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April 18, 2008

In a passing political note, let me say how happy I am that I did not watch the debates this week. From the comments and coverage I've read, they were even more devoid of content they were when I first decided (several years ago) that watching them live was a waste of time.

In other political "news"?

You know times are tough when the American president and the British prime minister start talking about the good ol' days of the Blitz.

It's been forever since I've been able to hear Bush talk without wanting to kill myself, but I feel justified in my contempt for the man when I read things like this little jewel, presented in response to a suggestion that maybe, just maybe, our "special" relationship with the UK isn't quite as special as it used to be.

"False!" Bush argued before the questioner finished. "We've got a great relationship. . . . Our special relationship has been forged in common values . . . And so our relationship is very special . . . There's just such a uniqueness in the relationship."

So very special.

Things seem to have gone downhill from there:

No matter: The two men had far bigger problems to discuss. Indeed, listening to Brown and "Boosh," as the Scotsman called his counterpart, gave a powerful sense of just how grim the times have become. They spoke of violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, problems with Iran and Zimbabwe, AIDS in Africa, the credit crunch, the housing crisis, soaring fuel prices, and even, as Brown described it, "food riots in many countries, the lowest supply of food for 30 years."

Times are so bad, in fact, that Brown flew to America on a plane provided by the discount charter company Titan Airways. The stature of the two leaders had shrunk so much that there were empty seats in the Rose Garden yesterday, and only Fox News bothered to have its correspondent do a live report from the event.

So very sad for this country.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:29 PM | Comments (2)
April 17, 2008
Search and Find!

One of the things that's fun about the new job is spending some time poking around online and finding various unexpected and interesting sites. Some finds, of course, are better than others.

This one, Pretrieve, looked promising, It advertises itself as a "search engine designed to make finding information about business from free public record sites faster and easier, providing categorized links that deliever[sic] users directly to their search results" but a few sample searches brought up nothing but a page full of phone number sites, no matter how well-known the company name I was searching on.

Quick March advertises itself as the "Source for searching anything on the internet." IMO? Dogpile does it better.

Even more promising was Research Connect. "An Integrated research database connecting the media and investors with leading independent financial, business, economic, political, technical, legal, medical, scientific, and social research." Fascinating. I wish I could afford to subscribe. Or even that I had a use for that information.

I mean, look at the excerpt I found from one report (September 28, 2005):

Global War on Terrorism: DOD Should Consider All Funds Requested for the War When Determining Needs and Covering Expenses

To assist the Congress in its oversight role, GAO is undertaking a series of reviews on the costs of operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). In related work, GAO is raising concerns about the reliability of the Department of Defense's (DOD) reported cost data and therefore is unable to ensure that DOD's reported obligations for GWOT are complete, reliable, and accurate.

Authored by Susan Becker, Acting Director, Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The excerpt goes on to discuss how the various branches of the DoD are either incompetent to handle their own basic accounting and reporting or are dancing to hide where they're actually spending the billions they're being given. (There might be a slight editorial bias in that sentence.)

(The rest of the excerpt is here, for those who'd like to read the part that's accessible to non-subscribers of the service.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
April 14, 2008
It's only $$$,$$$,$$$,$$$

Views on Money for Iraq War, and What Else Could Be Done With It

Sometimes I think the NYTimes really misses the boat in their headlines. In an article about what people think we should have spent/be spending the money we're using to take over Iraq, I found this little gem:

Mr. Bush said in his speech on Thursday that the Defense Department budget today represented slightly more than 4 percent of gross domestic product, compared with more than 6 percent in some years of the Reagan administration and as much as 13 percent in 1952-3, when the United States was engaged in the war in Korea.

But the war in Iraq is largely being paid for off the books, with emergency and supplemental spending rather than from the Pentagon’s operating budget, so Mr. Bush’s figures are a low estimate of the relative cost of the war, analysts have observed. And growing entitlement costs today make such comparisons with previous eras questionable.

I could have made an entire article out of that alone. Comparing what they said then with what we now know they knew then, and what they've been saying at intervals along the way.

Except with, you know, the inclusion of actual facts that show how they're shading and distorting the truth.

Sometimes I really do wonder if the major news organs are going to remember their shame-faced admissions, years too late, that their 'journalism' was insufficiently 'investigative' about the Bush Administration's pre-war assertions. And if they're really going to do it any differently the next time.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)