Observations on the world today.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Be Prepa ... Wait! Let Me Start Again 

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow: September 19, 2004 - September 25, 2004 Archives

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? Because I did not know that September is National Preparedness Month. You'd think that if they are going to go to all the trouble to have it, that someone would tell you about National Preparedness Month. You know, so you could prepare.



Vichyssois Like Revenge Is Best Served Cold 

Herald.com | 09/25/2004 | Bush slams Kerry for Allawi swipe
''This brave man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America,'' Bush said at a campaign event in battleground Wisconsin. "And Senator Kerry held a press conference and questioned Mr. Allawi's credibility. You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility.''
Well, that's not exactly true. Now had Bush said that Allawi could not lead Iraq if America's leaders question his credibility, that might have been valid. Then again, the Vichy government had a hard time running France what with their credibility in question too. But that's what happens when your credibility is questionable.

And now, a scene from Casablanca:
Captain Renault : My dear Ricky, you overestimate the influence of the Gestapo. I don't interfere with them and they don't interfere with me. In Casablanca I am master of my fate! I am...
Police Officer: Major Strasser is here, sir!
Rick : You were saying?
Captain Renault : Excuse me.


Friday, September 24, 2004

Spinning for Bush 

The U.S. Leading Index Falls Again for the Third Consecutive Month
The leading index fell again in August, the third consecutive decline, and the weakness in the last three months has become more widespread.
But there is good news spin.
However, these declines in the leading index have not been long enough nor deep enough to signal an end to the upward trend in the leading index underway since March 2003.
But a slight dip in the growth of the economy at the very very tail end of the Clinton administration was enough to say that Bush inherited the recession. Yeah, that's reasonable.



Thursday, September 23, 2004

Cheney Sinclair 

MSNBC - Radio station drops CBS News over Guard flap
"We had so much outcry from our listeners. They were calling and complaining and saying they wouldn’t listen to a CBS newscast anymore,” said Lisa Sinclair, general manager of Sinclair Communications, which owns WNIS and four other stations in the Norfolk area, home to the world’s largest naval base.
Sinclair Communications? Sinclair Communications? Hmm? Where have I heard that name before?

Oh, yes, now I remember:
Tonight, ABC's "Nightline" will pay tribute to U.S. troops killed in Iraq by airing a 40 minute special – the names of the fallen will be read by anchor Ted Koppel as their photographs appear on screen. But Sinclair Broadcast Group – the country's largest owner of TV stations – will not allow its ABC affiliates to air the show. In a statement, Sinclair claims the special "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." While Sinclair claims it is pre-empting Nightline because it is an attempt to "influence public opinion," the record shows that Sinclair media has repeatedly leveraged its control over the airwaves to manipulate public opinion in favor of President Bush's right-wing agenda.
Hey, Sinclair Broadcasting:



Enquiring Minds Want to Know 

The National Enquirer: New Proof Bush Snorted Cocaine
While President George W. Bush's spokespeople are denying the allegation in Kitty Kelley's new book that Bush used cocaine, an ENQUIRER investigation has tracked down others who are making similar bombshell charges!
One source, author Toby Rogers, said a former member of George Bush Sr.'s staff revealed to him that George W. used cocaine and "has been out of control since college."
Remember when the National Enquirer broke the story that Rush Limbaugh is a drug addled doper? I was dubious that the story of Rush's illegal and illicit addiction to Oxy-contin was true. In fact, I was shocked to learn that the Enquirer had it right?

Well, according to the National Enquirer, President Bush is a drug addled doper? I am dubious that the story of Bush's illegal and illicit addiction to cocain is true? I will be shocked when if we learn that the Enquirer has it right?



What the F? 

Yahoo! News - House Blocks Court on Pledge Case Rulings
The House passed legislation Thursday that would prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether the words "under God" should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.

In a politically and emotionally charged debate, Democrats said majority Republicans in the chamber were debasing the Constitution in order to force a vote that could hurt Democrats in the election.

Supporters insisted that Congress has always had authority to limit federal court jurisdiction, and the legislation is needed to protect an affirmation of religion that is part of the national heritage.
Okay, here is how we respond. The democrats put forth legislation barring the Supreme Court from interfering with state elections. Or, they write legislation which further edits the pledge to read as follows:
I Pledge Allegiance to the Christian God-fearing flag of the non-Islamic anti-atheistic United States of America, and to the Bible-based Republic for which it stands, one Nation under Lord Jehova,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all unless you don't also believe in our one true God.
Then they can vote against it and dare the Republicans to vote for it.



Nader's No-nos 

Six testify to Nader petition fraud
Six people testified Tuesday - with more to come today - laying out a case of widespread fraud in the collection of Ohio petitions for presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

A 32-year-old Cincinnati resident was among those who said they falsely signed petitions stating they had gathered the names Nader needs to qualify for the ballot in November.

"I was wrong in that. I shouldn't have done that," Gregory Reese Jr. told a hearing officer for the Ohio secretary of state's office.
What is this, Louisiana?
Nader, an independent candidate, needs 5,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. County boards of election have certified 6,464. He has qualified for the ballot in Kentucky.

But a team of attorneys fighting the petitions is challenging more than 3,000 of those signatures on the basis that they were collected fraudulently by those paid to come in from outside Ohio.
This is ridiculous.
An entire family from Dayton said Tuesday they had never heard of Ralph Nader, even though they signed as witnesses to signatures on nearly 100 petitions.

Others from Cincinnati, Cleveland and Lorain are expected to tell similar stories of fraud today. The hearing officer, assistant state elections counsel Gretchen Quinn, will recommend to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell how many, if any, signatures should be invalidated.

