Steve's No Direction Home Page

If he needs a third eye, he just grows it.


Subscribe to "Steve's No Direction Home Page" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.



  Sunday, May 22, 2005

I haven't seen slammed before, but this detailed review of major Bay Area Restaurant Critics is really good reading, if a bit long and detailed for many. It takes the same detailed approach to reviewing these reviewers as Ars Technica does with its software reviews. My favorite writers, Jonathan Kauffman, Dan Leone, and Paul Reidinger, from whom I've gotten lots of great recommendations, are justly praised.

5:07:21 PM    comment []

Is Attack of the Clones better than Revenge of the Sith? Bradford Plumer thinks so. Neither are very good, when you get down to it.

4:08:46 PM    comment []

A picture named Pants.jpgMurdock sure likes his Headlines

via The Sun

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

4:00:13 PM    comment []

A great post from Thoughts from Kansas about creationist fear, and how it relates to a lot of wider issues. Terrific reading.

3:37:58 PM    comment []

(With no appologies to Ann...) Last week, Democracy Arsenal had a list of 10 issues that progressives should be prepared to answer. I had a list in there, maybe they make sense, maybe they're just too pat for the complexity of the issues. I modified them a bit from the original post.

1. The Middle East. Yes, had a progressive been in office in 2002, Saddam would still be in power, if you call being confined to a sandbox "power" - and more than 20,000 Iraqis and 1600 Americans would still be alive. If you want Saddam out of power without distabilizing the region, that road lies through Israel and successfully concluding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Supporting Sharon and the radical right Israelis isn't accomplishing that.

2. The UN. The UN has accomplished a great deal of peacekeeping and rebuilding of nations based on successful partnering of its member nations. The reason why it cannot accomplish more is because of the unwillingness of the great nations to give up any sovereignty. It does need more reform, but in the meantime, it also represents one of the greatest communities to allow for the responsible discourse of foreign policy.

3. Nonproliferation. It has to be the first step in arms control. Treaties, and more importantly, verification measures, represent the basis for building trust and deemphasizing arms races among cooperative nations. Treaties form alliances, and that's always good when the shit hits the fan. Yes, not everyone will follow the rules, but it certainly allows the world to define the good guys from the bad guys. Then you can start applying pressure.

4. Democratization. Yes, it is important to foster democracy onto willing and fledgeling countries - but no country will be successful in transforming if it is unprepared to responsibly execute the necessary protocols and respect to its populace. Iraq is failing because its society isn't ready. We can be more successful by building up cultural centers overseas that explain the values and ideas of Americans. We need to support the small nations and not be afraid to call Russia and China on the lack of democratic ideals, as conservatives are.

5. Anti-Americanism. It doesn't come from an envy of what we have as a society - rather, it comes from when US federal agencies and government-sanctioned groups force their partisan ideals upon foreign nations. It's the arrogance of thinking we're always right that pisses people off, not our lifestyles. We need to be strong, but humble, and that will win them over in the long run.

6. Overextended Military. First, that postulation of how service members see liberals is utter nonsense. If anything, service members are just as guilible as normal citizens to the false claims that liberals are "anti-military." This is a Vietnam boogie-man. Any objective review of the record will show this. Second, conservatives are just as likely as liberals to cut defense programs and more likely to cut soldiers' benefits prior to defense programs. We need to set the record straight that liberals are strong on defense, we're just not prone to draw guns when we hear a twig crack in the woods.

7. Hipocrisy. What tough-tradeoffs have conservatives ever made in foreign policy? They short foreign aid and then talk about freedom and democracy. So far, it's been all talk and no walk. This lack of committment to advancing foreign policy has added to the Anti-American fevor out there. Historically, foreign aid has always been underfunded, despite public polls suggesting that foreign aid helps more than defense dollars. We need to commit to long-term foreign policy programs other than weapons deals to our "friends."

8. International Law. Joining the international criminal court process means that we belong to an international community and are not lording it over the others. Our recent practice of forcing agreements from countries that they will not send US troops to the international court is particularly heinous and not getting us any more well liked out there. If we are part of the process and obey international laws (important point - e.g., Abu Ghraib), we have nothing to fear. There are always processes to ensure US personnel get fair hearings, and that's more important than remaining outside the circle of trust.

9. Use of Force. The "use of force" issue is much more complicated than a short paragraph can address. Bottom line is, self defense is always a given, as long as it is an honest fear of being attacked and not a false casus belli for preventive actions. The US govt should be able to act on its own, as long as it accepts the consequences of its actions - i.e., that it will be alone in the nation-building process and any fallout that results. There are many advantages to working to create an international body to execute military plans, and certainly if there is time to do so, it should be done, if not only because even the US govt does not have a limitless supply of young men and women and military equipment.

10. What's your agenda? Agenda in a nutshell - Increase America's stature in the world by developing and implementing a persuasive outreach effort on our culture and values in all major cities and capitals. Open the borders to exchange students so that they can see our culture in action. Impose strict moral accountability standards on US companies doing business overseas. Reduce basing overseas from permanent US bases to shared rights on allied military bases. Increase work on and seek expansion of international treaties designed to reduce conflicts and their impact on noncombatants. Increase cooperative military agreements to support joint exercises and exchanges with coalition allied militaries. etc etc.

(Via Armchair Generalist.)

Excellent stuff!

3:24:42 PM    comment []

There's an idiot email going around about a new Declaration of Independence. One of the troubles is, they can't distinguish it from the Bill of Rights, and so make fools of themselves. But here's a great new version, the New Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE I: You want a Cadillac, Welfare Queen? You do not have the right to nice things because you're poor and therefore lazy. What's the matter, too good to work three jobs? Then you'd damn well better have money, and the best way to do that is by either having rich parents or the kind of family connections that will get you into Yale and Harvard Business School and allow you to become CEO of a Texas oil company.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to not be offended. Unless you're a conservative Evangelical, of course. Then of course you have every right to be offended if some atheist bastard should wish you "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".

There's more, just as good.

3:20:15 PM    comment []

Saturday Satire

Not to be outdone.

(Via Informed Comment.)

3:09:16 PM    comment []

THE SPIN ON TORTURE: It has gone chronologically something like this: "It's not true. It's not true. It may be true but it's not torture. Okay, it's torture, but isn't official policy. It may be true and official policy, but we changed the policy and we uncovered the abuses ourselves. It may be true, it may have been widespread, but we've punished the culprits. It may be true, it may have been widespread, it may still be happening, but all these reports are old news."

(Via Daily Dish.)

11:24:03 AM    comment []

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2005 Steve Michel.
Last update: 6/28/2005; 9:09:48 AM.

May 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
Apr   Jun