Baghdad, a missile attack on the al-Rashid Hotel claimed the life of an American military colonel as well as injuring a number of others.

You opposed the war and now the $87 billion to fund its reconstruction and the stabilization of the region.

What do you say to service members and their families who view your position as something short of supporting the troops?

HOWARD DEAN: I don't think service men and women do view my position as short of supporting the troops. I've made it very clear that we need to support our troops, unlike President Bush, who tried to cut their combat pay after they'd been over there and he'd doubled their tour of duty, unlike President Bush who tried to cut -- who successfully cut 164,000 veterans off their health-care benefits.

I'd say all of us up here support our troops a great deal more than the president of the United States does.



Read OSP Today

I've got more prep to do for today's security class, so my blogging will be light until evening as usual. Your hunger for blogoriffic information will be quelled with a variety of posts on Open Source Politics today:

* In the Knowledge section, we've got a review of "NOW with Bill Moyers" on NCLB - Jay Bullock reviews the recent episode of Bill Moyers's PBS series "NOW," covering "American Schools in Crisis." As it turns out, we're all doomed.

* In the SocialEyes section: Ramadan Fast Brings Out the Spiritual Side of Islam - Laura Poyneer hopes that the Islamic month of Ramadan can be a time for both Muslims and non-Muslims to reach out to each other.

* Last but not least, in the LegalWrites section: Florida Republicans Ignore the Constitution - Kenneth Quinell offers his coverage of the Shiavo ordeal and notes that the methods that powerful Republicans in Florida are using are odious even to other Republican lawmakers in that state.

There, of course, are many other good posts as well as the ones I've highlight. Go now and be enlightened.


Shorter NRO

We're clearly winning the "war on terror" because there hasn't been another 9/11*, and since our military kicked ass in Iraq**, it's time to move on to Syria for another cakewalk victory in this perpetual war!


* Please pay no attention to all the other terrorist attacks worldwide, the resurgent Taliban, etc.

** Not

Hidden Wounds

One of Atrios' readers wrote:

I'm a counselor at a psychiatric triage unit in *****. I just had a long talk with one of our clients, a soldier just back from Iraq withclassic PTSD symptoms. He's a wreck, reliving an incident where he was forced to fire on Iraqi children and now he can't live with himself. His family has abandoned him because he drinks nightly to drown the demons, he can't sleep because of the fear of "seeing the faces of those kids", and naturally, he feels that he can't go on with life anymore.

So sad, so sad. This war, as do all wars, is causing far greater damage than we can see. Go read the rest.


Heating Up

As regular readers know, I don't usually report on attacks in Iraq. But we've seen a pretty big, concerted effort on the part of the resistance recently. And now this:

An estimated 30 people were killed and more than 110 wounded Monday in a wave of bomb attacks in Baghdad, U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi officials said.
At least three other bomb attacks were reported Monday morning on Iraqi police stations across Baghdad, but a fourth one was thwarted. Coalition officials said that two U.S. soldiers died in one of these bombings and an unknown number of U.S. troops were injured.

An Iraqi policeman was killed and five were wounded, the officials said.

These attacks came a day after four U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq -- including one in a rocket attack on Baghdad's Rashid Hotel.

Again, as I noted in comments I don't think there's some sort of monolithic Iraqi public over there, but I do think the Shia are growing restless, the resistance is getting obviously more sophisticated while we become less mobile, and our time is up. While I don't think there will be a "Ramadan Offensive", I do think this month will represent a real turning point. I sure do hope I'm wrong.


Sunday, October 26, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Preserving Life and Liberty

Apparently USA PATRIOT isn't bad at all. How do I know? The DOJ has created a spiffy website at that tells me so.

It has all sorts of useful information, such as the page that dispels all those damned liberal myths about how evil it is. Turns out all the hubbub is silly, because PATRIOT "limits domestic terrorism to conduct that breaks criminal laws, endangering human life", and other nice stuff. So relax! I know I'll sleep better tonight.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by MiniTruth.


Why I Hate Falling Back

Because it's 530PM and pitch black outside.


Ah, Venice

Watching Last Crusade. Don't expect anything from me for a while...


Maria Bartiromo A Bush Cheerleader?

Nope, not a caption contest. Boring picture, actually. But is that CNBC's Maria Bartiromo with the disposable camera in the background? Think she's going to be giving us objective reports on the economy?


[Update: I forget to make my confession: I used to watch CNBC all the time in the mid and late 90s because a) the market was going upupup, so it was fun, and b) I've always thought Maria was cute, even on her bad hair days. Now my retirement savings and lust for Maria are both much lower. I might also be wiser than I was...] 

