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  Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Making Light: On reading Thomas Friedman again

More beating up on Thomas Friedman, here and here; be sure to read all the comments. John M. Ford, whose fiction I've enjoyed writes a great Keats pastiche:

Much have I travell'd on the feet of gold,
And many tumbled walls and maidens seen,
Round many horny Africs have I been
Which bards like bosoms in their welkins hold,
Oft of a spare expanse had I been told
That fence-swung Homer looked on as demesne;
Yet never did I breathe its mountains clean
Till I heard Friedman speak out uncontrolled,
Then felt I like some Cousteau of the skies
When a new bubble undermines his ken,
Or sack-like Falstaff, when with precast eyes
He stared at echoes -- and his fellow men
Harked back in multitudes like single spies
Silent, past their peak in Darien.

9:42:42 PM    comment []

Serenity Trailer


5:43:40 PM    comment []

NPR : 'Luckiest Man' Explores Life of Baseball's Gehrig

When the presentations were over, the emcee, Sid Mercer, asked if the guest of honor had anything to say. Gehrig answered with a slight, almost imperceptible shake of the head, no. He was afraid he'd collapse if he tried to speak. Workers moved into position, ready to roll up the wires and pull down the microphones. Only then did it dawn on the men and women in the stands that he was going away. Cries of protest rang out. The shouting grew louder and spread like a fever through the stadium. Soon, all the fans were on their feet. Their voices came together in a chant that shook the grandstand: "We want Lou! We want Lou!"

Gehrig stood still. His shoulders hung limp and heavy. At last, Joe McCarthy, manager of the Yankees, walked over and whispered in his ear. Gehrig nodded, ran his fingers through his hair, and stepped hesitantly toward home plate. The chanting stopped. Silence blanketed the stadium again.

Ever so slowly, Gehrig leaned toward the microphones and drew a deep breath. He was about to deliver one of the saddest and strongest messages an American audience had ever heard.

5:13:31 PM    comment []

Philip Morrison: Pioneering Physicist, Educator

Physicist Philip Morrison, who died on April 22 at age 89, became an outspoken critic of nuclear war and the arms race after helping to develop the atomic bomb. Morrison was also an educator and wrote over 1,000 book reviews for Scientific American.

(Via NPR's All Things Considered.)

5:09:36 PM    comment []

Quick Note-A blog cruder than the Rude?...

Quick Note-A blog cruder than the Rude?

Sometimes, even the Rude Pundit must defer to the breathtaking crudeness of others. See this new, possibly one-shot blog.

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

A funny nasty little piece, probably won't stay online long. The best line is: "It’s no different than if you sent a classroom of 2nd graders into a burning building, and when anyone objects you throw in their face that they 'don’t support our 2nd graders.'"

5:05:19 PM    comment []

Filibuster Flip-Flopping


via Kos

Two of the groups represented at Justice Sunday have had a religious conversion regarding filibusters since the Republicans became the Senate majority.

It's been widely reported that pro-nuclear-option Republican Senator Bill Frist once filibustered Clinton nominee Richard A. Paez. But on the Keith Olbermann show yesterday it was revealed that Dobson's very own Family Research Council has flip-flopped on the practice as well:

As mentioned, the filibuster stretches back not merely to Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but to the presidential administration of Franklin Pierce 152 years ago. And, as a last measure of the defense of the minority, it has had many supporters over the years, like the very people of faith who sponsored yesterday‘s Justice Sunday, the group Family Research Council.

Yesterday it was opposed to filibusters. Seven years ago, it was in favor of them. That‘s when Clinton and a then-Democratic plurality in the Senate wanted a man named James Hormel to become the ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel, of the Spam and other meats Hormels, was gay, as the Senate minority bottled up Hormel‘s nomination with filibusters and threats of filibusters, minority relative to cloture, to breaking up a filibuster.

They did that for a year and a half. The Family Research Council‘s senior writer, Steven Schwartz, appeared on National Public Radio at the time and explained the value, even the necessity, of the filibuster.

