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February 13, 2004
Trash Day

For those of us who watch West Wing, it's Take Out the Trash Day, so I'm checking the major news sites to find whatever it was They wanted us to ignore this week.

There are giant headlines around the interminable internment of innocent-because-not-proven-guilty men at Guantanamo, but that news was actually released a day or two ago, so it's not really 'new' news.

The next batch are about Bush ordering the release of his military files but from what I understood, he said he was going to do that quite a while ago so I'm not excited by it today. Besides, I'm (a) fairly certain there's nothing in there to embarrass him or his Administration by this point; and (b) now wondering if they were generating an artificial flurry of fuss around the topic to distract from something else. (No, there are no limits to my paranoia.)

I see the story is suitably embellished with a photo of young Dubya. I wonder if the Administration would have handed it out if he didn't appear to be in a uniform? (Okay, now I'm just being rude.)

Ahhh. Here's our first bit o'trash.

Last two members join WMD panel says the headline. (Two minutes later I'm still waiting for the page to open and realize that there are, in fact, limits to my paranoia. I suspect nothing more sinister than that some selfish pig in this office is sucking up all the bandwidth.)

They are Charles M. Vest, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Henry S. Rowen, an emeritus professor of public policy and management at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

I don't know anything about these guys. I mean, looking at the data, I can see the Rowen is a serious geezer, but that's not really grounds for objecting to him.

I doubt if this surprises anyone, either:

The chairman of the commission reviewing the Sept. 11 attacks says it will be forced to pare down inquiries into intelligence failures if Congress doesn't give it more time.

If he wanted anyone to pay attention, he should have said it on Monday, but whatever.

How about the VA story?

Panel OKs Bush Plan to Shut VA Hospitals
By SUZANNE GAMBOA
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Veterans hospitals in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Mississippi should be shut down, but the administration should scrap plans to close facilities in New York, Kentucky and California, an advisory commission said Friday.

The 16-member panel appointed to review the Department of Veterans Affairs projected realignment of its health care system also agreed with the Bush administration that a new hospital was needed in Orlando, Fla. It disagreed with the recommendation for one in Las Vegas.

VA Secretary Anthony Principi promised to decide in about a month which hospitals to close or reduce in size. Democrats were skeptical that final decisions to close any of them would come in an election year.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said the importance of Ohio and Pennsylvania in the presidential campaign could outweigh arguments in favor of closing hospitals in those two states.

And look at this:

The VA advisory panel rejected administration proposals to close hospitals in Canandaigua, N.Y.; Lexington, Ky.; and Livermore, Calif. It agreed with the administration on the closure of hospitals in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Gulfport, Miss., and transferring large portions of care away from the hospital in Waco, Texas.

Election year or not, veterans' benefits continue to come under the Bush Administration axe, don't they?

And let's take a moment out to marvel over rampant stupidity.

NASA Bumps Up Data Rate From Mars Rovers

NASA Upgrades Data Rate From Mars Rovers to Allow Faster Transmission of Pictures

NASA upgraded the bandwidth connection to its pokey twin Mars rovers, a boost that will allow scientists to send and receive data like pictures more quickly, a mission manager said Friday.

We spent billions to send the rovers to Mars but we didn't want to pay for the bandwidth to talk to them?

Seriously. There has to come a moment when even the Bush Administration is wondering if those tax cuts might not have gone just a little too far.

I give up.

I'm going home.

Posted by AnneZook at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)
Who Googled Me?

There's apparently a connection between, "intersex or sauqui or recitationist or coexistence or villainousness" but I'm not sure I want to know what it is so I'm not googling it to find out. I don't even believe those are all real words.

Someone searched, "neighborhood council piss". My advice? Go. Away.

I'll bet the person who wanted to know, "what did prometheus look like" was hoping to get a photo link.

I hope no one was interested in, "prince charles gay rumor november 2003" for personal reasons (the man has a face like a fish) but it's really none of my business. (Actually, about ten people googled for variations on this theme.)

I've never written, "sample of a note informing that i m going on vacation" and I'm not sure what I'd say.

"Hey, I won't be showing up for work next week. Enjoy the peace and quiet - Anne"

Does that work for you?

For the record, I have never blogged about "killing birds w draino" nor have I blogged about, "pimp behaviors", or even "big weman porn" okay?

Ahhh.... "a man that knows and knows that he knows he s smart you should fallow him"

Fallow, indeed.

I was found by a seeker after, "for the love of god montressor" but they really wanted Poe.

Some rumors you really never wanted to hear about, okay? That includes, "andy rooney hoax homosexuality".

For the person looking for the "billionaire s club email address book 2004" I'm sorry, but I don't have that information. Maybe one of these Yahoo discussion groups would be suitable.

I'm curious to know what someone thought, "inhaled or reevaluating or formed or unacceptable or perry" had in common but not badly enough to google them and find out.

Someone wanted to find, "reagan censorship blog" but I don't think Reagan blogs.

I think some people don't really understand how google works.

"the american public and news media are underestimating the continuing dangers and challenges remaining in country senior german officials have said." Is not a sensible way to google for information.

Nor is, "the main problem of the world is stupidity. i m not saying that we should have capital punishment for stupidity but why don t just take the saftey labels of everything and let the problem solve it self? Seinfeld"

Nor, for that matter, is, "the troubles are slang for the last 30 years of terrorist operations in northern ireland that was triggered by civil unrest and riots in the late 1960 s in the same area."

Someone needs to know, "information of what kind of people live in the bayou" but I don't think I can be of any assistance. Damp ones, I'd assume.

To the person who searched for, "left right liberal conservative what s the difference" let me point out that you're seriously confused.

To the searcher after knowledge on, "affects of big business in the gilded age" please be aware that you are probably want the "effects" and also I recommend Mark Twain's book of the same name, The Gilded Age, because it's about the era in questions but mostly because it's fabulous.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:08 PM | Comments (2)
What's history, anyhow?

Cliopatria continues its meteoric rise toward the top of my "daily favorites" reading list with this Robert Johnson post on "Intellectual Diversity."

If I were a raging egomaniac I'd be over there talking in at least three of the response threads, but such exalted company awes me.

(But I'm not and actually it doesn't but I can't because I'm theoretically working. I'm on a conference call, in fact. If I could, I'd ask David Lion Salmansonto come to my house and teach me because a teacher like him in high school instead of in my last year of college, when I had someone similarly brave, would very probably have changed my major. But don't tell Salmansonto because the jury is still out on that whole "campus faculty as organized dorkdom" thing based not only on this post which I quoted earlier but on what I learned from a conservative college instructor I dated and who is, quite coincidentally, the 'brave' one referred to above, about the internal politics of campus life.) (You know, I'd completely forgotten about him until just now. Not Salmansonto, because I don't know him, but the other guy. Can't remember his name, though.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:08 PM | Comments (2)
More from organized dorkdom

What happens when Georgie won't read?

They insist Mr. Unelectable isn't stupid, so maybe he's just feeble.

Remember Iran-Contra? This isn't one of those names you hear often, but the appointment of Silberman to head up the commission investigating 'intelligence' failures in pre-invasion Iraq is telling Those Who Know that the one thing that's not going to be uncovered is any misdeeds, lies, or exaggerations on the part of the Bush Administration.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)
Isn't anyone paying attention?

Afghanistan still matters. There's still a war on.

Haven't I been saying this? Wealth has to be grown from the bottom up. The idiocy of top-down theories like 'trickle-down' economics are obvious to everyone so why are some people still pretending the emperor isn't nekkid?

The. Mind. Simply. Boggles. Could this woman be any weirder?

I mean, I promise that I do not slow down to look at car accidents, but when I find myself compelled to read one of her silly scribbles, I know how people who do slow down must feel. There's a sort of horrified fascination with just how bad the carnage might be.

Oh, and William over at Atlantic Blog weighs in on the "liberal bias on campus" debate with a posting pointing out that the problem may not be that most campus faculties are left-wing, die-hard liberals. Maybe they're just dorks.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)
Smile, you're on Dork TV!

Krugman has a point. Why is this year's budget larded with pictures of Bush? What kind of raging egomania are we dealing with, anyhow?

He's got feet of clay, Karl. Don't let your personal passion for him make you look even sillier than you do already after having bought him the White House.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:46 AM | Comments (5)
Potpourri

Another downed ship, another frantic rescue dash.

I had no idea there was all of this controversy going on.. Maybe that's because I pay a different kind of attention to diamonds and I routinely wear my rings on whatever finger they fit best. Some people learn to compromise, of course.

I didn't know the Sierra Club was such a hotbed of dissension either.

Here's a lot of attitude in a short column. Apparently, everyone knew about the black market proliferation of nukes but us.

Do you suppose Rush Limbaugh is going to jump up and down and scream that medical records are private this time?

You just can't hold people for years and years without charging them with anyone. It's wrong. What on earth are they thinking?

We have a lot of money to waste, it seems. At least, the way some people are throwing it away, you might think so.

Education in Texas is in bad shape as a result of Bush's tinkering. This matches up with other things I've read over the past two or three years about the fabrication (really, you can't call it anything else) of data to create the illusion of a successful educational system..

Those tired of wondering if something smells bad around those electronic voting machines should not read this article which covers more of the issues than answers. Trying to match voting blocs up with votes, polls with results, and examining security problems in Georgia.

Go Newsom.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
February 12, 2004
Things aggravating me

Okay, yeah, this is what we ought to do. We ought to run away from the mess we've created.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is apparently annoyed that the Democratic candidates are ignoring "black issues" in their campaigns. I have two thoughts. #1 - Are the problems of the "black" voters somehow different or of more intrinsic value than the problems of Asian, Hispanic, gay, disabled, and/or poor voters, none of whom seem to be getting much attention at this moment? #2 - Is it possible there are times when there are so many problems in common for voters that the question of black, white, male, female, westerner, or southerner has to wait?

Colin Powell had a little freak-out while testifying in a congressional hearing.

I was thinking something very like this on the way home last night. Kerry has a lot of good points as a candidate (although he's not perfect), but what I want to see is more passion.

Also, pay attention to the anti-equality forces fighting in Massachusetts and let's all be just amazingly grateful to them for being willing to go to the limit to protect us from the civilization-destroying concept of everyone having an equal right to get married. Re-writing a constitution to establish exceptions to "equal protection" clauses is just what this country needs. (Any indications that the evil forces of equality are winning the battle may be illusionary.)

In an example of the kind of revisionist weirdness that has made the Bush Administration widely disliked and distrusted, Bush explains that he wasn't actually asking Daschle not to investigate 9/11 when he asked him not to investigate 9/11. What he meant to say, we're meant to understand, is that he wanted an intelligence agency-led investigation. Not that that's what he said, because he didn't. Either because no one has explained it to him yet or because his Administration hubristically (Is that actually a word?) decided it was none of anyone's business what they were gonna do.

Defense firms under contract with the DoD apparently owe as much as $3 billion in unpaid taxes.

And, speaking of defense, this is another problem I've been puzzling over. Just how much of the "economic surge" we may and/or may not be experiencing is the result of increased defense spending? And is is sustainable if we stop making war?

Is there going to be another 'civil' war, this time over protectionism for pharmaceutical firms?

This whole story about Janet Jackson's breast has gotten ridiculous. Now Maggie Thurs says Jackson was violated and that we're sending a message about sex and violence to our children. Has anyone actually asked Jackson about this? Has anyone considered that the fact that the woman was wearing a pastie over her nipple indicates that she knew what was going to happen?

It was a breast, okay? Not the most attractive view of one I've ever seen, but that's all it was. Most of us have seen them before and those who hadn't were probably thrilled by the opportunity. It wasn't a sign of the apocalypse and it wasn't a repeat of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was just part of a woman's body. Get over it.

Me go to Cuba, speak English now.

And now I have to go write sales and training scripts for a product I know too well after 40 hours of testing but for an industry I don't understand and an audience no one can adequately describe to me.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
February 11, 2004
Are you a fan?

I'm a big fan (although that may be an inappropriate word) of Kant's philosophy so I like to hear that his worksremain influential even today. This kind of article makes me want to go home and curl up with one of his books.

I'm not always a big fan of living in Colorado. We have rather too many narrow-minded bigots for my comfort.

I'm a big fan of NPR. Listening this morning, I had one of those "Pot, meet kettle" moments. NPR is doing a 3-part series on the religion of voodoo as it is practiced in parts of Africa and they interviewed some missionary (Christian, I need hardly add) who disdainfully dismissed it as "superstition." And I, of course, am thinking, hey, buddy, have you heard the one about glass houses?

He was also scornful of people who think their dead ancestors can affect their lives and I was wondering what the Mormons, who refuse to let you in their church unless you let them baptize all of your dead ancestors back a few hundred years, proving that they think your dead ancestors have an impact on your life, thought about that sort of thing. I'm not a fan of missionaries.

And, speaking of annoyed, I see that the Washington Post has instituted one of the more obnoxious registration programs I've seen recently. I'm not a fan.

Other than that, what's happening in the world o'blog?

Well, via Jerome I learned that OPEC is raising oil prices. They don't seem to want Bush re-elected.

Jeanne D'Orleans has a good rundown of the Bush-Platonic reality theory.

Looks like everyone has something interesting to talk about but me. I'm fresh out of bile ideas today. Guess I'll go do some work.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Early morning questions

Do you approve of Nepotism in government?

Are some conservative columnists turning on Bush?

Do you know how long we're going to be in Iraq?

Quick, what mass-murdering, tyrannical, despotic government did we support for years because it suited us 'diplomatically' at the time?

Did you know it's possible to make a parachute jump from a commercial jetliner?

Posted by AnneZook at 08:45 AM | Comments (2)
Survivaling

And then there are the "survivalists"

We've got the survivalist types who want to retreat to the hills and regress to the days when the only law was found at the end of a gun. Dispossessed, disaffected with society, and disinclined to adjust to a world when they are not, in fact, the stuff that success is made of, they fantasize that they'd have been mucho macho a hundred and fifty years ago and never stop to consider that in a world truly governed by the "survival of the fittest" they wouldn't qualify.

We have the survivalist types who are concerned with the survival of a fetus but not so much with the lives and health of women and health care workers, proving that their principles are as flexible as anyone else's and that the "right to life" is principle isn't one they think should apply to anyone more than, say, a foot tall.

We have the survivalist group more worried about the 'survival' of marriage the way it was when grandma was alive than with the happiness, health, and/or welfare of the actual people concerned. Marriage, you understand, is more important than people.

I just don't really get why people fear change so drastically. Given the choice between slipping on their cool shades and riding the wave into the 21st century, and huddling on the shore under a wool blanket, they not only choose to get sand in their shorts but scream frantically when anyone else dips a toe into the water.

Okay, yeah, there could be sharks in the water, but there could be snakes on the shore, too.

I'm just saying. Crazy people worry me.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:08 AM | Comments (2)
February 10, 2004
Now just wait a minute

I haven't been running mad with the whole, "They lied! They lied!" thing, but I'm sort of getting to the end of my tolerance.

Reading this, it's difficult to know whether I should start my mad with the Bush Administration, for telling lies, or with the media, for failing to care even when said (ahem) 'unsupported statements' are exposed.

What liberal media?

Posted by AnneZook at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)
I don't want to be rude

But just because you're being paid doesn't mean you've done any work.

I mean...look at me. Am I working at the moment?

Posted by AnneZook at 01:13 PM | Comments (2)
Good grief
Public Health & Research - iHealthBeat

Economists Create Futures Market to Predict Flu Outbreaks

February 10, 2004

Economists at the University of Iowa have created an electronic influenza futures market that could let health officials track future flu outbreaks, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. The market could help vaccine producers ensure enough supplies without too much waste, said Forrest Nelson, a UI economics professor who helped come up with the idea for the market.

