Goose the Blog 2.0

"Oh, ha! Sarcasm: The last refuge of sons of bitches!"


I shot the albatross

by John at 7/30/2004 04:16:00 PM

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean

It seems that the research vessel Bill was set to serve on is still stuck at the dock. Amy (his girlfriend, if you don't know), writes that:
Last Friday (7/23) at noon, I took Bill to the boat which was docked on Lake Union (inside the locks that open into the Puget Sound). We said our goodbyes, and I went to work to finish off the day. At about 4pm, he called and asked if I wanted company for the weekend because the boat had to be inspected by the Coast Guard who wasn’t planning to come out until Monday morning. So, home he came! Monday morning, bright and early, I dropped him off again, and again, we said our goodbyes. At about noon I got a call that he had just made it onto the boat (which was now outside of the locks in West Seattle at a port area called Harbor Island). At this point, the Coast Guard hadn’t shown up yet. Later he called and said the Coast Guard had come and that they were pulling out to go (again with more goodbyes), but about two hours later he informed me that they had left Harbor Island only to go to another dock in Seattle which is about a mile away from our house! Needless to say, the Coast Guard found problems with the boat (not in regards to its seaworthiness: it didn’t meet qualifications for a science vessel).

Monday night I went to meet him at the marina where they docked, and we walked around and watched the sunset and said goodbye again since the boat was planning to leave in the morning. But, wait! Tuesday he calls and says that they are still docked! And, Wednesday night he calls asking for more books because they can’t leave until Thursday (I took him Dostoevksy thinking that it might keep him busy for at least a little while!)! He spent the week watching movies (he has a TV w/ a DVD player in his berth, and the boat has several movies), reading a whole book, doing push-ups and seeing three sick people (ranging from knee pain to cuts...all so far have been the boat crew).

Finally, last night (7/29), he called and told me that they were leaving at 10pm. I would like to say that they are for sure gone, but until I don’t hear from him all day, I can honestly say that it’s a mystery as to whether or not they were able to pass all the Coast Guard tests and actually set sail!

Well, that was a few hours ago, and the mystery has been solved. He didn't leave last night and is still waiting at the dock.

If you're interested in his itinerary, Amy says:

The plan is to go south to Astoria, Oregon to drop off 5 scientists and then head back up the coast to the Gulf of AK. They will most likely be to AK in about 9 days. This will leave them about 2 weeks there before they turn around to come back! How strange to have 1/5 of the “sea adventure” take place on a dock!

I don't understand the details, but he doesn't have email yet. He should have an address after the ship arrives in Astoria (maybe two days after it finally leaves Seattle?) but it will not be his normal one.

Updates, as I get them, will be forthcoming.

Update: Bill left about 10 pm Friday evening. Hopefully, we will have his new email address soon. Because the IT person on the ship forgot to set up an address for him, he will be getting a recycled address from one of the departing scientists.


hell is other robots

by John at 7/28/2004 04:14:00 PM

So, this morning Boing Boing (natch!) pointed me to a Reuters article that said that the more a nation's people believed in Hell, the lower corruption was and the better the standard of living. "Crap! Hard data to prove that atheists are asses," I thought, "but, at least I can take comfort in the old adage that correlation does not imply causation." Then I went on with my day.

Later, Boing Boing pointed to the original St. Louis Fed study that the Reuters article referred to. I looked it over, and curiously, they never plotted belief in Hell vs. per capita GDP. Sure, there was a correlation between corruption and belief in Hell (a weak one) and a strong correlation between corruption and GDP. So, the study says, belief in Hell must be correlated with GDP. But I was suspicious. Luckily, the study provided an Excel file with the data. I figured I'd take a look at it later.

Then, checking Boing Boing once again, someone else (Morgan Foust) had done the work for me. He said the the belief in Hell / GDP correlation was actually negative (but small)!

So I checked it. Foust is right. Here's my chart.

The data is a little confusing, and this may be where those crack economists made their mistake. GDP rank is 1 for highest and 35 for lowest, and Belief in Hell rank is 1 for lowest and 35 for highest. Clearly, there is a weak correlation for strong belief in Hell and low GDP. Just the opposite of what the study says.

I didn't like the ranking data (that's no way to fit a line!), so I went to the base data of % belief in Hell and adjusted per capita GDP, but I got the same result. High belief in Hell corresponds to low GDP.

(Actually, I'd say there might be two, if not three, groups of data on this chart. A significant positive correlation only appears to exist for one of the groups. Maybe I'll check up on that later.)

Pretty sloppy work, Federal Reserve. But, I guess that we can all take comfort, at least, in the adage that correlation does not imply causation. There's hope for us yet!

Update: Looking back at the St. Louis Fed study, the ranking thing is where they screwed up. From their charts, if high corruption corresponds to low GDP (this is the common wisdom), then Corruption rank goes from 1=most to 35=least (similar to the GDP rank), and low belief in Hell weakly corresponds to less corrupt. They forgot that they ranked belief in hell from least to most, not most to least.

On top of that, fitting a line to a ranking is often all but meaningless, because it removes the structure of the data.

In addition to being in the opposite direction to what they study says, the GDP correlations with belief in Hell are also so weak as to be meaningless (if I recall my stats, they fail a hypothesis test).

