Saturday, April 29, 2006

Freedom to Litter

See if you can detect who around here is tired of picking up trash from the yard and the computer.



Why can someone throw a newspaper in my driveway on a daily basis, but if I throw the unwanted paper in the street I'm littering?

This is the same argument spammers wrap themselves in. Its their constitutional right to send you their junk, just as its your constituional duty to pay for it and clean it up.

Friday, April 28, 2006

In Case You Need another Example of Monopoly

and an open secret:


NY Times
ABOUT 85 percent of the Internet population uses the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser to surf the Web, even though it's relatively ancient, crusty with neglect and about as secure as a screen door. In what other industry would 85 percent of consumers choose such a product — when better ones, also free, were also available?

Trick question. Those consumers aren't actually choosing Internet Explorer; in fact, they're not choosing. They just use what came on their Windows computers. Thanks to this built-in following, Microsoft hasn't felt much need to keep Internet Explorer current. Version 6 has been creaking along for five years — an eternity in Internet time.

"Oil Companies Need to Invest Their Profits"

President Bush Jr:

"My attitude is that the oil companies need to be mindful that the American people expect them to reinvest their cash flows in such a way that it enhances our energy security," Bush said, which includes investment in new pipelines, expansion of refineries and more exploration and investment in renewable sources of energy."

After all, it's worked so well this far. Perhaps we should all gather up some money and send it to the oil companies to help them in their quest for alternative fuel solutions.

Bush again:
"The temptation in Washington is to tax everything," Bush said while taking questions from White House reporters. "The answer is for there to be strong reinvestment to make this country more secure from an energy perspective."

Yeah, let's not tax it. That would be bad for the economy. Instead, let's just give them $14 billion in tax exemptions. That'll do the trick. Maybe *that* will get the oil companies out of their slump.

Ya know he's right. Americans are to blame. Not just for the high fuel prices but for voting for this idiotic big-business whore. When are American's gonna say "enough"?

The quote "Nations get the governments they earn" keeps popping back into my head.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Unexpected From the Sports Page

Good insight into politics:

Gregg Easterbrook at ESPN:

Orwell Would Wince
Surely there are thousands of illegal immigrants who would cover kicks in the NFL for less than the $275,000 minimum salary for the 2006 season. So why not allow illegal immigrants in the NFL? They could be called gastoffsiders and paid $5.15 an hour, the scandalously low federal minimum wage. No health care insurance would be provided, plus they would be expected to bring their own ankle tape. Or they could work as football day laborers, gathering each morning in the predawn hours at some 7-11, hoping an NFL general manager comes by and offers them a day's work on the scout team.

OK, enough of that joke. Whatever you think of the immigration debate -- yours truly is pro-immigration but points out that America does now annually accept more immigrants than all other nations of the world combined -- it's ridiculous that politicians and journalists insist on calling the people in question "undocumented arrivals," as if the problem was their paperwork had been misplaced. The problem with illegal immigrants is that they are illegal: They've broken American law. What to do about those who broke the law when they entered the country, but since have been law-abiding good citizens who love America, is the crux of the debate. Focus must be kept on the word illegal if the core dilemma is to be addressed. Using a silly euphemism like "undocumented" only makes it hard to think clearly about this issue.

Similarly, it's ridiculous that politicians and journalists continue to call those being held at Guantanamo and Bagram airbase in Afghanistan "detainees." You are detained when your train is late; if you're dragged away in handcuffs, locked up and not allowed to speak to a lawyer, you are a prisoner. Those being held at Guantanamo and Bagram are not told, "Excuse me, sir, we will be detaining you. Would you like a fresh brioche?" They're told, "You are our prisoner, do as we tell you if you want to live." We can't think clearly about the hundreds of men being held without charge by the United States government unless we call them what they are, prisoners. George Orwell's point regarding language was that society cannot face political issues unless it calls things what they are; the purpose of political euphemism, Orwell wrote, is to prevent clear thought. People living here without visas are illegal immigrants and people jailed without charge are prisoners. Politicians might be addicted to fudging words but the media, at least, should call things what they are.

