Beat blender

10/11/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: song of the day
Here's a website with a collection of very fashion foward songs.

And here's their listen link

Derrida dead at 74

10/09/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Jacques Derrida

As the sun slowly sets in the Poconos

10/06/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: song of the day
Think of going Home

When shadows fall
And trees whisper day is ending
My thoughts are ever wending Home

When crickets call
My heart is forever yearning
Once more to be returning Home

And when the hills conceal the setting sun
Stars begin to peep in one by one (one by one)

Night covers all
And though fortune may forsake me
Sweet dreams will ever take me Home

Bush Environmental Laws: Not based in science or law

10/06/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
It was fairly obvious what the Bush administration was up to when they canceled the New Source Review laws.

I've been continually interested in how the cancellation happens. The old rules are cancelled after being called inefficient. Then new rules either are not put into place, or if they are, the result is a significant increase in pollution.

In this particular case, the New Source rules were defanged by raising the level of 'upgrade' needed before they'd be triggered.

It used to be that spending 5% or more of the value of a power station for maintainence would invoke the rules calling for pollution expenditures on pollution control at that plant.

That 5% threshold was increased by so much that as long as the power companies didn't replace the station entirely, they could do pretty much what they wanted to without invoking the New Source Review rules.

The end result was a reduction in the amount spent on pollution control. Not only that, but the rules had a side-effect of hamstringing many of the existing prosecutions already underway.

In this editorial we find out from a congressional report just what the Bush Administration said wouldn't happen has happened.

In June 2002, for instance, Jeffrey Holmstead, an assistant E.P.A. administrator and the main architect of the new rule, told the Senate that he had been assured by the "enforcement folks" at his agency and the Justice Department that there would not be a "negative impact on enforcement cases."

Suspecting otherwise - and suspecting Mr. Holmstead knew better - Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont ordered an internal investigation, which Ms. Tinsley has now produced. It confirms Mr. Leahy's worst fears. Even though the Northeastern states, as well as advocacy groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, have temporarily blocked the new rule in court, its looming presence has badly undermined the government's ability to enforce old cases, let alone pursue new ones - exactly what the "enforcement folks" predicted from the start. More broadly, Ms. Tinsley said she could find no basis for the new rule in science or law, and urged her superiors to restore the old one.

I'm wondering this: If the true intent of these changes was to relax things for the power industry which would (and has) resulted in greater and extended levels of pollution, and if this had valid reasoning behind it, then why didn't they simply represent their case this way?

By hiding behind words like 'increased efficiency' they're implicitly suggesting that their true justifications need hiding from the public, leading to the (not unreasonable) charge that they've got something to hide.

If increasing profits for power companies at the expense of the environment is your objective, and if this is a valid and reasonable thing to do, they why not simply say that and lay out the justifications and reasons for everyone to see?

The Breck Girl versus Dr. No

10/06/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
The debates tonight turned into a rather nasty bitchfight. Think WWF and you've got an idea. This particular scene would have been played out before the players ever got into the boxing ring.

Edwards walked over and gave Cheney a Suplex, who, then walked over to Edwards as he was waving at the crowd and slammed a chair into his back.

On and on it went: You're a liar, no no, YOU'RE the liar!!!

Edwards intended to get first mover advantage by striking first and hard. Dr. No was unflappable, though. It seemed for a while that he was besting Edwards.

But it became evident that he was just repeating the same things just as Edwards was. One of Cheney's gaffs was directing the public to a website: when what he wanted was

If you go to, you'll get an amusing surprise.

What I didn't understand was why Edwards didn't apply the bad judgement card. Right along the lines of when did you stop beating your wife it would have had Cheney not only having to defend his judgement, but it would have removed Edwards from the bitchslapping that was going on about whether Iraq was the right move or not.

If Edwards had led with "please explain how you could have had such bad judgement", that would have implied the bad decision on Iraq without leaving Cheney with a direct statement to rebut. He'd have to start in on the fact that, no he didn't have bad judgement, and not only that, the premise of the statement, that Iraq was a mistake was also false. The beauty of that kind of charge, is that the listening audience gets too confused and automatically assumes the premise as a given. When did you stop beating your wife??

In the end, they just both ran out of gas and seemed to just peter out, giving each other a half-hearted jab now and again. Who won? I think Don King.

