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Reason #128

Transcript of President Bush's speech at North Island

"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks; they'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions; they could recruit more terrorists by claiming an historic victory over the United States and our coalition."

The Price of Cold Turkey

Save the Banana!

After Socialism

Now the greatest threats to freedom come from those seeking stability and the "one best way"


The Power of Nightmares

This series is amazing. Click the link to download it (there's a minor flame war going on in comments, because the film is so skeptical of the Bush/Blair terror policies, but the film is truly well made and worth watching).

Part One gives a philosophical background to the main players in the War on Terror: the Bush government and Islamist radicals. It describes the evolution of Islamist and neoconservative philosophy, starting in the post-WWII era. Basically it argues that both schools of thought are reactionary responses to soulless American materialism. The neoconservatives want to give depressed Americans pride in their country (because it defeats evil around the world) to give them something to live for, while the Islamists want to defend the Arab world from the depressing spiritual void that is consumer culture. Lots of stuff about Straussian philosophy and the development of what Jihad means to the most radicalized Jihadis. Part Two is about how both groups believe their ideas are so powerful and successful that they have defeated the Soviet union in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the dissapointment they feel when their ideas about remaking society are rejected in the 90s. Part Three starts with the attacks of September 11, and argues that US and UK politicians have given al Qaeda more credit than is due, because it helps them to project power. Beautifully done; great use of music and archival footage; I learned some history; and if you like the English for their skeptical, slanted news (ie The Economist), you'll love this strongly opinionated documentary.

Unbroadcastable in the US, due to strongly worded statements to the effect that politicians believe that both America's role as a force of Good in the world and God Almighty are myths that it's important for citizens to believe but irrelevant for the elites. Maybe there'll be a theatrical release.

Poverty, by definition

"there is no generally accepted standard of adequacy for essentials of living except food."

I'd like to see a budget breakdown for AnyTown USA. Minimum acceptable costs for Food, Housing, Education, Clothing, Health Care, Transportation, Child Care, etc.

Education should include adult education. You can easily do the math for 22 working days of 8 hours daily earning $5.15/hr, yielding $906.40.

That's just slightly lower than the single person under 65 poverty threshold or $9,827/yr.

The estimate should first take into account just net income, then add in local, state, and federal programs.


The Yaminon, or the Hairy-Nosed Wombat, is the official mascot of The Elevator: 2010 Crew. Who knew?

Drink Tank

Let's change the tagline. "We've moved our emails to a blog. Have a drink and leave a comment." seems off.

How about something like "Gambling, Drinking, Pontificating" or "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy"?

Also, anyone wanna make a logo? Maybe a martini whose straw is a cannon, or is that too literal?

Medicare to Cover Starbucks Antioxidant Treatments

Losing Bets, still winning big

James Miller would make a bet against futurist Ray Kurzweil: "Under the bet I would give him a very small amount of money today and in return at some future agreed-upon date he would give me a 10-meter-diameter solid diamond sphere".

Arnold Kling thinks this is in error because tools have had more success than agents.

Now we get the news via Instapundit and Slashdot that, "Diamond is no longer the hardest substance known to man. Scientists have created a new material, called "aggregated diamond nanorods" by compressing carbon-60 under high heat."

Does this mean the bet would already be effectively lost, as methods to create diamond wouldn't be as common as those to create even better substances? I suppose it makes sense that engineered materials are better and eventually more common than those found in nature.

Maybe it's just an exponential increase in the attention I've paid to these matters, but it seems with the glut of recent good futurist news that we're beginning to feel the exponential nature of progress.

HOT lanes

High-occupancy toll lanes are good. Tierney rocks.

"Venezuela to sell cut-price heating oil to U.S. poor"

It seems far more socialists/communists than capitalists are willing to hang themselves on the rope they sell you (to borrow a quote attributed to Lenin [not Lennon]).

I'm not really interested in the US "taking out" Hugo, but the mini Castro seems to have a pretty big head.

And yah, it's just, like, my opinion, man.


Nine Inch Nails - Closer

"I want to f**k you like an animal
My whole existence is flawed"

Listening to this on repeat. The second line starts to sound like "My whole existence is flan". That wouldn't be too bad :)

No Dude crotch on Drink tank!

