April 30, 2006

Pander blocked?

Y'all have heard about the proposal to send $100 to taxpayers to help with rising gas prices, right? Well, it ain't selling well.

"The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, pointing out that the criticism was coming from across the ideological spectrum.

Angry constituents have asked, "Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?" said another Republican senator's aide, who was granted anonymity to openly discuss the feedback because the senator had supported the plan.

Despite that, I'll bet Frist keeps trying. But the kicker for me is this sentence: "Under the proposal, $100 checks would be sent late this summer to an estimated 100 million taxpayers, regardless of car ownership."

The Republicans are so used to bribery they'll pay off anybody!

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Colbert at W.H. Press dinner

In case you missed it, here's a link to video of Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. He took no prisoners. From Editor and Publisher:

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. "This administration is soaring, not sinking," he said. "They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg."

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the "Rocky" movies, always getting punched in the face—"and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world."

Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

It has to be seen to be believed. There wasn't a single unskewered institution in that room. The media got hammered and Bush got hammered, deservedly so in my view. Watch it.

Other sources for the video:

Part 1

Part 2

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April 29, 2006

They just don't get it

We keep hearing the pundits and the Republicans touting good economic growth and puzzling about why the poll numbers don't reflect that knowledge. I suggest that Americans wouldn't be howling so much about rising gas prices if their wages had not been declining relative to inflation for the past two years.

...real wages fell by 0.5% over the last 12 months after falling 0.7% the previous 12 months. Because of the momentum of real wage growth from the tight labor market of the late 1990s, real wages actually continued to grow during the recession that began in March and ended in November 2001. Since then, however, they have fallen slightly (Figure C).

The decline in inflation-adjusted pay has been the largest for lower and middle-income employees. For example, workers at the 20th percentile of the income scale suffered a 0.8% decline in real pay. Only the highest wage employees enjoyed pay gains that outpaced inflation—those in the 95th percentile of wages had gains last year of 0.8% (Figure D).

If you've been getting raises every year, even at the minimal level, you at least feel like momentum is in your favor. If you've not gotten one at all or if a year was missed, you're likely to feel like you're falling behind. The two charts at the link show that you're not wrong. Couple that with rising interest rates for your credit cards, the new car loan you want to get, or particularly the adjustable rate mortgage you took out three or four years ago, and you're feeling like the cards are stacked against you. Add rising gas prices to that, and you're liable to be an unhappy camper.

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April 28, 2006

Living with War

You can listen to Neil Young's new album here, if his website's clogged. I haven't time to listen straight through right now, but I'll have a review later.

Link via Atrios

Update: It's reminiscent of vintage (1970s) Young (I've discovered I don't know much about his 1980s - 1990s output, so I can't compare it to those). The drums and bass put down a really solid beat, and Young plays mostly rhythm guitar. It should be listened to straight through; it's meant to be a suite. There's effective use of a trumpet (a trumpet on a Neil Young album?) in various spots, and the sampling of various Presidential pronouncements about Osama bin Laden is startling at first, but entirely fitting. I like it a lot.

It's not yet available on CD, but that should change next week. More here from the NYT.

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Has there ever been a more over-hyped event of so little interest to the majority of the American population as the NFL Draft? It's a crapshoot, people. You can't project how well college football players will perform when they get to the NFL. You can hope, but how many Heisman Trophy winners have gone bust when they got into the pros?

Here are the winners since 1996:
2004 Matt Leinart
2003 Jason White
2002 Carson Palmer
2001 Eric Crouch
2000 Chris Weinke
1999 Ron Dayne
1998 Ricky Williams
1997 Charles Woodson
1996 Danny Wuerffel

Leinart stayed in school, so he's in this year's draft. White? Who's he? Palmer? Had a good year last season. Crouch? Pretty much a bust so far. Weinke? Is he still in the league? Dayne? Barely gets the ball anymore. Williams? Suspended twice for drug violations, includng this upcoming season. Woodson? An All-Star. Wuerffel? Is he still playing?

I think the only reason ESPN televises this is to fill time and keep Mel Kiper Jr. employed.

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April 27, 2006


From Froomkin's White House Briefing column today: video of Mama Duck, six or seven of her children, and the courtwatching press corps running interference for them as they cross a busy Washington street.

Rove, duck: which would you rather see on your TV screen?

