July 31, 2006

Photo tools

Ok, traveling photographers, here's one for you. A bottle-cap cum camera tripod.

That's right. It slips onto a bottle, according to this WaPo article. It's "a rubber bottle cap topped by a ball-and-socket platform that screws into the bottom of your camera."

Is that too cool for school or what?

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July 30, 2006

Love it or leave it

Organized religion causes more problems than anything else in the world. Case in point:

After her family moved to this small town 30 years ago, Mona Dobrich grew up as the only Jew in school. Mrs. Dobrich, 39, married a local man, bought the house behind her parents’ home and brought up her two children as Jews.

For years, she and her daughter, Samantha, listened to Christian prayers at public school potlucks, award dinners and parent-teacher group meetings, she said. But at Samantha’s high school graduation in June 2004, a minister’s prayer proclaiming Jesus as the only way to the truth nudged Mrs. Dobrich to act.

“It was as if no matter how much hard work, no matter how good a person you are, the only way you’ll ever be anything is through Jesus Christ,” Mrs. Dobrich said. “He said those words, and I saw Sam’s head snap and her start looking around, like, ‘Where’s my mom? Where’s my mom?’ And all I wanted to do was run up and take her in my arms.”

After the graduation, Mrs. Dobrich asked the Indian River district school board to consider prayers that were more generic and, she said, less exclusionary. As news of her request spread, many local Christians saw it as an effort to limit their free exercise of religion, residents said. Anger spilled on to talk radio, in letters to the editor and at school board meetings attended by hundreds of people carrying signs praising Jesus.

“What people here are saying is, ‘Stop interfering with our traditions, stop interfering with our faith and leave our country the way we knew it to be,’ ” said Dan Gaffney, a host at WGMD, a talk radio station in Rehoboth, and a supporter of prayer in the school district.


“We have a way of doing things here, and it’s not going to change to accommodate a very small minority,’’ said Kenneth R. Stevens, 41, a businessman sitting in the Georgetown Diner. “If they feel singled out, they should find another school or excuse themselves from those functions. It’s our way of life.”

This is freakin' Delaware, not some johnny-come-lately state with a long tradition of theocracy.

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July 29, 2006

Inside the neo-con mind

Does this guy occupy the same country I do?

What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn't kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn't the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now?

Well, no. The reason there are so many Sunnis between those ages joining the insurgency is that our man Bremer decided to disband the Iraqi Army, thus putting 400,000 people out of work. Many of them were men between 18-35.

Aside from that, can Podhoretz really be saying that if we'd only killed more people we wouldn't have the problems we have now? Mr. Podhoretz, do you not understand the nature of tribal societies? Let me recommend a book to you: A History of the Arab Peoples. I have a well-thumbed copy right here; care to borrow it?

Bloodthirsty idiot.

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July 28, 2006

Mid-East conflagration

Does the Israel lobby really work to Israel's benefit? Maybe not.

Peace and the territorial concessions entailed, including evacuating most of the settlements, is the best and perhaps only guarantee of Israel’s future.

U.S. policy, under the influence of an unreconstructed Israel lobby of neoconservatives, fundamentalist evangelicals, and American Likudniks, is liable to follow directions that are unhelpful to this Israeli interest.

More discussion of the Israel lobby (AIPAC) here and here.

(Seen at The Sideshow)

Also found at The Sideshow: a frightening story arguing that the US is moving closer and closer to war with Iran.

Al-Qaeda does not equal Hezbollah, which does not equal Hamas: Something forgotten at our peril.

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July 27, 2006

Names which will live in infamy

I had an odd thought. When I was 25 I was reading a lot about Watergate (since I was overseas when it all went down, I wasn't able to read/watch/listen in real time), and I can still tell you the names of many of the participants: Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Stans, Colson, Liddy, Dean, and Mitchell. 30 years from now will people remember the names Wolfowitz, Addington, Hadley, Feith, Ashcroft, and Gonzales as well as I do the earlier ones?

Maybe they'll need to be prosecuted first.

