Wednesday, December 01, 2004

James Wolcott: Nowhere Men:
"The Life & Death of Peter Sellers, premiering Sunday night on HBO, is as brilliantly done as could be dreamed...But the nagging question remains, was it worth doing? the end of two hours, we're no wiser as to the pathology that drove him...this emptiness is never accounted for, nor the sadistic meanness."

I wonder if that is indeed the point: that sometimes you can't "account" for every facet of a person's behavior. Personally, I welcome a film that doesn't pretend to have "figured out" its subject as many a biopic does. With what we now know about how the brain is built and functions, facile explanations based upon upbringing or traumatic events just seem ludicrous. It sounds like this film asks more questions than it answers. That is as it should be.
The Onion | New Social Security Plan Allows Workers To Put Portion Of Earnings On Favorite Team
Sadly, it's funny because it is true.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Polar Express, The (2004)
I haven't seen the film yet, but I am curious why all the critics seem to think that this "technology" of using live actors against blue screens and animating them using a computer is groundbreaking. Ralph Bakshi did that years ago when he made Lord of the Rings. More recently, Richard Linklater did the same thing in Waking Life. They didn't use computers; they animated the actors by hand, frame by frame, coloring over them in each scene and adding background, etc. A more painstaking process but probably a lot cheaper.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

STLtoday - Sports - Rams
“We don’t hold hands, get in a stance and sing Kumbaya My Lord. I’m not into that. We have a direction we’re going. You’re on the train or you’re not. If not, get out, period. I know where we’re going. I know where I’m going. You’re either with me or you’re not. Anything else? OK, thanks.”

A refreshing change to see Mike Martz actually mad at a press conference. This is long overdue. Martz is what they call a "player's" coach meaning that he treats his players as adult human beings and not like pieces of meat. Some players respond well to that like Faulk, Holt, Bruce, Bulger, Warner and on and on. Others, like a number of #1 picks on the defensive line, some linebackers, some safeties don't. I think the defensive players have no respect for Larry Marmie and just won't play for him. As for the offensive problems, I blame the play calling which has been atrocious except for the first half of the San Francisco game. The Rams fell into the trap of trying to hit the Patriots where they were hurting, the secondary. The Pats compensated, maybe too much, with a furious pass rush all day long. They needed some more touches for powerful Steven Jackson who was used very sparingly. He could have taken some of the rush out of the Pats' D line with a dozen or so runs right at them. Wear them down a bit. We shall see if the new attitude of the head coach translates into any action on the field this Sunday against Seattle.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

From Revolution to Reconstruction: Presidents: Thomas Jefferson: Letters: PATIENCE AND THE REIGN OF WITCHES: "A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to it's true principles. It is true that in the mean time we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war & long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when & where they would end? Better keep together as we are, hawl off from Europe as soon as we can, & from all attachments to any portions of it. And if we feel their power just sufficiently to hoop us together, it will be the happiest situation in which we can exist. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, & then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are the stake. Better luck, therefore, to us all; and health, happiness, & friendly salutations to yourself."

Mr. Jefferson comes through again. Some good advice in these "interesting" times.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Those faulty exit polls were sabotage=The "This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play."

I think Dick Morris has a point here. (God, did I just write that?) ANd that point is that it is extremely unusual for so many exit polls to be so wrong. I also suspect foul play, but not the kind Mr. Morris suspects. I really wish Kerry would have waited for Ohio to complete it's count. Very interesting that Diebold's president vowed to deliver Ohio and sure enough guess what happened. Say, can we recount those votes taken with the Diebold machines?
Yahoo! News - Bush Says Will Reform Social Security System Now: "'We will start on Social Security now. We will start bringing together those in Congress who agree with my assessment that we need to work together,' he said in his first news conference after the election."

Well that didn't take long did it? Notice how they always say "reform" instead of "dismatle"? It's like the use of "relief" instead of "cuts" when referring to taxes. What is really going on here is the mass transfer of wealth from working people to the wealthiest 1% of the country. It is the default on billions of dollars of treasury bills. Even by their own admission, the "privatization" of social security will be more expensive and more risky and STILL benefits will "have" to be cut. And for what? So the tax cuts which favored the most wealthy of us can be made permanent. We will now see if there is a Democrat with an ounce of integrity in Congress. (I am not holding my breath.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Calls Bush to Concede Election: "Network projections showed Republicans would hold at least 54 of the 100 Senate seats, three more than they now have, and widen their slim majority of the 435-member House in the new 109th Congress, set to convene on Jan. 3.

That will make it easier for Bush to push his conservative agenda through Congress, potentially making his tax cuts permanent and appointing more federal judges including possibly some U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) justices.

'With a bigger majority, we can do even more exciting things,' said House Majority leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Texas."

Easier? EASIER? How much easier can it possibly be? Was there a stumbling block somewhere in the last 4 years that we all missed? Man, what a chilling quote from DeLay. It's apparently going to take somebody like Barrack Obama to give the Democratic Party some semblance of a backbone. I hope he does just that in the next 4 years.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It is 10 pm Pacific time and it appears to be all over. To the rest of the world, I apologize for my country's choice. The first time, well anyone can make a mistake. But twice? That is downright willful idiocy. Even if I agreed with President Bush's policies his near completely ineptitude with regard to implementation would force me to want a change. How a president with a job approval rating well below 50% can win reelection is incredible.

Kerry and the Dems are going to have to take a long hard look at what the hell they are about. If you can't beat a sitting duck like that you have some serious problems. JFK was way, WAY too tentative and cautionary for one thing. (I am sure there are plenty more things but I am too sick right now to try and articulate them.)

And now we, and the rest of the world, will be made to suffer for that.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Yahoo! News - Chicago Bears Will Not Sign Tim Couch
Holy mackerel! If you can't crack the Chicago Bears QB roster, you ain't a quarterback my friend! Talk about being punched in the gut.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

MSNBC - Dangerous Loose Ends
If you have the stomach for it, Christopher Dickey appears to be one of the finest journalists we have in the mainstream press. Intelligent, well-informed, a sense of history, a sense of morality, and a healthy dose of skepticism. Very good prose too.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Why Hitch Drank The Neocon Kool-Aid
If you can get past the subservient fawning of Johann Hari, this is an interesting interview with Christopher Hitchens about why he seemingly changed course radically after 9/11/2001. Now I don't claim to be up on the intellectual "elite", but in the battle of the think tanks, I would like to see some mutually assured destruction taking place. If you give these guys any sort of power, as we have seen the past 4 years, disaster usually results.

At any rate, a couple of points of disagreement for the sake of brevity: I really don't think any sane person can be found in the US who wanted to "do nothing" after 9/11/2001. Maybe "the Left" whatever that is, but I am talking about regular people. The question was HOW to go about it. And I find it hard to believe that WHOEVER was president at the time would have tried to arrange talks with Bin Laden in lieu of invading Afghanistan to take him out. The problem with the Bush administration is that it didn't want to finish the job in Afghanistan because it had other things on its plate. And invading Iraq was one of them.

Which brings me to my second point of dispute: invading Iraq was a part of the neocon plan of action from before Bush was elected. This is not in dispute. The problem was, they used "the war on terror" to justify that plan. Saddam Hussein was a threat to his people and human dignity, but he was no threat to anybody else thanks to 12 years of sanctions. The neocons believed that it would be a cakewalk to take over Iraq, turn it into a Jeffersonian Democracy overnight and use it as a base for military operations in the Middle East and as an example of what's in store if the rest of the neighborhood did not play nice with us. That's the kind of "think tank" idea that gets the eyes rolling at places like The Pentagon.

The dangerous thing about these people is that they love to play war with other people's lives. To them, war is not a last resort, a means of defense when all else fails. It is a tool to affect global change to the way they think the world should be. They are out of touch with reality. To wit: "So we have to take the risk of uncorking it and hoping the more progressive side wins." And WHO takes the risk?

