Saturday, March 31, 2007

Unintended Consequences -- part 1

Fellow blogger, Dan Kennedy, links us into the explosion of consequences from the New Bedford Raid.

This is a fascinating case showing how the theory of unitended consequences applies to big government.

Some things to consider:
  1. Is New Bedford MA where al-qaeda plans to strike next?
  2. What were the opportunity costs of this raid, apparently 2+ months in the planning?
  3. Is it significant that the raid took place in a blue state?
  4. Are we just now spending millions on body armor vests?
  5. If there are only 100+ people working there now, what happened to all the New Bedfordians who wanted these jobs?
  6. How many of the rounded-up were actually illegals?
  7. How many were held without bail or due process?
  8. How much did this raid cost the taxpayers?
  9. How much did this raid cost the economy of New Bedford?
Let's take a look, shall we?


What does

"Put Your Big-Girl Panties On" mean?

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's funny, but I love the Ironic Times.

Study: One-Third of Washington, D.C. Residents Functionally Illiterate
Based on millions of government documents.

Nielsen: Average American Home Has 104 TV Channels
And 2 books.

Scandal: Japanese Sumo Wrestling Matches “Fixed”
Fooled everyone for 1500 years.

Samples from this week's edition.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bookmark these names and references

The intersection of hi-tech and international policy has been highlighted by the current iran/england dust-up. In researching this I came across 3 fabulous writers:
Sleep well tonight, america . . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Xocxoc's Guide to Intellectually Stimulating Movies

Another link being added to Omega-3. About half of the really good movies I've seen recently are found on this list.

I totally agree, in particular, on the following:
There are, however, a couple of clinkers, from which I would steer you away (imho):
Comments, and your nominees for intellectually stimulating movies, are very welcome.

In the meantime, I will look for similar, more up-to-date, resources.

You might also want to see XocXoc's Math Mistakes Website, which is heralded by the Top 95% of the Web Award.

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Rule! Too good to forget

On Real Time this past Friday (3/23/2007):

New Rule: Traitors don’t get to question my patriotism. What could be less patriotic than constantly screwing things up for America? You know, it’s literally hard to keep up with the sheer volume of scandals in the Bush Administration. Which is why I like to download the latest scandal right onto my iPod. That way, I can catch up on this week’s giant fuck-up on my drive in to work.

In fact, Bush has so many scandals, he could open a chain of “Bush Scandal and Fuck-up” theme restaurants. “Ooh, should I get the Harriet Miers meatloaf or the Katrina crab cakes?

You know, not to generalize, but the 29% of people who still support President Bush are the ones who love to pronounce themselves more patriotic than the rest of us. But just saying you’re patriotic is like saying you have a big cock. If you have to say it, chances are it’s not true.

And, indeed, the party that flatters itself that they protect America better is the party that has exhausted the military, left the ports wide open and purposefully outed a CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

That’s not treason anymore? Outing a spy? Did I mention it was one of our spies? And how despicable that Bush’s lackeys attempted to diminish this crime by belittling her service, like she was just some chick who hung around the CIA. “An intern, really. Groupie, if you want to be mean about it.”

No. Big lie. Valerie Plame was the CIA’s operational officer in charge of counter-proliferation. Which means she tracked loose nukes. So, when Bush said, as he once did, that his absolute, number-one priority was preventing terrorists from getting loose nukes, okay, that’s what she worked on. That’s what she devoted her life to, staying undercover for 20 years, maintaining two identities every goddamn day. This is extraordinary service to your country.

Valerie Plame was the kind of real-life secret agent George Bush dreams of being when he’s not too busy pretending to be a cowboy or a fighter pilot.

CIA agents are troops. This was a military assassination of one of our own, done through the press, ordered by Karl Rove. He said, of Valerie Plame, quote, “She fair game.” And then Cheney shot her.

George Bush likes to claim that he doesn’t question his critics’ patriotism, just their judgment. Well, let me be the first of your critics, Mr. President, to question your judgment and your patriotism. Because, let’s not forget why they did it to her. Because Valerie Plame was married to this guy, Joe Wilson, who the Bush people hated because he busted them on one of their bullshit reasons for invading Iraq.

He was sent to the African country of Niger to see if Niger was selling nuclear fuel to Iraq. They weren’t. It was bullshit, and he said so. In fact, his report was called, “Niger, Please!”

Valerie Plame’s husband told the truth about their lie, so they were willing to jeopardize an entire network of spies to ruin her life. Wow, even the mob doesn’t go after your family.

Mark Twain said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” And I say Valerie Plame is a patriot because she spent her life serving her country. Scooter Libby is not, because he spent his life serving Dick Cheney.

Valerie Plame kept her secrets. The Bush Administration leaked like the plumbing at Walter Reed.

Garden Spots

Well I'm a rake and ramblin' boy.
There's many a city I did enjoy -- lyrics by Joan Baez

Who should be the University of Kentucky's next men's basketball coach?
Billy Donovan
Billy Donovan
Billy Donovan free polls

Today's letter to my congressman

I, too, am in favor of the core provisions of HR 1591, but I am extremely concerned over the unrelated added expenditure categories. What was the rationale among the bill's managers for this? I certainly hope there was no "pork" for [our state] in the final version sent to the Senate.

Is there any way, in your opinion, that this kind of "business as usual" can be stopped?

Readers, think about writing your congressperson, too.

NB: The Cunning Realist

I add a new link today in Omega-3, my link list. The Cunning Realist -- clearly conservative, clearly not a bush fan.

A sample, Credibility Chasm.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Where are they today?

President Bush has not fired any of the architects of the Iraq war. In fact, a review of the key planners of the conflict reveals that they have been rewarded — not blamed — for their incompetence. -- Think Progress

FYI -- Wesley Clark for Prez 2008

The only way we can dodge the bullet on the usual suspects (ms bill, mccainiac, rudy, mittrom, unbiden, dennis the menace) is to get up to speed on some of the ones we are not being spoonfed.

WesPAC | Securing America

Please post comments and links.

FYI -- Chuck Hagel for Prez 2008

The only way we can dodge the bullet on the usual suspects (ms bill, mccainiac, rudy, mittrom, unbiden, dennis the menace) is to get up to speed on some of the ones we are not being spoonfed.

Senate Site

E. J. Dionne, Why not Chuck Hagel?

Please, post links with your comments on Chuck Hagel.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Why is this man smiling?

I had almost forgotten this old esquire magazine shtick. During the 70s, in the annual dubious achievement awards issue, there were several smiling pix of nixon salted thoughout the piece, with the incorrigible caption, "Why is this man laughing?"

More Confessions from KSM . . .

  1. Swiped britney spears' underpants
  2. Released rats in NYC kfc/taco bell
  3. Produced jessica simpson's xmas album (began war on xmas)
  4. Fired on fort sumter
  5. Sabotaged the texas rangers' bidness plan during dubya's ownership
  6. Invented the Internet, blamed it on al gore
  7. Invented polyester, double-knit leisure suits
  8. Popularized hoopneck tee shirts
  9. Flatulence
  10. Is former wardrobe master for janet jackson
  11. Tortured iraqis at abu ghraib
  12. Fathered keith olbermann
  13. Speech writer for ann coulter
  14. World's leading producer of post-roman-numeral-III movie sequels
  15. Is the alter ego of simon cowell
  16. Poise tutor for ron artest, terrell owens, and allen iverson
  17. Founder of swift boat vets for truth
  18. Refrigerator repair man for william jefferson
  19. Was the real rapist in kobe bryant's hotel room
  20. Won john belushi look-alike contest
  21. Handled balloon drop at 2004 dem convention
  22. Scheduled zell miller interview for chris matthews
  23. Gunbearer for dick cheney at TX quail shoot
  24. Designed the edsel
  25. Played 'big pussy' on the sopranos
  26. . . .

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

1756 - St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in New York City for the first time (at the Crown and Thistle Tavern).

". . . therefore how much more guilty is he, who has stained his own hands in the blood of the sons of God . . .?" -- Saint Patrick

Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of the war in iraq.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On the Road -- Bar Harbor, ME

The best lobster of the trip!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On the Road -- Northeast Harbor and Ellsworth, ME

Northeast Harbor Main Street
Pat's Pizza, Orono

Sunday, March 11, 2007

American conservatism at stake?

Andrew Sullivan's Sunday London Times piece, There’s a new nasty party out there talks about some of the uphill fights facing both the republicans and the conservatives.

Think of it as a perfect storm of many, many scandals, meeting over the increasingly warm political water of the Iraq war and becoming something potentially more lethal. In many ways the entire future of American conservatism is at stake.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On the Road -- Southwest Harbor

On the Road -- Bangor ME

Passing through on the way to Acadia.

Why is there news about a possible capture of obl? Saturday news?

Yes, it is the freaking saturday news! These nitwits, since it is obl's 50th birthday, have decided to tease with "why is obl's capture more imminent?" This is nbc's stupid saturday news. They have some talking head, rent-a-guru, saying that it's only a matter of time, because the longer he is free, the closer he gets to his eventual capture -- turns out he's not so much a obl guru as a circular logic guru. And he's not so much a guru as an idiot.

This same morning news show had a chef cooking beets! At least they had wynton marsalis too.