The Ethics of Hilton

Maybe Paris didn't fall to far from the tree?

Washington Hilton evicts Fran O'Brien's, allegedly because of high costs of access for disabled veterans.

Washington Post

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Interesting how two languages can complement each other in irony.

Years ago, Chevrolet debuted the "Nova". Sounds great in English, as it means, "new", but it tanked in Latin America. Why? "Nova" sounds very much like "No Va" which roughly means, "Won't go".

Curiously, the name GW gave to his energy company in Texas was "Arbusto". It means "bush" in Spanish (clever, huh?) but in English it sounds eerily like "Are busto", as in "busted".

As could be expected, Arbusto tanked in almost all of its many iterations, each buyout put GW in charge and was soon followed by collapse. Maybe failure was the goal?

So what else associated with the serial failure that is our president can be described as "Arbusto"?

Foreign policy? - Arbusto!
Energy policy (for the non-rich, anyway ) - Arbusto!
Iraq War - Arbusto!
American pride and stalwart opposition to torture - Arbusto!
Political integrity - Arbusto!
Presidential leadership - Arbusto!


Monday, April 24, 2006

If We Lose in Iraq...

it won't be the first time.

Meet the US general that defeated the United States military in Iraq:

The Guardian

Wonder if Yale Regrets This One Too

Yale awards GWB with an honorary Doctor of Laws.

First a History degree, now this.

The Tragedy of GWB

Belgravia Dispatch

I disagree on two main points:

Mr. Bush never understood the complex history of Iraq (particularly the epic ethnic tensions he was walking into)...

Bush is a history major. Of course he understood the complex history of Iraq; he's got a bachelor's degree in History from Yale. Oh, right.

...the tragedy of George Bush is ultimately one of his own making, and one that he cannot readily extricate himself from...

No, Bush'll be able to shake this one off too. He always has. And he'll always have a loyal cadre of "dead enders" who will believe in him until the end. He'll do what a good confidence man always does: make excuses and walk away without a scratch. Not to mention millions in appreciated oil stock.

Airline Flights as Art

Musing on Hiring

People tend to hire persons most like themselves ( i.e. people they like and get along with) rather than the person best-suited to the job.

This can be mitigated somewhat when hiring people with concrete job requirements -- a bricklayer, for instance.

But when you're hiring for job with ill-defined or poorly understood jobs (what makes a good manager?) then people punt and hire a "good person".

It's why management gets filled with "good old boys" and acquaintances and presidencies get filled with.. well you know.

Saving Money

Not many people remember the General Store. In the 1800s, one would walk up to a counter and point to what you wanted. A (suposedly) helpful chap or lass would grab the article and hand it to you, no doubt while recommending a more or less expensive alternative, plus an additional product or two.

Gas pumps "in the day" were manned with a high-school kid who would pump the gas and check your oil. (Is it Massachusetts or New Jersey that still mandates this?)

As late as the 1950's milk was delivered to your door. Some doctors would visit you in your sickbed.

There were reasons behind this. Mostly related to the technology or cost structure of the time.

Many of these are lost enterprises. Today it is the consumer's role to push a cart up and down the aisles, selecting products and doing the research necessary to pick the "best" product. Even for expensive items such as electronics, it is no longer possible to find a salesperson, let alone one who knows how to work the product or could recommend your best fit among the options.
Costs too much.

Indeed, many stores are now offering the "convenience" of self-checkout. It being much faster and convenient to argue with a loud pre-recorded voice that keeps repeating, "Please put the item in the bagging area"... in Spanish. Can the "convenience" of cosumers stocking the shelves be the future?

( Just as an aside, most people don't realize that many stores *don't* stock many of their own items. Many groceries use outside "specialists" to keep the chips, beer and soft-drink aisles full and organized. Large-box retailers like Home Despot don't do their own stocking. They lease floor space to companies who are in turn responsible for making sure the shelves are full. Often a good reason why the shelves are often in such disarray in many stores.)

Among other "convenient" ways to save money is pumping your own gas. Making a special run to the store to pick up a quart of milk. "Delivering" your own groceries.

