Tuesday, March 30, 2004
** Politics

Yet another great Billmon article, this time it's about the latest polls and trends on Bush and Kerry.
* 911 Commission

As Josh Marshall points out, the Gonzales letter (where Bush and Cheney promise to meet with the 911 Commission) states that Bush and Cheney are meeting in a joint session. What's up with that? Does Cheney need to hold Bush's hand? I think this is great ammunition against Bush, and I hope they don't change their minds on this one.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
** Middle East

I'd been meaning to write up a piece on the assassination of Shaikh Ahmed Yassin, but just haven't had time, and now it's getting to be too late. I do highly recommend this piece by Juan Cole on the subject.

The only other thing I'd like to say is that I congratulate George Bush and Ariel Sharon for this innovative move. In one fell swoop, they have raised the tension level throughout the Middle East to the boiling point, which will surely lead to an escalation of violence. This should help George's reelection prospects, and should perhaps also help to keep Ariel in power.

If it leads to the deaths of hundreds or thousands of further American, Israeli, and Palestian innocent victims, oh well, most of the dead wouldn't have voted anyway.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Hi all. I'm not dead, just busy. I'll be back soon.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
* Health / Diet

These days there are more and more "part-time vegetarians". But even so, apparently only 30-40% of the population "at least occasionally seeks out vegetarian meals". This number is somewhat unbelievable. What about pancakes for example? Doesn't everybody eat pancakes? Or does everybody have sausage with their pancakes?
* Spain

It's sure looking like the first bullet point from my last posting is the bottom line on the Spanish elections. This Washington Post article makes it abundantly clear that voter anger over the government's lies about ETA was the primary cause in the last minute surge for the PSOE. Aznar lied, hoping that the lies wouldn't be exposed until after the elections, but the investigation moved just a bit too fast. Bye bye liars.

via TalkingPointsMemo
Monday, March 15, 2004
** Spain and the War on Terror: are the terrorists winning?

On CNN this morning, Jack Cafferty was asking whether the elections in Spain show that the terrorists are winning. The majority of letters that he read in response to this question basically said "yes".

I think that the attack and election show a lot of things, but to reduce it to a statement like "the terrorists are winning" sounds like little more than propaganda. Here's what I think it shows:Bottom line, the terrorists are not quite winning, but they're certainly doing better than Bush says they are. Nonetheless, I think the American public will see these elections and rally around Bush, at least in the short term. My prediction is that this will lead to a short term bump in Bush's approval numbers on the order of 5% or so. Kerry needs to go on the offensive and distinguish Iraq from Al Queda. He also needs to think about bringing on a national security person (like Clark) as VP.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
* Culture

Should there be laws against watching porn while driving? With the explosion in popularity of DVD players in cars, this important, important issue is rising to the surface. Should children in the next car over be subjected to this filth? Or, perhaps, they can just look away.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
* Science, Internet, Content, Web Search

It's hard to categorize this Salon article that delves into data and web searching companies like Google and Yahoo, and what the future might hold. But did you know that the entire world wide web represents only 1% of the data that is potentially available to search engines? The other 99% is locked up in databases, both private and government. It's called the "deep Web". Search engine companies are trying to figure out how to access the deep Web and structure results containing this data. I guess the main point of the article is that as this type of search becomes more prevalent, there will be significant disruptions to the information economy.
If you buy the Cluetrain maxim that "hyperlinks subvert hierarchy," then surely deep Web search engines will amplify that subversion. As search engines extend their reach deeper into and across organizations, the boundaries between those organizations will feel more fluid -- both to consumers and to the organizations themselves. The first thing most of us notice may be better search results.

Somewhere inside that complex apparatus of desire and fulfillment, a transformation is taking place, one whose effects we can barely foresee.
Bottom line, I can't properly summarize this article, and I recommend it if you're interested in this subject.

Saturday, March 06, 2004
*** Globalization and Politics

Please read this Billmon piece about nuclear proliferation, foreign policy, and the risks that American citizens bear when American elites use foreign policy to create a global economic empire.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
* Politics

In a recent post I argued that progressives should ally with mainstream deomocrats this year to unite behind a candidate and beat George Bush. Billmon has an excellent piece that explains why this is so important, and why radical progressives (such as myself) should be content to work within the system (at least for now) rather than play around with third party type ideas.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
*** Iraq

The Bush administration is using the "desperation" line again with respect to the recent carnage in Iraq, so you know that things must be really serious.

Just remember, the US is about to rotate out the entire troop presence in Iraq and bring in a bunch of green soldiers. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
Monday, March 01, 2004
** Science

According to this article, rumors are buzzing around the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that there may soon be evidence that Mars has been, and could well be now, an extraterrestrial home for life. If this is true, it's big, big news.
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