Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito Defense

     Is Alito a good choice?  I doubt I'd ever pick him.  But I've read two of his dissents today, and they did not seem out of line at all.

     In fact, here Think Progress seems out of line.  They describe Doe v Groody(pdf) here as follows...

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

     The question in the case has nothing, whatsoever, to do with strip searches.  It turns entirely on the relationship between an affadavit, sworn by cops and signed by a Judge, attached by a staple to a warrant.  Both documents clearly state what is to be searched.  The warrant says John Doe's person only.  The affadavit says "The search should include all persons in the house."

     The majority makes its case as follows

The face of the search warrant here, however, does not grant authority to search either Jane or Mary Doe. The block designated for a description of the person or place to be searched specifically names John Doe, and identifies and describes his residence. Nothing in that portion of the printed warrant refers to any other individual, named or unnamed, to be searched. Seeking to remedy this omission, the officers argue that the warrant should be read in light of the accompanying affidavit which requested permission to search “all occupants” of the residence. They conclude that the warrant should be read in “common sense” fashion, as supplemented by the affidavit. If that contention is correct, then police had legal authority to search anybody that they encountered inside the house when they came to execute the warrant.
   To be sure, a warrant must be read in a common sense, non-technical fashion. United States v. Ventresca, 380 U.S. 102, 109 (1965). But it may not be read in a way that violates its fundamental purposes. As the text of the Fourth Amendment itself denotes, a particular description is the touchstone of a warrant. U.S. Const. amend. IV. The requirement of a particular description in writing accomplishes three things. First, it memorializes precisely what search or seizure the issuing magistrate intended to permit. Second, it confines the discretion of the officers who are executing the warrant. Marron v. United States, 275 U.S. 192, 196 (1927). Third, it “inform[s] the subject of the search what can be seized.” Bartholomew, 221 F.3d at 429. For these reasons, although a warrant should be interpreted practically, it must be sufficiently definite and clear so that the magistrate, police, and search subjects can objectively ascertain its scope. See Groh, 540 U.S. at __, slip op. at 5.


In this case, there is no language in the warrant that suggests that the premises or people to be searched include Jane Doe, Mary Doe, “all occupants” or anybody else, save John Doe himself. Other portions of the face sheet which describe the date of the violation and the supportin g probable cause do refer to the attached typed affidavit. But this fact is actually unhelpful to the officers, since it demonstrates that where the face sheet was intended to incorporate the affidavit, it said so explicitly. As a matter of common sense, as well as logic, the absence of a reference to the affidavit must therefore be viewed as negating any incorporation of that affidavit.

     That's Doe V Groody.  Nothing really to do with strip searches whatsoever, but between the relationship with the warrant and the attached affadavit.

Another Slice of Bread

     I entered another idea in the Since Sliced Bread contest.

Americans use the most primitive imaginable voting system. Each voter gets a single mark, a lone check, a solitary scratch, for each race before them.

Lost in the Dark Ages, the mathematics of voting was reformulated by a dear, close friend of Thomas Jefferson's, the Marquis de Condorcet. Condorcet's system was based on the idea of a ballot where each voter would get to rank, 1st through last, each candidate. Here are the requirements of the ideal voting system:

Condorcet: If a candidate is preferred to every other candidate, one-on-one, that candidate should win.

Cloneproof: If a party runs 10 identical candidates, it should not increase their chances.

Monotonic: Increasing a candidate's ranking can't cause them to lose, decreasing can't cause them to win.

The Schulze and Tideman systems meet all these criteria.

For the voter, this system is less complicated than the system currently in place in Australia(STV).

We get one chance, every other year, to let our voices be heard. Don't limit the expression of the voter with our dark ages system.

     My earlier idea is here.  It is about "right to work" laws.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I Gotz the GOP Blues
No Miers Or Libby
I gotz those GOP Blues
Katrina and Brownie
I gotz those GOP Blues
We have Social Security
I gotz those GOP Blues
No double you M D
I gotz those GOP Blues

Still a war in Iraq
I gotz the GOP Blues
Will polls ever come back
I gotz the GOP Blues

Indictments for DeLay
I gotz the GOP Blues
Abramoff and, Hey!
I gotz the GOP Blues

"So at the end of the year here, he finds in the Gallup Poll, right not only the most admired man in America, but he's the highest level that Gallup has ever found in the polls since 1948 when it started being most admired." from CNN

"The largest and most sustained approval rating in the history of these polls. Including a 93% approval rating by a WashPost/Abc News poll, the highest approval showing in the gallup poll, and an unchanged approval rating in the mid-80's for the last 4 months." from the Freep
Organic Food Laws Changed

     Not in the House Bill, not in the Senate Bill, but in the Republican run "conference" the organic food laws were changed, as I discussed before here.

