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6.29.2005

Emphasis Mine

Give. Me. A break.
Bush Declares Sacrifice in Iraq to Be 'Worth It' - New York Times: "After some initial reluctance, all three major networks broadcast the speech, which the White House scheduled to mark the first anniversary of the end of the formal occupation of Iraq, and the official transfer of authority to an interim Iraqi government that has struggled to exercise its authority. Network officials said they were hesitant to broadcast the speech in part because of Mr. Bush's decision to hold it here, in front of soldiers selected by their commanders, a setting that could give the appearance of a rally."


6.28.2005

Prescience

I love how this story was written and filed about 2.5 hours before the speech (which, as I write this, is still 1 hour away from happening).
But it does illustrate how all one needs to write these is an advance copy of the President's speech.

Bush: Bloodshed in Iraq Is 'Worth It' - Yahoo! News: "In an evening address at an Army base that has 9,300 troops in Iraq, Bush was acknowledging the toll of the 27-month-old war. At the same time, he aimed to persuade skeptical Americans that his strategy for victory needed only time - not any changes - to be successful."


dotcom nostalgia

i used to work at suck. that's not actually true, i guess - i was the 'marketing manager' for several years, but i had other responsibilities and there really wasn't much in the way of marketing $$ for the site. i think i'm the only ex-staffer not quoted in this piece but it doesn't much bug me. what does bug me, though, is the huge wave of nostalgia for the 90s i'm getting from this article. i'd say you should read the whole thing but most people probably won't.

keepgoing.org :: The Big Fish: "�At HotWired, there were people there at all times of night,� says Ed Anuff, Joey�s brother. �If you had nothing to do at 11 p.m., you could just go pound on the door and somebody would let you in. People were working on their various projects, whether they were their official jobs or whatever else they were doing online. I guess part of it was that people would hang out there because of the high bandwidth and so on. If they were surfing the web, it was easier to do there in the office.� Ed was working at a consulting job just up the street, and whenever he got bored or needed a break, Joey and Steadman were sure to be at the office. Though the two shared a loft apartment nearby, they were basically living at HotWired, sleeping in a pair of bunkbeds Steadman had installed and using a shower one floor up. �I just wasn�t getting home because I was working so late, and I ended up sleeping at the office, most of the time,� Steadman would later write. �Why fight it?�"


6.27.2005

Emphasis Mine

If only this was funny...

Liberals, Conservatives and Aid - New York Times: "The Bush administration has nearly doubled foreign aid (to Africa -i), but it will not spend the amounts Sachs wants. The Bush folks, at least when it comes to Africa policy, have learned from centuries of conservative teaching - from Burke to Oakeshott to Hayek - to be skeptical of Sachsian grand plans. Conservatives emphasize that it is a fatal conceit to think we can understand complex societies, or rescue them from above with technocratic planning."


6.20.2005

So, He's in Saudi Arabia?

Goss Claims He Has Idea Where Bin Laden Is: "The director of the CIA says he has an 'excellent idea' where Osama bin Laden is hiding, but that the United States' respect for sovereign nations makes it more difficult to capture the al-Qaida chief.
In an interview with Time for the magazine's June 27 issue, Porter Goss was asked about the progress of the hunt for bin Laden.
'When you go to the question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play,' Goss said. 'We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways.'"


6.17.2005

He Has a Plan?

He does? Where is it?

Bush's Support on Major Issues Tumbles in Poll - New York Times: "Americans also recognized that Mr. Bush has a Social Security plan and the Democrats in Congress do not. A majority said they would like to see the Democrats offer a plan and not simply oppose Mr. Bush's.
But most said they did not think Mr. Bush's plan for private accounts would do anything for the system's long-term solvency."


6.07.2005

Finally, I Agree With Hitchens on Something!

I've been complaining about airline screening forever to whomever's unfortunate to hear me. I, too, think the current screening process is largely useless. My favorite example is the removal of one's shoes to have them screened for explosives: how would this have been different if the 'shoe bomber' had secreted alleged explosives in his underwear, for example?

(As an aside, I've noticed that the allegedly 'random' screening process has always selected me for screening since 9/11. On my last pass through Las Vegas, my boarding pass had 'SSSS' on it; I asked a helpful airline employee what it meant. She told me that it meant I was subject to the highest level of scrutiny and screening. Why? I'm a white male in my 30s with no criminal record. I'm not religious, don't belong to any wildly righty/lefty political parties (I vote almost exclusively Dem), and I've only been out of the US a handful of times, and only to continental Europe (UK, Germany). Although I should add that I went to a wildly liberal university and have, at times, marched in rallies against things like the war on Iraq. Would that qualify me? I'll probably never know, and it may not even be important. But it strikes me as strange that I'm always selected. I've never had a cavity search, though, so I'm still counting myself very lucky.)

The important items, though, are what Hitchens outlines in his piece: we've got a bunch of patently absurd processes for screening passengers that seem designed to make us feel safer while a) doing little to make us actually safer and b) increasing the time it takes to get from curb to gate to a ridiculous extent.

