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Friday, March 12, 2004

So I Lied 

You're on notice. I may take a break any minute now. Until then check out the fighting styles of Donald Rumsfeld!

Via Alex...aka Jesus.

Intense 

Okay...one more thing before I go on break.

This is some intense shit.

(edited to remove the word "hardcore")

Spring Break 

I'm on spring break in about an hour. I'll be doing little, if any, blogging for the next week. If you have a problem with that, you can lick it.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

War Profiteering 

Damn...

This is pretty twisted.

It's like a flowchart of corruption...

UPDATE: For those into flowcharts, here's another one.

Hehehe 

For those of you who like reading outrageous quotes from conservatives compiled by liberals, here's a good one. (via Atrios)

If someone puts a link in comments to a countervailing list of stupid shit uttered by liberals and compiled by conservatives, I'll gladlly add a link to it to the post. I'm just not going to go out of my way to find one.

See how fair and balanced I am?

conservativesarewrongabouteverything.

Ginsburg and NOW 

Kevin Drum points to an article about Ruth Bader hangin' out with the ladies from NOW and then voting in a case in which they filed an amicus brief, and she voted with the brief.

Kevin points this out to counter the hubbub about Scalia and Cheney, and I think it does shed some light on the issue. He argues, however, that this means we should just drop it, and not worry about conflicts of interest. I think this just means the conflict of interest problem is systemic and needs to be dealt with. I'm not saying justices should recuse themselves from all cases they feel strongly about, that's not the point. But if you're publicly giving speeches on ideological issues or hunting/hangin' out with parties to a case, that's another issue, and whether you're name is Ruth or Antonin, it seems like there might be some issues of impartiality.

Halliburton, Cont. 

Lots of ammo on the ol' Hally these days...

Here's a good graph:

The warning was contained in a memo the Pentagon's defence contract audit agency sent on January 13 to the US Army Corps of Engineers, citing deficiencies in Halliburton's contracting proposals and questioning the company's ability to supply "fair and reasonable prices".

Note: that warning sent BEFORE we awarded them the contract.

No shit. Well...good thing we gave them billions in government contracts for rebuilding Iraq. Once again, I trust our VP will sort this out with dignity and forthright, ethical supergoodness.

So the standard argument is that "Halliburton is the best company to do the job." I argue that if they are ripping us off, then that assertion is simply not true. The other argument is that they're "the only company who can do the job." Well, if that's true then we have a serious flaw in our system, as competition is what should be driving the market. Remember my little "anarcho-capitalist" friends that at some point corporations get big enough that they become about as efficient as the state, and about as trustworthy. Walk that line, because falling off on either side leads to inefficiency, corruption, and greed at the expense of progress (or profit, however you want to look at it).

(edited to surgically remove a bit of dumbassery)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hypocrite 

Bush puts donors up for the night at the Whitehouse...IN THE LINCOLN BEDROOM! (and at Camp David)

After the shit he put Clinton and Gore through for the same thing.

Apparently, two wrongs do make a right after all. Thank you Mr. President for showing me that hypocrisy is the way, the truth, and the light. Combine it with overbearingly obnoxious self-aggrandizement and constant obfuscation of the truth and you have the Holy Trinity of the Bush Presidency (The seven deadly sins, apparently, include truthfulness, compassion, intelligence, respect, humility, patience, and moderacy).


Rush Update 

Now that I'm somewhat affiliated with the ACLU, I am behind Rush Limbaugh's privacy rights (while secretly hoping he goes to prison).

Looks like we might get an answer soon.

Of course, with the drug war's new push on dealing with prescription meds, your medical records will soon be open to the feds no matter what. What a joy.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Halliburton 

Hmmm...

Materially affect liquidity?

Translation from the finance majors please. I'm guessing that's a bad thing.

UPDATE: It occurred to me that this is just another case of those pesky government regulators sticking their noses into private business between a private company and it's um...the...er...the um...uh...government...and uh...oh wait, it's the Pentagon that's doing the audit? Wait...their...their like the uh...good regulators right? This is all just way too complicated. I'm sure our vice president can untangle it for us and make sure things are running smoothly and nobody's getting ripped off, heaven forbid.

Death Sentence 

So John Allen Muhammad has been given the sentence of death.