Hardware stores a "saving" people millions by allowing the homeowner to do his own shoddy electrical, plumbing and masonry work.

Heck, we now assemble our own furniture for crying out loud.

But as the economics change some thing, it also changes others. Today you must figure out a way to take the 500" TV back to the store to get it fixed rather than pay big $$$ for a house-call, but yard and nanny service is cheap enough for even some "middle class" families to afford.

Maybe that nanny will also be able to help you re-wire the ceiling fan -- if you're not busy trying to figure out your health insurance, that is.

Jobs Americans Won't Do: Management

America to Management: Uh-oh. Over.

Yahoo News

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Something in Common

As President Hu Jintao of China met with Boy George, Hu was besieged with by a woman shouting, "Stop The Torture And Killings!"

Hey! Now George and Hu have something in common to talk about! George's country now has a problem with torture too!

Shout Out

Sycophants? Us?

Josh Bolten, Bush's "new" Chief of Staff has an interesting hobby -- pictures of his boss's hands.

Search for "hands"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who's Writing the Copy?

It was covered by J.M.Marshall first.

Media Matters

Summary: On April 17, numerous news outlets -- including NBC, CBS, NPR, and Fox News -- covering former Illinois governor George Ryan's conviction on corruption charges failed to mention that he is a Republican. Time magazine went a step further, omitting Ryan's Republican affiliation while reporting that "the current administration of Democrat Rod Blagojevich is also being investigated."

Bush: Failure in Iraq Not an Option

"We understand full well that the political process in Iraq must occur soon," the president added. "I don't expect everybody to agree with my decision to go into Iraq. But I do want the people to understand, the American people to understand, that failure in Iraq is not an option."
ABC News

Well, I guess that's it. Failure in Iraq is no longer just an option or possible outcome. Guess that sort of makes it a foregone conclusion, no?

17May06 Update: Is there somewhere that Bush's policies have succeeded?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Throw Rummy From the Train

The blogs are saturated with calls for Rumsfelds resignation, as well as articles breathlessly asking: when?

I got news for you, folks. Rummy isn't a "contributer" to the administration that Bush can let go of. Rumsfeld, along with Cheney (and to a slightly lesser degree Rove) is the administration.

I'm not trying to defend Bush -- far from it. Bush in all aspects appears an idiot. There's good reason for that conclusion: all evidence supports it.

Rumsfeld and Cheney are "The President". Bush is the confidence man that presents the face. And I mean "confidence man" in every aspect of the word. With him we have entrusted the pride and integrity of our nation; he has absconded it.

It is more likely that Bush will be evicted and replaced than either Cheney or Rumsfeld.

Get used to it.

Update: Looks like I'm not the only one thinking this.

Work in Tech? Want to Keep Working in Tech?

Then you need to read this article by Dr. Norman Matloff.

Now you know why.

"Cheaper At Any Cost"

Journalist Michael Pollan uttered that quote the other day in an interview on NPR with Terry Gross.

That neatly sums up America's view on just about everything.

WalMart, offshoring of jobs, you name it. Even naming rights to newsrooms.

Yes, folks. American's have finally gotten to the point where they will sell their owns souls for a dollar and they're ok with that.

Hmmm.. selling part of our Abrams tank manufacturing (and ports) to a Dubai could that be a problem?
Aren't we in a war?

America won't be eliminated by its enemies. They won't get the chance because we'll sell ourselves to them first.

"Jobs American's Won't do: Tech"

Update: I just found this article by Dr. Norman Matloff
It's a must-read if you're an American who "Doesn't Want to Work".

The current immigration "feces fest" focuses mainly on "low wage workers". According to George Bush, "Jobs American's won't do" (those lazy slouches).

(Very well covered at "The Talent Show")

None of this affects those of us with college educations, right?

Or does it?

I've been holding my personal exprience on this issue inside for a long time, but with all the debate about illegal immigration, now is the time to get it out there:

College grads, you ain't safe from illegal immigration.

