August 31, 2004

The patriotic Republicans

Over 6,000 wounded American soldiers from Iraq, and some delegate to the Republican convention thought this was a good idea. These people have no honor, no integrity, and no shame.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Delegates to the Republican National Convention found a new way to take a jab at Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam service record: by sporting adhesive bandages with small purple hearts on them.

Morton Blackwell, a prominent Virginia delegate, has been handing out the heart-covered bandages to delegates, who've worn them on their chins, cheeks, the backs of their hands and other places.

Blackwell is president of the Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan educational foundation he founded in 1979. According to its Web site, the institute prepares conservatives for success in politics, government and the news media.


Donna Cain, an Oregon delegate, wore a purple heart bandage on her wrist.

"Probably a lot of people are handing them out because they are very symbolic," she said. Kerry, she said, "has made the war that he served in far more important than his recent records of the last 18 to 20 years."


But Cain said she didn't see the bandage as a jab at U.S. troops who have been wounded in combat -- more than 6,000 of them so far in the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

"It is not in any way defaming of them, because I know people who have received Purple Hearts and I know that they're not boasting about their war record. They're proud of their serving their country. And, I mean, I just met a woman who lost her husband yesterday in Iraq. And there's a whole entirely different mood."

Pat Peel, the delegate singled out in the Democratic response, promised that there would be many more purple heart bandages on the floor Tuesday.

Dole was sharply criticized by Kerry backers when he questioned whether Kerry's wounds were severe enough to merit a Purple Heart. He said Monday night that "you can't control delegates."

"I'm certain there's no possible connection" between the Bush campaign or Republican leaders and the bandages sported Monday night, he said.

No, Senator, of course not...

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (3)

August 30, 2004

Lunchtime musing

Once again I was watching a baseball game (Cubs - Expos) while eating lunch, and I got to wondering:

Is Grudzielanek - Garciaparra the double-play combination with the longest two names in baseball history?

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:37 PM | Comments (7)

Medical students, take note

Any budding medical researchers out there? NIH has a deal for you.

The NIH Loan Repayment Programs can repay up to $35,000 of qualified educational debt for health professionals pursuing careers in clinical, pediatric, contraception and infertility, or health disparities research. The programs also provide coverage for Federal and state tax liabilities.

Participants must possess a doctoral-level degree, devote 50% or more of their time to research funded by a non-profit organization or government entity (federal, state, or local), and have educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20% of their institutional base salary. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or U.S. nationals may apply.

Now that's using my tax dollars in a way I can support. Go here to apply.

In other news of use for the medical crowd, if you're interested in the current research on genetics, here's a website for you. It's from the Feds, and among other things it includes a legislative searchable database which

...currently focuses on the following subject areas: genetic testing and counseling; insurance and employment discrimination, newborn screening; privacy of genetic information and confidentiality; informed consent; and commercialization and patenting.

Now that might be a really useful tool.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2004

Seething masses of humanity

My goodness. That was certainly a crowd of folks walking down the streets of New York. If you have an opportunity to watch re-runs (if any) on C-Span, spend a few minutes. You'll see a lot of people who disagree with the policies put forth by the current Administration. The caskets were the most moving thing I saw.

Here's an aggregator of blogs both on- and off-site in the city.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:05 PM | Comments (5)

August 28, 2004


It's the opening weekend of college football (in August???), so it's time for my annual plug for Fanblogs. If you're interested in college football news, it's the site for you (except that they don't cover the Western Athletic Conference, despite the fact that ESPN has one of its players on its Heisman Watch). No, I don't have the time (or the time zone) to cover it myself; sorry.

Anyway, if you're a fanatic, this year they've added RSS Feeds for the entire site, the conferences, and even specific teams. So if you want to keep up with, say, Arizona football and let your fellow fans do the same, this is the place to be.