Nolo contendre.

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Furthering my education

Brad DeLong reads The Economist and quotes from it, thereby teaching me a new Latin phrase: fons et origo, which means "The source and origin." I'd never read that one before.

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April 26, 2006


Is Lost A Repeat?

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April 25, 2006

The well-dressed blogger

No pajamas for me!
Originally uploaded by Linkmeister.

While cleaning we unearthed my Dad's old hat. Don't let anyone tell you bloggers work only in their pajamas.

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We're Number One!

Originally uploaded by Linkmeister.
The next time you hear some newscaster say the average price of a gallon of gas is pushing $3.00, remember that for it to be that high, some poor suckers have to be at the top of the price range.

$3.29 for regular unleaded
$3.35 for whatever that middle grade is
$3.45 for premium unleaded
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April 24, 2006

Net neutrality

That sounds like something only geeks could understand, I suppose, but hey, we're geeky enough to like using the Internet, so we can understand it, right?

Basically it means that the Net is open to all users/providers with no meaningful barriers to entry. From Save the Internet:

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Network neutrality prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you -- based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.

Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.

This isn’t just speculation -- we've already seen what happens elsewhere when the Internet's gatekeepers get too much control. Last year, Canada's version of AT&T -- Telus-- blocked their Internet customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. And Shaw, a major Canadian cable company, charges an extra $10 a month to subscribers who dare to use a competing Internet telephone service.

If you think this is a horrible idea, join the coalition of people and groups trying to persuade our representatives in Congress (map) that they shouldn't muck with this medium.

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Neil Young's new album

I own more Neil Young albums than I do any other artist, I think, although I haven't bought one in quite a while. He's been doing some very interesting things recently, but his new album "Living with War" sounds like the best yet. The album will be streamed in its entirety at Young's website beginning Friday, April 28. Early reviews here.

Here's a review from a member of the 100-person choir which performed on the album.

This album was recorded so quickly that even his record company was unaware of its existence. Young calls it 'metal folk protest', which is as good a way as any to describe it. Consisting of a 'power trio' (Young on Old Black, Rick Rosas on bass and Chad Cromwell on drums), Tommy Brea on trumpet, and a hundred-piece choir, the music is carefully constructed to serve the message. The 10-song record is meant to be heard from beginning to end in sequence. The driving, distorted guitar, bass and drums lay down a solid bed from which to launch the rocket-propelled vocals. The trumpet solos accentuate the military aspect of the songs. This is martial music, make no mistake - a war against war.


But Neil Young merely calls it like he sees it, and is not beholden to any party or ideology. He has seen the country hijacked by criminals and is not afraid to come out and say it. In this, he is echoing what the people he meets say to him all over the country. He addresses our concerns - the fear of what will happen if we descend into total war; the love and loss of our children, both the ones we send to war and the ones who stay behind; the rampant corporatism and the mindless commercialism which lets it pillage unchecked; the longing for a real leader; the need for the unheard voices to be heard; the deep love for our country, for our freedom, and the sadness which comes from the harm being done to it in the name of military/industrial domination. One could call it "The Neos And The Damage Done".

If you've ever wondered just how an album is put together, read that review. It was recorded in analog on tape. I thought that went out fifteen years ago.

I think I'll be heading over to that website on Friday.

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April 23, 2006

EZ-Off required

Pizza instructions: "For best results, place pizza directly on rack. DO NOT bake on cookie sheet or pizza stone."

Why does California Pizza Kitchen want to drip cheese all over the inside of my oven?

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Para de fumar

Our esteemed legislature is about to pass a law which will dramatically restrict smoking statewide. The health care industry has been lobbying for this for years, and we've seen various anti-smoking PSAs on our televisions for a while. This bill, however, goes further than most. It would ban smoking in all restaurants and bars (those are confined spaces; I suppose that's understandable), but it would also ban the practice at the airport from "curb to cabin."

If this goes through, don't even think about changing planes here.

When does legislation stop being pro-health and start being anti-people? As a smoker, I'm fully aware it's a bad habit. I don't smoke where it's gonna bother others, but fining me for lighting up in an open space like a public street (as the airport drop off/pickup lanes are)? That's too intrusive. And it only stops there for now: one of our legislators has a new idea.

