Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chronology of web surfing and broadband penetration

Who Controls the Internet? and An Army of Davids

Who Controls the Internet? and An Army of Davids

By Jack Goldsmith, Glenn Reynolds, and Tim Wu

Six degrees of reputation

Six degrees of reputation

This paper reports initial findings from a study that used quantitative and qualitative research methods and custom–built software to investigate online economies of reputation and user practices in online product reviews at several leading e–commerce sites (primarily We explore several cases in which book and CD reviews were copied whole or in part from one item to another and show that hundreds of product reviews on might be copies of one another. We further explain the strategies involved in these suspect product reviews, and the ways in which the collapse of the barriers between authors and readers affect the ways in which these information goods are being produced and exchanged. We report on techniques that are employed by authors, artists, editors, and readers to ensure they promote their agendas while they build their identities as experts. We suggest a framework for discussing the changes of the categories of authorship, creativity, expertise, and reputation that are being re–negotiated in this multi–tier reputation economy.

Who uses the internet, what they do, and what it means

It took radio 38 years to attract an audience of 50 million Americans. It took television 13 years. It took the web less than four years from the moment when the Netscape browser became widely available in October 1994 to hit the 50 million mark.

According to data from our latest poll that was delivered to me Friday – a survey that was completed on March 21 [2005]– 136 million American adults nowuse the internet. That is 67% of those 18 and older. And our surveys from last fall show that 87% of teens (those ages 12-17) are online.

Demographics of Internet Users (a frequently updated table)

Internet Activities (what they do on-line)

Do They Really Think Differently?

I suggested that Digital Natives’ brains are likely physically different as a result of the digital input they received growing up. And I submitted that learning via digital games is one good way to reach Digital Natives in their "native language."

I'm not sure who Marc Prensky is (though one of the words he used to describe himself on his own website is "visionary," so proceed with caution), but much of what he says makes sense.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fitzgerald Will Seek New White House Indictments

The second part of the federal investigation is nearly complete
By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t Report

Fitzgerald may seek to indict both Rove and Hadley, charging them with perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy related to their roles in the leak of Plame Wilson's identity and their effort to cover up their involvement following a Justice Department investigation.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative

Glenn Reynolds (from An Army of Davids) on The National Nanotechnology Initiative document found at this link:

"I expected it to be the usual bureaucratic pap, but in fact, it turned out to contain a lot of actual useful information, including reports of several nanotechnology developments that I had missed."

ScienCentral Video News: Targeting Cancer

ScienCentral Video News: Targeting Cancer with Nanotechnology

NPR: Six Degrees of Jack Abramoff

NPR: Six Degrees of Jack Abramoff

Republicans Split Over Religion's Growing Role in Their Party

(via Huffington Post)

"'There is a great deal of concern about this seeming attempt to couch everything in religious terms,' said Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey. 'We're not a narrow-minded nation, and at least some of the people trying to define the Republican Party are coming off that way.' "

"fuel the irrational fringe"

DeLay Says Justices 'Don't Get' Criticism - Yahoo! News:

(through the Huffington Post)

"'Our faith has always been in direct conflict with the values of the world,' DeLay said. 'We are, after all, a society that provides abortion on demand, has killed millions of innocent children, degrades the institution of marriage, and all but treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition.'"

Rove and Libby in Deadly Legal Dogfight

The Huffington Post via Raw Story

It's getting nasty now ...

According to several Pentagon sources close to Rove and others familiar with the inquiry, Bush's senior adviser tipped off Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent "discovery" of 250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Founders Never Imagined a Bush Administration

Joyce Appleby & Gary Hart
History News Network

George W. Bush and his most trusted advisers, Richard B. Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, entered office determined to restore the authority of the presidency. Five years and many decisions later, they've pushed the expansion of presidential power so far that we now confront a constitutional crisis.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bellow (Ravelstein) Quote

Everybody has something like a lawn of random knowledge, and it's very pleasant to have it kept watered and green for you.

Saul Bellow, Ravelstein 126

Saturday, March 25, 2006

03/25/2006: Battle for Baghdad 'has already started'

Independent Online Edition > Middle East:

The battle between Sunni and Shia Muslims for control of Baghdad has already started, say Iraqi political leaders who predict fierce street fighting will break out as each community takes over districts in which it is strongest. 'The fighting will only stop when a new balance of power has emerged,' Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish leader, said. 'Sunni and Shia will each take control of their own area.' He said sectarian cleansing had already begun.

Many Iraqi leaders now believe that civil war is inevitable but it will be confined, at least at first, to the capital and surrounding provinces where the population is mixed. 'The real battle will be the battle for Baghdad where the Shia have increasing control,' said one senior official who did not want his name published. 'The army will disintegrate in the first moments of the war because the soldiers are loyal to the Shia, Sunni or Kurdish communities and not to the government.' He expected the Americans to stay largely on the sidelines.


Cheney: Iraq not in civil war, predicts success.
Former Iraq PM: 'We Are In Civil War' - CBS News

Iraq Edges Closer to Open Civil Warfare

Bush Confident Iraq Will Avoid Civil War

Fox News: Iraq Civil War “Made Up By The Media?”

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Powerful Role of the Internet

Washington Post's Conservative Blogger Resigns Amid Plagiarism Allegations... (after 3 days on the job)

Headline by The Huffington Post (attribution!)

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.
-WaPo Editors

Another Army of Davids Installment

Glenn Reynolds, An Army of Davids pp. 121-25.

People used to be ignorant. It was hard to learn things. You had to go to libraries, look things up, perhaps sit and wait while a book was fetched from storage, or recalled from another user, or borrowed from a different library. What knowledge there was spent most of its time on a shelf. And if knowledge was going to be organized and dispersed, it took a big organization to do it....

Things are different today. I’m writing this in a bar right now, and I have most of human knowledge at my fingertips.... If I’m curious about the Hephthalite Huns or the rocket equation or how much money Joe Biden has gotten from the entertainment industry, I can have it in less time than it takes the barmaid to draw me a beer.

