Friday, August 23, 2002

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) held a town meeting on Montpelier on media whoring. And there were some very encouraging signs at that meeting...

What we found were crowds of citizens who were not merely interested but energized by the prospect of making media an issue. When we explained that the current corporate media system is not the "natural" result of the market, but is the result of explicit government policies, folks were pulling out notepads and taking notes. When we argued that these policies have been made in the public's name but without the public's informed consent, people in the crowd shouted, "That's right." When Bob declared that "the sheer corruption of media policy-making in Washington makes the Enron scandal look like a Sunday school bingo game by comparison," the crowd in Montpelier broke into loud applause.

via Avedon Carol's Sideshow

How do we know that John Ashcroft (R- lost to dead guy) is going way too far in his orgasmic quest to stomp on Americans' rights? Even the secret federal court set up for approving Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests told Ashcroft's Justice Department to go pound sand.

Watch that byline though. Steno Sue Schmidt weaseled her name onto it.

edit: If'n you don't like that, the NYTimes has one on it entitled Secret Court Says F.B.I. Aides Misled Judges in 75 Cases. And silly Clinton-hating 'investigative reporter' Jeff Gerth isn't on that one.

further edit: It appears to try to place some blame on Clinton, saying that the Clinton administration FBI misled the FISA court repeatedly. No mention of Louis Freeh (R-technophobe), though.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Blah3.com is becoming another daily read. Today, it's his encounter with the rock-hard stupid columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune Joe Perkins, who was pouting in his latest column that Democrats were trying to paint the GOP as pro-corporate. (The brutes!) And then he blamed Terry McAuliffe, part of teh GOP haet lits* that includes Hillary, Bill, and Janet Reno, for the ad in question, actually created by the humble editor at Blah3.com.

Gotta read those letters to Perkins.

A quote from that TAP article: ...[Derrick] Crandall's contention that "it's very logical to recover more of the expenses from an individual who is enjoying special services than from the taxpaying public at large," is hardly absurd. [Crandall is the head of a lobbying outfit called the American Recreation Coalition, which represents mechanized recreational equipment (e.g. RVs, motorboats) manufacturers.]

Actually it is absurd, because it makes an assumption that is not at all true. When you use public land for recreation, that is not enjoying 'special services', which is the purview of private enterprise. You are using the land that you paid for, that your tax dollars are being used (underused, actually) to maintain. To institute fees for use of public land is to privatize the land.

Drawback to this argument: National parks already charge fees. However, that's for road maintenance and things that really are special services like lodging and developed (not primitive) camping areas. For instance, Mammoth Cave NP in Kentucky, they charge for their lodge, developed camping areas, and cave tours. They do not charge for their backwoods camping areas (which I've done there thankyewverymuch - get to HQ for a free permit early), trailhead parking, ferries that cross the Green River, or boat launches. They also do not charge an entrance fee to the park itself. With fee demo, there would be charges for most of those activities.

GeekPol bets that you've never heard of something called "fee demo". Essentially, it means that the National Forest Service would charge outdoorspeople for parking at a trailhead or using a boat dock. Or, you're charged for using public land. It's supported by Disney and the recreation business (a $300 billion with a b per year enterprise) and opposed by several state legislatures and many western senators, conservative and otherwise.

Give it a read already.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Sometimes you see something and say, "I didn't know that."

UggaBugga notes that politicians have always been too cowardly to repeal any anti-drug laws, good or bad (mostly stoopid). F'rinstance, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed prohibition, was not ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. That is, it was ratified by state conventions. and the 21st was the only amendment ratified in this manner.

[voice of Dick Martin] I didn't know that.

Well, it's official. Jean Chretien will serve out his term and will not run for another one. So, there will be no big power struggle between Chretien and Paul Martin and the Liberal Party convention next year.

That's right, dittospanks. 'Liberal' is not a word the riles up the right-wing PC cops in Canada like it does with Limbaa down here.

The Media Horse has a full plate dished out today.