Update: Oops. They actually added the RSS Feeds in September of last year, and I didn't notice it. My mistake.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:14 PM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2004

Maestro my backside

Alan Greenspan should be ashamed of himself. He's the guy who advocated raising payroll taxes back in the 1980s to pay for Social Security and Medicare. Subsequent to that he endorsed Bush's tax cuts, and now he says that instead of rescinding those tax cuts to pay for the trouble they've caused the SocSec and Medicare system, benefits should be cut. When he looks in the mirror, he sure as hell doesn't see an honest man.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:03 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2004


News item: Montreal Expos second baseman Jose Vidro will have knee surgery; his season is over.

Happens all the time, right? Yeah, but the description of the surgery is what caught my attention:

"(The doctor) will split the patella tendon and remove a small area of scar tissue and chronic inflammatory tissue," said Bruce Thomas, the Expos' team physician. "He has a nodule almost the size of a BB, but it acts like a foreign body in his knee when he starts to pivot or make cuts or when he goes to his back hand.

I've had some experience with a severed patella tendon; I hope he recovers with less stiffness than I have in my knee.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2004

I'm one of the dubious

Campaign Desk has a nice piece up asking why the mainstream media immediately fell into its standard "he-said/she-said" style of reporting when the Swift Boat people surfaced, rather than trying to verify the accounts of Kerry's Navy service itself. I have to wonder if anyone at the WaPo, the NYT, Time or Newsweek bothers to read CD's continual admonishments, though; they don't seem to improve with age.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

Department of "Yikes!"

Somebody came by looking for this: "number+account+routing+bank+newyork," which seems a little odd. Do people photocopy their checks and post them on the internet? Even if some people do, do I look that dumb? This one: "best goatee in baseball" seems a little more likely to be found here; I remember watching a televised game a few years ago when Fernando Vina was with the Cardinals and the announcers concluded he fit that description. I had to agree; it was about as neatly trimmed as you could ask. It was pencil-thin from the corner of his mouth to his chin, and I remember thinking "how long does it take to trim that?"

Late addition: I just noticed someone typed "google" into the search box, too. I think I'll award the "unclear on the concept" award to that person.

Oh, and if any of my neighbors read this, I apologize for the noisy steam-cleaning that we had done to our walls at 0730 this morning; I didn't expect them anywhere near that early.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:06 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2004


Has anyone else noticed that magazines you never thought of as repositories of hard journalism have suddenly become so? First it was Vanity Fair publishing a story which gave us the famous Wolfowitz quote about going to war over WMD "because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," and now comes Gentleman's Quarterly with a story about the troubles Joe Darby and his family have had since he blew the whistle on the Abu Ghraib scandal. Both Darby and his wife are now in military protective custody, and I can see why.

Each day, she would catch another snippet of the hostility brewing around her. There was the candlelight vigil in Cumberland, Maryland, to show support for the disgraced soldiers, including the ones who did the torturing, about a hundred supporters standing in the pounding rain, as if beating and sodomizing prisoners were some kind of patriotic duty. Or the 200 people who gathered one night in Hyndman, Pennsylvania, waving American flags to honor Sivits, the first soldier tried in the scandal. They posted a sign in Hyndman. It said JEREMY SIVITS, OUR HOMETOWN HERO. And the mayor told reporters that even though Sivits would sometimes do "a little devilish thing," on the whole he was "a wonderful kid."

Where were the signs for Joe? Bernadette had to wonder. Where was his vigil? Where was his happy mayor? Where were his calls of support? Down at the gas station, Clay overheard some guys say that Joe was "walking around with a bull's-eye on his head," just casually, just like, oh, everybody knows Joe's dead. Some of Bernadette's family even let her know that other members of the family were against her now, that they couldn't support a traitor. The more Bernadette heard, the more paranoid she became. How serious was this? Her nerves were so fried from the media onslaught that she couldn't be sure what was serious and what was just talk. Had those cops really ignored Maxine because they were against Joe? And if so, what else would they ignore?

This is terrifying stuff, worthy of a full reading. (Link courtesy of Digby).

