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Sunday, December 21, 2003

The Death of Horatio Alger: "Let's talk first about the facts on income distribution. Thirty years ago we were a relatively middle-class nation. It had not always been thus: Gilded Age America was a highly unequal society, and it stayed that way through the 1920s. During the 1930s and '40s, however, America experienced what the economic historians Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo have dubbed the Great Compression: a drastic narrowing of income gaps, probably as a result of New Deal policies. And the new economic order persisted for more than a generation: Strong unions; taxes on inherited wealth, corporate profits and high incomes; close public scrutiny of corporate management--all helped to keep income gaps relatively small. The economy was hardly egalitarian, but a generation ago the gross inequalities of the 1920s seemed very distant.
Now they're back. According to estimates by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez--confirmed by data from the Congressional Budget Office--between 1973 and 2000 the average real income of the bottom 90 percent of American taxpayers actually fell by 7 percent. Meanwhile, the income of the top 1 percent rose by 148 percent, the income of the top 0.1 percent rose by 343 percent and the income of the top 0.01 percent rose 599 percent. (Those numbers exclude capital gains, so they're not an artifact of the stock-market bubble.) The distribution of income in the United States has gone right back to Gilded Age levels of inequality."

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Wired News: 'Running' Robot Gets Off Ground: "Welcome to Wired News. Skip directly to: Search Box, Section Navigation, Content.
Wired News Wire service news & photos Animations Wired Magazine HotBot (the Web)

'Running' Robot Gets Off Ground

Wired News Report Page 1 of 1

10:06 AM Dec. 18, 2003 PT
TOKYO -- Sony's walking robot already knows a few hip dance steps and can kick a miniature soccer ball. Now, it can jog -- a new trick that developers say is ingenious because it requires the machine to jump off the ground, if only for a fraction of a second.
The new skills of the humanoid, developed by the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant's robot unit that makes the dog-like Aibo, were demonstrated to reporters at a Tokyo hall Thursday.
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'Running' Robot Gets Off Ground
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never settle. When an upgrade of the 23-inch-tall, 15-pound robot was introduced last year, Sony executive Toshitada Doi said it might go on sale for the price of an expensive car. But now Sony has no plans to sell Qrio, which is short for 'quest for curiosity.'
Instead, the machine is being billed as an amusing 'corporate ambassador' that can highlight Sony's innovativeness. The company would not say how much it has cost.
'All around the world, universities and think tanks have been researching how to make robots run but we a"
States Try to Limit Drugs in Medicaid, but Makers Resist: "entucky's Medicaid program was $230 million in the red last year, and drastic cuts were on the table. A state panel proposed excluding Zyprexa, an antipsychotic medication that is the state's single biggest drug expense, from the Medicaid list of preferred medications.
That was when the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Kentucky Consumer Advocate Network swung into action"
Daily Kos || Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.: "Let see, steal their land, destroy their economy, kill their kids, bull doze their houses, cut off their water, surround them with barb wire and then condemn them as terrorists when they try to resist.
But, lets not forget, they are the chosen people! "
Israel prepares for mass move if road map fails - The Washington Times: World: "Driven by the fear that sticking to the dream of some Zionists of having a single state reaching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River would eventually make Jews a minority within their own state, Mr. Olmert has repeatedly called for redrawing the lines between Israelis and Palestinians.
In order to maximize the number of Jews and minimize the number of Palestinians, Mr. Olmert said, 'settlements will have to be removed into new locations within boundaries that will be set by this new line.' "
Albright's joke joins growing list of Bush theories - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics: " 'There's no way to get away from it. To say the CIA knew where the world's No. 1 terrorist is right now and won't bring him forward, that's immoral"
New Scientist: "The first piloted and rocket-powered craft to have been developed by a private company made its maiden flight on Wednesday, over the Mojave desert in California.
The craft, called Space Ship One (SS1), also become the first private craft to break the sound barrier, reaching a top speed of 930 mph (1490 km/h). The flight, exactly 100 years after the Wright brothers made their historic flight, marks a big step to winning the $10 million X Prize for private spaceflight.

SS1 soared to over 20 kilometres altitude (Image: Scaled Composites)
SS1 has been developed by Scaled Composites, an aerospace company run by famed airplane pioneer Burt Rutan. Wednesday's flight followed a four-month series of unpowered drop and land tests"

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Wired 11.12: WIRED TOOLS 2K3: "To map the peas' DNA, Dr. F needs to whip up a sort of conductive Jell-O made from TBE buffer and agarose powder. The gel goes into a battery-operated electrophoresis chamber, where it's poked with a tool to make divots for the harvested genes. The molecules are transferred with a pipette. A zap of electricity sends the molecules - which are negatively charged - moving through the gel"
Michael : Mike's Message : Messages: "We liked playing Dr. Frankenstein. We created a lot of monsters -- the Shah of Iran, Somoza of Nicaragua, Pinochet of Chile -- and then we expressed ignorance or shock when they ran amok and massacred people. We liked Saddam because he was willing to fight the Ayatollah. So we made sure that he got billions of dollars to purchase weapons. Weapons of mass destruction. That's right, he had them. We should know -- we gave them to him! "

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Boomerang Diplomacy ( "When told yesterday that Mr. Schroeder believed Mr. Bush's contract decision might violate international law, the president responded with a sarcastic gibe: 'International law? I better call my lawyer.' Like other puerile taunts delivered by administration officials, the president's words will merely serve to further erode support for his policies in countries that historically have stood with the United States. "
Dean’s Manager: Inside Savvy and Outsider Edge: "It is the story of the boxing glove — which Mr. Mondale used to show he was a fighter — that makes Mr. Trippi cry. He had told Mr. Mondale that his father, an Italian immigrant, thought him a bum for pursuing politics instead of taking over the family flower shop. After his Pennsylvania primary victory, Mr. Mondale autographed the gloves for the elder Mr. Trippi; one was buried with him when he died in 1998.
Now it is Mr. Trippi's autograph that is in demand as he works the rope line after a Detroit rally. He bearhugs people whose names he recognizes from the blogs. They pose for pictures. They bring him Diet Pepsi."
Likud Debates a Palestinian State to Save Israel: "'The dream of Greater Israel is no longer there. We have to adjust our sights.'
Palestinians argue that any unilateral withdrawal would be a cynical attempt to unload as many Palestinians as possible into as little territory as possible.
'All they're arguing is, how big a reservation do they want to give to the Palestinians,' said Michael Tarazi, a lawyer for the Palestine Liberation Organization. "

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Lovers Under the Skin: " blasphemy for defending vile behavior that they say God is on record as denouncing. Never mind that the Bible also advises that people who work on the Sabbath should be stoned to death (Numbers 15:35) and condones the beating of slaves 'since the slave is the owner's property' (Exodus 21:21). Somehow it's only the anti-gay bits that seem engraved in stone."

Saturday, November 29, 2003

New Scientist: "It says it can turn ordinary blood into cells capable of regenerating damaged or diseased tissues. This could transform the treatment of everything from heart disease to Parkinson's.
If the company, TriStem, really can do what it says, there would be no need to bother with conventional stem cells, currently one of the hottest fields of research. But its astounding claims have been met with bemusement and disbelief by mainstream researchers.
TriStem has been claiming for years that it can take a half a litre of anyone's blood, extract the white blood cells and make them revert to a 'stem-cell-like' state within hours. The cells can be turned into beating heart cells for mending hearts, nerve cells for restoring brains and so on.
The company has now finally provided proof that at least some of its claims might be true. In collaboration with independent researchers in the US, the company has used its technique to turn white blood cells into the blood-generating stem cells found in bone marrow.
When injected into mice, these cells migrated to the bone marrow and generated nearly all the different types of human blood cells, the team will report in the January edition of Current Medical Research and Opinion (vol 20, p 87), a peer-reviewed journal.

Proof required

'I would be extremely sceptical of these findings and would need more proof,' says stem cell expert Evan Snyder of the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California, whose response is typical of many scientists New Scientist contacted.
'I was extremely sceptical,' says team member Tim McCaffrey, a cardiovascular researcher at George Washington University in Washington DC, who was asked to evaluate TriStem's claims. 'They did it in front of my eyes with my own blood,' he says. 'It's stunning.'
Even if replacing bone "
Resources: Oil Experts See Long-Term Risks to Iraq Reserves
Op-Ed Columnist: The Good News: "Now we know that the club isn't that exclusive, after all. South Korea and several smaller Asian economies have made a full transition to modernity. China is still a poor country, but it has made astonishing progress. And there are signs of an economic takeoff in at least parts of India. I'm not talking about arid economic statistics; what we've seen over the past generation is an enormous, unexpected improvement in the human condition"
Op-Ed Contributor: Telling the Truth, Facing the Whip: "Yet the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs have now established a committee to hunt down teachers who are suspected of being liberal-minded. This committee, which has the right to expel and punish any teacher who does not espouse hard-core Wahhabism, last week interrogated a teacher, found him 'guilty' of an interest in philosophy and put on probation.
During the holy fasting month of Ramadan, imams around the country stepped up their hate speech against liberals, advocates of women's rights, secularists, Christians and Jews � and many encouraged their congregations to do the same. I heard no sermons criticizing the people responsible for the attacks in Riyadh, in which innocent civilians and children were killed. The reason, I believe, is that these religious leaders sympathize with the criminals rather than the victims."