The Iowa Electronic Markets on Jan. 16 launched the futures market and invited doctors, nurses and other health professionals with firsthand knowledge of influenza levels to buy and sell contracts based on the influenza activity tracked by the CDC.

Each trader was given $100 in fake “flu dollars” that they could use to buy or sell influenza futures contracts from Jan. 18 to Jan. 24 based on what they thought the CDC-reported influenza activity level in Iowa would be. Contracts were color-coded in white/yellow for no activity reported, green for sporadic activity, purple for local activity, blue for regional activity and red for widespread activity.

About a dozen participants traded more than 100 contracts in the first one-week trial. Blue was the highest traded contract at 95 cents per contract. Blue also was the CDC’s reported activity in Iowa that week—an indication that the market could be a useful predictor, the Gazette reports.

The team decided that any payouts would be in the form of grants for professional in-service training instead of cash to avoid criticism that investors could potentially profit from predicting human tragedy. The team has not yet secured funding for payouts (DeWitte, Cedar Rapids Gazette, 2/6).

Is this whole "fake futures" an idea whose time has come or all of these people just weird?

Is there any valid reason why experts with an opinion on where the next flu outbreak is going to happen couldn't just do something radical, like talk to each other? Is it necessary for them to create a board game?

Posted by AnneZook at 12:12 PM | Comments (1)
A few blogs

A little bitterness from Norbizness provides some very interesting statistics.

Over at Notes on the Atrocities, it looks like Jeff is moving up in the world.

Elayne has an interesting entry on what she calls "media decorum."

Eric Alterman has a new book out.

I'm not sure. Should I be supporting Edwards?

Desbladet is "both pretentious and unetymological" but read it anyhow. (Thanks to Bengt at Off Topic for the link.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:01 AM | Comments (3)
Israel's Wall

I'm not harping on this topic because of any hidden agenda, okay? For those of you worried about such things, I mean. It's just that when I've heard talk of the "wall" or "security barrier" I had no idea of how massive it was and I find these articles interesting.

Like this one which, unlike most of the articles I've found actually has a few pictures.

Decent photos seem to be difficult to find even though this is certainly a story that lends itself to dramatic pictures.

The front page of Canada's Globe and Mail had one today, although I don't know how long it will be up. This is the first one I've seen that really gave me a sense of how high the wall was. Even though I'd heard a report that described how the wall "blocked out the sunlight" on buildings close to it, it was hard to imagine until I saw this photo.

This story offers some line drawings showing the scope of the project.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
Ouch

Government spending

Civil liberties

FOIA requests, Florida style

Right to counsel, Virginia style

Reconstructing Iraq

Worst of the worst

Jobs sailing overseas

Bush on jobs sailing overseas

Poor children

Who pays for Iraq

Afghanistan warlords

Israel's wall

Bracero

Racism regretted

Posted by AnneZook at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)
A couple o'blogs

John McKay has an interesting post about how Noonan is an idiot.

Before that, he discussed a potential rival to Bush for right-wing votes in the upcoming presidential campaign. Former Justice Roy "10 Commandments" Moore is considering a run.

And then before that, he was demonstrating just how blatant the vote-buying in getting in Congress.

John's been on a roll recently.

Apparently at least one person on the Right thinks the only difference between Bush and a die-hard liberal is talking about religion, a 'Haavaad accent,' and a 'wonky' college life.

One hesitates to ask what 'wonky' means in this context but I suspect is has something to do with attending class and completing assignments.

Take the taste out of your mouth by reading Avedon Carol's opinion of the subject, titled, "Stupid Conservative Tricks."

Posted by AnneZook at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)
February 09, 2004
Last week on our show....

I blogged previously (can't remember when) about the Right financing left-wing candidates for offices in order to split the vote on the Left. Looks like they're at it again, this time financing Sharpton. (Thanks to KC Johnson at Cliopatria.)