I do think that the metal detector, X-Ray scanners for baggage, chemical detection machines, and (to some extent) physical searches (i.e. frisking) are useful. But the shoe thing? Useless. Confiscating nail clippers, knitting needles, and lighters? Probably the same.

Read the whole thing.

Terminal Futility - Routine airport security won't thwart jihadists, but it does inconvenience and endanger the rest of us. By ChristopherHitchens: "Flying from London to Washington the other day, I was told that I was no longer required to take my computer out of its case. Apparently, there are scanners that can see though soft cases as well as through the hardened lid of a laptop (and apparently the United States hasn't managed to invest in any of these scanners for its domestic airports). On the other hand, I was asked if I had packed my own bags and if they had been under my control at all times. This exceptionally stupid pair of questions, to which a terrorist would have to answer 'yes' by definition, is now deemed too stupid for U.S. domestic purposes and stupid enough only for international travel. This makes as much sense as diverting a full plane that carries a notorious Islamist crooner, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, from one airport to another.

Routines and 'zero tolerance' exercises will never thwart determined jihadists who are inventive and who are willing to sacrifice their lives. That requires inventiveness and initiative. But airport officials are not allowed to use their initiative. People who have had their names confused with wanted or suspect people, and who have spent hours proving that they are who they say they are, are nonetheless compelled to go through the whole process every time, often with officials who have seen them before and cleared them before, because the system that never seems to catch anyone can never seem to let go of anyone, either"


There's such a nice symmetry to it

E-Mails Detail Air Force Push for Boeing Deal: "Druyun improperly used her influence to increase the price paid for the tankers and also made incorrect statements to others in the administration, the report states. When Air Force cost analysts told her that leasing would cost $2 billion more than buying the planes, she told the head of the Air Force Materiel Command that 'she no longer needed the financial management team . . . on the project.'
The Air Force has long maintained that any defects in the lease proposal were attributable solely to Druyun, who is serving a nine-month sentence in federal prison for illegally negotiating a lucrative job with Boeing as she supervised the lease negotiations. "


6.03.2005

Farcical

Hilarious. Is it possible, perhaps, that Chalabi's 'problems' are related to his campaign of misinformation designed at convincing folks other than the neocons to invade Iraq? A campaign financed, we may remember, with his over-$200K-monthly stipend paid for by the US government throughout the past few years?

And that last quip, genius: no, it's not that people in the administration now have doubts about him based on things he said, it's that their doubts have evaporated because they no longer trust the mean stuff said *about* him.

Unbelievable.

Newsday.com: Chalabi's reason to grin: "Perle said Chalabi's problems with the United States are the result of a campaign of vilification and misinformation waged against him by the CIA, which he said had a longstanding grudge over a failed CIA coup that Chalabi had warned it about. Now the tide is changing, Perle said. Charges that Chalabi passed information to Iran are still being investigated by the FBI, sources said.

'I think some people [in the administration] who accepted what was being said about him now have very serious doubts about that,' Perle said."


Good To Keep In Mind
Guardian - Bush's war comes home: "Unlike the House, the Senate was constructed by the constitutional framers as an unrepresentative body, with each state, regardless of population, allotted two senators. Currently, the Republicans have 55 senators who represent only 45% of the country. The Senate creates its own rules, and the filibuster can only be stopped by a super-majority of 60 votes. Historically, it was used by southern senators to block civil rights legislation. In the first two years of the Clinton presidency, the Republicans deployed 48 filibusters, more than in the entire previous history of the Senate, to make the new Democratic chief executive appear feckless. The strategy was instrumental in the Republican capture of the Congress in 1994. By depriving the Democrats of the filibuster, Bush intended to transform the Senate into his rubber stamp. "


6.02.2005

But There's Oil in Sudan, Too!

Really, there is. Although the president of Sudan has not, to our knowledge, tried to kill President Bush's father.

Bush Maintains Opposition to Doubling Aid for Africa - New York Times: "If the word 'genocide' was on Mr. Bush's mind, it may be because he had dinner on Tuesday at Mr. Powell's home in Virginia. But Mr. Mbeki sat in silence when Mr. Bush used the term, refusing to declare that the Sudanese government was responsible for the killings in the region.

'It might be fine for some in the United States to make all kinds of statements,' he said later. 'If you denounce Sudan as genocidal, what next? Don't you have to arrest the president? The solution doesn't lie in making radical solutions - not for us in Africa.'"


6.01.2005

Mission Accomplished

Interesting that Cheney finally gives the nod to a long-term US military presence in Iraq, post-2009. The writing here is confusing, though: if the insurgency is in its 'last throes,' doesn't 2009 sound like a long way off?

CNN.com - Iraq insurgency in 'last throes,' Cheney says - May 31, 2005: "The insurgency in Iraq is 'in the last throes,' Vice President Dick Cheney says, and he predicts that the fighting will end before the Bush administration leaves office.
In a wide-ranging interview Monday on CNN's 'Larry King Live,' Cheney cited the recent push by Iraqi forces to crack down on insurgent activity in Baghdad and reports that the most-wanted terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been wounded.
The vice president said he expected the war would end during President Bush's second term, which ends in 2009.
'I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time,' Cheney said. 'The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.'"


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