Tuesday, September 2, 2003
Sacramento, CA (licentious) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign staff deny that Arnold will only participate in one debate because there is only one woman to grope among the participating candidates. They also deny that Arnold would be willing to grope the same candidate twice.
Their attempts to explain Arnold's fear of additional debates were less than persuasive. They denied that he is a "scared, wimpy, ignorant, girly-man who couldn't debate a 200-pound weight.
Arnold's staff insisted that he is simply too busy with photo-ops and damage control sessions to learn enough about policy to be able to say anything worthwhile in a debate. "Look, we spent four months just getting him to be able to say 'pro-choice, pro gun control, against gay marriage'. Imagine trying to get him to understand why a woman's right to choose is fundamental to democracy, even though there is no specific amendment in the Bill of Rights! It's not going to happen before the election."
They also pointed out there is nothing for Arnold to say, even if a "miraculous Vulcan mind-meld" could make him understand his policies. He can't very well admit that he'll do everything mega-businesses and "Blackout Pete" Wilson tell him to do, so what is there to say? Tax cuts for the rich and increased taxes for the middle class don't play well in debates.
Theory on why gas prices increase....
An analogy is that democracy depends on the values of political leaders. Bush discovered in Texas that he didn't have to play along with democracy. The only constraints are the press and the government head's willingness to be accountable. The head of the government can refuse to be accountable, as the Bush regime has done. No reason for White to resign over insider trading of Enron stock. No reason for Rice to resign over lies. No reason for Rumsfeld to resign over his Iraq debacle.
Similarly, there are reasons a market is supposed to keep prices down, but many of those reasons go away with significant vertical integration and limited competition. The final defense is government watching for collusion and anti-competitive behavior. Well, if government is in the pocket of the energy corporations, they don't need to fear the government. At that point, why shouldn't they take an extra fifty or eighty cents a gallon when they can get it? And so they do.
Microsoft and email....
Microsoft's approach to destroying competitors has always been to add features faster than any other company can keep up.
In Microsoft's rush to put Netscape out of business, one of the key innovations was making email unsafe. Email messages should be absolutely prohibited from executing software code. Microsoft, to destroy its competition, made it all too easy for messages to run code. The resulting email viruses have cost the world billions of dollars, but they helped cement Microsoft's monopoly, and will now be used as justification for Microsoft to intrude further into our computers.
The right thing would be a class-action suit forcing Microsoft to pay billions in damages, and to close the security flaws in their software -- starting with email, the browser, and the default configuration of the operating system.
Spam is also a huge and growing problem -- costing the world billions of dollars, and disgusting us all with vile advertisements for unwanted and typically disgusting products.
Spam lists benefit tremendously from Microsoft's decision to allow email messages to link to resources on the web. It's quite common that spam emails send your email address back to a database -- providing immediate feedback that your email address if valid. Known-to-be-valid email addresses are much more valuable to the dirt-bags who sell spam lists. Microsoft's rush to add all features to email is a key reason for the growth of spam.
Our email software should not violate our privacy by giving information to spammers.
It isn't hard to see a solution to most email problems. Email clients should not execute any code, and email clients should not get images and other resources off the web. Microsoft should be forced to provide a secure email client for free to anyone using Windows. It should be adequate, but leave room for other companies to compete.
"The blackout of 2003 offers a simple but powerful lesson: Markets are a great way to organize economic activity, but they need adult supervision." --Wall Street Journal
The worst thing about Iraq is that problems are not symmetric. If you screw up, it is harder to fix a new problem than it would have been to avoid the problem in the first place.
Pick an elementary example: the nuclear storage facility. American troops arrived while Iraqis were still on guard. All we had to do was keep our troops there, or convince the Iraqis to stay. Instead, we let the Iraqis go away, and then we left, and the facility was looted.
Having allowed the facility to be looted, we had to go around collecting as much of the radioactive material and containers as we could find. Can we prove Al Qaeda didn't make off with some yellow cake uranium ore to make a dirty bomb? No. We just have to hope. "Hope" is a pathetic management strategy.
Bush, Rumsfeld, and Bremer have let the whole country spiral out of control. If they had put enough soldiers in to prevent looting, and kept the Iraqi police and army to provide security, the streets of Baghdad could still be safe, the power could have been turned on, and the whole country would be against the resistance fighters and the foreign terrorists, and on our side. In an irony worthy of a total disaster, we are still the Iraqi's best friend.
Fixing this is going to be *really* hard, and *really* expensive, and it's going to take a long time.
"Sexed-up" dossier.... That the dossier includes the preposterous and irrelevant claim that Saddam could launch so-called WMDs in 45 minutes is prima facia evidence that the dossier was "sexed-up". Titillating, irrelevant, and false come as close to *defining* "sexed-up" as you can get.
It is clear that Blair's group ordered that the document should include as much as possible, and that the 45-minute claim was added to meet that order. Blair's only conceivable defense is that he was too incompetent to identify where the report crossed the line. Even if that were true, the document was still "sexed-up" on his team's order.
By Blair's own words, he should resign.
James Ridgeway [villagevoice.com]: Al-Obaidi told Wanniski that "hundreds of our party's cadre" spent five weeks interviewing undertakers, hospital officials, and ordinary citizens in all of Iraq (except for what's controlled by the Kurds) and came up with a total figure of 37,137 civilians killed since the beginning of the invasion, 6,103 of them in Baghdad. Those figures, according to al-Obaidi, do not include members of unofficial militias, paramilitary groups, or Saddam's Fedayeen units.
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Last update: 10/1/03; 10:22:00 AM.