     100% Organic food producers should simply _stop_ using the US organic label.  There is no law that says they _have_ to put that Corporate-Republican subverted designation on their products.  Make their own industry board.  Make their own label.  Wear it loud and proud.  And don't let the scumsucking corporate chemocrats ruin it.

Top Members of House Int'l Relations Committee

     Who did not sponsor or co-sponsor HR 282.  It will likely pass.  More war-mongering.  I wonder if evil people don't have a list like this, so they know who to attack.

  • Democrats (24 total)
    • #5 Donald M Payne, NJ-10 (CBC)
    • #11 William D Delahunt, MA-10 (fairly far left)
    • #13 Barbara Lee, CA-9 (CBC)
    • #15 Earl Blumenaeur, OR-3 (left)
    • #19 Diane E Watson, CA-19 (CBC)
    • #21 Betty McCollum, MN-4 (left)
  • Republicans (27 total)
    • #2 James A Leach, IA-2 (centrist)
    • #8 Edward R Royce CA-40 (far right)
    • #12 Ron Paul TX-14 (far right)
    • #14 Jeff Flake AZ-6 (far right)

     Says Democrat, Iraq War-Monger, and Ranking Member of the House International Relations Committee, on Iran's long standing refusal to recognize Israel.

     Lantos goes so far as to compare it to Nazi Germany, whom "pseudo-sophisticates" and "appeasers" ignored.  Does this jack ass really think Iran could invade _one_ of its neighbors?  Of course not.  If they did, would we attack them?  I hope so. 

     "We demand, this time, the world take action, before it is too late."  In other words, another pre-emptive war.  It shoudl be noted that this mother fucker is too old to fight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Correct Income Tax Scheme

     Where e refers to the mathematical constant e, f refers to a flat rate, applied at all income rates, p refers to the maximum rate for infinite income (not including the flat portion, of course), i equals income, pr equals the poverty rate, and c is a constant.

     Rate = f + p(1 - e^(-(i-pr) * c)

     I would suggest f should be 3 (varying between 1 and 5), p should be 55, but must be greater than 50, and I have no idea what c should be yet.

     Why tax people who earn less than the povery rate?  The libertarians are basically right about the idea that if you don't pay anything, you won't care how it is spent.  c should be crafted so that the logarithmic portion of the rate exceeds 50% at some defined point, perhaps 1,000,000,000 dollars.

     Below the poverty rate, simply discard the non flat tax portion of the system.

     This is the rate for any income, not the overall rate, which would probably be the integral of this, if someone jogged my memory correctly.

Robert Fisk Points In Another Direction

     Because the Syrian Interior Ministry guy was "not the kind to commit suicide", says Robert Fisk.  Which implies he was killed by the Syrian secret services, and therefore, he was being killed to shut him up.

     Whether or not he was killed, however, he didn't say anything to the UN, or on the radio, that implicates Syria.  So why would they kill him for that?

Who is Mehlis?

     He was also the head investigator in the 1986 Berlin Disco bombing, conspiratorially covered here.  According to the WSWS article, Mehlis was part of a CIA/Mossad coverup at the time.

     Then again, it isn't that surprising to hear WSWS assert a CIA/Mossad coverup.

Another UN Report failing

     From the UN Report...

81. The ISF visited Abu Abass' house, accompanied by a member of Al-Ahbash, and seized a computer, as well as a number of compact disks which were primarily of a fundamentalist Islamic nature. Although the report on the search noted that most of the documents stored on the computer were downloaded from the internet, there was no indication that Mr. Abu Adass' home had internet access. Many of Mr. Abu Adass' friends and relatives were interviewed extensively by the authorities (including by the ISF and military intelligence) in the days immediately following the explosion. Mr. Abu Adass himself, however, could not be located. On the day of the explosion 10 people were questioned and over the course of next two months approximately 40 people were interviewed. The Lebanese investigation further revealed that Mr. Abu Adass had been employed at a computer shop in the summer of 2004, which was owned in part by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sani, who was a member of the Ahmed Miqati and Ismaíl Al-Khatib network.

     This is from the Lebanese Investigation section of the UN report.  The name "Ahmed Miqati and Ismaíl Al-Khatib network" refers to an al-Qaeda linked individuals.  He had a boss who was in al-Qaeda, he was in the video taking credit...BLAME SYRIA!.

Guardian vs The United Nations

     Written soon after the killing of Lebanese Prime Minister R Hariri, this Guardian UK articles includes lots of seemingly relevant details dismissed in the UN report, with the shakiest of reasons, contradicted by the facts as presented by the Guardian. 

