May 31, 2010

Listen to your friends, idiots

Dear Israel, you make it very hard for your allies to defend you when you kill 10 or more peace activists trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. Your claim that said activists were armed terrorists won't wash.

From the NYT:

At the request of Turkey, The United Nations Security Council met in emergency session on Monday over the attack, which occurred in international waters north of Gaza and killed at least nine people.
Lemme see here. If you attack a ship in international waters, isn't that what most people call piracy?

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Whassup wit' dat?

Here we are on a national holiday, one that's traditionally thought of as the first unofficial day of summer, and ESPN has no baseball on its schedule.

Baseball, you may recall, has been called the summer game.

The same thing has happened before, on July 4, of all days.

What's going on here?

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May 30, 2010

More good news!

Pardon me while I wipe a tear from my eye. The old alma mater won its softball game today too, so it plays for the NCAA Division II National Championship tomorrow.

Hawai'i Pacific's record is 49-6; they're ranked #3 in the country. They'll play Valdosta State, 50-8 and #2 nationally, at 9:00am HST Monday.

Wow. I can't remember a sports day this big in a long long time.

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Another UH win!

Capping an already-great day for UH sports, the Rainbow baseball team hung on to win the Western Athletic Conference Championship 9-6. Weird game. They committed five errors but also turned four double plays.

Yay guys!

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Woohoo! More drama!

The Wahine did it!

Jenna Rodriguez hit a two-run, two-out walk-off homer as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine stunned No. 1 seed Alabama, 5-4, today to reach their first Women's College World Series.
That despite a 14-strikeout performance from the Tide's Kelsey Dunne, who ended her year with 353 strikeouts on the season and a 30-5 W-L record.

The way Dunne was mowing the ladies down it looked pretty hopeless. She walked the leadoff hitter in the 7th but struck out the next two batters. Then Rodriguez hit the first pitch about three feet to the right of the foul pole in left field. She did her best Carlton Fisk imitation, standing just up the first base line and willing the ball over the fence in fair territory.

Both the crowd and the broadcasters were stunned, as were we. It happened so quickly!

The Wahine move on to the Women's College World Series next week in Oklahoma City, a first for the program. The men's baseball team has only been to one, and that was 30 years ago this spring.

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May 29, 2010


Hawaii earned a split of today’s NCAA super regional doubleheader against Alabama to force a decisive third game on Sunday for a berth in the Women’s College World Series. Alabama overpowered Hawaii 8-0 in the opening game, but the Rainbow Wahine bounced back for an 8-7 win in the second game, snapping the top-seeded Crimson Tide’s 28-game winning streak.
The drama came in the last inning of game two, when the Tide loaded the bases with two out. The Wahine's star pitcher Stephanie Ricketts induced a pop-up to end the game.

On to tomorrow.

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May 28, 2010

Washington Week in Review

A couple of weeks ago Jay Rosen, the NYU Journalism professor who writes Press Think, was asked to contribute to a feature the WaPo Sunday Outlook section ran called "Twelve Things the World Should Toss Out".

Jay suggested doing away with the hoary old Friday night PBS program "Washington Week in Review". His point was that the show's premise:

Five insiders (journalists) display their understanding of what other insiders (politicians) did this week for an audience of wanna-be insiders (the show's assumption about viewers)
has outlived its usefulness, if it ever had any.

He goes on:

Host Gwen Ifill and panelists such as The Washington Post's Dan Balz, the New York Times' Peter Baker and CNN's Gloria Borger are pros; they've mastered their business. And that's the problem. They're in the same business as the people they cover -- the game of professional politics, also called the permanent campaign.

As lifers in this game, they share a sensibility with their subjects: that in politics savviness is next to godliness, and everything's really about the next election.

Because the boundaries of political debate in Washington are also the horizons of the discussion on "Washington Week," the show has no grace, mystery, edge or dissonant voice. What if the system is broken, the political elite is failing the country, accountability is a mirage and the game is a farce run by well-educated people who manipulate the symbols of the republic? Whenever those things are true, "Washington Week" becomes a lie. And around that lie the show's producers have put yellow caution tape.

I have to agree. For months if not years I've been trying to figure out why I now get bored with that show, which used to be a regular part of my Friday night viewing schedule. I think Jay's put his finger on it. The show is nothing more than insider baseball, and it's not willing to throw stones at fellow insiders (politicians, particularly) when stones need to be thrown.