Bikers Beware


Noted Christo-fascist enabler Chuckie Johnson, who also happens to be an avid cyclist and a devoted fan of intrepid Frog-slayer Lance Armstrong, will undoubtedly be horrified to learn that certain talk-radio hosts, in the Midwest and elsewhere, are urging their listeners to commit aggravated assault against people on bicycles.

Given I've not put my pedals back on my bike, I'm in no danger of such attacks until next season. Go read the quoted article. The line that pisses me off the most:

[O]ne woman...boasted that her father intentionally hit one while they were on the way to church.

Somehow that doesn't strike me as the most Christian attitude...


Wolfowitz: Service in Baghdad Hotel "Much Better Than You Think"

Tom Burka today: Occasional Rockets, Explosions, Hardly Disturb Sleep In Hugely Comfy Bed. Heh.


Sam Update

Sam's has been introduced to Grandma and Grandpa, our usual babysitters. They haven't forgetten about the other grandanimals, bringing Cairo a new bone and Saffron a catnip toy.

Some blurry photos action shots of Sam with his favorite string:

And less blurry shots at his scratching post:


Shorter David Broder

I'll focus on Howard Dean's socially liberal views to explain why he's kicking ass in New Hampshire, ignoring his fiscal conservatism which is probably more important to folks in this state*. That way I can continue fueling the meme that he's a radical lefty.


* Check out the PDF report about the Democracy Corps poll and judge for yourself. BTW, NTodd lives next door to this very anti-tax, fiscally conservative state. 

Shorter George Bush

Yesterday's radio address: I sure do like the UN and community of nations. Why, if every person in the world would just send us 10 bucks, we could pay to rebuild Iraq.


Better Nate Than Lever

Bonus points for people who get the joke.

Anywayz, my Friday OSP post is now up:

N. Todd Pritsky thinks there's something a tad off with George W Bush's view of the world. We couldn't agree more. His inconsistency in his treatment of world leaders (Chirac gets no love, opponent-boiler Karimov, President of Uzbekistan is treated like an old friend), among other things, makes us believe he earned those C's he got at Yale.

And another important post you must read:

It has always struck us as odd that self proclaimed lovers of God always seem to be afraid to allow others into Heaven (or to journey there themselves). This question comes to mind after watching the unfolding drama that is the Terri Schiavo story. Barbara O'Brien has an excellent take on the Christian movement that made this such a heated debate, and the motives that their actions belie.

Go read, comment, and come back here to drive my traffic up.


Holy Shit


As many as eight small rockets were fired this morning at the Al Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad, killing a U.S. soldier and wounding 15 others, according to a coalition spokesman. The hotel housed many coalition officials, including U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who escaped unharmed.

I'm beginning to think the Iraqis don't like the "coalition" all that much.


Cheney Apologizes For Misleading Nation, World

In some alternate universe, maybe. Headline in Sunday's WaPo: Iraq Survey Fails to Find Nuclear Threat - No Evidence Uncovered Of Reconstituted Program.


I Hate The Yankees

So I'm glad they lost. And even though I'm bitter about Florida beating Cleveland in '97, please join me in congratulating faithful reader, tinheart, who promises only to be insufferable for a little while...


Saturday, October 25, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Going Wireless

Heading out to get some wireless networking gear. Wish me luck. I hate shopping in real stores, but I must get the stuff now.


[Update, 4:20PM: Success! Took all of about 20 minutes. NTodd is happily blogging from downstairs with no dialup connection. More to come...]

[Update, 10:20PM: So I'm still digging the wireless. For those who care, I got a Linksys 802.11G router and a PC card for my laptop. Out of the box, the install was trivial: plug Stef's Ethernet card into the router, plug the sat receiver into the Internet port on the router, pop the card into my PC, install the driver and voila!

So Wireless-G is the 54Mbps flavor. It is indeed fast. I'm sitting downstairs, Stef's machine is upstairs, and while the signal strength and quality is around 60%, I was able to copy some huge files to her machine in no time. Seems faster than our LAN at work, which isn't surprising since we have a mix of 10/100.

The scary thing is how easy it is to set up, but most people probably aren't aware of the security risks involved, and don't do important things like change their admin password and network ID (SSID), or turn on encryption, etc. Stradiotto jokingly observes that warchalking is a threat, but many home and corporate users are at risk from their service being used illicitly, or worse.

Okay, I'm done talking geek stuff for now. Maybe I'll even get some real blogging in...]

The Importance Of Living Wills

I've avoided this story for a while, but it's been pissing me off too much to avoid any longer:

The husband of a brain-damaged woman at the center of a bitter right-to-life battle plans to argue in court next week that Gov. Jeb Bush's order that led to her feeding tube being reinserted is unconstitutional.

Michael Schiavo, husband of Terri Schiavo, will return to court Monday to challenge the governor's actions...