I cannot but wonder at our officials and pundits who continue to claim that Saudi society loves other nations and wishes them peace, when state-sponsored preachers in some of our largest mosques continue to curse and call for the destruction of all non-Muslims

Only when we see ourselves the way the rest of the world sees us — a nation that spawns terrorists — and think about why that is and what it means will we be able to take the first step toward correcting that image and eradicating its roots.
As Obesity Rises, Health Care Indignities Multiply: " As Obesity Rises, Health Care Indignities Multiply

Published: November 29, 2003

hen Mark Rosenthal suffered a stroke, he was too heavy and wide for a stretcher, so he made the jarring, bouncing dash to the hospital lying on an ambulance floor. The ride injured his back, and he felt as if his own weight would suffocate him. At the hospital, doctors wanted to give him an M.R.I. scan, but he could not fit into the machine.

But in that ordeal last June, Mr. Rosenthal's gravest humiliation came from something as simple as having to go to the bathroom. He was in no shape to walk to the cramped bathroom � he might not have been able to fit, anyway � and the hospital's portable commodes and bedpans could not hold his 450 pounds. So, he recalled, hospital workers told him to go in his bed, on himself, saying they would clean it up afterward.
'I just cried,' said Mr. Rosenthal, 51, the treasurer of District Council 37, the New York City employees' union. 'I refused to eat anything for six or seven days, hoping I wouldn't have to go again.'
Obesity is the fastest-growing major health problem in the United States. In 2000, 31 percent of American adults were obese, up from 23 percent in 1990 and 13 percent in 1960, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"
Op-Ed Columnist: Name That War: "'Operation Gee Whiz, This Liberation Thing Seemed a Lot Easier When We Were Drawing It Up Back at the Think Tank.'"

Wrath of Neo-Khan."

"Dubya Dubya III"; Richard Sanders for "Rolling Blunder"; John Fell of California for "Desert Slog," Will Hutchinson of Vermont for "Mess in Potamia"; and Willard Oriol of New York for "Blood, Baath and Beyond
Coerced or Not, Palestinians Who Assist Israel Face Death

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Drug Industry Seeks to Sway Prices Overseas: "The Medicare bill also requires the Bush administration to apprise Congress on progress toward opening Australia's drug pricing system"

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Register: "the extraordinary history of the Internet.

Once the potential of networking an increasing number of computers across the world using phone lines had been grasped, the ITU outlined its view of the future.

It demonstrated the OSI stack that would be used to get computers to communicate with each other. It would be supplied by the huge incumbent telecoms providers and its evolution would be overseen by the ITU.

Its failure to implement this vision should be gratefully received by every man, woman and child on the planet. What arose instead was the vision of the (at that time) liberal and democratic US government. It had developed technology that was independent of the telecoms supplier and allowed computers to communicate directly with one another - it was TCP/IP and it forms the basis of the Internet.

This equipment allowed anyone to set up their own network. It was also far cheaper that ITU�s approach. The only constraint the US government put on it was that people made their network freely available to everyone. The technology was immediately seized upon by academics and computer scientists across the globe - a fact that has lent the Internet its culture borne of free speech, freely available information and software, and fierce independence from any form of control.

The ITU fought in vain to push its vision and as a result has always be viewed with suspicion by the Internet community. "

No doubt believing they were acting in the Internet’s best interests, the ICANN decision-making process soon became an abomination. The ICANN Board agreed in private what was going to happen to their invention against the hordes of people outside all clamoring for a piece of the action and it then implemented it despite whatever opposition there might be. It rewrote its rules to make sure outsiders weren't admitted to the inner sanctum so it could keep control of which way the medium went.

The result of all this was increasing fury by those with a legitimate interest. It wasn’t long before the smell of revolution was in the air.

Recognising the risk, new head Stuart Lynn drew up a reorganisation of ICANN in which the status quo could be maintained but governments voices (Western mostly) were given far more weight. The idea was to save the ICANN ideal. Once everything was in place, he stepped down to help new head and Australian Paul Twomey sell the new ICANN.

But with an ICANN that has still yet to prove itself as willing to listen, with government now making significant decisions on how the Internet is run, what exactly is the difference between it and the ITU?
The Atlantic | December 2003 | The Bubble of American Supremacy | Soros: "Even so, September 11 could not have changed the course of history to the extent that it has if President Bush had not responded to it the way he did. He declared war on terrorism, and under that guise implemented a radical foreign-policy agenda whose underlying principles predated the tragedy. Those principles can be summed up as follows: International relations are relations of power, not law; power prevails and law legitimizes what prevails. The United States is unquestionably the dominant power in the post-Cold War world; it is therefore in a position to impose its views, interests, and values. The world would benefit from adopting those values, because the American model has demonstrated its superiority. The Clinton and first Bush Administrations failed to use the full potential of American power. This must be corrected; the United States must find a way to assert its supremacy in the world."

our success depends greatly on our dominant position at the center of the global capitalist system, and we are not willing to yield it.

A little more than a year later the United States could not secure a UN resolution to endorse the invasion of Iraq. Gerhard Schröder won re-election in Germany by refusing to cooperate with the United States. In South Korea an underdog candidate was elected to the presidency because he was considered the least friendly to the United States; many South Koreans regard the United States as a greater danger to their security than North Korea. A large majority throughout the world opposed the war on Iraq.
September 11 introduced a discontinuity into American foreign policy. Violations of American standards of behavior that would have been considered objectionable in ordinary times became accepted as appropriate to the circumstances. The abnormal, the radical, and the extreme have been redefined as normal. The advocates of continuity have been pursuing a rearguard action ever since

Bubbles do not grow out of thin air. They have a basis in reality—but reality as distorted by a misconception. Under normal conditions misconceptions are self-correcting, and the markets tend toward some kind of equilibrium. Occasionally, a misconception is reinforced by a trend prevailing in reality, and that is when a boom-bust process gets under way. Eventually the gap between reality and its false interpretation becomes unsustainable, and the bubble bursts.
Exactly when the boom-bust process enters far-from-equilibrium territory can be established only in retrospect. During the self-reinforcing phase participants are under the spell of the prevailing bias. Events seem to confirm their beliefs, strengthening their misconceptions. This widens the gap and sets the stage for a moment of truth and an eventual reversal. When that reversal comes, it is liable to have devastating consequences. This course of events seems to have an inexorable quality, but a boom-bust process can be aborted at any stage, and the adverse effects can be reduced or avoided altogether. Few bubbles reach the extremes of the information-technology boom that ended in 2000. The sooner the process is aborted, the better.

The quest for American supremacy qualifies as a bubble. The dominant position the United States occupies in the world is the element of reality that is being distorted. The proposition that the United States will be better off if it uses its position to impose its values and interests everywhere is the misconception. It is exactly by not abusing its power that America attained its current position.

Where are we in this boom-bust process? The deteriorating situation in Iraq is either the moment of truth or a test that, if it is successfully overcome, will only reinforce the trend.

Whatever the justification for removing Saddam Hussein, there can be no doubt that we invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Wittingly or unwittingly, President Bush deceived the American public and Congress and rode roughshod over the opinions of our allies. The gap between the Administration's expectations and the actual state of affairs could not be wider. It is difficult to think of a recent military operation that has gone so wrong. Our soldiers have been forced to do police duty in combat gear, and they continue to be killed
Yet there are more places than ever before where we might have legitimate need to project that power. North Korea is openly building nuclear weapons, and Iran is clandestinely doing so. The Taliban is regrouping in Afghanistan. The costs of occupation and the prospect of permanent war are weighing heavily on our economy, and we are failing to address many festering problems—domestic and global. If we ever needed proof that the dream of American supremacy is misconceived, the occupation of Iraq has provided it. If we fail to heed the evidence, we will have to pay a heavier price in the future.
The war on terrorism as pursued by the Bush Administration cannot be won. On the contrary, it may bring about a permanent state of war. Terrorists will never disappear. They will continue to provide a pretext for the pursuit of American supremacy. That pursuit, in turn, will continue to generate resistance. Further, by turning the hunt for terrorists into a war, we are bound to create innocent victims. The more innocent victims there are, the greater the resentment and the better the chances that some victims will turn into perpetrators.
the framework within which to think about security is collective security. Neither nuclear proliferation nor international terrorism can be successfully addressed without international cooperation. The world is looking to us for leadership. We have provided it in the past; the main reason why anti-American feelings are so strong in the world today is that we are not providing it in the present.

