November 30, 2002

World AIDS Day 2002

December 1 is World AIDS Day. It's a day meant to commemorate the dead and raise awareness among the living. I'm sure there will be many other folks in the Link and Think project who will be talking about current research, private histories, political activity and the like, so I thought I'd provide links to some historical background about HIV/AIDS.

If you're unclear about the beginnings of this modern-day Black Death, here's an informative history of the pandemic. Here is a timeline of the disease's progression; it may go as far back as 1675 A.D. Initially, the World Health Organization was responsible for AIDS information and country-by-country program development, but in 1996 the UN recognized that WHO alone was being overwhelmed, and the UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was created. A brief history of its mission and history can be found here. The US Food and Drug Administration has created a timeline of its own knowledge and actions to counteract the disease, and the National Institutes of Health has developed an oral history project with its own researchers as the storytellers. The University of California-San Francisco has put together a history of that city's response.

I've been lucky; I've lost no friends or acquaintances to AIDS. But:

"The number of people living with HIV in the world today has risen to 42 million, up from 40 million at end 2001, according to a new UNAIDS and World Health Organization update on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Five million people were newly-infected and 3.1 million people were killed by the disease in 2002."

Think about that number. There are roughly 280 million people in the US; 42 million is approximately 15% of the entire American population. And that's the least of it. Many of the dying are leaving orphaned children behind, and many of those children live in societies and countries ill-equipped to care for them. Additionally, those dying are in many cases the most productive people in their countries, meaning the economic harm is also devastating. The loss to each person's country is incalculable. Who knows what talent the world loses each time an individual dies so young?

That's why I care.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:38 PM | Comments (6)

November 29, 2002

Post-prandial frivolity

Hoo boy. I got up yesterday morning, turned on the coffee pot, and it died after about three cups of palatable coffee were brewed. Nice way to begin the day, I thought, but I'll go past Longs or K-Mart to pick up a new coffee pot, on the way to get our Thanksgving dinner from Safeway. Hah! Longs was closed; K-Mart was having a T-Day sale which began at 6:00am. The parking lot was impossible to enter. Well, instant coffee tomorrow morning, I supposed, so I headed over to get the dinner. All was well with that; my sister and her family arrived, basically took over the non-turkey cooking chores, and I got the heck out of the way. The mashed potatoes and stuffing were duly microwaved until steaming hot. I suddenly remembered the peas. Into the microwavable pot they went. The timer was set for three minutes, and off it turned at what I thought was the full time. Then I looked at the contents of the pot, and at the timer. Hmm. It stopped with one minute left. Why? That's still to be determined, but the sucker just plain quit working, so suddenly I needed to remember how to cook vegetables in a saucepan on the stovetop. All turned out ok in the end; the meal was fine, but now I have not one but two appliances to replace or repair today. Arrgh.

Do not give a professional comedian a free shot at your organizational chart (Caution: coffee/soda spewing may occur).

Post-Thanksgiving 'Net time wasters abound, particularly for those on vacation. I really like the compendiums (should that be compendia?) of non-existent books and bands mentioned in books, TV and movies.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:20 AM | Comments (4)

November 28, 2002

Turkey Day 2002

God Bless us Everyone

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:06 AM | Comments (5)

November 27, 2002

Pre-Turkey Day Panic

1955 Westinghouse roaster-oven

We've cooked our turkey in one of those since the mid-1950s; I never realized how much wattage gets eaten before we even start on the contents! 1335 watts? Good thing we only use it twice a year!

Oh, for crying out loud. I got an e-mail from Amazon yesterday offering me a Charlotte Church greatest hits compilation. What is she, sixteen? With maybe three albums to her credit in three years?

When cookies (computer variety) go bad: scroll down to the final paragraphs to learn how TiVo sometimes gets it wrong. It ain't just TiVo; how many screwy Amazon recommendations have you gotten?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:12 PM | Comments (7)

November 26, 2002

Loony left, my a**

It's not enough to indirectly promote pollution, it seems. The Administration has quietly been promoting its abstinence philosophy on its own web sites, to the detriment of public health. Why else delete "information on condom use, the relation between abortion and breast cancer and ways to reduce sex among teenagers" from CDC and other agency websites?