George Bush has paid a lot of lip service to the idea that America is falling behind in science and technology (true) and that the solution is to have better science and technical education (also true) to encourage American kids to study math and science (this is where it falls down).

The "Kids" are not stupid. They quickly develop an appreciation of supply and demand. Kids are avoiding science and math for the fundamental reason that there's no money in it. They aren't going to torture themselves through years of Calculus, etc. (like I did) to be unemployed (like I was). Why the shift? Was it the bust? Sort of...

Let's get into the way-back machine and go to 2001 ( insert harp music here ).

Me and two of my tech co-workers noticed job opening postings in the company cafeteria. The job descriptions matched our current positions, but were for more money. All three of us immediately decided to go to the personel office to "apply".

We got a cold reception from the personnel director. "You can't" were his exact words. "Why not?" we asked. "Because they're not real openings."

"Eh?", said we.

"You can't apply for those positions as they are for our renewing H-1B visa holders." To comply with the law, we must post a job for X months. If no 'qualified' U.S. citizen applies, then we are allowed to bring in an H-1B person to fill the role. If you apply then we'll have no opening to fill."

"But its our exact job but for $20k/year more!"

"Go away." was his answer.

( More xylophone music and back to the present)

So what's happening here? I didn't realize it at the time, but that was my first experience with "the visa game".

Here's how it works: The law is more or less like the HR Director described. If no "qualified" citizen can be found, then an H-1B visa holder can be brought in and *must be paid a wage equivalent to an American worker*. But there's a subtle catch to H-1B visas: the H-1B visa holder can *only* work for the company that sponsored them. ( Yes, *sponsored*. These companies pay big $$$ to law firms to cover the costs of bringing in H-1Bs ) If the visa holder loses his/her job with the company that sponsored them, the visa holder must also leave the U.S.

So why in the world would a company pay so much money up front to sponsor a foreign worker? The bottom line is this: once the H-1B holder is brought over, their salary is quickly lowered. There's always an excuse ( the economy is bad, the company has to cut back, etc.) but the result is the same: "we're cutting your salary by half. If you don't like it, you can always go back home."

Most immigrants are unaware that this practice is illegal and even those who do are afraid to report it because half or even less of the prevailing wage is still more than what they can get back home.

So the key to getting cheap labor is:
- Make the job requirements so specific that only the person you're currently attempting to sponsor can fill it.
- Pay some $$$ up front to lawyers to handle the paperwork.
- Pay the visa holder prevailing wages for while to pass paperwork, but then quickly cut the wages back to 1/2 or even lower. If he or she "squeals", refuses to work overtime, talks back, etc., you send them back home. A perfect gig for any employer.

A similar practice was described in your high school history lessons as "endentured servitude". Look it up.

Not only have I as an American Citizen been on the short end of this stick, I have immigrant friends that have been on the other end. An Indian friend has been working for at least 3 years now with his wages "witheld" by 2/3. His employer promises him the back wages when "business improves".

I've also spoken with a secretary who's in charge of the hiring practice. She told how she was required to keep meticulous records of interviews to prove they couldn't find "qualified applicants" so that the business could hire H-1Bs. Not an H-1B? Sorry you're too expensive, er.. "unqualified".

Every imigrant I've met has been a good person. They are on the whole nice people. They are good people. We need immigrant labor. It helps both countries. But we need to make sure that American citizens aren't being screwed by cheating companies.

I have a quick solution. Change the visa requirements so that a company can sponser as many immigrants as they like. But said immigrants can work anywhere he/she likes for that fixed time period. If the visa-holder can find better pay somewhere else, he/she will go. That will put a quick end to business undermining American wages through endentured servitude.

Many mouth off about the virtues of "Supply and Demand" and "Capitalism" being critical to American success. Currently, American business, via their corruption of lawmakers, is not allowing labor to be in demand.

Alas, Privacy... We Hardly Knew Ye

Still wondering about that title. Did we "hardly know ye" or did we just take you for granted?


I've long railed about America's infatuation with video surveilance. Got a problem? Put up a camera? Don't have a problem? Put up a camera anyway. God how Americans want to be on screen. 15 seconds of "fame" and all that.

