August 31, 2008

More on St. Paul raids

According to the local paper in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the feds had infiltrated peace groups to stage their raids.

Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an "anarchist" plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention.

From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience.

Anyone else old enough to remember COINTELPRO?
COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. The FBI used covert operations from its inception; however the formal COINTELPRO operations took place between 1956 and 1971.[2] The FBI motivation at the time was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order."

Greenwald has a photo of at least one member of a raiding party wearing an FBI windbreaker.

The Fatherland Homeland must be protected!

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What country is this again?


Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.


What the hell is this? People exercising their First Amendment right to assemble and speak are rounded up and arrested preemptively?

I must have missed the proclamation that the country had been renamed The Police States of America.

Glenn's got video and transcripts of interviews, including one with a lawyer who lives in one of these neighborhoods and is representing some of these apparently-legal protesters. The Minnesota Independent is heavily covering this story, as is Cliff Schecter at Campaign Silo. The NYT also has a story.

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August 30, 2008

A funny

Roy Blount, Jr. on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me today, predicting how McCain will top Obama's DNC speech at his own convention:

"To the next five people who call I will give one of my houses, and my wife Cindy will stock the fridge with beer."

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August 29, 2008

Has Dan Quayle's nightmare finally ended?

Mark Schmitt:

  • Quayle: Two terms in the U.S. House, eight years in the U.S. Senate, representing a state of 6.5 million people.
  • Palin: City council member and mayor of a town of 8,500 people, 20 months as governor of a state of 650,000 people.

    No, Governor Palin, you're no Dan Quayle.

Somewhere Mr. Quayle is smiling.

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Every blog originating in Alaska is getting a huge number of hits today.

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The Python vote?

You don't suppose that McCain thought Sarah Palin was actually Michael Palin and he was hoping to attract the Monty Python fans?

Seriously, what does it say about the Republican party that he couldn't persuade one of their more experienced and well-known politicians to join him? If it had to be a woman, there are a few Republican Senators (Dole, Hutchinson, Snowe, Collins) who qualify.

This smells of desperation to me. Ms. Palin must know that.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Obama's acceptance speech

My review? Wow. In a football stadium, he took the ball and ran the length of the field for a touchdown.

A few of my favorite lines:

"It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it."


"For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own."


"Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

"That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper."

Here's a link to texts of all Thursday's speeches, including Gore's and Obama's.

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August 28, 2008

College Football

Today the 2008 college football season begins, so it's time for my annual shout-out to FanBlogs, which is an indispensable resource for gridiron enthusiasts.

For the etymologists: gridiron has multiple definitions, and according to the Online Etymology Dictionary its origin is "c.1330, griderne, alteration (by association with iron) of gridire (c.1290), a variant of gridil (see griddle). Confusion of "l" and "r" was common in Norman dialect." It's unclear when the word began to be applied to a football field, although it's evident that the yard markers and hash marks make up a pattern similar to the definition "A flat framework of parallel metal bars used for broiling meat or fish."

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Republican problem solving

Don't like the facts? Change the counting method!

In an article from the Dallas Morning News which discusses Texas's high number of citizens who have no health insurance, a McCain adviser says:

. . .the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved." (Emphasis mine)

Jeepers. "We don't like what the numbers tell us, so we need to redefine what the numbers are." If that's not the perfect example of the Republican thought process, somebody find me a better one.

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August 27, 2008

Kerry at the 2008 DNC

If you didn't see and hear this, take 15 minutes to do so. Holy smokes. Had he given speeches like this (okay, and fought back against the Swift Boat Liars sooner) he might have won the 2004 election. Fire and brimstone, this was.

An excerpt:

To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, I say, let’s compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain.

Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain’s own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you’re against it.

Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself.


So who can we trust to keep America safe? When we called for a timetable to make Iraqis stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, John McCain called it “cut and run.” But today, even President Bush has seen the light. He and Prime Minister Maliki agree on – guess what? – a timetable.