"Working Americans at the bottom of the economy are not paying enough in taxes." That's a paraphrase from the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, according to E.J. Dionne in the WashPost. Anyone else feel that way, as you look at your paystubs, or, if you're self-employed, when the quarterly tax bill is due? I swear, Paul Gigot (editorial page editor and former News Hour regular) and his cohorts live in cloud-cuckoo land.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:03 PM | Comments (2)

November 25, 2002

Corporate chumminess or corruption?

If you wondered what that "Get Out of Jail Free"tm card for Eli Lilly in the Homeland Security legislation was doing there, ask yourself just who knew whom in the Administration. Other influence peddlers want to spread their agenda, too, and they may be finding a receptive ear in the Senate. I particularly like this quote from Senator Lott: "The only places where these ideas are considered bad are on the two coasts", he said in an interview. Apparently the millions of people who live on the coasts have non-mainstream ideas and values.

Hopefully you all are more current in your hardware/software than I am; I'm typing on a five-year old Packard Bell 166-mhz 256K Pentium MMX machine, with a 13-inch monitor and Win95 OS. Thus, I pay attention when the year-end computing guides come out, even ones from the WashPost.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:31 PM | Comments (3)

November 24, 2002

Avoid this website!

No, no. Not this website. This website. That is Medicare's financing site, and I just spent two hours looking for a simple schedule of approved payments for specific drugs. Do not try this. It is a fruitless exercise.

Fortunately, some folks did not avoid this site (the one you're reading) yesterday. The odometer slipped over 10,000, and guess who it was? Deborah of Thoughts Interrupted! But wait, you say. Weren't you her 10,000th visitor just a few days ago? Can this be true? Is this a put-up job? No, no, a thousand times no; it's all true. Anyone with a flair for math who wants to figure out the odds of that is more than welcome; I'm sure both she and I would be interested in the results.

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:32 PM | Comments (8)

November 23, 2002

Rules and raises

Most understated line of the day (at least by 0745hst): "The new 628-page rule is available online". One assumes that it's not a single run-on sentence. The rule in question is the new one allowing polluters a free pass on emissions, just to clarify.

Why people despise politicians, #3713:

"The Senate voted to keep in place a 3.1 percent pay raise scheduled for Jan. 1 for members of Congress and top executive-branch officials. The cost-of-living increase will raise salaries for rank-and-file lawmakers from $150,000 to $154,700. This vote, which occurred during debate on legislation establishing a Department of Homeland Security, killed a bid to block the raise."
They did this, of course, just as they killed an unemployment benefits extension. "About 830,000 people will be thrown off the unemployment rolls at that point, and an additional 95,000 who exhaust their state benefits each week will get no federal aid thereafter."

Is it any wonder many feel they have forgotten just whom they're elected to represent?

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:48 PM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2002

Regulation by contribution

I don't know if this is unethical or merely unseemly; all I know is it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Ad agencies fund drug research. You want more? As expected, the Bushies are relaxing clean air rules to let their friends (can you say Enron?) upgrade equipment without improving emission controls. Oh, and they're gonna let 18-wheelers potentially destroy turtle nesting areas on Padre Island in Texas, too. What's slightly unbelievable is that there's been a 20-year effort to save the turtles from extinction by the Feds, and that whole effort may be jeopardized. Does this make sense?

Wow. If the docks lockout on the West Coast was partially about technology, try this one on for size. IBM is about to begin selling "autonomous" software with the ability to fix itself and keep running. I can hear the anguished cries of IT professionals now. In similar news, here's an assessment of whether the new Homeland Security Department will really work, from a corporate merger perspective. Short answer: nope.

If you missed All Things Considered today, it has some wonderful tape of cockpit conversations between an AF plane (carrying about half of the Cabinet) and the White House Situation Room on Nov. 22, 1963, the date JFK was killed. The half-hour segment is narrated by one of the observers, Walter Cronkite.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2002

10,000 Headmen

It has come to my attention that I was the 10,000th visitor at Deborah's site the other day. How about that?