“The Senate,” he said, “is not a majoritarian institution, like the House of Representatives is. It is a deliberative body, and it‘s got a number of checks and balances built into our government. The filibuster is one of those checks in which a majority cannot just sheerly force its will, even if they have a majority of votes in some cases. That‘s why there are things like filibusters, and other things that give minorities in the Senate some power to slow things up, to hold things up, and let things be aired properly.”

So, which of Frist's and the Family Research Council's faces are we supposed to believe is sincere? The ones they wore back when then, or the ones they wear now?

(Via Obsidian Wings.)

4:52:20 PM    comment [] Bob Dylan: Performances

Check out the very nice 10-minute performance of the masterpiece "Visions of Johanna" from last night at the Beacon is at the site.

2:10:09 PM    comment []

Great Judicial Stall of Bill Clinton....

Great Judicial Stall of Bill Clinton.

This is a an article form 99' talking about the problems Clinton had in having his judges confirmed.

..What is unprecedented now is how Republicans in the Senate, under pressure from social conservatives, have blocked the confirmation of judicial nominees almost from the outset of the Clinton presidency. They have waged an increasingly bitter war against his selection of judges ever since they gained control of the Senate following the 1994 midterm elections. They stalled the judicial appointment process in 1995 and, a year later, virtually shut it down in advance of the presidential election.

Embittered and angry over Clinton's reelection, Senate Republicans increased pressure on Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hold up hearings on Clinton's judicial nominees. They also pressed Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to break with tradition by allowing individual senators to place "secret holds" on nominees they opposed, thereby denying them hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ever since, the GOP-controlled Senate has been stonewalling judicial confirmations, long before the campaign for the presidential election in 2000 kicks into high gear.'

Notably, in the first half of 1999, Hatch balked at holding confirmation hearings on any of Clinton's judicial nominees, some of whom were nominated two to three years ago. Hearings were held only after Clinton agreed to name Ted Stewart to a district-court judgeship in on

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

1:49:28 PM    comment []

Not Unprecedented: Misinformation From McClellan

Someone needs to tell the White House - just repeating the same talking point doesn’t make it true.

Scott McClellan this morning, spinning on Air Force One:

What has happened in this Senate is unprecedented. There has not been a situation like this, where members of one party have blocked nominees from even receiving an up or down vote on the floor.

The truth, courtesy of People for the American Way:

[M]ore than 50 Clinton nominees were not even granted a hearing by the GOP-led Judiciary Committee. Six more who had hearings were not given the courtesy of a committee vote. In fact, 35 percent of Clinton’s appeals court nominees were blocked without a vote while the GOP controlled the Senate from 1995 to 2000.

(Via Think Progress.)

1:27:10 PM    comment []

Why We Have To Filibuster These Nuts

Janice Rogers Brown isn't simply a "conservative". She's a radical.

Faith 'War' Rages in U.S., Judge Says

Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech.

(Via Oliver Willis - Like Kryptonite To Stupid.)

1:26:09 PM    comment []

Apple pulls Wiley book titles from stores

Disappointing, but completely unsurprising news via Spymac

An upcoming biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs titled “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business” has prompted Apple to pull other books by the publisher from its shelves. According to Mercury News, John Wiley & Sons, a leading publisher of technology books, said Apple Computer has removed all its titles from the shelves of Apple stores in apparent retaliation for the upcoming biography. The books disappeared from Apple stores last week after a month of increasingly contentious discussions about the book written by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon. Young, who was a contributing editor for the Mercury News in the early 1980s, said he is dismayed by Apple's reaction to "iCon". He said it updates a biography of Jobs he wrote 20 years ago, called "The Journey Is the Reward". The latest book retraces Jobs' early days as a computer maverick and chronicles his failure with NeXt. But it also documents his triumphant return to Apple, the successes of the iMac and iPod as well as his role in remaking animation through Pixar Animation Studios, the Mercury News report says.

(Via Technovia.)

Seems like a good idea to order a copy of the book from Amazon, though I don't have a very high opinion of Jeffrey Young. I see that it's #144 in sales rank there now.

