Saturday, December 31, 2005

Alito

     I'd been a little defensive for Alito before, mostly because I saw criticism of two of his dissents to be overblown.  In the case of Doe V Groody, the one where a 10 year old girl was strip searched (by a female cop, of course) was not about that, but about warrant requirements. Remember, the order that said "search everyone" was stapled to the warrant, and signed by the same Judge.  Try to put yourself in the boots of a cop.  What would you do?

     However, I definitely am against voting for Alito, and I think a very good summary of his religious loony position can be found here

     Remember, an Originalist would look to early America and notice that the mail was delivered on Sunday, no matter how many thousand times the Christians complained that it hampered their ability to be pious and postmasters.  Contrariwise, the article informs us

And writing that employees should not face the "cruel choice between religion and employment," Alito found in favor of an Orthodox Jewish professor who claimed discrimination because her superiors would not accommodate her Sabbath observance.

     Piss poor "originalist" that is.  Much more of a religious nutjob.

For Better or Worse

     Tim Saler at Victory06.org did an interview with me concerning my theory of terrorism and linguistics.  Check it out, leave a comment... Interview (Int’l): Josh Narins of "Remain Calm"

Two Things Re:Iraq

     The longer Iraqis have "democracy," it seems, the longer it takes them to count the votes [16 days from election and counting].

     Thanks to Cursor who links to Tom Tomorrow who links to these documents at Craig Murray's blog (former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan) concerning rendition.  If factual, proves Jack Straw lied a lot.  More importantly, and part of the day and age, the UK government is trying to suppress the documents, so he has published them all over the net.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hrm

     What is most important to you?  If the answer is foreign policy, there is a chance you should vote Republican in the 2006 _House_ elections.

     Jim Leach of Iowa is a liberal Republican (well, even the most liberal Republicans are now centrists, and not really liberal) will take over the House International Relations Committee as Henry Hyde has announced his retirement

     The top three Democrats on the House Int'l Relations Cmte, Lantos and Berman of Califoria, and Ackerman of New York, all voted with the Republicans, and against the majority of House Democrats, for the war, back when invading Iraq was the most important decision most lawmakers in the modern Congress have ever made.

     Meanwhile, bucking his party, Jim Leach voted against the war, joining only five other Republicans in Congress.  Jim Leach voted against the rule which prevented amendment of the bogus Hunter amendment which made a mockery of Rep Murtha's remarks.

American Conservatives

     This event, aired on C-SPAN yesterday and titled "American Foreign Policy and the Modern Conservative Movement" seemed like a duel between intelligent traditional conservatives and one moron neo-con, Frank Gaffney, Jr..

     This quote was _not_ made by Iranian President Ahmadenijad.  Someone had asked (Mead? Kurth? Kersch?) about his peace plan for the Middle East, he replied (close paraphrase)"I'd build a time machine, go back to Bavaria in 1945, and declare it the Jewish national home."

     This aired November 3rd, and it was only one month later that the world got so pissed off about Ahmadinejad's similar comment (and also at the Holocaust=myth comments).

     Conservatives and Democrats (i.e. neither neo-cons nor Bush cheerleaders) would be well served to watch this program if it re-airs.  It's not filled with an excess of positive thinking, but it is useful to watch Gaffney get so thoroughly stomped.

Isreal's Buffer Zone Inside Gaza

     The logic of the act is that if there are no people in this border, or "buffer", zone, then there won't be anymore Qassem (homemade) rockets fired into Israel.  What's important here?  The entire buffer is on the Palestinian side.  Israel has declared that the Palestinians are 100% at fault.  Not one yard of Israel is suitable for protecting Israel, only Palestinian land.  One of the most densest populated and poorest places on Earth.

     Sorry for being myopic.  The real issue is Russia.  Americans dropped the ball after the fall of the wall.  Even Milton Friedman has admitted, in not these precise words, that building a Republic was our top priority, not selling off the Russian state for scrap.  In fact, the exact same argument can be used in Iraq.  JP Bremer expended effort in the first year not to educate Iraqis about elections and democracy, that rat bastard killer scumbag, but he spent a lot of effort setting up the wholesale selloff of all of Iraqi's assets.  There are decent Republicans, but none of them are in positions of power.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Warmonger Report

     Israeli peices of crap who pose as humans have been busy.  There are some fine Israelis.  I wish them luck.