Wired News: Congress Expands FBI Spying Power: " simply by issuing itself a so-called national security letter saying the records are relevant to an investigation into terrorism. The FBI doesn't need to show probable cause or consult a judge. What's more, the target institution is issued a gag order and kept from revealing the subpoena's existence to anyone, including the subject of the investigation. "
Wired 11.12: The Key to Genius: "Geneticists are starting to pinpoint the DNA anomalies found in kids like Matt who are savants from birth. Still, a single savant gene will probably never be found. More than a dozen genes may contribute to autism. Several other forms of mental impairment also produce islands of startling ability - known as splinter skills - as if fragments of savant code are scattered throughout the genetic database."

The nerve cells in a fetal brain proliferate at an astonishing rate, with 250,000 neurons born every minute. These cells are engaged in a fierce Darwinian contest. The goal: interconnectedness.

In a fetus that is developing normally, those neurons that do not form synaptic links with the other cells are killed off before birth

The brains of typical children grow in response to lessons learned from the environment - that was one of the significant upgrades in the evolution of Homo sapiens. As new stimuli are absorbed, the neurons in the cortex adapt gradually, and synaptic connections are forged or eliminated. Our brains are cast in the image of our experience.

The overgrowth of the brain tissue of autistic kids, however, is random and automatic, a reaction to an unknown stimulus - perhaps testosterone or some toxic agent in the environment. The result, says Courchesne, is an onslaught of neural noise that makes the infant lose the ability to make sense of its world.

dementia does not create artistic powers in these patients, it uncovers them. The disorder switches off inhibitory signals from the left temporal lobes, enabling suppressed talents in the right hemisphere to flourish.

neuroscientists are discovering that the processing centers in our heads swap resources all the time.

autistic savants have "privileged access" to the mind's raw data before it's parsed and filtered by the brain's executive functions.

in many cases, their gifts fail to develop at all. The artistic powers of a celebrated savant named Nadia - a British girl who began drawing at age 3 with more accuracy and subtlety than many adult artists - ebbed at age 9, when she learned to speak. The brilliant careers of many musical prodigies are cut short in adolescence, when innate talent must become a craft and a left-hemisphere routine. Many savant life stories follow a difficult trajectory from an astonishing debut to an anonymous fate.

The mark of real genius is that it leaves its own domain permanently changed. After a century of dissecting the cortex into smaller and smaller bits, we're learning that the highest functions of the mind - creativity and imagination - are emergent properties of a brain working as a whole.

GrEAtNess DiAgNosEd
Are certain forms of creativity enhanced by brain damage? Do the same genetic traits that produce disorders like savant syndrome, autism, and Tourette's contribute to genius? Hans Asperger, who in the early 1940s pioneered the study of autism, believed the answer was yes. "For success in science and art," he wrote, "a dash of autism is essential." The biographies of many innovative thinkers bear him out. - S.S.

New Scientist: "The first walking robot capable of carrying a human was unveiled on Friday in Tokyo, Japan"
Gazbot Website: "At GazbotTM, we offer a number of products and services. Hobby robots and kits are sold via our website. These robots are fully programmable with optional add-ons, including infrared, sonic, and bumper sensors. We manufacture some of these products, such as the Gazbot Infrared Distance Sensor (GIDS).
We stock many of the robot kits and pre-packaged, self-study, educational courses offered by Parallax. We are honored to be one of their distributors. If we do not have a Parallax product in-stock, we will be happy to special order it for you.
All of our robots are currently discounted up to 15% off of the suggested retail price. Orders will be filled in the order in which they are received.
If you are just looking for a high-tech toy, we offer a number of robots fully-assembled and pre-programmed. All you have to do is plug in the batteries (not included) and "
Drug Makers Move Closer to Big Victory: "more than half of the Medicare population — between 20 million and 30 million beneficiaries — will end up in the program and cost far more that the $400 billion that Congress estimated.
'That blows a hole in the budget,' he said, adding, 'That's when the government takes a chain saw to the industry.'"
Op-Ed Columnist: The Uncivil War: "There's no nice way to explain how the administration uses cooked numbers to sell its tax cuts, or how its arrogance and gullibility led to the current mess in Iraq"

Smart conservatives admit that their own side was a bit rude during the Clinton years. But now, they say, they've learned better, and it's those angry liberals who have a problem. The reality, however, is that they can only convince themselves that liberals have an anger problem by applying a double standard

Sunday, November 23, 2003 / World / Europe: " if the extremists can show that the forces of law and order have broken down, it's a challenge to the Turkish military to mount a crackdown,' said one western diplomat. 'Part of the aim is to provoke a crackdown. They must have known that the attacks would essentially kill Muslims and would sow divisions in Turkish society.'"Basically they are trying to get the government of Turkey to do what they have already gotten the attorney general of the United States to do
Op-Ed Columnist: Scaring Up Votes: "Before the president even knows his opponent, his first political ad is blanketing Iowa today.
'It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known,' Mr. Bush says, in a State of the Union clip.
Well, that's a comforting message from our commander in chief. Do we really need his cold, clammy hand on our spine at a time when we're already rattled by fresh terror threats at home and abroad? When we're chilled by the metastasizing Al Qaeda, the resurgent Taliban and Baathist thugs armed with deadly booby traps; the countless, nameless terror groups emerging in Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia and elsewhere; the vicious attacks on Americans, Brits, aid workers and their supporters in Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey? The latest illustration of the low-tech ingenuity of Iraqi foes impervious to our latest cascade of high-tech missiles: a hapless, singed donkey that carted rockets to a Baghdad hotel."

James Goodby and Kenneth Weisbrode wrote in The Financial Times last week that the Bush crew has snuffed the optimism of F.D.R., Ronald Reagan and Bush père: "Fear has been used as a basis for curtailing freedom of expression and for questioning legal rights long taken for granted. It has crept into political discourse and been used to discredit patriotic public servants. Ronald Reagan's favorite image, borrowed from an earlier visionary, of America as `a shining city on a hill' has been unnecessarily dimmed by another image: a nation motivated by fear and ready to lash out at any country it defines as the source of a gathering threat."

Instead of a shining city, we have a dark bunker.

But the only thing we really have to fear is fearmongering itself.
Love in the Time of No Time: "When Brooklynboy met Brooklyngirl after a week of strenuous flirtation, there was so little mutual attraction that they never made it to a second date. Online flirting happens, then, in the conditional voice, and there's a general sense that it shouldn't go on for too long."

Those disillusioned with online dating will tell you that its promise of a no-muss relationship attracts people with intimacy and commitment problems. This is probably true.

Saturday, November 22, 2003 / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Clinton's behavior vs. Schwarzenegger's: "Susan Faludi, the author of 'Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women,' penned a remarkable column for the Los Angeles Times contrasting Schwarzenegger's sins to Clinton's. Clinton, she wrote, 'may have been the aggressor, but as a seducer he really meant to seduce, thus exposing an almost feminine sort of desire and vulnerability. For this, he was humiliated, held up ... for ridicule in male eyes.'
Not so Schwarzenegger, wrote Faludi: He went after women 'frat-boy style, for the score,' with no 'courtship,' intending not to seduce but to abuse and humiliate. According to her, 'women's anger about rape and harassment is exacerbated by the knowledge that their attackers are after power, not sex' - which was supposedly why more women backed Clinton and more men backed Schwarzenegger.
Never mind that alleged 'courtship,' Clinton-style, included exposing himself and soliciting oral sex (according to Paula Jones), and groping a woman and placing her hand on his genitals (according to Kathleen Willey). Juanita Broaddrick also accused him of rape.
One feminist activist at the anti-Schwarzenegger rally, film producer Patricia Foulkrod, was disarmingly frank in explaining the double standard: 'The difference is that Clinton was so brilliant. If Arnold was a brilliant pol and had this thing about inappropriate behavior, we'd figure a way of getting around it. I think it's to our detriment to go on too much about the groping. But it's our way in. This is really about the GOP trying to take California in 2004 and our trying to stop it.'
Of course, the double standards weren't all on one side. Many"
Twilight of the PC Era? ( "As personal computers landed on every desk, the Internet connected everything and an army of mobile devices made every shard of data accessible at any time, there seemed no reason to question the equation that a buck spent on technology would result in a bankroll soon thereafter. And with Moore's Law (which propounds that every 18 months computer power doubles at no extra cost) still going strong, the reigning assumption is that such alchemy will only continue.
Carr begs to differ, claiming, in essence, that the innovations of the last couple of decades have succeeded too well--at least from the point of view of those peddling software. The very ubiquity of computer power makes it unremarkable, he says, and no longer offers a strategic advantage to companies employing it. The big innovations are over, the low-hanging fruit has been picked and 'the IT buildout is much closer to its end than its beginning,' he writes. More and more, technology that once seemed unique has now been commoditized, and can be bargained for and bought in bulk like office furniture and paper clips. And in a suggestion that chills the soul of an industry based on first-movers and constant upgrades, he advises companies to spend less. 'Follow, don't lead,' he cautions. "

PC makers are increasingly hedging their bets by selling more profitable electronics devices like TVs, cameras and digital jukeboxes.

