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March 26, 2004
Late breaking peeves

It's a good thing that UsofA soldiers are buying their own armor. No one else is buying them any and an Iraqi cleric calling 9/11 and 3/11 "miracles from god is a bad, bad sign for the future.

The right to legal representation and to file charges when you've been wronged is one thing. Filing idiotic nuisance suits to delay your own trial on a criminal charge is quite another.

More bad news for the Bush Administration. MCI is laying off 4000 employees, blaming the Do Not Call law.

We're winning friends and influencing people all around the world again. We've added Thailand and the Philippines to the Axis of (terrorist) Evil and they're not happy about it.

Bah. I'm going home.

Posted by AnneZook at 05:26 PM | Comments (4)
You Oughta Be In Pictures

On March 26, 1885, the Eastman Dry Plate and Chemical Company manufactured the first motion picture film.

That being the case, you might assume I'm going to talk about movies today. You'd be wrong. I haven't been to the movies recently, although I'm going this weekend.

In 1827, Ludwig von Beethoven died in Vienna, Austria. This is also the date when Dr. Jonas Salk invented a vaccine to fight polio. These things seem to me to be more significant.

Other things are of no significance at all.

A distributional analysis vawa might be significant, but I have no idea what it is, so I can't be certain.

I doubt that yeti extreme penguin batting is significant, but the idea worries me just a little anyhow..

If anyone actually found information on utilitarianism plea bargaining I'd be interested to read it. Ditto for an epistemological conundrum.

What is a saying about march 15? it is a quote from an old book. What are they teaching kids in schools these days? Anything at all?

Google spit out my site on a search for Zook gay. I'm not, but I'm not tense about it.

On the other hand, if I knew what ich und anne sex meant, I might be offended. Of course, I might not. Depends on what it means. I could go look it up but there are things, as I say frequently, that I'm just happier not knowing.

And there are no bestiality stories to be found on this site. Nor any Horowitz fanfiction, while we're on the subject of things that could give me nightmares..

Another seeker after knowledge was interested in capital punishment for stupidity and while I sometimes feel it would be a good idea, I've sinned too often on that front myself to be wholeheartedly in support of it.

I don't understand what a search for independent women luking four man resulted in for the dozen or so searchers and I'm not going to go searching myself to find out.

What on earth are you trying to learn if you search for groupthink and bananas?

Someone wanted to know about alien spirit bush but though I dislike the man's politics and think he's an obnoxious doofus, I can't honestly say I think he's an alien.

Posted by AnneZook at 05:11 PM | Comments (2)
Ha. Ha. And ha.

Regardless of the (in my opinion*) overreaction to Bush's WMD (ahem) jokes at the Radio and Television News Correspondents Association dinner, some people think Democrats are developing a sense of humor. Well, young ones, anyhow.

* Yes, I think some of us are overreacting, okay? I know people have died. I'm one of the ones who has been screaming about that fact for a year.

But self-roasting is a feature of this dinner and aside from mocking his own verbal ineptitude, something Bush often does, what did you expect him to talk about?

He's not likely to make jokes out of his promised to push corporate reforms with corporate scandals still hitting the news weekly.

He's not likely to make jokes about his promise to 'bring a new era' to Washington, or whatever it is he said, after it's been shown that his new era is as corrupt or more corrupt than any other we've seen in the last twenty years.

What other issues did you expect him to mine for humor?

"No Child Left Behind" isn't suitable, not with states and cities threatening to opt out, Congress having to go in and re-write the provisions, and teachers all over the country still on edge about that "terrorist" accusation.

"Medicare reform" isn't suitable, not with the recent revelation that the White House deliberately suppressed the true cost of the bill and with more and more reports coming out saying that privatization is only going to make the funding problems worse.

Gay marriage? With cities, counties, and states all over the country fighting about it? Surely even his advisors understood that's an issue too hot, and too divisive.

What else is there?

The only conceivable topic, which the White House, for some inexplicable reason chose to avoid, was to make fun of the reputations of most of Bush's major advisors.

Face it, people. There's not much that's funny in the Bush Administration.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:07 PM | Comments (7)
Say It Ain't So

By gosh, we went into Iraq to get them weapons o'mass destruction and to bring justice and liberty to all, and don’t know one I can't support say anything different!

Remember Afghanistan? This isn't how it happened.

It's not. Right?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:10 AM | Comments (4)
Quick Links

Afghanistan is getting a little attention. We're sending another 2,000 Marines in.

The blue butterfly is making a return in the U.K.

'My Lai' and 'hero' aren't words you often find together.

Wriggling around looking for loopholes is normally the kind of thing that annoys me, but let's be honest here. No sane person could advocate removing the troops from Iraq, pretending to believe that the magic of a hasty cycle of elections would automatically impose safety, security, and order on the country.

It's nice that Libya decided to come clean and abandon their WMD program but I'm displeased by the stories starting to spread that say our initial reports inflated the number and capability of their weapons and programs. Not surprised, you understand. I'm getting used to mentally discounting Administration threat estimates by at least 25%. But it still annoys me.

Krugman says Social Security and Medicare aren't the same thing, and they aren't in that much trouble. It mostly boils down to the fact that there are problems but if the government wants to, if can fix the programs. And he says privatization isn't the answer, big surprise.

china has some suggestions for how the UsofA can improve its image abroad. Start with the idea that we shouldn't assume that people don't understand us just because they oppose us.

Personally, I think the 527s supporting both sides should be investigated. I'm sure there's enough skating near and even over the line on both sides to go around.

It's good to be a liberal.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:18 AM | Comments (4)
March 25, 2004
A Handful of Headlines

In Mexico, efforts are still under way to rescue the trapped explorers.

Freedom and democracy. They're wonderful things. I wonder if we're going to succeed in giving them to Afghanistan?

Suicide bombers are one thing, heinous as the idea seems to the civilized mind, but co-opting unwilling or unwitting children takes it to a whole new level. Condemnation of this tactic is spreading.

The 9/11 commission seems to be discovering what I always expected them to discover. There were plenty of warning signs but we can't "blame" anyone in particular. I've always thought (and said) that after the fact, it's easy to say, this and that and that were clear markers what was being planned. Before the attack, these "clues" were just another handful of items in a list of thousands of 'intelligence' items, okay?

Do I believe the Bush Administration took an al Qaeda threat seriously before 9/11? Not really. I do believe they were focused on Bush's open devotion to the idea of removing or killing Saddam Hussein. But did they ignore proof of an immediate, imminent, large-scale threat? No. I think they're idiots, based on our ideological differences, but I don't think they're criminally insane.

Similarly, the Bush Administration's predictable steps in their attempt to discredit Clarke are . . . predictable political maneuvering, not proof of the blackness of their hearts.

These attempts won't succeed, Clarke isn't some partisan hack they can smear with impunity, but a lot of their attempts to make the bad stuff go away are failing these days (What price Medicare reform?) so this is just one more item on the list. Not that I don't have sympathy for Clarke, but after a lifetime in the government, I assume he knew what he was letting himself in for.

(In whose imagination has the Bush Administration been heretofore scandal-free"? It's amazing isn't it? It really is as though people living in D.C. are on a different planet sometimes.)

The Guardian Weblog offers us a roundup of links about the Clarke story.

Of course, they never seem to be able to resist a re-election stunt.

And we seem to be crusaders again, which does not please those of us who don't view the Crusades as admirable chapters in Western history.

Tom DeLay, felon?

Is the Israel-USofA love story coming to an end?

And, speaking of Israel, the world doesn't approve of their latest assassination, but it seems that Israel doesn't care.

John Kerry may have refused to name the "foreign leaders" who were privately supporting his bid to unseat Bush in November, but foreign politicians themselves aren't so shy of publicity.

And it looks like I'm not the only one annoyed and saddened by the removal of NPR's Bob Edwards from Morning Edition.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
Bang Bang

The use of private soldiers, mercenaries, in the Middle East has been floating around in the domestic and international press for a while now. I know I've written about it already, but I can't remember if I linked to this article or not.

I'm not sure I understand why our own military needs to keep soldiers-for-hire on their contractor list, but surfing the Blackwater site produces some possible reasons. Like, they make targets. Those things people shoot at to practice their aim.

It looks like, increased steel prices have forced a price increase for targets, proving no one is immune from problems with international trade.

The site makes Blackwater USA sound like a training-and-supply warehouse. You have to poke around to find even the slightest hint of them providing warm bodies for combat.

Googling Blackwater USA produces some interesting pages.

And yet.... Always easily distracted by side issues, I find myself wondering just who this Rutherfoord Company is?

They seem to be the only entity (outside the military) willing to have their name advertised on Blackwater's site but I can't figure out what an insurance company need with mercenaries?

There's a lot going on that I don't understand, but there usually is.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
March 24, 2004
Just Passing Through

Offer a moment of silence for Spain's 3/11 losses. The country held a state memorial.

Six Brits are trapped in a cavern in Mexico.

It's a bit of a mystery to me why the second major revelation of a reporter making up stories isn't getting more coverage in the world o'blog. Granted, USA Today isn't The New York Times by a long shot, but it's a huge seller, a national media outlet, and any revelation that the 'news' it prints is badly tainted is bad news for the tens of thousands of business travelers who find the paper outside their hotel rooms in the morning.

Marge Piercy says what I've been saying. What we need aren't candidates who are "just like me" but candidates smart enough to do the job if they get elected.

I'm going to miss Bob Edwards in the mornings.

The invasion of Iraq was an "Ignoble, Unnecessary War" according to Helen Thomas.

Bomb Mexico! From Molly Ivins

I'm brooding over something and may come back and inflict it on you later.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:52 AM | Comments (2)
March 23, 2004
Going out of control?

Investigating the rationale for war and other scandals. (Links via Cursor)

Emma brings us another example of a taxpayer funded website being used as a campaign re-election tool. I'm starting to think we need to be systematically checking federal government websites for this.

Matthew Yglesias on that story about the White House resisting suggestions to deal with bin Laden pre-9/11.

The truth will out. That's all I'm saying. If you're a racist, you're going to let it slip in public.