What’s more, I can coordinate that sort of information (well, it might be kind of hard to tie those particular three facts together, but you take my meaning) with other people with enormous speed. With email, blogs and bulletin boards, I could, if the topic interested enough people, put together an overnight coalition – a flash constituency – without leaving the restaurant. (And in fact, some folks did pretty much just that recently, and succeeded in killing the “super-DCMA” bill before the Tennessee legislature. Alarmed at a proposed law that would have made it a felony to connect a TIVO without permission from a cable company, they organized, set up a website, and shot down a bill that the cable companies had put a lot of time and money into.)

So what? Everybody knows this stuff, right? It has been the subject of countless hand-waving speeches about the revolutionary potential of the Internet, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. Well, sort of. Everybody knows it. But they don’t know it, yet, down deep where it counts. And even those who kind of get it at that level tend to forget – even as I sometimes do – just how revolutionary it is. And yes, it really is revolutionary, in ways that would have defied prediction not long ago.

Just try this thought experiment: Imagine that it’s 1993. The Web is just appearing. And imagine that you – an unusually prescient type – were to explain to people what they could expect by, say the summer of 2003. Universal access to practically all information. From all over the place – even in bars. And all for free!

I can imagine the question the skeptics would have asked: How will this be implemented? How will all of this information be digitized and made available? (Lots of examples along the line of “a thousand librarians with scanners would take fifty years to put up even a part of the Library of Congress online, and who would pay for that?”) Lots of questions about how people would agree on standards for wireless data transmission – “It usually takes ten years just to develop a standard, much less put it into the marketplace!” – and so on, and so on. “Who will make this stuff available for free? People want to be paid to do things!” “Why, even if we start planning now, there’s no way we’ll have this in ten years!”

Actually, that final statement is true. If we had started planning in 1993, we probably wouldn’t have gotten there by 2033, much less before 2003. The Web, Wi-Fi, and Google didn’t develop and spread because somebody at the Bureau of Central Knowledge Planning planned them. They developed, in large part, from the uncoordinated activities of individuals….

There are two lessons here. One is that skeptics, despite all their reasonable-sounding objections, would have been utterly wrong about the future of the Web, a mere ten years after it first appeared. And the second is why they would have been wrong: because they didn’t appreciate what lots of smart people, loosely coordinating their actions with each other, are capable of accomplishing….

As the world grows more interconnected, more and more people have access to knowledge and coordination. Yet we continue to underestimate the revolutionary potential of this simple fact. Heck, forget potential – we regularly underestimate the revolutionary reality of it, in the form of things we already take for granted, like Wi-Fi and Google....

But I'm not a wild-eyed visionary. As a result, I'm going to make a very conservative prediction: that the next ten years will see revolutions that make Wi-Fi and Google look tame, and that in short order we'll take those for granted too. It's a safe bet.

An Army of Davids pp. 121-25.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Link Changes Everything

James Lileks, The Bleat
Oct. 7, 2002
A wire story consists of one voice pitched low and calm and full of institutional gravitas, blissfully unaware of its own biases or the gaping lacunae in its knowledge. Whereas blogs have a different format: Clever teaser headline that has little to do with the actual story, but sets the tone for this blog post. Breezy ad hominem slur containing the link to the entire story. Excerpt of said story, demonstrating its idiocy (or brilliance). Blogauthor’s remarks, varying from dismissive sniffs to a Tolstoi-length rebuttal. Seven comments from people piling on, disagreeing, adding a link, acting stupid, preaching to the choir, accusing choir of being Nazis, etc.

I’d say it’s a throwback to the old newspapers, the days when partisan slants covered everything from the play story to the radio listings, but this is different. The link changes everything. When someone derides or exalts a piece, the link lets you examine the thing itself without interference. TV can’t do that. Radio can’t do that. Newspapers and magazines don’t have the space. My time on the Internet resembles eight hours at a coffeeshop stocked with every periodical in the world — if someone says “I read something stupid” or “there was this wonderful piece in the Atlantic” then conversation stops while you read the piece and make up your own mind.
James Lileks (quoted in An Army of Davids, pp. 117-18).

For more about James Lileks, see In the spirit of linking ideas, let me semi-gratuitously link the title of this post ("The Link Changes Everything") to a quote from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, as appreciated in Philip Roth's Operation Shylock, reprinted by this guy who apparently likes the quote too. UPDATE: well, in case that guy's website goes away, here it is:

In Operation Shylock Philip Roth says Dostoyevsky's greatest line is from Crime and Punishment. Svidrigailov lures Dunya to his apartment to forcibly seduce her. Just when he has her cornered she pulls a pistol from her purse and points it at his heart.

"this" says Svidrigailov "changes everything."

2.9.2007 trackback
11.9.2006 trackback

The Selfish Gene: Thirty Years On 178
March 23, 2006

In the twentieth century, a period of great scientific advancement, instead of having science and technology at the center of the intellectual world — of having a unity in which scholarship included science and technology along with literature and art — the official culture kicked them out. Traditional humanities scholars looked at science and technology as some sort of technical special product. Elite universities nudged science out of the liberal arts undergraduate curriculum — and out of the minds of many young people, who, as the new academic establishment, so marginalized themselves that they are no longer within shouting distance of the action.

Yet it's the products of this educational system that go straight from their desks at university literary magazines to their offices in the heart of the cultural establishment at our leading newspapers, magazines, and publishers. It's a problem that's systemic and not individual. Unless one is pursuing a career path in science, it is extremely difficult for a non-science major at a top research university to graduate with anything approaching what can be considered an education in science. I recently talked with a noted Italian intellectual, who is as familiar with string theory as he is with Dante, and writes about both in his philosophical novels. In appraising this situation, he argued for restraint and compassion. 'They just don't know,' he sighed, 'they just don't know.' He might well have added, they don't even know that they don't know.

Somebody needs to tell them. Otherwise, we wind up with the center of culture based on a closed system, a process of text in/text out, and no empirical contact with the real world. One can only marvel at, for example, art critics who know nothing about visual perception; 'social constructionist' literary critics uuninterested in the human universals documented by anthropologists; opponents of genetically modified foods, additives, and pesticide residues who are ignorant of genetics and evolutionary biology.