Caldwell, who has introduced legislation to ban smoking at public beaches and parks, said he didn't push hard for it this year to make sure the secondhand smoking bill went through, but he plans to bring it back.

"You have to take the big steps first," he said. "Next year we can come back and look at outdoors," he said.

Outdoors. Outdoors? Everywhere? In my car? On a boat?

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April 22, 2006

Merrie Monarch 2006

Jennifer Oyama

The Merrie Monarch Festival is taking place over in Hilo. I'd be willing to bet that KITV's ratings skyrocket for the three nights they televise (video here) the premier hula event in the world. Teams come from the mainland (as far away as Dallas this year) and from all the major islands to dance. It's held in a 5,000-seat stadium, rain or shine (and in Hilo, rain can be expected at some point during the event). It doesn't matter whether you know anything about hula or not, it's a spectacle not to be missed. Tickets must be reserved a year in advance, and it's a sellout every year. Great music, great dancing: what's not to like?

More photos here.

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April 21, 2006

Ah, Italia

I wish Romano Prodi, the newly-elected Prime Minister of Italy, all the luck in the world. He may need it, in the face of his opponent's poor grace. But I do wish he didn't sound quite so much like our own illustrious President when he said this yesterday:

In comments to reporters today, Mr. Prodi played down the significance of the fight, saying that he would resolve the issue by Monday.

"I will serenely make a decision," he said, according to the ANSA news agency. "Everyone will be obliged to accept it. It will not be a difficult decision, even if it obviously might be painful, like all decisions in these cases."

The issue in question? Which of these two guys becomes head of the lower house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. Massimo D'Alema of the largest coalition party, Democrats of the Left, and Fausto Bertinotti of the Refounded Communists both want the title.

An Italian Decider?

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April 20, 2006

The Battle of New Orleans, ver. 2.0

In Rolling Stone's cover story "Worst President Ever?", the Princeton historian Sean Wilentz gets off a great line:

If anyone sings about George W. Bush and New Orleans, it will be a blues number.

Read it.

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April 19, 2006


Originally uploaded by Linkmeister.
The Smithsonian says about items like these, "Popular items from the 1940s through the 1960s, pennants have since given way to T-shirts and other mass-produced collectibles at souvenir stands."

Guess my ownership shows my age. I have somewhere between 40-50 of these, collected in the 1950s and 1960s. I have city pennants (Boston, Denver, Philadelphia), historic site pennants (Gettysburg, Bunker Hill), sports team pennants (St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Washington Senators, LA Dodgers), and a few from World's Fairs and Expos, like these. The one at the top is from Osaka 1970; the one in the middle is from Montreal 1967; and the one at the bottom is from the NY World's Fair 1964-1965. I know I went to the one in New York, but I think my parents attended the other two without me.

I have big ones (these are 25 inches long), small ones (less than 12 inches long), and even jacket patches for my Catholic elementary school in New London, CT and the Arctic Research Lab.

The whole collection brings back memories of car trips through the Northeast and cross country in the mid-1950s and early 1960s.

Click the photo for more pennant pictures.

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April 18, 2006

Watergate hearings redux?

Carl Bernstein of All the President's Men fame concludes that it's high time Congress started acting as though the best interests of the country trump partisan fear. He wants Congressional hearings to begin at once.

In terms of imminent, meaningful action by the Congress, however, the question of whether the president should be impeached (or, less severely, censured) remains premature. More important, it is essential that the Senate vote—hopefully before the November elections, and with overwhelming support from both parties—to undertake a full investigation of the conduct of the presidency of George W. Bush, along the lines of the Senate Watergate Committee's investigation during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.

How much evidence is there to justify such action?

Certainly enough to form a consensus around a national imperative: to learn what this president and his vice president knew and when they knew it; to determine what the Bush administration has done under the guise of national security; and to find out who did what, whether legal or illegal, unconstitutional or merely under the wire, in ignorance or incompetence or with good reason, while the administration barricaded itself behind the most Draconian secrecy and disingenuous information policies of the modern presidential era.

It's one heck of an indictment. Bernstein's not saying much that the blogosphere hasn't been saying for several years, but he's got a lot more credibility than a thousand bloggers have. Let's hope some Republican members of Congress read it.

