Some folks are talking about this article by Anatole Kaletsky.
Right Thinking uses the article to seque into a look at the origin of Mayday.
Curveball thinks the article is right on.
au currant(who does not seem to have permalinks so page down to the next to last may 1 post) tells us that
Shopkeepers all over London were boarding up their windows and doors yesterday in anticipation of soapdodgers throwing a temper tantrum against The Man todayAnd Instapundit tells us "He's right, of course," when Kaletsky says
For if there is one social principle on which all economists, historians and politicians must now surely agree, it is that capitalism has done more than any other human construct to benefit working people around the world.I kind of doubt that all those folks will agree with him on this. But they should. And the world might want to head on a straight line to capitalism and get rid of this statist cronyism that continues to be mislabeled as capitalism. Then the working people around the world will begin to see real benefits.
The Progressive Policy Institute wonders about this:
Utterly mysterious fact: the United States seems to be the only country to discriminate by the "length" of silverware. If a fork is 27 centimeters or longer, the rate is 8.5% plus half a cent per fork; at 26.9 cm or less, it jumps to 15.8% plus nine-tenths of a cent per fork. Does anyone know why?Do you know whether US tariffs are higher on gold plated silverware or stainless steel silverware? Read the rest of the article to find out.
Maxspeak provides links to 3 different decks of 2003 Regime playing cards. Head on over there to play some 52 pickup.
We spent this past weekend in western Canada. It was very enjoyable and nearly all the people we interacted with were friendly and helpful (the one exception being the evening clerk at our hotel who seemed to be in a permanent snit). While IRAQ and SARS were prominent in the papers none of these folks intitiated conversations about them.
Some of you may be interested in the border crossing experience.
Heading into Canada at 5:45 AM Friday there was one lane open and the line was one car long at 5:45 AM Friday and the border guy way gruff but not rude. He asked the usual series of questions: nationality, where are you from, where are you headed, what for and how long. The car just before me had been pulled over for additional inspection and the border guy asked if I was related to any of the late teen/early twenty folks. I wasn't and he waved me on without checking my documentation.
Returning to the US on Sunday at about 6:00 PM there were about 10 lanes open with the main road backed up only a couple 100 feet. The prescient driver stayed in the west lane because at the point where the line splits into the inspection lanes the lines ranging from 6-8 on the west side to 12-15 on the east side.
We observed both Canadian and US vehicles being searched: under vehicle, luggage compartment, inside containers and suitcases. To us there was nothing about these vehicle's appearance that made them appear different. So the issue must have been the documentaion, the answers to the standard questions or some randomization tool.
When our turn came the border gal did take our passports and a birth certificate/driver's license from the one person who did not have a passport. I do not remember that she actually looked at the passports but she did ask our rear seat passenger (w/o passport) to open the van door so she could see him visually. She again asked the usual questions for heading into the US: nationality, where do you live, where have you been, what were you doing, do you have anything to declare, do you have any fresh fruits, did anyone ask you to carry anything across the border for them, etc. She seemed particularly interested in citrus fruits and did not care about our apples and bananas. She waved us on without any additional searching.
Total time lost at the crossing: 20 minutes (I have seen it much worse). While waiting in the line we used to enjoy a nice view across the bay to the west. For over a year now empty train cars and an old engine have been parked blocking the view. I can think of no security reason to keep that junk there. Its removal would make this crossing a much more pleasant experience.
I'll be away for the next 3 days and don't expect to be able to spend much time in the blogosphere. If I post at all at will be short. See ya'll on Monday.
I think Nurse Ratched's arithmetic is just fine:
This all adds up to more points in the "good for the ecology, good for the economy" column than in the "perpetuating the petrochemical oligarchy and making the world less safe for liberals" column to me, but maybe my arithmetic is off.Head over there and read the Nurse's take on thermal depolymerizaton. If this technology works as advertised it will massively change the economics of waste management while dramatically reducing the import (ance) of middle eastern oil.
Oh, and a few years down the road I can see one of these things in every garage. I suspect that it was something like this tool that the folks on Dune used to reclaim the water from the dead.
Jeanne D'Arc is worried that she might be burning out on blogging and worries that part of the reason may be that there is too little reasoned discourse and too much yelling:
The blogosphere's beginning to seem more like a place for people to scream in each other's faces than to learn from each other.Yes, much writing in the blog world as in the traditional media world is polemic. I don't think that we will ever see the end of polemic discourse. But it does change in scale depending on the issue of the day and the circle of blogs you read. Many of the polemicists are not interested in learning something new and feel secure only when their mental barricades are not challenged. They intensely fear those who understand that that not all the tablets have been etched and that writing and exchanging ideas is one of the tools we use to learn. And they feel successful when they quiet the thinkers.