178. A number of sources, confidential and otherwise, provided information to UNIIIC on the role and whereabouts of Mr. Abu Adass. Although the information provided has not been independently verified, significantly, none of this source information supported the theory that he was a lone suicide bomber acting for an Islamic fundamentalist group. Indeed, all of the source information pointed to the likelihood of Mr. Abu Adass being used by the Syrian and Lebanese authorities as a scapegoat for the crime, rather than being the instigator of crime himself. For example, one witness claimed to have seen Mr. Abu Adass in the hallway outside of General Ghazali's office in December 2004 in Anjar. Another witness claimed that Mr. Abu Adass was currently held in prison in Syria and will be killed once this investigation is over. According to him, Mr. Abu Adass had no role in the assassination except as a decoy, and the videotape was recorded at gunpoint approximately 45 days before the assassination. He later stated that General Assef Shawkat forced Mr. Abu Adass to record the tape approximately 15 days before the assassination in Damascus. He also stated that the tape was given to Al-Jazeera by a woman with the nickname "Um Alaa." Another witness stated that the day after the assassination Faysal Al-Rasheed insisted that the case had been solved and the perpetrator was Mr. Abu Adass, as a suicide bomb and that Mr. Abu Adass's body was still at the crime scene. Zuhir Saddik stated that in early February 2005, he had seen Mr. Abu Adass at the Zabadane training camp in Syria, and that his information was that Mr. Abu Adass had initially planned to commit the assassination but had changed his mind at the last minute. He said that Mr. Abu Adass was subsequently killed by the Syrians, and his body was placed in the vehicle containing the bomb, and thus was destroyed in the crime scene.

     Based on that, you can see, the Syrians have killed Adass, have him in jail, killed him and then put him in the exploding van, made him make a videotape at gunpoint, and have entertained him in the offices of the Generals, and was in a training camp.  All hearsay, much of it contradictory.

Yesterday I Read
  • Some Links from, and I was especially interested in the article about identical editorials in different papers.  Especially of interest to me was the follow on link from CJR Daily on the same tactic used against the Estate Tax, and how CJR Daily followed up.
  • A short synposes of four Routes to Independence in Africa.  On Algeria, Egypt, Gold Coast, and Congo-Kinshasa(DRC), it provides some lessons.
  • Part of Chapter 5 of Walter Jones "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa"(1973). 

Monday, October 24, 2005

Miers Withdrawal

     I'm saying that because Bush is a bad actor.  Probably right before the first committee vote, unless they get convenient cover.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Busy for a while

     I'm really plugging away on my software, which means I haven't been keeping up with the news.  Read your Cursor, have fun with Skippy, and read the Fitzgerald report rather than the hype.

     Today I read this interview by Jack Rakove, a named Chair at Stanford's Dept of History, and was looking at this definition of Fascism from Mussolini. 

     The Rakove article really makes me want to spend a year just reading good and important books.  For instance, my non-western history is lacking.  What's the closest they've come to a government where everyone was elected or appointed by those who were?  How'd it turn out?

     It's been a pretty decent day, though.  I think I'm back down to 30 bugs/features for the next(1st) round of beta.  That could not take a month to finish.

Hegelian Kurdistan

     From the ideas of humanity come its material forms. 

     Today, some NY Sun reporter said he was going to "Kurdistan."

Do I have Any Jewish readers?

     Yitzhak Eyezik is like a Jesus' General for the Torah True Jew.  Take this post, for example.  My former faves, like the Godol Hador, Mis-Nagid and Orthosceptic are all gone now. 

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bush ? Israel

     Getting to "Israel" when one starts getting into politics doesn't take long, but mastery of the topic isn't easy.  The history isn't so long, but there are a plethora of wars to learn about.  I'm sure you already know the Straights of Tiran, and how it occured five years after the Cuba blockade?  Of course.

     The consensus in the US Congress is pro-Israel.  Less immediately relevant than the members of the US Senate's Foreign Relations committee is the membership of the US House's International Relations committee.  There's not much hope from either party, not even a little.  I say that only to defend the two or three people who are decent.

     The far right, usually from anti-semitism, and the far left, usually based on anti-apartheid/anti-occupation sympathies, tends to be anti-Israel.  The people themselves, the Israelis and Palestinians, have more than a little land on the line, and more than a few differences.  With all the real estate and blood letting over the years, it is almost impossible to find a detached "local."

     Disreali, Peel, a UN created state, Irgun and Hamas.  It is a mess.

     So, I have long put a lot of credence into Rick Perlstein's Jesus Landing Pad thesis, which states that Bush's policy is, in large part, "pro-Israel" in the sense that the Holy Land must be safe for the imminent second coming.  Jesus is waiting for everyone to put their toys away, too.