Scott McNealy famously (in geek circles anyway) said, "(Online) privacy is dead. Get over it"

Well now I'm starting to see some of the upsides of a total lack of privacy. Caught picking your nose in public? No problem.. everyone does it. Here, let me show you the video. Have incriminating photos that imply I may be gay? No problem! 25% of the population is gay; even the ones in government that are trying to hide it. Want proof? Here's the video!

Want my credit-card number? How about 300 million others to go with that?

I can imagine a certain peace from every one having complete knowledge of everyone else. No one can be derided for being X when it can be instantly shown that 99% of the populace does the same thing.

Or I could be wrong.

Scott McNealy says he was. Funny how attitudes change when its their ass in the grinder.

Technology As Salvation

America has an infatuation with the idea that any problem can be solved (cheaper!) with technology.

People dumping trash in your yard? Put up a camera. Drivers running down your kids when they exit school buses? Add some cameras to the bus. Drivers running redlights? Put up redlight cameras. Drivers changing lanes like maniacs and shooting at other drivers? Ummm... wait for us to install cameras; cops are too expensive.

Track your kids

Jesus! Just try Googling "Nanny Cam". Does no one give a second thought to wiring their house with 30 camera to spy on the "nanny"? If you think you can't trust the nanny, why are you letting them watch your kids?

(I'll save you my rants on personal privacy, but like Scott McNealy said, personal privacy is dead. Forget it.)

Drivers and other annoyances can be covered with the Band-Aid of video, but what if your problem is more severe, say, bad foreign policy, for example?

Suppose you're a government trying to solve a nagging problem of re-election by distracting the voters with an illegitmate and unneeded war. The downside is that the populace gets cranky when you start killing them off ( that's *your* populace, not *theirs*. You don't need *their* votes.) Solution? Send in the 'droids!

That will finally make war clean. No more messy pictures of "coalition" (ahem) troops getting killed by fuzzy foreigners that don't like being occupied. Finally get some peace around here...

USA Today

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mmmmmmm.... Apocalypse...

The warm appeal of absolute justice (well, to your enemies, anyway)

Deepak Chopra

Sales Meme?

Interesting observation on the application of sales techniques to war:

Walter @

Guess it is possible to sell someone anything they wish were true... if it makes them feel "safer", anyway.

Want to make all of your problems disappear? Don't wait around for the Apoloclypse, take this simple pill and your fat, er, problems will simply melt away!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why People Think the Economy Sucks

Here, here!


Where Everyone is Above Average

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Interesting observations on just what it means to (believe) you are above average:

Damned Interesting

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wonkette: Please Tip Your Waiters & Waitresses

A glimpse at Bush's slide from President of the United States to night-club act.

From Wonkette:

"Pathological Stupidity"

From the Tahlequah Daily Press:

Can Bush get much lower?

As more details are brought to the fore about the seamy underbelly of the Bush administration, the perpetually trusting souls among the American electorate are having trouble keeping those scales firmly in place on their eyes.

The president has sunk so far down in the polls it’s hard to imagine he could get any lower without being adept at limbo dancing. And it’s no wonder: Even staunch loyalists are at pains to name one positive thing Bush has accomplished during his five years in office, except perhaps the seating of two new justices (presumed to be conservative by ardent Bush supporters, who could be sorely disappointed if they merely turn out to be fair).

The usual response from Bush fans, when asked such impertinent questions about their fearless leader, is to fire another accusatory salvo at his predecessor, whose peccadilloes are not only irrelevant to the situation at hand, but pale by comparison.

Bush’s “political missteps,” on the other hand, would fill several pages, even with small type. The senior citizens are having trouble with his Medicare program, and his fence-straddling on the immigration issue is ripping his own party apart. The cronies he empowered within FEMA dropped the ball in spectacular fashion when Hurricane Katrina roared through, and the fallout on that fiasco continues. The violence goes on unabated in Iraq, and Afghanistan is lurching toward a theocracy that Western states will ultimately find as unpalatable as Iran’s government. The national deficit has ballooned to incomprehensible levels, and the wages of the average Joe are stagnant. Philosophically, Americans are polarized, and not only do our fellow countrymen from the opposing party dislike us, but the rest of the world does, too.

