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May 10, 2003
Me-me-me, and politics It has

Me-me-me, and politics

It has to be said that in the 70s, as much as I was political at all, I was out there on the Left.

I supported 95% of the progressive social movement, up to and including bra-burning (which I never did quite understand the symbolism of, but which I supported anyhow), gay rights, and legislation to provide equal opportunity and ban development from all of the USofA's remaining wilderness areas.

In the 80s, a series of personal and family crises, and college, distracted me from politics which, under Reagan, disgusted me anyhow. It wasn't until the election of Clinton in the early 90s that I felt the country was getting back on track.

Surely with the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and the ending of the Cold War, the country would now be able to turn its attention back to itself, to re-evaluate social programs, strengthen environmental protections, and address the failing educational infrastructure?

You can imagine my dismay when 8 years of politically driven witchhunts sapped half the energy of the Clinton Administration and forced their already-centrist stand on many issues even farther right.

And now, of course, we have Cheney Bush. My one remaining hope is that the media's newly awakened sense of responsibility (or it is outrage at discovering the lies they swallowed and disseminated?) will hammer home to voters the essential dishonesty of the current Administration.

And of course the Democrats need to figure out who's going to run in 2004, create a platform, pick their issues, and get behind the candidate 150%.

Now. Before the public gets so bored they change the channel again. There's time now to get a front-runner or two turned into household names and keep those names in front of the public for the next year.

Just don't let it be Lieberman, okay?

(I finally started reading The Emerging Democratic Majority.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
May 09, 2003
You can lead a horse to water....

The OnlineJournal (not the cringe-making "opinion" journal, but a different publication altogether) says someone should call the Administration on telling lies about the threat Iraq posed to the USofA but we've been trying to. We're not having much luck getting anyone's attention and I'm starting to have just a tiny bit of sympathy for the reporters, dishonest though many of them were, who couldn't whip up any outrage against Clinton, no matter what excesses, potential excesses, and sexual acts they revealed.

[ diversion ]

(Let's take a moment out to wonder if today's public indifference to the flaws and weaknesses of the Bush Administration are being ignored because people got used to wild, unsupported claims that came to nothing and proved to be untrue when Clinton was in office and because they now no longer believe what they're being told? That now, even with publicly available documentation of what Bush&Co are up to, they donít have the time or the energy to go read and figure out what's going on?)

[ /diversion ]

Heck, I haven't even been able to convince individual people I talk to that the Administration has lied again and again about the Weapons of Mysterious Disappearance and about the real threat level of Iraq.

I send them to articles, discuss the connections, point out how the government has backed off, changed the topic, and changed its rhetoric over the last six months and They. Just. Can't. See. It. and they say that's the media and the media's interpretation and it's not the government at all.

I say there was no reason to attack Iraq at this moment when we were supposed to be chasing down terrorists. They say Hussein was in league with the terrorists and they say the articles announcing that no such connection existed are "liberal bias," ignoring the fact that no balancing conservative articles exist that prove said connection.

I say that Hussein didn't have any weapons or anything else we didn't know about because USofA companies were the ones selling Iraq most of the banned goods and that many, many of those same companies have suspiciously close ties to the current Administration so it's not likely that there's much going on that the Administration isn't well-informed about so if there are WMD then we probably know just where they're located and, in fact, we claimed that we knew where the stuff was but refused to share the information with the U.N. inspectors, so why can't we find these hundreds of pounds of chemicals, etc., and they become condescending on the subject of "mobile" labs and ignore my questions about how someone sitting in a minivan next to plutonium or dangerous chemicals or biological agents protects themselves or they point a triumphant finger at that 100 or however many chem. protection suits we found and once again ignore me when I ask why the suits were in that place, in storage, instead of out being used and why wasn't there even the tiniest bit of evidence that the suits or the site had ever come into contact with WMD components or they become even more condescending and lecture me on the concept of "warehouses" and when I ask why a hundred suits when they would have needed a quarter of a million to really protect their soldiers and they say other suits would have been stored somewhere else and when I ask where because no finds have been reported they say that they aren't being reported because they're not that important but they're the ones who said they were important because they're the ones who said the existence of the suits was a significant "proof" of the WMD claim.

They insist the weapons exist, and that today's Administration isn't responsible for Corporate America's sins committed under Clinton and they ignore me when I point out that these relationships were primarily formed under Reagan or the first Bush and they also ignore me when I try to talk about the corporate reform legislation that Clinton tried to enact and had killed by the corporate-owned Congress.