A sociologist could go on and on about the behavior of the Darby's neighbors, recounting theories of group dynamics, closed societies, and yadda yadda yadda. My question is, why are the major media outlets not writing this stuff? Why is it not on Primetime Thursday, rather than the insipid pap that program has recently given us? Or on 60 Minutes, which has given us nothing but re-runs since it interviewed Senators Kerry and Edwards before the Democratic Convention? Why do we find these stories in the so-called "glossy" magazines instead of the more obvious ones?

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:54 PM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2004

Court cases

Now here's a provocative question, raised by Brad DeLong's son and initially discussed over here.

What was the most important court case in history?

At the moment, comments lean towards Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of judicial review. There are some votes for the Dred Scott decision, which ruled that Congress could not prohibit slavery in US territories, thus helping to precipitate the US Civil War.

Brad doesn't exclude cases beyond US borders, but I'm not familiar enough with those to even consider them. Personally I vote for Marbury, because without it every subsequent Court decision would have been challenged by Congress. Instead, when the Court rules on the constitutionality of legislation and decides it doesn't pass muster, Congress, if it really thinks the law is needed, must try to craft better legislation. (At least that's my understanding; if I'm wrong, let the argument begin.)

Any thoughts?

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:30 AM | Comments (3)

August 21, 2004

Eyewitness news, c. 1969

The Swift Boat Vets story just keeps bringing out the truth, but not in the way they wish. Here's an eyewitness account of what really happened that day in Vietnam, from a man who was there and is now an editor for the Chicago Tribune. (Reg. Req.) It completely refutes John O'Neill's story.

But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.

Here's some background from the Tribune.

The Bush campaign has denied any association with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth but so far has refused to condemn the book and the group's TV ads. A report in Friday's New York Times disclosed connections between the anti-Kerry vets and the Bush family, Bush's chief political aide Karl Rove and several high-ranking Texas Republicans. Some of the recent accounts from veterans critical of Kerry have been contradicted by their own earlier statements, the Times reported.

Rood's account also sharply contradicts the version currently put forth by the anti-Kerry veterans. Rood, 61, wrote that Kerry had personally contacted him and other crew members in recent days asking that they go public with their accounts of what happened on that day.

Knowing past patterns of Bush campaigns (see McCain in 2000 and Dukakis in 1988) I don't expect this to stop, but as more facts come out, it may generate a backlash. It should.

Update: Kevin Drum has a partial list of self-contradicting statements made by some of the Swift Vets here. As Kevin says, why would one believe a word any of these guys says?

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2004

What's up with that?

Today's weird sightem: a guy in professional attire parks his Jeep Durango in a parking lot, hops out, opens the back, pulls out a surfboard, and carries it into a realty/financial planning office in the suburbs, at least five miles from anywhere there might be surf.

This just begs for a story. Was he using the board as collateral for a loan?

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:15 PM | Comments (3)

Mr. Bush doth protest too much

If you've been hearing or seeing all the attention the Kerry campaign has been getting from some former vets, you owe it to yourself to read this article. It enumerates many of the lies being told and shows that much of what these people have been saying is contradicted by both Navy records and their own testimony in prior years. It also points out that despite all denials, this group is closely connected to the Bush family, Karl Rove (Bush's political adviser) and the Republican party.

A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove.

Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.

The strategy the veterans devised would ultimately paint John Kerry the war hero as John Kerry the "baby killer" and the fabricator of the events that resulted in his war medals. But on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements.

Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry "unfit" had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year.

In an unpublished interview in March 2003 with Mr. Kerry's authorized biographer, Douglas Brinkley, provided by Mr. Brinkley to The New York Times, Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry's antiwar positions but said, "I am not going to say anything negative about him." He added, "He's a good man."

In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry's Silver Star: "It took guts, and I admire that."

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage." At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the "bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats."

"Senator Kerry was no exception," Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as "not exceeded" in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and "one of the top few" - the second-highest distinction - in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry "unsurpassed," "beyond reproach" and "the acknowledged leader in his peer group."