So who can we trust to keep America safe? The McCain-Bush Republicans have been wrong again and again and again. And they know they will lose on the issues. So, the candidate who once promised a “contest of ideas,” now has nothing left but personal attacks. How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops. How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy doubt America itself. How desperate to tell the son of a single mother who chose community service over money and privilege that he doesn’t put America first.

Full text here.

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Please explain

Given that the missile defense system doesn't yet work, and given that we have very little leverage with Russia at the moment, and given that we need Russia to help us put pressure on Iran's nuclear ambitions among other things, why do we continue to push the deployment of that defense system in Poland?

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August 26, 2008

Hillary speaks to the Convention

If you somehow missed Hillary Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention last night, here it is:

She nailed it. If there are any of her fans who didn't get the message that they should support Obama, they're unreachable.

I had a few favorite lines, including these:

"It makes a lot of sense that next week John McCain and George Bush will be together in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart."

"No way. No how. No McCain."

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Is our media too young?

Amidst all this blather about the Clintons being divisive and demanding time to speak at the Democratic Convention, Eric Boehlert reminds us that runners-up nearly always get the opportunity to speak at their party's convention, and that sometimes (gasp!) their names are even placed in nomination.

At the Democratic National Convention in 1992, Jerry Brown, who finished a very distant second to the party's nominee, had his name placed into nomination and addressed the assembled convention. After seconding his own nomination (true story), Brown delivered a fiery speech that thrilled his unruly supporters inside Madison Square Garden.


Four years earlier, the Democratic convention in Atlanta witnessed even more tumult from the second-place finisher when Jesse Jackson, furious at being passed over for the vice-presidential slot by the party's nominee, Michael Dukakis (who failed to call Jackson and tell him the VP news), threatened to withhold his delegates' support from the party's nominee.

From the lack of historical knowledge displayed by the political media, one would think its average age was 24 and its members all just graduated from third-tier J-schools.

As the headline of Boehlert's column says, "Hillary Clinton speaks at convention. The press concocts a story."

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August 25, 2008

Ted Kennedy

A nice catch from Kagro X over at Kos:

When was the last time a Democratic convention keynote* speaker was played off the stage by a song written by a current Democratic Member of Congress?

Sen. Ted Kennedy leaves the stage to Rep. John Hall's "Still the One."

Here's his speech:

It was vintage Ted Kennedy, brain cancer or not. He closed:

Yes, we are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I've seen it. I've lived it. And we can do it again.

There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination -- not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation.

And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.

* Kennedy wasn't the keynote speaker; Michelle Obama was. A small mistake.

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A wonderful world indeed

Aside from the message, which is excellent, you gotta love using a Sam Cooke song to make a point. I sure hope they got their permissions straight!

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August 24, 2008

Woohoo Waipio!

The youngsters did it!

Ahem. "Waipi'o scored in every inning to whip Mexcio, 12-3, today to win the Little League World Series championship in South Williamsport, Pa."

Perhaps we can forgive the typesetter's spelling error in his or her excitement.

Heh. He or she corrected it in the subsequent article.

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Obama picks Biden

Ok, so Biden's been in Washington for 30 years. But he's grounded enough to take the train home to Delaware every night. His wife is a community college teacher. He's an acknowledged foreign policy wonk. Unlike many of my fellow liberal blogospherians, I'm not gonna complain about his votes for various things I haven't liked; he's probably voted for just as many I have liked in all his time in the Senate.

Some of my colleagues on the left side of the political spectrum are grumbling about the choice. Let me remind them of a phrase that Al Davis often uses: "Just Win, Baby."

I can live with Biden as long as we win.

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August 23, 2008

Joy in Waipio!

Jeepers. The Waipio Little Leaguers scored six runs in the top of the sixth and blanked the Lake Charles kids in the bottom of the inning to win the US Little League Championship.