     But Bush, we all know, isn't really in charge.  He doesn't have the mental faculties to detect, nevermind foil, the extra-curricular plans of his less theological minded lackeys (namely, Rumsfeld and Cheney), conservatives in the more ultra-right mold.

     So, what the hell am I talking about?  Bush is far more anti-Israel than he can afford to have you believe.  Clues.  The Franklin/AIPAC investigation and Gaza withdrawal.  Admittedly, Franklin was caught as a result of an accident, but it is very rare that leakers are prosecuted.  In fact, you probably can't name a leaker case.  Motions to Suppress the leaked material, and charges later dropped?  Sure, you can name Ellsberg.  Will the Franklin case be dropped?  If so, you can ignore this post.

     And as the blogger known as Bionic Octopus noted, the Gaza withdrawal is not some high-minded gesture of the Israelis or the PM Sharon. 

     Kerry, after some shaky beginnings, found himself supporting the Israeli cause during his campaign. 

     What am I saying?  Neither party is willing to make a public stand against Israel.  But that this Republican President, in part because the Jews are, in fact, not Christians at all(Heavens above! Say it isn't so!), has less tolerance for Israel than his recent Democrat opponents.

     In the Franklin case, the result is ok.  The Gaza withdrawal is little more than a PR stunt, especially as it relates to the Synagogues they intentionally left, but it is some action. 

     It is entirely clear that even though the political parties are in agreement, there are plenty of people, for good reasons or ill, who don't favor Israel.  Do them a favor and just chew on this idea, without spreading it around.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The UN Report on Hariri vs The Guardian UK

     Page 10 of the report, which describes "the crime" in full, is as follows.

38. Shortly after the blast, the Director of Al-Jazeera TV in Beirut received a telephone call from a man who stated that the Nasra and Jihad Group in Greater Syria claimed responsibility for the assassination of Mr. Hariri. This message was broadcast shortly thereafter.

     That seems to be it.  This story in the Guardian, published very soon after the event, gives a lot more detail than the UN report.

Little more than half an hour after the explosion a man speaking in "poor Arabic, or just pretending to have poor Arabic" called the Beirut office of al-Jazeera television with a statement saying: "The Nasra & Jihad Group in Greater Syria claims responsibility for the execution of the agent Rafik Hariri, in the name of the oppressed, the Nasra and the Jihad."

A little later, Reuters news agency also received a call from a man described as "using a false Palestinian accent" and "shouting in an authoritative voice" who said: "Write down, write down and don't talk. We are the Nasra & Jihad group in greater Syria. On this day have given due punishment to the infidel Rafik Hariri, so that may be an example to others of his sort."

At 2.19pm a man speaking in "very good Arabic", phoned al-Jazeera and said a tape could be found in a tree near the UN building in Beirut. A member of al-Jazeera's staff went to look but failed to find it. A second staff member joined the search and the video was eventually retrieved.

The tape showed a bearded young man claiming responsibility for the assassination on behalf of the "Nasra and Jihad Group of Greater Syria".


In their first floor flat in the Arab University district of Beirut, Taysir Abu Adas and his family were also watching the television and they recognised the bearded young man as their missing son, Ahmad. Ahmad, of Palestinian origin, was 22 and unemployed. Three years earlier he had become deeply interested in religion and sometimes led prayers at the al-Huri mosque. About a month before Hariri's assassination he told his family he had met a "new friend" at the mosque.

Early on January 16, someone blew a car horn outside the family's flat and Ahmad went out, apparently to meet his "new friend". As he left, he borrowed LE2,000 (about 80p) from his mother and said he would be back in a few hours.

He never returned and was officially reported missing on January 19.
Counter Insurgency Article from 1965

     It is forcing me to look up a lot of stuff, around the world, that I had never heard of.  The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency by Bernard B. Fall.  Tip of the hat to jv.

Salon's "New Pentagon Papers"

     So far, it is mostly name-dropping and allegations.  I get some credit for having mentioned Feith and Luti in the same sentence a lot.  Luti spent a lot of the post-war period completely out of the news.  A few telling details, which aren't truly surprising, like "These internal talking points seemed to be a mélange crafted from obvious past observation and intelligence bits and pieces of dubious origin. They were propagandistic in style, and all desk officers were ordered to use them verbatim in the preparation of any material prepared for higher-ups and people outside the Pentagon." are included.  I suppose this is the money quote, but this isn't a "new pentagon papers" because there is no internal source material or leaked minutes/notes, at all...