(That's what people do when they don't have an answer to your questions. They pick and choose what parts to answer. Am I alone in finding a lot of the pro-war crowd doing this?)

(Actually, that's not fair, Everyone who's half-informed on a topic does it when things get sticky.)

They say that if there's 500 pounds of this, that, and the other, as claimed, or 'only' 50 pounds, it doesnít matter because it's still WMD and it's not really a lie to misplace a decimal point and the real point is that there are WMD and that makes it all true and legal and righteous of us to have made war on Iraq.

They say, "Anyhow, Hussein was evil and needed to be removed," and when I ask how they can justify a war in 2003 because of atrocities committed over a decade ago, they say, 'better late than never' and point out that the Iraqi people are now happily liberated.

I tell them that the famous toppling of the statue was staged and that masses of Iraqis weren't there cheering, and that, in fact, people are still dying over there because Iraq, while it wanted rid of Hussein, doesn't want the USofA as a substitute and they say it doesn't matter if everyone doesn't love us and anyhow we're the ones who paid for the war so we get to say what's what and if the Iraqis don't like it, they can shut up and they don't seem to understand that THIS IS NOT FREEDOM.

Ahem.

I say we should have had a plan and we should have protected the infrastructure of the country we were bombing into hell and they say that wasn't our job and that we were there to liberate people, not to protect them. (Okay, the last bit is my extrapolation, but it's the logical conclusion of their statement.)

I say Iraq wasn't a threat to us.

Probability always ran against the idea. Iraq is less than one-twentieth the size of America in land area, and less than one-tenth the size of America in population. In fact, Iraq is smaller than Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, both Koreas, and Poland. It has less than one-third the population of Vietnam. (These figures are derived from the World Almanac and Book of Facts.) The Iraqis have already been wasted by two wars in the past 20 years which depleted their male population. Despite their vast oil resources, industry and agriculture are debilitated. Without allies, or Kuwait, they hardly have a port. Even the CIA;s World Fact Book details the miseries of Iraq's economy.

Against this backdropĖlet's call it, for want of a better word, realityĖthe Bush White House pushed a campaign that Saddam's Iraq posed a threat to the largest military power the world has ever seen, a hemisphere away, because of secret weapons so terrible that they have yet to be named.

And they say Iraq was a threat, a huge threat, because of WMD and because Hussein was linked to bin Laden and anyhow do we have to wait until we're attacked before we defend ourselves and do we have to let people die before we stamp out terrorism and I tell them that Iraq had a totalitarian government but that they were not involved in or able to undertake any large-scale, organized terrorism because they didn't have the resources and because most of the Arab terrorist organizations are religious fundamentalists who loathe Hussein more than we do.

And they say Iraq was a threat because they didn't need much in the way of resources because they had Weapons of Mass Destruction and anyhow, what about Hussein helping the 9/11 terrorists and I say no such weapons have been found and even some Administration officials are now admitting they don't really expect to find much and no Iraqis were among the 9/11 terrorists, no links between bin Laden and Hussein have been found or are expected to appear and they say it doesn't matter if we find a lot or only 5 pounds because it's still WMD and misplacing a decimal point isn't really a lie and what about that meeting in Prague or wherever it was and I say that it was one, exploratory meeting that's been known to the entire world since it happened and there was never any evidence, even tenuous evidence that anything came of it and now the conversation is going around and around and around.

I don't know if it's because they don't want to listen to an opposing viewpoint because everyone became so polarized by the war that they now feel a sort of grim determination to have been right no matter what the facts, or if my I.Q. has mysteriously dropped 100 points and I can no longer tell right from wrong and true from false, but I know I get dizzy when I talk to pro-war people.

When all else fails and not even the Free Republic has published anything they can use as support for their arguments (someone actually quoted Horowitz to me and after I took a shower, I explained to them that most of the media is biased and dishonest in one way or another but there is a limit to how far out on the edge they should go for their source material since I wasn't going to pretend to have a rational discussion about Horowitz's insanity), they fall back on the "he was oppressing and killing his people!" rationale, but Hussein has been oppressing and killing people since we put him into power and we've constantly turned a blind eye to it because he was Our Guy In the Middle East when we were fighting Iran and there are other places around the globe where people are more oppressed and more people are dying and all the pro-war crowd can say is that we can't be everywhere at once and when I ask them why we should have started with Iraq, they start up again about the Weapons of Mass Destruction and my head explodes.

I am in such a filthy mood today, you wouldn't believe.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
I'm just saying

Not all of Bush's carefully staged public appearances recently have been on military bases. He's made the time occasionally to boost the family's business concerns by adding companies that do business with his father to the photo-op list.