Well.... I Doooo Declare.

"President George Bush's exit strategy from Iraq suffered a severe setback yesterday when Sunni negotiators rejected a new constitution, increasing the chances of outright civil war."

Federal Education Vouchers

Here’s an idea:

Department Of Education Budget: $71.5B
US Population, age 5-17: 53.3M

Give each kid a voucher of $1,342.96 a year that can only be redeemed by state approved teachers.

This would also change the accounting in schools, such that each family would be giving a school a check. This would allow state voucher programs to be adopted with greater ease. In fact, considering folks have been trying to use federal power to affect state's rights, why not require all states interested in receiving the funding to institute an optional voucher program. This way, the $71B would initially be split only among the few states that adopted the idea, giving a huge incentive for politicians to make the change

In addition, given that the average cost of private education is $3,116, which is half the average cost of $6,857 per pupil in public schools, this federal voucher could be used to send many kids to a private school. Also, many more private schools would start up in response.

Opinion Journal still insane

Neocons ♥ Iranian spies



This is weird. I saw an ad on CNN this morning over breakfast (yah, I know, "watching TV?!" weird).

The ad was for HomeValue.com. I went to the site, and it looks like a collection of sponsored links. Could such a site possibly make enough ad revenue to advertise on CNN?


Doom Runner

This game ROCKS!

the Bullshit Job Title Generator

I'm not sure if I buy this, but it's funny.

I mean, my title of "scientist" is so broad as to be somewhat incorrect (accurate but horribly imprecise), but most wouldn't call it a "bullshit title".

Black Metal Hall of Shame - 2005 Edition

If you are in a band and you own a broadsword, in general you will meet with my approval. However, you can go too far. Too, too far.

Turkmenbashi Bans Phonograms

Turkmen President Suparmarat Niyazov is always a treasure trove of great stories. This latest one involves the negative influence of phonograms:
Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov has signed a decree banning the use of "phonograms at all cultural events, song-musical performances organized in honor of state holidays, in the programs of TV channels of the General directorate of the Turkmen television, as well as at all cultural events organized in the state and public organizations, in places of mass gatherings of people, during wedding parties and festivities."
Wait a sec...phonograms? Isn't it phonographs?


The Eagle Has Landed

Hi. I'm back in America.


scroll down a bit for it


Aeon Flux

New trailer. Looks pretty good.


I Think We Need To Talk

Google Talk that is. IM and VOIP using Jabber from Google

Space Elevator News

Read it.

Ya Lousy Bums

Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.

Gratis gaming

"10 real PC games you can download for free" From CNET

New Asimo

Why would Honda want to spread an image of Asimo trying to run down an old man?

The locmotion looks good. Too bad it isn't bio-mechanically intelligent.


Pat Roberson: Kill Venezuela! Kill Peru!

Expect a visit from the Venezualan "secret service", Pat:
Venezuela’s vice president on Tuesday accused religious broadcaster Pat Robertson of making “terrorist statements” by calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Pat Robertson continually reaffirms my belief that American Fundamentalist Christians are as much Christians as Scientologists are scientists.

Iraq's Unsettling Constitution - New York Times

[Bush Administration] "...which let its politically motivated obsession with an arbitrary deadline trump its responsibility..." [to liberalism]

But don't worry. The NYT's calls for a timetable for withdrawal weren't politically motivated. I'm sure it was directly related to security; as such a call would devastate the chances of Bush coming out ahead in the history books.

The $10,000 Question

Betting on the future price of oil.

I expect Tierney will win.


Best qoute: "Basically these monkeys really liked to gamble"


Meanwhile, it was claimed yesterday that CCTV tapes depicting Mr de Menezes' last moments were handed out to police but returned blank.

Constitutional Crisis

I think Iraq's new public officials (Chalabi, et al) finalized a constitution today, and that its intent is to allow some autonomy for the Kurdish, Sunni, and Shia regions to govern as they see fit.

I speculate that the Shia area (the biggest) will make a mockery of Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy in the coming years, and that the treatment of women under the law there will be catastrophic. I think that this issue alone is enough to judge the violent overthrow of Saddam's regime a mistake, as I believe the medieval treatment of women in the Muslim countries is by far the most plausible explanation for the economic and social problems in those countries, and that our actions have made that problem more severe, not less.