I've also concluded that I'm not in the target audience for another reason: the program calls itself "Washington Week in Review." The audience, then, is not someone like me who pays close attention to politics every day of the week, but rather someone who doesn't have the time to do that. That's the person for whom a "Review" show is useful. I no longer qualify.

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Toward a better shopping experience

Attention Borders floorwalkers: When your shift starts, please familiarize yourself with the CDs and books stocked at the registers. Should a customer come to you looking for a particular item which he can't find on the shelves, before you search in inventory in the storeroom, ask yourself "Did I see that up front?"

This will not only please your customer, but it will keep your employer from looking mildly silly.

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May 27, 2010

Harry Potter and the Fan-Fic of Awe

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

The true rules were the same everywhere and everywhen for every part of the universe, you didn't have special cases for different surface appearances and exceptions whenever it was convenient, that was what humanity had learned over the last three thousand years, not to mention that the mind was the brain and the brain was made of neurons and if you damaged the brain the mind lost the corresponding ability, destroy the hippocampus and the person lost the ability to form new memories, a brain was what a person was -

And then a woman turned into a cat, so much for all that.

I'm on Chapter 3 and I'm stunned.

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May 26, 2010


I don’t have a whole lot of interest in future Lost spinoffs and the like, but you know what I would like to see? A novelization. Hire a good writer, pare away some of the unnecessary tangents the show took, and turn the whole Lost story into a book. I think that could give the best sense of just what an epic this was.
That's Noel Murray at AV Club, echoing what I've been saying since the final season started. There needs to be a book. It might take 600 pages to tell the tale, but that would be fine by me.
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Dear Google Docs Team

I write in hope. I'm experimenting with using Google Docs as I would a localized office tools package, and I've discovered an unwelcome drawback.

I have a four-column spreadsheet. I need to insert data into a new row in the middle of the data, but only in columns three and four. All goes well when creating a new row in the correct location and entering the information, but then I'm presented with two empty cells in columns one and two on that same row.

In Excel and Open Office I could highlight those two cells and select "Edit" from the dropdown menu and then "Delete"; I'd be offered a choice of moving the cells below that point in the columns to the left, to the right, up or down. In Google Docs that option doesn't appear to exist. All I'm presented with is "Delete Row X."

I don't want to delete the entire row; I have perfectly good data in columns three and four of that row.

I see that there are outstanding requests for this feature in your Help Center dating back to March of 2009. Is this so hard to do?

I await your reply.


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May 25, 2010

Lost from a local perspective

My friend Ryan wrote a wonderful feature article about the show's finale for the local paper.

Did the show explain all the mysteries it introduced and answer all the questions it raised? No. And the sci-fi nerd within me is feeling wounded. The morning after, I'd already compiled a list of significant loose ends. But did the show bring resolution to the characters we've been invested in since that spectacular plane crash in 2004? Yes.
Amen to that, pal.

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EW on Lost (Part Two)

Doc Jensen has been writing about the show for a long long time; most of the EW links I've been posting for this season go to his essays. Here's his day-after recap, after the initial one I linked to below.

Here's how he explains the Sideways world:

We had learned from Christian that the castaways had become — or always were — bonded on a spiritual level, a ''soul cluster'' to use a phrase given to me by a reader whose name I'll credit in a later column when I can dig up the correct e-mail. This cluster was a living thing unto itself, and a thing with great power. It had the ability to create a world, the Sideways world, from which they could meet anew after death and journey together into whatever comes next.
He admits, however, that that explanation doesn't quite persuade him.
And yet, I can't say the Sideways device totally worked for me. I wanted to get lost in Lost during its last 18 hours. But the Sideways conceit often left me standing outside of it, trying to figure out what it was all about. It's kinda hard to emotionally connect with people when wondering if they're also, like, ''real.'' In the end, I think it was asking too much of us to buy into a creatively uneven season-long storyline whose purpose only revealed itself in the last moments of the finale. The Sixth Sense was awesome. The Sixth Sense stretched over 18 hours? A much tougher magic trick, and Lost didn't quite pull it off.
I disagree. After a day or two of thinking about it, it pulled it off enough for me.

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Save small oil companies!

Back here I noted that it was Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) blocking the Democrats' attempt to raise the liability cap on damages as a result of oil spills from the laughably-small $75M it is now to a more reasonable $10B.