The BBC knows people want to take action to control their futures, and the BBC wants to identify itself with that movement. It's probably bias on my part that I'd distrust this move from the OpinionJournal but I welcome it from the Beeb.

Today's headline in the Denver Post: Plan Allows US To Control Iraq Oil

They didn't have a plan for feeding the population, they didn't have a plan for getting water to civilians, they didn't have a plan to control looting, they didn't have a plan for who was going to govern the country, but they had a plan for what was going to happen to the oil.

Tell me again how this wasn't all about oil.

Tell me again how badly we wanted to bring Hussein to 'justice' and then explain why we didn't go after him when a plausible lead to his whereabouts appeared. I'm not the only one noticing this and I'm embarrassed I didn't see it before.

And, speaking of corporate evil, not that we were, but we are now, how about the Bechtel corporation? They've got a fairly evil track record which some people are discussing, in spite of Bechtel's love affair with those in power.

Another thing no one had a plan for was the child soldiers in Angola, but I guess that's because while we're all about freedom for the Iraqi people, we don't give a shit about people from Angola who have been dying by the tens of thousands while the rest of the world watched Survivor and debated whether or not they should be able to sue MacDonald's because they had a fat ass.

I'm in a seriously bad mood today. Ben Tripp may go just a little over the top, but he suits today's mood for me.

Have you checked the Iraqi Body Count site recently?

HOW MANY CIVILIANS WERE KILLED BY CLUSTER BOMBS?
The Pentagon says 1: Iraq Body Count says at least 200.
2203 to 2706. The true Iraqi civilian body count lies somewhere between those two numbers.

Have you checked out the Natural Resources Defense Council compilation of the Bush Administration's record on the environment?

Posted by AnneZook at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)
News, News, Get Your Page Fifty News!

I like to go beyond the front page headlines and stuff. Sometimes. That's because the stuff you can find easily in the national news, on the front page can piss me off, and the OpEd pages disturbs me.

I get pissed off, for instance, when I read fawning articles about Bush's Western style. The man was raised on the East Coast and educated in expensive private schools. He's not a down-home Texas guy, in spite of having bought a ranch and a truck to use as campaign gimmicks.

I'm guessing that, all across the country, airport concessionaires are reporting significant increases in revenue for last year. That's because now that we all have to be at the airport and checked in for our seats an hour or two before our flights, we have a lot more time to kill in airports.

And I'm not one for trying to pretend life isn't messy just because there are kids in the room, but there's a limit to how much dirty laundry you should air. I think calling Bush corrupt, even if I agree, is over the line in a schoolroom, unless Livingstone knows something I don't. Bush is an opportunist, a born follower, has an eye for the main chance, and thinks he's entitled to get-rich-quick on daddy's coattails, but at least two of those qualities don't automatically mean he's unfit for office. His ADD might, but whatever.

Remember the other day when I said it was unfair to pick on Halliburton as the font of all evil when it came to dealing with Iraq while the country was under sanctions? I still think that. Sort of. Mostly I think they and the Administration need to be put under the microscope so we can discover just how that all-inclusive contract came about.

Bottom line? It's all about oil.

Let me sit down for a moment and recover from the shock.

You know why you should always read Josh Marshall? Because if you weren't interested enough in the latest "man trades high security secrets for sex" story to read the articles, you might have no other way of discovering that the woman in question was a major player in the Republican party.

I've never belonged to the Sierra Club and I never belonged to Greenpeace, but I'll be members of both before the week is out. This persecution of political and economic "enemies" under the guise of "making war on terror has got to stop.

Pisses me off

And, speaking of things that piss me off, this one did in a big way. It's okay to take potshots at the politicians and the media who are letting us down. In fact, I applaud people who do so. But I don't care to see Hall or anyone else sniping at soldiers for what are, after all, the kinds of things that happen during a war.

Has the relative civility of the much-discussed Geneva Conventions fooled this man into thinking that was is some kind of parlour game where the non-combatants are clearly labelled and somehow immune from harm? Has he falled for the sanitized versions of "war" the media presented us with in the first Gulf War and then this recent bombardment of Iraq? When he thinks of "war" does he think of those fighter jets lazily circling in a blue sky, or of bomber runs passing over and hitting a nice, sanitary button with, one hopes, split-second timing?

Perhaps he's under the impression that the phrase, "war is hell" is either some kind of Madison Avenue cliche or refers to some outmoded kind of war that we don't wage any more?