If you're fond of Sand Dunes and Salty Air

10/05/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: song of the day
Quaint little villages, here and there.

Groove Armada and Patti Page are too.

The real nuclear threat

10/05/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
If you've got the time listen to this realaudio broadcast of Graham Allison being interviewed.

If there's any question that there was anybody (aside from Dick Cheney) who believed (did he really believe it? ) that Iraq posed a credible nuclear threat and not an Invisible Lion threat, Allison puts it to bed in this interview.

He also addresses the relative probabilities of a nuclear attack on the US via missile as opposed to crude but effective improvised devices hidden in the back of panel vans and detonated in the heart of Manhattan.

The good news is that terrorists won't have the technology to put them in suitcases, but the accompanying bad news is that they're ridiculously easy to construct with as little as 100 lbs of fissile material.

100 lbs would yield 10 kilotons which would vaporize everything within 1/3 mile of Times Square and destroy everything within one mile radius.

No one in the intelligence community considers a missile-delivered nuke to be nearly as great a threat as a panel-van nuke. And given the fact that there are limited resources, it makes you wonder why the Bush administration has committed 10 billion a year to deploy a missile defense system that has not been demonstrated to be effective. (Even in limited tests, it failed multiple tests).

Some might ask the question on whether that 10 billion would be better spent on the real threat to our nation.

Yes, folks, this is the one part of the terrorist threat that SHOULD scare you, as opposed to all of the other imaginary stuff the Bush administration has been sabre rattling about.

In his book "Nuclear Terrorism," Harvard professor GRAHAM ALLISON makes the case that nuclear terrorist atttacks are a realistic threat to America. He discusses flaws in our current policies and offers suggestions as to how we can prevent such threats.

From his Bio at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (which he founded):

Graham T. Allison is Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. From 1977-1989, Allison served as Dean of the Kennedy School. In the first term of the Clinton Administration, Allison served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans, where he coordinated DOD strategy and policy toward Russia, Ukraine, and the other states of the former Soviet Union. His publication Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971) was recently released in an updated and revised second edition (1999) and ranks among the best-sellers in political science with more than 350,000 copies in print. Other publications include Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: Containing the Threat of Loose Russian Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material (1996),Realizing Human Rights: From Inspiration to Impact (2000), and Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe (2004).

The Nuclear Threat from Iraq

10/05/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Months after the launch of the Iraq war, there is concensus among the intelligence community and arms experts that not only did Iraq not have anything approaching a nuclear capability, but the US government knew that this was the case.

In an editorial by the NY Times, a case is made for the Administration exhibiting either gross incompetence, or if not incompetence, then intentional deception.

In specific, it's now known that the major point used by the administration, the contention that some aluminum tubes possessed by the Iraqis were to be used in nuclear weaponry, was not only false, but there were no less than 3 reports outlining this.

So either the administration was incompetent in not reading these, or it was deceptive in not changing its course once it did read these reports.

We've heard arguments for both: Condi Rice and Cheney still go on about the nuclear threat in spite of the fact that evidence to the contrary exists and evidence for their point of view doesn't exist. (Save for the you never know, there COULD be invisible lions prowling the streets, so always bring your lion trap argument -- presented in the form of I don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud)

But there was also the attempt by Tenet, director of the CIA to try and take the fall by saying that they didn't present the best evidence, suggesting that the administration really was in the dark about how serious the threat wasn't. This boils down to the few bad apples in the intelligence community argument.

Incompetence or Deception. Either way it isn't good.

Ms. Rice's spokesman, Sean McCormack, said it was not her job to question intelligence reports or "to referee disputes in the intelligence community." But even with that curious job disclaimer, it's no comfort to think that the national security adviser wouldn't have bothered to inform herself about such a major issue before speaking publicly. The national security adviser has no more important responsibility than making sure that the president gets the best advice on life-and-death issues like the war.

If Ms. Rice did her job and told Mr. Bush how ludicrous the case was for an Iraqi nuclear program, then Mr. Bush terribly misled the public. If not, she should have resigned for allowing her boss to start a war on the basis of bad information and an incompetent analysis.

The world is a dangerous place

10/04/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
And if you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe these people instead.

If you thought things were getting better in Iraq:

10/01/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
From a letter from a WSJ reporter which was made public:

Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a
foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't.

Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or whether he is still alive.

The entire letter is worth reading.

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