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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

June 18, 2004
Minor notes

Eight years. Or, rather, eight and a half years. That's how long Norway has until their oil reserves are depleted.

The DoD wants the right to spy on us. Without our knowledge of course. (Is it really "spying" if they tell us first?) And they want the right to recruit our neighbors to help them. It's more and more like 1984 every day, isn't it?

When I find myself wondering what on earth is going on in the Bush Administration and who's responsible for the chaos they're spreading, I don't find that reports like this one help clear up the confusion. I mean, I'm probably wrong, but isn't authorizing military force against people sort of the president's job and not Cheney's?

I mean, sure, we're told Bush handed over authority to Cheney, but it's not like Bush was, you know, too far away from a phone to do his own job or anything, even if he was reduced to a cell phone at some point.

I'm just saying. If Cheney could call Bush to confirm his "instructions" then surely it would have been possible for Bush to speak directly to the DoD and give a clear order? Seems to me that a lot of the "confusion" around whether or not to pass the order to fire to the fighter jets could have been eliminated had the clear chain of command for such an order been followed.

Of course, Atrios is discussing the fog of contradictions and coincidences that took place on that day.

There's a bill with a corporate tax cut worth something like $150B winding it's way through Congress. The omnibus bill contains some unusual elements, as these things always do. Bits and pieces of pork are hung all over them to get the votes they need to pass, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised if tobacco companies are getting a chunk. The bow and arrow provision is a bit porky. I can't say I'm entirely thrilled about the clause that allows the IRS to hire bounty hunters to go after tax evaders, paying them with 25% of the money collected. What happened to that thing about people's tax records being, you know, private?

I heard this story when it was on NPR in December and I remember it bothered me for days. TalkLeft is discussing it today.

And Matthew Yglesias is talking about the government doing…practically nothing.

Practically everything on Cursor's front page depresses me today, from reports about more 'secret detention facilities' possibly on USofA warships to the revelation that intelligence officials in high places are unable to read satellite photos to more on the story about "Triple X."

When I'm not wondering precisely how the White House is going to spin the "Triple X" story to make it seem that they weren't doing anything illegal, I'm wondering if it is, in fact, bin Laden, being held until the right psychological moment to announce his capture to help Bush get elected.

The rest of the time I spend wondering, as I've said frequently in recent days, just how we got into such a mess.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:03 PM | Comments (5)
June 16, 2004
Just some stuff

No deep thoughts, just some links.

Is there journalistic bias over at the CSMonitor? In a June 4, column, editor Slambrouck discussed it, then readers weighed in (not surprisingly, they find bias in all directions, depending on their personal biases), so he's discussing it again.

His take? The increasingly partisan nature of our society is to blame for the increases in accusations of bias against each reader's preferred position.

Take a potato. Slice it into rectangles. Plunge it into bubbling hot fat until it absorbs enough grease to become crunchy. (It's even better if you coat the potato in batter first.) Voila! It's a fresh veggie! It seems that under the Bush Administration, anything that isn't preserved against rotting is "fresh."

Apparently a Bush victory in November means more than just four more years of the Bush Administration. It means the continued survival of the neocons.

Darfur.

For those whose blood pressure went up when I suggested that we might need to take a look at this country's guiding political philosophies and decide how much of what was relevant 200 or more years ago is still relevant today, you might want to read this.

Iran's picking on UN representatives. Big bullies.

You can get on a "do not call" list, but the Feds are afraid spammers will hack into a "do not spam" list and use the e-mail addresses to spam people, so they're declining to create one.

The interesting stuff comes at the bottom of the article, though.

Also Tuesday, key House members on telecommunications issues moved to overturn regulations set to take effect next year aimed at preventing homes and offices from receiving junk faxes.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee, said he planned to introduce a bill Wednesday to rescind Federal Communications Commission regulations that requires a recipient to receive a commercial fax only if they have given prior consent.

Speaking as someone whose business receives a lot of junk faxes from people breaking the current regulation banning such things, I'd like to protest any proposed increase in the same. And I'd like to know just what corporate donor is pushing for such legislation. What's Upton up to?

In other news, today is a pain so far. It's good to be employed and I'm trying to keep sight of that fact, but that doesn't mean I don't have days when I want to be really, really mean to people.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)
June 15, 2004
Meeting Break

The wretched excess of marketing material that surrounds us.

Call me crazy, but I think spending two years building a special jail to stuff people awaiting deportation into sends entirely the wrong message. (Or…not. I notice it's in Tacoma. It's the other side of the country from the lady with the lamp and suddenly I have this image of us welcoming people with open arms at one door and then kicking them out the back door when no one is looking. I realize that's not exactly what's happening, but it's the image I get.)

Also, I may be silly, but I doubt that the right way to "reform" unsatisfactory, abuse detention facilities is to build different facilities somewhere else.

We are so on the wrong track in this country.

I also wonder why you never hear any of those people who jump up and down and foam at the mouth about the 'sanctity' of the 'family' protesting that a father doesn't abdicate his right to have a voice in how his children are raised just because he gets a divorce.

Oddly enough, when a father's right to help make decisions about his children is denied purely because of "legal custody" issues, you don't hear those 'family sanctity' people protesting at all.

David Brooks never seems to stray too far from his Conservative roots. His going on about the "elites" and their advanced "education" today.

This year the presidential election is a contest between the rival elites of the educated class.

That's such a typically Conservative view of society, with disdain for "educated" people right there in your face. (One presumes that Brooks himself never quite managed to finish high school or something.)
.
No, seriously, it's an interesting column…but I'll admit I did think of that when I saw the teaser for the column. It would be nice to live in a country where either having an education wasn't seen as "elitist" or where everyone was a member of the 'educated elite,' don't you think?

Posted by AnneZook at 03:44 PM | Comments (4)
Whatever

Okay, so we've averted another 9/11...the terrorist threat to blow up a shopping mall in Ohio. Or have we?

Makes me tired.

I'm off to today's round of endless fun and excitment as represented by an endless stream of meetings.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)
June 14, 2004
A few notes

I took a quick skim of this morning's headlines and these are the things that caught my eye.

The Invisibility Cloak…it's not just for Harry Potter any more.

Roe v. Wade may under attack.

$48.3 doesn't look that impressive until you put the zeroes behind it. $48,300,000,000 is a lot of trade deficit. A record-breaker, in fact. I'd like to rant and rave about it, but I'm not economist. I understand a large trade deficit is bad…humongous deficits are always bad, but I'm fuzzy on details.

I dissed the idea of religious groups taking out ads to apologize to Iraqis for Abu Ghraib and other problems but someone else thinks people making peace is a good idea.

Darfur.

Little or no blogging for the next couple of days, sorry. Have a full meeting schedule at work and what free time I have in the evenings, I'm spending working on an entry about what I believe in.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:40 AM | Comments (6)