As examples, one need only read with astonishment, but not surprise, recent essays in The New York Times Book Review coining pejoratives such as "evolutionism" and "scientism" to critique the set of ideas that inform this edition of Edge. These essays appear not to be driven by any apparent scientific knowledge or expertise, but by a need in the writer to confirm deeply felt superstition-based ideas and/or pre-conceived political models. The message: science is not welcome. But apparently what is welcome is that which writers ignorant of science don't know about their subjects.

And, according to Daniel C. Dennett, such pieces are examples of the sin of Xism:

When you can't stand the implications of some scientific discipline X, but can't think of any solid objections, you brand them instances of the sin of Xism and then you don't have to take them seriously! What next? A review that warns about the pernicious ''meteorologism'' that keeps scolding us about global warming, or the ''economism'' that has the effrontery to inform us that the gap between rich and poor is growing?
Social-constructionist 'intellectuals,' and perhaps even the 'radical ism-ists' culture warriors of The New York Times Book Review might counter that science itself is but one more 'superstition.' But as Sir John Krebs points out below, Dawkins won't have any of this cultural relativism. Krebs quotes one of his favorite passages, not out of The Selfish Gene but from the book River Out of Eden:

Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principles and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees-waxed wings of Icarus don't.

In this edition of you will find:

(a) the complete 1 hour and 22 minute audio, available in two formats. You can listen to it as online streaming audio, or you can download it as an mp3 (75 MB) file and play it on your computer, iPod, etc.

(b) the 12,000-word transcript of the audio which each of the participants has lightly edited.

Stream it. Download it. Listen to it. Print it out. Read it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Glenn Greenwald on the Bush Administration's NSA Legal Arguments

The Blogosphere Strikes Back:

I can't write a new legal brief every time someone new shows up who decides they want to recite the Administration's legal defenses. At some point, I have addressed each of these legal arguments (usually multiple times), as have many other people.

If someone really thinks there are arguments I have not addressed, I'm happy to debate them, but I'd request first that you review the following [very comprehensive collection of] posts I've written (or posts written by others to which I've cited) on each legal issue relating to the NSA scandal [published here].

See also Mr. Greenwald's NSA Scandal blog.

Army of Davids Update

From An Army of Davids by Glenn Reynolds:

[W]hen “making” media is cheap, and an unlimited supply of people are “making it,” what happens to journalism? Something that journalists may not like: Journalism, right now, is in the process of reverting to its earlier status as an activity, rather than a profession. [Prediction]: If Big Media let their position go without a fight to keep it by fair means or foul, they’ll be the first example of a privileged group that did so. So beware…. I think we’re already beginning to see signs of that backlash, complete with the growth of alarmist articles (like a [Nov. 14, 2005] cover story in Forbes) on the dangers posed by bloggers…).

You want to keep this media revolution going? Be ready to fight for it. I think people will be. Am I too optimistic? We’ll see.

I could write more about the role of blogs in changing politics and media, but that task has been admirably performed by Dan Gillmor in We the Media, Joe Trippi in The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, and especially by Hugh Hewitt in his book Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That’s Changing Your World.

An Army of Davids, pp. 101-02.

Caution: I haven’t read Hewitt's Blog book, but I note that Hewitt is the very same “journalist” mauled by Helen Thomas in the radio encounter referenced in the immediately preceding The Geebus post.

In any event, there are a bunch of books on this topic from various authors, as a simple search on will reveal. Caught my eye: R. Scott Hall, The Blog Ahead: How Citizen-Generated Media Is Radically Tilting the Communications Balance; and Biz Stone, Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs.

See also Armstrong & Zuniga, Crashing the Gate, reviewed favorably by the NY Times here, as discussed by blogger Glenn Greenwald (the subject of the next The Geebus post after this one).

More comments on An Army of Davids:

Mickey Kaus (Slate, 3/22/06)

Jim Geraghty (National Review Online, 3/20/06)

See also the Glenn Reynolds Interview post on The Geebus, March 16, 2006.

And don’t forget this bit of HTML slapdashery, now coursing through the blogosphere unchecked (and first noted in this space here).

* * * *
Hoist on own Petard Dept: Instapundit in the future (Sullivan 5.12.2009).

Digital Davids TPM 6.19.2009

Sunday, March 19, 2006

2/16/2006 Helen Thomas Interview

Listen to Helen Thomas, veteran White House correspondent, square off against conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt on the attached 12-minute MP3. Highlights and the audio link are posted at

3/19/2006: Former Iraq PM: 'We Are In Civil War'

3/1/06: Fox News: Iraq Civil War “Made Up By The Media?”
3/11/06: Bush Confident Iraq Will Avoid Civil War
3/14/2006: Iraq Edges Closer to Open Civil Warfare

3/19/2006: Cheney: Iraq not in civil war, predicts success

Former Iraq PM: 'We Are In Civil War' - CBS News

3/19/2006: Allawi: "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is." ([former Prime Minister] Allawi heads the Iraqi National List, a secular alliance of Shiite and Sunni politicians. )

In a Washington Post column Sunday, Rumsfeld argued that talk of civil war has been overblown, promoted mostly by terrorists, who, as the defense secretary said, "seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Prairie Home Excoriation

Garrison Keillor: Day of Reckoning for the Current Occupant
Chicago Tribune,

The Republican Revolution has gone the way of all flesh. It took over Congress and the White House, horns blew, church bells rang, sailors kissed each other, and what happened? The Republicans led us into a reckless foreign war and steered the economy toward receivership and wielded power as if there were no rules. Democrats are accused of having no new ideas, but Republicans are making some of the old ideas look awfully good, such as constitutional checks and balances, fiscal responsibility, and the notion of realism in foreign affairs and taking actions that serve the national interest. What one might call 'conservatism.'

The head of the National Security Agency under President Ronald Reagan, Lt. Gen. William Odom, writes on the Web site that he sees clear parallels between Vietnam and Iraq: 'The difference lies in the consequences. Vietnam did not have the devastating effects on US power that Iraq is already having.' He draws the parallels in three stages and says that staying the course will only make the damage to US power greater. It's a chilling analysis, and one that isn't going to come from the Democratic Party. It's starting to come from Republicans, and they are the ones who must rescue the country from themselves.