They were down 5-1 going into the sixth, but got a string of hits to get close. The tying run scored on an infield single, which was a charitable call -- it should have been an error. The first baseman knocked it down but couldn't find it behind him and the hitter reached first.

They go on to play Mexico tomorrow for the World Championship.

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August 22, 2008


The national press corps is composed of idiots. They have camped out on Senators Bayh and Biden's streets, hoping they'll divine something about Senator Obama's VP pick from watching those guys. On Washington Week this evening Dan Balz's Blackberry was placed prominently on the table in front of the panel (which was in Denver in front of a live audience) in anticipation of the famous Obama text message. I've gotten a "Breaking News" update from one of my local TV stations telling me that the AP reports it's Biden, and now the New York Times has run a multi-paragraph story saying it's Biden.

This after days of pundits telling us that vice-presidential picks are usually meaningless; the last one which was made to balance a ticket was JFK's pick of LBJ in 1960.

Um. If you think it's meaningless, why are you camping on prospective picks' lawns?


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An omen for November?

Hawai'i has Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President, and now it's got Brian Clay as Olympics Decathlon champ.

I hope Clay's victory is translatable to an Obama one in November.

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August 21, 2008

Moore's Law

I once paid $5,000 for a 13.2MB hard drive the size of a medium pizza for an IBM S/34 mini-computer. Later I paid $400 for a 40MB external hard drive for a Mac Plus.

Today I paid $11 for a 2GB USB Flash Drive.

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August 20, 2008


I'm pretty sure I read Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books 35 or 40 years ago, but not since. I keep hearing how much they're loved by people whose opinion I respect, so I picked up Whose Body, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon at the library.

Whose Body, book one of the series, didn't overly impress me, although I find Wodehousian aspects to it. But I'm now one-third into Gaudy Night and grumbling that I need to find the book in which Harriet Vane is introduced, possibly before I read further in this one.

Is this normal?

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August 19, 2008

Furniture upgrade

It's quite disconcerting to have the back of a standard office chair break off as you're leaning back in it.

Thus there was light posting this afternoon due to an extended training session for my new desk chair.

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Up close and personal

If management meetings were an Olympic sport, and if they were televised by NBC. . .

via Scott

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August 18, 2008

Women's Discus???

Stephanie Brown Trafton won the women's discus throw today.

Brown Trafton's gold is her first title on the international level and gives the United States its first gold medal in the event since Lillian Copeland won at the 1932 Los Angeles Games. It also is the first U.S. medal in the event since Leslie Deniz won silver in 1984 in Los Angeles.

That's quite an achievement. She threw that thing 212+ feet on her first pass and it held up.

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News you can use

Susie Madrak received an e-mail which read in part:

I’ve been using aluminum foil for more years than I care to remember. Great stuff, but sometimes it can be a pain. You know, like when you are in the middle of doing something and you try to pull some foil out and the roll comes out of the box. Then you have to put the roll back in the box and start over. The roll always comes out at the wrong time.

Well, I would like to share this with you. Yesterday I went to throw out an empty Reynolds foil box and for some reason I turned it and looked at the end of the box. And written on the end it said, Press here to lock end. Right there on the end of the box is a tab to lock the roll in place. How long has this little locking tab been there? I then looked at a generic brand of aluminum foil and it had one, too. I then looked at a box of Saran Wrap and it had one too! I can’t count the number of times the Saran Wrap roll has jumped out when I was trying to cover something up.

There were a lot of comments to that post, most saying "Wow, I never noticed that before."

Me neither. I went and looked at my boxes of foil, plastic wrap and wax paper. Two of the three have the tabs (generic waxed paper does not; don't ask me why). I had an extra five minutes Saturday after reading about this, so I went to the Reynolds website, clicked on the "contact us" link and asked how long the tabs had been a feature of their foil boxes. I got a reply in my e-mail this morning.

Thank you for your inquiry regarding Reynolds Wrap© Aluminum Foil.

In 1996, end locks were added to the cartons to hold the rolls in place. Press in the perforated tabs on each end of the carton before your first use.