Certainly, the neoconservatives never bothered to sell the rest of the country on the real reasons for occupation of Iraq -- more bases from which to flex U.S. muscle with Syria and Iran, and better positioning for the inevitable fall of the regional ruling sheikdoms. Maintaining OPEC on a dollar track and not a euro and fulfilling a half-baked imperial vision also played a role. These more accurate reasons for invading and occupying could have been argued on their merits -- an angry and aggressive U.S. population might indeed have supported the war and occupation for those reasons. But Americans didn't get the chance for an honest debate.
Good Catch by Nur al-Cubicle

     She(He?) compares the carnage caused by US troops to Tamerlane (Timur the Lame).

The Actual UN Report

     Darn it, but I'm trying to keep real busy.  However, Plato's Retreat Moustache Saddle John Bolton is all over the US press about the UN report which implicates Syria in some manner or other.

     Here is a link to the actual report.  I don't know when I'll get time to read it though.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Media Matters is Kicking O'Reilly's Butt

     Media Matters is doing the right job.  Check out a post from today about O'Reilly.  They have a quote from O'Reilly saying "[i]f you attack someone publicly ... you have an obligation to face the person you are smearing. If you don't, you are a coward."

     O'Reilly called Media Matters "paid assassins" who will _never_ appear on Fox News Channel.  In other words, O'Reilly Calls Himself A Coward, because he is not fulfilling his obligation to face the people he is smearing.

Defeat C Shays(R-CT), 2nd Rate Party Hack

     UPDATE 1: I noticed some hits from, so I've tried to make this more readable.

     The Great State of Connecticut should be able to find someone better than Christopher Shays to represent them in the US House of Representatives.

     What did C Shays say today?  He said Iraqis don't know what side to be on (Americans or Insurgents).  That Iraqis watch CNN and they aren't sure Americans are going to stay. 

     If Iraqis are only planning not to be corrupt if the Americans stay, we should leave now. 

     But more importantly, CNN is not broadcast in Iraq.  There is no Arabic language version of CNN, either. 

     This was a petty, pro-war peice of hackery (CNN bashing for partisan gain), designed to push the message that the media is the problem, and that nothing is actually going badly. 

     Facing facts, any even slightly dishonest (or even just imperfect) administration, engaged in a war, will blame the media, but that never makes it right.

     From "Iraq: Perceptions, Realities, and Cost to Complete" before a House Committee of unknown composition.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gore as Nixon? Vote Nixon!

     A recent poll at NH Insider (totally unscientific) gives, for preferred Democrat nominee in 2008, Gore 41%, Clark 27%.  I don't like historical parallelisms, but I feel sucked into this one.

Nixon Gore
VP of popular two term President Eisenhower VP of popular two term President Clinton
Not liked by Eisenhower at all Not particularly liked by Clinton
Loses in close election to young, politician from highly connected family. Loses in close election to young, politician from highly connected family.
Winner in 1960 gets America into unpopular war (Viet Nam) Winner in 2000 gets America into unpopular war (al Iraq)
Comes back to win handily, eight years later ???

Saturday, October 15, 2005

National Review's John Derbyshire

     Me, and my fellow pundits, are clueless

Robertson-Chavez Fallout: the "New Tribes Mission" Story

     Interesting stuff from Nikolas Kozloff on the history and current situation in Venezuela in the wake of Pat Robertson's murderous, slavering comments.  Thanks to Bartholomew's Notes on Religion for the head's up.  His summary is here.

     New Tribes Mission goes back to the Truman days, writes Kozloff, and insinuated their way into the country secretively, and then moved around a lot, especially near pockets of uranium.  Pro-US rulers (military dictator Jimenez and anti-communist leftist Betancourt) eased them in.  Kozloff has a lot of good history here, and I recommend it if you have the twenty or so minutes it would take to read the article.

     The result is that evangelical missionaries are no longer going to be allowed visas for Venezuela. 

     Did I mention that New Tribes Mission has already been banned from Colombia, and is suspected of espionage, fomenting revolutions, ethnocide, and other neato-things? 

UPDATE: I said New Tribes has already been banned from Colombia, and although this is accurate, based on the COHA article, they have since been let back in.  Have they been banned?  Yes.  Are they currently banned?  No.  Thanks to Dean for forcing me to recheck this.  From the COHA article linked above...
Shortly thereafter, Colombian president Cesar Turbay Ayala prohibited the Summer Institute of Linguistics, New Tribes and District 1355 from operating on Colombian soil. The president declared that the missionary groups had lent support to unauthorized overseas transnational companies which were searching for strategic resources.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pro Bush Post
  • The CO who was responsible for picking the guys to "chat" with Bush would have been handed their *sses on a platter if they had chosen anyone less patriotic than Captain America or Harriet Miers.  If you expected tough questioning, you were watching the wrong channel.
  • Former Democrat Rep Frank Ballance (NC-1) (2002-2004) was sentenced to 4 years in prison for bilking the charity he set up of millions.
  • It looks like Harriet Meirs wrote this, which doesn't sound retarded at all.
  • So far Bush has not gotten the United States in a simultaneous war with China and Russia.