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July 26, 2006

The Great Spectator

I used to think my country tried to do the right thing most of the time. I don't think so anymore, not under the current Administration. It's been pretty clear that the goal of our "diplomacy" in this Israel - Hizbollah mess has been to stall as long as possible, hoping that Israel could destroy its opponent before public outcry both here and abroad forced our hand. So we have not tried to talk to Hizbollah's sponsors, Iran and Syria. We have not tried to rein Israel in. We have said "no" to the suggestion that we should put some troops into a peacemaking force in between the two warring parties.

In essence, we've become bystanders. The Administration likes to think of itself as the leaders of the world's only superpower, but it refuses to exercise the "authority" that supposedly gives it.

I'm ashamed of my country.

See Digby for more thoughts along these lines.

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July 25, 2006

Letter from a friend

Dear Israel,

I know you think you're doing the right thing in reducing much of Lebanon to rubble. I understand the provocations you've suffered, with missiles landing in your neighborhoods and soldiers being abducted. However, as an old friend and financial backer, I have reservations about your methods; I think they may backfire.

From the recent experience I've had in Iraq, and from your own experience in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Lebanon itself from 1982 – 2000, it seems to me that blowing up civilians tends to make them angry. Even people you'd think might be a little sympathetic to your goals find it hard to reconcile the good things you intend (eliminate terrorist cells and their infrastructure, destroy missile launchers) with the bombing of television stations, airports, and roads which have no direct connection to those terrorists.

You have to live in the neighborhood; it seems counterproductive to blow it up. If I can make an analogy to American suburbs, it would be like a homeowner having a serious dispute with the guy who lives next door; his unruly dogs have torn up the rosebushes, they've thrown M-80s into the driveway (one or two may have landed on the roof), and worst of all, he can't get near his own dogs to control them. Does it make sense to level his entire house?

I know you've called animal control and gotten them to issue declarations that he must contain his dogs, and I know that so far those declarations have been ineffective. But shouldn't you keep trying to get them to enforce those, rather than create a situation wherein he feels he has no choice but to retaliate in kind? Also, he's got some very nasty friends who may feel a need to help him, even though he might prefer they not do so.

Now, perhaps my analogy doesn't work for you; that's fine. I'm sure you can create one of your own. But here's what I think:

I am concerned that while you may in fact succeed in destroying some of those terrorists, you may also create a new generation of them by your actions. Is this wise?

The United States

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July 24, 2006

More executive personnel decisions

It ain't just the IRS estate tax division:

From today's Boston Globe:

The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.


Hires with traditional civil rights backgrounds -- either civil rights litigators or members of civil rights groups -- have plunged. Only 19 of the 45 lawyers hired since 2003 in those three sections [voting rights, employment litigation, and appellate] were experienced in civil rights law, and of those, nine gained their experience either by defending employers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting against race-conscious policies.

The article goes on to say that "The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians."

Chutzpah doesn't quite describe this, does it?

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July 23, 2006

Back-door tax policy

If you can't abolish the estate tax by way of Congress, what do you do? Why, you "cut the jobs of 157 of the [Internal Revenue Service's] 345 estate tax lawyers, plus 17 support personnel, in less than 70 days."

I can't improve on Kevin Drum's sarcasm, so go read his.

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July 22, 2006

A deal's a deal, right?

Well, this should endear us to the non-Israeli part of the Middle East.

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.


The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.

I swear, our side is going out of its way to inflame the people we need help from to get this stopped.

It makes our complaints against Syria and Iran's shipment of arms to Hezbollah ring a little hollow, too.

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July 21, 2006

Elections first!

The Middle East is in flames, so what's Bush do today? Why, fund-raise, of course!


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Good marketing

I'm wearing a t-shirt that's advertising The Original Tommy's, a burger chain in California. I have another one from In-N-Out Burger. Sadly, I've never been to either burger palace, but here I am showing support for them.

This is what comes of getting omiyage from family members in California.

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July 20, 2006


Memo to the blogosphere (or blogtopia, and y!sctp!):

1. A basic truth, law, or assumption: the principles of democracy.
2. a. A rule or standard, especially of good behavior: a man of principle; b. The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: a decision based on principle rather than expediency.
3. A fixed or predetermined policy or mode of action.
4. A basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior: the principle of self-preservation.
5. A rule or law concerning the functioning of natural phenomena or mechanical processes: the principle of jet propulsion.