Let's bring the boys home. Otherwise, let's send this man back to Texas and see what sort of work he is capable of and let him start making a contribution to the world.

Ultra-Mobile P.C.

Welcome to The Official UMPC site!

A brief explanation above and a more thorough Q&A below:

What about battery life?

The companies are predicting 2.5 to 3 hours.

What! Who on earth would buy something with that kind of battery life?

Who knows? Maybe early adopters and home users with a power outlet nearby. Microsoft is spinning the usual blather about how battery life will improve with future development. It'll be interesting to see whether the UMPC is around long enough for that to happen.

The Geebus: and the next post in that blog is on speculation around Apple's version.

More speculation is floating around about Apple’s answer to Origami, where CNet goes over the latest patent filings by Apple with the US Patent and Trademark Office for touch-sensitive screens, citing around seven patents filed by Apple so far.

Perhaps the most provocative educated guess by the reporter is his Fox News-like reach about how “some expect” to see two versions of the next video iPod, where the story goes that while one upcoming iPod keeps that 60GB spinning drive, another more-svelte model is all-solid-state with one or two 8GB or even 12GB flash cards on board. Knowing the sweep of history so far, we don’t think that reporter had to reach that far to figure that one out.

If Apple plans to go through with its recent patent applications, the article cites that there will indeed be a tablet from Apple that will answer Origami, and it will integrate with iTunes with music and video, too. Well, duh. We think there’s got to be a touchscreen click wheel in Apple’s future, and it will just be a matter of time before we see it.

Daily Show Clip on Iran, etc.

Crooks and Liars

This is the Daily Show clip that I mentioned.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Repulican Strategist Ed Rollins

"people are beginning to think this administration's incompetent..."

Watch video here: Crooks and Liars

Glenn Reynolds Interview

Q & A with author of An Army of Davids

I haven't seen or read it yet, but this is a Q&A (video and transcript) with the author of An Army of Davids.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Popular Culture: Boston Legal Clip

AOL News - Supreme Court Justice Reveals Death Threats

AOL News - Supreme Court Justice Reveals Death Threats:

"Worry is not limited to the Supreme Court. Three quarters of the nation's 2,200 federal judges have asked for government-paid home security systems, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said this week."

John Dean: Why Worry About NSA Data Mining?

Why Should Anyone Worry About Whose Communications Bush and Cheney Are Intercepting, If It Helps To Find Terrorists?
FindLaw, Feb. 24, 2006, courtesy BLR

Many people trust the government not to abuse or misuse this information. Based on experience, I don't. But if you do, imagine what a hacker might do after cracking into all that private and government information - the kind of security breach that happens every day. Such hacking could trigger scenarios that range from blackmail to graymail to identity theft, to others knowing more about you and your life than even you may know.

Influenza Pandemic Preparedness

Here's a peek at the federal government's actions with respect to bird flu preparedness: Federal Banking Agency Guidance re Influenza Preparedness.

The general federal government website, referenced in the bank agency guidance, is

See also World Health Organization (WHO) website and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Also, check out the very interesting FluWiki:

About FluWiki: A wiki is a type of online collaboration that allows anyone (including you) to edit any page on a website. The open nature of the wiki format allows diverse, decentralized participation, and has shown itself able to develop surprisingly effective and sophisticated products, such as the Wikipedia.

The purpose of the FluWiki is to help local communities prepare for and perhaps cope with a possible influenza pandemic. This is a task previously ceded to local, state and national governmental public health agencies. FluWiki's goal is to be a reliable source of information, as neutral as possible, about important facts useful for a public health approach to pandemic influenza; a venue for anticipating the vast range of problems that may arise if a pandemic does occur; and a venue for thinking about implementable solutions to foreseeable problems.

Monday, March 13, 2006

National Barometer


Enlightenment in High Gear

[Cognitive Scientist Andy] Clark’s notions support the conjecture that smart mobs in computation-pervaded environments could enable some people to transform the way they think and the way civilization operates, the way some people used printing presses, literacy, the scientific method, and new social contracts to transform feudalism into modernism. Enlightenment rationality has its limits, but the reason it is called “the Enlightenment” is that the changes enabled by the systematic use of reason, aided by mathematics and literacy, represented a step toward a more democratic and humane world. Part of taking that step involved learning to think in new ways, aided by cognitive technologies—learning to become new kinds of humans.

It would be a mistake, Clark cautions, to try to nail “human nature” down to what humans used to be, because “ours are (by nature) unusually plastic brains whose biologically proper functioning has always involved the recruitment and exploitation of non-biological props and scaffolds. More so then any other creature on this planet, we humans emerge as natural-born cyborgs, factory tweaked and primed so as to be ready to grow into extended cognitive and computational architectures: ones whose systematic boundaries far exceed those of skin and skull.”

Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs (2002) p. 208

(quoting Andy Clark, “Natural-Born Cyborgs?” in Cognitive Technology: Instruments of Mind, Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Cognitive Technology, (ed. M. Benyon, C. Nehaniv & K. Dautenhahn (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2001), p. 17).

See also Andy Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence (2004); and, at page 5.

. . .. ... ..... ........ oOo ........ ..... ... .. . .

Contrast that notion with the following:
These days, mainstream media fascination with blogs and the bloggers who love them often seems to assume that the very use of the Internet enhances the content or style of what has been written. It's a seductive cyber-fantasy. Speed is useful, and so are hyperlinks and visuals-on-demand, but—fortunately or not, depending on your point of view—there's no digital invisible hand that can move any piece of writing very far along the road to worthwhile reading.

A central paradox of the rapid advances in media technologies is that the quantum leaps in computer hard drives and software have been accompanied by an approximately zero boost in human mental capacity—or in what we refer to with such words as "insight," "wisdom," and "compassion."
Norman Solomon, "Digital Hype: A Dazzling Smokescreen?" (which I read on Perspective (March 7, 2006), but it is apparently not archived there. Flash forward 7.18.2009.)