Just sayin'.


But it is also a country of good and hospitable people. And when the local team wins a big match, there is dancing, kissing, drinking and drugs in the streets. Women are graduating the campuses in higher and higher numbers, occupying government in higher and higher numbers. Sound familiar? But wait. The women. Look at the women. All is not well. I'm thinking about the women. This is Iran."

Quote Flipping/Quote Flopping

Saw these quotes on seanbonner.com and it caused me to pause for a moment at the apparent irony:
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President... is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning... I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)


American Eden

Nature has the idea to bring megafauna (elephants, cheetahs etc.) back to the US. Sounds like a good idea to me!

We could then bust out with some real Big Game Hunters:

Marginal Revolution: U.S. fact of the day

"Total tsunami foreign aid from the U.S.: $908 million

U.S. tariff revenue from Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and Indonesia: $1.87 billion"


Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.

I haven't bothered looking at a quote collection in a while.

The Hidden Scourge: Wrestling With Corruption

Google Maps Resources

Man, I totally love Google Maps. I love the fact that it now has a decent API. I love the fact that people are making great things with said API. I love corn.

About Thin Film Potovoltaic Solar Power

Great blog.


Drudge Unleashed

Someone starts to actually quote Sheehan. Why is this news?

Trailers - Doom

I'm not sure this will be very good.

Part of the fun of Doom is that there is no help. You're alone, and it's only getting worse.

Sheehan's Taxes

Read the second entry in today's 'Best of the Web'. The irony is palpable :)

Laptop Panic

Totally crazy:
A rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede Tuesday, with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and nearly driven over. One woman went so far to wet herself rather than surrender her place in line.
You know it's real when a folding chair is used...

What is the best way to help the people of Niger?

Glad it wasn't me

I'm always drunk or passed out on these buses.

Evil Kelo

Government takes your property. You go to court. It takes some time. You lose. You now owe back rent for the time spent in court.


Scary Dragon

Via Marginal Revolution


a Tribute

Strange Things You Did Not Know

I'll bet you already knew most of this stuff.


"Do -NOT- mess with motorized cheese graters"


It turns out that when I said the British would "imprison the wrong men," I was thinking about the less drastic British cops of yesteryear.

Very important part of the article: mysteriously, the dozens of closed circuit television monitoring of that particular subway station were, according to Big Brother, not working that day. My proposal (not unlike my reaction to ankle bracelets for drinkers): take the CC out of CCTV, and let concerned citizens use the technology online to see what cops, politicos, etc. do when they're in public places.

Zero comments?!

C'mon, guys.

Oded would like to have an official method of distinguishing when someone's lack of comment indicates an admission of being outreasoned. Always?

Back at my desk with a question

Me: I have a Netflix I just watched. Is there a mailbox here?

Jetblue Ticket Agent: Oh no. Ever since September 11, no mailboxes in airports.

Me: Really?

Agent: Of course. (Smiling) Think about it.

Me: You're right, of course.

I only said that to not sound dumb. Is there in fact a good reason to not have mailboxes in airports in the age al Qaeda?


I'll add to this flamebait the fact that this fellow is way braver than his web-log keeping pro war brothers, who have only called the protesters treasonous monsters from their keyboards, and done nothing about the offensive memorial crosses.

Welcome to NK News

North Korean

From WindsOfChange, we see an excellent project to chronical the madness of North Korea.

Yea Right

Bush's choice of "Alexander II" appears to reflect his interest in books about transformational political leaders. Among those he has perused since becoming president are biographies of George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard the Lionheart and Peter the Great.

quick drinktank poll: how many of the books mentioned in this fluff peice do you think bush has finished?


Finally turned on a cheaper phone-picture messaging service. I'm sending many to flickr. Check it out.

Projections: a futurist at the movies


Walken 2008

Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We're outsourcing jobs, bankrupting social security, and losing lives at war. We need to focus on what's important-- paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future.

The Gingrich Legacy

"Blunt political opportunism, not fancy libertarian ideas, is most of what's left of the '94 revolution."