     In an attempt to shred the road map, again the Israelis have begun the process of increasing the number of settler housing units in the West Bank, by over 220 this time.  The bullshit-propaganda-from-the-getgo "road map to hide the fact Bush has no sane policy in the Middle East" says no new housing in the settlements.  Ariel Sharon says "fuck that."  Bush is usually quiet about such things, and, in any event, the billions of dollars in US civilian and military aid continue unabated.  Meanwhile, Palestine has some of the poorest, most overcrowded people on Earth.  American self-respect demands we send more attack helicopters to Israel.

     The Israeli Air Force has been flying over and bombing "independent" Gaza since its inception.  Today they launched five raids, and hit no people and a few buildings.  This is in response to rocket attacks which hit no people and damaged nothing.  That's what we call a proportionate response, right?  In similarly insane news, the Israelis will flower Gaza with leaflets which will warn the Palestinian police about upcoming rocket attacks (how nice, but wouldn't installing phone lines and remembering the numbers be cheaper?) and putting full blame for any dead Palestinians on the police (for not evacuating everyone whenever Israel says so).

     In more deadly news, for the long term, the scum-Murdoch Jerusalem Post is leading with a story that the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz says Iran may have a nuclear bomb by 2008, a far cry from the US estimate of 2015.  Halutz says it might be as long as 2015, but why take chances?  The Israeli security establishment wants to pre-emptively bomb Iran's nuclear bomb facilities (which worked perfectly at Iraq Osirik, don't you think?)  Honestly, when I think of Begin and Sadat I think of peace deals.  Here is a report from the Begin-Sadat center describing how Iran must be bombed right away.  It's filled with crap-headed analysis including this quote "the Chief of the IDF Intelligence Department, Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi (Farkash) warned that March 2006 constitutes the 'point of no return'; i.e., after that date, any diplomatic efforts to curtail the Iranian nuclear program will be pointless."

     Would anyone on Earth like to make a bet that, on its current course, Israel is going to come through this OK?  Anyone?

     Remember, the Christian Zionists aren't protecting Israel, they are using it.  And I told many Israelis about that when I was there.  Not enough, and no one important, I admit.  When the rapture comes the Jews will convert or die, right Bush?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Edward O. Wilson

     He wrote a book on Darwin's four books.  He made a point which struck me as terribly amusing, which I (perhaps entirely rewrite) as follows:

     Since no one has shown how God can wave his hand and create an eye or a rotary flagella, the theory of Intelligent Design has problems, and these problems can only be removed by removing God from the process of evolution.

The Age of Yellow Journalism

     Pulitzer had decent politics, Hearst did not, and they both excited the public into wanting the Spanish-American war (oddly, Hearst's papers were among the last to react to the Maine explosion, was he, in some way, responsible?).  So, the question is, when did this age of errors end?  What stopped it?  I've never been able to find out.  But it certainly was over after Hearst and Pulitzer were dead. 

     Kerry Packer, of Australia, is dead.

Jobs Quote from Cornford's Microcosmographica Academica
[Jobs] fall into two classes, My Jobs and Your Jobs.  My Jobs are public-spirited proposals, which happen (much to my regret) to involve the advancement of a personal friend, or (still more to my regret) of myself.  Your Jobs are insidious intrigues for the advancement of yourself and your friends, speciously disguised as public-spirited proposals.
Damn the Iraqis

     Peter Pace, not a General who has impressed me much before, admits the Iraqis want us out.    The GOP leadership wants us to stay.  Fucking Lieberman wants us to stay.  Who cares what those "people" in "Iraq" say, right?  They don't vote.