My own sitemeter has been creeping up on that somewhat talismanic number for some time. The more observant of you may note that I changed the style of the thing overnight, all the better to figure out who my 10,000th visitor might be (since my principal client hasn't paid me in some time, I can't offer any humongous prize, like airfare to my neighborhood; sorry). I can offer recognition and plaudits, though, and I certainly will.

To quote somebody (and if anyone remembers who, please tell me): Thank you for your support.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:45 PM | Comments (9)

O Canada

Mike needs to be famous... and fast.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

DARPA & other databases

Other opinions and articles about DARPA's Total Information Awareness project (that's the home page for the project, complete with chart), can be found here. Links to the other stories are included. This is scary stuff. I'm all in favor of getting terrorists before they get me/us, but I don't at all like the idea of so broad a net being cast over all Americans.

Enough grousing about that today; how about an internet library of children's books, designed in part by kids for kids? For larger kids, there's a conference on blogging tomorrow at Yale; I don't much care about the panel discussions, but full credit goes to the designer of the logo. It's pure pulp magazine art.

Yo! Here's an urgent notice for Windows 2000, Millenium, and Win98 users: go directly to Microsoft's security site to get a patch!

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:40 PM | Comments (3)

November 20, 2002

Data and DNA

In light of Poindexter's supersnoop database construction project, it's frightening to read a story which gives both DOJ and DOD failing grades for security. In more benign news about data retention (the Bunny will appreciate this), MIT has just begun a superarchive for all the documents its librarians and researchers produce. Interestingly, that includes all the supporting papers as well as the final results.

Now this might be enlightening beyond the historical aspects: a descendant of John Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, has agreed to have her DNA tested for clues to Mr. Merrick's disfigurement.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:49 PM | Comments (4)

Credit where due

This lovely template is the work of Sarah and Deb of Glen Road Girls. They have (as of last night) 25 different blog sets available as linkware and/or for licensing. The designs are really attractive, and they're quite responsive when questions are asked. I also need to thank Shelagh, who pointed the sets out to me and helped me through a bad patch after unzipping and uploading. And I still want to know how Jen found the test blog and left a comment!

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:56 AM | Comments (5)

November 19, 2002

Rainy or Not

Since I live in the land of binary seasons (see post title), I thought I'd put up a purty picture to remind me of what I miss. All I want to do is look at it, though; I have no interest in either driving in or shoveling the stuff.

The last time I lived where it snowed every winter was 1962-1968 in DC. One of my lasting memories is of having a paper route delivering the now-defunct Washington Star during what was called the Blizzard of 1967. The paper was an afternoon daily with a Sunday morning edition; one Saturday it started to snow on top of the foot or so already on the ground. By Sunday morning when I got up to deliver the papers it was about three feet deep and drifting. I finally got the Sunday papers on the following Wednesday.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:18 PM | Comments (5)

November 18, 2002

Politics, city layouts, & photos

If you're a Democrat and interested in some behind-the-scenes analysis of why the party appears so weak (to the public, according to polls) on national security, here's a good place to start. Thanks to Josh Marshall for the links.

As opined below, the House has become a playground for the extremists on each side of the political spectrum. On the right-wing side, one of the pet peeves has been large jury awards against their friends in the business community. That may be taken up by the new Congress, in which case blatant activity such as UNUM Provident's denial of disability payouts to legitimate claimants could expand drastically. It's already pretty outrageous.