Is anyone giving me credit for restraint for not discussing Bush's (cough) appearance on Meet The Press this weekend? I mean, considering how much fodder for mockery he provided, I think I'm entitled to some acknowledgement of the control I'm exhibiting by not pointing out the fifty ways he demonstrated how unfit he is to hold his office. Check out Hellblazer for a Strafor article on "defending the indefensible."

I'm actually recommending you read something in the OpinionJournal. This is a shock to me. Anyhow. This column by Ray Bradbury is fascinating.

Now I really am going to a meeting.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)
Say what you will

But I'm not enchanted with the Bush Administration's commission to look into pre-Iraq war intelligence. The committee seems to me to have a much broader mandate than is strictly consistent with being able to focus on exactly who knew what and who decided to say what in the push to invade Iraq.

[. . . ] the White House said the commission would look beyond problems in Iraq and examine the handling of intelligence on terrorists and U.S. adversaries.

In fact, from what I've heard, the commission is tasked with decided if and how to revamp the USofA intelligence services. That's a lot to cover in a year and let's all not be surprised if the whole question of Iraq is soon dismissed as being of less import than the rest of the group's business.

Mind you, I'm not surprised. I'd imagine the spin doctors in the White House spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to respond to the demands for an independent investigation into how we were dragged into invading Iraq without actually empanelling a committee that might, you know, have enough time on its hands and enough power to force people to cough up documents actually relating to just exactly how the decision was made to bypass the CIA's advice and create an illusion of danger from Iraq.

And say what you will, maybe civil liberties are under assault and maybe they aren't, but the reappearance of tactics not seen for decades tactics used to try and intimidate dissenters, doesn't look good. Seriously, people.

They say no publicity is bad publicity. I wonder if Halliburton agrees?

What exactly is NATO doing in Afghanistan?

Haven't I been puzzling over Bush's pronouncements of support for a 'strong dollar' and the contrast in the Administration's behavior that kept weakening the dollar? Turns out that whole "we want a strong dollar" thing was...wait for it...a lie.

They say you're known by the company you keep. I hope some of the company the Bush Administration keeps worries some of those less-than-50% of people still thinking of voting for Bush/Cheney.

Check out today's Note where they not only confine their "polling" to Washington journalists (although I like the numbers they got), but confess that the media is capable of, and prone to selecting a candidate and creating an avalanche of 'free press.' Also? The 'liberal' bias of the crop of reporters they surveyed suggest that the Democratic candidate is going to be facing a love-fest, especially if it's Kerry.*

It may surprise you to hear this, but I'm not pleased. I'd really like an unbiased press that I could rely upon to be telling me the entire story. If I want an editorial slant, I'll read the editorial pages. If I want to know what I think about a subject, I'll ask me. Just give me the facts, okay?

(* Before the Right gets its knickers in a knot over this, let me remind them that the so-called 'liberal bias' didn't do Gore much good in 2000. It was the media's tacit endorsement of the Right's lies and exaggerations about Gore that turned it into such a close race that year. Let me also remind the Right that Bush was the media darling in 2000. There was almost no serious attention paid to his complete lack of qualifications for the job he was seeking, nor was there any serious attention paid to his record in Texas, which could have told us what to expect from the man. The point is, 'liberal' or not - the press is fickle.)

Okay, say what you will about t his country, at least candidates for the presidency don't mysteriously disappear.

I'm with DJ. Libraries should be about books. And they shouldn't have a noise level that rivals the local mall.

And say what you will about giving everyone their 'space' to believe whatever they want, grown men believing that aliens are going to land on the planet and wage a civilization-destroying war all over the place is just silly. Therapy, guys. It's always an option.

I've got an entire slate of meetings today, so I may not be back until tomorrow.

UPDATE

I just received this:

Good Afternoon.

Clarification

An early version of today's Note included what was intended as a satirical report of an ABC News/Washington Post poll. No such poll was conducted. The questions and results listed were not from a real poll.

How embarassing for me.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)