And now, Bush himself has been identified as the ultimate source of the information leak that led to publication of supposed pre-war intelligence and the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. With all due respect to Gomer Pyle, and with as much sarcasm as can possibly be mustered: “Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!”

It seems that Scooter Libby – who went from bureaucrat to porn novelist to Dick Cheney’s top aide – is now squealing like a stuck pig from the muddy sty to which he’s been consigned. Intent on saving his own skin after being fingered in the information leak case, Libby (who probably has another book deal in the works) has turned on his former superiors and is giving them the biblical “pearl treatment.”

Libby told a grand jury he discussed pre-war intelligence with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who dutifully printed the material. Now it’s been revealed that he had permission to flap his gums, by none other than Bush himself, through Cheney.

One can almost feel sorry for Scott McClellan, Bush’s hapless press secretary who got his post not through the grace of God or abundance of talent, but because his parents are old Texas barbecue buddies of Bush. But members of the White House press corps must have been thunderstruck when they heard the official spin on the story: The administration had “declassified” this information about the same time as Libby leaked it, and all for the good of the American people! Furthermore, McClellan asserted, the commander-in-chief has a right to leak information if he gets a hankering to do so.

Someone in this equation is destined to turn out stupid: The administration, for expecting the public to swallow this fish tale, or the public, for doing just that.

If the leaked information was declassified by the administration so Libby and others could hand it over to the media, then why didn’t they just say so to begin with? Why did they lie and say they knew nothing about it? Or, is McClellan the liar in this case?

To buy any of this, the public will have to suffer not just from pathological stupidity, but also from terminal amnesia. We’ll have to forget that Ms. Plame’s name only became public after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, disclosed that he could find no evidence of weapons of destruction in Iraq. We’ll also have to forget that several subsequent investigations have vindicated Wilson – which means the “declassified information” was completely erroneous, or a complete fabrication.

Regardless of what the Bush people call it, the “intelligence” was propelled forward on zeal for vendetta and a war of predestination to topple Saddam Hussein. Someday the truth will out, as well it should. It’s gotten an awful lot of people killed.
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Monday, April 10, 2006

Iraq War Summarized

A reader at provides a quick and poignant summary of the Iraq War and the Bush Administration :

I supported the action in Afganistan. Everyone - the whole world - realized that that action was necessary. Hell, even Dennis Kucinich supported it. There was no other choice. And had we prosecuted the action in Afganistan competently, and to the end, by securing the peace and rebuilding the country, we might have come out of the war on terror with our heads held high and with the world's respect and even admiration. Certainly our action there, and the related pressure on Pakistan, resulted in the most important single victory in the war on terror to date: the unmasking of the A. Q. Khan network. But we never finished in Afganistan. We let bin Laden escape. We did not and have not secured the country, or rebuilt it. Why? Well, why have we not secured or rebuilt Iraq? There is a reason. This is not just criminal negligence. This is a pattern.

I opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. It smelled. It smelled to high heaven. This Photo_disarm was no action in response to 9/11. This was something else. Some grand design for restructuring the Middle East, for "draining the swamp". A war of revenge against the man who ordered the President's father assassinated. Unfinished business. Oil. Yes, all those and more, as Wolfowitz admitted, but none of them would do as a trigger, so WMD was chosen. WMD was the one excuse that would work, the one threat that, tied to 9/11, would inspire action and overwhelm and silence opposition.

But the real motivation for the war in Iraq, Andrew, was the consolidation of Republican power here at home. Iraq was to be George W. Bush's great victory, and Karl Rove's hammer. The victory of the Republican right was to be complete and permanent. Bush and his crew knew the WMD excuse was fraudulent. As Zinni said, he knew, and they had the same information he had. But they did believe the old stockpiles, or some portion of them, were still there, moldering in Saddam's secret bunkers, and would provide all the evidence needed to justify their war, cover their lies, and secure theirSmugbush02 political triumph. The shame of the election of 2000 would be history, Bush would become the image of the man he always wished to be, and Rove would secure the Republican realignment.

