Nov 10

Fickle Americans and “Gate Rape”

Attention, information, knowledge and awareness can be amazing things (photo from Jon Gruber’s flickr stream)..

Touchy Touchy

Continue reading →

Nov 09


John Cole linked to this from Sully:

If he does the full metal neocon as he is being urged to, he should not be deluded in believing the GOP will in any way support him. They will oppose him every step of every initiative. They will call him incompetent if Afghanistan deteriorates, they will call him a terrorist-lover if he withdraws, they will call him a traitor if he does not do everything they want, and they will eventually turn on him and demand withdrawal, just as they did in the Balkans with Clinton.   Obama’s middle way, I fear, is deeper and deeper into a trap, and the abandonment of a historic opportunity to get out.

Pretty much. Also, for some reason, lots of people were ending up on this post I wrote earlier about W’s Iraq surge.

Jul 09

Daily Links for July 6th through July 11th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • The Curse of Cheap Money | The Big Picture – This is the central enabler of the Housing Bubble.
  • How to Ease Your Transition to Google Voice – Google Voice – Lifehacker – Once you accept an invite, register your number, and make your first text or phone call, you might be wondering how to go about actually using Google Voice—after all, nobody's calling you on that number just yet, and your number doesn't have any rules set up to begin with. That's where this guide starts off. There are lots of resources that explain how Google Voice's features work, but we're hoping to help you learn how to get people calling that number, work past the flaws in its system, and manage the callers for a better overall phone experience.
  • High-Priced F-22 Fighter Has Major Shortcomings – washingtonpost.com – Its troubles have been detailed in dozens of Government Accountability Office reports and Pentagon audits. But Pierre Sprey, a key designer in the 1970s and 1980s of the F-16 and A-10 warplanes, said that from the beginning, the Air Force designed it to be "too big to fail, that is, to be cancellation-proof." Lockheed farmed out more than 1,000 subcontracts to vendors in more than 40 states, and Sprey — now a prominent critic of the plane — said that by the time skeptics "could point out the failed tests, the combat flaws, and the exploding costs, most congressmen were already defending their subcontractors' " revenues.
  • Netanyahu’s paranoia extends to ‘self-hating Jews’ Emanuel and Axelrod – Haaretz – Israel News – Netanyahu appears to be suffering from confusion and paranoia. He is convinced that the media are after him, that his aides are leaking information against him and that the American administration wants him out of office. Two months after his visit to Washington, he is still finding it difficult to communicat[e] normally with the White House. To appreciate the depth of his paranoia, it is enough to hear how he refers to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, Obama’s senior aides: as “self-hating Jews.”
  • Consumerist – General Motors May Sell Cars Through eBay – General Motors – General Motors is considering a partnership with eBay to make it easier for consumers to impulse-buy new vehicles, the recently solvent car maker announced yesterday. Though the deal isn't yet finalized, General Motors would like to sell their vehicles both through traditional auctions and with a "Buy It Now" option.
  • Bill Moyers Journal . Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients | PBS – Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."
  • Bob Sutton: Jeff Pfeffer on Why "Efficient Market" Thinking is Inefficient – Jeff's arguments (read the rest, it gets even better) for some reason reminds of what one of my friends in college used to say when people were following the herd rather than thinking for themselves or taking a different path: "Eat shit, 10 billion flies can't be wrong."
  • Jonathan Curiel – ’round the world we go – Robert McNamara: reluctant anti-war activist – True/Slant – During the run-up to the Iraq War, Robert McNamara never joined an anti-war protest, never went on CNN to voice his displeasure at George W. Bush. That wasn’t McNamara’s style. But he did announce his views on conflict in general, in the 2003/2004 documentary “The Fog of War.” And in interviews with reporters – including me – McNamara all-but-said the Iraq War was a big mistake that would lead to scores of American and Iraqi deaths, and the diplomatic isolation of the United States. As the Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy, and a still-admired figure in matters of warfare and diplomacy, McNamara had gravitas. He knew this. In his own old-school way, McNamara became an anti-war activist.
  • Sarah Palin Battles The Internet (And The Rest Of Your Scritti Politti) – Anyway, shortly after Sarah Palin went WARBONKERS on a blogger you never heard of, the entire internet responded in an even more vapid and juvenile fashion, and now there are stupid Photoshops everywhere, thanks to Sarah Palin, because that is what happens when you feed the beast with your stupid anger, instead of calmly letting some stuff slide and depriving the beast of oxygen.
  • Are Your Initials Holding You Back? « PsyBlog – In fact we are so sensitive to what things are called and the unconscious associations these generate, that our performance in a variety of arenas may be marred by something as seemingly insignificant as our own initials.