"The more things change..." During my senior year in high school one of my classes had an assignment to build a model city; we went for innovation, using a circular layout rather than the standard grid (we didn't have any budding real estate developers wanting standard-sized lots in the class). Lo and behold, 34 years later, somebody is following our suggestion. Here's some slightly more important info: the Bush photo with the upside-down book leads Wired to discuss the larger issue of doctored photos in general. Check out the links, particularly the list of domain names the Bushies registered in 2000 in an ultimately futile attempt to prevent parody.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:31 PM | Comments (3)

November 17, 2002

Memorable parties

Here's a birthday story from a weekend not so long ago. A few years back, my favorite cousin decided to throw a party to celebrate hers. It was one of those awful ones that end in zero, so it was a big deal. There would be a small group of friends (20, maybe), and they'd all meet at a local Los Angeles restaurant for wine, cheese, and the rest. However, there was a catch; absolutely, positively, on pain of ostracism at least and who knows what at most, no presents were to be bought for her. None, zero, zip, nada. Cards were acceptable, hugs demanded, but no presents. Fine, we all agreed, that won't be done.

Comes the day. I cashed in some frequent flier miles and found a freebie with a sister hotel (I was working for one here at the time), so I flew to the West Coast to attend. I arrived Saturday morning on the red-eye, crashed for most of the day, and then headed out to the party that evening. I did have a lei for her; I concluded that wasn't breaking the "no presents" rule, and besides, what woman (unless allergic) could resist a fragrant garland of flowers draped around her neck? So I arrived at the restaurant in my rental car (the only major expense on the entire trip, mind you) and met up with the birthday girl, her husband, and a slew of people who knew and loved them. When she finally decided there weren't any more folks likely to arrive, what did she do but dig around under the table and start giving presents to all the attendees! Moreover, these were not generic gifts; each one had been selected with some thought about the recipient's likes and dislikes. I'm a reader, and I like mysteries, so for me she found a hardbound collection of short stories, all of them in the hard-boiled detective genre like Chandler, Hammett, etc. It was perfectly suited for me, and everyone else got something equally well suited to his or her own tastes.

Best birthday idea I've ever heard of.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:23 PM | Comments (7)

November 16, 2002

Blog Buddy

I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard than in the tomb of the Capulets. -- Edmund Burke

Should I appear absent for any unreasonable length of time, please get in touch with the noble and genteel Jen, whose abode can be found not in the tomb of the Capulets (the Stewarts might be a possibility), nor in a country churchyard, (though she might pick this one in which to wander), but in fact here. Clicking the lovely (non-Revere-made) cup over yonder will take you to her space as well.

Having had such fun with those links, let me leave you with some appropriate text:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the somber rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed fiying fearless and Reet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled--
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm--
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will awaken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:01 PM | Comments (6)

November 15, 2002

Politics and tech news

Take your victories where you find them. A bankruptcy bill highly favorable to those charmers in the bank card industry went down to defeat in the House yesterday, apparently because it included language which denied anti-abortion protesters the right to use bankruptcy courts to write off court fines.

Damn Democrats. First they let Bush take credit for the Homeland Security Department idea, which he resisted for months. Now they seem to have let him have a large amount of influence over the makeup of an independent commission to investigate September 11, another thing he resisted for months. Where the hell did they leave their guts, and more importantly, their political skills? They've now given the impression that they were the roadblock, not the Administration.

A new bill allows smaller webcasters to negotiate lower royalty rates for music than the earlier one; that may save college radio stations, which seems to be an unintended consequence. Oh, and here's everything some of what you wanted to know about the marriage of techies and movies (or geeks and moguls, as the article puts it). Finally, for any parents thinking of a Christmas PC for a munchkin, prices are dropping like crazy.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:57 PM | Comments (4)

November 14, 2002

Can "Bud" McFarlane be far behind?

If one believes William Safire, whose conservative credentials are impeccable, Adm. Poindexter (of Iran-Contra fame) has some awful ideas about Americans' privacy. Here are Markoff and O'Harrow on the subject, as cited in Safire's column.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:50 PM | Comments (2)

November 13, 2002

Talking head aspirations

I've always wondered who pays for the pundits. $30M buys a lot of opinions. In my next life (hell, maybe down the road a piece in this life!)...