To see/read a person of Hitchens supposed intellectual heft defend these people because he actually met a few and found them to be great chaps even knowing the jaw dropping failures and mistakes in the Iraq invasion/aftermath...well to use his words "has lost all moral bearings."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bush's Blind Spots ( "The shocking waste of America's health system reflects the fact that, most of the time, doctors and patients decide what medical services are necessary, but the bills are paid by insurers and the government....But there are plenty of ways to get Social Security privatization wrong. Any reform would have to involve benefit cuts, and these take political courage. "

If Mr. Mallaby believes that America's soaring health care costs are due to the fact that patients are not good shoppers, then why do all other industrialized nations whose governments provide health care coverage pay far less for that coverage and have longer life spans and lower infant mortality rates among other indicators? The "waste" comes from U.S. government supported monopolies on drugs and physicians. And as far as Social Security, it is still shocking and depressing to me that the idea that it is in some dire financial trouble has become the accepted truth. Yes, a small tax increase may be needed to fund the program in 30 years, similar to those increases the program has had in each of the past 3 decades. The reason this idea has taken hold is because it is unseemly to talk about defaulting on treasury bonds. Instead, we talk about the SS program being in such dire straits that benefits will HAVE to be cut. And of course we blame this on the Baby Boomers even though we supposedly took care of that problem in 1983 when SS rates were raised slightly, and most Boomers will be dead in 2030 when this supposed crisis hits.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Cheapest Calories Make You the Fattest: "The first generation of GMO products offered the consumer nothing. The food was not cheaper, and it was still grown with pesticides--and in some cases required even more pesticides. In the late 1990s, the companies told me about this second generation of products that was going to provide superior nutrition. Where are they?

We still have the same crops that were rolled out in 1996. It suggests that either the capital to do research and development is drying up, or they've found it's harder than they thought to make these more complex products work. Either way, the industry is on the ropes. I don't think in ten years we'll be talking about GMOs. I can easily see the industry withering away."

Good news from a "food-chain journalist".

Monday, August 16, 2004

STLtoday - News - Maplewood mall will cover toxic ground: "Past rules were too strict, he said. For example, a hardware store owner couldn't buy a vacant lot next door because he couldn't afford to clean up the groundwater to drinking-water standards. 'It doesn't make sense,' he said. 'No one will ever use it for drinking water.' "

Oh that's nice. I'm not going to drink the groundwater NOW, so let's just pave over it and forget there was ever any problem here.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Yahoo! News - Late Cooking Diva Julia Child Loved Red Meat, Gin
Please pardon the cliche, but she seemed to have truly lived "a full life". Jacques Pepin said "She was a true person. There was nothing fake about her." From what I could see on the screen I would have to agree that was a large part of her appeal to myself and millions of "foodies" around the country if not the world. I may have to invest in the dvd of her last series with Pepin. It was just a pleasure watching those two banter and argue about the best way to cook whatever it was they were cooking. I will miss her.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bush eyes Thomas as chief justice, book says:
"Whether he is elevated to chief justice 'all depends on [President] Bush being re-elected,' Foskett said."

I think we all know what needs to be done here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Over the phone, Peterson promised Frey a future together
"Frey later described the couple's second date, a hiking trip on Dec. 2, 2002. Peterson, she said, showed up at her Fresno home with an amaryllis plant and a bag of groceries with which he planned to make her seafood lasagna for dinner. Frey testified that they picked up Frey's daughter, Ayianna, from school and then hiked at a nearby lake. Afterward, they sat in the back of Peterson's pickup and watched for the first star, before returning to Frey's home to cook dinner. "

He may have murdered his pregnant wife and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay, but he sure knows how to play the dating game! Seafood lasagna. First star. Who could resist?
Manchurian Candidate, The (2004)Saw this last night. Remind me to steer clear of Jonathan Demme films in the future. The acting was very good, particularly Streep of course, but it seemed to me that Demme copped out at the end. Perhaps there is an alternate ending we will be able to see on the DVD but as it stands it negates the previous 2 hours.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Reason: No Leadership In Sight: Uninspiring choices in 2004: "But it's hard to tell if this is [Bush's] fault, or if anything he could have done would have changed the minds of those who saw him from the start as an illegitimate president."

Wow. There are so many things about this article that pisses me off I don't know where to begin. Let's take them one at a time then, starting with the above quote. Does Ms. Young truly believe that the reason half the country wants Bush out is just because they think he 'stole' the election? Talk about living in your own world! She uses this failed basis to posit that if Gore had 'won', no matter what he would have done in the past 3 years the situation would be neatly reversed. I don't think so. She then goes on to give a pretty clear list of the failings of the current administration, but since she does not belive that Bush is 'evil incarnate' she can't think of a reason to want him out. How about incompetency incarnate! How about because you would like a president who actually LIKES TO READ THE PAPER for one? At the very least, huh? But no, since Kerry is not Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington or even the beloved Ronald Reagan, he has yet to 'offer a coherent vision of what he would do to start resolving these problems', something Bush never did in 2000, Kerry can't be trusted 'to be motivated by principle or national interest rather than partisanship and political gain'. One thing you CAN trust in, Ms. Young: the current administration IS motivated by the latter, as evidenced by 3+ years of data.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The New York Times > Science > Panel Sees No Unique Risk From Genetic Engineering: "Michael Phillips, vice president of agricultural science and regulatory policy of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said in a statement that the report 'should lay to rest the few naysayers who continue to question the safety of these crops.'"

Like I've said earlier I don't have a problem with the technique itself. I do have major problems with the fact that the technique is used by unscrupulous companies for no other reason than profit. They are messing with worldwide food supplies! Already it is too late for corn and soybeans.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bush: 'I Want to Be the Peace President':
"'Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president.'"
He's got to be kidding, right?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Delivery Man Cometh
Topping "When I Was Cruel" would be some achievement.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Drugmakers Prefer Silence On Test Data ([registration required]):
"The issue has gained urgency with recent disclosures that the publicly available research on treating children with antidepressants obscured the fact that in most studies, the drugs were no better than sugar pills. Drugmakers chose not to publish those studies."
How much you want to bet this "law" gets over-written soon?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

STLtoday - Missouri Democrats see Edwards as lure for rural voters
Another reason why Edwards was the best choice. It was iffy whether Gephardt could deliver Missouri, but judging from this report it is more likely Edwards will. Elsewhere today I read of a quote of George Bush's when asked the difference between Cheney and Edwards. Bush said "Dick Cheney could be president". Sounds more like a threat to me. If Dick Cheney is the example of what it takes to be president, we are in a big deal of hurt.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Nicholas Xenos - Leo Strauss and the Rhetoric of the War on Terror -- Logos: Spring 2004
Did you ever wonder where 'regime change' got its start? 'Moral clarity'? A tale of what happens when philosophers encounter reality.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Torture and Rumors of Torture: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal
What in the world is going on here? And the president says his orders were to obey the law, but he doesn't connect that fact that his lawyers told him the law allows for torture! Criminals.

Thursday, June 03, 2004 - NFL - Giants sign Warner; QB to attend practice today
I'm still a big fan of Kurt and can't wait for the season to start. I am certain he will play well for the Giants. I'm not sure how the team will do, but being able to see him on the field throwing the ball around will be a welcome sight.
Yahoo! News - Flames Coach Hints at Conspiracy After Nieminen Ban: "The Flames, who have walked a fine line between rugged and undisciplined play in the series, crossed it when Nieminen drove Lecavalier's head into the boards. The Lightning forward went crumbling to the ice before going to the dressing room for stitches on a gash to his head.

Sutter conceded after the game it was a penalty but objected to its severity, which included a five-minute major which left the Flames a man short for the final 4:13 of Game Four."

Let me emphasize a part of that quote: DROVE LECAVALIER'S HEAD INTO THE BOARDS. Darryl Sutter is an ass. Nieminen should be banned from the playoffs. Calgary's 'type of play' is the ugly side of hockey and makes for an extremely boring game.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The New York Review of Books: The Logic of Torture: "There's no question what took place in that prison was horrible. But the Arab world has to realize that the US shouldn't be judged on the actions of a . . . well, we shouldn't be judged on actions. It's our principles that matter, our inspiring, abstract notions. Remember: Just because torturing prisoners is something we did, doesn't mean it's something we would do." -- Rob Corddry of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

Easily the most profound statement I have yet heard about Abu Ghraib.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Yahoo! News - Iraqis Chafe at U.S. Block on Choice of President
Just when you think the Bush Administration is going to finally recognize it might have made a mistake at some point in the past 3+ years and try to do something right, it astounds you yet again. These people are True Believers and then some.

Friday, May 28, 2004

18. A big pile of fudge; all over

Pro: Tasty, particularly enjoyed by women and increasingly obese nation
Con: Perishable, nonsentient, lackluster in debates and speeches

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003)
A better film than "Finding Nemo", but not nearly as adept commercially. True genius at work here.

Friday, May 21, 2004 - National News - Agency: Chalabi group was front for Iran
"Patrick Lang, former director of the intelligence agency's Middle East branch, said he had been told by colleagues in the intelligence community that Chalabi's U.S.-funded program to provide information about weapons of mass destruction and insurgents was effectively an Iranian intelligence operation. 'They [the Iranians] knew exactly what we were up to' he said. He described it as 'one of the most sophisticated and successful intelligence operations in history.' 'I'm a spook. I appreciate good work. This was good work' he said."

That sound you just heard was one big-ass shoe dropping.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

New York Daily News - Home - Lloyd Grove's Lowdown: Daring look to Kerry off:
"Midlevel aide gets Russerted!: When Secretary of State Colin Powell's press aide, Emily Miller, tried to end her boss' taped Sunday interview from Jordan with Tim Russert, the 'Meet the Press' moderator exacted his revenge. Not only did the multimillionaire TV newsman embarrass the government wage-earner by airing the awkward moment, he worked himself into a lather of righteous indignation for such media outlets as CNN and The Washington Post. 'A taxpayer-paid employee interrupted an interview,' Russert complained to The Post. 'Not in the United States of America, that's not supposed to go on. This is attempted news management gone berserk.'"

And I thought Tom Brokaw was the most arrogant, pompous, self-righteous, egotistical talking head in the world. I guess I was wrong. I wonder what 'Big Russ' has to say about this?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

New Scientist - GM Wheat Put On Hold
"'The research is definitely not stopping', Tony Combes, director of corporate affairs at Monsanto UK, told New Scientist. 'It's not carrying on at field level, but we're leaving the door open' he says."

That last sentence scares me. My concerns regarding GM crops/food is not so much the crops/food themselves, although long-term tests have yet to be done on such things, but the fact that companies like Monsanto are the ones pushing for it. These are not people who have shown any degree of concern for the consumer in the past. At any rate, it's probably going to be a moot point because once a GM crop is used 'in the field' there is no way to stop its propogation. Look at corn and soybeans. It's extremely difficult to find crops not contaminated by GM versions nowadays. We are going to get this stuff whether we want it or not.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

All Music Guide: Van Lear Rose
So far, this is my pick for the album of the year. Yes, it's from THAT Loretta Lynn.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Bush to be interviewed on Arab TV
I guess I am just too cynical for my own good, but I am not really surprised that abuse/torture goes on in military prisons. I don't like it, but it's not surprising. What I cannot figure out though is why these particular 'interrogators' saw fit to TAKE PICTURES! Can you be any more stupid?

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | I told them everything, says Bush after secret hearing in Oval Office
"Asked about the reasons for the joint appearance yesterday, Mr Bush said: 'I wanted them to know how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats. The vice-president answered a lot of questions - answered all their questions. And I think it was important for them to see our body language as well, how we work together.'"

I want to emphasize something because I truly cannot believe he said this: "I think it was important for them to see our body language as well, how we work together." First of all, on its face, does it even make sense at all? Body language? Who THINKS like this? Secondly, I can't for the life of me think of WHY it would be important for the 9/11 Commission to know how George Bush and Dick Cheney work together. Too bad the brilliant liberal media couldn't ask him that question. Oh that's right. It's too scary to ask the president questions. The other thing I find disturbing is the commissioners' notebooks were confiscated and will be checked in case they wrote down anything confidential. WTF? Will they send the commissioners to Lacuna, Inc. to have their memories erased if they heard something confidential?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The New York Times > Times on the Trail > Playing the Heavy
"Mr. Cheney seems particularly well suited for the role. For one thing, his loyalty to Mr. Bush is probably unmatched in this White House. He has the command of facts that comes from having made a life in Washington."

"HE HAS THE COMMAND OF FACTS"????? Apparently Mr. Nagourney defines "facts" differently than the rest of the world.