     I'm listening to Craig Crawford at Congressional Quarterly talk about his book, about politicians who attack the media.  It is kinda nice because one rarely hears a Southern accent on a leftist in the major media.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

How Odd

     Marine Captain and classics major Nathaniel Fick is on C-SPAN2's BookTV now.  He participated in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  It's so different.  He honestly talks about killing innocent Iraqis (and the way the command didn't want to lift a finger to help an injured Iraqi kid) and how the situation was _not_only_ starting to turn bad very quickly (by the time they got to Baghdad!) _but_also_ how the potential threats (the 20-40 year old men, as opposed to children and women) were _never_ particularly happy about the invasion, even in the South.  The book he wrote is called "One Bullet Away"

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sorries

     Been totally wrapped up in my map site.  I added a new winning margins (log scale) map to the election 2000 page over at Wikipedia.  Remember that stupid red/blue map county map?  Well, if I don't do an adjusted log scale of the data for the "winning margins" map, Los Angeles County (won by Gore by about 1,500,000 votes) fades out the rest of the country entirely. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Abramoff/Delay

     I've only made three posts which reference this issue, hopefully in part because other people have done a good job (including animated web pages explaining the messy business.

     Thanks to anyone who did make sense of this issue to internet audience.  It is snowballing well, and that is a good thing.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Your Job

     Should you choose to accept it, is to put every law-breaking government officer in jail.  Including the ones reading this (or their boss, or their boss's boss, or their boss's boss's boss, whoever would be appropriate).

Prolly, You've Heard

     the histrionic propagand of the mighty wurlitzer spew the hate-filled money-grubbing mantra of Morales and Chavez hating.  NarcoNews has a far more reasoned perspective on matters Latin American (that's a slogan the Economist use[sd])

  • Coca: Evo has not said his government will unilaterally decriminalize coca. On the contrary, they have agreed to respect all previous international accords on coca eradication, including those signed with the United States.
  • Economic Policy: A recent in-depth report published by the reputable Bolivian NGO Center for Labor and Agrarian Studies (CEDLA in its Spanish subtitles) on the three leading political parties’ governmental plans finds that “the electoral proposals of MAS, Podemos (Tuto’s party) and UN (National Unity Party) maintain a neoliberal economic political orientation that favors the accumulation of transnational capital and the growth of the primary-export sectors, with the state’s role being to guarantee the reproduction of private capital—fundamentally transnational—in Bolivia’s strategic economic sectors.”
  • Gas: MAS has stated that it will respect the Hydrocarbons Law signed on May 18, 2005—the controversial bill that sparked the May/June mobilizations of this year (the infamous Second Gas War). As for the MAS’s “nationalization” promises, CEDLA’s investigation finds that all three parties’ proposals "seek to veil their interest in maintaining, with certain differences, the monopoly control by the transnational corporations of the hydrocarbon resources of the country."

     I can't prove they will fulfill their election promises, but school these peices of shit the next time you hear their lies, OK?

Highly Reserved

     Feeling piqued?  Noticed well beyond the normal call?  You aren't the only one.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Blair or Special Branch renegades

     Three years ago the British gov't gave itself the authority to end the authority of the Northern Ireland Assmebly (sorta like the Scottish Parliament) in because three Irish Republican Army members were connected to a spying/leaking case. 

     The "case" was named Stormontgate, after the Irish Parliament building (the quite attractive Stormont).  The case was, in the last week, dropped and all the accused were acquitted.  Now a 20 year British Agent, who had infiltrated Sinn Fein (the political wing of IRA) says the whole Stormontgate affair was a scam.

     Either Prime Minister Tony Blair is using false charges to undermine democracy, or he can't control his own damn spies.

     However, it isn't too hard to imagine that an ex-infiltrator would have something the IRA leadership could pin on him, to force him to talk.  Who knows, either way?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Joke

     So, some scientists have developed a new test, hopefully more definitive, to determine whether or not a person is sane.  For part of it, the tested person watches film clips, and is asked to say what happens next.  For example, they can watch a man and a woman walk down the street together, and the woman is obviously either about to break up with the man, or is about to tell him she is pregnant, or whatever.  The film stops and the insane person is asked "What were those two people going to do next?"

     He answers "Break for lunch."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Straighter Dope

     A host of news services, from Bloomberg to the CBC, the AP, to the Ireland and a Chinese news service are reporting that, basically, Bush has accepted responsibility for bringing the nation to war on faulty intelligence.

     Here is what the President also said that pathetic journalists like Nedra Pickler seem to have missed...