I'm a writer, not a lawyer. I'm better at musing and questioning than I am at building unassailable arguments. Arguments, to be honest, bore me. I don't write to persuade, I write to figure things out myself, and readers, to me, are not people whose minds I want to change, but people I've invited along on the journey (and who sometimes have suggestions for a direction to go in that I hadn't thought of before.)She points us to Jeff Cooper who also questions his inspiration to blog and offers another take on why to keep it up:
I'm not so egotistical as to think that I would change many minds, or even any minds, by writing here. But I did hope at least to make my positions understood, and to come to better understand the arguments of those who see things differently. That requires a certain openness, though, a willingness to attempt to see the world from different perspectives and to take seriously the possibility that I might sometimes be wrong. And, unfortunately, I don't find many other bloggers approaching their writing in a similar spirit.In both cases the blog, it used to be the journal, etc., offers a tool to let us explore our understanding of the world we live in. The big advantage of doing it in public is the feedback. Real folks (some jerks) sometimes read our explorations and talk back to us about them. This doesn't happen in a private forum like a journal. And without the feedback learning does not thrive.
Tim Dunlop mulls over Rumsfeld's views on Iraq's post war political structure and Jane Finch at The Daily Rant likes Tim's 'faith based initiative' line. In the comments to the latter post Nathan tells us:
From what I understand, we would like to establish a robust constitution with strong guarantees for civil rights. Democracy has demonstrated that it is an excellent vehicle for preserving such rights. Islamic govts have not, and tend to overthrow such guarantees as soon as possible.Jane responds:
For democracy to work, a party has to win power, lose power, and then be able to regain power again.
Nathan, how about the Iraqis establish their own constitution?Read more at The Daily Rant (link above).
I admit it, I seldom use Internet Explorer. So when I looked at Modulator in IE for the first time in a while I realized that my CSS stuff was not working quite right. At least for IE 6.0 users. It should be fixed now and easier to read for you folks. Let me know if you notice any problems.
Move to Arcata, CA? Better yet, work to persuade your local governments to to follow in Arcata's footsteps. And, communicate with your congress folks. Tell them that the Patriot Act(large PDF file), an unnecessary, panic inspired, assault on our freedoms needs to be tossed out along with its sponsors.
To help you in your efforts the folks at The Liquid List provide a link to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Thanks to Behind the Homefront for pointing me to the Washington Post Article.
Colin Powell now has zero credibility in my eyes for taking part in this charade.Unless some of the many stated casus belli start bearing fruit Powell will not be the last to start falling.
Jonathon, the Head Heeb, tells us that democracy is coming to the gulf, that the citizens of Qatar will vote on a new constitution on April 29th. It is a step forward.
One of my current projects is to try to understand what folks mean when they use the word democracy and to try to establish a working definition that I can use in my writing (stay tuned). So, while this may be a big step for a middle eastern country I will let you be the judge of whether these items are what you think democracy should be about:
Article 8They have given women the vote but not the opportunity to rule. And never mind if you are not part of the Al Thani family. Oh, and the Emir (the ruler) determines his own take of the wealth:
The Rule of the State shall be hereditary within the Al Thani family and by the male successors....
Article 17Some 'bill of rights' provisions are well written. Others, as Jonathon notes, are qualified:
The financial remuneration of the Emir, as well as the gifts and assistance shall be defined as per a decision to be taken by the Emir annually.
Press freedom, printing and publishing is assured in accordance with the law.
Article 44Qatar may currently have the freeest press in the Middle East but that phrase 'in accordance with the law' which pops up repeatedly in this document is a gaping loophole. It seems to me that if a democracy is not going to risk degeneration into statist or majoratarian tyranny it must have absolute protections for individual rights.
The right of assembly is assured to the citizens as per the provisions of the law.
The freedom to worship is assured to all, in accordance with the law and the requirements of protecting the public system and public behaviour.And Article 1 says
Islam is the State's religion and the Islamic Shariah is the main source of its legislations.And articles 19 notes that
The State shall preserve the principles of the society and maintain security, stability and equal opportunities to the citizens.At least one reading of this suggests that since Islam is the state's religion and the state shall preserve the principles of the society then the state expects Islam to be the religion that is freely worshipped.