Why have they changed their mind? Well, apparently they took exception to how they were portrayed in Douglas Brinkley's 2003 book about Kerry, so they decided to try to destroy him and found willing helpers in a group of Texas Bush supporters.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Someone hand me a sponge

It's too hot to write. We had some repairs done to our automatic sprinklers this afternoon, and all I wanted to do was stand under them for a while.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:49 PM | Comments (3)

August 18, 2004

St. John's gingko biloba

Who among us hasn't either tried dietary supplements or thought about it? NIH has just enhanced its database of documents pertaining to the subject. It now has more than 730,000 citations available in full or abstract form, so the public can (hopefully) find info on most of the substances it's likely to swallow in hopes of improving health. The database is accessible through this page at NIH.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

You've got (noisy) mail!

From the New Scientist's print edition comes this story of "Chattering emails."

Computers can already convert your email into speech, but the voice sounds robotic and expressionless. So IBM is developing a system that allows a PC to read out email in a voice mimicking that of the person who sent it (US patent application 2004/143438).

To set up the system, a sender reads a couple of introductory paragraphs containing key words into a microphone. IBM's software then builds a small data file that contains key characteristics of the user's speech including pitch, tone, enunciation and rhythm.

This file is then automatically attached to any emails they send. When you get the email your PC uses the voice profile to synthesise speech that makes the computer sound like the sender. So your boss's email will sound suitably dictatorial, while your friends will sound reassuringly chatty. (Ed. note -- what happens if you've been working with the boss for so long [24 years, in my case] that he could qualify as either or both?)

To prevent pranksters from copying someone's voice profile and attaching it to fraudulent or obscene messages, IBM recommends that users encrypt their voice profile. Even then they should only share it with trusted friends and colleagues.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

Sports news

While eating lunch I was looking at the baseball league leaders in hitting and pitching, and I noticed that Ichiro has 181 185 hits this season (including Sunday's game). On August 15? So what's the record for hits in a season? 257, by George Sisler in 1920. If Ichiro stays healthy for the next six weeks, I'd say he's got a shot at it. Not much of a shot, maybe, but still a shot. Seattle's played 117 games through today, which means it has 45 games left. Ichiro needs 72 hits to tie and 73 to break the record, or 1.7 hits per game. It's unlikely, but not impossible, particularly since he's a leadoff hitter and nearly guaranteed to get five at-bats every game. Go get 'em, Ichiro!

Oh, and if you want to wander around an Olympics website, here's the official one. If you're a transportation freak, take a look at that section of the site; it has maps of the system.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2004


Have you ever dug through a pile of books, records, or things and wondered "when did I get that?" I just did, and what did I find but an unopened vinyl copy of Songs for a Tailor, by Jack Bruce. Everyone remembers Jack Bruce, right? Most notably he was the bassist with Cream, but he's had quite a career. I wouldn't exactly call this album a treasure on first listening, but it's certainly interesting music. It's kind of jazz/pop fusion, and although the review doesn't talk about it, I'm hearing a little Winwood during the Traffic period. He's still writing and performing, too; his latest release is 2003.

The lesson here is that you should look into your 30-year-old floor model stereo console to see if there are any records in the storage bin.

Addendum: I just noticed the price tag while putting the record back into the sleeve. Apparently I got it at half-price for $0.77.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)

August 13, 2004

Turkey necks

Have y'all met Giblets, the Mighty Lobster, and Fafnir? They are brilliant. They should be exalted above all other secular gods. Why, they have, in just this week alone, interviewed both Alan Keyes and Tim Russert & Bob Novak. They have elicited more useful information from those gentlemen than perhaps they expected. All Hail the Fafblog and its denizens!

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

Technical problems, please stand by

Notification problems continue. ISP claims "we never did a thing." MT forum question so far unanswered. Unable to access my host server.

I'm gonna go eat worms.

Update: Those may have been the right kind of worms. Somebody try a nice useless bit of blather in the comments; I think it may be working again.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:55 PM | Comments (3)

Address unknown?

Midday yesterday I suddenly stopped receiving e-mail notifications of comments, right in the middle of the post which has received more comments than almost any one I can remember. D'you suppose MT got stressed by that?

I've checked my preferences, and the little box for notifications to my address is checked and the address is correct. I've re-checked the box and rebuilt my files, but it still doesn't get me my notices.

