May 2005

2005 05 31
Bush and the Amnesty Report


I see that Bush apparently doesn’t think much of the recent Amnesty Report blasting his administration for Guantanamo, etc. etc. etc. Not too long ago, Timothy Burke wrote a very nice post on a relatively neglected aspect of the larger debate about torture and abuse. It’s unfortunate that Bush doesn’t understand the main point Burke makes there.

Update: Ah, and if there’s anything to this, then it’s an even greater shame that Bush doesn’t get Burke’s point.


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2005 05 30
But why did she do it?


Posted by in: Odds and ends


Jaywalking chicken ducks fine.


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2005 05 28
Eight Shows


Posted by in: Music

Some good, reasonably inexpensive jazz coming up. Details below the fold.
Continue Reading »


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2005 05 28
Movin’ on up


I start to laugh, but it comes out all twisted and bitter: Analysts Behind Iraq Intelligence Were Rewarded.

Like this: Ha ha ha hmmmph.


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2005 05 27
Thomas Friedman


Posted by in: Political issues, Pundits

I don’t read the NYT editorial or Op-Ed page any more, and I especially don’t read Thomas Friedman any more. Life is too short. But life is not too short for mockery of Thomas Friedman. Here and here, you’ll find some funny Friedman poetry – a new, but very promising, sub-genre of literature.


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2005 05 26
Frog Eyes


Posted by in: Music

Woo hoo. I ordered the Frog Eyes CD, “The Golden River,” a few days ago, and it just came in the mail. It’s awesome.

The music is hard to describe. The lead singer sounds a bit like David Bowie would sound if he had a nervous breakdown and thought he was Tom Waits. It’s sad and manic and strange – and very much worth the $12 I spent on it (including shipping and handling!).


A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2005 05 26
“Lord” Black


Posted by in: Political issues

Ha!


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2005 05 25
MP3 Blog Wiki


Posted by in: Music

Fuck, yeah.

via


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2005 05 25
Political Misc.


I don’t have much to say about the deal struck by the Senate “moderates” regarding the filibustering of federal judges. My view is well expressed by Noz. The deal has Democrats refraining from filibustering unless there are “extraordinary circumstances,” but effectively lets the Republicans decide which circumtances are extraordinary; that is, it puts that judgment in the hands of those whose judgment motivated Democrats to filibuster in the first place. I would have preferred to let the Republicans change the rules, and made them deal with a public that saw the measure as an unacceptable power grab. I know that I should not have that much confidence in the populace, but I do think such a decision by the GOP would have been something of a last straw. But I might well have been wrong in that.

Democrats seem to be happy that they have the filibuster in their hands for an upcoming fight over Bush’s first Supreme Court nomination. But the Bush people seem confident that this the Dems’ hope is a false friend:

One thing that is clear, he and others said, is that Bush will pick someone with a strong conservative judicial philosophy. And the Bush team is banking on the idea that Democrats cannot filibuster a nominee who is no more conservative than the three appellate nominees they just agreed to let come to a floor vote. “Outside of the president nominating Jack the Ripper, I don’t think there’s the stomach to filibuster,” said Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, formed to support Bush judicial nominees.

A “nominee who is no more conservative than the three…they just agreed to let come to a floor vote.” So Janice Rogers Brown, who seriously believes that any interference by the government with the workings of a laissez-faire economy is unconstitutional, is to set the benchmark by which only a more conservative judge can be acceptably filibustered according to the recent agreement. Great deal. Though I did read somewhere (where?) that there may be reason to think at least one of the judges accorded a vote by the agreement will not be confirmed, owing to “No” votes cast by some Republican signatories. Hopefully that will be Brown, but my hunch is that the political salience of the state v. religion issue will make a “No” vote for Priscilla Owen more likely from non-theocon Republicans. I hope I’m wrong.

And speaking of free markets, am I the only one to dectect a hint of indelicacy in the name of the latest mass military operation in Iraq, Operation New Market?


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2005 05 23
Jazz this week


Posted by in: Music

Two cool shows coming up . . .

First show: Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 23rd), Bill McHenry is at Nublu at 9pm. Nublu is one of those silly bars with no sign outside. Get directions on the website and then just look for a door with a blue light over it. Trust me. And remember the secret handshake I taught you.

Second show: Wednesday, May 24th. Eivind Opsvik is having one of his two NYC CD release parties. (The CD features multiple sets of musicians, I think, so having two release parties makes a certain amount of sense.) This one is at the 55 Bar at 10pm. Cover is probably $8 or $10.


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2005 05 23
Families, divorce and voter turnout in the US


Yet another paper I’ll never have time to read . . .

Families, divorce and voter turnout in the US
Julianna Sandell and Eric Plutzer

Abstract: How large a role does the family play in civic development? This paper examines an important aspect of family influence by tracing the impact of divorce on voter turnout during adolescence. We show that the effect of divorce among white families is large, depressing turnout by nearly 10 percentage points. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, we demonstrate that the impact of divorce varies by racial group and can rival the impact of parentsrsquo educational attainment, which is generally regarded as the most important non-political characteristic of onersquos family of origin. We attempt to explain the divorce effect by examining the mediating impacts of parental voter turnout, active social learning, income loss, child–parent interaction, residential mobility, and educational attainment.


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2005 05 22
Some things never change


Page A 26:

As Bush speeches were being drafted in the prewar period, serious questions were also being raised within the intelligence community about purported threats from biologically armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In an Oct. 7, 2002, speech, Bush mentioned a potential threat to the U.S. mainland being explored by Iraq through unmanned aircraft “that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons.” The basis for that analysis was a single report that an Iraqi general in late 2000 or early 2001 indicated interest in buying autopilots and gyroscopes for Hussein’s UAV program. The manufacturer automatically included topographic mapping software of the United States in the package.

When the list was submitted in early 2002, the manufacturer’s distributor determined that the U.S. mapping software would not be included in the autopilot package, and told the procurement agent in March 2002. By then, however, U.S. intelligence, which closely followed Iraqi procurement of such material, had already concluded as early as the summer of 2001 that this was the “first indication that the UAVs might be used to target the U.S.”

When a foreign intelligence service questioned the procurement agent, he originally said he had never intended to purchase the U.S. mapping software, but he refused to submit to a thorough examination, according to the president’s commission. “By fall 2002, the CIA was still uncertain whether the procurement agent was lying,” the commission said. Nonetheless, a National Intelligence Estimate in October 2002 said the attempted procurement “strongly suggested” Iraq was interested in targeting UAVs on the United States. Senior members of Congress were told in September 2002 that this was the “smoking gun” in a special briefing by Vice President Cheney and then-CIA Director George J. Tenet.

By January 2003, however, it became publicly known that the director of Air Force intelligence dissented from the view that UAVs were to be used for biological or chemical delivery, saying instead they were for reconnaissance. In addition, according to the president’s commission, the CIA “increasingly believed that the attempted purchase of the mapping software . . . may have been inadvertent.”

In an intelligence estimate on threats to the U.S. homeland published in January 2003, Air Force, Defense Intelligence Agency and Army analysts agreed that the proposed purchase was “not necessarily indicative of an intent to target the U.S. homeland.”

And, of course, there were always those pesky aluminum tubes.


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2005 05 20
U.S.-Uzbekistan Relations


Nathan asks some good questions.


Howls of outrage (2)

2005 05 20
Luis Posada Carriles update


Interesting.


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2005 05 20
Suspense! Passion! Betrayal!


Would you believe it’s Canadian politics?

There’s some hilariously wacky stuff going on North of the border, eh.


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