The fact that news must be manufactured for the weekends, tells me we can do without news pretty much all the time, except for as needed.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Libby Blabby

Well, discussion can go on forever, when few are enlightened with the facts. Check in on the discussion thread at TCP PDF entitled Libby juror supports pardon

Hey, I was a major fan of the x-files (until mulder left), but I am seldom in doubt about the differences among fact, fiction, fantasy, proof, evidence, truth, and falsehoods.

Proof is found in repeatable demonstration. Evidence is when there may be a relationship that comports with occam's razor (see below). The item of evidence is often a fact. A fact is something that exists in 3 dimensions at the present point in time. A proof is when one or more facts are unalterably related to one or more facts.

My memory evidences to me that it was a fact that I made love to cate blanchett, but this is actually a fiction (any non-fact that stands in for a fact) that you suspect is a fantasy.


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Timing, Nuance, A Great Ear.

Reviewer: Kilgore Forelle from Paihia, NZ
I just got my hands on this CD, and I'm blown away from Moonlight Serenade on down. Kurt is truly a unique artist. And what a backing group. Beautiful!

Moonlight Serenade
Detour Ahead
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Orange Blossoms In Summertime
Not While I’m Around
Easy Living
Lil’ Darlin’
I Get Along Without You Very Well
Blame It On My Youth
I’m Thru With Love
Say It
While You Are Mine

Minimum Standards for Driver’s licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes

While libby takes a fall, the beat goes on:

chertoff releases a proposal for implementation of the Real ID law (2 years after passage -- yes, they were dragging their feet.)

Cost? 23 BILLION! in 2006 dollars.

When you open the link to the pdf file -- buried on page 106 of 162 is the cost estimate.
23 effing billion effing 2006 effing dollars!

When you're setting up a police state, be sure to bring your visa card!

Suspicious Activity Tip Line Memo at Work

Suspicious Activity Tip Line

The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security created an anonymous tip line to allow residents to report suspicious activity throughout the Commonwealth. The number is 1-800-EYE-ON-KENTUCKY.

[Stakeholders] are encouraged to report suspicious activity on or around the [site]. Strange actions could include, but is [sic] not limited to:

* People asking unusual questions about building security;
* People taking pictures or video of buildings, bridges or other locations;
* People asking detailed questions about the schedules of public transportation;
* People seen timing the arrival/departure of public transportation;
* People seen loitering around non-public areas around reservoirs, water treatment plants, dams or power plants;
* People watching a building for extended periods of time;
* Suspicious vehicles parked in unusual places or at unusual times.

WATCH OUT! for people asking questions about the schedules of public transportation!

Friday, March 2, 2007

High Tech at Homeland Security

Are these guys bozos or what? Soundex, technically explained here, a 90+ year old approach to dealing (crudely, at a time when illiteracy was the norm) with misspelling, is being used to manage the terrorist watch list! Holy crap! This is even more on-the-cheap than rummie's approach to war.

James Moore does a nice job of explaining what's wrong with that.

War on terror? We have no serious plans for stopping terror, other than to convince voters that we do have plans. The post-luddite federal government view of technology is frightening. If they had a clue, we could really start to worry about our freedoms.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Political views in a nutshell

My nutshell:
  • The Golden Rule
  • Live and let live
  • Liberty belongs to every human, but release from responsibility belongs to no one
  • Unlimited government is destructive
  • was against gay marriage until I learned it was not mandatory (thanks jon stewart)
  • individual agreements and contracts should be the essence of civil law
  • no police state, but appropriate law enforcement(1), well financed
  • no martial state, but military readiness(2), well financed
  • free markets will regulate a hell of a lot of human activity
  • limited legal negotiation should moderate the rest
  • end the monopoly of state controlled schools
  • end the monopoly of state controlled infrastructure
  • reduce toward elimination of all federal subsidies, including social programs
  • replace repesentative government with 1 citizen 1 vote for policy decisions, keep representative government for implementation
  • instant runoff, non-partisan elections
  • new elections on majority request of the electorate (all eligible voters)
  • repeal personal income tax, institute flat taxes for all others
  • freedom of religion
  • freedom from religion
  • . . . generally the complete set of libertarian principles, as they complement the above
(1) with civilian and court checks and balances
(2) for instance, we are not in a state of readiness now. We are pursuing a crusade, while the homeland is being sacked.

Holy Mismatched Mustache

john bolton was on c-span this morning (with the beguiling greta wodele ).

Astonishingly, I found myself agreeing with him on 3 issues:
  • We should withdraw (his word) from (the territory fka) iraq as soon as the surge is over, since we have no business in its civil war
  • we should not pay 22% of all un membership assessments; we should pay only for those programs we are willing to sponsor
  • the so-called noko agreement is only window dressing, as has been done before, changing nothing but the balance of kim's bank accounts.
It also looks like he is now a richard clark type loose cannon in bushco.