Today it was James Inhofe, (R-OK), saying

. . .that putting oil companies on the line for unlimited liability would push all but the largest companies out of the offshore drilling business — the same argument he made last week in rejecting the $10 billion cap.In fact, Inhofe said, removing the liability cap could push even the giants of the industry — BP, Shell, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and ConocoPhillips — out of contention for contracts, leaving only the big nationalized firms (like those in China and Venezuela) to do the drilling.

I think the Senator from Oklahoma is missing the point of the legislation, which is to get cleanups paid for. It's not to protect privately-held oil companies from their competitors.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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May 24, 2010

Lost Reactions

Major media reactions to the finale of "Lost":

David Bianculli of Fresh Air

NPR's Monkey See blog

WaPo's Celebritology blog

NYT's Television column

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Lost thoughts

The island continues (maybe it should be capitalized: The Island continues).


My initial takeaway from the revelation that the Sideways universe was Jack's dying vision (or hallucination, if you prefer) was "Oh, come ON!" Then I stopped reacting emotionally and started thinking about it. For the entire series the theme has been structured around flawed people (well, not Hurley; Hurley had bad luck, but no moral flaws, which may explain why he became the ultimate Island protector) who were given an opportunity for redemption through the medium of the plane crash and the tests Jacob and the Island set for them. And most of them did find redemption or at least peace within themselves.

The church/funeral home chapel ending was highly symbolic, of course. With a theme like redemption, how could the show end otherwise? The interesting thing to me was the concept that all those folks were waiting for Jack to get there before they could all "move on."

Were there lots of mysteries left unexplained*? Sure. Would I like to know the answers? Absolutely. But do I NEED to know the answers to fully enjoy the whole of "Lost?" Nope.

I certainly don't feel like I wasted approximately 124 hours of my life watching the show, as I've seen other people claim this morning.

*What was Desmond's importance to Widmore? Was Widmore himself confused about Desmond's role? Why is the final pairing Sayid and Shannon rather than Sayid and Nadya? Since she managed to escape, how did Kate dodge the murder rap? And on and on; more will no doubt appear.

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May 23, 2010

Lost, The End

Blurb: The battle lines are drawn as Locke puts his plan into action, which could finally liberate him from the island.


Alan Sepinwall

EW's "Totally Lost" page, which appears to plan a "flood the zone" concept.

Some interesting news: According to the producers, the Season 6 DVD to be released in August will "address a selection of baffling bits of unfinished business."

Hmm. As entertainment it ended beautifully. As story, I'm not quite so sanguine.

More tomorrow. Must think.

Meanwhile, EW's first post about the finale.

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Faster, faster!

I'll grant that working 5,000 feet underwater is extraordinarily difficult. I'll grant that there is no federal National Underwater and Marine Agency run by Dirk Pitt. Nor are there companies immediately capable of fighting oil spills under the ocean as there are companies capable of fighting land-based oil fires like Boots and Coots.

Having said that, I sure don't feel any sense of urgency about resolving this disaster, whether from BP or from the Federal Government. I'm seeing lots of "we're in uncharted waters here" from BP, and lots of "we're pushing BP hard" from the Feds, but not a lot of results.

Meanwhile the marshes and beaches in Louisiana are getting badly damaged every hour there's a delay.

Maybe there really is nothing that can be done any faster than what's being done, but BP's "Tuesday or Wednesday" attitude is really beginning to infuriate a lot of people, particularly those whose livelihoods are at stake.

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Lostapalooza begins

I have no idea how definitive this timeline of the events we've seen in "Lost" is, but I applaud the effort by the Houston Chronicle's TV writer.

Hat tip: Kuff.

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May 22, 2010

Republican rents seat in US House

As was widely anticipated, Republican Charles Djou won tonight's special election to the US House seat in Hawai'i District One. The seat was vacated by former Rep. Neil Abercrombie in February in order for him to begin his campaign for Governor this fall.

With two candidates splitting the usually strong Democratic vote in the district (Urban Honolulu), Djou won 39% of the vote. Colleen Hanabusa got 30.8% of the vote and former Congressman Ed Case finished third with 27.6%.

It's expected that Hanabusa and Case will face off again in a September closed primary. Today's special election was wide open to all voters, so there was probably some crossover from unhappy Dems and some independents.