Twelve years those have been there and I didn't know it. How often have I yanked on the end of the foil and had the whole thing come out of the box in all that time? More times than I can remember.

And that's this week's helpful household hint. TTFN.

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August 17, 2008

Rev. Warren's ego-builder

Orange County, Ca.'s Saddleback Church was the site of Reverend Warren's policy discussion with the two candidates Saturday afternoon. Now, Orange County is one of the wealthiest and most Republican enclaves in Southern California, so maybe it's no surprise that the church decided to charge admission to folks who wanted to watch Senators Obama and McCain answer the Rev's questions. But $500-$2,000 per ticket?

Church officials said they'd hoped to have some tickets available for the public but ran out when they couldn't satisfy demand among church members, who got the first crack at tickets that sold for $500 to $2,000.

Church officials said they decided to charge admission for people who wanted a chance to see the Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls because of the expenses to stage the event and provide television feeds to a host of networks.

Um. You didn't have to upgrade the hall, and what's it cost for TV feeds?

Jay Geer, a public relations crisis consultant, said Saddleback Church officials could have handled the ticket issue better.

"When you have the national stage, shouldn't you be open to everybody? A church that espouses its openness is now catering to the haves and have-nots."

I don't see too many have-nots paying those prices to watch, but Mr. Geer has a point.

Those folks who watched it seem to think McCain got the bigger applause lines and are worried about it. Let me remind them that the demographics of the crowd have an impact on which candidate they're likely to support. In this case, people shelling out that kind of money to attend an event in a Republican stronghold like Orange County are likely to be, all together now. . .Republicans!

Stop worrying.

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August 16, 2008

The Right-Wing Back Office

How do books like "The Obama Nation" make it to the NYT bestsellers list? Well. . .

"The Obama Nation" was written and printed because major American publishing houses have decided that there's money to be made in funding right-wing boutique imprints modeled after the Washington-based Regnery, which has made a small fortune stoking the hard-right furnace with combustible prose. Corsi's book is published by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster, which hired right-wing political operative Mary Matalin to edit the imprint. Random House has a similar imprint in Crown Forum, and Penguin Group USA has Sentinel. Their business model -- and this is all about business -- is predicated on the existence of an echo chamber of right-wing radio and television shows willing to promote these publishers' products -- however noxious. Beyond that is a network of conservative book clubs and organizations willing to place the sort of advance bulk orders for controversial books that will guarantee them a place on the bestseller lists.

It's just that sort of order that made "The Obama Nation" No. 1 on Sunday's New York Times bestseller list, and essentially "laundered" Corsi onto the respectable broadcast media's guest list.

Hat tip Digby, whose post you should also read in full.

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Miscalculations all around

This is the best article I've yet read on the whole Russian-Georgian contretemps. As Dobbs says, there's plenty of blame to go around.

The Russians were clearly itching for a fight, but the behavior of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has been erratic and provocative. The United States may have stoked the conflict by encouraging Saakashvili to believe that he enjoyed American protection, when the West's ability to impose its will in this part of the world is actually quite limited.

Read the rest. He examines the perspectives of Georgia, Russia and the United States and says each made mistakes.

Here's an analysis from Misha Glenny, a European journalist who wrote an excellent book about the breakup of Yugoslavia back in 1996.

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August 15, 2008

Does he even hear himself?

Bush, today:

Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.
I've given up thinking Bush has any sense of irony, but apparently his speechwriters are devoid of it too.

Adam Zyglis
The Buffalo News
Aug 15, 2008
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Double standard

If it's presumptuous of Obama to go to Europe and speak in front of a couple of hundred thousand people in Berlin, why is it not presumptuous of McCain to interject himself into the Russian-Georgian conflict?

Just wondering.

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August 14, 2008

Browne v. McCain

Jackson Browne sues John McCain:

Jackson Browne is suing John McCain for using the song "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad -- and the veteran rocker is also calling the candidate a great pretender when it comes to standing up for constitutional rights.