W might like to implement this constitution here in the US.
Take a look at this from MatthewYglesias and then read about Kieran Healy's idea for Freedom Markets.
If you start hearing talk about the bad economy being the price of freedom on your local Clear Channel station you can bet that it is part of the Bush campaign strategy. Hey, if the US people don't buy this how is he gonna fight another war and still get elected again.
Day by day the situation gets worse in Bagdad (and probably much of the rest of Iraq). As reported by BBC News:
The International Red Cross has urged US forces to restore the Iraqi capital's power supply and other basic services as the threat to public health grows daily.
Roland Huguenin-Benjamin of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told the BBC that less than half of the city's hospitals were functioning - the rest had been ransacked by looters.
in a further sign of chaos, looters can now be seen selling stolen weapons and ammunition - including Kalashnikov assault rifles - openly on the streets.
The UN children's fund Unicef says piles of rubbish are accumulating at the hospitals and up to 70% of patients at the children's hospital now have diarrhoea.It all speaks for itself. Ah, but Bechtel is riding in to clean up Rumsfeld's mess.
I was just going to check email when I woke up my laptop this morning. But no, staring me in the face was this piece by Theresa Nielsen Hayden that Demosthenes had pointed me to just before I fell asleep last night.
So I read it. You should as well. She tells you what you should understand about looting, why the COW could not (would not?) control it and nicely summarizes the history of war cheerleading.
If you are interested in tracking things SARS then Tim Bishop's SARS Watch is the place to go. Lots of good material and links to much, much more.
I am not sure, though, why Tim calls this an Extreme Capitalist approach.
"Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things, " he declared.This seems to be a fair representation of what this administration believes freedom to be.
New to the blog roll is Rob Schaap's blogorrhoea. I usually do not add a site based on one visit but Rob sucked me into reading from beginning to end the longest single post* I have worked through to date: a ranging discussion of 'capitalism', government and globalisation. You will probably disagree with one point or another but there is certainly enough meat to get you thinking. I will be going back here often and suspect there might be a lot of treasure hiding in his archives. Thanks to Tim Dunlop for the pointer.
*Rob's links are currently broken but this is his only post on April 16.
Busy Busy Busy has found Thomas Friedman's current moral compass and suggests that Friedman is now of one mind with Rumsfeld regarding post invasion security for the Iraqi people.
Back in ancient history (4/9) Friedman said:
America broke Iraq; now America owns Iraq, and it owns the primary responsibility for normalizing it. If the water doesn't flow, if the food doesn't arrive, if the rains don't come and if the sun doesn't shine, it's now America's fault. We'd better get used to it, we'd better make things right, we'd better do it soon, and we'd better get all the help we can get.Putting the two together suggests that Friedman's moral compass is about as stable as sand dunes in the desert wind.
On the assumption that W is a shoe in for 2004 Unfossilized thinks that in 2008 anyone but Hilory is a good enough reason to support Jeb Bush. If W is indeed it in 2004 then by 2008 Jeb and his fine Florida elections staff will have had plenty of time to figure out how to scrub the national voting rolls...maybe it will even be unanimous.
As reported by Talkleft General Franks tells us that:
No confirmed weapons of mass destruction but they have found materials they are testing and will be looking for more.Yep, we have been hearing a lot of that. Powell is much more definite on this subject and in an appearance on BBC this morning tells us that:
The combat period is over and we can now turn our attention to finding weapons of mass destruction.Powell is likely hoping that the recent surrender of General Amir al-Saadi will be a breakthrough in finding WMDs. This BBC article suggests that al-Saadi may not have much to say. Quoting the BBC correspondent:
There's strong evidence and no question about the fact there are weapons of mass destruction.
We will find weapons of mass destruction."
The main concern from the American point of view will be how co-operative General al-Saadi will be.Once he is into his cell without any outside contact it might not be long before we hear reports of information from him pointing toward WMD. On the other hand, perhaps some can be moved from Oregon and stashed under the sand somewhere to be found.
Early indications are, at least from the remarks he made to German television in which he maintained that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, suggest that he won't be.
For that reason and because of his potential significance, US officials will probably want to keep him very much under wraps for now.
Wired brings us news of this new must have cell phone download. Watch for sales of extended life batteries to go up.