The most interesting thing about the results is that Hanabusa caught and passed Case. Most polling done during this campaign indicated that she was well back in third place. I'm sure she'll take heart from that, and I expect that Case will be severely disappointed.

Djou is expected to run in the fall election, but very few observers expect him to win a full term when there's only one Democrat running against him.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah

As Fred Clark says, this is probably the finest example of smoking while drumming one can find on the Internet:

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May 21, 2010

Law & Order Canceled?

Then "Try to Remember," sung by one of its most enduring stars. Yes, that's Jerry Orbach, who originated the role of El Gallo in The Fantasticks.

"Law and Order's" theme music is about as recognizable as there is on TV these days. It was composed by Mike Post, who also wrote that other iconic TV theme, Hill Street Blues.

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Nah, this won't cause any environmental damage

Good lord. Look at the flow from that pipe.

If you've ever had a leaky faucet you know what it can do and how much money drips with it. Multiply by gazillions for this disaster.

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May 20, 2010

Principle v. Policy

Newly-minted Republican Senatorial candidate Rand Paul has had quite a couple of days with his statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1965, hasn't he? From Talking Points Memo:

So, by our reckoning, here's Paul's progression on the issue over the past 24 hours:
  • Paul on Maddow, circa 9 p.m. Wednesday: I don't agree with the Civil Rights Act, but I don't believe in racism.
  • Paul statement, noon Thursday: I wouldn't support repealing the law.
  • Paul campaign statement, 2 p.m. Thursday: I support the law and the government's power to enforce it.
  • Paul on CNN, 5 p.m. Thursday: "I would have voted yes" for the law. "There was a need for federal intervention."
This is one of the reasons I have trouble with libertarianism; it's full of high-minded principles which run headlong into practicality. Guess which wins?

In this case Paul tried to make the point that his philosophy says "government should not interfere with private businesses; if they want to discriminate it's their right to do so. Let the free market sort out the ones who can discriminate between their customers and stay afloat." But that philosophy ran into the question of "what's the greater good here? Should businesses (like lunch counters in the South) continue to take advantage of some rules of government, like cops to keep them from being robbed, streets their customers use to get to their doors, etc. and not be required to conform to other rules government lays down?" You don't get to be a cafeteria businessperson when it comes to government regulations.

See also Bruce Bartlett:

I don't believe Rand is a racist; I think he is a fool who is suffering from the foolish consistency syndrome that affects all libertarians. They believe that freedom consists of one thing and one thing only--freedom from governmental constraint. Therefore, it is illogical to them that any increase in government power could ever expand freedom. Yet it is clear that African Americans were far from free in 1964 and that the Civil Rights Act greatly expanded their freedom while diminishing that of racists.

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May 19, 2010

Political pundit phoolishness

Once, when asked what he expected the stock market to do near term, the financier J.P. Morgan said "It will fluctuate."

All the politicians, pundits and journalists would do well to remember that the same is true of the electorate. Grayson was supposed to win in Kentucky (he was hand-picked by Senator Mitch McConnell!), Specter was supposed to win in Pennsylvania (he had the backing of President Obama!), and Burns was supposed to win in PA-12 (the district dislikes Obama!).

None of that happened. Rand Paul beat Grayson, Sestak beat Specter, and Critz beat Burns. And for all the talk of a Republican wave election in November, it's worth noting that there have been eight special elections to fill vacated seats since 2008, and the Dems have won all eight.

Take predictions with copious quantities of salt. I'm just sayin'.

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May 18, 2010

Lost, Season 6, Episode 16

Blurb: Locke devises a new strategy; Jack's group searches for Desmond. (This episode has an ominous title: "What They Died For." However, considering that it's the penultimate episode before Sunday's 2 1/2-hour finale, we might be forgiven for saying "It's about damned time!")


Alan Sepinwall

EW Sunday night (May 16) ramblings

EW preview of tonight's episode

EW instant reaction to tonight's episode

Well now. Resolution is kinda sorta beginning to happen, what with Jack taking Jacob's role, learning the light must be protected from UnLocke, and swallowing the magic elixir (I was waiting for Jack to say it tasted like wine, to resolve that wine bottle symbol we saw a while back).

And obviously something is going to happen at the concert in the Sideways universe, with many of our friends converging on it. Desmond has told Kate they'll both be attending; we know Jack will be there for his son, and Miles told Sawyer that's where he'd be (and Charlotte will be there too). What do you bet that the first half-hour of the finale will be showing Locke, Ben, Hurley and Sayid getting there as well?