May 09

Daily Links for May 24th

  • Firedoglake » The Reaganites Self-Inflicted Recession – The reality is that the Reagan Democrats revolted against the very system that had protected and fostered them, and in two directions. The metro map here shows one direction: the raw slagging of unemployment in the Upper Mid-West, Coastal areas, and the Atlantic Coast south is clear. The other direction is seen, ironically, in a long belt of low unemployment that runs along the Great Plains. How is low unemployment a problem? In itself, it is not. However, these are areas where it is virtually impossible to be unemployed; and so rather than stay and remain unemployed (there being no government programs to keep them there) young people pour out of these empty stretches, which include parts of the North-East such as rural Maine. This youth drain is a deep political and social issue in these areas.
  • I Miss Iraq. I Miss My Gun. I Miss My War. – Esquire – I've been home from Iraq for more than a year, long enough for my time there to become a memory best forgotten for those who worried every day that I was gone. I could see their relief when I returned. Life could continue, with futures not so uncertain. But in quiet moments, their relief brought me guilt. Maybe they assume I was as overjoyed to be home as they were to have me home. Maybe they assume if I could do it over, I never would have gone. And maybe I wouldn't have. But I miss Iraq. I miss the war. I miss war. And I have a very hard time understanding why.
  • The Crisis and How to Deal with It – The New York Review of Books – Following are excerpts from a symposium on the economic crisis presented by The New York Review of Books and PEN World Voices at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 30. The participants were former senator Bill Bradley, Niall Ferguson, Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, George Soros, and Robin Wells, with Jeff Madrick as moderator.
  • Beware the Baboon Boss – HBR Editors’ Blog – Harvard Business Review – Studies of apes and monkeys (and lest it be forgotten, we are part of their same primate family) show that when they're threatened, subordinates glance obsessively toward the group leader, looking for indications of how to respond. Indeed, as the wonderfully named anthropologist Lionel Tiger has reported, even in periods of relative calm, baboons do a visual check on their alpha male two or three times per minute. baboonscrop2.jpg The alpha, of course, does not return the favor. Noting this imbalance, biologist Michael R.A. Chance concluded that the whole key to a social group's hierarchy is its "attention structure." Want to know who's high on the totem pole and who's low? Take note of who pays attention to whom.
  • HOW TO PLANT A PEST REPELLENT GARDEN – The Green House – Design your pest-repellent garden. Make a design that will ensure an attractive herbal arrangement in your garden, as well as easy access for harvesting. You may choose to deliberately design a herb garden space; or you may choose to plant the herbs here and there throughout your garden, as space and design wishes permit. Take care with mint – it is probably best planted in a pot to cure its tendency to spread across your garden. Planting in pots is also fine and is especially useful when you would like the move the plants to different areas of the garden. And don't forget the value of growing these herbs near your outdoor entertaining area – this will add extra punch to the work being done by your citronella candles!
  • Trading Morals for Dollars in a Recession: The Daily Beast – “It’s kind of like profiting off of a war, but at the same time, it’s business, and just like these people I’m buying from, I need to keep a roof over my head and I need to keep my electricity running, so I can’t really feel bad about it,” he says. “I look at it as, I’m kind of providing a service for these people. If I wasn’t doing this, then they wouldn’t be getting the money they are getting and they would just be stuck with video games sitting around the house and no lights.”
  • Sugar Stacks – How Much Sugar Is in That? – We've used regular sugar cubes (4 grams of sugar each) to show how the sugars in your favorite foods literally stack up, gram for gram. Compare foods, find out where sugar is hiding, and see how much of the sweet stuff you're really eating.
  • Geek Chart – Try Out Geek Chart – This chart shows the last 30 days of your activity on these social websites. If you haven't been active on these sites within the last 30 days, your actvity won't show on the chart.
  • Shmoop: Study Guides, Teacher Resources – What do you… Want? Refreshing, fun, plain-spoken study guides and teacher resources

May 09

Tortured Logic

Yet more news that everyone should have expected by now (Rawstory via Crooks and Liars)[Full report, PDF]:

In all, 98 detainees have died while in US hands. Thirty-four homicides have been identified, with at least eight detainees – and as many as 12 – having been tortured to death, according to a 2006 Human Rights First report that underwrites the researcher’s posting. The causes of 48 more deaths remain uncertain.

The researcher, John Sifton, worked for five years for Human Rights Watch. In a posting Tuesday, he documents myriad cases of detainees who died at the hands of their US interrogators. Some of the instances he cites are graphic.

How did we get here?   More importantly, how is it that we accept ‘here’ as being morally, legally, and ethically acceptable? Continue reading →