More GOP Bush Bashing

The Los Angeles Times on the conservative crackup.

The Sunday Current section of the Los Angeles Times has three articles on how George W. Bush has betrayed conservatism:

Jeffrey Hart opines that Bush is too much of an ideologue to be a conservative in the Burkean sense.

Bruce Bartlett writes that Bush is too much of a spendthrift to be a conservative in the fiscal sense.

And Daniel Drezner writes that Bush has angered Republicans for being too inconsistent and too incompetent to be a conservative in the foreign policy sense.


[conservative mag] Insight:

"Lots of important issues that deal with national security are never brought to the president because he doesn't want to deal with them," a source familiar with the White House said. "In some cases, this has resulted in chaos."

Modernity versus Barbarism

For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats
NY Times

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence. Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.

In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.

"I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings," she said in an interview this week in her home in a Los Angeles suburb.

Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs."

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not with their crying and yelling."

See video here.

GOP Rebellion?

About That Rebellion ...
The NY Times

Republican lawmakers don't just turn a blind eye when they learn that the president is making profoundly bad choices, like cutting constitutional corners, abrogating treaties and even breaking the law. They actually legalize the president's misdeeds.

Take domestic spying, held up as another area of Republican revolt. The program violates the law. Congress knows it. The public knows it. Even President Bush knows it. (He just says the law doesn't apply to him.) In response, the Capitol Hill rebels are boldly refusing to investigate the program – or any other warrantless spying that is going on. They are trying to rewrite the law to legalize warrantless spying. And meanwhile, they've created new subcommittees to help the president go on defying the law.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Huffington Post Sunday Roundup

GOP's worst nightmare: a corrupt insider looking for a reduced sentence (posting mostly for the quote; not suggesting you link to the article).

My favorite quote of the week comes from Jack Abramoff, whose old chums are treating him like Typhoid Mary at a hypochondriacs' convention:

You're really no one in this town unless you haven't met me.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Windows Live Safety Center -- Clean Up your PC

Got junk (or worse) cluttering up your PC?

Lots of things get saved on your PC that you don’t need. Some are benign. Some slow you down. And some let prying eyes track what you do on your PC. Check out Microsoft's "Live Safety Center [Beta]" for information and tools designed to help.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Army of Davids email string

Army of Davids Discussion
Follow this link, examine the graphic, scroll to discussion at the end.

No doubt there is plenty of reason to fear increased authoritarian control, but the Internet, blogosphere, etc. have created an opportunity, unprecedented in human history, for reason to assert itself. Crucially, there are increasingly effective means for distinguishing signal from noise, allowing accurate information to prevail over spin.

Here’s an article somewhat on point from Cal’s Alumni magazine:
Also from the same issue.

See also this book, which I’m about ½-way through. It was published in 2002, which enables the reader to see how much of the material under discussion is coming true and achieving scale. All of this is occurring against the backdrop of the revolutionary advances in network science, emergence, complex systems, etc., which are invigorating scientific research across numerous fields. For background on that, see the Orgnet site, the attached Sci Am article (and the ‘further reading’ cites); this book, and this one, and dozens of other books,' articles, and scientific publications by lots of credible people.

The main reason I believe all this, however, is that it resonates with my own personal experience “wielding technology” and marshalling information effectively in the service of truth and reason, up against forces and mentalities very much akin to those behind the reigning political ideology.

These phenomena are still largely invisible to even very sophisticated people, so I feel compelled to do my part to increase awareness. I’m no Pollyanna, and I’m not predicting any straight-line path to utopia, but there are tangible grounds for hope.

By the way, this email (with hyperlinks to source material, clips from substantive sources, etc.) is an example of the new kind of communications that are now possible, and increasingly people are getting in the habit of communicating in this way (to the point that it is becoming necessary to be able to do so).

Interior Secretary Gale Norton Resigns

Interior Secretary Gale Norton resigned Friday after five years in President Bush's Cabinet and at a time when her agency is part of a lobbying scandal over Indian gaming licenses.
Yahoo! News.

Rupert Cornwell | Warmongers Admit They Were Wrong

Neo-conservatives who sold the United States on this disastrous war are starting to utter three small words: "We were wrong."
The Independent UK

Of all the critiques however, the most profound is that of Francis Fukuyama, in his forthcoming book, America at the Crossroads. Its subtitle is 'Democracy, Power and the Neo-Conservative Legacy' - and that legacy, Mr Fukuyama argues, is fatally poisoned.

This is no ordinary thesis, but apostasy on a grand scale. Mr Fukuyama, after all, was the most prominent intellectual who signed the 1997 'Project for the New American Century', the founding manifesto of neo-conservatism drawn up by William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, the house journal of the neo-conservative movement.

"One can't doubt the objective in Iraq has failed ... Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an army of 130,000 Americans. Different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgement of defeat."
-William Buckley Jr., Influential conservative columnist and TV pundit.

"By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational base, for jihadists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at."
-Francis Fukuyama Author and long-term advocate of toppling Saddam.

"The military campaign and its political aftermath were both passionately debated within the Bush administration. It got the war right and the aftermath wrong We should have understood that we needed Iraqi partners."
-Richard Perle, Arch-warmonger and pivotal Republican Hawk.

"The world has learnt a tough lesson, and it has been a lot tougher for those tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis ... than for a few humiliated pundits. The correct response is not more spin but a sense of shame and sorrow."
-Andrew Sullivan, Prominent conservative commentator and influential blogger.

"Almost three years after the invasion, it is still not certain whether, or in what sense, Iraq is a nation. And after two elections and a referendum on the constitution, Iraq barely has a government."
-George Will, Right-wing columnist on the Washington Post and TV pundit.

See post.

Retired Justice O'Connor Decries Republican Attacks on Courts

NPR: Sandra Day O'Connor Warns Of "Beginnings" Of Dictatorship... Slams Tom DeLay, Sen. John Cornyn...

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor showed Thursday that she's not absent from judicial issues. During a speech in Washington, she said Republican leaders' attacks on the courts threaten the constitutional freedoms of Americans.

See also transcript at and coverage on The Huffington Post.