Someone get this man a dose of reality.

Yes, the things he cites as examples of "cowardice" in Irar during the fighting were regrettable. Some of them were even tragic. What the hell did he expect? It was a war, okay? Fundamentally, war is about people dying. Has the man watched too many episodes of Hogan's Heroes, or what?

Civilians die, children get horribly injured, and innocent bystanders are maimed. It's not all brave soldiers sighting 'the enemy' through the crosshairs of a gun, okay? Why does he think people detest war? Because these are the kinds of things that happen.

He shouldn't watch so blasted much television.

It's unfair, unrealistic, and, yes, cowardly to blame the soldiers for the events he's citing. Blame the leaders who led these young people into unjust and unprovoked carnage, by all means.

But don't blame the soldiers. Their job is to go where they're led. Worse yet, their job is to kill people, surely the most heinous job on earth. But an army is a weapon. An army is a tool that's no better than its leaders and its leaders are the ones responsible for the soldiers' actions.

Every child that died was killed by the Bush Administration. Every man, woman, or child that was maimed was injured by the Bush Administration. Every civilian that died was killed by the Bush Administration. Every person in Iraq who died, and every coalition soldier who died and every journalist who died was killed by the Bush Administration, just as surely as if someone in the White House had pulled the trigger themselves.

If the war was fought on the basis of lies, if the public 'cause' was untrue, if the means of achieving the government's pretended aims caused the deaths of thousands, then blame the government.

Don't blame the soldiers.

Pisses me off.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
May 08, 2003
And the Heat Stays On

Back from an offsite meeting, taking a compulsive next look at today's headlines, and I see: "California Teachers' Fund Members Oppose US $36M Golden Parachute for GSK's CEO".

But there's good news from the medical field as well. Helping the blind to see, that's a project anyone would be proud to be associated with.

On the other hand, your vitamins could kill you.

Sadly, there's news here about conditions in Iraq. Another U.S. soldier dead (actually, two soldiers) and illness is spreading among civilians because they lack clean drinking water. Under-supplied medical personnel are having trouble helping. (I wonder what changed the minds of those at the DoD who said that it wasn't the job of soldiers to help with humanitarian aid?

That last article also features this:

The bulk of the U.S.-led rebuilding effort will focus on southern Iraq, because that region "is a victim of three wars, a rebellion, and absolutely torturous treatment by Saddam Hussein over 30 years," said Garner. "It is in terrible shape. ... Everything in the south is broken."
I wonder if another reason for starting in the south is that the Administration hasn't yet decided what to do about the Kurds in the north?

Remember Mitch "I'm stepping down to run for Indiana Governor" Daniels? Sure you do. Guess who's been subpoenaed "as part of an inquiry into alleged stock dumping at an Indiana utility"? I'd bet his chances of being elected governor aren't that rosy, wouldn't you?

You have to ask yourself, what is is it about the Clintons that scares the Republicans so badly?

"Are you ready for a new Clinton era in Washington?" the letter from the Republican Presidential Task Force begins. "...It could happen. But only if you let it."
Hey, put me on the list of people willing to let it, okay? Put me near the top of the list.

This could lead to an interesting showdown. What's going to happen in Washington when the big-pocket donors start a push to legalize gay marriages and run head-on into the Religious Right? It's going to be the Battle of the Decade with Mammon versus God!

Bring some popcorn and let's sit back and watch the show.

And when it comes to bringing democracy (Hah!) to the Middle East, we really should be considering whether or not democracy would suit their psyches, shouldn't we? Freedom, yes, but not necessarily in a USofA-democratic model. Syria, for instance, doesn't seem to be a viable candidate.

Syria, for example, is the only place on earth that had three coup díetats in one day.
No, I don't see Syria heading down the tame path of open elections any time soon.

On A Lighter Note

I've read some dumb things today, but this might be the dumbest. To lose weight, most people just need to eat better and exercise occasionally. Any adult in this country who says they don't know that chicken-fried steak smothered in gravy is a heart-attack waiting to happen should be fined for excessive stupidity, but it's hardly the fault of restaurants.

A quaint B&B (bed & breakfast) weekend can have charm, but there's a lot to be said for the impersonal anonymity of a hotel.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)
I Should Be Working

(That's my theme this week. I really don't have time for this, but I'm incurably opinionated.)

War

Here's today's good heavens entry.

CEO Compensation

It may not sound like much in this era of hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries and benefits for CEO's, but Zollar's $2.8M compensation is quite enough to raise eyebrows in the medical field.

Once again Robert Zollars, CEO of Neoforma.com, which just posted a net loss of $16.3 million in the first quarter of 2003 ... leads the annual Today in E-Health Business tally of executive compensation in selected e-health companies, with a total salary of over $2.8 million. WebMD's chairman of the board and CEO, Martin Wygod, came in second with a salary of over $1.8 million, excluding stock options....
WebMD also posted a loss last quarter and is said to be "realigning" their management.

Spam

How much do you hate spam? Do you hate it enough to support implementing a bounty for turning in spammers?

Internet Delusions

Internet Delusions.

As the use of computers, the Internet, and Internet technology becomes more pervasive in society, psychopathological thought content characterized by the incorporation of the Internet into delusions and hallucinations will become increasingly common. In the following report, three cases of psychotic inpatients are briefly presented to exemplify this trend in pathoplasticity. Interestingly, patients with no real familiarity with the Internet may just as readily incorporate such computer-associated themes into delusional thought patterns.
(use peevish/peevish to access)

Quite honestly, articles like this say to me just what similar articles about the perils of television said to me twenty-five years ago.

An unbalanced personality is an unbalanced personality, regardless of what specific item, event, or technology it chooses to fixate on.

Instead of warning against television or the internet (not that this article necessarily does), why not put a little more time and effort into restructuring a society too tightly focused on driving people to endless consumption of goods instead of connection with each other? How easy it is to write those words...and how difficult to implement the idea.

I can promise you that neither the government nor the corporations getting rich off of that same consumerism have any stake in us talking to each other instead of slavering over on-line or television ads of whatever the latest toy is. Until people rediscover the joys of other people, these kinds of reports are only going to become more common.

Read My Lips....

The number is $350B, okay? We donít like it, we think no tax cuts for the rich right about now are actually the way to go, but a lot of us are resigned to $350B. Cutting a $726B program to $430B isn't good enough.

Many of the details were, however, still being worked out, including the question of what trade-offs will have to be made to keep the $430 billion measure from costing more than the $350 billion that a recently passed Senate resolution allowed. To bring the price tag down to that number, Republicans were seeking at least $80 billion in offsetting tax increases or spending cuts -- a process that left tax lobbyists nervous yesterday.
I guess I'm just not smart enough to figure out how a $430B program can cost no more than a $350B dollar program, aside from just fudging the numbers.
"There are about $20 billion that they can find pretty easily," said one lobbyist, but beyond that Congress would be going after corporate tax shelters and other tax provisions that have strong backing among GOP supporters in the business community. Although the plan might give a modest boost to the stocks of some companies that pay dividends, most of the Senate plan is tilted heavily toward individual taxpayers.
I'm not excited about rich individuals getting big tax breaks but by gosh it's pretty much worth it if the trade-off is closing corporate loopholes.

Read the entire article. There are a lot of details about what this potential compromise covers and doesn't cover.

Ready? Brace yourself.

It's time to boggle the mind.

Today's subject: Children and mud puddles, and stomping on both.

Let's leave no child behind, okay?

Let's especially educate them about how a little boy can get arrested for, well, acting like a little boy.

Me, I stomp in rainwater puddles, okay? Anyone arrests me for it and there's going to be trouble.

Why do these things happen to children today, when earlier generations of children never faced such lunacy? The answer is that the school "curriculum" today is 100 percent behavior modification, not academics. Kyle was being a little boy, expressing his individuality and his indifference to overzealous authority. In today's educational environment, both are affronts to the "system" and must be dealt with quickly and severely. To the system, students are intended to be properly trained human resources. In the world of education today there are no children anymore.
This is absolutely true, the school system is now dedicated to bringing up well-behaved conformists, and parents are just as much to blame as the system, okay?

If parents hadn't abdicated their duty to teach their own kids right from wrong, schoolteachers wouldn't have been faced with the choice of teaching the kids of just keeping them from turning into a mob in the classroom.

If parents and others had voted for sufficient money to build adequate schools and staff them properly, classroom sizes wouldn't have gotten so large that teachers had no hope of retaining control except by trying to corral the kids and push them into lockstep.

The schools that behave this way are doing wrong, and I think most of them know that, but it's not some evil plot. These people didn't become teachers, or school administrators, because they don't think kids should behave like kids. Itís the natural consequence of the abdication of responsibility by the parents and the communities around the schools.

Anyhow. Ahem.

Other than that, the article has things I both agree with and disagree with. The answer is Better. Public. Schools. Better schools for everyone's kids, not just the rich kids, so don't even start with me on that stupid voucher thing.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)
Quick Notes

Before I get back to work....

Okay, I can't agree with this one. I don't think you can award a $104M judgement in a cased based on "classic hearsay." Especially when that hearsay is based largely on the lies our government told us. I have a lot of sympathy for the families of those who died on 9/11, and certainly I understand their determination to "make someone pay" in some way for what they've suffered, but nicking Iraq for $104M based on nothing more than the Administration's unsubstantiated claims of a link smells bad. If the judge isn't aware of the dozens of published reports from this country and all over the world refuting the Iraq-bin Laden connection, then he didn't have any business ruling in the case.

That whole jet landing on the carrier thing was unnecessary and they've admitted it.

In the "lies, damned lies, and statistics" category, Arianna Huffington takes on debunking the numbers the White House would like us to believe when it comes to Bush's job approval ratings. And the media's complicity in the disinformation campaign before the war comes under scrutiny by Mark Weisbrot.

I have an opinion, okay? The State Department is right, the Department of Defense is hugely, incredibly wrong and should keep their fingers out of someone else's business.

And what is it with this? Are we announcing, in defiance of the opinion of the rest of the world, that terrorists have never been so scarce just to make it look as though Bush's war accomplished something? If there's a major terrorist attack anywhere in the world soon, will the USofA obediently ignore it so as not to upset Rove's plans to shore up Bush's image for 2004?

Let's not forget, among today's hullabaloo about finding another truck we can test for WMD evidence, that the Administration doesnít expect to find WMD evidence and doesn't really care.

International Herald Tribune

Financial Times (requires subscription or sign-up for free trial period)

TruthOut

Common Dreams

Floyd Report

UK Guardian

Posted by AnneZook at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)
May 07, 2003
Go Ahead, Ask Me Go

Go Ahead, Ask Me

Go be surveyed.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)
Blogging Around

Sometimes I don't know why I bother to blog at all. I should just post a link every day that says, "go read Avedon Carol.

On the other hand, John Duffy has a life and he's going to go pay attention to it for a while. I don't know what the "manuscript" is that's removing him from the World O'Blogs for months on end, but I hope it's for a book, or at least a dissertation, and that I'll get to read it. I also hope, selfishly and not with his best interests at heart I realize, that the lure of blogging is too much for him and that he comes back very soon. In the meantime, he leaves us with a pretty good list of Better Rhetors to contemplate.

Kevin Drum, over at CalPundit thinks CEOs should have to work for a living. Kevin doesn't seem to understand the concept of being in charge. Being in charge means more money and less responsibility. Kevin should take a look at the White House for an example of how this works.

He's right about the article on Buffet. Read it. And read some opinions on the same subject, including a dissenting one.

The latest cover stories indicate why. It's true that many corporate CEOs continue to glean high salaries, bonuses and stock awards and options even though their firms' stock prices have been declining. But why should that be surprising? When the economic wind is at your back, it's easier to make lots of money. In tough times, businesses need great managers more than ever. How to attract them? The same way that sports teams attract them. With high compensation. It's not very complicated.
The core weakness in this argument seems to me to be the one that everyone smells but no one wants to mention in public. CEOs and executives who have a huge stake in a corporation doing brilliantly in the short-term, so they can make a killing on their stock, aren't the best people to put in charge of a corporation's long-term health.

These guys are treated like star pitchers. Bring them on, pay them a mint to win a few crucial battles, then replace them with someone else in a month. They should be treated like Volvos. Get one, pay a little extra for the maintenance, and expect the darned thing to keep on producing at top level for fifteen years.

Free agency went a long way toward destroying "team spirit" in baseball and it's doing the same thing to corporations. (And that's my last shot at a metaphor for a long time.)


Following Up On the News

Looks like I spoke too fast on the subject of Mitch Daniels, Bush's Budget Director deserting before the economic ship sank leaving to run for public office. Buzzflash says Daniels was about to get hit with an insider trading investigation.

And the smell hanging around Halliburton just won't go away.

Halliburton Co. is under fire for doing business in countries the US has identified as "sponsors of terrorism."
I'm just saying, okay? Halliburton, while manifestly an example of How Not To Run A Responsible Corporation is not alone in having done business with the USofA's "enemies" and it's always a mystery to me how these stories get pinched down this way.

Hey! Hey! Looks like even the measly $350 billion budget-busting tax plan might be in trouble.

If every company on the list of those working with Iraq since the imposition of sanctions was hitting the news, then the good citizens of this country might get a grasp on just how huge this problem is, but nooo, we have to obsess over one corporation. (Is this because the press sees Halliburton as vulnerable, or because the Cheney connection makes better headlines? If the latter, then why didn't the Bush/Enron story play bigger?)