At least someone in the GOP has some semblance of pragmatism: regarding "permanent" tax cuts, they said, "the legislation would be largely symbolic and political. Nothing Congress does is permanent..." Well, nothing other than stay in office; this guy has had the same thought I had last week. Re-districting should be taken away from state legislatures; it has become a tool to ensure "safe" seats in the House for the most hard-line ideologues of each party.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2002


The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific With gratitude to and in memory of:

Timberlake, Lewis G, b. 09/05/1924, d. 08/24/1993, CAPT USN, Plot: CT2 G-435, bur. 08/31/1993

Alford, James J, b. 03/16/1928, d. 12/20/1996, US Marine Corps, PFC, Res: Los Angeles, CA, Plot: CT3-K300347, bur. 01/23/1997

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:22 PM | Comments (2)

Birthday wishes

Today is November 11, 1918. It's your 26th birthday; the American presence in the "War to End All Wars" has affected you greatly; your younger brother has been fighting with the AEF in France. Only later will you learn that he was gassed in the trenches there, a condition which will affect his life for the next 60 years. Imagine the emotions you feel knowing the war is over, and that life may return to what it had been pre-1914. You are still 8 years away from the birth of your first child; your first husband will die shortly after the birth of your second. You will live through the Great Depression, working as an assistant to a busy doctors' office in Phoenix. You will have to take in boarders to make ends meet after your second husband dies. Your first child will marry a Navy officer shortly after World War II ends; your second will fight as a Marine in Korea. In 1959 your daughter will persuade you to move in with her own family, now expanded by a 9-year-old grandson. Within a year that family will add a second grandchild, this an adopted daughter, who will think of you as her best friend. You will move many times after joining your daughter's family, from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. to Guam and finally to Hawai'i. You will undergo treatment for breast cancer while in Los Angeles, including mastectomy. While in Washington, you will take up painting. By the time you move to Guam, you will be a good amateur artist, and will revel in painting island scenes. These paintings will hang in your daughter's home for the remainder of your life and beyond. All the while, you will maintain a cheerfulness and a puckish good humor, brightening the lives of your family and their friends until the day you move on to a well-earned reward in 1979. Had you lived, today would be your 110th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Grang.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:27 PM | Comments (4)

November 10, 2002

Delusion: the infinite capacity for kidding oneself

Main Entry: spin
Function: noun
Date: 1831

4 : a special point of view, emphasis, or interpretation (they put the most favorable spin on the findings)

Were you all aware that you had tort reform in mind when you voted on Tuesday? I thought not. This medical professionals association would have you believe it, though.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:47 PM | Comments (9)

November 08, 2002

What, me reform?

Friedman on American optimism (the column appeared the morning after election day, so it doesn't discuss the results); he's got a point, I think. Thanks for the heads-up, Ms. LabRat.

Here's the NYT take on the business community's wish list for the new House and Senate; lots of anti-consumer stuff like tort reform, more subsidies for insurance companies, and tighter bankruptcy laws. Since the consumers are the ultimate customers, why there's such antagonism towards them is beyond me; I always thought the final rule was "the customer is always right," even when he/she is an airhead. More evidence of potential foot-dragging toward reform appears likely; whatever happened to doing the right thing because it's the right thing?

How's this for employee loyalty? It's good chow, too!

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:59 PM | Comments (3)

November 07, 2002

Er, Um...

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:17 PM | Comments (2)

Good wishes needed

Go over to Batty's house and give her your best; there's a family illness.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2002

Post mortems ad nauseam

"The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal—they have to live off each other—while the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats." -- Will Rogers

Want another? "I don't belong to any organized party; I'm a Democrat." -- Will Rogers

I expect to see lots of finger-pointing at Gephardt and Daschle for not creating a cohesive strategy on which all candidates could run, and I think that's right. They never did. They allowed Rove and Bush to play the Iraq card to overshadow the economy's miserable performance, ongoing job losses, and stock market declines.

The Bush agenda: tax cuts for investors, "faith-based" initiatives, cut welfare, conservative judges and environmental and lawsuit restrictions. Oh, and while Clinton was accused of a permanent election campaign while in office, Mr. Bush may be accused of "all war all the time."