1. First, highest, or foremost in importance, rank, worth, or degree; chief. See Synonyms at "chief".
2. Of, relating to, or being financial principal, or a principal in a financial transaction.
1. One who holds a position of presiding rank, especially the head of an elementary school or high school.
2. A main participant in a situation.
3. A person having a leading or starring role.

I recognize that homonyms are a pain in the backside, but when you're writing, it's helpful if you use the right word.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:27 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Stem Cell Veto

Charles Pierce on Bush's veto:

IT'S PERSONAL. It just so happens that I have a couple of really ugly-ass dogs in this fight over embryonic stem-cell research. Not many political issues are personal with me, but this one deeply is. I have watched slow death from neurological disease once too often in my life to be anything but furious when Sam Brownback, a United States senator to the everlasting embarrassment of that body, pulls out a child's drawing of an embryo with a smiley-face in order to argue his position. Or when Tony Snow, that towering public fake, starts getting glib about "murder," as though there isn't enough blood lapping at the ankles of everyone in this White House to float a barge. Or when Snow's boss, that tough-talkin', crumb-spittin', neck-rubbin' international buckaroo, uses the first veto of his presidential career and then hides behind children while maundering incoherently about a "moral line" as though he'd recognize one if he fell over it. Is there any doubt that, if this guy got Parkinson's Disease, he'd eat those little buggers out of the petri dish with a spoon, probably dribbling some of them on Tony Blair in the process? Sorry, Ez. I don't give a damn how tactically brilliant this may be. I look at this action and this is what I know -- that millions of Americans will die horrible deaths and the government of the United States doesn't give a good goddamn about them. Period. And, no, Senator Obama, I don't have to respect the deeply held beliefs of anyone who condemns their fellow human beings to miserable suffering on the basis of anthropomorphized blastocysts in the service of an anthropomorphized god. Were it in my power, I'd run all those former embryos out of government until they grew the hell up.

Nicely said. I'll just add that George Bush blathering about morals is repellent.

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July 19, 2006

Kitchen wildlife

Originally uploaded by Linkmeister.
If he keeps killing insects like he's supposed to, I'll keep him around.

No, he has no British accent and he did not try to get me to switch to GEICO.
Posted by Linkmeister at 11:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fun with Senator Stevens

In a discussion of net neutrality, which he doesn't like, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) said the following:

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially... They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

What happened to Senator Stevens' e-mail? Here's a forensic study. Here's a Powerpoint explanation.

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July 18, 2006

Good shot

The MSM can be as snarky as the rest of us. From ABC's The Note:

On "Nightline" last night, ABC News' Jake Tapper said, "If the president is going to curse on camera, is it too much to ask that he not appoint Federal Communications Commissioners who will fine us for broadcasting it?"

For the record, both of the local news programs I watched yesterday bleeped it, as did ABC's "World News Tonight."

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Bush's fiscal conservatism includes charging Americans for their travel out of Lebanon.

Americans have been told to wait for a telephone call that could come in hours — or days. They've also been told they can't board a ship unless they've signed a contract agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the price of their evacuation.

Right. The Bush Administration will spend money like a drunken sailor on wars, but by golly if you get stuck in one, you're gonna pay your way out.


Update: CNN reports that the fees will be waived. Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Stabenow raised hell.

But on Tuesday night Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the billing issue, telling Sen. John Sununu that she was waiving the requirement, Sununu's office said. The New Hampshire Republican is of Lebanese descent and had joined Pelosi and Stabenow in lambasting the fee.

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July 17, 2006

Hard-boiled detectives lose a champion

Mickey Spillane has died. I admit I haven't given Mike Hammer's creator much thought since I was about 16, but it still surprised me. I remember reading I, The Jury and being astonished at the ending, when Hammer shoots the murderer in cold blood. That wasn't the way mystery novels (and it was a mystery, not just a violent private detective story) were supposed to end. In my reading to that point, the proof was shown to the reader in the last chapter, the criminal was denounced, and the cops came and took the perp away. Hammer took the law into his own hands.

It's almost as though Spillane took the Western genre and transposed it to the hard-boiled detective one. Westerns end with shootouts. The good guy survives (often wounded), but the law is only tangentially involved unless he's the lawman himself (see High Noon). In detective stories, the cops, no matter how bumbling (think Lestrade in the Holmes stories), are handed the crook after the brilliant detective susses out the facts.