Carr and other proponents of the twilight era have performed a service in puncturing some of the starry-eyed and self-serving cant of industry insiders. But the smart people who buy technology know that sooner or later, something will come along that compels them to bust their budget. Chances are that at this very moment there's some unknown geek making a breakthrough that corporations everywhere will have to understand and utilize--or else choke in the dust of discarded motherboards. And then we'll know, beyond a doubt, how much IT matters
Bush's Remark About God Assailed ( "Bush's remarks sent immediate shock waves through Christian Web sites and radio broadcasts. A Baptist Press report quoted Richard D. Land, president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, as saying that Bush 'is simply mistaken.'
'We should always remember that he is commander in chief, not theologian in chief,' Land said in a telephone interview yesterday. 'The Bible is clear on this: The one and true god is Jehovah, and his only begotten son is Jesus Christ.'
The Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, also issued a statement contradicting Bush.
'The Christian God encourages freedom, love, forgiveness, prosperity and health. The Muslim god appears to value the opposite. The personalities of each god are evident in the cultures, civilizations and dispositions of the peoples that serve them. Muhammad's central message was submission; Jesus' central message was love. They seem to "

"This president has earned a lot of wiggle room among evangelicals," Land said. "If he had said that Islam is on a par with Christianity, it would be a more serious case of heartburn. This is just indigestion."
TAPPED: "To me, what's consistently stunning about the Iraq coverage is how hard journalists are trying, even in the face of such disasters, to capture the rays of sunshine in postwar Iraq. This was happening before Bush had his 'filter' moment, and it's happening still. Far from being the naysayers the White House says they are, American media people often seem, way down in their heart of hearts, to be rooting for the mission in Iraq. Sometimes, the effort is downright poignant"

It's distressing to see so many conservative pundits and GOP officials attack them for not painting a prettier picture of what's going on. Conservatives are so used to waving around charges of media bias to explain away their own mistakes and problems that it's become a kind of crutch, a way to avoid realities on the ground. And that's especially true in Iraq, where the right seems almost constitutionally incapable of conceding when things go wrong.

the implication from RNC communications director Jim Dyke that the failures of the Bush Iraq policy should be blamed not on those who proposed and implemented the policy, but rather on those who opposed it, a tactic reminiscent of John Ashcroft's "aid and comfort to the terrorists" remark regarding opponents of the PATRIOT Act. This combination of scapegoats and strawmen makes it essentially impossible to have a rational debate about anything, and truly gives the lie to the alleged conservative enthusiasm for civility
TAP: Web Feature: Partisan Paradox. by Matthew Yglesias. November 19, 2003.: "An October USA Today/Gallup Poll showed that just 48 percent of the public believes gay marriages 'will change our society for the worse,' and 50 percent feels the change would either be an improvement or have no effect. Notably, younger Americans -- who are often described as being more culturally conservative than their parents on issues like abortion -- are much more likely to support equal rights for gays and lesbians. In the USA Today poll, for instance, 63 percent of 18 to 29 year olds and 53 percent of 30 to 49 year-olds said that gay marriage would cause no harm or change society for the better. "

Indeed, the political genius of current Republican strategy has been to signal the GOP's agreement with the conservative base's anti-gay agenda without actually doing much of anything about it. Action, after all, would alienate Republican leaders from the American center, which may not be eager to embrace gays and lesbians but isn't necessarily interested in seeing them bashed in the political arena, either. The median American voter thinks -- quite rightly -- that gay marriages will have no real impact on his or her life, and hardly thinks that the government should make them a top priority in a time when the country is facing pressing problems of joblessness, war and terrorism. Nevertheless, electorally critical evangelicals remain obsessed with homosexuality -- a topic that, as libertarian pundit Virginia Postrel recently explained, provides them with a way to distance themselves from popular culture (and therefore enforce religious commitment) without imposing any self-sacrifice.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Attack Geography ( "Wherever a Democratic candidate happens to be from, that place turns out to be isolated and unrepresentative and not part of the real America"
Economic Scene: Which Party in the White House Means Good Times for Investors?: "The answer is: It's not even close. The stock market does far better under Democrats"

during those 72 years the stock market returned about 11 percent more a year under Democratic presidents and 2 percent more under Republicans - a striking difference.
The return on the smallest 10 percent of traded companies is 21 percent higher during Democratic administrations, while the return on the largest 10 percent is only 7.7 percent greater

causality might go the other way, with market returns driving presidential elections. Perhaps voters feel wealthier when stock prices are high and then vote Republican; when stock prices are low, they vote for Democrats.
G.O.P. to Run an Ad for Bush on Terror Issue: "'Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists.'"Yeah, lets attack Bush for protecting us. Am I protesting too much? Is this guy going to get re-elected? The over simplification that is going on here is monumental. Of course, that would be indictcative of the same thing on my part.

By indirectly invoking the Sept. 11 attacks, the commercial plays to what White House officials have long contended is Mr. Bush's biggest political advantage: his initial handling of the aftermath of the attacksThis guy ran like a scared little kid! Give me a break!. Sure the Secret Service told him to, but he is the one that gave the order to turn and run. And the press doesn't call him on it! What am I missing here? Not only that but the guy tried to lie about it afterward.

"Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others," then urges viewers to tell Congress "to support the president's policy of pre-emptive self defense."
Why can't these guys be this good at twisting things around when they are coming up with the poicies themselves. This is the strength of the conservative mindset. My favorite quote of Bush's:"My job is not to nuance"

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Gun lobby hinders FBI terror hunt: "The FBI now has the power to conduct extensive surveillance of suspected terrorists except if the suspect successfully buys a gun, because of a loophole backed by the gun lobby, the Washington Post has reported.
The Post said the FBI is alerted if a terror suspect enters a gun shop and applies to buy a weapon under the National Instant Check System. But federal agents will not be told details of the purchase, or its location. Nor can they stop the sale on the grounds that the buyer is a suspected terrorist.
If the sale is blocked (on other grounds), the FBI will have access to all available information. If it goes ahead agents will remain in the dark, because justice department rules reflect the National Rifle Association's (NRA) demands on privacy for gun-owners. "

Its spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, said yesterday that a person intent on breaking a series of laws is unlikely to want to go through detailed federal and police background checks.

According to the Post up to 21 people on the US terrorist watch list had tried to buy guns, but it was not clear how many had succeeded.

An al-Qaida manual found in Afghanistan urged its followers to exploit the relaxed US gun laws and purchase guns legally.

I must be a little brain dead here. The only thing we can't check out about terrorists is if they try to get guns?!?! This is more than a little over the edge. Oh well, it'll all come out in the wash

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Suburban Guerrilla: "Ask her what it's like to have sex with Matt Drudge.

�try acting like an overzealous neocon:
'Ann, I hate liberals. What is the best way to fight the liberal propaganda machine? Should I kill abortion doctors? 'Cause I would really like to do that.'

Ask her if she intends to sue the website with pictures of her nude in the near future.

Ask her if she likes cocktails, of the Molotov variety.

Ask her WTF she was doing being invited to speak at a Boy Scout rally, and whether it's true they're changing the name of the organization to Das Hitlerjugend.

How's that hormone therapy coming, and did you keep your penis?

Ask her what her new weight loss plan is since Limbaugh got busted.

'Ann, speaking as one guy to another, what's with the dress?'

Ask her if she's ever smoked pot. When she says no, remark 'that explains an awful lot.'

'Hi Ann. I'm majoring in Corrective Fact-Checking. I was worried about getting a job after I graduate, but my friends and I just wanted to say, Thanks.'

....'Which liberal American historical figure face would you most like to asphyxiate during sex?'

'Did you used to be a dude? It's okay, you can tell me. I'm open minded.'

Ms Coulter, I strongly believe that you are what is wrong with America today. America was founded on the principles of tolerance and intelligent discourse. You demand people suffer extreme punishment for holding views that are different than yours. The only difference between islamic fundamentalists and you is that they misquote the Koran, and you misquote the Bible. So when are you going to put down the bludgeon and talk like a grown up?

My favorite:

Don't say anything and just line up the crosshairs.