Any ideas?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

August 11, 2004


Ok, now this is really cradle-to grave marketing. Today I received an offer from the Gerber Life Insurance Company for funeral expense insurance. Yup, the baby food company has a life insurance division. Talk about getting your customers early and keeping them forever.

From ABC's The Note comes a column in the Des Moines Register which The Note says won its daily award for ROFL.

If I only recognize one song (really!) on VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs, I suppose if it's number one that counts for something, right? (Link snagged from Off the Kuff).

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:08 PM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2004

Baseball travels

I was watching the Dodgers-Reds game while eating lunch today, and it occurred to me that, despite my 40-year fandom, I've been in relatively few ballparks in my life. My first game was at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1961 or so, watching a Dodgers game before they moved into Dodger Stadium in 1962. While in LA, I think my dad took me to Wrigley Field once to see the Angels in their first year of existence (Yes, yes -- there was a Wrigley Field in LA, owned by the same Wrigley family which owned the more famous one in Chicago. It was home to the AAA Pacific Coast League LA Angels and the Hollywood Stars). We moved to the Washington DC suburbs in 1962, and I remember going to see an exhibition game between the Dodgers (with Koufax pitching, no less) and Senators at RFK Stadium. That had to be between April 1962, when the first Senators baseball game was played there, and April of 1966, the last spring before Koufax retired. The Senators were so bad that that was probably the only game I saw there before we moved in 1968.

In the summer of 1965 we went to the NY World's Fair, and one afternoon we went over to Shea Stadium and saw Koufax and the Dodgers play the Mets. I'm pretty sure the Dodgers won, since they were headed to the World Series and Koufax was 26-8 that year.

During that drive across country in 1968 we went through St. Louis, and we stopped by Busch Stadium. We took a stadium tour, but the Cardinals were out of town that week, so there were no games to be seen. Then in 1972 on the seventh or eighth week of boot camp in San Diego we got off base to see a ball game at Jack Murphy Stadium. As bad as they were then, I'm pretty sure the Padres lost.

That was the last stadium I saw for quite a while other than Korakuen Stadium (now the Tokyo Dome) in Japan, where I saw the Yomiuri Giants play a game once. Then I moved back to Honolulu and became a devotee of the local AAA baseball team, which played down the hill from me at Aloha Stadium.

When the Islanders died I was out of luck, but by that time my employer had bought a health/tennis club in Los Angeles, and I was travelling back and forth a lot (every other week for about a year). I always made it a point to go out to Dodger Stadium at least every other trip during the summer. Then in 1992 I had a convention to attend in Chicago, and one of our entertainment options was to see a game at the New Comiskey Park, so I took it.

So many of the ones I remember from listening to Dodgers' games are long gone. I regret not seeing Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Crosley Field in Cincinnati, and even Candlestick, home of the hated Giants, in San Francisco. There are a ton of new ones I'd like to see in both leagues: Great American in Cincinnati, Camden Yards in Baltimore, Jacobs Field in Cleveland (combined with a trip to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame!), and Safeco in Seattle. Then there's the last of the dinosaurs, of course: Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

One of these summers.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:27 PM | Comments (21)

August 09, 2004

Truth in Labeling?

I bought a can of this the other day, and I thought I'd check the website to see if they had any particularly scrumptious recipes for it. I was somewhat surprised to learn that despite its name, none of the recipes for enchiladas called for using it. Ortega sauce or salsa, yes. Las Palmas, no. I've looked at a couple of Spanish dictionaries online, and the translation for enchilada is indeed what I thought it was: filled tortilla. It doesn't seem to mean a cooking sauce, which is the meaning implied when reading the website. I remain confused.

Oh well, it was too damned hot this evening to make the things anyway.