At any point along the way Saddam Hussein could have avoided war by complying with the just demands on the international community.  The United States did not choose war, the choice was Saddam Hussein's.

     In other words, he blamed the war on Saddam Hussein, which is the opposite of taking responsibility for bringing the nation to war.  Only one story is convenient. 

     As an aside, did "taking responsibility" strike anyone else as a completely meaningless gesture, like when he "took responsibility" for Katrina?  Does it mean he'll pay to fix things?  Does it mean he'll do time for tens of thousands of cases of negligent homicide?  What does it mean?  Bush is devaluing the very concept of responsibility.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bradford Berenson

     Would someone please ask the White House if this ex-White House official speaks for them.

     He asserts that the current court martials, used at Guantanamo Bay, for instance, are the fairest and most generous to the defendant of any in the history of humankind.  He is so terrible. 

     What I need is much longer debates.  I imagine that stupid talking points (he called his 8 points "principles") whither under careful attack.  Berenson was so offensive.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Thousands of Rioters

     Christians of western European descent were on the rampage in and near the beaches of Sydney, New South Wales, in recent days.  For a sane Australian's perspective, try Disaster Plan.

     If instead you want to see the myopic worldview of the Muslim haters, try LittleGreenFucktards or Tim Blair.  Blair has a lot of links, but the scumbag actually suggests that there were equal numbers of bat-weilders.  Indeed (pun: Instaidiot says "indeed" a lot, and links to Tim Blair for this story).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Microcosmographia Academica
A fine read.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  It says it is about academic politics (based on the author's long experience at Cambridge University) and was written in 1908.  It seems to be about any politics.  Since the first edition is all I see online, I will include the preface to the Second Edition here:
There was a time toward the end of 1914 when many people imagined that after the war human nature, in our part of the world, would be different. They even thought it would be better in some ways. I have an idea that I shared in this illusion. But my friends who are still active in this microcosm tell me that academic human nature, at any rate, remains true to the ancient type. Moreover, a short an inglorious career in the home forces and in a government department has convinced me that the academic species is only one member of a genus wider than I had supposed. Frequenters of the Church Congress, too, have admitted that they sometimes turn to the pages of this guide for help. Considering all this, I have persuaded the publishers to reprint it as it stands.
and the preface to first edition, also not at the website
I fancy (though I am not sure) that there is just one feature of academic life that has become a little more prominent since the war. If I could have recaptured the mood of the fortnight in which this book was written, I might have added a chapter on Propaganda, defined as that branch of the art of lying which consists in very nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies. But the subject is not yet ripe for treatment; the art is still imperfect. We must leave it to be worked out by the party whose mission it is to keep the university safe for aristo-democracy.
Lieberman and the Democrats

     I think it is fair to start by giving credit to Lieberman for doing a lot better in the 2004 Democrat primary than I remember him getting credit for.  He certainly did far better in the polls than Senator Edwards, for example, or even Senator Kerry.  His appeal, it should be noted, was limited to the Northeast, while only Dean and Clark won polls all around the country.

     And although Lieberman might be fairly be considered a centrist Democrat, Poole and Rosenthal have him just three spots to the right of "liberal" hero Barack Obama. 

     That said, Lieberman has recently been getting some press for his pro-war, pro-Bush comments concerning Iraq.  I listened to these comments.  He could not handle a debate on the subject.  His factual grasp of the situation, and/or historical parallels, seemed non-existent.  The press corps doesn't seem to be making an issue of the facts, not with Bush, with Lieberman, or with any of the war supporters.  The following image was what I saw when I followed a link to this story from the San Jose Mercury News.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fixed

     My web site for maps had a bug, I fixed it.  Thanks for your patronage

Thursday, December 08, 2005

If Your Will Has Been Shaken, the Weather Will Win

     Reuters begins an article "Short-term targets and tight timetables are no solution to fighting climate change, Australia's environment minister said on Thursday" and did not follow it up by suggesting the climate would be encouraged by any effort to stop messing with it.