Lynching Comparison Furthers Divisiveness ( "On the Senate floor Friday, Miller said that liberals who oppose Brown, a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, are upset because she is black, conservative and a woman. Liberals are essentially telling Brown, 'Gal, you will be lynched' if she pursues her nomination, Miller said."
The New Republic Online: Outside In: "In fact, it's hard to find a Clintonite who speaks favorably of the former Vermont governor. This evident schism is not just about Dean's opposition to the war--or even his prospects in the general election. It's a turf war to decide who will control the future of the party. "
Who�s Smoking Now?: "With the new High Times we're using it as a metaphor,' he said. 'So it's not a magazine about pot, it's a magazine about our civil liberties, and our tag line is `Celebrating Freedom.' Our feeling is it's patriotic to be in High Times.' "
Op-Ed Columnist: Wanted: Fanatical Moderates: "extremists have been intimidating moderates, by going all the way — by blowing up the Red Cross, the U.N. and fellow Muslims. We can train all the police we want in Iraq or around the Arab world, but unless we can strengthen moderates there — those ready to act on the hopes of the intimidated majorities — a decent future will be impossible.
So moderates of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our pessimism. Either we make the future bury the past, or the bad guys will ensure that the past buries the future. "
Frank Rich: Angels, Reagan and AIDS in America: "onight is the night when Americans might have tuned into Part 1 of 'The Reagans' on CBS. But the joke is on the whiners who forced the mini-series off the air. Just three weeks from tonight, HBO will present the first three-hour installment of Mike Nichols's film version of Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America,' starring Al Pacino and Meryl Streep. (Part 2 is a week later.) This epic is, among other things, a searing indictment of how the Reagan administration's long silence stoked the plague of AIDS in the 1980's. If 'Angels' reaches an audience typical for HBO hits, it could detonate a debate bloody enough to make the fight over 'The Reagans' look like an exhibition bout."

Eventually Cohn will threaten to reveal "adorable Ollie North and his secret contra slush fund" unless the White House secures him a private stash of AZT, then the most promising AIDS drug and still unavailable to all but a few. Cohn gets his pills while thousands of other dying Americans are placed on hold.

In Dr. Koop's account, he was kept out of all AIDS discussions for the administration's first five years, while "the advisers to the president took the stand" that homosexuals and intravenous drug users were "only getting what they justly deserve." In Mr. Cannon's biography, anti-Koop forces within the administration are identified as William Bennett, Gary Bauer and Patrick Buchanan — all of whom, uncoincidentally enough, were vociferous in the assault on "The Reagans."

In his attempt to use the debate over a TV movie to rewrite that history, Mr. Bauer went so far as to suggest that Reagan galvanized the bureaucracy to take on AIDS — a statement so ludicrous you have to wonder if Reagan himself would find it a reach. In truth, Reagan's actual record on AIDS may be worse than "The Reagans" purported it to be. Jon Stewart, as always, could be counted on to crystallize that point when discussing the fictional "live in sin" line last week on "The Daily Show." "As critics point out, Reagan never said anything like that," Mr. Stewart said. "In fact he didn't even mention the word AIDS in public until seven years into his presidency. So you can see why people are upset: CBS made someone totally indifferent look callous

No less ridiculous were two of Mr. Moonves's loudest critics, Patti Davis and Michael Reagan, both of whom got big paydays for tell-all books trashing Ronald and Nancy Reagan far more ferociously than anything reported to be in the CBS mini-series. In "The Way I See It," published in 1992, Ms. Davis presented her mother as a pill-popping tyrant who slapped her around for years for such sins as refusing to urinate on demand.

The zeal with which the likes of Gary Bauer and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, among others, have suddenly taken to championing the Reagan record on AIDS may have less to do with Ronald Reagan than with trying to bury their own records back then. Not that they've changed much since. It's because of their continued efforts — and those of other political operatives like them — that even the current administration's admirable AIDS initiative in Africa is hindered by restrictions that give a higher priority to abstinence than safe sex as a form of HIV prevention. Science is politicized in the Bush White House, as it was in Reagan's, to the point where AIDS researchers have complained that terms like "gay" and "anal sex" must be omitted from their grant applications to the National Institutes of Health, lest they prompt the administration to shut them down. The same family-values pressure groups have also lobbied the White House to throw up roadblocks for embryonic stem-cell research, a possible cure for other diseases.

When they complained that it is unfair to revisit the Reagan story when Reagan can no longer speak in his own defense, they ignored the tens of thousands of casualties from that time who also have no voice.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

�Foolish and Insincere�: "Britons believe Bush is �not very intelligent� (62 percent), �insincere� (53 percent) and �not very well informed about the world� (62 percent). He also �does not care much about the views of people in other countries� (82 percent), is �a bad advertisement for America� (65 percent) and is �foolish� (63 percent)."
Judicial Fight: " Conservatives are angry about the wimpish leadership of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, an amiable fellow who shies away from confrontation. They think the Democrats have rolled Frist by mounting a 60-vote threshold for Bush’s most controversial nominees. Conservatives want to drop the bomb—legislative parlance for changing Senate rules to remove the right to filibuster over judges. That would violate years of tradition and obliterate what little goodwill remains between the parties. " :: Post a new topic: "Hi,

Feeling a little down today, and this is the closest thing I can find to a friend so I thought I would leave a message here in the hopes in would make me feel a little better. The thing I seem to keep going over and over lately is the cause of my problems, my inablity to individuate or whatever. It seems to be something that I had to do when I was young. It's like you are who you are and there is nothing you can do about it now. Oh, I work at it every day, but I get the feeling that there is something way deep down inside me that will never change. Once you have an identity that's it. In the case of a borderline. Once you have the absence of an identity that's it. I know tomorrow will be another day. But I also know that I have also faced a certain set of problems that have never changed for my entire life. These could be loosely bound under the heading of 'insanity'. I wish it was different. I wish I could minimize it. A spade is a spade however, and the way I am will never really change. Maybe it's the feeling that I could change that is the real kicker. I mean I feel that there something wrong with me and I think that there is some general agreement to that. But along with that feeling is the feeling is the feeling that there is something that I can do about it. It used to be that it was not recommended that psychiatrists try to treat borderlines because it only made them sicker.

Well, I see I'm having a giant pity party here and I'm getting really burnt out. Surprise, surprise. Thanks for your indulgence. I really appreciate being to voice these feelings. Believe it or not I do feel a little better. Should I just think these things or should I give voice to them? Things rattle around in my head so long. Adios. Keep the faith. "
Borderline Personality Disorder: "The defining criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts, 'as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal
relationships characterized by alternating between
extremes of idealization and devaluation.

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable
self-image or sense of self; or sense of long-term goals;
or career choices, types of friends desired or values

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially
self-damaging: for example; spending, sex, substance
abuse, and binge eating.

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or
self-mutilating behavior.

6. Affective instability: marked shifts from baseline mood to
depression, irritability, or anxiety, usually lasting a
few hours and only rarely more than a few days.

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling
anger; frequent displays of temper.

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe
dissociative symptoms.

Borderline Personality Disorder is not one 'disorder'. It is to a great degree a collection of disorders that co-exist and often feed off of each other in wa"
A Gabfest for Naught? ( "Fox News did some yokel-on-the-street interviews in L.A. and couldn't find anyone who knew what the flap was about. D.C. residents were only marginally better informed.
The fact is, when it comes to an increasingly fractious Congress, most people, not to mention most journalists, assume that 90 percent of what goes on there is partisan posturing.
Which brings us to the current contretemps over the Senate intelligence committee memo. The offending words were written by a staffer for the ranking Democrat, Jay Rockefeller, suggesting that the minority be prepared to break with the GOP in highlighting 'the misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and motives of senior administration officials who made the case for unilateral preemptive war.' Which prompted the Republicans to accuse the Democrats of playing politics with the war on terrorism. Which prompted the Democrats to fire back at the Republicans.
Most of the press dismissed the episode as more partisan wrangling. "last week's flap over a leaked memo by an aide to a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee was not merely much ado about nothing. It was also as pure an example as you'll find of viciousness and cynicism in the service of George W. Bush.

"The memo was leaked to Fox News Channel talk-show host Sean Hannity -- an interesting choice in itself, since it's hard to imagine that anyone would leak genuine news to that self-important blowhard. You leak to Hannity if you want spin, and spin is what he provided.

