happy dance!

October 27, 2006

new jersey’s ruling on gay marriage.

the State has not articulated any legitimate public need for depriving committed same-sex couples of the host of benefits and privileges that are afforded to married heterosexual couples

oh, snap

government is and has been in the “marriage” business for a very long time.  as andy notes in ezra’s comments, there are 1,049 federally regulated rights and responsibilities tied to marriage.  time to make that equal.



October 27, 2006

tucker carlson, speaking on the michael j fox stem cell research ad:

It’s a form of moral blackmail. No matter where you stand on stem cell research, I look at this ad and say I can’t disagree with Michael J. Fox. Because his illness is so sad it pulls on me emotionally so much that it feels immoral to me to disagree with him. And I think its unfair of you to run this ad for that reason…

…This is not a conversation about Michael J. Fox, his celebrity or his disease. It’s a question about stem cell research and whether its moral or immoral. [video+quote here]

in most places, we’d call that proof. if an argument convinces you that you’re wrong, you’re just wrong. thats it. (the strange feeling tucker carlson is now experiencing is called ‘thought’. yeah, it hurts, get used to it)

update: i’m not saying this is my ideal form of political debate. but – when does emotional persuasion become a check on rational proof? if reasoning leads to a conclusion wholly at odd with my values (ie, killing people is kosher) – that emotion serves as a valuable check. my reasoning – imperfect. and it can use all the help it can get. so, if you can’t disagree, maybe its because the other view is right.

those who oppose stem cell research have let their biases run amok. they’re sorely in need of some guidance. if an emotional appeal is the way to do that, so be it.

update2: amen:

What makes them mad is that you’re making a good argument they can’t trump with noise and bullshit and lies

world of warcraft tax

October 17, 2006

“There is a concern that the IRS might step forward with regulations that start taxing transactions that occur within virtual economies. This, I believe, would be a mistake,” Chairman Jim Saxton said today.


but really?  so… i log on to wow and kill a dragon.  it drops 2 gold, and i owe – what – 34% of that to the IRS in taxes, but if my annual income in one year is more than 30 geldars it goes on a graduated scale?  only the us government could come up with a way to require accountants in a game with elves, dwarves, and orcs.

thats supposed to be a joke in the onion, not actual government policy. 

654 965

October 17, 2006

the estimated death toll from our invasion of iraq.

if you follow the links to the report, the methodology is absolutely solid.  maybe they’ll find another way to dismiss this as democratic nonsense intended to skew the election (seriously, is that their best response to everything?  sure, the republicans are guilty, but… the other guy tattled?)

countdown to the election

October 14, 2006

steven colbert’s advice for candidates

on healthcare:
democrats: Tell story of poor, uninsured mother of three to support your push for Universal Coverage.
republicans: Tell story of Tiny Tim to support your push for Christmas Miracles.

on firing up the base:
democrats:  Get Clintons on TV as much as possible.
republicans:  Get Clintons on TV as much as possible.

on jobs:
democrats: Support honest crusaders for workers’ rights, like the Teamsters.
republicans: “I hear the Army’s hiring…”

wish i had said that #108

October 14, 2006

“Nine English traditions out of ten, old Eustace Pilbrow used to say, date from the latter half of the nineteenth century” (Pilbrow is one of the college Fellows in the masters – p 309 in the Penguin edition)

win $1mm for being a geek

October 12, 2006

as noted on data mining, netflix has announced a challenge to improve their movie recommendation system by at least 10%, with a $1mm award.  (which makes solid economic sense for them, as noted at the long tail.

at least as of dec 2002, there is one way to make an improvement:

while Netflix stocks Paramount movies, it doesn’t promote them in any way. No matter how many Mel Gibson romantic comedies you rate highly, What Women Want will never be recommended to you. The Netflix effect? What Women Want was the second-most rented film of 2001 overall but didn’t even make the top 100 on Netflix.

allow me to lament for a moment that facebook’s database isn’t public.  man, what i could do without these silly restrictions.