     Other news today can only be seen to be pro-Bush if you think America should have a clandestine secret service run by a clandestine agent, Pentagon wanting new spy powers, and all the sycophantic letters from Meirs to then Governor GW Bush of Texas(*) and a report by a mainstream journalist linked terror alerts and bad political news count as "pro-Bush."

     (*) Quotes include "Texas is Blessed", "You and Laura are the Greatest!" and "You are the best Governor ever" and, from Bush "P.S. No more public scatology."

New Section of my Blogroll
  •      Rulers.Org, lists every major leadership and major minister change, around the world, every day.  Data on leaders in international organizations and religious organizations.  Contains lots of interesting historic ruler data, such as, Italian States before 1861.  Most people, not quite correctly[*], call the origin of Balance of Power politics from this era.  1861 ended the three wars of Italian Unification, think Garibaldi.

         [*] Venice, by itself, was at war with the Ottomans.  Venice, by itself, was the subject of an attack of almost every major European Power at one point.  Hard to really call it a "balance" of power between Milan, Firenza(Florence), Naples, the Papacy, and Venice.

  •      Citizens for Tax Justice have some of, if not the, best tax impact calculators outside the government.  Been around for 20 years, the head of it, Robert McIntyre, has a column at called The Taxonomist.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


     I really _had_ to add this section to my program.  Perhaps sub-consciously I was avoiding it.  At one level, I was encouraged to find out to find out the database design for this section was a lot easier than I earlier imagined.  I don't expect much trouble at all integrating this at each phase where it might be necessary (ooh, just had a good though, brb).  OK, so, freak it all, I still have more work to do.  Like I said, I have a tester who has tested my code professionally before (as part of a succesful project, I might add).  But as I add these two (one half done, one I am discussing today) features, I find I must push back the delivery date. 

     Now, since no one is (yet) paying me, or has established a deadline, I don't feel too terribly bad.

     But the point of the program is to make me the person who exceeded all others in service to humanity.

Luttwak, Again

     I guess it is a shame that left-wingers aren't writing the same damn words.  Paleocon Luttwak Withdrawal Isn't Retreat.  Hardly shocking, but respectably put.

Metrics of War

     Of course, there is no real metric.  That said, I believe the most useful one is "attacks/day."  In September of 2005, the number of attacks by the opposition rose to 2,700, surpassing the previous high of roughly 2387.  According to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, PDF page 20.  This document changes a lot, so I am reprinting the graphic here, without permission.

     Footnote 37 reads

Alexandra Zavis, "Iraqi Insurgents Unleash Deadly Bombings, Attacks Despite U.S. Offensive," Associated Press, May 11, 2005.
Paul Garwood, "Surge in U.S. Troop Deaths Raises Concerns That Insurgents Retargeting," Associated Press, May 24, 2005.
Carol Williams, " Soldiers Get Extra Layer of Defense; Humvee crews are still not out of danger, but new protective plating provides a little more security on the hostile roadways of Iraq," Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2005.
Richard Oppel Jr., Eric Schmitt, and Thom Shanker, "Baghdad Bombings Raise New Questions About US Strategy in Iraq," New York Times, September 17, 2005. 65 to 75 attacks per day.
Bradley Graham, "Zarqawi `Hijacked' Insurgency; US General Says Foreign Fighters Now Seen as Main Threat," Washington Post, September 28, 2005. 90 attacks per day.
(Ed: retypeset for clarity)

     The Iraq Index, same issue, says tht the total number of killed or captured insurgents is over 50,000.  There has never been an estimate that there were more than 20,000.  The military, apparently, hasn't released a new estimate lately, it was "between 15 and 20,000" iirc.

Skippy is Good Today

     The Bush Kangaroo.  I had avoided linking because of the blog-rolly nature of it, but maybe I should link, anyway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Organic Food, Corporate Profits

     There used to be a great peice online about Anglo-Dutch Unilever owning the United Africa Company, a funnel for the profits of African industry into Europe, after colonization ended.  Anyone have a good link for that?

     Organic Food Producers Owned by the Major Food Groups. h

     Thanks to arubin from #politics on freenode.