     What few Americans realize is that Australia is Fox News.  Rupert Murdoch is an Australian who exerts far more power there than he does in America (granting that America exerts more power, overall).  I believe that Bob "the Silver Bodgie" Hawke (as exquisitely (and painfully) described John Pilger in his book "A Secret Country") was actually the first example of "third way" politics practiced by Clinton and Blair (Murdoch runs "Sky News" in the UK).  Hawke had been the head of the Australian Trades Union Council and was later Prime Minister.  Murdoch was driven insane by Edward Gough Whitlam, a man who can easily be described as one who brought progress to the entire world; he was ahead of the curve of the world.  Whitlam was also the only Prime Minister sacked by the Monarch of England's representative (the Governor-General) in Australia.  Monarchy is so passé.

Kenya

     I am no expert on such matters.  What is a good blog on the current situation in Kenya?

Krepinevich, Again

     This guy has a PhD, but you can bet your bum it isn't in military history.  He taught at one of the "War Colleges" but you can bet your bum he wasn't popular.

     What does he say, in front of a bunch of people?  That the process of rotating Generals out of the field was bad policy.  He said FDR wouldn't have pulled Patton from Europe.  He said Lincoln wouldn't have pulled Grant from the field.  What this unobservant "nerd" neglects to note is that those generals were succesful at accomplishing war aims.  There is no monumental success in Iraq that would protect any General.

     In fact during WWI and WWII, during the Civil War and the War of American Independence, failing Generals were simply fired.

     Krepinevich doesn't even know what democracy is, and he appears with Senator Lieberman at this event, war-hawking.

Security Coversheets

     Tip to ArmsControlWonk.  Alternative coversheets for classified information (pdf), courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists.

My Map Site

     Please check it out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Roberts Court

     For the second time (at least) the Roberts court has released its audio recordings of the courts proceedings the same day.

     This particular time the released recording included material that one doesn't normally hear in such tapes (admission of lawyers to the Supreme Court Bar).

     This is the C-SPAN Court. 

     Now we need to get some cabinet and NSC meetings released.  Until then, believe it or not, C-SPAN leads to tyranny.  If ONLY the President is free from public scrutiny and rampant criticism of his actual job performance, then the President will enjoy the greatest "maybe he's OK" margin.

Waron Jesus

     I already have this post which discusses how mail service occured on Sundays in early America.  This is from a thought provoking 1961(?) speech by Kurt Gödel, which will appeal to anyone who is interested in math and philosophy and reads my blog and who has spare time.  It does, however, have a great quote:

I believe that the most fruitful principle for gaining an overall view of the possible world-views will be to divide them up according to the degree and the manner of their affinity to or, respectively, turning away from metaphysics (or religion). In this way we immediately obtain a division into two groups: scepticism, materialism and positivism stand on one side, spiritualism, idealism and theology on the other.

     The war on Christmas meme is a tactic.  It is, luckily, an appeal to the base.  It will not move moderates, and _will_ alienate people.  I might be letting the cat out of the bag here.

Monday, December 05, 2005

An Iraq Deception

     How many times have you heard that "most" of the attacks are happening in "just four" provinces of Iraq.  When they say "most" they mean "some number slightly greater than 50%".  The deception comes when you realize that the populations of those four provinces is greater than 40% of the total. 

     From the census done recently by the Ministries of Trade and Planning.  Baghdad: 6.38M, alAnbar 1.28M, Salahaddin 1.08M, Ninawa 1.37M, total 27.474M.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John Ralston Saul interview

     I've heard Milton Friedman say that _any_ spending by government is socialism (that would include, of course, the production of pyramids or golden thrones).  I've always thought that Thomas Friedman was a fricking joke, if not an outright racist peice of shit.  Here are a couple quotes from/on John Ralston Saul, the first from an interview done at Mother Jones magazine with its editor, Julian Brookes.

First of all, Friedman is barely worth considering. It's basically one of those 'How to succeed' books; it's very embarrassing, frankly.
and, from some random source, a snippet about his book The Collapse of Globalism
Saul also quotes the regret of Milton Friedman, who had advised emerging countries in Eastern Europe to "privatize, privatize, privatize," when he should have been telling them to start by building robust legal and political systems. Markets are, according to the mythology behind them, supposed to be self-regulating. They aren't.