1:23:10 PM    comment []

Janice Rogers Brown sees herself as part...

Janice Rogers Brown sees herself as part of religious ‘war’

LA Times (reg req)

Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech... read on

I like this remark because the Republican Noise Machine can't pin this on the media: "I don't have a speechwriter," she said. "I do these myself. And it speaks for itself."

Steves says: So, let’s put this in context. Bush has nominated a person to serve on the second highest court in the nation that believes FDR was a socialist, that minimum-wage regulations should be outlawed, that the New Deal was a “socialist revolution,” and that Social Security should be equated with “cannibalism.”

Then, to top things off during the fight over her nomination, she describes herself as a combatant in a religious war against non-believers. Brown is Phyllis Schlafly in a judicial robe. Her nomination sounds more like some kind of bizarre joke than a serious move to fill an appellate court vacancy.

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

11:00:35 AM    comment []

As I wrote last night, I've been having problems with my ThinkPad slowing down, dropping off the network, not really booting up, etc. After using Knoppix to get everything off the drive, which ended up taking most of yesterday, I was going to reinstall Windows, probably reformatting the drive, this morning.

So, that's what I did. Happily, though I did a Windows reinstall without formatting the drive, because just after starting said install, I encountered a reference to this page on a blog. It turns out that there was a problem with a PC-cillin update on Friday, and that's what did me in.

And it worked: after reinstalling XP, I was still having the problems, so I followed the steps and deleted the file lpt$vpn.594, and now XP is as "peppy" as it was before. Alas, now I need to go install Service Pack 2 and all the updates that have happened in the past few months, so I'm probably going to be without the laptop for most of today, too. I do wish I'd been a bit more patient on reinstalling Windows, of course. I am glad, though, I backed up, and relieved I don't have to spend any cash on the laptop.

10:55:03 AM    comment []

Woman stoned to death in Afghanistan for adultery

Xeni Jardin: The public execution of a woman accused of adultery was the first such incident in Afghanistan since the Taliban were removed from power.

According to eyewitnesses, the 29-year old, named only as Amina, was dragged out of her parent's house in Urgu District, Badakhan province by her husband and local officials before being publicly stoned to death. The man accused of committing adultery with her is alleged to have been whipped a hundred times and freed.
Link to Reuters story, Link to Amnesty International statement.

(Via Boing Boing.)

10:15:17 AM    comment []

Ma Rainey: Biography of the Day

Ma Rainey (centre) and her band, 1923.
Ma Rainey (centre) and her band, 1923.
Frank Driggs Collection/© Archive Photos

Ma Rainey

"Well I couldn't say she was a good looking woman, and she was stout, but she was one of the loveliest people I ever worked for or with."

Pianist Thomas A. Dorsey about Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey, born this day in 1886, was known as the “mother of the blues” and was the first great black professional blues vocalist. Rainey recorded more than 90 songs from 1923 through 1928 with country blues musicians and black jazz players.

(Via Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily Content.)

10:02:40 AM    comment []

LIARSOh yeah. Remember the alleged reason for this...


Oh yeah. Remember the alleged reason for this awful war?
U.S. investigators hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have found no evidence that such material was moved to Syria for safekeeping before the war, according to a final report of the investigation released yesterday.

Although Syria helped Iraq evade U.N.-imposed sanctions by shipping military and other products across its borders, the investigators "found no senior policy, program, or intelligence officials who admitted any direct knowledge of such movement of WMD." Because of the insular nature of Saddam Hussein's government, however, the investigators were "unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."

The Iraq Survey Group's main findings -- that Hussein's Iraq did not possess chemical and biological weapons and had only aspirations for a nuclear program -- were made public in October in an interim report covering nearly 1,000 pages. Yesterday's final report, published on the Government Printing Office's Web site (, incorporated those pages with minor editing and included 92 pages of addenda that tied up loose ends on Syria and other topics.

(Via Suburban Guerrilla.)

9:54:55 AM    comment []

APOD: 2005 April 26 - A Martian Dust Devil Passes

8:50:31 AM    comment []

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