I can't wait!

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May 17, 2010

Why does anyone listen to this?

Whether it's the NRA declaring at the top of its lungs that Obama plans to take away our guns (Um, no. Obama: "I believe in the Second Amendment, and if you are a law-abiding gun owner, you have nothing to fear from an Obama administration!") or Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) advocating racial profiling or Daniel Pipes spouting nonsense about affirmative action for Muslim beauty contest participants, I keep wondering how it is that they all manage to get any attention at all. Is it just that our media has given up on news as a mission and decided that our attention spans are too short, so it's just going to provide entertainment instead?

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May 16, 2010

American Routes rocks

Nice show this week: Rosanne Cash in Hour One and Arlo Guthrie in Hour Two.

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Norton Award winner is online

What's that, you ask? It's an annual award meant

to recognize outstanding science fiction and fantasy novels that are written for the young adult market. The award has been named in honor of the late Andre Norton, a SFWA Grand Master and author of more than 100 novels, including the acclaimed Witch World series, many of them for young adult readers. Ms. Norton's work has influenced generations of young people, creating new fans of the fantasy and science fiction genres and setting the standard for excellence in fantasy writing.

And the 2009 winner is: Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. The title alone works for me, but even better, the entire book is online!

Found at Scalzi's place in a post in which he also announces that he has been elected President of the Science Fiction Writers' Association for the coming year. Congrats to him!

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May 15, 2010

Bronx bombers move west to Manoa

The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine softball team won its first Western Athletic Conference title today, 14-3 over Fresno State. FSU forced this game by beating the Wahine earlier in the day, 4-3.

The Rainbow Wahine hit two homers in the first inning, including a solo homer by Kelly Majam to lead off the game and a grand slam by Amanda Tauali'i to cap the inning to make it 6-0.

The Rainbow Wahine would add three more homers to increase their NCAA single-season record to 141. UH entered the game with 136 after hitting two yesterday to surpass the record of 134 set by Arizona last year.

Now they await tomorrow's selection show. Given the treatment many UH teams in the past have gotten from the NCAA (not selecting them at all, selecting them and sending them to the most hostile environments imaginable, etc.) they needed to win the tournament to ensure a slot in the NCAA Tournament. The girls had a final record of 44-13, and 5 of their 13 losses were to top-ten teams.

Good for them!

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May 14, 2010

Fetishizing small business

I realize that small businesses will save us all and thus must be praised and made obeisance to, but this is ridiculous:

On the Senate floor a few moments ago, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) asked for unanimous consent to pass their Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act of 2010, which would raise the liability cap on offshore drilling accidents from $75 million to $10 billion. Unanimous consent simply means the bill passes without all the usual Senate procedural folderol.

Now, ask yourself: Who could object to this? Does anyone really think BP should only have to pay $75 million -- a drop in the bucket relative to what's necessary; an even smaller drop in the bucket of BP's profits -- to clean up the Gulf oil catastrophe? What possible justification could there be for objecting? Surely if anything deserves unanimous consent, it's this, right?

You underestimate the Republican party. None other than Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski stood up to object. Yes, the senator from the state that got hammered by the Exxon Valdez spill objected to raising the liability cap.

And what was her argument? If the liability cap is raised, that might exclude small oil companies from being able to get the insurance and financing necessary to drill offshore. After all, only the oil giants could afford $10 billion. That is to say: only the oil giants can afford to clean up after themselves.

You're not dreaming. That's really the argument. Murkowski wants small, independent oil companies to be able to privatize the profits of offshore drilling but offload the financial risks to the public. And she frames it as avoiding a "Big Oil monopoly" on drilling. She's just defending mom-and-pop oil shops! The gall is breathtaking.

Yes, it is. One seriously wonders whether Murkowski has lost her mind. Given the capital requirements for exploration and equipment, how many small drillers are there in the oil patch, anyway?

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May 13, 2010

Lost showrunners talk!