Mr. Afghanistan


Guess What This Is......?

Pretty cool.. when it comes up just keep hitting the '-' button one step at a time. We'll be there soon!


Praying Mantis Eats Hummingbird

Though we tend to think of hummingbirds as cute, dainty little things, in reality they make bold and fierce competitors. They don't let their guard down for a moment while defending their territories from other hummingbirds. They must also watch out for other animals that might prey on them, such as American kestrels in North America or tarantulas in South America. Praying mantises are also known to capture and kill hummingbirds, as a reader from West Chester, Pennsylvania, describes.

No Pork Left Behind

Usually Bill Thomas is good. but...

"Rep. Don Young, for instance, managed to get the 650,000 people in Alaska over 130 earmarked projects totaling nearly a billion dollars, including a $230 million dollar bridge to nowhere in Alaska which will be known now known as Don Young's Way. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) secured $600 million for his home district of Bakersfield in California while his state is getting over $2.2 billion."

A "Report" in the Post

The Washington Post should be embarrassed.
It [the famine in Niger] is the result not only of food shortages but a host of other problems, including vendor profiteering, a government policy shift toward a free market, and a decline in the traditional culture of generosity that once helped communities in Niger survive cyclical periods of scarcity.
Maybe they had a decline in the traditional culture of fact-based reporting caused by boardroom profiteering and a rhetoric shift toward Marxism.

CIA - The World Factbook -- Rank Order - GDP


73: Iraq $ 54,400,000,000
74: Croatia $ 50,330,000,000

Of course, GDP per capita is ~5 times more in Croatia ;)


Global Warming Tipping Point

A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today.

Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

Dr. Bad Religion


Switched On: When Clock Meets Dock

I was JUST thinking it would be nice to wake up to something other than mindless chatter on the radio. This will do nicely.


we brought him down did we?


Banksy Bombs the West Bank

Infamous stencil revolutionary Banksy has decided to take holiday in Palestine, and he left a little something behind...

The Shuttle Woke Me Up

At 5:07 this morning, I heard the Space Shuttle Discovery making its landing at Edwards Air Force Base. It woke me up.

Debunking the Drug War

Tierney is good.

Vespa ET-2


More later.

Dan Savage

Guest blogging at Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish.


Flickr: Photos from ikirigin

I just figured out to email photos from my phone-cam to Flickr. This should prove convenient. Check it out for updates.

New [anti]-terror plans

"Tony Blair has proposed a raft of anti-terror measures. Here are the main points of the plans."

Among the measures:

"Make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence".

Interesting. You wouldn't even see such a proposition in America. I don’t think I would trust the proper enforcement. The deportation is, unfortunately, also something you wouldn't see as much. I'm not sure why deportation isn't a more common punishment, even for citizens. Isn't exclusion from society a pretty good way to both punish the offender and stop future offenses?


"BookCrossing, BC, BCing or BXing, is defined as the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise."

Peter Jennings, Urbane News Anchor, Dies at 67

I used to watch him all the time as a kid.


Dog House Plans

Can't wait to try. I probably wont be as ambitious.


More statistics

The portion of people who consider Bush honest has dropped slightly from January, when 53% described him that way while 45% did not. Now, people are just about evenly split on that issue — with 48% saying he's honest and 50% saying he's not.

The drop in the number of people who see Bush as honest was strongest among middle-aged Americans as well as suburban women, a key voting group in the 2004 election. A further erosion of trust could make it tougher for Bush to win support for his policies in Congress and internationally.

"The reason that trust is so important has to do with the long-standing belief that you could trust him, even if you don't always agree with him and don't understand what he's doing," said Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas. "The honesty dip is partly caused by a loss of faith in his credibility on Iraq."

The president said Thursday from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, that threats from al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, "make it clear that Iraq is a part of this war on terror, and we're at war." Bush pledged to "complete this job in Iraq."

Almost two-thirds in the poll described Bush as strong and likable.

"He's a man of character," said Cheryl Cheyney, a school bus driver from Cumming, Ga., and a Republican. "He's very honest in the things he says. I agree with his belief system, the way he believes in God and is not afraid to show it. That's very important to me."