I watched part of the toppling of the Saddam statue in Bagdad live on Fox and thought it was cool that a US tank was helping a few hundred folks do the deed. In the hours and days followed this modest event has been hyped as being comparable to the tearing down of the Berlin wall. This seemed like quite a stretch to me. Robert Corr at Mentalspace suggests that this was more a staged media event then a spontaneous expression of the Iraqi people.
For a supposedly humorous start on a new legal system in liberated Iraq head over to Nurse Ratched's to read this.
I wonder when Ashcroft gets sent over to get this properly tuned.
Go over to Skippy's to read about the divorce of O'reilly and the Orange County Register. This is one of the last papers that would come to mind as editorially opposing the war. But apparently they do.
When I last visited this subject it was Justice Scalia talking about scaling back individual rights.
Now South Knox Bubba is disturbed by new activity related to the Total Information Act. I think we might want to move a step or two beyond disturbed. Maybe to scared into action while we still have a chance.
Hesiod at Counterspin Central asks why a democratic congressman would introduce a resolution to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Mike over at Red Letter Day shares the Lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Neighborhood Bully." This is an excellent song. Mike might also want to check out some other Bob Dylan Material, for instance, from the 1963 Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, "Masters of War" seems particularly relevant to to current times. It begins:
Come you masters of warGo here for the rest.
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly
Leonard at Unruled quotes a report from Donald Luskin on an meeting Luskin had with W. Luskin tells us that W is '...the best friend...' capitalism '... is likely to get nowadays.'
Leonard finds this sad and so do I. Now I don't know what definition of capitalism these folks are using but I'm pretty sure W does not use the same one I do and I'm a little surprised that Donald Luskin is taken in by this. W 'built' most of his wealth on the backs of the local taxpayers who will be paying for the Texas Ranger's stadium for many years to come. And there is nothing about this that is anywhere close to the free market capitalism I think Luskin would espouse.
If the elimination of the double taxation of dividends (see the Luskin quote above) were part of a cohesive, well documented, long term plan to move us toward a truly capitalist society I might accept his argument. But this is not the case and there is little else, if anything, that W has initiated that suggests tht this is his goal. Nope, I don't think W is anywhere close to being a friend of capitalism.
If you are concerned about this issue, and you all should be, there is quite a bit of fresh discussion happening. In sequence jump over to Electrolite(there is a lengthy and interesting comment thread), Unruled and Unqualified Offerings. Plenty of links from them to other material.
Those of you still headed to lunch or getting ready for dinner might like to add a hot dog to your menu.
This evening Political Parrhesia led me over to TalkLeft who urges us to speak up against an effort by Sen Joseph Biden (D-Del) to do some Ashcroftian dirty work. If you think you are not going to be affected you are wrong:
Whoever, for a commercial purpose, knowingly promotes any rave, dance, music, or other entertainment event, that takes place under circumstances where the promoter knows or reasonably ought to know that a controlled substance will be used or distributed in violation of Federal law or the law of the place where the event is held, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than 9 years, or both.If language like this gets written into the law of the land you may have just gone to your last concert for a while.
W must be very happy! First David Sanger reports the following in yesterday's NY Times:
Shortly after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stark warning to Iran and Syria last week, declaring that any "hostile acts" they committed on behalf of Iraq might prompt severe consequences, one of President Bush's closest aides stepped into the Oval Office to warn him that his unpredictable defense secretary had just raised the specter of a broader confrontation.Since this seemed like a good thing to him then this, from today's UK Observer must be like icing on the cake:
Mr. Bush smiled a moment at the latest example of Mr. Rumsfeld's brazenness, recalled the aide. Then he said one word - "Good" - and went back to work.
War in North Korea is now almost inevitable because of the country's diplomatic stalemate with America, a senior UN official claims.Thanks to Barry Briggs for the latter reference.
Hard to blog on a day when a great event like the San Diego Crew Classic is taking place. We could not go in person but spent a lot of time tracking the many successful teams from Washington State including, especially including, the Sammamish Rowing victory in the Womens Junior Grand Final.
I have been trying to figure out why a muslim should think that the current action in Iraq is not, along with all the other alleged motives, also a cultural crusade. Our papers are filled with pictures of soldiers smoking cigarettes, playing cards with decks faced with near naked women (not at all offensive to muslims). And now, in a place where people are struggling to find water to drink, we find out that part of the $74 billion is to provide 500 gallon tanks of water so that... Well, go over to Sisyphus Shrugged to get the story and earlier sources.