Alan Sepinwall got an exclusive phone interview with Lindelof and Cuse today. Main topic: "Why on earth couldn't last night's episode have been run, oh, at the beginning of this season?" Cuse:

This is what an episode of "Lost" that is about answering questions looks like. This thing is a big mythological download. Our belief is that the real resolution of the show and the one that matters is what happens to these characters. We've felt a desire to provide the audience with Jacob and the Man in Black's origin story and make it not the last episode of the show for a very good reason. The show is going to focus on these characters. That's what we believe is more important and that's what we believe the audience wants to see. This all worked the way we wanted to. We planned it out so we could do a big mythological download episode at this point so that it would allow us to have the end of the show be more character-centric. That's the way we chose to tell our story.
I get a little defensive vibe there, but hey, it's their show. I'm not going to stop watching now.

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May 12, 2010

The vaccine = autism narrative

Ever wonder how the whole "vaccines cause autism" campaign began? Here's a definitive summary from the investigative reporter who uncovered much of the sleazy story. Some of it is startling. How could so many be so persuaded by such a small study (12 children!)?

Wakefield had been payrolled to create evidence against the shot, and, while planning extraordinary business schemes, meant to profit from the scare, he had changed and misreported data on the anonymous children to rig the results published in the journal.


But the investigation discovered that, while Wakefield held himself out to be a dispassionate scientist, two years before the Lancet paper was published - and before any of the 12 children were even referred to the hospital - he had been hired by a lawyer, Richard Barr: a jobbing solicitor in the small eastern English town of King's Lynn, who hoped to raise a speculative class action lawsuit against drug companies which manufactured MMR.

Unlike expert witnesses, who give professional advice and opinions, Wakefield negotiated a lucrative contract with Barr, then aged 48, to conduct clinical and scientific research. The goal was to find evidence of what the two men called "a new syndrome", intended to be the centrepiece of (later failed) litigation on behalf of an eventual 1,600 families, mostly recruited through media stories.

That contract ultimately paid Wakefield around $750,000.

It's amazing, and despite the complete discrediting of Wakefield, his study, the Lancet's withdrawal of the paper and the UK Medical Council's finding that Wakefield was guilty of "some three dozen charges, including four of dishonesty and 12 involving the abuse of developmentally-challenged children," the anti-vaccine forces continue to agitate in this country.

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May 11, 2010

Lost, Season 6, Episode 15

Blurb: Locke's motives are finally explained. (Apparently Jacob & the Man in Black's origins are a big part of this explanation.)


Alan Sepinwall

EW pre-air gibberish

EW preview of tonight's episode

EW Instant Reaction

Now that's a creation myth!

Alan Sepinwall has a useful list of Things We Learned, so I recommend you go over to his post for better understanding than I can offer.

Mom kept saying that Jacob and the future Man-in-Black's mother sounded like Allison Janney, and she was right.

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May 10, 2010

Nat'l Democrats bail on Hawai'i District Election


"It's an extremely difficult race, since two Democratic candidates are splitting the vote," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"The local Democrats haven't been able to come together and resolve that, so we'll have to re-evaluate our participation."

Let us poor benighted voters figure it out for ourselves. Stop putting your thumb on the scales in favor of one Democrat over another.

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Elena Kagan

I don't know enough about President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court to express an opinion.

So, unlike the rest of the political internet, I won't.

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May 09, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I trust you children have cooked or are planning to cook a nice meal for all the Moms out there, or are planning a trip to a restaurant, or something.

Here's one for those Moms who fight the odds, do the unusual, and in general think outside the box.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2010

Tea Partiers claim first major victim

In Utah. Utah!

Republican Sen. Bob Bennett was thrown out of office Saturday by delegates at the Utah GOP convention in a stunning defeat for a once-popular three-term incumbent who fell victim to a growing conservative movement nationwide.

Bennett's failure to make it into Utah's GOP primary — let alone win his party's nomination — makes him the first congressional incumbent to be ousted this year and demonstrates the difficult challenges candidates are facing from the right in 2010.

I don't know much about Utah's nominating process, but apparently 3,500 delegates get to decide who's going to run for Senator in Utah; the other 3 million or so voters have to lump it.

The poor guy voted in favor of the bailout, co-sponsored a health care reform bill which never even got a vote, and generally was too liberal (!) for the lunatic fringe.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 07, 2010

UK elections

I'm not at all knowledgeable about them, but hearing the BBC discuss the vote at 10:00 GMT (midnight, my time) it was clear that the results had gotten the local press and the pols in a state of confusion rivaling only ours back in 2000. It was some of the most entertaining radio I've heard in a long long time. Befuddlement, spin (but which way? To whose benefit?), and dismay. The nice thing was it was all done without shouting. Our pundits and cable TV people could take lessons.