But Bush's great victory has turned to ash, and Rove's hammer to a dagger he holds by the blade. One could write a book (and no doubt many will) on the Oedipal complex that drove Bush the son to surpass the father, and fail. A Greek tragedy played out in real life, right before our eyes. And could Shakespeare have bettered the cast of characters we have lived with these last six years, or the themes, or the plot? My God, what a play! He would be writing furiously even now. One play? No. Three, perhaps: Bush the Second, Parts I, II and III. We are in the middle of the third play. The end is coming.

I'm not being facetious. The horror and terror of tragedy is its inevitability. The audience sees what the characters cannot. And the audience knows that they too suffer, like the characters they watch. The play is a mirror. The war in Iraq has been our tragedy, our mirror. Perhaps, if we are lucky, our catharsis. But we are not yet to that stage, which comes after. We are still in the midst of the horror, unable to look away from the mirror. You stare into the face of Abu Ghraib. Me? What do I stare at? And all of us. We are living one of the great stories of history, Andrew.

Rove08 Did I really know all this back then? Yes. Not so clearly, or at least, I would not have been able to express it so simply. Many people saw it, people of good faith, not just mindless Bush-haters or partisans. And every suspicion I had, and shared with those others, about Bush, and Rove and the rest, and about their motivations and methods, has proved out, and then some. And there is, I know, future revelations yet to come. None of it surprises me.

I'm only surprised that you are surprised. I think, Andrew, you were blinded by idealism, the desire to slay the monster Saddam. Have you read the Gilgamesh Epic? Or Castenada? We are betrayed, not by our faults, but by our strengths. Because that's where we're truly blind. Thus you. And me. And Bush. The difference is of degree, not kind. But that difference of degree is crucial. Bush doubts nothing. He is trapped in a rigid arrogance, a self-righteousness based ultimately on low self-esteem and fear of failure. Fear is his basic spiritual signature. [snip]

Read the rest here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bush: Fooling

"... fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."—Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

For more:

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gualala Wisdom

Seen on a bumper-sticker in Gualala, CA:

I Never Thought I Would Miss Nixon

Nick: This one's gonna leave a mark...

From Nick:

This one's gonna leave a mark...

President Bush, 9/30/03:
"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified
information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to
know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

President Bush, 9/30/03:
"If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.
And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of. .
. . I have told our administration, people in my administration to be
fully cooperative. I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any
information inside our administration or outside our administration, it
would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can
find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the

President Bush, 10/28/03:
"I'd like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive

President Bush, 6/10/04:
Reporter: "Do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done
President Bush: "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the

President Bush, 10/28/03:
"I want to know the truth. ... I have no idea whether we'll find out who
the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession,
you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."

President Bush, 7/18/05 issue of USA Today:
"If someone committed crime, they will no longer work in my

White House Press Secretary, 9/29/03:
"The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for
people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his
administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards
of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they
would no longer be in this administration."

White House Press Secretary, 10/7/03:
"Let me answer what the President has said. I speak for the President
and I'll talk to you about what he wants . . .If someone leaked
classified information, the President wants to know. If someone in this
administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a
part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House
operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his
administration to conduct their business."

Presidential Perogative

It can be argued that declassification of documents is a perogative of the President.

But as I recall, revealing the identity of an undercover agent is still against the law.

Too Expensive to Live in America

The Nation

Perhaps we should start sending our poor to live in Mexico?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Should They Rebuild?

When New Orleans flooded in September of 2005, many people asked, "Should they rebuild?"

I mean, all those hurricanes make it a dangerous area, right? I don't want *my* money going to help those people stupid enough to live in dangerous areas.

I'll get back to this post later to dig into a little more detail into the idiocy of those remarks, but until then: more areas where we should ask, "Should they rebuild?"

Grand Forks, North Dakota 06 Apr 2006

Caruthersville, Mo 06 Apr 2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Newspapers Anxious Over Web

Newspapers are in a dither over falling newspaper revenue and the growing competition from online sources.