Spillane changed that with Hammer and I, The Jury.

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US--Israel ties, the sequel

Back on March 18 of this year I suggested reading an article which postulated that the Israel lobby (AIPAC) exerts an inordinately large influence on the US government. It was published in the London Review of Books. Yesterday's WaPo Magazine contained an article which is in part rebuttal, in part backstory, and in part analysis of whether the original article was flawed in its conclusions. The author then followed up today with an online discussion. Given current events in Israel and Lebanon (which blew up after the article had been written), both are interesting reads.

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July 16, 2006

Not the best of days

You know you're not going to have a good Sunday when you have a termite swarm Saturday night. Sure enough, the coffee pot staged a drip slowdown this morning, taking about 1 1/2 hours to fully fill the carafe. Meanwhile, the jar of instant coffee was so old that it was undrinkable.

After starting the first of three loads of laundry, off I went to Sears to get a new pot. I found one, then went to Safeway for various other things. While getting out of the car, I stepped on some loser's thrown-away gum in the parking lot.

Oh, and the Dodgers lost 11-3 to the Cardinals, getting swept four straight games in the process.

I shoulda stood in bed.

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July 15, 2006

Middle East "solution"

I don't know what to do about the Israeli-Hamas and Israeli-Hizbollah border wars, but I do know what I don't want to do: follow William Kristol's advice.

For while Syria and Iran are enemies of Israel, they are also enemies of the United States. We have done a poor job of standing up to them and weakening them. They are now testing us more boldly than one would have thought possible a few years ago. Weakness is provocative. We have been too weak, and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.

The right response is renewed strength--in supporting the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, in standing with Israel, and in pursuing regime change in Syria and Iran. For that matter, we might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions--and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.


This is our war, too.

Just who are Kristol's remarks about American weakness directed toward? After all, his crowd has been in office for six years now, and that Administration has certainly not been "weak" in attempting to project American strength through force in two different countries. We all know where that's gotten us: Iraq's in a civil war and the Taliban is enjoying a resurgence in Afghanistan.

On past performance, if the Administration were to follow Mr. Kristol's advice, why should the results be any better than they have been to date in its other misadventures? What few friends we have left would be horrified, oil prices would go even further through the roof (Iran is the world's fourth largest exporter), and terrorist activities against US bases/embassies abroad would undoubtedly increase.

Greenwald has more.

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July 14, 2006

New Orleans still needs help

There's a riveting series of blog posts at Cider Press Hill from the son of the proprietor. He just returned from a several-week stint as a volunteer in New Orleans (St. Bernard's Parish), and he kept a journal and took pictures with a series of cheap disposable cameras. Long story short, the place remains a mess, the various governmental agencies aren't doing much, and the need for volunteers is desperate.

One particular story struck me as emblematic:

He then told me he got his FEMA trailer a few weeks ago. At this I perked up, thinking this was a chance for a little less intense conversation. I asked him how it was. He said he didn’t know, he’d had it for eight weeks and still hadn’t been inside. The reason why?

He has no key. He was never given one.

He was told that he has to wait for his key. If he breaks into the trailer, he will be charged with vandalism, breaking and entering, and destruction of government property. His only home, which he can’t get into because of a stupid error, is FEMA property and, therefore, federal property.

I asked him why he hadn’t asked FEMA for a key. He did, but they blew him off. They told him it was in the mail. Their exact words, "Hold on another week, your key is in the mail." That was what they said seven weeks ago, six weeks ago, five weeks ago… He still doesn’t have a key.

He's getting billed for the utilities being supplied to that trailer.

If we really want to know what's going on there, apparently we'll have to rely on stories from observers like these; the media has moved on, and the Feds don't want to talk about it.

Go over there and read, and check back frequently. I intend to.

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Happy Bastille Day!

My French teacher used to lead us in a rousing rendition of this while he provided accompaniment on autoharp:

Allons enfants de la Patrie,

Le jour de gloire est arrivé !

Contre nous de la tyrannie,

L'étendard sanglant est levé,

Entendez-vous dans les campagnes

Mugir ces farouches soldats ?

Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras

Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes !

Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons, marchons !
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !

(Balance of lyrics here)

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Israel v. Lebanon, the sequel

Trying to figure out what's going on in Lebanon is a task I'm highly unsuited for, which is why reading an article like this one is helpful. The author, Anthony Shadid, is with the WaPo Foreign Service and seems to know more about the factions within that country than most of the other writers I've read. He posits that Hezbollah may have overreached its position and that the country's elected officials may start pushing back. I've heard on the network news that the Lebanese army doesn't patrol its borders with Israel in the south, leaving it up to Hezbollah. Apparently the kidnaping of the two Israeli soldiers and Israel's response is beginning to push Lebanon's politicians closer to asserting themselves over Hezbollah, which would probably be useful.

After a cabinet meeting Thursday, the government said it had a right and duty to extend its control over all Lebanese territory. Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said the statement marked a step toward the government reasserting itself.

Other government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, went further, calling it a first move in possibly sending the Lebanese army to the border, a U.N.-endorsed proposal that Hezbollah has rejected. The officials described the meeting as stormy and contentious but said both sides -- Hezbollah and its government critics -- were especially wary of public divisions at a time of crisis.

If Israel had any sense and didn't react so emotionally to the fate of its two soldiers (not that the US has much room to suggest that after our reaction to the killing of those contractors in Fallujah) it might be logical to sit back for a bit and wait to see what happens with the Lebanese politicians.

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July 13, 2006

Snakes in the hall!

Originally uploaded by Linkmeister.
Three hours of this has left me with lots of furniture to be put back into its proper place.
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De mortuis nil nisi bonum

How delusional can people get? At a funeral for the guy who was responsible for the biggest bankruptcy in American history (at least to that point), this delusional:

The Reverend Dr. Bill Lawson compared Lay with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ, and said his name would eventually be cleared.

More quotes? Sure! Lawson again: "The folks who don't like him have had their say. I'd like to have mine ... (Like Jesus Christ) he was crucified by a government that mistreated him."

Mick Seidl, longtime friend: "Overzealous federal prosecutors have vilified an exceedingly good man ... They did so without visible efforts to seek the truth, and the media piled on. It was total character assassination ... I do know Ken would never intentionally do anything illegal."

Words fail me.

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July 12, 2006

I'm really feeling secure now, boys

Is there a single damned thing these people can do right?

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

Included in those terrorist targets are: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified "Beach at End of a Street."

Yessiree Bob, we got ourselves some real smart people in the government in Washington DC.

I'm beginning to think there really is a devious Republican plot to shrink the government, although not by cutting spending. Nope, the way they plan to do it is to govern so badly that the rest of us lose faith that government can ever do anything right again.

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July 11, 2006

He's a conservative, alright

Since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, total federal debt has soared to $8.3 trillion from $5.6 trillion at the end of the Clinton administration. Over all, collection of taxes from businesses and individuals has not kept up with economic growth over the past five years, but government spending has grown much faster than the economy. The war in Iraq has added considerably to the financial burden: some $300 billion has been spent on it since 2003.

Quite a legacy, Mr. Bush.

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July 10, 2006

The RIAA should love me

I was doing a little clearing up before the dreaded carpet cleaning crew arrives Thursday, and I discovered a neat little metal box I'd paid no attention to for years. I opened it up and found about a dozen music cassette tapes, including some by Simon and Garfunkel.

I now have the same recordings by those guys on vinyl, on cassette and on CD. I've stepped into the trap the recording industry wants us to fall into: as the media changes, thou shalt upgrade thy content accordingly.

Correspondingly, I've had to upgrade the media player as well.


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July 09, 2006

World Championship via Shootout?

So Italy wins the World Cup via penalty kicks, 5-3.

As somebody said the other day, it's as if baseball decided the World Series via Home Run Derby if the two teams tied after nine innings of Game Seven.

Far be it from me to tell FIFA how to run its sport, but that's got to be the most unsatisfying way to confer a World Championship I can think of.

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July 08, 2006

The To-Be-Read Pile

Still on the shelves awaiting attention:

Ghost Wars


Cobra II

I knew I'd regret that Borders store opening at the bottom of my hill.

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July 07, 2006

What DO you call that sea, anyway?