Michael Schiavo contends that his wife told him she would rather die than be kept alive artificially, but family members dispute that. They believe she still could recover and have fought Michael Schiavo in court for a decade.

The tube was removed by a court order on October 15, but the Legislature this week rushed through a bill designed to keep Terri Schiavo alive. Bush quickly invoked the law and ordered the feeding tube reinserted.

It angers me that the Fla legislature and Bush would get involved. It angers me that there seems to be no respect for someone's wishes. It angers me that the parents beliefs are overriding the husband's.

That said, it appears there was no documentation of what Mrs. Schiavo wanted. I've discussed this with my wife, and we both agree that we would want the other to let us die rather than linger. Further, we're planning to put this all in some sort of Living Will. It's the only way to make sure that these painful battles don't continue for years, and that even at the end we can control our own bodies.

On a slight tangent, Vermont is now debating Death with Dignity legistlation. I need to study it a bit more, but at first blush I support the idea of the right to die. Again, it's all about my choices about my life. Death is a part of life, and nobody should have the power to prevent me from living and dying the way I choose.


Still Reptiles After All These Years?

John Brand at YellowTimes:

On the international scene it is not a matter of resolving problems, however small, but to jockey for positions and impress other countries with your intelligence and power...Mendacity, posturing, one-upsmanship, are the stuff of international relations. The priority is not to find solutions but to feed the "deceit" factor programmed in the basal ganglia of the human brain.

Recent events certainly bear his ideas out...


Shorter NYTimes

Jodi Wilgoren:I'm too lazy to write anything substantive about Howard Dean, so I'll flog the tired old memes that he's kind of hot tempered, was raised on Park Avenue, and (gasp!) acts like a politician who wants to win the Presidency.


PS--On the plus side, this crappy article does provide us with the Quote of the Day: If he'd followed my advice at the beginning of the campaign, he'd probably be in sixth place. - Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey on Dean's approach. 

Think Of The Children

Kristof in the NYTimes:

"There is now very strong evidence from almost two decades of 'biobehavioral' research that human sexual orientation is predominantly biologically determined," said Qazi Rahman, [of] the University of London...
Can we countenance discrimination against people for something so basic as...whom they love?

Thinking, compassionate people cannot countenance discrimination. But the GOP can:

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists are making plans to turn gay marriage into a major issue in next year's elections, with some Christian groups saying that banning same-sex unions is a higher immediate priority for them than restricting abortion.

Let me see if I understand the logic here: they're more concerned about who queers are sleeping with than "killing the unborn"? I don't agree with the anti-abortion crowd, but even taking their internal logic about zygotes being humans worthy of protection at face value, this latest twist is absolutely warped.


Friday, October 24, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

New (To Me) Conservative Blog

Aakash Raut posted this in a comment thread below:

I just last night posted six new entries at my blog - some of them are highly critical of the administration and the Iraq war (and from a conservative perspective). What the Bush administration has done in Iraq (as well as much of what they've done domestically) has been awful. Shame on them.

The last of those six blog entries, however, points out connections between Wesley Clark & the Clinton administration and Islamic terrorists.

Bush currently has a terrible foreign policy, but Clinton did as well.

We need new leadership in our nation...
And fast.

So welcome to University Blog, the latest addition to the blogroll. Hopefully Aakash, along with Tacitus and Timshel (should he ever actually blog again) will provide us some thoughtful conservative perspective.


Not Smart

Is anybody else disturbed by this?

An unseemly clash for control has erupted among the three major U.S. television networks, Oprah Winfrey and a leading publisher over competing plans to tell the sensational tale of teenage kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart.

We were checking out the morning "news" programs and you couldn't escape some story about Smart's ordeal. "Wow, we get to actually look inside the bedroom where Elizabeth was kidnapped!" It was disgusting.

It's not just that the frenzy over Smart's story inherently bogus. It's more pornographic distraction from the crap BushCo is pulling here and abroad.


Uh Huh Huh Huh, They Said Butt


A British couple have been forced to move house because of the shame caused by the name of their street -- Butt Hole Road.

Paul and Lisa Allott sold their $250,000 bungalow in Conisbrough, northern England after living there for just 15 months, fed up with the constant leg-pulling.

Taxis and pizza delivery men would fail to turn up, thinking their order was just a prank, and they grew tired with groups of youths posing for photos by the nearby street sign with their buttocks bared.

Settle down, Beavis.


Temple Of Doom Sucks

Really, I don't see myself watching this disc ever again. Ever. If there is a Hell, and I'm destined to go there, I think they'll make me watch this and Xanadu for eternity.

There are 3 resons why it sucks.