I've gotta say, if we're going to have a death penalty (which we shouldn't) then this is the type of case it was made for.

But that isn't an excuse for the death penalty. We could lock this guy up for the rest of his life and it would cost us less as a society than it will to put him through the appeals necessary to kill him. In this case, despite what the man says, I don't think we're going to screw up and kill an innocent man. We've done so in the past, however, and are people's lives really an area where we should be using the "if you want to make an omelet..." argument?

An eye for an eye went out of style several thousand years ago.

Ashcroft Update 

Sounds like his problem is pretty serious.

Once again, whether you like him or not, good vibes. He's in a lot of pain.

Powell 

Colin, Colin, Colin...

I am trying so hard to continue to like Colin Powell. The man is obviously in a tough spot.

I wonder if he keeps backing the administration because he's desperate to keep his job (unlikely, as he'd have a tidal wave of them rolling over him the minute he stepped down), really believes in the administration's policy (even though it takes a piss on his published doctrine and makes his job near impossible to do), or because he's the only one with the arm strength to keep the lunatics on a short enough leash to keep us from diving headlong into more optional wars we can't afford...

I'm guessing the latter.

Monday, March 08, 2004

War on Ads 

This is interesting.

I've some friends here in the states that are "culture jammers". It's basically the same thing as the French actions descibed in the article except the "vandalism" usually carries a creative message, often a bending of brand names and trademarks into social criticism. I like the American/Canadian approach better because it makes something creative, rather than just destroying ads.

Either way, though, I am glad that there are people actively challenging the assumption in Western society that advertising is a good thing. Private entities are choking out public space with a barrage of messages, and I find it disgusting. One of the main reasons I quit watching TV was because I was sick do death of being advertised at constantly. I won't even go to the movie theatres anymore for the same reason. I wait 'til whatever I want to see comes out on DVD so I can avoid the ads they pummel you with in theatres despite the fact that you already paid some ridiculous fee to sit in your seat.

If anyone wants fascinating (and very well researched and organized) read on the subject, may I suggest No Logo, by Naomi Klein. It's an incredible book on branding and advertising, their effects on globalization and how it is progressing, and the rise of anti-corporate activism worldwide. If you're more into magazines, or perhaps a bit more radical, check out Adbusters.

One think irks me about the movement, in the same way ANSWER irks me where the anti-war movement is concerned:

"Capitalism needs consumerism to survive," she said. "If we get rid of advertising, we get rid of consumerism and that will get rid of capitalism."

I agree with the short-term goal (get rid of overadvertising and give public space back to the public) but have some issues with the stated long-term goal (Communism? What?).

Extremes are not the answer. The problem is, we've got an extreme now, and it needs to be taken down more than a few notches...so until the tide turns, I'm on the side of the adbusters.

Rudy Draws a Line 

(via Hesiod)

Rudy Giuliani opposes the Hate Amendment.

It's refreshing to see there is such a thing as the "compassionate conservative" even if none of them appear to reside in Washington (or the Deep South). Rudy really did display the leadership and courage on 9/11 that Bush claims in his ads politicizing the tragedy. I don't agree with a great deal of the man's policies, but I certainly like him better on grounds of character than our President, VP, Sec. of Defense, etc.

I'm also holding out hope that Colin Powell will return to the land of sane some time in the near future.

UPDATE: Patrick points out (correctly) in comments that calling the FMA the "Hate Amendment" as I do makes a blanket statement that supporters are hateful. I don't think Patrick is hateful, so allow me to alter my nomenclature: The Discrimination Amendment will do for me. Once again, it's about civil rights. i don't think everyone who backs the amendment is hateful (though I've no doubt that some truly are), but I do think they intend to write discrimination into the constitution, which I cannot abide by...

If they were to alter the text so as to actually allow for civil unions, I might downgrade the name to "The Quirky Defense of a Word Amendment" or something like that.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Voters Going to Hell 

Man...I bitch about the influence of religion in our political system quite a bit, but at least we're not like this.

I do feel we will be, however, unless we remain vigilant. I really do. Once again, this goes to those who use the religion of the many to prop up the wealth and power of the few.

It's a damn shame that people of faith are used and abused in this fashion in almost all religions all over the world...

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