But the portion of people who view his confidence as arrogance has increased from 49% in January to 56% now.

Homeland idiocy | Samizdata.net

"Before deploying from Savannah, Georgia to Iraq by a chartered airliner, the troops of the 48th Brigade Combat Team, a National Guard unit, had to go through the same security checks as any other passengers. Lt. Col. John King, the unit's commander, told his 280 fellow soldiers that FAA anti-hijacking regulations require passengers to surrender pocket knives, nose hair scissors and cigarette lighters. 'If you have any of those things,' he said, almost apologetically, 'put them in this box now.' The troops were, however, allowed to keep hold of their assault rifles, body armour, helmets, pistols, bayonets and combat shotguns" -- reported in the Air Finance Journal.

I've been told cabin depressurization from gunshots is bogus. I'm not sure if that's true or not. BUT, I would probably enjoy HSD rulings more if they made sense: only external entrances to the cockpit, x-ray/bomb detect all cargo, allow people to defend themselves, as legit passengers will likely outnumber terrorists. Those three rulings would probably make hijacking/crashing a plane sufficiently hard, and then we could move on to more interesting & important matters.

Counting the Civilian Dead in Iraq

Thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of violence since the war began in 2003. But it's not known exactly how many died, where and at whose hands.

There have been several efforts to count the war's toll on civilians, yielding reports ranging from 24,000 to 128,000 from last fall through last month. Compounding the complexity, all of these numbers were collected differently and count different things, so they aren't directly comparable. For example, the widely cited number last month of about 25,000 counts only violent deaths that have been reported to the media. Meanwhile, a study conducted last fall that found 100,000 deaths arrived at that figure by calculating 'excess' deaths -- all deaths, including those from illness and accidents, were included, but deaths from a comparable prewar period were subtracted out."


Not dancing.

This sounds really bad


I Know This Was Soooo Two Weeks Ago, But Whatever

What if World War II had been a real time strategy game?

Too funny. I am dying over here.

Lonely Planet: Iraq

A travel guide advising wannabe enemy combatants on how to enter the fray in Iraq:
The terror in Iraq seems to be getting worse by the day. Now, a new guide has appeared on the Internet advising would-be terrorists on the best way into the country. It isn't easy, but a disguise of jeans and a Walkman may be just the ticket.
[via boundarylayer]

Socialism is Theft Indeed

Currently ExxonMobil benefits from federal subsidies of about $25 billion a year for fossil fuels. That figure does not include an estimated additional $15 billion to protect oil supplies from the Middle East. Under the Bush administration, renewable technologies will receive about $920 million a year in subsidies for five years. The oil giant contends that the government has extended "special advantages" to renewable energy providers. But during the formation of the administration's Energy Plan, the renewable energy industry was essentially invisible.

By contrast, ExxonMobil, the second biggest energy funder of the Bush Campaign, met on numerous occasions with Vice President Cheney and his staff in preparation of the administration's Energy Plan.

Those meetings followed a memo from ExxonMobil to the White House which led to the ouster of Dr. Robert Watson as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Moreover, ExxonMobil hand-picked the Bush administration's new climate negotiator, who promptly announced the United States will not engage the Kyoto process for at least 10 years.

ExxonMobil's 10-year research grant amounts to one-tenth of one percent of the money the oil giant will spend on oil exploration in the next decade, according to Campaign ExxonMobil. It amounts to about 40 percent of the annual salary of its CEO.


Persistence Does Not Pay

Despite this Croatian gentleman's "shotgun approach" to finding a willing bride, he is still getting "shot down". 5000 times.
"I've tried placing all kinds of different ads, but not a single woman I've met through my adverts has accepted my offer. What else is there to believe, other than that I must be the ugliest man in the world."

Is that clear?


Slashdot Poll: Favorite tool of destruction?

Looks like I'm in the plurality.


Bush endorses teaching 'retarded design'

"WASHINGTON - President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and 'intelligent design' Monday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life.

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools"

Pino grows up


Veg My Ride™

I love the slogan.

Recess appointment of Bolton.

Who could vote against that mustache? No wonder there was a filibuster. Till next year...

Interesting High-speed Video Clips