Monday, April 26, 2004

STLtoday - Leonard Little Charged With Felony In DWI
Highway 40 is a major highway and Ladue is a tony suburb of St. Louis. I doubt that 78 MPH is unusual on that stretch but for 4am it might be. This is a sad situation and you can only wonder what was going through Leonard's mind as he got into his car and headed west. Without the whole story, it looks pretty bleak for the Rams.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Yahoo! News - Steven Spielberg to Direct Munich Olympics Film
"After finishing the Munich Olympics film, Spielberg plans to direct a project titled "The Rivals," followed by a big-screen adaptation of H.G. Wells' alien invasion tale, "War of the Worlds," starring Tom Cruise (news), Daily Variety reported."

Why remake "War of the Worlds"? Sure the 1953 version has some flaws, mainly the performance of Ann Robinson in the female lead and some dated dialogue, but the script is literate for the most part, the acting is above par, the direction well-paced and imaginative, and the special effects are superb. It's a classic.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Telegraph | News | Stop behaving as if you are a Frenchman if you want to win, says Kerry's (French) adviser
I know the guy is right, but something about this just makes me shake my head in disgust. Here we go again. Elections are so sickening.

Monday, April 19, 2004

STLtoday - Sports - Rams Will Cut Warner
I was, and remain, a big Warner fan. I still think he can have some great years in the NFL. But this has to be done. Martz no longer has confidence in him. And I think one of the biggest reasons is because he talked Martz out of putting him in the game up in Chicago. I disagree with the article that there will not be interest in the league. I think Oakland, Arizona, Detroit, Miami and Washington will show interest. Even with the strong draft, you can't just overlook a two time MVP.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The New York Times - Text: Testimony of Condoleezza Rice Before 9/11 Commission (reg. required)
Some excerpts:

"RICE: In the memorandum that Dick Clarke sent me on January 25th, he mentions sleeper cells. There is no mention or recommendation of anything that needs to be done about them. And the FBI was pursuing them. And usually when things come to me, it's because I'm supposed to do something about it, and there was no indication that the FBI was not adequately pursuing the sleeper cells."
"ROEMER: You don't think there's any responsibility back to the advisor to the president... RICE: I believe that the responsibility -- again, the crisis management here was done by the CSG. They tasked these things. If there was any reason to believe that I needed to do something or that Andy Card needed to do something, I would have been expected to be asked to do it. We were not asked to do it. In fact, as I've..."
"RICE: Well, actually when you have principals meetings they really sometimes are to tell -- for the principals to say what their staffs have said -- have told them to say. THOMPSON: Right. RICE: I just have to say we may simply disagree on this with some of the commissioners. I do not believe that there was a lack of high-level attention. The president was paying attention to this. How much higher level can you get? The secretary of state and the secretary of defense and the attorney general and the line officers are responsible for responding to the information that they were given and they were responding. The problem is that the United States was effectively blind to what was about to happen to it and you cannot depend on the chance that some principal might find out something in order to prevent an attack. That's why the structural changes that are being talked about here are so important."

So basically, "nobody told me to do anything". But the president was paying attention. Lovely. Look: you are not going to be able to change the structure of government. Ever. The purpose of the executive branch is to be able to OVERRIDE that structure in the name of the people. GET THINGS DONE. ASK QUESTIONS. You don't sit there reading memos looking for the line where it says "Rice has to do this." Her testimony was extremely enlightening...and damning.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Yahoo! News - Futures in Balance as Rice Prepares to Testify
"Some analysts also wonder if Rice, who has complained in the past about all-consuming jobs, may not be ready to leave Washington. She has expressed interest in becoming national football commissioner and been rumored to be interested in running for Senate or governor in California."

Now wait a minute. "National football commissioner"? WTF is that? Do you think they mean NFL commissioner? Paul "Just signed a 3 year contract extension" Tagliabue's job? I think there may be a story there...

Friday, April 02, 2004

NFL to clamp down on clutching and grabbing
"'I don't really understand what we're trying to do' Belichick said. Belichick said that in many of the examples on a demonstration film shown to coaches, it was unclear to him whether a violation occurred. "

Now THERE'S the best explanation I can find of the "genius" of Bill Belichick. Just have your secondary pull the other team's receivers down. After a while, everyone forgets it's illegal.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

NY Times - Was an Official 'in the Loop'? It All Depends
"Ms. Rice painted a distinctly different picture of the involvement of Mr. Clarke, who has prompted furious responses since he asserted in a new book and in testimony on Capitol Hill that President Bush did not heed warnings before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 'He was in every meeting that was held on terrorism,' Ms. Rice said. 'All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11.'

Well now. Finally some truth begins to emerge. I don't find Ms. Rice's statements in conflict with Mr. Cheney's statements at all. Mr. Clarke WAS out of the principals', Cheney's loop. She only mentions ONE TIME that Clarke was in such a meeting and conveniently neglects to say it was on 9/04/01. And that was precisely his beef with Ms. Rice because he felt that had he been in the regular principals' meetings, and if the president and Ms. Rice felt the same urgency, the information that we now know we had in the FBI most probably would have been brought to light.

Here is the whole matter as I now see it, given the testimony I've read/heard/seen and all the press and all the statements: The Bush Administration did not really care WHAT Richard Clarke had to say because they felt his approach to stopping terrorism was too small. They thought in grand designs, big pictures. They could see the broad outlines of history and human endeavors. You eliminate Saddam, install a democracy in Iraq as a shining beacon to the rest of the Arab world, and voila THERE is your end to terrorism. They make no bones about that. They told Clarke to continue with his daily meetings but at the deputies level. Oh sure they still met with Tenet, but he was CIA! THAT'S why they felt all the "chatter" about an impending attack was most likely going to occur in a foreign country. FBI/Justice is responsible for America. CIA is for everywhere else. And really, all they had to do was admit that their focus on Iraq from the start of the administration and their refusal to take the impending threat of an attack on American soil as likely was wrong early on after 9/11/01 and there would not have been a huge problem. But instead, they pressed on like they have never made a mistake in their lives. And we are all paying for it now.

We see this over and over and over in politics and really it's curious why no one has learned the lesson: admit your mistakes early on, get it out in the open and move on. If you cover it up, it will ALWAYS come back to haunt you and, possibly, to defeat you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Russia withdraws nuclear flagship
"Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov told Russian news agencies: "The ship is in such poor condition that it could explode at any moment. The situation is especially dangerous because the ship is powered by a nuclear power plant." It was not clear whether he was suggesting that there could be a nuclear explosion."

WOW. Seriously, WOW. We have GOT to do something about this.

Monday, March 22, 2004

9/11: For The Record (, registration required)
Rice: "Before Sept. 11, we closely monitored threats to our nation. President Bush revived the practice of meeting with the director of the CIA every day -- meetings that I attended."

I don't want this to become a political blog at all. But a couple of things struck me about Ms. Rice's rebuttal to Richard Clarke. Notice, she says "before Sept. 11" and declines to provide a date when the meetings with the CIA were revived. Also, why was it that they had to be revived? Because the new Bush administration stopped the regular meetings. Moreover, there is no dispute, and Ms. Rice does not answer, why the counter-terrorism position was downgraded from cabinet level. That meant that there was no pressure from the top to ensure that FBI, CIA and all other cabinet positions communicated on a daily basis. (That's the whole purpose of the bloated Homeland Security cabinet post.) I suspect the reason Clarke was downgraded was because Mr. Bush personally did not like him and the rest of the staff viewed him as a Clintonite. And notice also that they revived meetings "with the CIA" ONLY. Nice going.

Friday, March 19, 2004 Arts & Entertainment | Brilliant mistake
"...many of the movies of the past five years that have been hailed as inventive and interesting by young audiences -- pictures like 'Memento', 'Being John Malkovich' and 'Adaptation', the last two written by Kaufman -- are also movies that work hard to wow us with their jigsaw intricacies. It's as if young filmmakers fear that their audiences will become bored with a movie if they don't have a clever mind-boggler to wrestle with along the way..."

I've heard/read this take on Memento before and it always surprises me especially coming from critics who are supposed to know better. The reason Christopher Nolan structures the film the way he did is so we can empathize with the hero, feel what he feels, experience life as he does. That is what makes the final resolution all the more shattering. This is not new. This is basic storytelling.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The Economist - Ford Focus
"The Big Three also have huge health-care costs. According to Ron Tadross, an auto analyst at Banc of America Securities, their combined health-care liabilities amount to $60.4 billion."

THIS is the fact that will push the USA towards a single-payor universal healthcare solution. The tide is turning.