1) Kate Capshaw.
2) The story. Everything about it.
3) Kate Capshaw.

There are 3 reasons why I'm watching it:

1) The last time I saw it was in 1984, when we got our very first family VCR. This was the movie we rented. Call it nostalgia, plus I wondered if it really is as bad as I remembered.
2) It's in the 4 disc set, so I must watch it once for completeness.
3) I'm clinically insane.

Yup, it's as bed(oops!) bad as I remembered.


Solar Ejection A Dud?

Our sat service seems unaffected by the magnetic stuff from old Sol. However, appears to be down. The FTP server just came back up after being unavailable for a while, but the Web server is still unresponsive. Unclear what the issue is, but somehow I doubt it has anything to do with the space storm...


Compare And Contrast

Bush at today's Bush-Cheney 2004 Reception:

[W]hen we see disease and starvation and hopeless poverty, we will not turn away. On the continent of Africa, America is now committed to bringing the healing power of medicine to millions of men and women and children now suffering with AIDS. This great, strong and compassionate land is leading the world in this incredibly important work of human rescue. (Applause.)

Fine words. But the Nation's Naomi Klein tells us:

Bush's...$3-billion-a-year AIDS pledge has been whittled down to $2 billion, possibly much less. And on October 2, the Senate approved Bush's choice to head his Global AIDS Initiative: Randall Tobias, former CEO of drug giant Eli Lilly, charter member of the industry group leading the charge against the Canadian plan [to allow the manufacture of generic versions of patented drugs exclusively for export to poor countries]. Tobias's appointment is a bit like trusting the CEO of ExxonMobil to lead a government effort to promote solar power. The Bush Administration insists that Tobias, who is holding on to his Eli Lilly stock, will not use the job to do Big Pharma's bidding...

The World Socialists add:

The Bush administration has now virtually abandoned the UN-backed Global AIDS initiative, giving only $200 million - 6.6 percent of the total needed - in 2004.

That's our Bush: speak about compassion at fundraisers while conveniently forgetting to follow through. Meanwhile, Auntie Beeb reports:

Four companies that produce generic Aids drugs have agreed to reduce the cost of the drugs for millions of people in developing countries under a deal brokered by former US President Bill Clinton.

The companies in India and South Africa say they will provide the medication to several nations in Africa and the Caribbean at less than a third of the cost of patented versions.

Aids organisations have hailed the deal as a breakthrough, with the potential to save millions of lives.
Mr Clinton has secured partial funding from wealthier nations to help the countries pay for the drugs and for improvements in the countries' health systems.

Ireland, for example, has committed $58.3m over five years to Mozambique. Canada has also agreed to be a commit funds.

Why is it that former Democratic Presidents do more for the world than sitting Republican Presidents? Oh yeah, because Dems are genuinely interested in helping the world, instead of lining the pockets of their crony capitalist donors through crooked corporatist policies.


[Update: I forgot to apologize to Dom for posting this before midnight. I can't even argue that it was midnight his time. Eh, well, the week without He Who Must Be Named is officially over a little early...] 

NTodd Of The Lost Ark

Stef's on the air at VPR until 10 for Pledge Drive, so it's just me and the menagerie. That means some red wine and Raiders of the Lost Ark on my new DVD. My favorite openings of a movie ever: Paramount logo fades into a South American mountain, we don't see our hero's face until he steps out of shadow over three minutes in...oh, and then when he's stealing the idol, estimating its weight while his sidekick mimics him from a place of safety, and then... Ah heck, the whole movie is just plain great.


Shorter Jonah Goldberg

It angers me that nobody is reporting anything about how our real enemy is France, a place for which I have almost as much irrational hatred as I do for Vermont. I guess it's because I find international law and State Park rules so damned inconvenient.


Yeah, I'd Say Dean Is The Frontrunner

Zogby (via Skippy):

Former Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean has opened a large lead over his closest challenger in New Hampshire according to the newest poll by Zogby International.

Dean earned 40%, compared to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's 17%. None of the other candidates have exceeded single digits in the polling. Retired General Wesley Clark and North Carolina Senator John Edwards are tied for third with 6% each.

Howie's no longer the insurgent candidate. He's simply surging.

Rock on,

Charity Auction For Iraq A Major Success

Today's charity auction to raise funds for Iraq's reconstruction was a declared a major success by the United States. Among the items auctioned off were oil contracts, wireless contracts, security contracts, the lives of "coaltion" soldiers and the lives of Iraqi civilians.