UPDATE:  Major pseudo-organic producers trying to get 38 synthetics approved in organic foods.
Small Time Tidbits
  • My State Democratic Party e-mailed everyone a link to this peice in the WaPo.  The shortest version: Democrats should concentrate on pandering to the masses and winning, rather than be right.  Go Dems!  Two Clinton officials, as if you needed to know.
  • In other news from my state.  The new State Senate President is against slot machines (yeah) even at the racetracks (yeah) but is OK with slot machines if the state runs them.  But, the real kicker is that the Nashua Telegraph reports him as being of the mind that "there's no need to advance the idea in 2006 because the state has an $82 million budget surplus."

    At least the Republican Senator is better than our Democrat Governor, who took the absurd position that he wouldn't be for "expanded gambling unless he became convinced the state's quality of life would not diminish from it."  Again, according to the Nashua Telegraph.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Sport Craze

     I don't usually, if ever, do blind links.  This was a sport, developed in Sweden in the 1970s.  I am not amused.

My Slice of Bread

     The SEIU has a contest for a good idea.  The first prize is $100,000 and there are two second prizes of $50,000.  This was my submitted idea, entitled "Rational Labor Laws":

Under current law, any Union which gets higher wages for its members shares those gains with all employees, not just Union members.

When the company makes a profit it does not share them with everyone. The stockholders get paid, and only the stockholders.

So it should be with Unions.

In many states, Unions are (mostly) compensated by non-Union members with fees. The fees are calculated based on the amount of Union money spent on bargaining. These fees are dictated by "union security" clauses. It is not a perfect system, but it is reasonable.

Unions in so-called "right to work" states still have to represent and protect employees who choose not to pay Union dues. This is just as reasonable as forcing the Company to share its profits with non-stockholders, and should be stopped now.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bad Bush Interview

     Carole Coleman, of Ireland's RTE News, had a one-on-one interview with President Bush.  Thanks to Today in Iraq for the link.  It is an 11 minute video, during which President Bush, yet again, repeats many of his silliest claims.  For instance, that seven prosthetic hands make up for any number of 10s of thousands of dead civilian Iraqis.  He repeatedly has to demand that he is allowed to finish the answers the attentive have heard a thousand times before.

     I'll just point out how he mangles the Bible, specificallyMatthew 7:3.  For those that don't know, Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, even though all evidence points to Mark appearing first, chronologically.  Bush says one of the great admonitions in the Bible is "[D]on't try to take a speck out of your eye if I've got a log in my own."  The link in this paragraph shows many different translations of Matthew 7:3, none of which say that.

     The Bible warns people not to even look at the mote in others eyes.  GW Bush thinks the proscription is against taking the mote out of the eye of the other.  He definitely thinks Saddam's mote was worth a grab, eh? 

     The conversation turns to Jesus at minute 5 of the interview.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Guardian Headline: Bush: Militants Seek to Establish Empire

     Leadership plans to appoint children as regional governors, and give high-ranking positions to friends, and those who share their world view, regardless of qualification?

First Draw Down the Mercenaries

     The armed mercenaries, employed by the United States and other powers in Iraq, should be the first forces to be removed.  They are the worst, they are the least accountable, they are overpaid.  Get them out first. 

     I'd be much obliged that if you, too, concur, you'd post something like it on your blog.

     On the rebuilding of Iraq.  Did Japan or Germany struggle to rebuild an Army, as quickly as possible, after WWII?  No.  In fact, the effort to rapidly, and hastily, rebuild Armed Forces is holding Iraq back, and yet it is seen as the #1 priority by those in the United States who run things, especially the President and SECDEF. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

B.. B.. Be.. Beta? No

     Today I set things up for beta testing my website.  Within minutes of everything being set, my laptop shut down for lack of power.  The power cable needs to be replaced.  That'll be a few days.

     Thanks to everyone who has helped test the program so far.  There are still some things that need doing, but the framework and enough to move forward are in place.  I won't be online much until I get the new power adapter.

     Tonight I am attending a lecture on Exaction and Impact Fees, defined by State Law and set at the local level, for recouping capital expenditures needed as a result of new development.

H Meirs, The End of Legal Abortion, My Proof

     Senator Brownback of Kansas is as much a "pro-life" candidate as any Senator.  This morning on Good Morning America (transcript not freely available), according to numerous sources, Brownback said that if H Meirs considers "Roe V Wade" "settled law" he will vote against her.

     JG Roberts, Jr had said, in order to distance himself from legal memos he had written, that Roe was "settled law," and yet the same Senator Brownback voted for Roberts.

     Meir's decades long born-again status, her closeness an ideological affinity with President Bush and his nomination of her, suggests to me there is no chance at all she is pro-Roe.

     Therefore, and perhaps I take some risk in suggesting this, Senator Brownback is plotting.  The most likely plot is "Let's take the most rabid pro-life person possible, and get them through the process by having rabid pro-lifers question her credentials."  This is what I think is true.  Less likely, but also possible, is that this is some sort of sacrificial nomination.  I do not believe this.

     I don't, in all likelihood, win or lose anything for being right or wrong.  I am, I suspect, better than half-a**ed at nosing out plots.  This will help prove, or disprove, that.  However, to avoid hurting the Bush administration, perhaps they are planning to defer until after his term is over? 

     Fight Meirs on Cronyism.  A right wing blog I have been dealing with lately, From the Bleachers, has the link to this helpful chart of non-Judge appointments to the Supreme Court, from FindLaw, Justice with No Prior Experience.  Many of these were Governors, Cabinet Secretaries, US Senators, Attorneys General, one co-drafter of the US Constitution, and one Chief of the SEC.  Eleven are less than that, and most seem more qualified than Meirs.  You can also notice that none of the great Presidents are on the list, except A Lincoln, who I think has an important place in history for his being on the right side of the Civil War, but was not, otherwise, a great President.

M FilmoreBR CurtisMassachusetts Legislator
F PeirceJA CampbellAlabama Legislator
A LincolnSF MillerPrivate Practice
US GrantJP BradleyPrivate Practice
SG ClevelandM FullerPrivate Practice
B HarrisonG Shiras, JrPrivate Practice
W WilsonL BrandeisPrivate Practice
WG HardingP ButlerCounty Attorney, Private Practice
LB JohnsonA FortasPrivate Practice
RM NixonL PowellPresident of the American Bar Ass'n, Private Practice
RM NixonWJ RehnquistAsst. U.S. Attorney General

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

President's Press Conference

     So... amazingly... dumb.  This guy wasn't qualified to be a Governor.  Anyway...

  • He TWICE referred to the fact that "no new refineries" have been built in the US for over 25 years.  He blamed environmental regulations.  What a piece of shit liar is the President of the United States!  Here is Nader's Public Citizen debunking this crap.  This info has been out there a long time.
  • He said he took full responsibility for everything that went wrong during Katrina.  Again, I ask, what the heck does that mean?  It _seems_ to mean "no more questions, because I've already said I took responsibility."
  • Did anyone else hear him talk about how he's appointed "people" and nominated "people" referring to blacks?  It was weird.
  • On Meirs.  He called her brilliant.  A freaking mutual admiration society.  He called her work "stellar."  A friend said "a distant, dim star."
  • UPDATE1: The terrorists, yet again, are trying to "shake wills."  This is the assholic tactic of suggesting that anyone who is against Bush's plan has, in fact, had their will shaken.
  • Bush refers to feeding energy back to the grid as something "we're not there yet."  But lots of people are already there.
Kurdistan Regional Government?

     The KRG website is unclear, as it seems to refer to a government of Kurdistan that I know was in place before 2003, but now has vague status.  The article is called "There is no Iraq" by Cenk Uygur, and it begins well...

Everyone is wrong -- from the arrogant neo-clowns who brought you this war to the mindless bureaucrats who maintain it to the well-intentioned intellectuals that are grasping for a decent and humane way out. Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn't put Iraq back together again.

     Which reminds me of my pre-war Iraq website (front page slightly altered after the invasion began.).  When I knew the war was going to be started no matter what, I tried to come up with an alternative invasion.  This, to invade "Kurdistan" and "The Fertile Crescent," leaving US troops only on the borders between the regions, was my bright idea.  And, the webpage with perhaps the greatest lasting power, my update of a CIA published timeline of Iraqi history.  I added some things the CIA seems to have "forgotten" to include, and possibly this language map of the region, with some text, entitled "Half the Trouble in the World?"

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ah, The Sweet Breath of Cronyism

     No years on the bench, born-again Christian, said Bush was the "smartest man [she] ever met."

     What better qualifications are there?  Here's a huge gob of spit in the eye of the merit and mental faculties.

     Thanks to Direland, I see two paragraphs from the David Frum National Review peice, including one that was deleted.

In the White House that hero worshiped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect.

She rose to her present position by her absolute devotion to George Bush. I mentioned last week that she told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. To flatter on such a scale a person must either be an unscrupulous dissembler, which Miers most certainly is not, or a natural follower. And natural followers do not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States.

     Another good link from Attywood

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Should We Invade Britain?
  • NEVER FORGET!  They burned down the White House.
  • They tried to abort the country of America itself, using violence against our glorious soldiers, fighting to breathe free.
  • They are running terrorist operations inside Iraq

     Would someone please, pretty-please with a maraschino cherry on top, explain why no one is really asking why two British soldiers were driving around in car filled with explosives in Basra?

     Come on.  Think of it is as a "journalist investigation" or something.