The Taliban is back! and they're hoping Bush still doesn't care about Afghanistan.

And there's more on the "black prom and white prom" story.

I feel eyes on the back of my neck. Maybe I should be working.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
In the News

In the News

Check out Salam Pax!

This guy sounds like he uses Bush's spin doctors. His "war on drugs" kills 2,274 people in three months and he makes glowing speeches about what a success it was. If you can't cure 'em, kill 'em. I swear...it sounds like our current Administration, doesn't it?

Well, duh, okay? Who else would Bush get that would do most of Bush's own work and not want the job for himself?

And the hits just keep on coming on the subject of Bush grandstanding to announce the success of his war. Some folks found humor in it.

And, speaking of his war, I wonder what, if anything, Bush is going to say about the newly radioactive condition of this facility?

The newly released McCarthy material is fascinating, especially in today's political and social climate. I'm looking forward to the time when I can really sit down and study it thoroughly.

We all know China and we know they're not big on letting the rest of the world in on what they're up to. That tells me that if they're talking publicly about their SARS problem, they're really, really worried. Quarantining 10,000 people is worried.

And the link between autism and vaccines is still being discussed and researched, which is good news.

The more I read about Perle, the more I realize why so many people despise him. Giving seminars advising USofA corporations on how to profit from the war? Shameless.

And, also in the shameless category, Congressional Republicans are not only getting their lawsuit ready to try and break the Democratic filibuster, but they have another plan to remove submissions from the White House from the "unlimited debate" class of legislative issues.

I don't believe it's real, even thought it might be, but it's funny to read a smackdown of the Democratic candidates, pointing out some of their major weaknesses.

I knew this happened, but not on such a large scale. No one should be beaten, imprisoned, and forced into a marriage.

And, just personally, I don't think well-known news personalities should shill products in ads designed to look like newscasts. But I'm not surprised to find the pharmaceutical companies up to their necks in this one.

Today's mind-boggling headline? Hooters goes to court to protect its intellectual property. (They've started an airline, you know. Seriously. They're putting "Hooter Girls" on board as flight attendants.)


(P.S. I did buy the New Yorker with the Karl Rove interview in it, but haven't had a chance to read it yet.)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)
May 06, 2003
Act Now, Apologize Later (Werbach)

Act Now, Apologize Later (Adam Werbach)

We need to move beyond the arrogance of environmentalism. Anyone who wants the basics, like breathing air that won't make you choke, is an environmentalist.
This is the core concept of Werbach's book, published in 1997. (He never seems to have heard of GWBush&Co.)

Corporations pollute more than a thousand families, we all know this. The government, without pressure and action from individuals, isn't going to do anything about it. It's up to every one of us to do, not just 50 Simple Things, but the 100 harder things that come next.

Ordinary people have undertaken to do a lot of these things, and they've had some inspiring success. That's what Werbach has written about - how people have acted and could take action to keep the air and water fit to support life on the planet.

There's also a fascinating section on the different kinds of "environmentalists" out there, from those who view nature as a spiritual source of renewal to those who find nature preferable to humans (as though, in spite of our excesses and errors, we're not also a part of nature).

Not surprisingly, from the president of the Sierra Club, his perspective is largely wound up around what the Club has done in the past. There's nothing wrong with that, though. He's honest about his affiliation and the stories he has to tell are interesting. Maybe not as massively inspiring* as some books I've read but worthwhile reading. (Admittedly, tthe end of the book, where he tells how the Dutch handled the problem of massive pollution in the Netherlands was inspiring.)

I didn't have the urge to run right out and stand in front of a bulldozer, but a good reminder about keeping track of what's going on in our own neighborhoods. If we all did that, maybe no one's neighborhood would be unfit to live in.

You've heard it before. Think globally. Act locally.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)
Quick Thoughts

You're stooping pretty low when you start stealing children's books. Even advance copies of an eagerly awaited book.

Seeing economic failure ahead Wanting to run for governor in his home state, another Bush official, the Budget Director, deserts the ship steps down.

Nicholas Kristoff's column is in the duh category today.

A letter to the LATimes puts it well. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights refer to freedom for "persons" and not just USofA citizens. That means our gov'mint ain't got no call to go mistreating visitors to our shores under the pretense that they got no "rights."