Bush Approval Rating Falls to New Low

Click picture to enlarge.

Link to Story

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dubai Ports to Transfer Ports to U.S. Entity

Norm Ornstein: Halliburton is a name that came up
Online NewsHour

"If this is done now through the backdoor, where D.P. has any role at all, Congress is going to go ballistic, and it's going to be a disaster, I think, for the administration.

"They have got a dilemma now, because there simply aren't American companies that have the know-how and the breadth to do this. Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, what I had heard earlier in the day, as they were looking at those that have the -- the kind of resources, Halliburton was a name that came up. And Democrats, I'm sure, are saying, please, God, let that happen."

Space elevator Robot Passes 1,000-Foot Mark

LiftPort’s balloon-based test marks milestone on long road to orbit, courtesy JmeJ

In a related development, the Spaceward Foundation of Mountain View, California has announced the First Annual Space Elevator Competition, to be held Oct. 21 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Two competitions are being held: the Tether Challenge and Beam Power Challenge. These are two of the key technologies required to build a space elevator.

The Tether Challenge will test the strength and weight of carbon nanotube-based materials. The Beam Power Challenge will feature climbers attempting to scale a 200-foot (61-meter) tether powered by a high-intensity light source.

See also and

That was a real good thing you done, George

Merrill Markoe: George Bush & The Twilight Zone The Huffington Post

For our own safety and the safety of our cities, maybe its time we all start saying "That's a real good thing you done George. That Iraq war, that was a real good thing. And all that wiretapping? And Katrina, the way you knew all about that hurricane? And the deal with Dubai Ports? You done real good, George. That was a real real good thing you done."

John Podhoretz on "Army of Davids"

New York Post Online Edition: postopinion:

"People used to be ignorant," Reynolds writes. "It was hard to learn things. You had to go to libraries, look things up, perhaps sit and wait until a book was fetched from storage, or recalled from another user, or borrowed from a different library . . . Things are different today. I'm writing this in a bar right now, and I have most of human knowledge at my fingertips."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Crumbling Base

President Bush losing support among Hoosiers

How bad are the results for Bush? For a Republican in a red state like Indiana, very bad. The president's approval rating has dropped 18 points in Indiana since March 2005.

An Army of Davids Will Lead Us

Arianna Huffington discusses Glenn Reynolds' New Book

While touching on the seemingly endless arenas in which technology is decentralizing power and transferring it away from giant corporate entities to individuals -- including the arts, business, politics, music, and even space exploration -- Reynolds is especially engaging on the profound shifts in the way news and information are disseminated (not surprising given his place in the blogging vanguard).

"Power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few," he writes, "has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many... Millions of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff -- and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession."

Reynolds also nails how the blogosphere has become an invaluable tool for holding the mainstream media's feet to the fire: "Where before journalists and pundits could bloviate at leisure, offering illogical analysis or citing 'facts' that were in fact false, now the Sunday morning op-eds have already been dissected on Saturday night, within hours of their appearing on newspapers' webites."

Reynolds may be identified with the right, but his central thesis that technology is evening the playing field between the media haves and the media-have-only-a-laptop-and-an-Internet connection crowd cuts across partisan lines.

Glenn Reynolds, An Army of Davids : How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths

& John Podhoretz NY Post 3.7.2006

At Conservative Forum on Bush, Everybody's a Critic

Cato Institute Panel Rips Bush Washington Post

[Former Reagan aide Bruce] Bartlett began by predicting a big tax increase "to finance the inevitable growth of government that is in the pipeline that President Bush is largely responsible for." He also said many fellow conservatives don't know about the "quite dreadful" traits of the administration, such as the absence of "anybody who does any serious analysis" on policy issues.

[Conservative blogger Andrew] Sullivan, author of the forthcoming The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It; How to Get It Back, called Bush "reckless" and "a socialist," and accused him of betraying "almost every principle conservatism has ever stood for." "This is a big-government agenda," Sullivan said. "It is fueled by a new ideology, the ideology of Christian fundamentalism." Sullivan further decried the "complete contempt" for democratic processes, torture of detainees, ignoring habeas corpus and a "vast expansion of the federal government." The notion, he said, that the "Thatcher-Reagan legacy that many of us grew up to love and support would end this way is an astonishing paradox and a great tragedy."

"If Bush were running today against Bill Clinton, I'd vote for Clinton," Bartlett served. "You have to understand the people in this administration have no principles," Sullivan volleyed. "Any principles that get in the way of the electoral map have to be dispensed with."

House Appropriations Committee Votes 62-2 to Block Ports Deal

G.O.P. Ranks in Congress Show Widening Cracks - NY Times

Whether theatrics or something more fundamental, some Republicans say that the port fight and scrutiny of the surveillance program show a new willingness to confront the White House and that it is a fitting moment for Congress to declare its independence.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GOP needs to stay to the right of Dems on National Security

House GOP to Try to Block Ports Deal - Yahoo! News

House Republican leaders on Tuesday embraced legislation that would block a Dubai-owned company from taking over operations at several U.S. ports, brushing aside a veto threat from President Bush. The move marks the latest step in a Republican revolt in Congress unlike any other in Bush's five years in office. The president has yet to veto any legislation, and GOP leaders have been careful to avoid sending him anything that he wouldn't sign.

Basic Truthiness

David Corn

From Dick Cheney's speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday morning:

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the basic truths of the world we live in today is that George W. Bush is a man of his word.

Bush, Lies, and Videotape

James Carroll: Bush, Lies, and Videotape []

A narrative that unfolds across the terrain of an inner life requires an inner life, and Bush shows no sign of having one. Even a character flaw presumes a depth of character that the president seems to lack. What interior conflict can there be for a man who attributes all failures, all mistakes, all crimes to those around him, as if he himself (alone of all humans) is blameless? Where there is no capacity for shame, there is none for insight, much less transformation. Without the secret struggle against the self, there can be no drama, only pathos.

As for us, the beholders of this narrative, there can be no suspension of disbelief, no identification, and no recognition of our own fate being rescued by a confrontation with the truth. On the contrary, since this is not literature but life, there is only the increased awareness of the danger into which the world is plunged by having such a hollow creature in the position of ultimate power.