The evidence of fraud was so clear that attorneys representing Nader on Tuesday were agreeing to toss out more than 400 signatures.
So who's fault is this, Ralph? Who do Nader's people say is in the wrong here?
In his opening statement, Hilson said the Democrats were trying to deprive Ohioans of their fundamental voting rights.
Right. It's our fault that Nader's people commited widespread fraud.



Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I can! I Can! 

Bruce Bartlett: A man without a plan
Quick question: What is John Kerry's economic plan? Can anyone reading this column name even one key element of it?
Bartlett is right. No idiot who would read his column could name any of Kerry's economic plan. But I can.

He wants to enforce existing trade treaties. He wants to eliminate tax incentives for outsourcing overseas. He wants to raise the minumum wage. He also wants to increase the tax on the highest bracket and lower the tax on the middle bracket even further thus continuing the one tiny part of Bush's program that actually had some impact, but doing it in a way that the impact can actually be sustained. The tax cut for the rich has already created as much stimulus as it possibly could, and continuing it will only damage the social services the government provides which in the long run will actually injur ethe economy even worse.

Just because this idiot Bartlett isn't paying attention, that doesn't mean that Kerry doesn't have a plan. It's one thing to disagree with the Kerry plan. But to pretend that there isn't one is just inexcusable at this point in the game.

Bartlett actually continues in the article to articulate what he sees as the Kerry plan. Which proves that he actually does know that Kerry has a plan, but his criticism of the plan indicates that he doesn't have the long ranging foresight necessary to actually appreciate it. For example, he writes:
Kerry's plan for restoring America's competitive edge involves increased government spending for research and development, tax credits to expand broadband service to rural areas, and encouraging more women and minorities to study math and science. His only proposal that might actually accomplish something is elimination of the capital gains tax for long-term investments in small business startups.
R&D spending, education spending and investment in broadband through tax credits are progressive genius akin to the FDR plan. The long term benefits to the economy far outweigh the short term expenditure. Why is it that only democrats like Truman, Kennedy and now Kerry are able to think of future benefit with programs like the GI bill and the Peace Corps, while Conservatives can't see the forrest for the trees? And when they see a tree, all they want to do is cut it down.



Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When Science Fails 

I've now done two posts demonstrating that two Republicans who claimed to not have been in a photo actually probably were. To prove this point, I overlaid their faces on the person they were accused of being, and demonstrated how the features aligned. But it has occurred to me that I should perhaps demonstrate what happens when the persons involved are in fact not the same individual.

Here are Scott Robinson and Phil Parlock Jr.:

Young Parlock and Robinson obviously look nothing alike, but this is a scientific experiment, not an aesthetic comparison. Both pictures are just-off from full-face, but they are at opposite angles. To compensate, I have flipped the Parlock kid's picture so the angles more closely match and overlaid his face on Robinson's picture here for a side-by-side comparison:

I placed the eyes at the same place and sized Parlock so that his chin aligned with Robinson's. These were the same markers I used for the previous experiments. Note that the nose and mouth are slightly out of alignment. But most significantly, note that the shoulders are not even close.

Here we see a transparency of Parlock on Robinson:

The ears are over an inch off. Also, while the left eyes align because I forced them to, the right eye's do not. Parlock's eyes are closer set.

So what does this prove? It proves that two randomly selected people will not match as well as Robinson matches the kicker and as well as Parlock matches the sign ripper.

Next experiment, is Ann Coulter really Andy Kaufman?



Monday, September 20, 2004

Scientific Evidence - Part 2 

Atrios leads us to this story in the Daily Pennsylvanian, the student paper of the University of PA.
A New York ABC television affiliate captured footage of a Republican Youth Convention attendee dragging to the ground and kicking an AIDS activist who had entered the event undercover as part of a larger protest against the George W. Bush administration.
The student in the video, whose name was unknown at the time the footage was taken, has been identified by several Penn students as Wharton junior Scott Robinson, a member of the Penn College Republicans.
Of course, he denies it, and the attached comments show that his friends are defending him. So I decided to repeat my face mapping experiment from a few days prior.

Here is a picture of Scott Robinson:

Here is a screen-cap of the kicker:

Now, here are the faces aligned in a side-by-side comparison:

Just like last time, all of the features line up perfectly. The kicker's head is tilted slightly down, which distorts the perspective slightly, and his mouth is open slightly elongating the chin, but the eye, nose, hair line and shoulder are an exact match.

Here is a transparency of the two pictures in overlay:

I must say, it was very kind of Scott to provide us with the same 3/4 view of his face in both instances. It makes the fact that the ear is identicle in both images indisputable.



Flyer Power 

It is 3:30 in the morning. I just got back in from hanging this flyer all over town:

I especially wanted to put the flyer around the high school. I wanted the kids to see it on their way into school on Monday morning. That's why I waited until after 2:00 AM on Monday to put them up. This way, there would be less chance that they would be torn down before the kids got there.

It's a chilly fall like night here, so I put on my dark hoodie. I'm sure I looked like a cloak & dagger nutcase to the local cop who saw me twice. The first time, he drove past just as I was coming out of the school parking lot. "Is everything all right?" he asked.

"Yeah, just hanging some flyers," says I. Luckily, in America, that's not considered subversive behavior just yet. But even if it were, I'd still have done it. It gave me a feeling of accomplishment and patriotism. It made me feel young again. But at the same time, it made me feel guilty that I'm not actually young anymore, because I won't personally be subject to this draft, and - due to asthma - neither will my son. But his friends will. And the sons and daughters of my friends and neighbors will too. And if this little thing that I did spurs any debate at all, then I will have accomplished something tonight.

Come on kids, don't let me down.



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