Is it possible? Dwight Meredith provides a several arguments for a yes answer.
Order of succession. Would you want any of these people to be president?
Ok, there may be some sentiment that #4 on the list might be acceptable but he has been playing a pretty big part in this mess.
In this 1998 letter Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz and others call for regime change in Iraq and urge Clinton to undertake miltiary action
The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.even without UN Security Council support:
In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.Bush's boss has been after this for years.
Invisible Adjunct posts a nice piece on the tribulations of the newcomer to Movable Type. Yep, it is not quite the same as starting that first Blogger site: name it and start posting. Movable Type does have a learning curve and Invisible Adjunct speaks for me: each confusing item he mentions hit me as well. The answer may be Movable Type for Dummies. Or, a more complete discussion of this stuff in the documantation. And, I agree Trackback was/is a bit confusing.
Now, on to that 3 column layout. This is my next tweak. I've been collecting samples and am leaning toward using a Table to create the structure instead of CSS. Whichever it is will be an experiment and I do plan to use a test blog as a learning tool. I'll get right on this in a couple weeks when taxes are done.
Everyone will either chuckle at or be offended by something in this drinking game.
And a bit earlier in the day Gregory Markle found himself in "..the old socialist/capitalist debate..." and as so often seems to be the case in these discussions it is not at all clear what the participants mean when they use these terms. If the debaters would simply provide a 2-3 sentence definition with their first use of one of these words (plus others like democracy, fascism, liberty, etc) these discussions would become instantly more meaningful to their readers (and I suspect the particpants as well). A link to a more detailed exposition would be even better.
My task, before I get too involved in similar debates will be to write my brief expositions or pick the variant closest to my position from the many that already exist on the web. Then, if I say something like "...was built on the shoulders of capitalist democracy..." you, the reader, might be able to figure out what country/society is being referred to and whether the writer means something like free market capitalism based on protecting individual rights or, as exists today in many variations, a state regulated and subsidized corporate economy (and no matter how many times some form of the latter is called capitalism...it isn't).
Gregory Markle at American Realpolitik points us to this takeoff on the IE page not found(error 404) message. It is funny. And, perhaps, it also holds a lesson for Microsoft: Help pages really can present useful and relevant information!
Spadehammer quotes at length from this Steve Lopez column in the LA Times (free registration). I have raised concerns before about the true motivation of the administration and Lopez plays another frequency
The effort to turn Iraq into a democracy, in other words, is making the U.S. less of one. Our opposition party has disappeared, corporate interests dictate public policy, and the feds may be rummaging through your e-mail.Aren't you just a bit concerned?
"Fox tries to position itself as 'the real American network,'" said Michael Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. "But real Americans believe in democracy and freedom of speech. I think what they did was cynical and bush league."And, there can be no question that the FNC is BUSH league.
In the same post Sean provides a lengthy analysis of what he calls
a new form of peace protest . It involves the citizens of relatively wealthy democracies taking full advantage of their civil rights to protest the Allied effort to bring these rights to others.and provides a point by point rebuttal. You must choose whether you agree with Sean's arguments.
At one point Sean says
Let us accept that there IS an economic motivation. This doesnt change the fact that Saddam Hussein is a monster and that the Iraqi people are his slaves. I think playing political football with war is dispicable. Hoping to harm the US economy as a way of "getting back" at Bush is a disgusting abuse of the people who are impacted by both sides of the issue.One point at a time:
Nurse Ratched points us to this Onion article which, in part, echos William Rasberry in the Washington Post and Josh Marshall in the Washington Review.
The Iraq adventure will create more problems for the US and this is just what the doctor ordered: a never ending war against continually changing foes; lockstep 'patriotism' leading to 4 more years in office which should be enough time to close the polling booths.
Today TheTalkingDog presented us with his state of the world address. It seems a fair assessment and should be read in conjunction with Pat Riotic's message and the dog's substantive supporting documentation.
Emma suggests, in commenting on this Slate article, that the Pentagon behaves like a six year old child. In the same article General Van Riper (there seem to be hundreds of these generals) comments on the failed war game exercise (one that set much basis for the current 'effort'):
Finally, Van Riper quit the game in protest, so as not to be associated with what would be misleading results. As he explained in his e-mail, "You don't come to a conclusion beforehand and then work your way to that conclusion. You see how the thing plays out."There is no surprize here. And as I previously noted it is the ongoing behavior of the Bush deministration.