Browne, one of rock music's most famous activists for liberal causes, is "incensed" that the presumptive Republican candidate for president has been using Browne's signature 1977 song "Running on Empty" in campaign commercials, according to the singer-songwriter's attorney. Browne filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against both McCain and the Republican National Committee on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the use of the forlorn arena anthem or any other Browne compositions, as well as damages.

Shades of Springsteen v. Reagan for "Born to Run" in the 1980s.

If you don't remember Browne's song, here it is at YouTube.

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Who is John McCain?

Arizonans should know John McCain best, right? Many do, and they despise him.

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August 13, 2008


Dear blogosphere:

It's Caucasus, not Caucuses.

Thank you.

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Will the real Joe Klein please stand up?

He writes:

I know that people like me are supposed to try to be fair...and balanced. (The Fox mockery of our sappy professional standards seems more brutally appropriate with each passing year.) In the past, I would achieve a semblance--or an illusion--of balance by criticizing Democrats for not responding effectively when right-wing sludge merchants poisoned our national elections with their filth and lies. And it is true, as John Kerry knows, that a more effective response--and a bolder campaign--might have neutralized the Swiftboat assault four years ago. It is also true that Corsi's book this time is far less effective than his Swiftboat venture, since it doesn't come equipped with veterans willing to defile their service by telling lies to camera.

But there is no excuse for what the McCain campaign is doing on the "putting America first" front. There is no way to balance it, or explain it other than as evidence of a severe character defect on the part of the candidate who allows it to be used.

Apparently the bloom really is off the McCain rose as far as Klein's concerned.

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No mustard, right?

News item:

. . .Obama stood about 10 feet away ordering six half-pound cheeseburgers, eight third-pound cheeseburgers, 10 kids' burgers and 20 orders of fries. . .

Ah yes, group lunch. I can see it now: "The total was $116, with a $40 tip, so Secret Service Agent #1, you had the bacon double-cheese and fries for $7.95 plus $1.50 for fries, and then $40 tip divided many of us are there here?"

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August 12, 2008

You go, Togo!

Woot! Hooray for Benjamin Boukpeti of Togo, who just won bronze in the whitewater kayaking event, the first medal ever for the country. I see from the CIA's map that it does have a river; Wikipedia's map doesn't show one.

On geography I think the CIA can be trusted.

(Note: It turns out Mr. Boukpeti lives in France and has only been to Togo once when he was a child. The Togo Sports and Leisure Ministry sounds pleased but a little bemused.

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No more war

Here's an excellent anti-war film (five minutes long):

It's purely coincidental that it slams McCain; it's not from the Obama campaign.

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August 11, 2008

Olympics swimming

I was watching Michael Phelps swim the 200M Freestyle and as he hit the last 25 meters I said "He looks like freakin' Secretariat at the Belmont." There wasn't anyone even close!

And how cool for Natalie Coughlin to win the Women's 100M Backstroke and Aaron Peirsol the Men's version of the same event.

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Dear Cokie Roberts

I see that you think Senator Obama should have gone somewhere else (anywhere else!) than Hawai'i for a vacation. Somehow Hawai'i is perceived as "elitist" or "exotic," and that won't play well with the voters. Gosh, you'd think he was staying in Waikiki instead of at a friend's house while visiting his grandmother.

You and your husband Steve should give up your summer home in The Hamptons or Nantucket or wherever and come out here to Hawai'i to live for a while. We'll show you how "exotic" and "elitist" we are as we pay our $4.39/gallon for gas and our $3.49/half-gallon for milk and hold down our 2-3 jobs in order to make ends meet.

Maybe you should leave the East Coast once in a while.