New Grassroots Movie Exposes DeLay

Yelling "Movie" in a Crowded Political Theater [The Huffington Post]

By admission on all sides, Tom Delay had a master plan: takeover the Texas state house and personally force through a new redistricting plan that would hatch more hard Right Republican congressmen. He executed that plan in Texas. Delay got 5 new hard right Republicans in Congress. But at least one civil judge and a couple of Texas grand juries think DeLay's plan involved funneling large sums of banned corporate money to the state house candidates that helped put the plan into action.

Mark [Bernbaum] and I [Jim Shermbeck] are grassroots film makers. It's just him and me. We're Texas video wildcatters. Freelancers. Entrepreneurs. The revolution in digital technology means you can, as we did with The Big Buy, make a broadcast or theatrical-ready film - if you're willing to not pay yourself. All you need is a camera and tape - and a loving family.

What digital did to film making, Brave New Films is doing to film marketing. They've got a new grassroots model for films that otherwise would never have such a wide audience. We think their plan will get The Big Buy in front of more eyes than traditional roll outs, and with any luck, also come close to compensating us for three years donated labor.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Watch this video

Meaningful minutes for autism: It took four minutes. Four measly minutes for high school senior Jason McElwain to morph from a relatively unknown student manager of the Greece Athena basketball team into a nationwide inspiration. In those 240 seconds, the 5-foot-6 kid with autism, in his first-ever appearance in a high school game, scored 20 points and tied a school record with six 3-pointers.

Bad Deal


Congressional sources said the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department and Coast Guard expressed objections during the review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States of the state-owned Dubai Ports World, which bought the British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O has managed port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

"All of the rules were bent on this one," a congressional source said. "We had a major security review managed by political appointees." But most of the objections were not recorded in the proceedings of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the sources said. They said the objections remained off the record for "technical reasons." Later, the heads of some of the agencies denied that their representatives raised concerns.

"I am more convinced than ever that the process was truly flawed," said Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican & chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "I can only conclude that there was a rush to judgment, that there wasn't the kind of painstaking, thorough analysis that needed to be done, despite serious questions being raised and despite the involvement of a wide variety of agencies."

Jon Stewart, Oscar Host

An account of Jon Stewart's Sharp Oscar Wit from Yahoo News!

In a pointed barb at another of his favorite usual targets, the news media, Stewart saluted both Good Night, and Good Luck and Capote as important films about journalism's "relentless pursuit of the truth," adding, "Needless to say, both are period pieces."

Hollywood and its excesses took plenty of gentle ribbing. Mentioning that box office receipts in 2005 were down from the year before, while studios continued to fight copyright infringement, he launched into a brief tirade against the economic consequences of movie piracy. "There are women here who could barely afford enough gown to cover their breasts," he shouted at the camera in mock indignation. Saluting director for Schindler's List and Munich, Stewart quipped: "I think I speak for all Jews when I say I can't wait to see what happens to us next." In a reference to the gay themes prevalent in Brokeback Mountain and Capote, two of this year's most nominated films, Stewart said Capote broke taboos because it "showed America that not all gay people are virile cowboys. Some are actually effete New York intellectuals. It's true."

Stewart returned to some political jabs as the evening wore on, asking the cameras to point to a huge statue of the Oscar image above the stage. And, in obvious reference to the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in the days after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq he said, "Do you think if we all got together and pulled this down, democracy would flourish in Hollywood?"

Sunday, March 05, 2006



We charge the speakers to represent an idea of reality by describing their creative work, their lives, and the questions they are asking themselves. We also want them to share with us the boundaries of their knowledge and experience and to respond to the challenges, comments, criticisms, and insights of the members. The Reality Club is a point of view, not just a group of people. Reality is an agreement. The constant shifting of metaphors, the intensity with which we advance our ideas to each other — this is what intellectuals do. The Reality Club draws attention to the larger context of intellectual life.

Speakers seldom get away with loose claims. Maybe a challenging question will come from a member who knows an alternative theory that really threatens what the speaker had to say. Or a member might come up with a great idea, totally out of left field, that only someone outside the speaker's field could come up with. This creates a very interesting dynamic.

(The more than one hundred and fifty individuals who have made presentations at Reality Club meetings and the more recent EDGE Seminars include a wide range of people in the arts and sciences: actor Ellen Burstyn; philosopher Daniel C. Dennett; scientists Richard Dawkins, Freeman Dyson, Niles Eldredge, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Jay Gould, Stewart Kauffman, Benoit Mandelbrot, Lynn Margulis, and George Williams; psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Howard Gardner, Steven Pinker, and Roger Schank; artists Gretchen Bender, Peter Halley, April Gornick, and Gary Stephan; poets Michael McClure, Paul Mariani, and Gerd Stern; religious scholars Richard Baker-roshi, Elaine Pagels, and Robert Thurman; editor Steven Levy; social commentators Betty Friedan, Paul Krassner, Naomi Wolf, and the late Abbie Hoffman; writers Annie Dillard, Ken Kesey, Steven Levy, and Mark Mirsky.)

Not Their Government

Bill Moyers: DeLay, Abramoff, and The Public Trust
-The Huffington Post

I have painted a bleak picture of democracy. I believe it is a true picture. But it is not a hopeless picture. Something can be done about it. Organized people have always had to take on organized money.

Our democracy today is more real and more inclusive than existed in the days of the Founders because time and again, the people have organized themselves to insist that America become 'a more perfect union.'

It is time to fight again. These people in Washington have no right to be doing what they are doing. It's not their government, it's your government. They work for you. They're public employees - and if they let us down and sell us out, they should be fired. That goes for the lowliest bureaucrat in town to the senior leaders of Congress on up to the President of the United States.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

War on Values

White House Trains Efforts on Media Leaks:

"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."

Bush League Policy?