(via Wolcott)

Anti-virus freeware

I subscribe to McAfee, and I've been pretty happy with it. It updates the scan engine regularly in the background, and I've never had a virus since I started using it four or five years ago (I know, this is like the guy who sells you elephant protection: "But I don't have elephants!" "See? It works?").

I have an acquaintance who is looking for free downloadable anti-virus software. I found this list of freebies, but I've never researched any of them. Has anyone got any recommendations?

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April 17, 2006

Laugh, laugh, I thought I'd die...

Adam Felber absolutely nails the current US-Iran situation. Have a box of tissues at hand.

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April 16, 2006

Bring it on

The Pentagon has issued a fact sheet which attempts to rebut the charges several retired generals have made against Rumsfeld about his lack of management ability and general screwups at DOD.

The last paragraph of the article about this fact sheet reads as follows:

"If this were to happen," Mr. Cornyn said, "it would encourage demands for other members of the cabinet or other people close to the president to resign."

"Close to the president?" Why stop there?

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April 15, 2006

Nuclear strikes

Continuing in a literary vein, I wonder if Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. ever read Fail Safe, or, better yet, saw the original film. Since Sy Hersh reported that there's been some planning for air strikes against Iran with nuclear weapons, maybe the new Chief of Staff ought to schedule a screening for the three of them.

If you have never watched that movie (the original black-and-white version, with Henry Fonda as the President), rent it. The last five minutes will stun you.

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Fact imitating fiction

When Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey wrote Seven Days in May they meant it as a cautionary tale of what could happen in the United States if the military decided that the civilians just weren't smart enough to run this country. It was written in 1962, just a couple of years after Ike warned against just such a thing.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We have not heeded Eisenhower's warning. Witness the lobbying efforts of defense companies between 1998-2004 -- $221,170,615. Northrop-Grumman alone spent $83,405,691 during that period. Or look at oil and gas companies. For the same period, they spent $343,896,623 trying to influence government.

I don't think there's any doubt that part of the reason we're involved in a messy war in Iraq is to preserve access to oil. The fact that we have to use material produced by the defense industry in order to do that shouldn't come as much of a surprise, either.

I wonder what Knebel and Bailey would have to say about the Iraq War?

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April 14, 2006

Texas wisdom

You know, when I'm on the same page as Molly Ivins I think I'm doin' OK.

Let me point out again, I don’t have a dog in this fight. There are just some things I know from living in Texas all my life. One is, don’t bother to build a fence. Two is, if you want to stop illegal immigrants, stop the people who hire them—quit punishing people who come because there are jobs. Three, this border has always been porous, and it has always worked to the advantage of the United States.

If you want to do the smart thing and look for a long-term solution, try fixing NAFTA and helping with economic development in Mexico. Meantime, I could do without the drivel about how these people are so different. Of course they’re not. Try getting out a little more.

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Cuteness in spades

Shakespeare's Sister is hosting a Friday Petblogging spectacular. It's mostly cats so far, but there are a few dogs (including Tigger) and three of the handsomest burros you've ever seen.

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April 13, 2006

There goes Wyoming

When Bush/Cheney lose the Field and Stream crowd, you know they're failing.

The Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana—approximately 13 million acres of prairie, escarpments, and mountains—provides the starkest example of how the Bush administration’s unbridled energy policy is running roughshod over our public lands. The BLM’s final environmental impact statement for the area calls for about 66,000 new coalbed methane (CBM) wells (about 14,000 have already been drilled in Wyoming; several hundred in Montana), 26,000 miles of new roads, and 52,000 miles of new pipelines.

Peter Dube, an outfitter from Buffalo, Wyoming, has already felt these impacts firsthand. "My ranch is out in the sticks," he says, "60 miles from Buffalo, 45 miles from Gillette, and I’ve had to wait to pull onto my county road because the truck traffic is so bad—with smog like L.A." Pronghorn and mule deer habitat has become fragmented, and his hunters have lost what Dube calls "the aesthetic experience" of being in a remote and quiet landscape.

Energy über alles, and to hell with the landscape, the animals, the way of life. Yup, sounds like a couple of oil guys are in charge.

From Think Progress

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April 12, 2006


Mom just told me the coffee tasted good today. "Good, I'm glad," I said. Then I realized that I rarely notice the taste of the stuff until at least the second cup. Who's with me?