Mike Butcher

Question: Why?

Sure, Craigslist is killing them on classifieds and printing costs are through the roof. But, so what?

There's a saying that goes, "People don't buy drills because they want drills. They buy drills because they want holes."
Likewise people don't buy newspapers because they like killing trees. They buy newspapers because they want fast, thoroughly researched and reliable information and insight.

Ink and paper does not provide reasearch, information or integrity, no matter how big your press. Dump it.

Printing newspapers is huge, expensive and a hassle. Online publishing is quicker, more energy and time efficient and has the potential to reach many more people. If you really must supply newspapers to a shrinking number of subscribers, outsource it.

So what does that leave? Journalists and editors. Before your start rolling your eyes, think about why you want to roll your eyes. Perhaps you're thinking, "Journalists?!!?? Thhhppppttt. Please! There hasn't been a decent journalst for 20 years."

You're probably thinking that because of the way media has sacrificed its bread and butter on the altar of yellow journalism.

*Anyone* can publish "news". TV, radio, E!... anyone with an internet connection. That's been the biggest problem with media for the past 10+ years. Newspapers, TV & radio counted on their respective monopolies to place ad revenue above all other concerns, especially journalistic integrity. Years of slashing research costs in the name of attracting readers with stories of blood, bread and circuses. "If it bleeds it leads!" Anyone can do that. What's worrying newspapers is now anyone is doing that.

Sure, online newspapers are going to have a hard time getting readers to pay a fee to read fluff pieces about the latest Katie Couric hairdo. But they have a staff of hundreds of trained and willing professionals who would love nothing more than to be paid for researching hard news. You know, the stuff no one seems to want to do anymore.

Yes, everyone will have access to the first few paragraphs of a story, with internet ads flashing in the boundaries. But a large percentage of internet readers will desire more in-depth information. They will want the information and stories that only hard work, research and beating the pavement can provide. Something very few bloggers, TV stations or gossip rags are wont -- or even able -- to do.

So will these "new" newspapers destined to compete against the likes of monthly magazines such as US News and others? Yes. Do they have what it takes? Probably. Will people pay for in-depth, credible reporting on hidden stories they can't find anywhere else? Yup. Always have.

The carpet that's being yanked from under newspapers isn't capability or medium. Its monopoly. Soon they're be competing against folks that can publish worldwide almost for free. But now so can newspapers.

The folks that succeed online (at least in this near-term of hyper-competition to build a customer following) will be the ones that go back to "old-school" journalism. In-depth reporting of news, political scandals and information that is there but must be dug up.

Getting the news that no one has is a requisite step, but there's another, more important resource, one that is not available for the taking, but must instead be grown and nutured in-house: Integrity.

That's how the large newspapers beat their previous competitors to get to where they are today. It is just as important for fighting their way to the top in this new media.

Hard news, research and integrity. The basics. He who provides it will rise to the top, at least in the near term... before monopoly and laziness again take over.

Those that don't offer hard news and integrity will be just another blog, much like this one.

Heck, you don't even know me. Why should you believe a word of this? Would you believe it more if it came from a respected New York Times Journalist?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Job Americans Don't Want

I've developed a quick test to detect jobs Americans don't want. It's actually very easy. Here's how:

Take your job for example. Would you stay at your job if they stopped offering 401k? Would you stay if they cancelled health insurance? Would you stay if they they cancelled all paid time off.. and sick leave? Vacation? Retirement?

Would you stay at your job if they cut your pay by 1/3? By 1/2? How about by 2/3?

When you interview for your next job, will you accept the same offer?

Suprise! You're the one who doesn't want to work!

You're also currently overpaid. Dramatically overpaid. Pick up an almanac. Odds are you can point your finger at a country full of people with your job skill that will be more than willing to take your job for 1/10th your pay. Can't find that country? Jesus! Did you fail geography too? You ARE overpaid!

How did this country manage to get by for so long overpaying you so much? You fucking scum.

Now get back to work... before we take away your 30-minute lunch "hour".