while browsing i ran into theory-edge, which features an extremely cool list of links… including one that led me to simpson’s paradox.

burns-tester debate

October 10, 2006

 watching the debate on c-span.  hilarity itself.

question 1:  pork.  i have a great deal of respect for libertarians, but did the stan jones just say montana should pay to maintain all the highways?  does he have any idea how much that would cost the state?

question 2:  energy.  did conrad burns just endorse schweitzer’s energy policy?

question 3:  education and montana.  too bad they can’t give real answers.  nice that burns implies tester created the debt, as compared to years of republican stewardship we’re having to fix.

question 4:  impeaching bush?  haha, the libertarian just clapped for impeaching president bush.  na-na.  congrats on becoming my #2 choice for president.  i’m glad that tester calls for more accountability, goodness we need that here in dc.

burns:  “you have not given up one freedom under this patriot act that you have not before, unless you’re a terrorist,… or a suspected terrorist,… or affiliated with the mafia,… or drug kingpins”.  or, you know, breathing.

queston 5:  debt.  burns notes that we didn’t ask for a number of events that have swelled our debt.  conveniently neglects iraq.  tester – get rid of no bid contracts, in iraq, in medicare

question 6:  greenhouse gasses.  burns “we’ve been warming since the ice age”.  !?!  tester – we need to solve this carbon issue, msu has a role.  this requires communication, internationally (north korea indicates breakdown), and leadership.  stellar answer.

seriously – stan, conrad… global warming isn’t a political issue.  its scientific fact.

question 7.  executive authority.  tester – fight the war on terror with resources (intel) and not by sacrificing our liberties.  burns – the meth control act is part of the patriot act [is it just me, or could we save that part of it?]

summary comments. 

stan jones.  “i risk sound like a conspiracy theorist, but” … “the secret organizations of the power elite are no longer secret”… sorry, i started rolling on the ground.  i need to get a transcript.  something about our currency being the “amero” and world communism.

conrad burns. . . . taxes.   says taxation got more “progressive” under bush II, because 84% of tax share is by the rich, compared to 82%… more on this later

jon tester.  we need leadership in washington.  the legislative branch needs to do its job, and hold the executive branch accountable, no matter who is in charge.  otherwise – disasters (healthcare, war on terror, …) happen.  nice close. 

(also covered at leftinthewest)

Read the rest of this entry »

battlestar galactica

October 8, 2006

reasons to watch battlestar galactica?

  1. extended exploration of the issues on the war on terror
  2. surprising role reversal when humans become the terrorists
  3. tim burke says so

i’d been wondering what all the hype was about, and now that i know… i’ll have to steal the remote from the roommate

wish i had said that #107

October 5, 2006

Every addict who has courageously admitted addiction, every sexual abuse victim who has fearlessly discussed his or her molestation or rape, every LGBT man or woman who valiantly stepped out of the closet, without the impetus of a public disgrace, has done their part, consciously or not, to remove the stigma of addiction, surviving sexual exploitation, and homosexuality. They put themselves out there—for judgment, for ridicule, for condemnation—and not only did Mark Foley not do the same; he now feels no compunction about associating addicts, survivors of sexual abuse, and gay men with his criminal predilections, in order to excuse his inexcusable behavior.
shakespeare’s sister 

we’re supposed to be political science

October 5, 2006

so much for the discipline.

old already?

October 3, 2006

A 2005 report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project called “Teens and Technology” found that teenagers preferred new technology, like instant messaging or text messaging, for talking to friends and use e-mail to communicate with “old people.”