I think someone, maybe the Republican Party, is building itself quite a pile of problems, don't you?

I need to get the taste of that out of my mouth.

Hee. Hee.

Via StoutDemBlog, a touching and uplifting story about a modern-day pioneer.

In an odd but interesting little essay, Avedon Carol wonders about a world where everyone is rich and decides that basic, mean human nature would never let it come into being. It's About Power.

I'm not much good at Utopian dreaming. I always wonder who's going to carry off the trash and clean the bathrooms.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)
Issues, issues, issues

Gay marriage. What a sensible president might have said.

Dirty politics. Is there an "independent" smear campaign at work?

Tax cuts. Do they pay for themselves as some would have you believe?

The political "third rail" of Social Security and Medicare. Understanding recent projections.

Friendly fire. It's a feature of wafare.

Would this be domestic warfare? Bush's War Against Wonks.

The cost of warfare. $107,744,815,834 so far. I think. The cost climbs so quickly it's hard to pin down one number. That's enough to provide insurance coverage for almost 33,000 uninsured children for a year.

Corporate naughtiness. More from the makers of fine Coca-Cola products.

One vote. When murder is covered up because the facts get in the way of our military's goal, one voice can make a difference.

Prison reform. First, make sure everyone understands the problem. But be careful.

Healthcare. Or rather the lack thereof. Cholera in Mozambique.

The Ministry of Health , Mozambique has reported a total of 15,237 cases and 85 deaths between 20 December 2003 and 18 March 2004 in seven provinces (Maputo, Gaza, Sofala, Zambesia , Nampula , Inhambane ,Tete). Maputo city is the most affected area with 9,522 cases and 37 deaths.

Politics and the young. Where did they learn to play so dirty?

And, speaking of dirty politics, the "new McCarthyism." Or is this one just an example of typical, small-town insularity and paranoia? Read it and think.

(I'm just saying. Hollywood has been churning out movies mocking this kind of small-town, strong-arm policing for years. Anyone remember Rambo?)

Gay marriage. A poll about the importance of gay marriage in this campaign cycle suggests people are likely to vote this issue more than almost any other in November. But that's today. Things change in the landscape of an election.

Another poll gets different results.

It's my considered opinion that polls are confusing. Actually, the truth, as we all know, is that polls can "prove" whatever you want them to "prove" and it's not that difficult to achieve.

Taxes. Let's lighten the mood and let Dave Barry offers some help with those pesky forms.

And a few random thoughts:

Don't forget to keep an eye on the Republican Party's website to know what their primary talking points are for the week. (No one has yet explained to me how this political party that is not, in fact, a part of the government, qualifies for a .gov domain name.)

I must be getting old. I don't actually understand what this columnist is writing about.

From time to time, I feel a bit guilty about ignoring the usual major media sources, national and international, when I'm browsing the links, but then I comfort myself with the thought that y'all are reading the NYTimes and WaPo and CNN and all of the others without my pushing you to do so, so it's okay to take up space pointing to articles you might not otherwise read.

It's a bit sad because it means I'm almost never talking about what everyone else is talking about so I can't surf around the world o'blog and see what everyone else thinks of things.

On the other hand, if I'm not talking about what other people are talking about, I'm not embarrassing myself with thoughtless rudeness, either, so maybe it's just as well.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:09 AM | Comments (4)
National Chip and Dip Day

I may decide to give the diet a rest and stop by the grocery store on the way home.

Might as well. The world may end, you know.

Is a Russian nuclear sub really really in danger of exploding or is it, as the article suggests, some kind of political power play?

And here's an article on our home-grown, right-wing terrorists.

If you're in Norway, things don't necessarily go better with Coke.

Here's a fascinating recap of the history of the Pledge of Allegiance. Somehow I suspect the upcoming Supreme Court case isn't going to end the debate any more than previous rulings have.

I know I haven't said much about Mel Gibson's new movie. I never did understand why everyone was so wound up over what sounded to me like a typical Hollywood blood-and-guts 'blockbuster' project, but it really wasn't on my radar until I read this description of it as " fascist propaganda." Was it really just two hours of watching someone get tortured? How…ghastly. And how typical of Hollywood, don't you think? ("What? No sex? Okay, then they'd better bleed. A lot.")

So…what if you were a woman, sent to Iraq to help build a TV studio? What would you do? Maybe you'd blog.

But there's good news.

Human trials are scheduled to start on anti-HIV gels.

And presumably we're all celebrating that James Lee is free?

I'm going to go think about chip and dip and do a bit of work. I'll be back.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:27 AM | Comments (2)
March 22, 2004

Didn't I have anything to say today, you ask?

I did not. Mostly because I was without a computer for most of the morning and have consequently had to spend the afternoon doing some Real Work.

Well, downloading all of the programs I lost when they reformatted my hard drive to rid me of increasingly annoying computer problems. It all looks like work, if you look at it right. Winzip, AIM (I use it for work. Honestly. I know no one personally who has an AIM identity any more.), two of our proprietary software programs, and, just because I felt like it, RadioNetscape.

Had I blogged, I would have said that I'm giving serious consideration to getting rid of my television.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:56 PM | Comments (3)