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Tigger remains reasonably well

Tigger is surviving our bandaging pretty well, the doc says. He also says, though, that the raw spot on her leg may never entirely heal without a skin graft, and that she's probably too old for that procedure. Apparently the blood supply to her leg isn't very good, and her habit of lying on the leg militates against the graft too. But as long as we're willing to keep re-bandaging every five or six days and going back to see him once a month, he sees no reason why she couldn't go on for quite a while.

She's very docile while the re-bandaging takes place, so it's not more than a 5-10 minute process. We'll see.

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August 10, 2008

Little Brother

I read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother yesterday. It's nominally for young adults, but it's really for anyone who's appalled at the security theater the US government has been practicing since 9/11. Doctorow spent a few years working for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, so it's no surprise he's chosen privacy issues as a theme for this book.

It's centered around a 17-year-old high school student named Marcus, who, together with his buddies Van, Darryl and Jolu, is in the midst of a Geocaching-type game in San Francisco when the Bay Bridge and the underwater BART tunnel are blown up by terrorists. The kids are picked up by a very nervous crowd of Homeland Security agents, who are sure that Marcus and his friends were part of the attack because of all the electronic gear (wi-fi, RFID identifiers) they're carrying. They're held for five days before being released.

Once out, Marcus discovers that the city is basically under security lockdown by DHS, and that its surveillance is everywhere. Being a rebellious teenager with a hacker's mentality, he doesn't like this and decides to do something about it. He begins by manipulating some existing XBox code into a sub-rosa subdivision of the Internet, gathering like-minded kids to him as he goes. Eventually he becomes a reluctant leader of a movement to fight back against the Federal government's anti-terror paranoia as manifested in security cameras, keystroke capture devices, wiretapping, and crowd dispersal.

It gets a little techno-geeky in spots, but not so much that it's impenetrable, and it's a darned good story along the way.

Here are reviews from Library Thing members.

I recommend it highly; it will make you think.

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August 09, 2008

Olympic surprise (to me)

Who the heck expected the US to sweep the medals in women's sabre? For that matter, who knew the US fielded a team in women's sabre?

The in-laws of the US volleyball coach were victims of a murder-suicide at a tourist attraction in Beijing. Todd Bachman was killed and his wife Barbara suffered "life-threatening" injuries and is in a hospital. Apparently they were not wearing any clothing which would have identified them as Americans, so it seems this was a random act by a lunatic.

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August 08, 2008

Obama speaks to crowd in Honolulu

Video Damned TV station pulled the live video. Here's a recap of his brief (15 minutes or so) speech to several thousand folks at Keehi Lagoon.

He opened saying he was gonna go to Zippy's (a local favorite), and closed saying "I'll see you on the beach!"

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It's Money Bomb Day

Become a StrangeBedfellow!

So what's that all about?

The goal of AccountabilityNowPAC is to become a permanent entity on the Washington DC political landscape which will let our politicians know that civil liberties MATTER. Our message to politicians in Washington is loud and clear: uphold constitutional rights and we will support you; abridge freedom in America and we will not be on your side. Democrat or Republican—it makes no difference to us. Our standard will be the same for all, so let’s end the surveillance insanity and take our country back. It starts right here—with AccountabilityNowPAC. This is our vehicle to enforce the sworn oath our political leaders take to preserve and defend the constitution. Make our politicians live up to their core pledge and promise. Make them ACCOUNTABLE—NOW.

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August 07, 2008

Beijing air quality

From the Associated Press:

On Thursday, Beijing's air pollution index was recorded at 96, which came close to exceeding the national level for acceptable air. Levels between 51-100 are considered moderate pollution, and anything over 100 is harmful to sensitive groups, including children and the elderly.
If I were a track and field athlete, or a cyclist, or a participant in any other outdoor competition, I'd be concerned that my performance (for many, a once-in-a-lifetime event) might be affected by the air quality.

I don't remember. Was there this much concern about the air in LA in 1984, or did Peter Ueberroth clean the skies all by himself?

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August 06, 2008

Hamdan conviction

"Providing material support for terrorism" rises to the level of a war crime.