That I’m actually eating apple sauce on account of an ulcer doesn’t comfort me much.

and we haven’t hit the ground yet

October 3, 2006

Those of us who are not Americans can only look on in wonder at the similar ease with which the ancient rights and liberties of the individual are being surrendered in the United States in the wake of 9/11. The vote by the Senate on Thursday to suspend the right of habeas corpus for terrorism detainees, denying them their right to challenge their detention in court; the careful wording about torture, which forbids only the inducement of “serious” physical and mental suffering to obtain information; the admissibility of evidence obtained in the United States without a search warrant; the licensing of the president to declare a legal resident of the United States an enemy combatant — all this represents an historic shift in the balance of power between the citizen and the executive.

pirates of the mediterranean

so yeah, when the proposed legislation effectively sanctions torture of every American, without legal recourse or appeal, i’d have to say we’ve re-entered the dark ages.

why is it i can’t get the niemoller poem out of my head?

rep foley’s AIM

October 2, 2006

really really creepy  (fair warning… i have a high tolerance for creepy, and i’m still sketched out by reading those)

rep foley (R)’s instant message communications with an underage boy.  which are probably worse than anything i’ve written over AIM.  yup.  and the GOP leadership knew.  and kept him as head of the House sex offender caucus. 

at least on law and order, these jerks would be locked in jail from now until eternity.  but no, here, inside the beltway, they get to run the country.

update:  what the?  tony snow calls those ‘simply naughty emails’?  yeah, thats why the fbi is called in.

a democrat would be impeached by now

October 2, 2006

the reviews of bob woodward’s latest book are out, and i’m comforted…

The CIA’S top counterterrorism officials felt they could have killed Osama Bin Laden in the months before 9/11, but got the “brushoff” when they went to the Bush White House seeking the money and authorization.

CIA Director George Tenet and his counterterrorism head Cofer Black sought an urgent meeting with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001, writes Bob Woodward in his new book “State of Denial.”

tenent and black then ‘sounded the loudest warning’ of an attack – though, despite their efforts, felt brushed off by rice.

whats worse?  the 9-11 commission was never even told of the meeting.  as commissioner gorelick observed:  “We didn’t know about the meeting itself. I can assure you it would have been in our report if we had known to ask about it.”  rice, tenet, and black all testified before the commission – under oath – yet none appear to have remembered the meeting then.

just in case you thought press was free

October 2, 2006

Newsweek covers, as they vary by region…

(i’d have the picture, if only i could figure out flickr… just click to CT)

Via CT.

shiny steven

October 2, 2006

found on pandagon… which (for once) had something that didn’t make me angry.   limiting this to 8 entries was terribly hard, sorry if you didn’t make the cut.  petty grievances – always funny.

there is now an unfortunately high probability i won’t be getting anything done at work today, or at home later.

i highly recommend the ‘last 100‘ section… as of posting, it features one guy with 7 entries of ‘ruffy’ and one ‘Explosive Diarrhea’.  and more than one person listed ‘Non-Baryonic Dark Matter’ next to ‘Scarlett Johansson’.  which, yeah, i totally see.

reality has a well known liberal bias

September 29, 2006

by now, i suppose almost everyone has read this Intel-Dump post, “National Insecurity”, on how dire our national security situation has become.  more interesting than the article, though, are the comments.  the whole tread is fascinting… (crooked timber labels the event “Like Pasting feathers together and hoping for a duck”) the commenter (Diogenes) is eventually reduced by the force of facts to support the iraq war with a defense of torture.  yeah.  brilliant.

body armor

September 29, 2006

just when you thought going after firefighers was too much, vote vets exposes burn’s voting record against our troops.

i’m still waiting for burns to kick some babies or something.

polls of iraq

September 29, 2006

i don’t trust polls, but all-too-frequently, iraq war supporters use them to justify their position.  the other day, i was told that 6 in 10 iraqis continue to support the overthrow of sadam (side note – what are the other 4 in 10 thinking).  surprisingly enough, the conservative forgot to mention a few other items in the poll:

  • About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces
  • Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents.
  • 79 percent of Iraqis say that the US is having a negative influence on the situation in Iraq
  • 94% have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view

but – thats from PIPA.  the state department did its own poll and…

  • two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces

woo-hoo.  yeah, that makes me feel wonderful