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Here be dragons

Billmon has an absolutely terrifying analysis of the Bush-Iran story as laid out by Hersh in the New Yorker.

Maybe it's just me, but I've been at least a little bit surprised by the relatively muted reaction to the news that the Cheney Administration and its Pentagon underlings are racing to put the finishing touches on plans for attacking Iran – plans which may include the first wartime use of nuclear weapons since Nagasaki.

I mean, what exactly does it take to get a rise out of the media industrial complex these days? A nuclear first strike against a major Middle Eastern oil producer doesn't ring the bell? Must every story have a missing white woman in it before the cable news guys will start taking it seriously?


Even by the corrupt and debased standards of our times, this is a remarkable thing. The U.S. government is planning aggressive nuclear war (the neocons can give it whatever doublespeak name they like, but it is what it is); those plans have been described in some detail in a major magazine and on the front page of the Washington Post; the most the President of the United States is willing to say about it is that the reports are "speculative" (which is not a synonym for "untrue") and yet as I write these words the lead story on the CNN web site is:

ABC pushes online TV envelope
ABC is going to offer online streams of some of its most popular television shows, including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," for free the day after they first air on broadcast TV.

It appears our long national journey towards complete idiocy is over. We've arrived.

Idiots, of course, don't need a reason to be idiots. But to the extent there is a rational excuse for treating a nuclear strike on Iran as the journalistic equivalent of a seasonal story about people washing their cars, it must be the cynical conviction that the Cheneyites aren’t serious – they're just doing their little Gen. Jack Ripper impression to let the Iranians know they really mean business.

This may seem plausible – that is, if you were in a catatonic stupor throughout 2002 and the early months of 2003 (which is just another way of saying: if you were a member in good standing of the corporate media elite.) But the rest of us have learned that when Dick Cheney starts muttering about precious bodily fluids, you'd better pay attention. He really does mean business, and when Dick Cheney means business, bombs are likely to start falling sooner rather than later.

Maybe the idea of the United States would launch a nuclear first strike – albeit a "surgical" one – is too hard for most Americans, including most American journalists, to process. (I'm talking about normal people here, not the genocide junkies over at Little Green Footballs) It's even harder to square with our national self-image than the invasion of Iraq. We're the global sheriff, after all – Gary Cooper in a big white hat. And while Gary Cooper might shoot an outlaw down in a fair fight at High Noon, he wouldn't sneak into their camp in the middle of the night and incinerate them with nuclear weapons. That's not how the Code of the West is supposed to work.


...the current nuclear war gaming strikes me as much more likely to end in the real thing – partly because the neocons appear to have convinced themselves a "tactical" strike doesn't really count, partly because of what Hersh politely refers to as Bush's "messianic vision" (Cheney may have his finger on the bureaucracy, but Shrub is still the one with his finger on the button) but mostly because I think these guys really think they can get away with it. And they might be right.

Go, read the rest. Then start yelling to your Congresspeople, even (or perhaps especially) if they're Republicans. You might also consider letters to the editor of your local paper, and the managing editors of your local TV stations. Hell, send them a copy of Billmon's essay; as he has little but scorn for what passes for the Fourth Estate these days, maybe it would shame them into taking a stand.

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April 11, 2006


For those who believe that a 700-mile long fence across the southern border of the United States would be a deterrent to illegal immigration, may I remind them of the Maginot Line? The German Army went around the thing, and people who really want to get into this country do the same here.

The barrier is located in the urban sections of the border, the areas that have been the location of the greatest number of illegal crossings in the past. These urban areas include San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas. As a result of the success of the barrier, there has been a marked increase in the number of people trying to cross the Sonoran Desert and crossing over the Baboquivari Mountain in Arizona.

I don't see a wall as being part of any sensible solution to the "problem." I'd be more inclined to enforce existing labor laws and more tightly regulate employers who depend on migrant workers. Without enforcement, people are inclined to cheat to save money. With enforcement, maybe we could get rid of this oft-repeated nonsense that "illegals do jobs Americans won't do." Pay decent wages, offer health insurance, and have government ensure that all the participants in the industry do the same, and I suspect that native-born Americans would take those jobs. If that happened, the word would get out south of the border that the number of jobs available had dropped, and the number of border-crossers would also drop. Then we could start working on the larger problem of helping Mexico and other South and Central American countries build their economies so that their residents wouldn't need to go elsewhere to find work.