It also means that our Constitution does bind our government, at least morally, to treat all "persons" with whom it comes in contact as though they were entitled to the same rights as a USofA citizen traditionally is. (I say "traditionally" because, as we all know, many of those rights are under assault at the moment. Again.)

Via The Note, we should all read the Karl Rove interview in the New Yorker but it seems to be subscription-only on-line. I'll have to look for a dead-tree version of the magazine later today.

And, speaking of today, I'm taking the afternoon off which means that even to my sense of propriety, it would be just wrong to spend the entire morning blogging.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
May 05, 2003
Okay, I lied

I'm blogging. It's like an addiction. Even as I have four documents open (a contract and three addendums), and I'm re-writing all of them, I can't keep myself from opening a browser window and checking the morning headlines at the same time. Maybe I need an intervention?

Disturbing Thoughts

I think this student should have been allowed to pray if she wanted to.

I don't think she was entitled to use a public-address system and inflict her personal beliefs on everyone who was attending a high-school, football game. I, personally, really, really dislike being prayed at, okay?

If the Christian Right wants to pray over their football, let them do it privately or start their own league.

Ouch. If I was GWB and I believed in the Big Guy Upstairs and it turned out he really was sitting there waiting for me after I died, I don't think I'd want to have to explain myself to him. (And, George? A god isn't likely to fall for disinformation campaigns, okay?)

I'd be worried for a number of reasons. Telling lies so you can kill people has to be against some kind of rule in a civilized religion, right?

Of course, not all of the government is willing to admit it was all smoke and mirrors. Those determined to hide the emperor's essential nekkidness have gone as far as to arrest someone for building the Weapons of Mysterious Disappearance.

With the anniversary upon us this past weekend, I wasn't the only one who found that today's social climate was sending their thoughts to Kent State. This glimpse of the government's hysteria, channeled through news reports, is revealing.

We're not the good guys any more. Every day, more and more proof of that comes out.

"The United States took its nuclear waste and threw it at Iraq," says physicist Doug Rokke, who was a member of the U.S. military's command staff on the team sent to clean up depleted uranium following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
When people demand better disposal arrangements for radioactive waste, I don't think that was what they had in mind, okay?

It's possible, in fact I believe that the post-war boom is gonna be a bust, but even to my partisan eyes, it's a touch early to make the announcement. Can we give it 30 days?

Conservative.... Conservancy.... "The" Conservancy.... I think I'd have suspected this just from the name.

Other Thoughts

In the whodathunkit department, most Democrats are holding firm on filibustering distasteful federal judicial nominees. Senators. Zell Miller of Georgia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, both Democrats, voted with the Republicans to pass Owen, though. Someone send them a note and tell them the Democratic party is watching.

Is this a good idea or a bad idea? If bad drivers are responsible for most of the costs of trauma centers, why aren't they just billed for the services they use? Why nick them a surcharge to pay for other trauma center patients as well?

Now that the people have mobilized themselves and started protesting what their government is doing, how can the Left harness this energy?

Read this. It will only take a minute.

I'm going back to work now. It's good to have a job. I wish more people did.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)
No Blog Today

Too much work. (You know, that stuff they pay me for and that they probably think I'm thinking about when I'm thinking about blogging? That stuff.)

Go read John Cassidy on Bushonomics, Seymour M. Hersh on Selective Intelligence, or even Dave Barry on fire ants.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go rewrite a lawyer who hasn't yet discovered that education isn't knowledge.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
May 04, 2003
More Maintenance

Messing with things in general again. Added a few new links:

Mac Diva at Mac-a-ro-nies,
The team bloggers at NoWarblog
Another team at Winds of Change
Andrew at Andrew Olmsted
Escritora ("J") at SilverRights

The list of links at the left (Hey! Alliteration!) needs to shrink drastically, but I haven't decided what to cut yet.

I may remove those bossy, "this is what you should be reading" and "these are the sites you should bookmark and check occasionally" and "books I've read and links to my arrogant opinions of same" links. Or maybe try to figure out a way to move them to a different page, at the least.

I don't know why I share these thoughts with you. Maybe for lack of anything better to discuss at the moment and because I know from experience that making any template change requires adding a new post to really see the effects.

An exceptionally kind person made me a new graphic for my site, but it looks wrong when I try putting it up. I've tried it once or twice before and the colors aren't right. Or, maybe it's my monitor, I don't know. Anyhow, I'm going to try it for a few days and see if it grows on me. (I know, it's a man's face. It's Spike, okay? One of the things I don't discuss in this forum is my complete obsession, not with Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a show, but with the character of Spike and, by extension, the nature of vampires and souls in the BtVS universe.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)