Borderline Personality Disorder: "The child thus neglected develops no coherent, enduring sense of a lovable self. Instead she feels an inner void that must constantly be filled with external sources of support. But the relationships she so desperately needs don't satisfy her. She develops no capacity for evocative memory to stabilize and sustain her through periods of solitude, fluctuation, and other stress.
The borderline therefore uses other people to help evoke soothing images or to perform other functions she does not have built in. Unable to recall sustained love, she becomes a reassurance addict seeking a fix of affection to help maintain her self-esteem. The loss or threatened loss of a relationship leaves the borderline feeling hollow and abandoned, bereft of self-esteem, [and I would add, self-love], and anxious to end these feelings through self-mutilation...
This panicky sense of emptiness and abandonment is different from loneliness. To be lonely, one must have clear memories of those who are absent. The borderline instead loses all memories of others at the time she needs them most. To most people, who invoke such soothing memories...concept is hard to understand.
The borderline's predicament results in both her enormous need for relationships and her great fear of intimacy. The tension between this need and fear can cause rage, guilt expressed in self-punishment, [self-mutiliation],...and anxiety that is relieved by acting out...many borderlines experience aloneness as neglect or abuse...' "
Internet Mental Health: "Mental Illness Ranks First In Terms of Causing Disability in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe
'When compared with all other diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), mental illness ranks first in terms of causing disability in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2001). This groundbreaking study found that mental illness (including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) accounts for 25% of all disability across major industrialized countries'. (President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health"
Eating Disorder Recovery Center - Your internet site for eating disorders and support: "The absence of this secure environment for the infant to gets her needs met inhibits the individuation process of being autonomous and expressing intimacy (Friedlander & Siegel, 1990)."

Separation-Individuation Process and Related Psychiatric Disturbances. There are several ways that an unhealthy resolution of the separation-individuation process is manifested. The child attempts to individuate from the mother figure when the child is around two years of age and again during adolescence. Without a successful resolution as a toddler, there will be extreme difficulties when the adolescent attempts to individuate. These difficulties often lead to psychiatric disturbances (Coonerty, 1986).

Individuals with eating disorders and borderline personality disorders are very similar in their unsuccessful attempts to individuate. This is why they often present as a dual diagnosis. Before explaining their specific similarities, it is necessary to explain the stages of the first separation-individuation process (Coonerty, 1986).

The infant becomes attached to the mother figure during the first year of life, and then the separation-individuation process begins when the infant realizes that they are a separate person from the mother figure. The child then begins to feel as though the mother figure and herself are all powerful and does not rely on the mother figure for security. The final stage is rapprochement (Coonerty, 1986; Wade, 1987).

During rapprochement, the child becomes aware of her separation and vulnerabilities and seeks security again from the mother figure. Separation and individuation does not occur when the mother figure cannot be emotionally available to the child after she separated. Theorists believe this originates with the mother figure’s only initial attempt at individuation which was met with emotional abandonment from her mother (Coonerty, 1986; Wade, 1987).
When the child becomes an adolescent her inability to individuate again can result in eating disorder symptomology and borderline personality disorder symptomology such as attempts at self-harm. The child felt self-hatred for wanting to separate from the mother figure; therefore, these self-destructive behaviors are ego syntonic. These acting out behaviors of adolescence are attempts to regain emotional security while exercising dysfunctional autonomy. Furthermore, both sets of symptoms result from the lack of self-soothing mechanisms that make individuation impossible (Armstrong & Roth, 1989; Coonerty, 1986; Meyer & Russell, 1998; Wade, 1987).

There is a strong connection between eating disordered individuals’ and borderlines’ failed separation and individuation, but other psychiatric disturbances are related to separation-individuation difficulties as well. Researchers have found adult children of alcoholics and codependents in general to have difficulties individuating from their family of origin (Transeau & Eliot, 1990; Meyer & Russell, 1998). Coonerty (1986) found schizophrenics to have separation-individuation problems, but specifically they do not have the necessary attachment with their mother figure and they differentiate too early.

syn·ton·ic .
Psychology. Characterized by a high degree of emotional responsiveness to the environment.
Electricity. Of or relating to two oscillating circuits having the same resonant frequency.

Referring to aspects of a person's behavior, thoughts, and attitudes that are viewed by the self as acceptable and consistent with the total personality: ego syntonic
Senate Filibuster Ends With Talk of Next Stage in Fight ( "Key figures in both warring Senate camps claimed victory. Frist said he thought Republicans had made 'huge progress' in communicating their message. Schumer said, 'We're energized. . . . I think the whole thing boomeranged.' "
Nicholas D. Kristof (Moderated)

infomaniac8 - 01:57pm Nov 15, 2003 EST (# 9122 of 9122)
I just gotta say that I gotta watch what I say with the patriot act and all. But this country disgusts me. People say love it or leave it. I wish I could leave. But why should I have to leave it? I'll just hang around and watch it fall. The rich and powerful are going to get their just deserts, and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it immmensely. I guess that it is human nature that people don't appreciate something unless they have to earn it, and the rich and powerful are proof of that. Americans have taken a virgin land exterminated the original owners, brought in other primitive peoples as slaves, fouled the environment beyond redemption and now hold themselves up as a shining city on a hill. America is going down and the sooner the better. Really I'm just kidding. Can't you take a joke? "

Friday, November 14, 2003

TAPPED: "What the heck did Tony Blair think he was getting out of this Iraq mess, which now threatens to bring down his government? According to Blumenthal, he thought he had a firm commitment from President Bush to put real pressure on Ariel Sharon for a Middle East peace."neoconservatives in the administration -- chief among them Elliot Abrams, a now-rehabilitated veteran of the Iran Contra mess -- undermined the deal. Looks like Blair was left holding the bag
TAPPED: "the New New Thing on the right is denying that fascism really was a movement of the extreme right at all."
Forums - Nader Blasts Democrats As 'Whiners': "Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader called Democrats 'chronic whiners' for continuing to accuse him of spoiling the 2000 presidential election for Al Gore.

'They should realize that the retrospect on Florida concluded Gore won Florida,' the consumer activist told the Wisconsin State Journal on Saturday. 'It was stolen from the Democrats. And they should concentrate on the thieves and the blunderers in Florida, not on the Green Party.' "
Yahoo! News - Hanging Corpse Admired as Sculpture on Campus: "Hanging Corpse Admired as Sculpture on Campus

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Police on Friday removed the corpse of a man believed to have hanged himself at least a year ago after builders and students at Budapest's University of Arts had initially mistaken it for a modern sculpture.

The body hung for a whole day in a garden building that had been re-opened for repairs before onlookers realized what it was and called the police, local media said.
The building, in campus grounds crowded with different types of sculpture, had been closed five years ago pending reconstruction work. "
Ex-Security Chiefs in Israel Push for Truce: " Four former Israeli security chiefs sharply criticized Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies toward the Palestinians on Friday, warning that Israel is headed for catastrophe if it does not reach a peace deal soon"

The group of former Shin Bet leaders said that for its own survival Israel needs to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip even if leads to a clash with some of the 220,000 Jewish settlers who live there.

They said Sharon's preoccupation with trying to halt attacks by Palestinians before agreeing to peace talks is at best misguided, and at worst a ploy to avoid concessions.

Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat praised the former security chiefs. ``It reflects the realistic policy required from the Israeli side,'' he said.

Sharon's aides declined comment.

With peace efforts stalled, a number of former and current officials have questioned Israel's direction in the conflict, and several have come up with alternate plans of their own.

The Shin Bet chiefs discussed a peace proposal written by Ayalon and Palestinian intellectual Sari Nusseibeh that envisions a Palestinian state in virtually all the areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war
State of the Art: Swiss Army Recorder: TiVo/DVD: "To attain your Pioneer's fullest potential, then, you're talking about $725 for the 80-hour box, plus $300 for TiVo Plus. This holiday season, the rafters will echo with the voices of livid spouses: 'You want to spend $1,025 on a VCR!?'"
Editorial Observer: Accounting for the Invisible Casualties of War Shouldn�t Be a Matter of Politics: "the way the military honors death: it endows that inescapable but inescapably tragic part of their lives with a sense of moment, of ceremony and dignity, and most of all it faces death squarely and honestly.
This is a central part of the warrior's culture, but it is all too often missing from the way President Bush is running the Iraq war. As the toll nears 400, the casualties remain largely invisible. Apart from a flurry of ceremonies on Veterans Day, this White House has done everything it can to keep Mr. Bush away from the families of the dead, at least when there might be a camera around."

The wounded, thousands of them, are even more carefully screened from the public. And the Pentagon has continued its ban on media coverage of the return of flag-draped coffins to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, denying the dead soldiers and their loved ones even that simple public recognition of sacrifice. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained rather lamely that the ban had been in place since 1991 — when another President Bush wanted to avoid the juxtaposition of his face and words with pictures of soldiers' coffins.

Some Republicans say it would take up too much of the president's time to attend military funerals or meet the coffins returning from Iraq. "They're coming back continually," the conservative commentator Bay Buchanan said on CNN on Tuesday. "The president cannot be flying up there every single week
The Bush administration hates comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, and many are a stretch. But there is a lesson that this president seems not to have learned from Vietnam. You cannot hide casualties. Indeed, trying to do so probably does more to undermine public confidence than any display of a flag-draped coffin. And there is at least one direct parallel. Thirty-five years ago, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon took to shipping bodies into the United States in the dead of night to avoid news coverage.

G.O.P. Leader Solicits Money for Charity Tied to Convention: "the entire effort was fundamentally intended to help children. But aides to Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader from Texas, acknowledged that part of the money would go to pay for late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises."