Ok, so the price of fruits, veggies and chicken might go up. Well, too bad. Car prices go up and down, house prices go up and down. Let the market decide.

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April 10, 2006

TDVC reviews bustin' out all over

In what can only be described as a really weird coincidence or copyright infringement (check the date-time stamp of our respective postings!), Neddie Jingo also reviewed "The DaVinci Code" over the weekend. He doesn't have any spoilers, so it's safe to read. His opinion is similar to mine, but he says it so much better.

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April 09, 2006

Dan Brown & his book of renown

After all this time The DaVinci Code finally came out in paperback within the last two weeks, so I picked up a copy. I finished it last night, and I don't understand how umpty-fratz zillion copies have been sold. Well, wait. I understand how they've been sold, but I sure don't understand how many people might have enjoyed it. The writing is positively horrid, the plot's not well defined, and it doesn't even make a lot of sense. Caution! Spoiler follows! Stop reading here if you haven't read the book and you plan to!

The whole theory is that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married and had children, and that the line continues up to the present day. The Vatican is desperately trying to hide the evidence in order to maintain what it thinks is the true Church, another guy with some hirelings is trying to find the evidence and display it for all the world, a member of Opus Dei is trying to find it to keep his organization from being decertified as a Papal favorite, and the hero (a pretty poor one, I have to say) is stuck in the middle by virtue of his expertise.

Ok. That's a standard plotline, found in many good novels. But Brown tries to twist the plot towards the end, making a good guy into a bad guy. He also gives a cop who's on the trail of our hero a sudden "Aha" moment when he (the cop) does a 180-degree turn and becomes an after-the-fact accessory to the denouement. In the hands of a good author, this could be done well. But Brown doesn't do it well. He doesn't explain the motives well, and he's clumsy with the scenes in which these turnabouts happen.

Then there's the ending. It feels forced, like he ran out of story and hit an "End" key. "Hmm," he says. "I mentioned this family thing at the beginning, and it was meant to be foreshadowing, so I'd better toss it in here. And I've got a hero and this female, so I'd better throw them together at the end, too."

Don't waste even $7.99 on this thing.

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April 08, 2006

Tonight's special: Iran?

Sy Hersh has another article in the New Yorker which goes into rather terrifying detail about the Bush Administration's latest thinking about Iran. It includes such niceties as the preemptive use of tactical weapons against "hundreds" of sites around the country. Some of those weapons might be nuclear.

Has no one in the Administration learned a damned thing from Iraq? Do they think the United States has a monopoly on nationalism and on outrage and fury when attacked?

If there were anything more likely to rally Iranians (some 75 million, I think) behind their President, it would surely be an attack by The Great Satan. Iran has connections with terrorist groups all over the Middle East, including Hezbollah; do our misguided leaders seriously think those groups wouldn't be delighted to attack this country and its few remaining allies?

Don't doubt this is possible, either. Take note of what the Administration's people have been doing recently:

In a recent essay on the Foreign Policy Web site, entitled "Fool Me Twice," Joseph Cirincione, the director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote, "The unfolding administration strategy appears to be an effort to repeat its successful campaign for the Iraq war." He noted several parallels:
The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. Secretary of State tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The Secretary of Defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism.

Yep. If Congress allows itself (Democrats or Republicans) to get led down another garden path by our imperialist leaders, the United States will have turned the corner towards its ultimate collapse in a sea of its own hubris.

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Rattle, rattle, rattle


Have you renewed your public radio membership today?

You know you're hooked when you halfway enjoy the pledge drive, at least for the first three or four days.

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April 06, 2006

I'm forever blowing bubbles

Cleaning out closets to re-line or at least wash them, thankfully, doesn't have to be done very often. Emptying closets full of china naturally entails washing all those dinner, salad and dessert plates, as well as the soup and serving bowls. Yes, we have a dishwasher. No, that doesn't make it a lot easier; one still has to load and unload the thing.

Several times.

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Lost, Season 2, "Dave"

Ok, they've succeeded in puzzling the hell out of me. I no longer know what's real and what's not. I was comfortable with Hurley hallucinating, but that last scene at the institution just floored me.