I hope for the UK's sake it turns out better for them than our 2000 brouhaha did.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 06, 2010

Two Chicks

The two sisters in the Dixie Chicks have just released a new album without Natalie Maines (no, the band isn't breaking up, but Marti and Emily wanted to make some more music, and Natalie's apparently not ready yet). They were interviewed on All Things Considered this afternoon. There are three songs available for listening at the NPR site.

I've heard the cuts at NPR's site and I like 'em.

Here's the band's website. Here are tour dates from June through August.

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May 05, 2010


In light of the latest pronouncements from the all-knowing Joe Lieberman and his buddy Lindsey Graham, it might be useful to remember what the actual instructions from the Supreme Court were in the Miranda v. Arizona decision:

The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in the court of law; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.
That all seems reasonable to me. Not to some in Congress, though. In an all-too-typical knee-jerk reaction to a highly-visible crime, Representative Peter King and the aforementioned Senators Lieberman and Graham would deny American citizens that right. Here's Graham today:
Even if you’re an American citizen helping the enemy, you should be viewed as a potential military threat, not some guy who tried to commit a crime in Times Square.
Here's Lieberman yesterday:
. . .American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship, and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act.
What on earth are these people afraid of? The first time this issue of Miranda surfaced it had to do with the Christmas bomber. He was Mirandized after coming out of surgery and continued to cooperate. The alleged perpetrator in the current case, Faisal Shahzad, has continued to cooperate after being Mirandized. So says the Deputy Director of the FBI.

Do these guys really want a police state?

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May 04, 2010

Lost, Season 6 Episode 14

Blurb: When asked to perform a difficult task, Jack must decide whether or not to trust Locke.


Alan Sepinwall

EW "Where are we now?" mumbo-jumbo

EW Tune in Right After The Show for Special Recap! foolishness

ABC announced today that the final episode will be 2 1/2 hours long on Sunday, May 23. If you want to, you can watch 5 1/2 hours of "Lost" that night; there'll be a 2-hour retrospective/clip show before the final episode runs.

If this show has 13 million viewers, then I'll bet 10.5 million of them are furious. Jin and Sun just got reunited last episode, and now they're killed off?

Quite an episode. One way to tie up loose ends is to kill all the main characters, I suppose.

When Sawyer and gang were about to take the submarine by force, I kept wondering why he didn't turn to unLocke and say "Why do we have to do it this way? Turn into the Smoke Monster and take 'em out yourself!"

EW has a brief recap with some words from Cuse and Lindelof about this episode and its startling finale.

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May 03, 2010

Probably nobody I'd like

I was behind a Nissan Xterra while going to the library today. Far be it from me to stereotype people, but judging from the bumper stickers I saw on the rear window I think the driver and I wouldn't agree on much:

  • "The Armed Citizen is the Backbone of Our Country"
  • An NRA Membership decal
  • "My President Was an Honor Student at a Muslim School in Jakarta"

Driver of gas-guzzling road hog: check
Gun nut: check
Right-wing lie about Obama: check

Nope, probably not my kind of guy.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Disaster in the making

Talking Points Memo has some spectacular photos of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon as it burned.

It now appears that for want of a $500K "acoustic trigger" this leak wasn't shut off immediately.

The industry argued against the acoustic systems. A 2001 report from the International Association of Drilling Contractors said "significant doubts remain in regard to the ability of this type of system to provide a reliable emergency back-up control system during an actual well flowing incident."

By 2003, U.S. regulators decided remote-controlled safeguards needed more study. A report commissioned by the Minerals Management Service said "acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly."

That sounds like the MMS became a captive to the industry it was supposed to regulate as so many others did during the Bush years (see SEC, OSHA, and the entire Department of Labor). We seem to be paying a huge price for that laxity, and the citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi will be paying a higher price still if their livelihoods are destroyed.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2010

Eeyore would love this

'Tis a grey and gloomy day here with intermittent showers. Good day for doing laundry and watching the Dodgers beat the Pirates for the third straight game.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2010

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho

Off to reset clocks I go.

(2 hour 45 minute power outage, unexplained as yet.)

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sign this guy now

If I owned a halfway-decent two-year-old horse, I'd be on the phone to Calvin Borel this afternoon. The jockey has ridden three of the last four winners of the Kentucky Derby. He's on an amazing roll.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack