diet coke for breakfast

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Posted by Jake
U.S. says N. Korea ready for talks

You know I remember reading repeatedly over the last six months about how we were being the intractable bastards in the situation, and how taking a hard line would never work with North Korea. Negotiate the people at State said.

Well, the pressure being applied to Pyongyang is starting to work (primarily in my opinion because they don't have any food and not even Kim Jong Il can stave off the hunger pains with propaganda forever). North Korea is like the mafia running a protection racket -- the last thing on Earth that you want to do is give them more money.

Now what we need to do is walk into these talks and over zero concessions. If he wants food, I want all the plutonium in North Korea in a truck driven over the 38th parallel.

North Korea is on the verge of collapse, just like the Soviet Union a decade ago. Just as long as we don't go propping it up...

Posted by Jake
Why I Think a Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Mairrage is a Bad Idea?

1.) It won't pass. The US public is still divided on the issue, and there is no way they are going win that much support (in spite of the much hyped backlash).
2.) It abandons federalism. What was wrong with having some states allow it and some not? People will move where they want to live and where they think they will be welcome. No problems. Some people would rush to say that according to the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution mairrages in Vermont are good in Tennessee. But as James cunningly pointed out earlier, the Defense of Mairrage Act 1996 states that states are not required to honor the gay mairrages of other states.
3.) It doesn't rise to the level of the Constitution. There are plenty of good things that need to be laws. Not all of them need to be amendments.

This issue is a loser for Bush. It would wed him to the social conservatives when he is trying to woo the center. Hopefully he will stick to his, "we won't need one" line.

I am a bit miffed at the Weekly Standard though for this and this.

The idea that gay mairrage would imply polyamory is laughable. Further, I don't buy the idea that the children of gay mairrage would be any more or less screwed up than the children of straight mairrages. They will likely be really liberal, but no more or less depraved than anyone else living in Greenwich Village.

Social conservatives need to pony up to the idea that mairrage as they understood it was gutted long ago. Gay people had nothing to do with it then and denying it to them now won't save it.

Posted by Tanstaafl - Rampant koalas put on the pill - Jul. 30, 2003

Sounds like a product of nationalized health care. Free contraceptive for EVERYONE (or everything?)

Posted by Tanstaafl - Global Warming Skeptics Are Facing Storm Clouds

"Three editors quit at the journal Climate Research to protest publishing of a global-warming study giving support to regulation foes."

"The study, by two astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, says the 20th century wasn't unusually warm compared with earlier periods and contradicts evidence indicating man-made 'greenhouse' gases are causing temperatures to rise."

I thought the point of science was to "follow the evidence" (in the words of Gil Grisham). Sounds like these guys didn't like where the evidence took them.

Posted by Tanstaafl
ISP returns labels' subpoena serve with suit | CNET

Although I don't think the framers intended there to be a "right to privacy enshrined in the U.S. Constitution", I do think that subpoening the ISP's is an unfair burden on those companies. You don't sue the guy who laid the concrete on the road because somebody was drunk-driving.

BTW, this is the ISP I've been using for the last year.

Posted by Tanstaafl
California Hijinks

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, an Orange County Democrat... said "we need to have a strong Democrat on the ballot." If Ms. Feinstein or a similarly well-known candidate doesn't run, Ms. Sanchez said, "I'll have to." Ms. Sanchez was careful to couch her remarks as being supportive of Mr. Davis ("we all stand behind Gray"), but she said "there are people who believe we need to have insurance" if the recall succeeds. In the language of politics that basically translates into: We think you're a goner, but haven't yet figured out how to tell you.

Loretta Sanchez could be CA's next governor. Glad I don't live there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Posted by Jake - Rappers want to be pimps - Jul. 30, 2003: "

Incredible investigative journalism going on at CNN.

Posted by Jake - Bush wants marriage reserved for heterosexuals - Jul. 30, 2003

Andrew Sullivan is befuddled by Bush's statements and frankly so am I. Don't get me wrong. I really don't have that much of a problem with gay marriage. I don't really think it will be any more or less successful than straight mairrage. But what perplexes me about Bush's statement is that if you wanted to prohibit gay mairrage, you would need to take further action.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, however, gay mairrage is pretty much prohibited as is. We have the Defense of Mairrage Act 1996 which codifies mairrage as between a man and a woman and says that states don't have to honor gay civil unions from other states. In this context, any state law or decision, including Massachusetts, enshrining gay mairrage is bound to be struck down.

I agree with Bush if he is trying to cut a middle way through this mess. He can't piss off the social conservatives too much (in spite of how much I would like to). But I don't see how this does that. Is he going to push for a constitutional amendment? I hope not.

James -- That assessment of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (Public Law 104-199) is a misunderstanding of federalism. The law says that for Federal purposes, marriage is between a man and a woman. For instance, Social Security benefits will not go to a same-sex domestic partner. It also says that no State is required to recognize the same sex unions of another state. IF VT allows two women to marry, and then they move to New York, New York State is under no obligation to let them file their taxes as spouses. I have not read the full text of the law, but from the CRS summary (which are usually pretty comprehensive), it doesn't sound like there is anything in the law that would let Federal officials strike down a State's recognition of a same-sex union.

Jake -- I agree that DMA was intended to have that effect, but the issue might still be in play for the following reason.

It would appear at least on the surface that this part of the law is a violation of the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution. Critics of this line of reasoning then respond that Congress has the ability to regulate by the "Commerce" clause, to which their opponents retort that because homosexual mairrages would be treated fundamentally differently than heterosexuals it is a violation of the equal protection clause 14th Amendment. A sticky wicket made no less sticky because everything I read in the news about this law was by and large wrong.

Here is one summary of the law that explained how Congress was trying to get around the "full faith and credit" clause:

The first substantive section of the bill is an exercise of Congress'
power under the "Effect" clause of Article IV, section 1 of the
Constitution (the Full Faith and Credit Clause) to allow each State (or
other political jurisdiction) to decide for itself whether it wants to
grant legal status to same-sex "marriage." This provision is necessary
in light of the possibility of Hawaii giving sanction to same-sex
"marriage" under its state law, as interpreted by its state courts, and
other states being placed in the position of having to give "full faith
and credit" to Hawaii's interpretation of what constitutes "marriage."
Although so-called "conflicts of law" principles do not necessarily
compel such a result, approximately 30 states of the union are
sufficiently alarmed by such a prospect to have initiated legislative
efforts to defend themselves against any compulsion to acknowledge same-
sex "marriage."

This is a problem most properly resolved by invoking Congress' authority
under the Constitution to declare what "effect" one State's acts,
records, and judicial proceedings shall have in another State. Congress
has invoked this authority recently on two other occasions; in the
Parental Kidnaping Prevention Act of 1980, which required each State to
enforce child custody determinations made by the home State if made
consistently with the provisions of the Act; and in the Full Faith and
Credit for child Support Order Act of 1994, which required each State to
enforce child support orders made by the child's State if made
consistently with the provisions of the Act.

Lord only knows if the Supreme Court would by that reasoning. I think the possible fuzziness in the interpretation of the "don't have to worry about other states" part of the law led Congress to add that mairrage is between a man and a women. This statement if taken to the fullest degree would render the "don't have to worry about other states" part irrelevant, making this a very weird law. Not even to go into my question about what the Federal purposes as opposed to the State purposes of mairrage are. What the Supreme Court is going to do with the DMA remains to be seen.

However, whatever Mr. Sullivan's apparent misread of the law, I stand by my assertion from the later post that Bush shouldn't push from an amendment.

Posted by RFTR
Hyped Horse
Has Seabiscuit been overtouted as a '30s hero?

Sounds to me like they're beating a dead horse...

Posted by Tanstaafl
Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - Is Nintendo Playing the Wrong Game?

Did you know Nintendo was founded in 1889 to make playing cards?

Matt -- Yep... in the 70's it went something like this: Enterprising card maker CEO sees this Pong Atari thing... thinks, "Hmm... we're a toy company... that looks like a toy.... lets get into the arcade business." Goes to this young artist guy in his company whom he hired as a favor to a relative and so far wasn't too usefull and says, "Shigeru, make us something like that..." Shigeru: "Er... okay..." Shigeru makes a game knock off of the King Kong carrying a girl to the top of a building cliche. The rest is history.

And yes, Nintendo is currently in trouble, because its stuck with a kiddie rap, though it consistently makes better games.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Posted by RFTR - Global View
It is appropriate for Mr. Bush to respond to these cries for help. Defending or restoring human rights where possible is an appropriate project for the U.S. at this stage of world history. Would-be tyrants should be on notice that the ineffective U.N. chiding and coaxing is now replaced with effective power. The only nation that can be trusted to supply that power is the U.S., a strong democracy with no imperial ambitions.

But the U.S. can't be expected to act alone, expending its blood and treasure on behalf of a more humane world order. Other mature democracies must be asked to help. And it should be organized in a systematic, logical way.

It could just be me, but wasn't the UN founded for exactly that purpose? That systematic, logical body seems incapable of pretty much anything worthwhile, so what makes anyone think that a new organization created by the US will do any better?
Freeing the Iraqi people is a nice side-effect of deposing Saddam, but now that the war is over, people are trying to transform it into the justification. In reality, Saddam was a threat to us, and we removed him for our own protection. Why we were criticized as trying to be "the world's police" before going into Iraq elludes me - it wasn't for the good of the world, or the Iraqis, it was for our own good. Now that there's an actual situation that would involve our acting as the world's police, the rest of the world is all for it. I just don't get it.

Jake -- Let's all welcome our new blogger Brian to the site. By the way, "blood and treasure"? Avast ye maties, here comes the US. Arrgh.

James -- The UN wasn't formed to depose tyrants. I think was formed to try to prevent war through a central clearing house of diplomacy and discussion. The problem is that tyrants, dictators, and megalomaniacs will discuss and diplome while secretly mobilizing armies or putting their citizens through big paper shredders. If the UN were truly set up to take on tyrants, they'd have a more potent military force then their full-time peacekeepers at their disposal.

As for human rights being the justification for the war, I believe it was probably a sufficient reason to take out Saddam all along. Does that mean that we should go around the world deposing dictators? Absolutely not. That would stretch us thin and would likely make the world more dangerous, not less. So, when choosing tyrannies of which we would like to dispose ourselves, there is nothing wrong with using National Security interests as one criteria for the decision. Human rights can be the justification, even if preemptive self-defense is the reason.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Democrats trying to install Bustamonte

People are suing, saying that the State Constitution says that vacancies should be filled by the Lt. Gov. Sounds like this is pretty clear to me. One more frivolous lawsuit.


SEC. 14. (a) Recall of a state officer is initiated by delivering
to the Secretary of State a petition alleging reason for recall.
Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 160 days to
file signed petitions.
(b) A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by
electors equal in number to 12 percent of the last vote for the
office, with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1
percent of the last vote for the office in the county. Signatures to
recall Senators, members of the Assembly, members of the Board of
Equalization, and judges of courts of appeal and trial courts must
equal in number 20 percent of the last vote for the office.
(c) The Secretary of State shall maintain a continuous count of
the signatures certified to that office.


SEC. 15. (a) An election to determine whether to recall an officer
and, if appropriate, to elect a successor shall be called by the
Governor and held not less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from
the date of certification of sufficient signatures.
(b) A recall election may be conducted within 180 days from the
date of certification of sufficient signatures in order that the
election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled
election occurring wholly or partially within the same jurisdiction
in which the recall election is held, if the number of voters
eligible to vote at that next regularly scheduled election equal at
least 50 percent of all the voters eligible to vote at the recall
(c) If the majority vote on the question is to recall, the officer
is removed and, if there is a candidate, the candidate who receives
a plurality is the successor. The officer may not be a candidate,
nor shall there be any candidacy for an office filled pursuant to
subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI.

Posted by Jake
In Iraqi City, a New Battle Plan (

In an effort to ease the desire for revenge, they delivered formal apologies to local tribal sheiks and paid blood money for every dead and injured person deemed not to be a combatant. The compensation payments -- $1,500 for a death and $500 for an injury -- are regarded by Fallujah's political, tribal and religious leaders as one of several bold strategies employed by U.S. commanders here over the past few weeks to appease a city brimming with discontent. Officers have ordered soldiers to knock on doors before conducting most residential searches. They have also permitted the mayor to field a 75-member armed militia and doled out nearly $2 million on municipal improvements instead of waiting for private American contractors to arrive.

Slowly but surely we are learning to deal with the Iraqis. It wasn't as hard as we thought, nor were we as stupid as some thought we would be.

Posted by Jake
U.S. Troops Capture Hussein Bodyguard (

The stocky bodyguard struggled to break free as soldiers arrested him, and they had to wrestle him to the ground and drag him down the stairs, Russell said. 'Were we surprised? He's a bodyguard. That's why we went in with our steely knives and oily guns,' Russell said. 'If everything else had failed and we just got that one guy, we would be happy.'

"Steely knives and oily guns." Where did that come from?

Monday, July 28, 2003

Posted by Matthew
Pentagon's Futures Market Plan Condemned

This seems too weird to be real. How, exactly is this supposed to work I wonder?

If it's real, then it could be an innovative way to gather intel... but it would still be pretty morbid.

But, then as Reichenthal pointed out, "Well what if somebody bets $1 million dollars that Arafat is killed on Thursday, and then goes out and makes sure it happens?" To which I replied, "And your point is?" To which he replied, "Oh... I see what you mean."

Posted by Matthew
First public gay high school to open in NYC

"Is there gay math?"

Okay this is just terrible... its good intentions gone horribly horribly wrong. Can you say, "Separate but equal."?

I think this is entirely the wrong attitude for a discriminated against group to take. Its natural I suppose to want to sequester one's group away from others for security and personal comfort, but I think time and again this has only been shown to prolong or even increase the discrimination. Its the same problem with "ethnic houses" on Stanford's campus. If the "ultimate goal" is a diverse but socially accepting society then there needs to be interaction, not separation. The homosexual community has being doing a remarkable job of integrating into general society. After a brief period of "in-your-face-cultural-definition" all the homosexuals who previously had hidden themselves in the general populace, all went back to their lives just being a little more open with their sexual orientation. And society has (while occasionally stifling a giggle or a lynching here and there) been willing to get on with life. Hell there are even gay republicans, now that's progress! Now a push to separate out again? Bad idea.

Sure there will be casualties of integration and I feel very badly for them and we should endeavor to protect them. But its entirely unavoidable.

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake
Red Ink in States Beginning to Hurt Economic Recovery

Having already stripped the nation of a source of economic growth, the budget crises in California and in almost every other state are now beginning to drag down the national economy, prolonging the weak, jobless recovery, the latest budget numbers show.

Over the past two years, the states have gradually cut between $20 billion and $40 billion — no one knows exactly how much — from their spending. Billions more in cutbacks are coming in the fiscal year that started July 1.

Correct if I am wrong here, but I am pretty sure that deficit spending by the government doesn't really help the economy. (Isn't this a Keynesian argument?) Basically the logic of this article is that because the states are being forced to cut workers to manage their deficits it will hurt the economy.

But, I don't know if I buy that. First, if the states had spent within their means they would have never hired so many workers in the first place. Does increasing jobs in inefficient industries really increase growth? Second, the money to pay these people has to come from somewhere. Raising taxes to continue with increased spending is no panacea for growth.

I think this article might be confounding job cuts with reductions in growth. But this is not accurate. We are having a jobless recovery now where growth and productivity are increasing without more jobs. These people have it bass-ackwards.

James --
You're talking long-term economic strength, they're talking short-term. You're right, in the long-term, the State governments will need to use taxes to pay off the debt that they're accumulating right now. It would be in our best interest if they took their medecine and cut spending dramatically. In the short term however, they won't raise taxes and if they stop defecit spending, then jobs will be lost, people will have less money, etc... Keynes largely ignored the effects of interest rates and inflation, but fiscal stimulus (stimulus through govt. spending) quite real. It's just not as powerful as Keynes wanted it to be. I may blog more on this later.

Posted by Jake
STUPID WHITE LIES -- Michael Moore, Humbug -- He's mendacious and obnoxious, so what accounts for his appeal?

Kay S. Hymowitz has an excellent piece debunking Michael Moore. It also reveals what most of us already knew: that he is a nut of Coulterian or even Dowdian proportions.

But this part about Manichaean ethics is truly fascinating:

The other key to Mr. Moore's appeal is his simple Manichaean moral system, the kind that populists traditionally invoke to stir up easy resentments, as with today's alienated left. Mr. Moore's world comprises two groups: stupid but powerful white guys in suits, like Roger Smith; and decent but powerless ordinary folks, like Michael Moore. For Mr. Moore, this is not some kind of comic-book schema; it is as real as sin itself. Nike CEO Phil Knight is 'the face of evil.' President Bush, today's incarnation of the evil plutocrat in Mr. Moore's mind, is 'capable of anything.' 'The other side [the rich]--what they believe in,' Mr. Moore said in an Internet interview, 'is in their own kind of sick Darwinism that says only a few shall survive to have the American dream. And they spend their time trying to enact laws to guarantee that the majority won't.' Downsizing and welfare reform, which Mr. Moore calls 'inherently evil,' are both examples of 'terrorism' committed by malevolent rich men."

Thus, we have found another fun word for the day:

\Man`i*ch[ae]"an\, Manichean \Man`i*che"an\, Manichee\Man"i*chee\, n. [LL. Manichaeus: cf. F. manich['e]en.] A believer in the doctrines of Manes, a Persian of the third century A. D., who taught a dualism in which Light is regarded as the source of Good, and Darkness as the source of Evil.

We can all thank Michael Moore for his lesson in ethics. When are people (on the left and the right I might add, I still read stuff blaming immigrants for the US's problems) going to learn that things are never that simple.

Posted by Jake
The Press: Time for a New Era?

In honor of the wonderful thing that the press has become, I have the DCFB word of the day (because I have been reading it all the time and didn't know what it meant):

n 1: a long monotonous harangue 2: a long piece of writing

As in:
Reuters takes a local piece about a young woman and soldier returning home, turns it into a not-so-subtle anti-administration screed that one first amendment expert called "politically incendiary"...

-- John Callahan via InstaPundit

I love how politics teaches me such fun new words.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Posted by Jake
Republicans rely on growing campus groups - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics

Minnesota is credited with the most growth in college Republican membership, with more than five times as many students involved in chapters than four years ago. The University of California at Berkeley contingent of College Republicans was recognized yesterday as the chapter of the year. It has 500 members.

I am shocked. I suspect that maybe those 500 should have selected a little more carefully.

Posted by Jake - NAACP still trying to get meeting with Bush - Jul. 27, 2003

Please, NAACP it is just not like that...

No, it's not you. It's me...

My friends, baby, my friends are very important to me. And they just don't like you...

All I'm asking is that you don't call me anymore. It's over...

Posted by Jake

Friday, July 25, 2003

Posted by Matthew
Total Recall

I'm sure you all saw this, but I thought it was the most analytical look at Ah-nuld as a candidate I've seen yet... interesting.

Posted by Jake
Lawyers scream about ice cream

Trial lawyers and a consumer health group are teaming up to go after America's ice cream, sending out legal notices to six major chains this week as the group released a study criticizing ice cream's nutritional value. They sent letters to Baskin-Robbins Inc., Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings Inc., Cold Stone Creamery, the Haagen-Dazs Shoppes Inc., TCBY and Friendly Ice Cream Corp., telling the chains to add healthier alternatives and put nutritional facts on their store menu boards or face potential litigation.

That's it. I'm mad now. Ice cream -- you are suing ice cream. What's next? Fun!

"We have served lawsuits to all fun-providers because occassionally some elderly people die from joy."

Posted by Jake
New images of Saddam sons’ bodies

U.S. officials said the bodies would be kept under refrigeration until a family member came forward to claim them.

Yeah, so any time you wanna come pick them up, Saddam, you just let us know. Hey, you can even give us a call, and I am sure a battalion of the 101st would be happy to drop them off for you.

Posted by Jake
Beltway Media Meltdown -- Is Rupert Murdoch five TV stations away from world domination?

I may have said this before, but let me just say it again to go on record. These people -- people who want to restrict media ownership -- are being alarmist idiots.

Fox owns 37 of the 1,340 stations in the U.S., and the rules would allow it to buy, oh, maybe another five. Even Rupert Murdoch will need more than a few new outlets in Topeka and Palm Springs to effect world domination.

Even if you exclude the Internet, there is no way this change is going to let one company take over the news. It is too big, too diverse, and if I may say so way to competitive an industry for any one company to hold sway. Why? Because the moment people realize you are hyping a story or not giving them the whole story they will turn on you and head across the street -- or rather flip the channel.

Furthermore, I agree that this debate is proxy for arguments about media bias:

Democrats complain that a higher cap is a sop to the "conservative" Fox network (never mind that the rule will also let Dan Rather's employer, Viacom, into more markets). A few Senate Republicans--such as Mississippi's Trent Lott--feel their home state "liberal" media has been mean to them and see the caps as a way to get even.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Posted by Jake
A Questionable Kind Of Conservatism (

Given George Will's -- and Andrew Sullivan's -- very reasonable questioning of Bush's policies, I would say it is also reasonable to ask why Bush would be willing to take relatively centrist positions on a variety of issues. I have three theories:

1.) Reelection: You do your really radical conservative stuff at the beginning of your second term. At the end of the first term you try and frame yourself as a centrist.

2.) Destruction (or Routing) of the Democrats: They got trounced in the last of election (I seem to remember one James Carville with a trash can on his head.), and the Republicans would like to see a two decade stint of Republican rule. To do this, if you believe Karl Rove, is to triangulate Democratic issues and push them further to the Left.

3.) Changing What Conservativism Means: Although this is the most appealing to me personally, it is also probably the least likely. But we do see hints of it. Bush embraced "big tent" conservativism at the last GOP Convention, much to the chagrin of social conservatives who were not amused by gay speakers. Perhaps Bush has decided that neoconservative foriegn policy, rather than isolationist, combined with libertarian hands off on social issues, particularly gay rights, is a better than more traditional conservativism. If that were the case, I would be inclined to agree with him, but only time will tell.

I do very much agree with both Will and Sullivan on one point.

Sure, Bush has named some worrying fire-breathers to the lower courts. But my hunch is that his Supreme Court pick (if he ever makes one) will be firmly centrist. All in all: the record is socially moderate. -- Sullivan

Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel who came with this President Bush from Texas, may be chosen to fill the next court vacancy. The likelihood of a vacancy during this presidency has given rise to a grim joke among conservatives: How do you say "Souter" in Spanish? "Gonzales." -- Will

As much as he has put some contreversial nominees to lower court benchs (mostly I think to please social conservatives), he is very likely to put a moderate up for the Supreme Court -- although for which of the above three reasons is anybody's guess.

Posted by Matthew
The media is insane...

I remember reading the article in question (Jessica Lynch's Homcoming) and thinking, "Who are these people?" They are using a story they pushed and hyped only to make it into a scandal which they are trying to use to politically attack America.

Posted by Matthew

Posted by Matthew
Osama's Embarrassing Secret

The NY Times maybe off the deep-end, but at least the tabloids are on our side.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Posted by Matthew

Posted by Jake
As U.S. Lowered Sights, Information Poured In (

While I have been willing to cut the Pentagon some slack on the war front, the peace has not been going as well as I hoped (although yesterday makes me feel a good deal better). I think the Pentagon may have been unwilling to admit any errors in the war/peace plan in an effort to stifle the domestic anti-war criticism. Rummy having to defend himself for every little detail at the morning briefing neither help the war be waged nor encouraged reasonable analysis of what was working. This left them considerably less adaptable than war planners should be and slow to change.

Happily enough, however, we see the General Abizaid is thinking on his feet, and whatever he is doing it is working:

'We shifted our focus from very high-level personalities to the people that are causing us damage,' Gen. John P. Abizaid, the new commander of the U.S. military in the Middle East, said in an interview last weekend. Later, he told reporters in Baghdad: 'In the past two weeks, we have been getting the mid-level leadership in a way that is effective.'

Posted by Jake - Bill Clinton on Bush uranium line: 'Everybody makes mistakes' - Jul. 23, 2003

"You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president,' Clinton said. 'I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in awhile. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That's what I think.' "

Now that is some funny shit. But in defense of good ol' Slick Willy, he was a whole lot smarter than some of the Democrats today.

a) He knows when a story is bullshit.

b) He knows that Saddam was a bad guy: "Clinton told King: "People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons."

c) Hey, at least he kept spending down. Granted he had some help from the Gingrich Republicans, but still.

All told I would take Slick Willy in a second over Howard Dean.

Posted by Jake

Posted by Matthew
Open microphone catches California Democrats talking about prolonging budget crisis


In all fairness though, both sides are exploiting this mess... BUT, the desire to raise taxes right now is just a little perverse and Californians are going nuts with this nonsense... The democratic party doesn't realize that Californians elect them for their social views, NOT for their fiscal policy which is routinely challenged. There is a reason it takes a 2/3rd's vote to raise taxes in California: We don't want them to raise taxes.

Posted by Jake

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Posted by Jake - Pentagon: Saddam's sons are dead - Jul. 22, 2003

First, good riddance to bad rubbish. As they say, when they meet their maker they are going to have some 'splainin to do.

Second, I love how the press always has to throw their two cents in.

For example, from the NYT: "Although some loyalists to Mr. Hussein — either paid or prodded by his sons — are suspected of killing Americans, the attacks are also likely being carried out by Iraqis opposed to the very idea of occupation, tribal members bent on revenge for dead relatives and fanatics who believe Islam is at war with the West."

And from al Jazeera (via MSNBC): "Even as Al Jazeera broadcasts suggested, without offering evidence, that these deaths would spark widespread unrest, there appeared to be a consensus, at least on the American side, about the importance of the operation."

Everybody has to rain on the parade.

Matt -- I can't stop cracking up over the "TRUMPED" banner on CNN's main page...

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake
Just Say No -- Republicans and Democrats in Congress are considering drug reimportation to lower prescription drug costs. It sounds good, but it's a bad idea.

And he is absolutely right. There is a reason why the vast majority of drugs on the market were created by American companies: because the price controls imposed on European companies limit the success of what is a very risky business. Also people tend to forget that most start-up drug companies fail to make a marketable product. When you see all these people making lots of money it is because they were the lucky ones.

In essence, Americans are paying for the rest of the world to have cheap drugs. You want to lower drug prices; start bringing price controls in Canada to the WTO. That's free trade.

Matt -- As I believe we discussed, what we really need is reform in the patent process the drug companies use... too many of their resources are being spent on patent extension, instead of new drugs. By all means let them recoup their expenses and turn a tidy profit... but then they need to move on and let the people have the generics.

Posted by Tanstaafl

Posted by Tanstaafl
Looks like US Troops may have killed Uday and Qusay Hussein

200 US troops engaged 4 men who appear to have been Uday, Qusay, Qusay's teenage son, and a body guard, for four hours before killing them. These guys must have been armed to the teeth.

Posted by Matthew

Monday, July 21, 2003

Posted by Jake
South plays down N. Korea nukes

1.) The New York Times broke a story suggesting that there might be a second secret nuclear plant. Well if the NYT broke the story than it was probably not that secret.

2.) What are these people in South Korea doing? It is like they are all of the forgiving wives of a Northern abusive husband. How about this -- if North Korea is not such a big deal why don't we just leave South Korea? We have other things to deal with and I am certain that they will fair just fine on their own for those 15 minutes before the North invades.

Posted by Jake
Alcoholics to sue drink makers - The Washington Times: United Press International

Next headline: "Idiots sue themselves for stupid actions." When is this crap going to stop?

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake
Report cited threat in Hussein defeat

That's it. We have really reached the climax of revisionism here. Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria...

Now, not only was Saddam not a threat before the war, but he is even a bigger threat now.

I am sure it will occur to some savy news columnist that if he is such a huge threat now that maybe we shouldn't have gone to war.

Yet this claim is obviously ridiculous. If you have a bully, you don't attempt to pacify him by saying "Please don't hurt me and I will leave you alone." Eventually that bully will get bored and he will come and get you. No, in the absence of a omnipresent teacher authority, you get a bunch of other kids and you deal with the bully.

This reversal is revealing because it is the furthest extension of the logic that has the press questioning the premises for going to war. This logic goes as best as I can tell as follows: 1.) make decision based on available evidence 2.) if decision results in unsatisfactory outcome deny ability to make such a decision. The equivalent would be if I ran an experiment in the lab and didn't like the outcome, going to the company and demanding a refund for the reagents.

Presidents make decisions. Sometimes those decisions are based on the best understanding of the facts, sometimes they are based on a hunch. Just because he made a decision you didn't like doesn't mean he lied, nor does it mean that that decision was wrong.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Posted by Matthew
Death by Environmentalism

This article is about the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle accidents. The author is linking "environmentally friendly" replacement parts to the accidents.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Posted by Matthew

Friday, July 18, 2003

Posted by Jake
Spinsanity - Countering rhetoric with reason

Did any of you guys know a Bryan Keefer at Stanford? He was class of 2000 and he and two other guys started a blog called which is really good. Andrew Sullivan described it as a "Bi-partisan bull detector."

It is fact heavy and non-partisan, two things that I really like in news coverage. Anyway, I added it to the permalinks.

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake - Little robots in your pants - Jul. 18, 2003

Talk about dissimulating. Come on American people, where's the outrage?

Posted by Jake
OpinionJournal - Wonder Land

Read this article. It is really funny. I love this metaphor:

The Democratic Party now resembles a vast hospital nursery, with each colicky baby lying in a separate crib screaming for attention--right now, for me. And if a Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt doesn't run right over and pour political formula down their throats, they'll keep right on screaming. And so yesterday, Messrs. Lieberman, Gephardt and Kucinich all scampered to Miami, stood before the NAACP convention and apologized. Mr. Lieberman: 'I was wrong, I regret it, and I apologize.' Then Sen. LIeberman suggested that Kweise Mfume belonged on the Supreme Court.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake - Blair addresses Congress - Jul. 17, 2003

This speech is worth listening to in its entirety. It is not about the WMD. It is a statement about the capacity of America and its allies to do good put more eloquently than I have ever heard it.

Blair is here in part to encourage the release of terrorists in Guantanamo into British custody for British trials. He really went to bat for us over Iraq and in Europe in general. I think we should give it to him.

Matt -- Dang it Jake... beat me to the post...
It was a good speech: a good dose of STFU to all the people suffering from "post traumatic anti war protest syndrome".
If you watched CNN for a few mins after the fact you would have gotten an opportunity to see some of its effects: the anti-Bush arguments are now that much more obviously hollow. Its a shame more people didn't get to see it live. It will be interesting to see how the media spins it.

Tony is also a good example of the type of candidate the Dems really should be putting forward to challenge Bush. Somebody who, while liberal, is still unappologeticly pro-American... kind of ironic since he's not American.

Posted by Matthew
Twenty percent chance that Australia will become a U.S. state.

Needless to say, this is just silly. And I think the "advocate" was saying it tongue in cheek as a means to espouse which American virtues he felt Austrailia could use. But I admit always get a kick out of talk like this... every once and awhile you hear crazy talk of Austrailia or Canada "voluntarily appealing for induction into US state-hood." Cracks me up and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and patriotic inside.

Still, it does give us one insight: we're such a big terrible nasty oppressive empire that people acctually consider joining up with us... oh wait... how many immigrants did we have last year?

Posted by Jake - Iran: Journalist may have fallen - Jul. 17, 2003

Yeah, right. Maybe she fell repeatedly on their clubs. Or maybe they just beat her to death.

I have been watching this story unfold in Iran. Actually in order to get more information you need to read the blogs (because the news channels are too busy obsessing over Iraq to carry any of it).

Anyone who still thinks that Iraq was a bad idea should start looking at what is happening in the Middle East right now. Not only have we exposed that the Arab media was lying completely about Iraq but we have most of the regimes scared shitless.

Furthermore, I don't buy the argument that we have inspired more repression in these regimes. We haven't inspired more repression; we've inspired more resistance. The horrible things going on in Iran are a consequence of their regime not our liberation of Iraq.

I think Charles Krauthammer put this best in his quote on "Inside Washington" (from Andrew Sullivan):

"No one ever judged the outcome of a war by the quality of the intelligence going in. If you look at where we are today and compare it to where we were on the day the Clinton Administration left office: we've removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan; we've removed from power Saddam Hussein; we're removing our troops from Saudi Arabia; we've established new bases in the Gulf in stable, small countries; Jordan is secure; Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon are acquiescent and very quiet; and there's a revolution under way in Iran. I've named every country between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean. This is the most dangerous, hostile region in the world -- and it has been remarkably changed. And I should add there's also a peace process in the Middle East. .... What's important [in terms of history] is how has the foreign policy of this Administration changed a region dramatically, remarkably..." - Charles Krauthammer, "Inside Washington," July 12, 2003.

It is sort of like Alexander the Great...

Posted by Jake - Man sets new Donkey Kong record - Jul. 17, 2003

I swear when I read this I thought it was from the Onion.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Posted by Matthew
U.N. official: World can't afford rich China

While I find myself questioning anything the UN says these days, especially when it comes to the environment, this does bring up reoccuring question. I've heard people discuss this off and on for the last few years, and everyone pretty much agrees, that yeah, China's economic growth is going to be a big problem both economically and ecologically. Of course this all boils down to overpopulation (There is no answer to that either). So what is to be done? Can't be good I should think.

Anyway, that's a few years off yet, but James I was wondering if you'd care to chime in on the economic nature of pushing every country towards "first world status"... how long can we do that? Has that topic ever come up in your econ studies?

Jake -- I have sort of a problem with this story's premises.

First, all ecological studies talking about capacity are based on a concept called ecological footprint. It is the amount of space (including resources) that is required to support a certain amount of people. The problem with these studies is that they are very technology dependent. Sure, if all the people in China are burning coal to heat their homes, we are probably not going to have enough coal. If all of the people in China were to industrialize today (and they behave exactly like people in the West), that situation would be untenable. But that is a big if. I would like to think that we are going to have at least one technological advance in resources use. Furthermore, if we consider the economics, why would China industrialize using a technology that uses really expensive scare resources (it would either A) slow modernization or B) inspire new technologies).

Second, the concept of overpopulation is an outdated and incorrect concept. It was created by Paul Ehrlich (Stanford Prof.) at the beginning of the environmental movement to explain why exponential population growth is bad (see "The Population Bomb," 1968). However, this assertion has not been borne out. As societies become more affluent the birth rate falls rather than rises, in some case to below replacement (see Europe). Parts of China, particularly Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, alreadly have declining birth rates. Also, China has a big gender gap (female infanticide and under reporting because of social norms) that will contribute to declining birth rates in the future. Thus, most demographers would suggest that as China became more modern it would stop growing as rapidly (and begin to decline). Again, overpopulation is based on an idea of technology.

Finally, it is such a piece of Western liberal arrogance that we should save the Chinese from their technology. Clearly, they couldn't do it for themselves. And God forbid that they would want to participate our corrupt Western capitalism with all its horrible things.

Sorry about the rant, but it just bugs me how some of this trash passes for science.

James -- I haven't read the article, but I've read your posts. I may get a chance to comment later, but my first impression is that this is a non-issue. As countries move from industrial to technological economies, they produce less pollution not more. In fact, one of the big complaints about the Kyoto protocols is that they exempt 2nd and 3rd world countries like India, even though by most measures, they're the worst offenders on so-called green-house gases. As for overpopulation, I agree with Jake. Wasn't it Malthus who predicted the J-curve on population? Think about it this way. How many of your friends were 1 of 9 children? As economies become more advanced, populations become more educated, and practices such as family planning and contraception become more common place. At the same time, as infant mortality decreases, potential parents don't try to have as many children. Now, in order for their economy and therefore standard of living to improve, China will probably need to institute a fair number of market reforms, and move toward real capitalism. Command and control is a downward spiral. Modernization and liberalization of markets will likely improve the situation.

Matt -- I agree wholeheartedly with everything y'all said. And the article is crap, don't bother reading it. My question was more about the economics implications A) to the US with China becoming a first world economic monster with its already enourmous pop. and B) the broader idea of the world all moving towards "better jobs"... as in who picks the coffee for 10 cents an hour? Whilst I realize that the nature of a well oiled free market system will probably work out all the kinks as we go along I was wondering what sorts of forces are at work there. Consider Saudi Arabia with an over educated population for its economy. Nobody wants to do the joe jobs. I know I know, S.A. is a special case and their problems are all self inflicted, but they provide a convenient example to consider. Will simple market force take over and joe jobs start paying higher? But what will that do to inflation?

Posted by Jake
‘Hunts’ of nude women draw fire

A paintball manufacturer and advocates for women are expressing outrage that a Las Vegas company claims to be charging men up to $10,000 to use the non-lethal but dangerous weapons to shoot naked women racing through the sagebrush. But a creator of the “Hunting for Bambi” game on Wednesday defended the enterprise as good, clean fun for “guys who thought they had done everything."

If you find yourself running around the forest, naked, being chased by people with paintball guns (or really anything), maybe you should reconsider your career choice. Just a suggestion...

Posted by Tanstaafl
Miller on Springer (link requires registration)

I recommend picking up a copy of the WSJ today, if just for this article.

My favorite line:
"Traficant makes Springer look like Hammurabi"

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Posted by Jake
Iraq council plans war crimes trials

There was no immediate response to the plan from U.S. officials, but a Human Rights Watch official challenged the council’s plan saying it would put former victims of Saddam and his regime in the position of judging their tormentors and might not result in justice.
Hania Mufti, London director of Human Rights Watch, said the Iraqi court system was ill-equipped to deal with the task of trying such crimes and said international legal experts should be part of the process

Human Right Watch vs. Democracy

We can all thank Human Rights Watch for steadfastly chaperoning the right of the International War Crimes tribunal to screw things up royally. How are things going for Slobodan Milosevic? Oh really, been three years now and the prosecution isn't done. Fantastic then...I am sure we will all live to see the end of the trial.

I don't dispute the cause that genuine war criminals should be brought the task for what they have done, but when you dispute the ability of a people to govern themselves you may have crossed the line. The IWCT can exist for people who can get justice themselves, but I dispute it's exclusive right to try these cases. Are a bunch of high-minded professors from the West the only people who understand what justice is?

Posted by Matthew
College Free Speech Issue

If this is even half-true... dang... political correctness has gone way overboard...

Of course, the group in question is Cal Poly College Republicans. Incidentally, I attempted to check up on the story and found that the kid in question is now the club president, and the speaker in question did come.

Other fun facts: I think two of my HS Buddies from Colusa-land founded this club, (were Prez. and VP for sure at least) and knowing them, there certainly would be a element of rabble rousing... Maybe I'll try to verify it through them.)

Anyway, after seeing how hostile the Stanford community was to "conservative speech" it certainly seems plausible. I mean I once saw a Toyon RA pulling down fliers somebody had put up advertising a speaker on Ayn Rand. The difference is I doubt Stanford officially would pursue it as far as Cal Poly supposedly has.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Posted by Jake
Bush 'Bundlers' Take Fundraising to New Level (

This article is such crap. They are just mad at Bush because he is so much better at getting hard money than they are. Furthermore, speaking of antidemocratic, most of the Democrats donors are rich philanthropists who give millions in unregulated soft money.

It serves the Democrats right. They were the ones who clamored for this asinine system, and now they are getting their asses kicked at it.

Posted by Jake
Iran makes huge oil discovery

"TEHRAN, Iran, July 14 — Iran has made a major new oil find containing estimated reserves of more than 38 billion barrels, making it one of the world’s biggest undeveloped fields, a senior oil official was quoted as saying Monday."

Which makes it all the more curious that they would need nuclear power. Hmmmm....

Posted by Tanstaafl

Posted by Jake
Russia's only caviar cat falls to contract killing - The Washington Times: World

That is definitely not something you read everyday.

MOSCOW — Russia's only 'sniffer cat,' hailed for its success in the campaign against the cut-throat and lucrative world of caviar smuggling, has been run over and killed in what is suspected of being a contract killing.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Posted by Jake
Unjust, unwise, unAmerican -- America's plan to set up military commissions for the trials of terrorist suspects is a big mistake

I have to say that I have always been a little uncomfortable with military tribunals for foriegn nationals. I understand the security concerns: that they might convey information about intelligence gathering, that they might cause a legal fiasco with civil rights organizations, or that they might be acquited on largely political grounds. Clearly, a civilian court is not acceptable with those considerations.

But the "compromise" worked out by the administration may be going a bit far. It abdicates the vast majority of what I would call necessary liberties, and with them even an illusion of fairness and impartiality. Other compromises when it comes to terrorist trials are not without precedent. The article cites terrorism courts in Britain, Spain, and South Africa that have been successful while abdicating minimal procedural rights.

Understanding that other options are available, that these trials can be run justly without becoming their own "quagmire", is what makes this policy so galling. Why shouldn't we punt the decision, and release British citizens to British courts? Don't you think that they would recieve the justice they deserve from a system that has agreed with us on so many other policies?

I agree with the concerns of the Bush administration. We shouldn't be a light touch in matters of terrorism. But we can do this, and do it thoroughly, without resort to the methods they have chosen to adopt.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Posted by Jake
Google Toolbar

Get the new toolbar. It has a nice little tool for blogging called Blog This! that brings up a little windows with the link you want already pasted in it.

Posted by Matthew
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

That's it... these are the infamous "16 words" that everyone is excited about. WTF does anybody care? Do the average americans understand the Media's deliberate attempt to incite discontent? Come on!

This is like saying "Hey Tony told me he saw a Sam the drug adict trying to buy some crack from Bob" and coming back later and saying, "Nope, turns out Tony didn't acctually see Sam the drug adict trying to buy crack from Bob." The facts that Sam was a drug adict and Bob had crack, those are not in dispute, only that Tony didn't acctually see it. You might be a little bemused that this one particular story about "Sam-the-drug-adict" wasn't quite accurate as told by Tony, but then again, you've heard enough other more reliable stories out there to know, "Hey, I don't want my kids hanging out with Sam."

Friday, July 11, 2003

Posted by Jake
Analysis: CO2 cap needed to curb warming

I love the unsubstantiated alarmism in this study (by the Pew so what do we expect).

First, even if we agree that global warming is happening, they never really bother to substantiate why it would be bad. Seas will probably rise, and weather will change. This will probably have costs (although estimates vary).

We do on the other hand have very good ways of calculating how much carbon emissions controls would cost: In 1999, a report by the National Center for Policy Analysis examined the cost of meeting the goals stipulated in the Kyoto Treaty, which would slow the rate of increase in greenhouse gases. "Without any offsets or credits, U.S. GDP would be 3.6 percent to 5.1 percent lower in 2010, representing a loss of $330 billion to $467 billion or about $1,100 to $1,600 per capita," the NCPA report concluded. 5% reduction in GDP! These people get pissed when we don't send a tax cut to people who aren't paying taxes.

Second, whether global warming is happing is still sort of debated. Many scientists would argue about this but I think concluding that we are in a warming trend based on a hundred years of information in a 5 billion year old planet is like conclude that nuclear winter is coming by turning your thermastat down -- it may well be but how the hell do you know. Furthermore, I seem to remember learning in school that oceans once covered North America to somewhere around Missouri. Thus, a sea level rise of 100 ft or so would hardly be unprecedented.

But when questioned about the possibility inaccuracy of the studies conclusions Raymond Kopp, senior fellow at Resources for the Future, (defending the Pew study) just writes it off: Kopp said, "This is a great difficulty. You are trying to do this in a world of tremendous uncertainty ... Bad things could happen. Will it happen? I don't know." He added: "What you are buying is insurance. You're paying a little bit now to put in the institutions, and should the science prove to be right, you're in a position to bring the technology in." Well that is one hell of an expensive insurance policy for something that you are sure about. How about this. Let's bomb Western Europe into atomic glass because things are rough in foreign policy right now because hey it could get worse.

Here's a thought: Evironmentalists -- the new reactionaries. Everytime someone in the world wants to build something or do something, there the environmentalists are shitting all over it. "Don't touch! No changing will be tolerated!" Do these people sincerely believe that stasis is possible on this planet considering its evolutionary history. I would instead argue that change -- and sometimes radical change -- is the natural state of the planet and that trying to maintain it as is is both impossible and unnatural.

Remember the video game SimEarth when we were kids (where you go and terraform a little planet). That is what we should be doing. We should embrace the idea that we are inevitably going to change the planet and focus on building bigger and better planet changing technologies. Too warm, sink some CO2 to the bottom of the ocean. Too hot, let's burn some trees. This don't touch attitude to the planet is not only counter to what every other species is doing (trust me there are plenty of examples of non-human species driving others to extinction) but untenable in the long term.

While were at it, let's terraform Mars too...

Posted by Jake

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Posted by Tanstaafl
Why the CEO in Chief Needs an Audit

Richard Cohen does a number on President Bush in this column.
A couple of objections jumped out at me right away.

1) When a corporation restates earnings, usually someone is held accountable. The shareholders will punish the company by selling the stock. Furthermore, very often, the people who screwed up will be fired. I wonder if Mr. Cohen has ever done anything besides journalism.

2) Osama Bin Laden wasn't captured because of a botched operation in Tora Bora? Does Mr. Cohen know he was there? If so, did he know then? Why didn't he tell anyone? If not, then wow, his hindsight is 20/20. I would also question his military expertise. I think the routing of the Taliban shows better performance than "an appalling level of incompetence."

3) "...this failure will be restated as not being all that important. You learn this sort of thing in business school." Has Mr. Cohen also been to business school? I would imagine that good business schools teach management styles, marketing, finance, and other useful skills. Not how to restate plans. I would say that restating the importance of something, or spin, is learned in Washington DC, not in business school.

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake
A Google for Blogs

This site is sort of interesting. It is run by some MIT students who compile ranked list of links that appear on blogs. It is trying to track what news stories are getting the most traffic. I signed up our blog to figure into the tally.

Posted by Jake
Pictures of the Iranian Revolution

Beware these pictures are really graphic. Andrew Sullivan had a link to them, and I agree with his analysis.

Here are some pictures of dorm rooms in Tehran university after the government thugs have "disciplined" various freedom-seeking students. Here are some more - of what was done to the students themselves. Yesterday, three student leaders were seized by the regime's goons and are now in capitivity. It's useful to see the true face of tyranny - a face so familiar and comforting to the anti-American ideologues running the BBC. Yesterday, the Beeb's leftists described the 1999 massacre of students as a "police raid." Yeah, and Tiananmen Square was a street fight. How do these BBC apologists for theocratic terror live with themselves?


Yeah, and we are the bad guys. I don't remember seeing too many government thugs in my neighborhood.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Lindows takes a much needed step

They're releasing a version that you can install straight from CD-ROM. For four years of college I listened to the hard-core techies extol the virtues of Linux. For their needs I'm sure that it works great. But I think as part of their techo-elitism they keep it really hard to use. Microsoft and Apple on the other hand go to great lengths to make things like hardware and software installation nearly dummy proof. If Linux wants to have a prayer of dethroning anyone, the geeks who work on the OS had better wake up and make it so it adds some sort of value to my computing experience without adding headaches. Programmers are too small of a niche market to keep the Linux makers solvent.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Posted by Tanstaafl - Illinois man accused of being Iraqi agent - Jul. 9, 2003

This is sorta interesting. Do you suppose they actually found papers about this guy, or did one of our recent captures spill the beans quickly?

Posted by Jake
Malpractice bill dies in Senate

So I got good news and bad news.

Bad news. The Democrats killed a bill that is not only outwardly reasonable, but has been historically confirmed (see California) to restrain malpractice insurance prices. Here is my favorite explanation for why:

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota also told reporters that the proposed cap would apply more broadly than to doctors. “Under that cap would also go HMOs, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, you name it, drug companies. ... This is more than just a doctor protection. This is a protection for anybody involved in health care delivery.”

How exactly is that bad? I mean I love to stick it to the drug companies as much as the next guy -- because I mean really, what have they been doing the last couple of years except extending life expectancy by decade or so -- but by what standard is an across the board reduction in operating cost (translated into an across the board cost reduction for consumers) a bad thing?

Good news. The Republicans just got the biggest club ever for the next election. What are these yahoos thinking? These laws are being passed in their home states already, so it is not like people don't want them.

Posted by Jake
Peter Jennings becomes a U.S. citizen

1) Wait, Peter Jennings wasn't a US citizen?!

2) I love this quote:

Jennings was called upon to deliver a toast to the United States in Philadelphia on Thursday at the dedication of a new museum celebrating the U.S. Constitution.

When he was done, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told Jennings, "not bad for a Canadian."

Posted by Jake
Afghans can see progress since fall of Taliban

In the words of Andrew Sullivan, "You won't read this in the NYT."

There are reasons for optimism, albeit cautious optimism. I accept that there have been setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can even accept that much more is going wrong than the administration is willing to admit: we are facing a guerilla war, organized or otherwise. But I refuse to make the intellectual leap so many are rushing to make that difficulty implies illegitamacy. It is this leap, rather than American casualties, which is most likely to make us fail by pulling out too early.

Life's rough. In the Middle East it is rougher, but there are signs of improvement.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Posted by Jake
Moral Stupidity -- Orson Scott Card

Yes, this is in fact the same guy wrote the books Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. He makes some very interesting comments about equivocation, but my favorite is the line "Tony Blair Democrat":

Because we live in a world where we choose up sides first, and make moral decisions afterward, based almost entirely on what will serve the interest of our team.

It makes me ashamed of the Democratic Party that this seems to be the only moral process available to the party's leadership. I used to call myself a "Moynihan Democrat."

But now that he's dead, I'm reduced to calling myself a "Tony Blair Democrat."

It's long but worth reading. Some of the blogs were quick to draw the association between George Bush and Ender Wiggin, but I think that might be a bit of a stretch. Anyway, he should start writing columns...

Posted by Jake
Day by Day -- by Chris Muir

I don't know if you guys have seen this, but this guy is hilarious. Here I thought I would never read political cartoons again. (If you don't look today make sure the date is set to 7/8/03 on the site.)

Posted by Matthew
I think we can all be happy for this guy.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Posted by Matthew
Downloading the Future of TV Advertising

Y'all've probably seen the ad this guy is talking about, and I agree that the dude is doing the typical journalistic "trying to make a story out of a nothing" routine, but there still is a point there: heaven forbid sombody manages to make a comercial people want to see. Its amazing how long its taken for someone to figure that out.

(P.S. Wow... what a great word: "Y'all've")

Posted by Jake
Jake's Triumphant Return to Blogging

Nasdaq soars to near 14-month high, Dow also gains on Microsoft dividend report, recovery hopes.

Hmmm. Well I guess economics does work.

Now all of you people who said it wouldn't work apologize...Well I guess I will just have to wait...

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Posted by Matthew
Thought Question of the Day:

What does this say about "art"?

I think its cool that they commissioned this piece, it sounds nifty. But I find this situation remarkably amusing, and in a way, an entirely different reflection on life. Dude saw some thing "broken" and so he fixed it. I just think that's terrific. I think there is a whole artistic movement waiting to happen: "broken stuff to be fixed" and just put it out into the world and see what happens. In a way this reminds me of the artist in LA who about a year ago climbed up onto some poorly executed freeway signage, and replaced them with very official looking and vastly clearer and informative signage. He saw something done poorly, which he then took it upon himself to right.

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