And I'd swear that the teaser for this episode showed Hurley's foot slipping on that edge, so why...(possible spoiler below)

wasn't that scene in the episode? Or did the teaser just show feet slipping off the cliff, rather than Hurley himself?

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April 05, 2006

Out and about

For those who are curious, among the items in the NYT website redesign is a list of its stories which have been picked up by bloggers. Presumably it's compiled using Technorati, as the WaPo's list is. Look at the "Most E-mailed" list; there's a toggle button for "blogged."

For the past six weeks, any tourists who came to Hawai'i needed Rust-o-leum, not sunblock. Thank heaven, the forecast for the next week says sunny with tradewinds.

How to stop immigration

Koufax winner for Most Humorous Post: Wizard of Oil

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April 04, 2006

Opening Day

The whiz kids had won it,
Bobby Thomson had done it,
And Yogi read the comics all the while.
Rock 'n roll was being born,
Marijuana, we would scorn,
So down on the corner,
The national past-time went on trial.

We're talkin' baseball!
Kluszewski, Campanella.
Talkin' baseball!
The Man and Bobby Feller.
The Scooter, the Barber, and the Newc,
They knew them all from Boston to Dubuque.
Especially Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.

Well , Casey was winning,
Hank Aaron was beginning,
One Robbie going out, one coming in.
Kiner and Midget Gaedel,
The Thumper and Mel Parnell,
And Ike was the only one winning down in Washington.


Now my old friend, The Bachelor,
Well, he swore he was the Oklahoma Kid.
And Cookie played hooky,
To go and see the Duke.
And me, I always loved Willie Mays,
Man, those were the days!


Well, now it's the 80's,
And Brett is the greatest,
And Bobby Bonds can play for everyone.
Rose is at the Vet,
And Rusty again is a Met,
And the great Alexander is pitchin' again in Washington.

I'm talkin' baseball!
Like Reggie, Quisenberry.
Talkin' baseball!
Carew and Gaylord Perry,
Seaver, Garvey, Schmidt and Vida Blue,
If Cooperstown is calling, it's no fluke.
They'll be with Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.
Willie, Mickey, and the Duke. (Say hey, say hey, say hey)
It was Willie, Mickey and the Duke (Say hey, say hey, say hey)
I'm talkin' Willie, Mickey and the Duke (Say hey, say hey, say hey)

Talkin' Baseball by Terry Cashman

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Delay denied

Tom Delay has withdrawn from his Congressional race and will give up his seat.

Well, well. The king of sleazy corrupt politics apparently concluded that he might actually lose his race, although he cloaks it in high-falutin language:

There's no reason to risk a seat. This is a very strong Republican district. It's obvious to me that anybody but me running here will overwhelmingly win the seat. This had become a referendum on me. So it's better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what's important for this district.

Charles Kuffner has links to lots of reactions from Texas.

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April 03, 2006

It's the real thing

Remember the Coca-Cola ad "I'd like to teach the world to sing?" All those happy young singers on a hilltop? Here's the backstory.

Thanks to Monique.

Oh, Hawaiian Tel just took over my mail service from Verizon, so if you've got my old one in your address book, change it from stimb(AT)verizon(dot)net to stimb(AT)hawaiiantel(dot)net.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 02, 2006


Ahem! See that picture over there on the left sidebar? The one that says "a blogger cookbook fundraiser?"

Click the link. Buy the book. How else will you ever learn how to make my fantabulous fried rice, with leftovers? Or Julia's "Quick and Dirty "Homemade" Bruschetta Topping?" Or Elayne's "Guacamole Deviled Eggs?"

Sheesh. Whadda I gotta do here, beg?

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Final Two

Well, I suppose it was just too much to hope that George Mason would get past a taller faster team, especially when its opponent hits twelve 3-pointers. I was astonished at how easily UCLA dispatched LSU, and I'm now convinced that its defense will keep Florida in check tomorrow night, but the margin of victory won't be fourteen points.

Considering that I once lived in Westwood, and that my Mom went to UCLA for grad school, and that I first paid attention to college basketball during that incredible run UCLA had in the Sixties and Seventies when it won nine championships in ten years, I know who I'm gonna root for on Monday.

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April 01, 2006


Honolulu Advertiser photo gallery from yesterday's downpour.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin photos and stories.

It's a gorgeous clear day today, and I've got the car windows down hoping to air out some of the damp.

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