I expect to see more people whose views are more attuned to the pulpit than the lab appointed to FDA committees, more judges interested in incarceration of dissenters and the death penalty, and a widening of the divide between the haves and have-nots. Oh, and in a break with the norms, I'll bet that at least one Supreme Court justice announces his/her retirement at the end of the current term, rather than waiting for the beginning of a new session, as is the usual practice.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:14 AM | Comments (7)

November 05, 2002

Rights and responsibilities


I was voter number 503 at my precinct at 11:05am today; have you done your part?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:41 PM | Comments (9)

November 04, 2002

Make a Difference

Save the Senate!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes!

Did I mention a woman's right to choose in my prior post? Well, the Bushies want to deny that choice to more women around the world. I also mentioned judicial appointments; here's an op/ed from several days ago which discusses the issue more extensively.

As suggested below, here comes the spin: "A senior administration official made a rare visit to the press cabin of Air Force One today to try to persuade reporters to give Bush credit for any successes on Tuesday, but not to blame him for any disappointments." There was a story today on Morning Edition about the origin of the term "spin;" I'm sure this official would deny he/she was trying any such thing.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:49 PM | Comments (9)

November 03, 2002


Save the Senate!

HY VOTE in a mid-term election? Does it really matter? Well, consider the possibility of a White House (already in Republican hands) and a Senate possibly controlled by Republicans. This would mean committee chairmanships would move over to the Republicans (note: that list is obviously slightly out-of-date), and some of those are critical. Imagine the Judiciary chaired (again) by Orrin Hatch; presumably this would clear the way for Bush appointees to make it out of committee and to the full Senate floor, where they would likely be confirmed. Judging from prior selections alone, this would mean selectees whose views about a woman's right to choose, environmental protections, the death penalty and civil liberties are antithetical to those many Americans hold. Similarly, the chairmanship of environmental affairs would move to James Inhofe, no fan of the EPA. Regulation of clean air and water might be enforced less stringently, and new regulations could be written by those companies subject to the regulation. We saw this happen with the Cheney energy plan, where utilities like Enron had much more input than did the environmental community. That’s not only undemocratic, it’s plain stupid. Foxes are not given contracts to run henhouses.

These kinds of issues are not abstract. They will have an impact on every single one of the 280 million or so Americans in the country, and, in the case of judges, on the children and grandchildren of each of us. These are lifetime appointments, remember. The rules set by EPA will also determine the cleanup of Superfund sites, the quality of our air and water, and nuclear power site management for years to come.

Take the time on Tuesday to vote.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:34 PM | Comments (15)

November 02, 2002

Whaddya mean, "I Can't?"

Don't vote, don't bitch

Well now. Despite the company attorneys' admonitions not to do so, Mr. Bush sold his Harken stock a week after the warning was received. The corporate fraud issue won't go away, it seems. Mr. Pitt, meanwhile, has directed the SEC Inspector General to investigate his (Pitt's) actions with regard to the Biggs/Webster nomination. I have a hard time imagining that the IG is going to find wrongdoing on the part of his boss.

"The White House has positioned Bush to claim victory no matter what happens Tuesday". "If Republicans gain seats in the House or control of the Senate, the White House is prepared to call it an endorsement of Bush. If they lose seats in the House or fail to recover the Senate, Bush aides will say the election was resolved on local issues." You know, I could tolerate that if it were said with a wink, but I suspect that those aides will try to sell it as gospel truth either way.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)

November 01, 2002

Go ye forth and...

Don't vote, don't bitch

The parties recognize the importance of the sentiment behind that button; each is spending millions on their respective GOTV (Get Out The Vote, in the jargon) campaigns, recognizing that turnout is everything. I'm always interested in process, and this illuminates the mechanics behind the scenes very well. So does this: do parties matter?

In light of yesterday's revelation that SEC Commissioner Pitt didn't inform his fellow commissioners about Mr. Webster's prior decisions as chairman of an audit committee, Paul Krugman has formulated the Pitt Principle, a practice of appointing people whose skill sets are incompatible with the job they're hired to do.

Oh no! Gateway's losing its cow! (Caution: the ad review people have "views" about how mothers should be portrayed to the rest of us. Sample: "Okay," says a production designer, "let's mom her up.")

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)