The biggest prize of the event was a night on the town with Viceroy Paul Bremer (see picture on left). The handsome ruler of Iraq fetched a whopping $232 million from Italy, who outbid China and Slovakia to be wined, dined and screwed by Mr. Bremer during a magical night in romantic Baghdad. Overall the auction netted 33 billion dollars, most of which is coming from generous donor nation, the United States. The event's take was just a little shy of the estimated 56 billion dollars required to rebuild the country after 12 years of crushing sanctions and massive US bombing



Oh my:

(thanks to one of my poker buddies)


Sam I Am

Or Sam he is, rather. We had a family meeting and it's official: the new kitten is named Sam. Thanks to everybody for the suggestions, and to Diane's possibly charasmatic husband for our Russian-inspired selection: "on samyets, durak"* ("he's male, idiot").



When Animals Attack

The kitten* is bored. Alas, he must be cooped up in the library for another 8 days. I'm downstairs right now and hear him tumbling around, so I should go back upstairs and play some more. Here are a few pics from earlier this morning:

Waiting for me to drop the feather (formerly attached to his scratching post).

Action shot with the feather!

Not sure if he's stalking the feather, or the Earth ball. He seemed to attack both at the same time.

While I was trying to get a shot from above, he attacked the camera.

Uh, you do realize that's my leg and not a scratching post, right?


* I've been trying out all the name suggestions on him. He is looking more and more like a Sam to me... 

Rummy Humor

Somebody sent me a link to the Ask Professor Rumsfeld page at Humor Is Dead. Go there now to learn logic from the master.


Satellite Stats

Upload speed: ~340 kbps
Download speed: ~775 kbps on average (about 15 times faster than dialup)
Latency (PING): ~800 ms (4 times the delay of dialup!)

I was able to load MSNBC in 42 seconds on my dialup connection. It took 11 seconds via satellite. The psychological effect of the inherent delay is interesting: you don't get feedback as quickly as you do over dialup, but the page does in fact load faster overall once it gets going. Yet somehow, it feels slower, even when I was timing it. Not surprising, given my experience with satellite and IP telephony, but weird nonetheless.


Israeli Peaceniks

More about the "Geneva accord" at Salon (do the Day Pass): Since Camp David failed, most Israelis have accepted the slogan "We have no one to talk to." A bold peace initiative has changed that -- and given rise to that rarest of commodities, hope.


OSP Selection For Friday

Due to a little snafu, my regular Friday posting in the World View section of Open Source Politics will be appearing Monday (I actually finished it last night, but I'll spare you the backstory). Anyway, you should check out this post: Make sure you have rights left - Earl Dunovant looks at the history of government suspension of rights during times of national crisis - and why we shouldn't want to follow these precedents.


Solar Storm Screws Stef's Satellite Surfing?

Maybe. I just checked our DirecTV messages, and there's nothing about today's expected CME, which is odd--last time we had a big solar event, they warned customers that TV could be effected (it was a little). I suspect our new Internet service might have some issues. I'll make sure I'm pinging around 3PM today to see if there's any performance hit.

First it was snow slowing things down. Now it's ejections of magnetic material from the sun. As I posted on Kos, I don't know how I'm expected to get any blogging done under these conditions.


Oh Shit

FoxNews Declares Bush Winner Of 2004 Election.
(via MadKane)


Shorter Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

It's Tenet's fault. He Who Shall Not Be Named/Cheney '04: Four more wars!


I Left My Tinheart In Miami

Taking bets on whether loyal reader and Marlins fan, tinheart, will become insufferable...


Congress Gets A Raise

Good for them. I took a 10% paycut this year, haven't had pay raises since 2001, no bonus since 2001, am paying more for health insurance, have seen my company cut 84% of its workforce (most of which made up of friends I've known my entire working life), etc. But the fine patricians in Congress have been doing so much good work that they deserve a COLA. Maybe now Senator Stevens can afford to get a new Hulk tie...


Thursday, October 23, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.


So we got high-speed satellite access to the Internet today. A few observations:

* The dude arrived on time,was courteous and efficient, and got the job done well.

* DirecPC needs to work on their training regimen. This was the first time our installer, Walter, had dealt with a new version of the satellite receiver. In place of an easy-to-follow software installation wizard, he was given incomplete and incorrect configuration instructions, requiring him to call tech support (and get put on hold for 30 minutes). His training on the product was 4 weeks ago, and cursory at best.

* I figured out the problem, given that I teach about this stuff: when he started Stef's computer (where the sat box is), we got a message indicating an IP address conflict. After trying to guide the guy for a few minutes, I asked if I could drive. The conflict arose because his instructions told him to set the PC's Internet address manually to the same address that the receiver is supposed to have. I changed the config to "obtain address automatically" and everything worked after that.

* We theoretically were getting 699 kbps, or about 15 times faster than our typical dial-up speed. That's despite the snow (water attenuates the microwave signal used in this system).

* I still have some tweaking to do because, despite the reported speed, things still seem about the same as dial-up. I surmise that a combination of satellite delay (these puppies are high enough in the sky that the speed of light enters into the equation) and MTU (maximum transmission unit) size is hurting performance. Tuning to commence tomorrow.

* The box is pretty slick, with a web-based management interface. I think it's a LinkSys box, but I haven't gotten a chance to play with it yet.

* I like the pretty blue lights on the front of the receiver.

I've got a PDO tomorrow, and will be heading to Staples to get some wireless networking equipment so I can steal, er...share Stef's Internet connection. More to come...


The Wall

I have to go teach class in just a bit. While I'm talking about Intrusion Detection Systems (strangely appropriate for this post), you will go read charismatic Diane's entry at her blog about Sharon's ongoing efforts to prevent peace at all costs: the Wall.


PS--Funny, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is now going through my head. Remember how South Africa banned it during the Apartheid era? Hmm... 

NTodd Being Fair And Balanced

In an effort to be fair and balanced, I admonish my dear readers to check out Ann Coulter's calm, reasoned counter-argument to Natalie Davis' excellent report on General "My God Can Beat Up Your God" Bonkers, er...Boykin.

Shorter Ann: MOABs and cluster bombs may break my bones, but Boykin's words about God can never hurt me. Can they hurt you? Who gives a shit?


PS--I was being facetious about Ann having a calm, reasoned counter-argument. I was serious about Natalie's post being excellent. Read both. 

Quote Of The Day

That's preposterous and besides, it's very expensive.

- Howard Dean's mom when he told her he was running for President. From the Tonight Show rerun last night.

Other mildly entertaining moments:

* When Jay pressed Howie on what he meant when he said "I left college," Dean remarked, "this is getting to be a little like Tim Russert."

* Jay played a clip of Howie playing a guitar on a street corner for campaign donations.

Overall, I thought Dean handled himself well, although as faithful reader Steve Bates noted in comments below, he was a little stiff. But once again he demonstrated his ability to have a laugh or two at his own expense.


First Snow

light flakes floating down
chickadees at the feeders
black seeds on the snow


Updated DM Political Compass

Below. I've also added it to the Archive menu in the top nav so new visitors will always know exactly where we stand. That ought to keep the freepers and LGF folks at bay...


OSP Selected Readings

You must read these posts at Open Source Politics:

* Whither college funding? - Jay Bullock looks at the College Board's new report showing college and university tuition is up 14% this year, outpacing inflation yet again. Since this is in the Knowledge section, you have to read this because my personal honor is at stake almost as much as Jay's. And if you have kids, there's important info.

* The Exploitation Game - How would you feel if your employer specifically hired you because it didn't have to obey labor standards laws in how it treated you? As Laura Poyneer reports, this is the reality for all too many immigrant workers today.

* "Backward Christian Soldier" - A US defense department undersecretary says Islam's god is an "idol" and that God appointed the Shrub to serve in the White House. Natalie Davis reports on what's behind the holy firestorm in the media and in Congress.

There's also a sort of blog version of a primal scream you might be interested in, but I won't link to it because it's about He Who Must Not Be Named. You'll figure it out.

Anywayz, I'm going to update our political compass map in a little while, and will see what else I can muster blogwise. I have yet another security class to prep for, and hopefully the satellite people are better than cable people at arriving on time: we're theoretically getting high-speed Internet access later this morning! So read the aforementioned OSP articles and submit a caption for Rummy below--sorry, no prizes this time, but still fun and there are some good ones already.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Such A Good Liar, He's Fooled Himself

Donald Rumsfeld tries a Vulcan Mind Meld on himself to find out what the truth is about Iraq.

Feh. Your turn.


[Update: Patrick Taylor over at Poison Kitchen figured out exactly what's going on here...] 

I/P Conflict: Reality On The Ground


Israel vowed yesterday to continue to build a barrier to separate Israelis and Palestinians in the face of condemnation by the UN assembly.

Israel insists that the barrier, which consists of walls, fences and ditches, is designed to stop suicide bombers getting into Israel.

However the Palestinians and the international community including the US see it as an attempt to re-draw the borders between Israel and the West Bank and permanently alter the demographic make-up of the occupied territories.

Israel's traditional MO: ignore the UN and international community, then go ahead and do things to create "reality on the ground" so there's no going back. It's clear Sharon has no interest in peace:

From the day it became known that contacts between leftists and Labor Party MKs with senior Palestinian personages had yielded a model for a permanent agreement, the members of that group became targets of unbridled criticism from the right. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave the signal for the attacks, charging them with working with the enemy to undermine the government on the evening the details were hammered out in the document dubbed the Geneva Understandings. At a Bat Yam municipal election rally, Sharon said "while we are here in a difficult campaign against the terrorism, there are those who are coordinating activity with the Palestinians behind the government's back."

Why does this sound so familiar?


Deer In The Headlights

Several crossing the road from a farmer's field on the way home from volleyball.

So we played 2 really good, competitive games, determined by a couple points each, which we split. The reason we lost our match today was the first game in which we played like deer in the headlights. Hard to win when you spot the other side 9 points right off the bat. After how well we did last week, we were bound to come back to earth.

I played pretty well overall, ignoring that first game. I've been putting more power into the serve, but I'm still having a hard time keeping the ball down, so I'm missing long. I tried working on that after our match--one team didn't have enough players and had to forfeit, so we had 3 pickup games. I improved a little and played really good ball during the first couple games, but I pretty much was worthless at the end. Fun all the same!


Dearth Of Blogoliciousness

Sorry, but too much work today to blog much of great value. Heading out to volleyball in a bit, but I'll do a little blogging after. We play at 8, ref at 9.

In the meantime: if you haven't already done so, take the political quiz (see below) and find out how you compare politically to other loyal readers...

Carry on,

Dean On TV

According to alert reader diGGer, Dean's got a couple TV gigs tonight:

* 60 Minutes II - CBS tonight at 8pm

* Tonight Show w/Jay Leno - Second scheduled guest - NBC at 11:35pm

Watch. Fall in love. Give him money. Save the republic from evil. Alternately, you can give me money, but you won't get the satisfaction of saving our country.


New Pledge

Check out Tom Gevaert's proposal for a new version of the Pledge of Allegiance. He's got some great suggestions (seriously), though 7th graders probably still won't like it (ingrates). And while you're at OSP, check out Patrick Taylor's discussion of Maher Arar, a Canadian of Syrian descent who was caught up for more than a year in the anti-terror system on questionable evidence.


This Week's TTLB Vote: Hell for Halliburton

I humbly ask that my loyal, alert, and possibly charismatic readers vote for the latest League of Liberals entrant in the TTLB New Blog Showcase: Halliburton Again - and again - and again. If you've got a blog, link to the post to vote--go to the Showcase page for more info.


So, Arnold It Is

Between the garbled phone instructions from the vet last week and the clawing and struggling of our new charge, we mis-gendered our kitten. She's a HE.

I'm happy to report that HE is in good health, despite the expected flea and worms that we are treating HIM for. The vet estimates HE is about 7 weeks old. And HE has all his BOY parts (for now).

More updates and pics later. Suggestions for BOY names encouraged.


DM Reader Compass Results

In order of posting, here are the results from the blog readership taking the Political Compass quiz. Uh, we're a pretty liberal and libertarian bunch. Who knew?


1 - NTodd: Economic Left/Right = -4.88; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -7.85
2 - Diane: Economic Left/Right = -7.75; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -7.33
3 - Jeff: Economic Left/Right = -6.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -7.08
4 - Steve Bates: Economic Left/Right = -7.50; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -8.15
5 - tinheart: Economic Left/Right = -3.88; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -4.31
6 - Stradiotto: Economic Left/Right Left/Right = -8.80; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -7.95
7 - Dom: Economic Left/Right = -8.62; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -5.64
8 - ABH: Economic Left/Right = -5.12; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -5.13
9 - vachon: Economic Left/Right = -6.75; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -6.36
10 - Bill Simmon: Economic Left/Right = -5.75; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -8.46
11- MercuryX23: Economic Left/Right = -5.88; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -5.33
12- amy: Economic Left/Right = -7.00; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.03
13- amy's dad (by proxy): Economic Left/Right = -2.00; Libertarian/Authoritarian = 1.13
14 - Natalie Davis: Economic Left/Right = -7.25; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -7.44
15 - Mark H: Economic Left/Right = -7.00; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -4.51
16 - lea-p: Economic Left/Right = -8.50; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -6.9
17 - Stefanie: Economic Left/Right = -4.50; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -4.05
18 - Lilith: Economic Left/Right = -5.88; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -7.13
19 - Tom: Economic Left/Right = -6.12; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -6.00 (sorry, missed you before)
20 - Medley (your secret identity is safe with me): Economic Left/Right = -5.25; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -5.95
21 - John (Diane's lifelong Republican voter husband): Economic Left/Right = -5.88; Libertarian/Authoritarian = -1.90
22 - snip: Economic Left/Right = -6.91; Libertarian/Authortarian = -7.62

I was disappointed that Touchy didn't take the quiz, but ah well.

[Update: if you'd like to be added to the map, take the quiz and post your results. I'll update the graphic accordingly...]


The War On Nationalism


It is interesting and instructive to compare the 19th-century British subjugation of India, a country 10 times the size of Britain, with a mere 75,000 expeditionary troops transported across oceans with slow sailing ships, with the quagmire the United States is facing in Iraq with 100,000 air-lifted combat soldiers. The British did not claim to liberate India from its numerous principalities ruled by maharajas. Instead, it built a political unit in the British Empire to incorporate the separate princely states that had existed in pre-British India. There was no sudden regime change. The British did not face resistance until decades later, when the adverse effect of being non-white subjects of the British Empire dawned on thinking Indians, who gradually took up the European concept of nationalism as an anti-imperialism ideology...

The new proponents of "empire" would do well to note that the world has changed since the Victorian era. Arab nationalism, promoted first by Western imperialism during World War I as a destabilizing force against the Ottoman Dominion, is a genie that cannot be forced back into the bottle at the pleasure of neo-imperialism in the 21st century.

The Iraqi army has been destroyed by the second Iraq War...Resistance in the form of guerrilla attacks against foreign occupation is now being waged by an aroused civilian population. Not only Sunni loyalists to Saddam, but Shi'ites, who constitute some 60 percent of the population and were expected by US "experts" on Iraq to be tolerant, if not ecstatic, about a US "presence", if not liberation, have formed guerrilla cells of armed resistance against US occupation forces. This is understandable, since the United States has made clear that it will not permit a Shi'ite majority to dominate any new Iraqi government, democracy or no democracy.

We're not fighting terrorists, we're fighting nationalists. History has show that's a fight we cannot win. In the end it could destroy us.


[Update: The article's author, Henry C K Liu, wrote another piece about the war back in April which I think is instructive to look back on: The war that may end the age of superpower. I also wrote a little bit on the history of imperial overreach at OSP last month: In Search Of Monsters To Destroy.] 

Possibly Charismatic

Possibly charismatic reader, Diane, points out this throwaway phrase from Helena Cobban over at Smirking Chimp:

Now, the momentum inside the Democratic Party has already moved considerably toward those Democrats who can credibly claim that they opposed the war all along. That includes presidential hopefuls Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and the possibly charismatic latecomer to the race, General Wesley Clark.

In honor of that, I have made a slight change to the blog description in the upper right-hand corner. No need for everybody to change their moniker in the comment threads unless, of course, you are possibly charismatic...

Ever your humble servant, etc, etc,
possibly charismantic ntodd 

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

I'm Making This Up As I Go

We thought you'd like to know that we shipped your items today,
and that this completes your order.
The following items were included in this shipment:
Qty Item Price Shipped Subtotal
1 The Adventures of Indiana Jone $45.49 1 $45.49

Did the Super Saver, but it should arrive in time for a weekend Indy Marathon. NTodd is happy.


Dom's Fault

Alas, I cannot talk about some delicious stuff about He Who Must Not Be Named.


Bloggers Parliament

One other thing I've joined recently (or rather, applied to join): the Bloggers Parliament. This is a nifty project started by Natalie d'Arbeloff (and her alter ego, Augustine). I've been meaning to get involved for quite some time, and have finally gotten off my lazy ass and done so. Anywayz, the BP is:

A flexible assembly of bloggers who are interested in finding and selecting from the blogosphere or from any other source - including their own thoughts - feasible solutions to current problems in the world. Members of Bloggers Parliament can be thought of as talent scouts, finding those elusive needles - solutions which can get right to the point of a problem - in the daunting haystack of information.
Our focus is only on the collection or creation of specific imaginative, relevant, informed, constructive and perhaps unorthodox solutions which could, if applied, really solve specific problems.

So I've added some links to the right nav re: BP, and will be creating a "solutions" page shortly. My, aren't I the busy bee, eh?


Rummy Poetry: Zakheim Is

SecDef did a little composing today:

Dov Zakheim,
Dr. Zakheim,
of course, comptroller. And what his task
to help
fashion budgets,
regular budgets,
And so he does that.
And he needs to make
certain assumptions,
and what he does is come to various people and say,
"What assumptions would you prefer to use?"
Because he has to then build around
those assumptions.

A reading later. I already did too damn much talking to my computer teaching class today.


Go Go Ho-Ho


Howard Dean holds a double-digit lead over rival John Kerry in a New Hampshire poll of likely voters in the state's Democratic presidential primary.

Dean had the support of 33 percent to Kerry's 19 percent in the Franklin Pierce College poll conducted October 13-15. The two essentially were tied in July in the last Franklin Pierce survey.

And while Gep is making a push in Iowa (IIRC he's virtually tied with Dean), my man is definitely still in charge. I know, I know, it's early. It's still so early.


PS--I think Howie can beat He Who Must Not Be Named. 

June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 April 2007


Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards

A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.

For more about me, go to You can also e-mail me at

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