Update: Tonight it cooled down. I diced up one bunch of green onions (including tops), added a can of diced mild green chiles, about half-a-can of sliced olives, a cup-and-a-half of cheese (Cheddar/Jack mix), and a can of shredded crabmeat. Zapped some corn tortillas for a minute or so to soften, then put 2/3 of that filling inside 'em. Poured about 3/4 of the can of sauce over all that, then put the balance of the filling on top. Baked for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. It was really good, but I might add more crabmeat next time; I think it got overwhelmed by the other flavors.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (8)

August 08, 2004

Vote early and often, Part II

Here's a nice wrap-up of the current state of play in electronic voting machines. It is not reassuring.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)


I've been reading the 9/11 Commission report, and I've just finished chapter 9, which describes the events following the planes' crashing into the WTC. Broadly speaking, there's not much there that wasn't already known: the radio problems, the failures of the chain of command. We've been aware of that. What I didn't realize, presumably because the television cameras deliberately shied away from it, was the number of people who jumped from the buildings. The report mentions this so matter-of-factly that it's doubly horrifying. From page 316:

It is impossible to measure how many more civilians who descended to the ground floors would have died but for the NYPD and PAPD personnel directing them -- via safe exit routes that avoided jumpers and debris --to leave the complex urgently but calmly.
You've probably heard some of the praise for the actual writing of the report; believe me, it's merited. There's very little bureaucratese or jargon to be found in here. It's annoying to have to flip back to the end of the volume to look at footnotes, but since the alternative would have meant pages with two lines of text and the balance taken up by notes, that's a small price to pay.

I'm just starting the recommendations. It'll be interesting to see how they compare to the condensed version we've been getting from the headline writers over the past week.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Literary pursuits

Any science fiction fans out there? Or people who want to be science fiction fans but don't know where to start? Then go to Making Light and start reading the comments. It's an open thread, and someone asked for recommendations about SF books. Take a notepad and pencil with you. I'll bet I haven't read more than a dozen of the (at least) one hundred mentioned so far, and I thought I was reasonably well-versed in the genre.

If economics floats your boat, Brad DeLong re-reads volumes one and two of a biography of John Maynard Keynes and is overcome with laudatory remarks. It's funny. I've read my share of economics textbooks, most of which pay homage to the man, but I've never read Keynes himself, and I've certainly never read a biography. Time to start, particularly after reading this passage.

Keynes was an academic, but also a popular author. His books were read much more widely outside of academia than within it. Keynes was a politician--trying to advance the chances of Britain's Liberal Party between the wars--but also a bureaucrat: at times a key civil servant in the British Treasury. He was a speculator, trying to make his fortune on the stock market, but also at the core of the "Bloomsbury Group" of artists and intellectuals that did so much to shape interwar culture.
Sounds like an interesting man.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)

August 06, 2004

Curb your appetites!

Now here's a drug with a built-in market: a two-fer, in fact. Rimonabant "is the first of a new class of drugs that act to block the brain's endocannabinoid system, thought to be responsible for a range of cravings, including those for food and nicotine."

So you can pop these pills, quit smoking and lose weight at the same time. What's not to like?

Caution: the proprietor makes no representation as to the validity of this drug's properties or its maker's claims.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:10 PM | Comments (5)

August 05, 2004

Revisionist history

Hey! A book by Michelle Malkin! I can't wait!

In Defense of Internment.

The book tries to make the case that Japanese internment was just fine, that racial profiling is desirable in times of war, and that we should do more of it. From the review at a proudly conservative book site:

In Defense of Internment proves that everything you've ever learned about the World War II "internment camps" for Japanese in America is wrong: they weren't the product of racism or war hysteria, they weren't only for Japanese, and they were nothing at all like the Nazi death camps to which they are often compared by craven and opportunistic alarmists on the Left. Malkin not only sets the historical record straight -- she also refutes the arguments of pseudo-historians and sanctimonious liberal analysts who use this distorted history to undermine our crying need for national security profiling.

Right. And every historian for the past 60 years has been a dupe of the "left." Go read Eric Muller's remarks about this. Start here and scroll up. So far he's posted about six items refuting this propaganda, and propaganda it is. Out here in Hawai'i we know our history too well to be taken in by this nonsense; some of those internees still live here.

Gee, published just in time for the Republican convention, too. You suppose it will be part of the goodie bag the speakers and delegates get?