I'm sure the shades of Goebbels' and Tojo's drivers are relieved they weren't subject to this level of jurisprudence.

If someone can explain why a normal federal court couldn't have conducted this trial and reached this verdict, I'd be delighted to hear it.

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We'll always have Paris

I never thought I'd mention her name here, but Paris Hilton has a funny response to the McCain ad comparing Obama to her.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

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August 05, 2008

Doubts about anthrax perp

I am not a nutball conspiracy theorist, but after seeing what the FBI did to Steven Hatfill, I'm skeptical that their case against the now-deceased Bruce Ivins is any better.

Fortunately, Glenn Greenwald is just as skeptical. He's been posting about this for the past week; today's post raises many questions and refers to today's NYT article, which raises more.

The FBI screwed up the Hatfill inquiry to the tune of several million dollars paid out to him as restitution. I also remember the case of Richard Jewell, the security guard the FBI falsely accused of planting the bomb at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park in 1996.

Furthermore, this is the Bush Administration's Justice Department, and we know what kind of a political sinkhole that was turned into by Ashcroft and Gonzales.

Color me doubtful that Ivins was the sender of the anthrax letters until a lot more proof has been shown. And if that proof isn't good, then the individual who sent the stuff may still be on the loose. Cheerful thought, that.

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Iraq or Bust!

How much did the Bush Administration want to invade Iraq? A lot. Now Ron Susskind (author of The One Percent Doctrine) alleges that they wanted to forge a backdated letter from the Iraqi Intelligence Service to Saddam Hussein "proving" that Mohammad Atta had trained for 9/11 in Iraq.

This isn't the first time allegations of this sort have appeared, of course. Remember that Bush once suggested to Tony Blair that a UN plane be sent over Iraqi airspace to be fired upon by US forces in order to claim that Iraq had attempted a shootdown.

Kevin Drum has the details.

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August 04, 2008

Americans, please read


The poll, which surveyed more than 500 adults by phone in July, found that 69% of respondents support the idea of offshore drilling, while 30% opposed it. In June, 73% were in favor of offshore drilling.

US Department of Energy Annual Energy Outlook 2007:

The projections in the OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017.

My fellow Americans, please let facts rule your judgments, not your experience at the gas pump.

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Traffic habits

So, are you a lineupper or a sidezoomer?

The truth will set you free (or get you lots of nasty comments)!

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August 03, 2008

Sunday music

Peter Frampton created the 3rd or 4th best selling live album of all time with 1976's Frampton Comes Alive (yes, I bought it back then, and I have the CD version too). "Do You Feel Like We Do" was from Frampton's Camel, his 1st album after leaving Humble Pie. This version was recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito in March of 1975.

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August 02, 2008

Ah, yes

My friend Kate, explaining why she's planning to read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road":

"Nothing like an apocalypse to round out the summer."

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August 01, 2008

Oh, fer Gawd's sake

The WSJ asks: Is Obama "Too Fit to Be President?"

But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.

Um. George W. Bush to Runners World in 2002:

Usually I run 6 days a week. When I don't run, I use an elliptical trainer, lift weights, and stretch. But when I run, I run hard. On Sundays, if I'm at Camp David, I'll go for a hard, morning run-these days about 20:30 to 20:45 for 3 miles on a tough course-and then I'll go walk 2 to 4 miles with Laura [the First Lady] afterward.

Is Bush too physically fit to be President? Probably not.

(Note: I'm not saying he's morally or mentally fit to be President; I have my own opinions about that.)

Update: Good grief. The author of the WSJ article did her research; she went to the Yahoo Message Boards and posed this question:

Is Obama too skinny to be president?
15-Jul-08 06:04 pm

Does anyone out there think Barack Obama is too thin to be president? Anyone having a hard time relating to him and his “no excess body fat”? Please let me know. Thanks!

So she created her own story. If you had any good will toward the WSJ under its new Murdoch ownership, I suggest you get rid of it.

Sadly, No has the details.

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