Friday, June 28, 2002

Not even one week of blogging, and already I'm going on vacation. (OK, this was planned a while ago) Going to Cananadadada for about a week. Here's hoping I at least get a picture of the sign marking the city limit of St.-Louis-du-Ha!Ha!, Quebec.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

John Entwistle, dead at 57.

Could someone throw "Boris the Spider" on the skillet?

It's an interesting, environmentally friendly idea. A company called EarthShell is making disposable plates and cups out of potatoes, limestone, and cellulose from recycled paper. The EPA seems to like this idea, but one wonders whether some other muckety-mucks in the Shrubbery are saying, "We approve of what?"

Here's hoping these products catch on.

ExxonMobil is not very happy with Greenpeace right now. Greenpeace doctored an Esso (its name in France - and in Canada for that matter) logo to read E$$o, and ExxonMobil now claims it looks like the SS insignia. Sheesh, Godwin's Law could have been used to predict this development.

From the article, ExxonMobil claims that the 'resemblance' (my scare quotes) to the Nazi army unit will "drive consumers away from its brand."

a - Free clue: driving consumers away from your brand might be the goal.
b - you mean dumping millions of gallons of oily gunk in Prince William Sound didn't do its part?

Anyways, you be the judge.

Bonus points if you can tell me what Greenpeace had to do with 'WKRP in Cincinnati'.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Obvious question posed by a radio sports talk host: If Yao Ming were only 7 feet tall instead of 7'5", would anyone care about him, much less make him first pick in the NBA draft?

Additional question posed: What player over 7'4" has had a decent career? Hint: Chuck Nevitt is definitely the wrong answer.

Media whoring from years past...

60 Minutes II just did a rerun of a piece done last fall on Richard Jewell, the Atlanta Olympics security officer that was a real hero in getting several hundred people out of Centennial Park when he found something suspicious that turned out to be a bomb. He then got publicly fingered as a suspect in that same bombing, even though he was rightly cleared of any suspicion later. The headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution announcing that he was a suspect was a prime example of Media Whoredom. It blared in huge type, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard may have planted bomb." (The scare quotes around 'hero' were theirs.) With that headline, Jewell was already judged guilty in the media when the Louis Freeh-run FBI leaked the story. The obligatory Media Whore feeding frenzy followed, with the press and FBI following Jewell everywhere. Eventually the story went away very quietly when Jewell was dropped as a suspect, because, well, HE WASN'T A F$#@ING TERRORIST (and still isn't). No apologies, no nothing from the FBI. Just stories buried far in the back of the papers, a pattern the media whores still repeat today.

Most of the story (they got big gun Mike Wallace for the interview) centered around what has been the effect on Jewell's life 5+ years later. Thanks to the MW (media whore, not Mike Wallace) feeding frenzy, Jewell still gets pointed at by people as the Olympic Bomber.He still has to deal wih the J-C, whose irresponsible whoring got Jewell in this mess in the first place. It was a lesson that media whoring has real consequences, a lesson that the media really has no desire to learn.

Since this was a rerun from some time back, there were other things that have happened where one can look back and ask, "What if?" As in, "What if George W. Bush designated Richard Jewell as an enemy combatant? What if Ashcroft's Justice Department had gotten their filthy mitts on Jewell and used the USA PATRIOT Act against him?" These are questions with some frightening answers, thanks to the sheep Congress' passing the FBI/CIA/NSA wish list with nary a word of debate. It's too bad Mike Wallace didn't ask those questions when he did this story originally. It's really too bad that he didn't think of mentioning the USA PATRIOT Act in his little update segment at the end.

Bush seeks cuts in wildfire prevention funds.

And out of the other side of his mouth, he's blaming environmentalists for "contributing to raging forest fires such as the ones in Arizona and Colorado by blocking the federal government's effort to remove dangerous underbrush."

To make this more accurate, an extra clause is needed, "...as part of a clearcutting operation contracted to timber companies."

Never mind that 80% of what's been burning in Arizona isn't forested in the first place. Wouldn't want facts to get in the way of this administration. No sirree.

History really does repeat itself.

Kevin Phillips has a new article inThe Nation regarding the return of dynastic influence of the American political system. Special attention is paid to the Bush family and the possible $25 million the've been able to extract from Enron. It takes a bit of time to get to the real meat of the article. It's worth a full read nonetheless, as the Bush family behavior needs to be put in historical context.

This quote is a bit of a setup for the changes in the tax code that are leading to the new rise of dynasties in America, but it should be repeated anyway: "Progressive taxation--only a memory for most--died in the 1980s as regressive FICA taxes replaced income levies as the heaviest tax paid by a majority of American families." [emphasis mine]

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

There's a joke that's been around a while. An Alaskan tells a Texan that his state is the largest in the union. Says the Texan, "It won't be when it melts."

Well, it's melting.

Free Martha Stewart!

The Rittenhouse Review has a pretty thorough analysis of the accusations against KaMe-apART's domesticity diva Martha Stewart involving insider trading at soon-to-be-dead pharmaceutical company ImClone. It convinced me of two things: 1) Martha Stewart did nothing wrong, having given a sell order when it reached a certain lower limit weeks before the sale took place; 2) the Media Whores are holding true to form, running with this story solely on the basis of Stewart's celebrity as opposed to the merits of the case or the possible wrongdoing by Samuel Waksal.

In fact, the sweaty punditry and late-night jokes regarding this case are just recycled from when Hillary made $100K in the volatile commodities market. Who says conservative crackpots don't like recycling?

The question in the multi-colored fishwrap: "If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district: the Democratic Party's candidate or the Republican Party's candidate?"

6/21-23 R- 42%, D- 50%, Undecided- 8%

5/28-29 R- 46%, D- 45%, Undecided- 9%

I guess Rover's powerpoint presentation was right. Mheh.

You can bet she's not so pretentious as to say"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." (needs Adobe Acrobat)

I believe we can say it now. Richard Roeper is a friggin' moron. There's nothing like arguing on the basis of evidence that likely doesn't exist to prove one's own willful ignorance.

Monday, June 24, 2002

There's a bit of a debate in the blog (wotta fugly word) world about the lack of Senate votes for an independent commission to investigate the 911 intelligence and security lapses. The Media Horse is quite enthusiastically pointing to a Salon column by Smokin' Joe Conason. Eric Alterman does make a point that an independent commission might not be the best thing, given what we learned about the investigation into Iran-Contra and the whitewash that was the Tower Commission.

I can't say as I'm in total agreement with him, though. First of all, it seems likely that the Shrubbery will get what it wants and have the legislative commission meet secretly, which is no way to get anything but a whitewash. But regarding independent commissions from more recent times, the independent commission for the Branch Davidian conflagration headed up by Jack Danforth showed that you can get answers based on the evidence available, and not on wishful conspiracy theories.
Unfortunately, the lesson from these two examples appears to be that for an independent commission to be successful, you need someone whose rectitude is strong enough to annoy members of the Senate. Jack Danforth is definitely of that class, while John Tower would have made a sailor on shore leave blush.

It would seem that the most ideal way would be the open hearings where we could see goodies like Ollie North getting lit up, or Lauch Faircloth imploding. And quite naturally for the wannabe secret police that is the Administration, they'll fight to the death to keep open anything from happening.

And now, Dr. Squid, aka NoFreep4U in some circles, presents GeekPol. Left-of-center politics, structural biology, and European metal tunes through the eyes of a science nerd.

Hope to have three readers by the end of the week.

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