Caribbean: Ca-rib-e-an or Ca-ri-be-an?

Dictionary.com says either is correct. I've always said the latter, with the emphasis on the third syllable. I'd like to say it's because I actually lived in the middle of that sea (Puerto Rico, 1954-1956; I went to a Spanish kindergarten and was as fluent as a five-year-old can be), but I doubt if that had any impact on my pronunciation.

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Is that going on?

It's Federer versus Nadal in the Gentleman's Final at Wimbledon, and it's Mauresmo versus Henin-Hardenne in the Ladies Final.

It's France versus Italy in the World Cup Final.

The Tour de France completed its sixth stage.

This has been your news update for sports Americans don't care about. More fool us.

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July 06, 2006

Book review

I finished James Risen's State of War last night. It's interesting to contrast his conclusions with those Suskind came up with in The One Percent Doctrine. In Risen's book, the CIA was and is pretty much inept, while in Suskind's book it's a much more competent organization, fighting the good fight to (unsuccessfully) stave off the worst excesses of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush.

Risen cites examples of signs missed, actions not taken, and obeisance to political will at the expense of truth. He mentions two station chiefs in Baghdad who were removed from that job because of their dire warnings about the insurgency and its growth, something Washington didn't want to hear. He concludes that Afghanistan has become a narco-state because of American neglect and Washington's change of focus toward Iraq. He even comes up with a story about a Russian-American scientist co-opted by CIA to give flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran in hopes that the Iranian scientists wouldn't notice the errors and thus be sidetracked from their nuclear goals for up to a year.

I'm not sure how much credence to put in all of the stories, but if even half are true it doesn't exactly put the CIA in a good light.

It's a fast read; only 218 pages.

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July 05, 2006

Grrr, redux

I complained about this in 2004 (here), but if I'd wanted to see freakin' Aerosmith I'd have tuned in MTV or VH1. Why must they be inflicted on those of us who tune in to the Boston Pops to hear great symphonic music and watch the fireworks? And why do they bother to show only one hour of the show, and that part the one which excludes the 1812 Overture, complete with cannon?

I'm boycotting next year. The Macy's extravaganza was far better anyway.

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July 04, 2006

Sousa's most famous march

As I went outside to put the flags up this morning, I treated my mother to a hearty rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever. Here's the original recording from 1897. That flag is the one Sousa had in mind when writing the song; it's a 45-star flag which became official upon Utah's admission to the Union July 4, 1896.

I used these lyrics:

Be kind to your web-footed friends.
For a duck may be somebody's mother.
They live all alone in the swamp,
Where the weather is cold and damp.
Well, you may think that this is the end.
Yes, it is, but to prove that you are wrong,
We're going to sing it once again,
Oh, yes we will, but it will be just a bit louder!

Be kind to your web-footed friends.
For a duck may be somebody's mother.
They live at the bottom of the swamp,
Where the weather is cold and damp.
You may think that this is the end.
Well, it is -- you are right!
So, just remember:
Be kind to your web-footed friends!
Be ever kind, yes, oh, so kind to all the duckies!

Did you know Sousa wrote serious lyrics?

Let martial note in triumph float

And liberty extend its mighty hand

A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,

The banner of the Western land.

The emblem of the brave and true

Its folds protect no tyrant crew;

The red and white and starry blue

Is freedom's shield and hope.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2006

This is un-American

Not so long ago (like, last year) ESPN used to broadcast three baseball games on the 4th of July. As far as I can tell, this year they have none. None? On the 4th of July?

What's up with that?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Reading lists

I'm stealing Lance's idea, but I have no interesting story to tell nor a clever tagline ("one classic behind" indeed!).

I've been reading books about current events (Suskind, Greenwald) and I'm about to start James Risen's "State of War", which has been in the house for a few months but was in the clutches of the other reader/resident. When done with that I'll start Peter Hopkirk's "The Great Game".

Who's reading what?

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

Data entry

I have about two more shelves of books to add into Library Thing, so that's what I've been doing today, or what I was doing till it shut down due to a system overload. It wasn't me, Tim!

It's gotten some publicity from the WSJ and from Boing Boing recently; I suspect a bunch of folks who saw it there said "Ah, Saturday afternoon/evening: a perfect time to start."

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack