Sunday, May 28, 2006

Survival of the Itty-Bittest

Atlantic silversides
Seen on NPR's site, the story of how factory fishing is unintentionally selecting for smallness: Ocean Fishing May Spread 'Runt' Genes. It's obvious when you think about it: when the super-efficient factory fishing boats pick up all the biggest and best fish, year after year, only the smaller ones remain to procreate.
To see if catching all the big ones really could really make that happen -- force evolution to favor little fish -- Conover built his ocean eight years ago, and then started fishing.

Armed with long-handled nets, his team of researchers plays the role of the fishing boats. They scoop up silversides and then carefully measure each one, shouting out the length to a record keeper as they work.

Then, they throw back some of the fish. These are the lucky ones that get to pass along their genes.

Conover has now fished his way through eight generations of silversides.

He's found that, as predicted, if you take the big fish out of a school and leave the little ones, you'll end up with a population of runts. Moreover, it can happen very fast -- in just four years, or four generations.

Conover says those results suggest that fish out in the ocean can undergo the same kind of rapid evolution seen all the time on land.

"We know that pests evolve rapidly in response to pesticides," he says. "We know that diseases can quickly evolve responses to the antibiotics that we develop. All we're saying with fisheries is that the same process happens here. So we are undermining the capacity of the population to rebound from fishing."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Professor Feith's Syllabus

On Jesus' General: Professor Feith and the huge, fat, orange weapon of mass destruction, in which he gives a preview of what Doug Feith's course at Georgetown University will cover.
This course introduces students to the use of fiction to promote foreign policy initiatives. Students will study the latest methods for undermining reality-based analysis using fantasy, fiction, treachery, torture and ad hominem argumentation.


Students are expected to:

# make outrageous claims and defend them by viciously attacking anyone who tries to refute them by employing logic.

# Demonstrate that the Syracuse mascot, a huge fat orange, is in fact a mobile biological weapons lab and a contributor to Move On.

# Be prepared to inflict pain slightly less agonizing that which is associated with organ failure to randomly selected classmates.

# Successfully defend one of the following claims:
A) Ronald Reagan invented television
B) Ann Coulter is a woman
C) Intelligent Design is Science
D) We've turned the corner in Iraq


Students are expected to make up an academic sounding title and convince the dean that they read it and that it confirms whatever the instructor claims during lectures.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Colbert on DeLay, and on DeLay's Website

screenshot of with Colbert clip
Via Talking Points Memo, this absolutely hilarious bit: We all know Stephen Colbert, the farcically sincere right-wing TV character on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report". He's the guy made famous by his recent ruthless grilling of the Bush administration and the press at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner.

Okay, maybe not everyone knows him. Whoevever's running Tom DeLay's defense fund website doesn't, that's for sure. Because right there on the defense fund's home page is video of an interview from the Colbert Report with Robert Greenwald, maker of the movie "The Big Buy, How Tom DeLay Stole Congress". Apparently they don't even get that they're the ones being made fun of here! Some excerpts:
Colbert: "Who hates America most? You or Michael Moore?"

Colbert: "Okay, how'd he steal it?"
Greenwald: "He stole it by breaking the law, and when you break the law you go to prison"
Colbert: [badgering; cutting him off and interrupting him, until Greenwald relents, laughing] "The man's not in prison, sir!", "Is he in prison right now?", "If he's not in prison, he's not guilty", etc.

Colbert: "Is he being held in Guantanamo?"
Greenwald: "That is a great idea!"
Colbert: "Because my understanding is, if you're in Guantanamo, you're guilty. And if he's not there, probably he's innocent."

Colbert: "Look at that smile [in DeLay's mugshot]! Would you be smiling that hard if you were guilty of a crime?"

Greenwald: "In Texas, you cannot take corporate money. It is breaking a simple law. And when you do that - and Ronnie Earle is proving it - then you have to pay the consequences."

Colbert: "Ronnie Earle's just going after him because he's a camera hog, right?"

Colbert: "Last time I checked, Republicans won [the election]. Okay? They should get to do what they want, sir."
Greenwald: "Including breaking the law?"
Colbert: "Listen, they make the law! They're the Congress. They switch it around! If we don't like it, we vote 'em out of office on those electronic machines."

Greenwald: "Crooks should not be in Washington deciding the fate of this country; he is a crook."
[audience breaks in with applause and laughter]
Colbert: [to the audience] "Don't coax me. I'm gonna get him; don't worry."

Colbert: "DeLay wants his gun back. Are you the reason?"

Colbert: "Alright. You're an entrepeneur; I honor that. Of course, the product you're pushing is the destruction of America. Good luck with that. If you don't destroy America, please come back!"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

McCain's Crooked Talk Express

On A Tiny Revolution, Jonathan Schwarz has written McCain Gives Us More Straight Talk About How Great Santa Claus Is, in which he relates the tale of a Vietnam war protestor of McCain's acquaintance who had a revelation:
He saw the huge cargo planes bearing the insignia of the United States Air Force rushing emergency supplies into [Israel, during the Yom Kippur War in 1973]. And he had an epiphany. He had believed America had made a tragic mistake by going to Vietnam, and he still did. He had seen what he believed were his country’s faults, and he still saw them. But he realized he had let his criticism temporarily blind him to his country’s generosity and the goodness that most Americans possess, and he regretted his failing deeply.

Schwarz goes on to give a less misty-eyed account of the "American generosity" behind that aid:
the U.S. hopped to with the airlift because on October 8th and 9th we began hearing from Israel that they were seriously considering the use of nuclear weapons. This, of course, would inevitably have led to World War III between America and the Soviet Union.

...There was widespread rage inside the Israeli cabinet at the Nixon White House—aimed especially at Henry Kissinger—over what was correctly perceived in Israel as an American strategy of delaying the resupply...

Thus does McCain convert the most cold-blooded realpolitik on the part of the U.S. and Israeli governments into a happy fairy tale about how his wayward friend realized America is good, good, GOOD!

Following on the McCain bashing is Bob Harris, in A Convenient Untruth. He focuses on McCain at the 2000 Republican Convention:
Even after McCain had tried to play to his Maverick™ brand identity for months by making repeated overtures to the then-growing reform movement which manifested itself in the Nader campaign and Arianna Huffington's "Shadow Conventions;" even after being steamrolled by a Bush campaign cash machine which had an early 15-to-1 advantage over McCain in cash-in-hand; and even after the Bush campaign had personally swift-boated McCain in South Carolina by circulating false rumors about McCain's mental health, his wife's drug problems, McCain's supposed fatherhood of a illegitimate black child, and more...

Before the convention's end -- I believe on the morning after his forced-march endorsement of Dubya -- McCain was on TV, saying with a straight face that (I will never forget these words) "George Bush is the real reform candidate."

Both posts are interesting and go into more detail; they're worth reading in full. The bottom line is the reminder that McCain - the "maverick", the "reformer", etc. - is full of just as much bullshit as you'd expect from a politician (especially a Republican).

Onion Vol. 42 #21

Just one little pearl Onion today. In fact, I wouldn't bother at all, but any reference to the chupacabra cannot be ignored!

Infographic: Preventing Illegal Immigration
  • Place "Welcome to Canada" signs at Mexican border to confuse illegal immigrants into walking south
  • Shut down power grids nationwide, pretend we're not home
  • Invent legend of Border Chupacabra, which eats anyone not in possession of valid U.S. passport

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Government Without Newspapers

Pretty damn chilling news this weekend, reported on Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory (all emphasis and links as in the original):
The administration's assault on a free and vital press took a huge leap forward this weekend, when Attorney General Alberto Gonazles announced on national television that the Bush administration has the power to imprison journalists who publish stories revealing conduct by the President which the administration wants to conceal (such as the warrantless NSA eavesdropping program, which he specifically cited).

...Literally, if George Bush had his way -- if government sources were sufficiently intimidated out of disclosing classified information and journalists were sufficiently intimidated out of writing about it -- we would not know about any of these matters:
  • Abu Ghraib
  • The Bybee Torture Memorandum
  • The use of torture as an interrogation tool
  • The illegal eavesdropping on Americans without warrants
  • The creation of secret gulags in Eastern Europe
  • The existence of abundant pre-war information undermining and even negating the administration's WMD claims
  • Policies of rendering prisoners to the worst human rights-abusing countries

Our Government would be engaging in all of this conduct, and worse. But we would not know about any of it.

...I've cited this Jefferson warning several times before, and included it in my book, because it is so prescient and so self-evidently applicable to the Bush administration:
"Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions."

My brother, a lawyer, proposes this idea:
If the feds prosecute a leaker or reporter, and the federal whistleblower law, or our general constitutional protections, result in their acquital, then that federal prosecutor and any of his/her superiors who ordered the prosecution, should themselves be prosecuted for violations of civil rights under the federal civil rights laws. That would even the playing field a little bit! It is a crime for one or more persons acting under color of law willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

The creepiest part of this latest power grab is the silence of the press themselves on this issue.

UPDATE: Another simply amazing bit, via another Glenn Greenwald post. This is Bush, in a speech yesterday in Chicago, in response to a question about Venezuela and Bolivia:
I want to remind people that the United States stands against corruption at all levels of government, that the United States is transparent.

"Transparent" must now mean, "You can see everything, except what we won't show you. And by the way, if you try to see that part, you're going to jail."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Inconvenient Truths and the Inconvenient Honest People Who Tell Them

Some people aren't too happy about Al Gore's new movie An Inconvenient Truth. Guess who? Think Progress has the story: Big Oil Launches Attack On Al Gore:
Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will unveil two 60-second TV ads focusing on what it calls "global warming alarmism and the call by some environmental groups and politicians to reduce fossil fuel and carbon dioxide emissions."

As usual, all you have to do is follow the money to find out who's more credible. According to Mother Jones, ExxonMobil alone had given almost $1.4 million to CEI as of this time last year.

The root problem here is a textbook-worthy example of what's wrong with our media's constant and inappropriate insistence on "balance," which is achieved by finding some dingbat or dipshit (any ol' dingbat or dipshit will do!) who counters whatever the facts are. Couple that with a big, fat industry that's got plenty of money to provide very believable-sounding dingbats and dipshits, and this is what you get: continued confusion on something that's not confusing.

Say it with me now, and continue to say it as loudly and vociferously as you can whenever and wherever the subject comes up: human-caused global climate change is happening. It is a fact, not a theory, and it is not contested by any impartial scientists.

See this Science Magazine article, The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change:
Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science. Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.

...This analysis [of 928 scientific studies, of which zero disagreed with the concensus position] shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.

...there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Defending From Reality

From Bob Harris' blog: Bush dispatches National Guard to defend the border with Reality.
In a move White House staffers describe as an attempt to shore up his remaining support, President Bush last night announced his intention to send National Guard troops to line his administration's increasingly fragile border with Reality.

...In last night's address, the president took his case to the American people that Reality is "out of control," and as a result he is dispatching "five schmillion" National Guard troops to patrol its borders.

..."The use of the military, however, does not mean that this is militarization," the president added, pretending to drink from an invisible teacup.

Recommended Sites

It's pretty customary for a blog to feature a blogroll, a list of links to other blogs and sites recommended and frequented often by the author. Since this whole blog does little more than link to other sites, I always felt that a blogroll would be duplicated, repetitive, superfluous and redundant.

However, there are sites that I visit all the time, and that I would recommend, but that don't usually have stuff that's worth linking to from here. Mimi Smartypants is a perfect example. She's the bomb, and when I find a new post there, I get all kinds of excited, yet she rarely writes about the things I usually post here.

So here's a new thing. I made a bookmark list, and added an link to it over in the sidebar (near the bottom, under "Cool Like Me"): Recommended Sites. The order of the list is more or less random; I don't see a way in to order them. But that's mostly the sites I check in on every day or so. Enjoy!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Parall-Al Earth

Saturday Night Live this weekend (5/13) had a couple of great cameos by Al Gore. On Weekend Update, he debated Amy Poehler about whether global warming is bad (his position) or "Awesome!" (Amy's position). That was pretty good, and ended with Amy beating Al to the punch by calling herself an ignorant slut, but the best part was the intro. It showed an Earth from a parallel universe, where Al won the 2000 presidential election. (Get the title now? Like, "parallel" Earth, with Al in charge? Clever, eh?) See the video at Crooks And Liars or YouTube.
Right now, in the 2nd week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history. We have way too much gasoline. Gas is down to $0.19 a gallon and the oil companies are hurting. I know that I am partly to blame by insisting that cars run on trash. I am therefore proposing a federal bailout to our oil companies because - hey if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us.

...There are some of you that want to spend our money on some made-up war. To you I say: what part of "lockbox" don't you understand? What if there's a hurricane or a tornado? Unlikely I know because of the Anti-Hurricane and Tornado Machine I was instrumental in helping to develop.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stick This In Your Pipe and Poll It

Glenn Greenwald (author of How Would A Patriot Act?), has some follow-up to yesterday's Washington Post poll that concluded more than 60% of Americans "found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism".

First is a link to a post on Firedoglake, Bush League, which takes to task pollster Richard Morin (who's probably just angry at the world for the names he was surely called as a kid - think about it!):
So before the phone records story even breaks, Morin — who knows absolutely what he is doing — starts polling people who have no idea what he’s talking about and giving it his best shot, tying it to the War on Terra. It works. Today it’s plastered across the front page of the like Carol Doda’s bright red lightbulb tits flashing at the Condor Club.

Second, a link to a Newsweek poll showing much different opinions:
More than half of Americans believe the government's secret collection of telephone records is an excessive invasion of privacy, according to a poll released by Newsweek magazine.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said the data collection program goes too far in violating Americans' privacy.

...The Newsweek poll found that 57 percent of Americans think President George W. Bush's administration has gone too far in expanding presidential power. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said it hasn't gone too far.

There's other good tidbits in Glenn's post; read all, I entreat you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More Books

Several book-related postettes, rolled into one handy and convenient post.
Democracy's Edge, by Frances Moore Lappe

I read an excerpt of this on Atrios, and then found Amazon has an excerpt, too. Something about the description and the excerpts struck me, and I ordered it. It should be here any day; I'll let you know how it was.
Instead of going up to Gerlach afterward and telling him his ad was an assault on democracy -- something I prided myself for doing at the time -- I could have simply stood up when he refused to disown his own ad. I could have announced that I would remain standing until Mr. Gerlach acknowledged his mistake. My voice would have quivered as my heart pounded. But my example might have enabled others to stand. And even if not one person had joined me, at least there would have been an inescapable message in the room about the preciousness of democratic principle. Beyond focusing on policy differences, everyone there would have been called to reflect on the need to defend democracy itself.

Conservative Nanny State, by Dean Baker

I heard about this on Tiny Revolution yesterday. I haven't read it yet, but it's a free e-book (PDF), so there's no excuse for either of us not to.
Conservatives want to use the government to distribute income upward to higher paid workers, business owners, and investors. They support the establishment of rules and structures that have this effect. First and foremost, conservatives support nanny state policies that have the effect of increasing the supply of less-skilled workers (thereby lowering their wages), while at the same time restricting the supply of more highly educated professional employees (thereby raising their wages).

Now It's My Turn, by Mary Cheney

Okay, I'm not recommending this one, but the review Jesus' General posted for it on Amazon is well worth a read.
I'm not sure I understand why Miss Cheney became a Republican political operative. After all, the party isn't exactly welcoming people like her--87% of all Republicans want to stone her to death and 92% want her to just shut up while they watch her make-out with another woman.

I imagine she has a good reason. Perhaps, she thinks a soul is a small price to pay for access to all that wealth and power, or maybe she was worried that Dick would shoot her in the face if she declined. In any event, she worked very hard to elect people who will do everything possible to deny her the benefits that come with achieving personhood. I like that about her. I wish more people would sacrifice their selfish desire to be treated with dignity in order to serve our betters more effectively.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Onion Vol. 42 #19

4,000-Pound Wreath
Kofi Annan Places
4,000-Pound Wreath
On Mass Grave

Another good Onion this week. Maybe it just struck a chord with me, but the first one here is really good; just classic Onion.
  • I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part For The Environment
    And growing some of my own organic vegetables in my backyard garden also, to my immense gratification, reduces the use of toxic chemical-based pesticides and herbicides present in corporate farming techniques by as much as 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent.

    These quixotic, Sisyphean efforts are my way of dealing with what is perhaps the most crucial and difficult issue of our time.

  • What Do You Think? On Medical Marijuana
    • "Instead of wasting time on political moves like this, the FDA should get back to doing what it does best; approving new boner pills."
    • "This is the slippery slope, man! First they outlaw medical marijuana, and the next thing you know, it's only a matter of time before they make ALL pot illegal."
    • "It's not like the FDA left cancer patients out to dry. They can still smoke cigarettes."

  • Sherpa Can Already Tell You're Not Going To Make It
    "A man of advertising cannot prepare for a low-oxygen ascent by jogging in Aspen, as I have said many times before," wrote Dorjee.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pink - "Dear Mr. President"

Okay, it's been more than five years, and we've gotten some good entertainment out of "President" Bush. And as things have gotten worse and worse, at least the silver lining is this: the entertainment's gotten better and better.

There's Neil Young's new album (mentioned previously, and in stores today). There's Stephen Colbert's balls-of-iron performance at the White House Correspondents dinner right to Bush's face (that video was yanked off YouTube, but is now officially back at Google Video). And now, there's Pink's song, "Dear Mr. President".

I'm no big Pink fan (nor am I a big, pink fan). Or rather, I wasn't a big Pink fan; maybe I'll have to reconsider. Because this one almost makes Neil's "Let's Impeach the President" look like an endorsement from an old friend. I mean, damn. Listen to it (video at Crooks and Liars or YouTube, or buy the song from the iTunes Music Store), and see what I mean.
What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine
(full lyrics)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

SCO Shop

Via the bizarre web comic Everybody Loves Eric Raymond, which is very original but not all that funny, comes a link to something that is funny. It combines SCO's lawsuit against IBM and one of my favorite Monty Python sketches ever, the Cheese Shop.

Yes, it's the two great tastes that go great together, intellectual property law and British humor: SCO Shop
Judge: Keyboard drivers? Vi, emacs, sendmail, x-windows, man pages, bash shell?

SCO Lawyer: No.

Judge: "Tux Racer", perhaps?

SCO Lawyer: Ah! We have evidence for that, yessir.

Judge: (suprised) You do! Excellent.

SCO Lawyer: Yes sir. The media it's on tho, it's's a bit smudged up...

Judge: Oh, I don't mind a bit of a reading challenge.

SCO Lawyer: Well...It's very smudged, actually, sir.

Judge: No matter. Fetch hither the evidence of IBM's wrong doing!

SCO Lawyer: I ... think it's a bit more smudged than you'd like, sir.

Judge: I don't care how ****ing smudged it is. Hand it over with all speed.

SCO Lawyer: Ooooooooooohhhh...!

Judge: What now?

SCO Lawyer: The paralegal's eaten it.

Judge: Has he.

SCO Lawyer: She, sir.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Kinky, The Guv (How Hard Can It Be?)

Vote For Kinky!

The third KinkyToon is out:
Kinky's musical buddies come out in force in the third KinkyToon online web commercial... the tongue-in-cheek ad features an array of famous Texas musicians including Billy Joe Shaver, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Willie Nelson, Pat Green and The Dixie Chicks, all imploring Texans to save their votes for Kinky in November...

"If you want Texas great again, not always bein' last, then save yourself for Kinky and tomorrow we'll kick ass," sings Texas music legend Billy Joe Shaver in the KinkyToon.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


'Lapdogs' book cover
Via Atrios, another book: Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush. There's a long (14,000 word) excerpt on Salon.

Let this be the final nail in the bullshit coffin of those who claim the existence of a "liberal media" anywhere but in the most fevered right-wing minds. A few of the most notable bits:
Laying out the reasons for war, Bush that night mentioned al-Qaida and the terrorist attacks of September 11 thirteen times in less than an hour, yet not a single journalist challenged the presumed connection Bush was making between al-Qaida and Iraq, despite the fact that intelligence sources had publicly questioned any such association.

...Bush never could have ordered the invasion of Iraq -- never could have sold the idea at home -- if it weren't for the help he received from the MSM, and particularly the stamp of approval he received from so-called liberal media institutions such as the Washington Post, which in February of 2003 alone, editorialized in favor of war nine times. (Between September 2002 and February 2003, the paper editorialized twenty-six times in favor of the war.)

...In September 2002 [Senator Ted Kennedy] made a passionate, provocative, and newsworthy speech raising all sorts of doubts about the war. It garnered exactly one sentence -- thirty-six words total -- of coverage from the Post, which in 2002 printed more than a thousand articles and columns, totaling perhaps 1 million words about Iraq, but only set aside thirty-six words for Kennedy's antiwar cry.

...According to figures from media analyst Andrew Tyndall, of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC, and CBS from September 2002 until February 2003, almost all the stories could be traced back to sources from the White House, the Pentagon, or the State Department. Only 34 stories, or just 8 percent, were of independent origin.

...On MSNBC, Norah O'Donnell referred to the "left-wing supporters" behind [anti-war protestor Cindy] Sheehan. Later she asked a guest if Sheehan had become "a tool of the left," while pressing another on whether it was wise for Sheehan to be associated with "antiwar extremists" camped out in Crawford. (At no point during the 2005 Schiavo story did an MSNBC anchor ever suggest the pro-life parents had become "tools of the right.")

..."You leak a story to the New York Times and the New York Times prints it, and then you go on the Sunday shows quoting the New York Times and corroborating your own information," noted CBS reporter Bob Simon. "You've got to hand it to them. That takes, as we say here in New York, chutzpah."

...On February 20, 2003, when Ashcroft personally announced the terrorist indictment of Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor, the news conference was carried live on CNN... and the story generated a wave of excited media attention. Al-Arian's case never had anything to do with bin Laden or Saddam, but Bush's Justice Department, which indicted Al-Arian just one month before the invasion of Iraq, made sure to leave the impression that the crucial terror case would keep America safe. That night, ABC's World News Tonight led its newscast with the Al-Arian indictment. Both NBC and CBS also gave the story prominent play that evening. But fast forward to December 2005 when, in an embarrassing blow to prosecutors, Al-Arian was acquitted by a conservative Tampa, Florida, jury. Big news, right? Nope. That night, neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC led with the terror case on their evening newscasts. None of them slotted it second or third either. In fact, none of the networks reported the acquittal at all.

...Another way cable news outlets boosted Bush's War on Terror was by simply handing over huge chunks of airtime to the president for him to use however he wanted... CNN officials insisted the coverage reflected the unique war on terrorism being waged. "CNN, like all news organizations, makes decisions about its coverage based on the stories of the day. In covering a war at home and military action overseas, it is necessary to cover the administration making the decisions, regardless of political party," said a network spokesperson.

The high-minded protestations of the news channels notwithstanding, the fact was that the majority of the Bush events the cable outlets rushed to cover had nothing whatsoever to do with the war on terrorism. Viewers who regularly watched CNN in 2002 saw it break away from programming to show Bush delivering prepared, extended remarks in front of friendly, partisan crowds about faith-based charities, defense modernization, education reform and tax cuts, education, simplifying tax codes for small business, strengthening Social Security, protecting the rights of investors, welfare reform, and on and on and on.

If you want still more, note that there's another excerpt on the Amazon page.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How Would A Patriot Act?

'How Would A Patriot Act?' book cover

Glenn Greenwald, author of Unclaimed Territory, has written a book: How Would a Patriot Act?. Looks like a winner; read what Greenwald says about the release while I go order a copy.

What I hope will be the book's principal impact is to cast a very bright light on the fact that all of these Bush administration scandals which are always discussed in isolation -- lawless detentions, secret prisons, the use of torture, illegal eavesdropping, etc. -- are merely symptoms of a profound political crisis which our country faces, brought about by the fact that this administration has adopted radical theories of power whereby the President literally and expressly claims the right to act without restraint, including those imposed by law. The powers seized by this president are exactly those powers about which the founders most urgently and explicitly warned, and which they sought, first and foremost, to prevent.

I'm still waiting for my confirmation email from Amazon; here, read what Digby says about it:
This is an issue with which every American, regardless of party, should be concerned. The founders knew that relying on the good will of men in power is stupid and we are seeing their predictions come true before our very eyes. The modern Republican leadership may currently have a monopoly on authoritarian impulses, but they are by no means the only people in this country who could be seduced by this Republican notion of executive authority. The constitution is what protects all Americans from the dark side of human nature when it has power over others, regardless of party or political philosophy. Those of us who worry about this usurpation of the constitution and degradation of the Bill of Rights know that this is not a passing fashion that will easily be tucked back into its former shape. Once you allow powerful men to seize power it's awfully hard to persuade their successors to give it back.

Onion Vol. 42 #18

Today's Onion; not bad.

  • Illegal Immigrants Returning To Mexico For American Jobs
    "It was a nightmare," Jimenez said. "Many became disoriented and panicked, and some were mixed in with immigrants going the other way across the Rio Grande and ended up swimming to the wrong country."

    He added: "My cousin almost drowned. They fished him out and sent him back to wash dishes at T.G.I. Friday's."

  • Hussein Court Shocked By Ironclad Alibi
    Iraqi Special Tribunal Judge Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman said the state "has no case" against Hussein after viewing security-camera footage of the 69-year-old buying cigarettes and candy at a St. Louis-area 7-Eleven.

  • Comic-Book Superrman Impervious To Copyediting
    "Thrill to the exploits of Superrman, the only child of a doomed plant! Gasp in awe at his Superr-Strength, X-Roy Vision, and his ability to leap mall buildings in a single bounce!" read a press release issued by DCC.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Mac Ads

Via Daring Fireball, funny new Apple Mac ads: Get A Mac. I especially recommend "Viruses", "Restarting" and "Networking". They're good ones.

In case you're wondering why I'm providing free advertising and promotion for a for-profit corporation - well, it's my mission here to provide you things for your protection, remember? Seriously, Macs are better. They just are. If you don't have one yet, do yourself a favor.