Mr. DeLay, among other things, is offering donors private dinner with himself and his wife; the chance to participate in a golf tournament; a late-night party with a rock group; access to a luxury suite for elected officials and donors; as well as the yacht cruise, tickets to Broadway shows and more. Other elected officials are welcome at all of these events.

But by holding events at the convention — and working under the auspices of a charity — Mr. DeLay has stepped into an ethical gray area, election law and tax law experts said.

"The event itself is being put on in a political atmosphere," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington and a former general counsel to the Federal Elections Commission. "It is clearly playing off DeLay's political leadership, and playing to people who find it in their political interest to be at the Republican convention."

Whatever its ultimate virtues, the DeLay fund-raising brochure displays a certain out-of-date understanding of the New York scene.

The brochure, in which the size of donations are named for more — or less — exclusive neighborhoods, starts at the Upper East Side as the top $500,000 tier and it ends with Greenwich Village for $10,000, perhaps suggesting Mr. DeLay's people have not surveyed the recent asking prices of town houses in the downtown neighborhood. He also placed Midtown (at $50,000) above SoHo (at $25,000).

"Midtown would be a lot less expensive than SoHo or the Village," said Tory Masters, of Intrepid New Yorker, a relocation firm in Manhattan. "I don't know what they are talking about."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

EE Times UK - Makimoto links IC future to next-generation robots: "The Sony advisor described the IC content of two well-known entertainment robots, the AIBO pet and the SDR, or Sony Dream Robot. AIBO, the dog-like device, is driven by a single 64-bit RISC CPU with 32 megaytes of memory, Makimoto said. Dedicated interface chips serve an array of sensors, motors and actuators that articulate the device and give it vision and speech. robotics promoises to be the next wave of massive investment and consumption for the electronics industry, following the successive waves of analog electronics, PCs and digital consumer and networking products, Makimoto argued. In effect, the IC industry's next big thing.

But the SDR, a 6-kilogram human-like robot, is a device of another order, he said. SDR, which has impressive abilities at image recognition, bipedal motion, grasping and articulating its limbs, relies on a central processing cluster of three 64-bit RISC chips and a total of 192 megabytes of DRAM. The computing cluster is supported by 29 16-bit microcontrollers, 23 DSP chips, four ASICs, three FPGAs and 16 megaytes of flaish memory.
Most of the resources serve SDR's array of sensors, actuators and motors. The most recent version of the device has 38 joints and 67 sensors, including an array of thermal sensors and pinch detectors. Vision comes from two color CCD cameras. Hearing, which can localize sounds accurately while providing speech recognition, comes from six microphones"
EE Times UK - Makimoto links IC future to next-generation robots: "the four-phase chronology of robotics.
In the first phase, he said, robots were playback devices that performed prerecorded routines. In the second phase, robots became sensor-driven devices that interpreted input from a limited range of sensors to determine their next move in a well-defined environment.
The third phase, Makimoto said, was the entry of robots into unstructured environments where they required sufficient local intelligence to interpret the sensor data without the constraints of a predefined world.
Finally, the researcher claimed, robots have recently moved beyond just the ability to navigate unstructured environments to the ability to coexist with humans. Makimoto made clear with video clips that for him, coexistence meant interacting with humans on a verbal and even an emotional level. "
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AlterNet: The Professor Takes the Gloves Off: "If you say what is actually obvious: that these people took September 11 as a great political opportunity and used it to push both a domestic economic and social agenda and a foreign policy agenda that had nothing to do with September 11 � that's an extraordinary charge. And the very fact that it's such a harsh thing to say makes people unwilling to see it. It was obvious in the fall of last year that they were hyping the case for a war with Iraq. But it just seemed too harsh, too extreme to say that the President of the United States would do that. So there was a tremendous soft pedaling in the reporting. "

Krugman: That's right. Reagan, I think sincerely believed in trickle-down economics. Look, it's funny. Not only do I miss Reagan who I thought had bad policies but didn't approach the skullduggery of these people, I actually miss Nixon. Although God knows he did skullduggery, as John Dean says, even Nixon didn't go after the wives.

McNally: The CIA leak of Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife...

Krugman: Yeah. Also Nixon seemed to be at least sincerely interested in governing. He was actually trying to run the country. He didn't think anybody else should have a chance to run it, but he actually tried to solve problems. The old hands of the Environmental Protection Administration will tell you that the Nixon years were a golden age. These people now... they're ruthless, they're dishonest, and they haven't actually tried to deal with any of our real problems.

the point which you make very strongly in the book, that the purpose behind the tax cuts is to bankrupt the government, to undermine social programs, so that no one who comes into office after them will have an easy time restoring them.

Krugman: I'm not making that up. That's exactly what the lobbyists and the others behind these people say. The program that the Administration is following looks as if it was designed to implement their ideas. I think it is.

I don't know what tricks the Administration will come up with to divert people's attention, but I think that unless a candidate is really prepared to come out swinging, to say these people are doing the wrong thing by the country, there's no chance. Saying "I'm like Bush only less so" is not going to win this election

Yahoo! News - WHY WE FIGHT: "There can be no normalcy, or peace, until the invader is driven from our land. From the psychological warfare standpoint, the NGOs represent an even more insidious threat to fight for sovereignty than the U.S. army.
In this vein we must also take action against our own Iraqi citizens who choose to collaborate with the enemy. Bush wants to put an 'Iraqi face' on the occupation. If we allow the Americans to corrupt our friends and neighbors by turning them into puppet policemen and sellouts, our independence will be lost forever. If someone you know is considering taking a job with the Americans, tell him that he is engaging in treason and encourage him to seek honest work instead. If he refuses, you must kill him as a warning to other weak-minded individuals. "
Government Outgrows Cap Set by President ( "Confounding President Bush's pledges to rein in government growth, federal discretionary spending expanded by 12.5 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, capping a two-year bulge that saw the government grow by more than 27 percent, according to preliminary spending figures from congressional budget panels.

The sudden rise in spending subject to Congress's annual discretion stands in marked contrast to the 1990s, when such discretionary spending rose an average of 2.4 percent a year. Not since 1980 and 1981 has federal spending risen at a similar clip. Before those two years, spending increases of this magnitude occurred at the height of the Vietnam War, 1966 to 1968. "

Total federal spending -- including non-discretionary entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- reached $2.16 trillion in 2003, a 7.3 percent boost, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

White House officials have said the president's 4 percent annual growth cap was never supposed to curtail "one-time" spending requests, such as natural disaster aid or wars. But even if such emergency spending measures are removed, spending jumped last year by 7.9 percent, Hoagland said
United Press International: Analysis: GOP blinks in Medicare standoff: "If the FFS costs turn out to be higher than the plans, seniors would pay more in premiums. If so, it would be the first time the government would limit in some way what it spends on Medicare. Critics say such a change could destroy the FFS program and force seniors into the managed care arm.
Meanwhile, Democrats have not blinked even once. They have denounced -- vociferously, adamantly and even angrily -- privatization from the day the House bill passed in June. For the Democrats, this is a deal breaker and potentially dooms any bill coming out of the conference committee, especially in the Senate, which did not include privatization language in its bill.
It is basic party politics: Democrats want to keep Medicare an open-ended entitlement for all seniors, while Republicans want to limit government spending. It has been an issue since 1965 when the Medicare bill passed and it has perpetuated a battle every year since."
New Scientist: "US crackdown on bioterror is backfiring

19:00 05 November 03

This week, a respected biologist was led into a Texas courtroom. He faces no fewer than 68 charges and could end up in jail for the rest of his life. Has the FBI finally caught the anthrax attacker?
No. Thomas Butler merely reported that 30 vials of plague bacteria had gone missing from his laboratory at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Many of Butler's colleagues believe the justice authorities are making an example of him as part of a wider effort to ensure that scientists take more care with material terrorists might exploit."