No more Bob Barr, tee hee.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The Sideshow blogs about a paper in Science from 1962 on the fatal effect of an huge dose of LSD on an elephant. Details here.

See how many times they took shortcuts instead of using proper experimental methodology.
Gawk at the outrageous conclusion reached.
Cringe as you realize that Science published this material.

Gawd, I love Krugman.

This time, Krugman dissects the faux populism employed by the Shrubbery. He starts off with the Department of Veterans Affairs memo that instructs them not to market their programs to veterans. If vets remain ignorant of what they deserve after fighting for our country, the Shrubbery saves money that can later be given to Shrub's friends, dontcha know. And he plugs Josh Marshall's site as well. (GeekPol likes Josh Marshall, even though we [tinw] think the fight over the name with the WaPo is silly.)

Krugman, bless him, also takes a swipe at the media whores jumping in unison on Al Gore for speaking...

What are the political implications? When Al Gore wrote an Op-Ed article condemning the elitist policies of the Bush administration, pundits — and many Democratic politicians, including his former running mate — jumped on him with both feet. Populism, everyone insisted, doesn't work in American politics.

Monday, August 19, 2002

News flash: Shrub blames Congress for the Constitution not giving the Executive branch a line-item veto.

Wotta cynical piece of crap he is.

Tom Tomorrow on the Bush Economic dog and pony show Forum.

Lewis and Clark - America's lamest heroes goes the link to the story in Slate. The writer David Plotz goes over many reasons why they're overrated. Englishmen (namely George Vancouver and Alexander Mackenzie) had already explored the northwest Pacific coast years earlier. Exploration of the West was inevitable. People that came later (like John Fremont) were more heroic in their exploits. The Lewis and Clark route was the worst way across (The Bitterroots are a particularly inhospitable region.) the US.

Now I wouldn't be mentioning these unless there were a few holes in the arguments. When we look at Fremont's trek, it was in the southwest, which belonged to Spain at the time of Lewis and Clark. President Jefferson didn't exactly have a guarantee that the land that became Colorado through California was ever going to be part of the U.S., so he sent Lewis and Clark across the land that was legally ours. So it wasn't that the route they took across in 1805 was the most efficient - it was just about the only way across the Rockies that was within the U.S. boundaries. These circumstances that were true in the first decade of the 19th century take care of three of the reasons claimed for Lewis and Clark's irrelevance: Fremont's trek was across the wide swath of land ceded by Mexico in that war; exploration may have been inevitable, but it had to be across U.S. land; the 'worst route' was the only route at the time.

From these circumstances, one can see the thought processes of U.S. leaders of the time: That this route was terrible - is there a better way through that Spanish land down there? That is Lewis and Clark's failure to find a good crossing in U.S. land led to a desire for other land. Well, Spain helped things along by inviting Stephen F. Austin's group to settle in Texas, then Spain left everyone behind by getting out of the continent altogether. With a weaker opponent than Spain in Mexico, the U.S. started itching to acquire more land through war - the whole 'manifest destiny' to expand to the Pacific started, and the northern part of Mexico went to the U.S. Enter John Fremont, and so on and so on. As for the northwest, the U.S wanted to fight for everything on the west side of the Rockies all the way up to Alaska, but that would have meant another war with the British. So the compromise was the part that Lewis and Clark explored (Oregon Territory) went to the U.S. and the part that Mackenzie explored (British Columbia) went to Britain, with the border at the 49th parallel.

Success must be the only thing to some historians. Plotz and others don't quite understand that you can learn from failure. We here at GeekPol try all the time things at work that might fail. It doesn't make that work totally irrelevant. Trial and error is actually important. So it was back then.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

With respect to Social Security, Spinsanity once again attacks accurate Democratic criticism. UggaBugga takes issue. Note to UggaBugga: Spinsanity doesn't care if attacks are accurate. Spinsanity just cares that the attacks do or don't contain 'jargon' on his naughty words list.

Permalinks broken, scroll down, yadda yadda.

on edit: Here's the permalink when it comes back.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?