Monday, March 15, 2004

What an entertaining picture! I'm a Mamet fan so bear that in mind, but I am NOT a Val Kilmer fan and I enjoyed his performance in this picture. It can be interpreted as a response to "Wag The Dog" I suppose, but taken on its own terms it's a taut, suspenseful, enjoyable thriller with an intriguing heart about the conflict between cynicism and hope.
The St. Louis Rams - Tom Nutten Starting Over In Cologne
I have to admit it. I am a Europhile. This story about Tom Nutten, former Rams Super Bowl lineman and now tight ends coach with the Cologne Centurions got my imagination going. What a treat it would be to be able to live and work in Europe!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

BBC NEWS - I'm retiring, says George Michael
While I've never been a fan of his music, I will predict that if these free songs are any good, he will be more popular than ever. This is something the music business as currently constructed cannot begin to fathom: clamping down on the sharing of music can only hurt overall sales. They look at MP3 sharing as piracy, when it is actually free advertising. It's a minor loss of revenue, but a major reduction in promotional costs.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Wired News: Hands Off! That Fact Is Mine
Are there ANY boundaries to greed anymore? At ALL?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

If only Mel Gibson had Internet access...
"The Notes emphasize that because the Church and the Jewish people are 'linked together at the very level of their identity', an accurate, sensitive, and positive appreciation of Jews and Judaism 'should not occupy an occasional or marginal place in Christian teaching', but be considered 'essential' to Christian proclamation."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

New Scientist - Crops 'widely contaminated' by genetically modified DNA
"Until now concern about GM contamination has focused on cross-pollination in the field. But the authors guess that much of the contamination has arisen from a failure to keep GM and traditional seeds apart during manufacture and distribution."

I am trying to keep an open mind about GM foods and don't dismiss them out of hand based upon the science and theory, but the troublesome thing about them, aside from the lack of adequate testing, is the fact that human beings are in charge of these things. Some slight human error in handling this stuff can cause havoc for a long time and for a LOT of people.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Powell's Books - The Awakening of Zen by D T Suzuki
"But this much I think we can say, that Zen is a kind of self-consciousness. I see a table before me. I know I am the one who sees it, and I am fully conscious of myself experiencing the event. But Zen is not here yet, something more must be added to it, or must be discovered in it, in order to make this event of seeing really Zen. The question is now: what is this something? It is in all likelihood that which turns my eye inside out and sees itself, not as a reflection, but as a kind of superself which is hidden behind the moral and psychological self. I call this discovery spiritual self-consciousness. No amount of explanation will bring you to this form of self-consciousness. It unfolds itself from the depths of consciousness. No hammering at the door from outside will open it -- it opens by itself from within."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

American Splendor
My new favorite movie of 2003. How Paul Giamatti failed to get nominated for a Best Actor Oscar is beyond me.
MITCH ALBOM: Hasek out for season; Cup chase falls to Cujo
This must be the most delicate groin in history. I mean, late in the NFL season this year Ram's DT Brian Young went down with a TEAR in his groin muscle and returned about 3 weeks later! Unbelievable.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Higher Medicare Costs Suspected for Months (
So let me get this straight. You say that the new drug bill will make Medicare 'more competitive' with private insurers, then you say that since you now think more people will sign up for the private insurance instead of Medicare, the cost of the bill will go up 25%. Explain to me again what you mean by 'more competitive'. Uh, Senator Kennedy, what was the part of this bill you found so appealing?

Friday, February 06, 2004 - NFL - Warner apologizes for faith remark commotion
What I find most disturbing in all this is the fact that Warner apparently had no idea that anyone was LISTENING to what he was saying as he "preached". He cannot come out of this looking like anything resembling "good". If he was exagerrating during his sermon then he offends those he was preaching to. If he wasn't, then he offends those he has to work with.
USA Vanguard - This is how Bush supports our troops
First post

Hello that should be ANYone.

Just a brief post to explain myself. I am just a run-of-the-mill PC programmer with no axe to grind, no leftist/centrist/rightist agenda, nothing to sell and nothing to gain by posting anything here. But as I have gotten older I have found that when I am confronted by things that just don't quite seem right, I want to be able to write it down somewhere and let someone else know.

Basically, that is the idea here. Which, if you have read Llinas' book (see "About" to the left), is the reason for the title. As my thalmocortical vortex comes across something odd, it blogs.