No Iraq Trip for Legislator Who Opposed Deal on Ports - New York Times


No Iraq Trip for Legislator Who Opposed Deal on Ports - New York Times Trust Bush? Yeah, right

Mainstream media Trust Bush? Yeah, right

But something else is happening: Republicans are truly miffed at a White House that they consider too secretive, too arrogant, and too interested in extending its own power. When the president threatened to veto legislation to block a Dubai company from operating six American ports, that was too much--even for some conservatives. "I think the administration has looked at the legitimate power of the executive during a time of war and taken it to extremes," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told me. "[It's] to the point that we'd lose constitutional balance. Under their theory, there would be almost no role for the Congress or the courts." Mississippi's Sen. Trent Lott put it more succinctly: "Don't put your fist in my face." Trust Bush? Yeah, right

Trust Bush? Yeah, Right []:

"It's not that we feel we now can [criticize the White House]," says one nervous House Republican. "It's that we feel we must."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mitch Kapor, Internet Visionary

Interviewed by Patrick Dillon, California Magazine, March/April 2006:

How has Internet use changed during the past decade?

A decade ago we were at the dawn of that era, and not at all clear about what it was going to be like. Now we are part of the way into it, so some things, like e-mail and e-commerce, we can safely assume are going to be major features of life for the next half century. And there are new phenomena rising out of the Internet that were utterly or almost utterly unanticipated, like Wikipedia, which is creating a new online community bent on upgrading our communal knowledge. We're not at the end of innovation, we're at the beginning."

Can we know everything?

By Quentin Hardy, California Magazine March/April 2006:

We envy children the intensity of feeling things like pure joy, or even raw sorrow. They are untempered by history or boredom: Everything is new. If we could recall that dismaying onrush of new feelings, we would better grasp what technology is doing now. Soon enough, thanks to an ever-denser Internet and increasingly effective search technologies, we should possess enormously augmented brains, relentlessly searching new landscapes for knowledge and connection.

Gonzales Seeks to Clarify Testimony on Spying

A Lame CYA?

Gonzales Seeks to Clarify Testimony on Spying

Ranking Judiciary Committee Democrat Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) said Gonzales's letter falls "far short of helping us focus this picture. Instead, they blur it further with vague responses about their shifting legal analysis for this illegal domestic spying and with unclear clarifications on the scope of the program over the last four years."

Bush: Job Ratings (1)

Latest Fox News Poll

Approve: 39 (from 44)
Disapprove: 54 (from 47)

Bush: Job Ratings (1)

ABC News: Lobbyist's Credit Card Bill Outs DeLay Trip

ABC News: Lobbyist's Credit Card Bill Outs DeLay Trip

No One Could Have Anticipated a President this Callow?

William Rivers Pitt 'No One Could Have Anticipated ...' []:

The [video of Bush being briefed prior to Katrina] is gut-wrenching, more than anything else, because of this: four days later, when questioned about his flaccid response to the catastrophe in Louisiana, Bush stated, 'I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.'

Right. No one anticipated the breach of the levees except the Director of the National Hurricane Center, the Director of FEMA, and a half-dozen other experts who implored Mr. Bush to take this storm seriously a full day before the hammer dropped. No one could have anticipated it? That has a familiar ring to it.

No one could have anticipated the failure of the levees.

No one could have anticipated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings.

No one could have anticipated these things ... except all the people who did. We are forced to get into some very large numbers today to accurately assess the body count from all the things the Bush administration would have us believe no one could have anticipated.

Review of Fukuyama's "America at the Crossroads"

MacBush - The Neoconservative Tragedy. By Jacob Weisberg []:

Francis Fukuyama's America at the Crossroads does the best job yet of explaining why the disaster [in Iraq] unfolded in the way it has. Fukuyama argues that the United States made the mistake of going into Iraq without preparing for a hostile occupation because of the flawed foreign-policy thinking of a small group of people called neoconservatives.

Despite his deep affiliations with different strands of the neoconservative movement, Fukuyama wrote in his 2.19.06 NYT Magazine piece that "Neoconservatism, both as a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Crooks and Liars

Crooks and Liars

This is a brilliantly timed interview segment with Bush on Katrina - it came out the day before the AP released footage calling many of his comments (from yesterday) into question.

Note how he smiles when he says, "it was very unsettling for me to realize our fellow citizens were in near panic, wondering where the help was." - Lawmaker: Port deal never probed for terror ties - Mar 1, 2006 - Lawmaker: Port deal never probed for terror ties - Mar 1, 2006:

"King [Rep. Congressman of NY] said the officials told him after he asked about investigation into possible terrorist ties: 'Congressman, you don't understand, we don't conduct a thorough investigation. We just ask the intel director if there is anything on file, and he said no.' "

The Blog | Bill Moyers: DeLay, Abramoff, and The Public Trust | The Huffington Post

The Blog Bill Moyers: DeLay, Abramoff, and The Public Trust The Huffington Post:

"And what now of DeLay? He's under indictment for money laundering in Texas, but the other day the party bosses in Congress gave him a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and - are you ready for this? - they put him on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department which is investigating the Abramoff scandal, including Abramoff's connections to DeLay."

William F. Buckley Jr.: It Didn't Work

William F. Buckley Jr. on Iraq on National Review Online
One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed.... The administration has, now, to cope with failure.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.

No 'Missing 18 Minutes' in the Info. Age

Details Emerge in Latest Plame Emails (

The White House confirmed Tuesday that it recently turned over 250 pages of emails from the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney related to covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence. The emails were not submitted three years ago when then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales ordered White House staffers to turn over all documents that contained any reference to Valerie and Joseph Wilson to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

The emails were written by senior aides and sent to various officials at the State Department, the National Security Council, and the Office of the President. The emails were written as early as March 2003 - four months before Plame Wilson's cover was blown in a report written by conservative columnist Robert Novak.

The contents of the emails are said to be damning, according to sources close to the investigation who are familiar with their substance. The emails are said to implicate Cheney in a months-long effort to discredit Wilson - a fact that Cheney did not disclose when he was interviewed by federal investigators in early 2004, these sources said.

The emails also show I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Karl Rove, and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, as well as former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton and other top officials in the vice president's office also took part in discussions about ways in which the administration could respond to Wilson's public criticism about the Bush administration's use of intelligence that claimed Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Niger.