New Scientist: " The ships are the first if 13 ageing hulks that supposed to be dismantled at the UK's Hartlepool shipyard by Able UK Ltd.
However, the company's waste management licence to dispose of the ships has been ruled invalid. Furthermore, even if they do dock, an injunction against any work other than safety work being carried was granted by the High Court to three Hartlepool residents and FoE on Wednesday.
The dilapidated vessels, which have languished in the James River, Virginia for decades, hold hundreds of tons of asbestos, oil and the gender-bending chemicals PCBs. Bringing them to the UK is 'extremely hazardous and poses serious pollution threat' says FoE.
'The Government agrees that the law requires the ships to be returned to the US,' said Margaret Beckett, the UK environment secretary, on Thursday. She adds that while the UK government would prefer the ships to return home, it might be impractical for the two nearing the UK."
Irreconcilable Musings: Bush-hatred as mental illness?: "September 26, 2003
Bush-hatred as mental illness?
Power Line, an outstanding blog and one of my inspirations for joining the blogosphere, has recently been following a theme analyzing the unparalleled level of invective and hatred found in the voices and writings of President Bush�s critics. You can follow this thread via the following links, oldest first:
Why Do They Hate Him?
The Aesthetics of Hating President Bush
A Footnote on the Ethos of Liberal Hate
Thoughts "
Power Line: A footnote on the ethos of liberal hate: "Reader Dafydd ab Hugh expands on the underlying phenomenon in his own inimitable way: 'Extreme hatred is what we in mathematics call a self-organizing and replicating system. If you dump a bunch of cubes into a box, they will fall all higgledy-piggledy. But if you begin gently shaking the box, after a while, all the cubes will be oriented more or less the same direction, fitting snugly together. This is a self-organizing system; in the case of Bush hatred, when people around the typical liberal all profess hatred for Bush and keep prodding the new guy for how he feels, he will begin falling in line with the culture around him. This is called acculturation: the new guy feels cognitive dissonance until he begins to voice hatred towards Bush. After a while of saying it, at first just because it's expected, he begins to believe it metaprogramming).
'Intensification sets in because there is a feedback loop where the more extreme the expression of hatred, the more applause and approval the speaker receives. The system is self-replicating because there are a number of interests -- often in the strictest definition of the word, as in financial interests -- driving those within the cult of hatred to recruit more members, both to reduce the dissonance (haters like to surround themselves with haters, so they don't feel guilty or queasy) and also because there is strength and safety in numbers. Hence, self-organizing, self-replicating.
'We see this dynamic truly at work among militant Moslems; but it's the same dynamic among Bush haters: you conform yourself to the hatred around you, swim in it a while, until eventually you find yourself out recruiting new haters to the fold. It gives the hater a sense of belonging, and perhaps more important, a false sense of adventure, daring, and courage "Isn't this an exact explanation for love too? Where is there one iota of difference? I guess there has to be one. I just can't find it at the moment.
The New Republic Online: Mad About You: "It's certainly true that there is a left-wing fringe of Bush haters whose lurid conspiracy-mongering neatly parallels that of the Clinton haters. York cites various left-wing websites that compare Bush to Hitler and accuse him of murder. The trouble with this parallel is, first, that this sort of Bush-hating is entirely confined to the political fringe. The most mainstream anti-Bush conspiracy theorist cited in York's piece is Alexander Cockburn, the ultra-left, rabidly anti-Clinton newsletter editor. Mainstream Democrats have avoided delving into Bush's economic ties with the bin Laden family or suggesting that Bush invaded Iraq primarily to benefit Halliburton. The Clinton haters, on the other hand, drew from the highest ranks of the Republican Party and the conservative intelligentsia. Bush's solicitor general, Theodore Olson, was involved with The American Spectator's 'Arkansas Project,' which used every conceivable method--including paying sources--to dig up dirt from Clinton's past. Mainstream conservative pundits, such as William Safire and Rush Limbaugh, asserted that Vince Foster had been murdered, and GOP Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton attempted to demonstrate this theory forensically by firing a shot into a dummy head in his backyard"

A second, more crucial difference is that Bush is a far more radical president than Clinton wasThis, to me, is what it is all about. People that are the opposite of me think that it is a good thing if we don't change. "If it ain't broke ...." In reality not changing all is changing. There is a certain amount of change that is natural. Granted, I want to force more change than would come naturally. Still those who want to prohibit all change and undo change that comes naturally are just as radical or even more so depending on how far they want to go. Obviously they don't see it that way. Again, everything is just fine the way it is, so don't ruin it. There are a thousand ways to say the same thing. You can't improve on perfection. Yatta yatta yatta.

I believe the greatest period of social change took place during the depression. It was brought about by letting the right have enough rope to hang themselves. This is the only way to permanent perfect social change I think. I know it's the hardest way to go, but surprise, surprise, the hardest way is also the best way. Love your enemies, and be glad when you are persecuted.

Bush has governed as the most partisan president in modern U.S. history.

Earlier this year, a column by Novak noted almost in passing that "senior lawmakers are admonished by junior White House aides to refrain from being too chummy with Democrats."

an electoral college that gives disproportionate weight to GOP voters--the voting population of Gore's blue-state voters exceeded that of Bush's red-state voters

Clinton, according to New York magazine reporter Michael Wolff, said of the Harken deal that Bush had "sold the stock to buy the baseball team which got him the governorship which got him the presidency." Every aspect of Bush's personal history points to the ways in which American life continues to fall short of the meritocratic ideal.

The persistence of an absurdly heroic view of Bush is what makes his dullness so maddening. To be a liberal today is to feel as though you've been transported into some alternative universe in which a transparently mediocre man is revered as a moral and strategic giant. You ask yourself why Bush is considered a great, or even a likeable, man. You wonder what it is you have been missing. Being a liberal, you probably subject yourself to frequent periods of self-doubt. But then you conclude that you're actually not missing anything at all. You decide Bush is a dullard lacking any moral constraints in his pursuit of partisan gain, loyal to no principle save the comfort of the very rich, unburdened by any thoughtful consideration of the national interest, and a man who, on those occasions when he actually does make a correct decision, does so almost by accident.

There. That feels better.

Jonathan Chait is a senior editor at TNR.

Their Master’s Voice: "This week's Newsweek cover story on the vice president characterized a recent article by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker as raising the question of whether 'Cheney had, in effect, become the dupe of a cabal of neoconservative full-mooners, the Pentagon's mysteriously named Office of Special Plans, and the patsy of an alleged bank swindler and would-be ruler of Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi.'
Mr. Cheney's parallel universe is a Bizarro world where no doubts exist. He indulges in extremes of judgment, overpessimistic about our ability to contain Saddam and overoptimistic about the gratitude we would encounter as 'liberators' in Iraq.
In Cheneyworld, the invasion of Iraq has made the world a safer place (tell it to the Italians), W.M.D. are still concealed in all those Iraqi basements, every Iraqi insurgent is a card-carrying member of Al Qaeda, and the increase in attacks on Americans reflects the guerrillas' desperation, not their strengths. Guerrilla attacks on American soldiers are labeled acts of terrorism rather than acts of war, even though the official U.S. definition describes terrorism as attacks on civilians.
As Eric Schmitt reported in The Times this week, Mr. Cheney has implied in recent speeches that Al Qaeda is responsible for the major attacks in Iraq this past summer, even though senior military and intelligence officials say there is no conclusive evidence "

"Cheney has always had a Hobbesian view of life. The world is a dangerous place; war is the natural state of mankind; enemies lurk."

Mr. Cheney's darkness ends up dominating Mr. Bush's lightness
The question is whether other voices can ever break through that sonorous ominous murmuring in the president's ear.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

artificial versus fake consciousness, posted 12 Nov 2003 at 10:46 CST by cat (Apprentice)
Moravec wrote a book, Machine Evolution, the jest of which, I believe, is that machines are following the path humans followed only they are moving a lot faster. Another thing to keep in mind is that humans started off thinking that everything had a spirit including rocks. It's called animism. Life is a stimulus response organism. A machine that responds to stimuli, that follows cybernetic principles might be said to be artificially alive. Beyond that it is a matter of complexity. At what level do natural organisms attain consciousness? If an organism has a nerve cell does that mean it has the ability to be conscious of something? Isn't this the same as the old argument about intelligence? Look at viruses. Will viruses ever evolve into something more complex? Will the net itself ever develope a sense of idenity? It is the thing that most closely resembles the human brain. I think that that is the thing that disappoints me the most about So much of it is devoted to the brain of the robot. The internet should be brain of the robot! Or at least it will be someday. As with everything else I am in too much of a hurry. The first brains were just dead ends on the spinal cord. They were just muscle controllers. That's where we are today. Look at Aibo, Asimov and the robot olympics. The most glaring deficit in all these logic designs is the lack of feedback. Of course what should one expect when the goal is basic survival? Think of what life was like for early human beings when life expectancy was about twenty years. Inhibitions and IQ weren't real high on the list.
Recent diary entries

Tuesday, November 11, 2003 To Hell With Sympathy -- Nov. 17, 2003: " Envy for America, resentment of our power, hatred of our success has been a staple for decades, but most particularly since victory in the cold war left us the only superpower.
Bill Clinton was the most accommodating, sensitive, multilateralist President one can imagine, and yet we know that al-Qaeda began the planning for Sept. 11 precisely during his presidency. Clinton made humility his vocation, apologizing variously for African slavery, for internment of Japanese Americans, for not saving Rwanda. He even decided that Britain should return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. A lot of good that did us. Bin Laden issued his Declaration of War on America in 1996--at the height of the Clinton Administration's hyperapologetic, good-citizen internationalism."This is extremely analogous to the riots after the civil rights bill was passed. I can't believe I'm reading this guy.I got carried away one time and sent him a threatening email once which I immediately apologized for and told him that I would never bother him again.

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not