Update: Professor Muller has collected all the links to his various posts in rebuttal here.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:55 PM | Comments (2)

August 04, 2004

Calling Click and Clack

So when the release button on your floor-mounted emergency brake no longer emerges from the little hole at the top of the handle, what sort of auto repair shop should one go to?

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:07 PM | Comments (4)

No Lollapalooza? Try this...

From ABC's The Note this morning comes the hot musical news of the month:

Vote For Change, a concert series of epic proportions, is officially out from under wraps. In no uncertain terms, some of the biggest bands and most influential musicians in modern American music — we're talking Springsteen, we're talking Vedder, we're talking Raitt — will participate. On the heels of the Republican National Convention, they will embark on an ambitious battleground tour, performing in at least 34 shows, in 28 cities, in nine states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina. Concerts begin Oct. 1 and run over the course of eight to 10 days, in venues varying in size from large indoor arenas to smaller "intimate" theaters.

Tickets go on sale (to the public) through Ticketmaster on Aug. 21.

The roster of more than 20 artists — talent spanning generations, geography and musical genre — will appear on separate bills on the same night in selected cities. While some of the artists' music may inspire the listener to go home and write a letter to your long lost high school love rather than to start a revolution — Move On has managed to line-up an enviable host of talent without a Millie Vanilli in the bunch.

Preliminarily, the tickets may look something like this:

— Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band/REM/Bright Eyes/John Fogerty
— Dixie Chicks/ James Taylor
— Pearl Jam/Death Cab for Cutie
— Dave Matthews Band/Ben Harper/Jurassic 5/My Morning Jacket
— Bonnie Raitt/Jackson Browne/Keb Mo
— John Mellencamp/Babyface

The Note has yet to figure out the Mellencamp/Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds pairing — but the groovin' Matthews/Harper/J-5/MMJ ticket makes such perfect sense — it has to trust.

The tour is being organized by MoveOn's political action committee, MoveOn PAC with all funds fueling the voter education and mobilization efforts of ACT.

Update: Here's the LA Times story. It includes a partial schedule. (Reg. required; try bselig/bselig or search for a Times login at BugMeNot).

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:51 AM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2004

Medical news

In the wake of the Ron Reagan speech at the Democrats' convention, the AMA has a comprehensive article about the state of stem cell research, including a breakdown of those famous "lines" Mr. Bush declared were sufficient.

Buchwald on Big Pharma. Buchwald should not be read if you have a full cup of coffee, if you're a shareholder in Merck, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, or BristolMyersSquibb, or if you're a member of the medical profession.

Here's a little more Big Pharma bashing. Public Citizen warns local tv stations about those "video news releases" masquerading as news. The primary example was the one sent out to drum up support for the Medicare bill last year, but there are others.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

Yo, Osama, want some nukes?

Nuclear proliferation is a huge problem; one of al-Qaeda's goals is to acquire nuclear weapons, so why is the Administration doing this?

In a significant shift in U.S. policy, the Bush administration announced this week that it will oppose provisions for inspections and verification as part of an international treaty that would ban production of nuclear weapons materials.


For several years the United States and other nations have pursued the treaty, which would ban new production by any state of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons. At an arms-control meeting this week in Geneva, the Bush administration told other nations it still supported a treaty, but not verification.


The announcement at the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament comes several months after President Bush declared it a top priority of his administration to prevent the production and trafficking in nuclear materials, and as the administration works to blunt criticism by Democrats and others that it has failed to work effectively with the United Nations and other international bodies on such vital global concerns.

Without verification how is one to know where the material is, who's doing what with it, and whether it's going places we'd prefer it not go?

Also, does this count as a flip-flop?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2004

Spare change, Mr. Bush?

From Mr. Bush yesterday in Ohio:

After four more years, there will be better paying jobs in America. After four more years, there will be more small businesses. After four more years, the American economy will continue to be the strongest in the world.

So, I might get a decent job in four more years? There will be more small businesses then? Gosh, that gives me great confidence. What do I do in the meantime, Mr. President?

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:53 AM | Comments (3)