Update 2: There really are three groups, and they have some geopolitical sense. Group 1 is "W. Europe" (except Ireland, plus Japan) where GDP doesn't correlate with Hell. Group 2 is "Third World" (sorry Chile, nothing personal) where GDP doesn't correlate with Hell. Group 3 is "E. Europe, Mediterranean, and N. America" (except Mexico, plus Ireland) where GDP does correlate to Hell. Except for Ireland and the US, Group 1 has as high or higher GDP than Group 3. Turkey is an outlier on the list, and is the only predominantly Islamic nation represented (I think Nigeria is half-and-half). I've broken down the groups here.


paid for by the robo-equality party

by John at 7/27/2004 02:55:00 PM

c:// input: slavery

// loading...

**error re: "slavery"
Does Not Compute

Click the graphic, then hit "forward" to see the rest of these beautiful propaganda posters by Joe Alterio (via Boing Boing, natch!).

Chris Bishop has made some other wonderful robot artwork, and he also does the funny and nasty comic her! [girl vs pig].


panopticon pizza

by John at 7/26/2004 03:26:00 PM

Ordering pizza in the Panopticon society (requires Flash). Hilarious, and sadly, probably true within the next decade. (via Boing Boing)


six-foot-tall devil rabbit

by John at 7/23/2004 10:57:00 AM

Everything you were afraid to ask about "Donnie Darko", from Super cool movie, with an excellent cover version of Tears for Fears' "Mad World". The director's cut is out soon, but you can see the theatrical version on DVD now.

Update: I forgot to say that the article contains spoilers for the film. Don't worry, you are warned when the spoilers begin, which is pretty much after the first page of the article. So, if you haven't seen the film, go get it, watch it, and then come back and read about what you just saw.

Update 2: readers respond to the article.

genocide in Darfur

by John at 7/23/2004 08:46:00 AM

Stolen from The Passion of the Present:

US Congress declares genocide in Sudan

At about 9:00 PM EST tonight (Thursday, July 22) the United States Congress House of Representatives voted on the bill "Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan" and the vote for the bill was unanimous. At about the same time the Senate, in a unanimous voice vote, also passed its identical version of the bill. These historic votes were among the last of the congressional session, which is now adjurned for six weeks. The full text of the bills is reprinted here.

The vote makes a non-binding recommendation to the President of the United States to, among other things:
  • call the atrocities being committed in Darfur, Sudan by its rightful name: 'genocide'
  • lead an international effort to prevent genocide in Darfur, Sudan
  • seriously consider multilateral or even unilateral intervention to prevent genocide should the United Nations Security Council fail to act
This is the first time such a move has been made by the US Congress during the actual committing of a genocide.


another interesting survey

by John at 7/22/2004 01:48:00 PM

I just took the Fire and Ice Survey. From the web page:
This survey assesses human social values by asking questions about your views of the world, and about your personal goals, wishes, hopes, dreams, and expectations. There are no right or wrong answers to questions such as these, so please be as honest and as complete as you can be when filling them out.

The survey is approximately 30 questions long and takes 10 to 12 minutes to complete. When you have finished it you will be positioned on our North American social values map and classified into the social values map quadrant you show the strongest similarity to. You will then be given a more detailed profile of that quadrant and have an opportunity to examine the values profiles of people from other quadrants as well.

This survey is a much shorter version of the standard one Environics uses to diagnose people's values and quadrant memberships, and so it has some error surrounding it. However, it successfully classifies users into their proper quadrants more than 8 times in 10, on average.

It's not a survey about one's political persuasion (except indirectly, based on how that might relate to one's social values). I won't give any more away, so I don't bias your results if you are interested in taking the survey.

Personally, I think these type of tests require great discipline in separating out how I think I am, how I want to be, and how I really am. Of course, these three things are not always the same, and I don't think I am consistent at making adequate distinctions between them, either. If I am like other people in this regard, this lack of discipline will be reflected in the test results, but if I am extraordinarily bad at it (or unexpectedly good at it) my results will be in error.

I won't tell you what my results are yet, because I'm still trying to avoid biasing you if you want to take the survey yourself. Also, I think the results are sufficiently differentiated to avoid the Forer effect, but you can judge that for yourselves.

Finally, If you want to know my results (maybe after taking the survey yourself, or because you don't care about possible bias) you can see them here.


the "fluffy" mystery

by John at 7/21/2004 04:13:00 PM

With the recent surge in popularity of Fluffy (48 out of the last 100 hits to the blog) it is only natural that his google rank is climbing. He is now number 84 on the google image search for "fluffy" with SafeSearch off and number 51 with StrictSafeSearch on.

Is the case closed? I'm not sure. Why the heck are so many people looking for images of "fluffy" and why are they going to the third or fifth page of images? I will admit that fluffy.jpg was one of the more intriguing "fluffy" images google found, though, so I'm not surprised people are clicking through to it.


one small step

by John at 7/20/2004 12:50:00 PM

35 years ago today Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. You probably know the rest of the story.

Or do you? Visit for the truth.


bon voyage

by John at 7/19/2004 11:04:00 AM

I think that Bill still doesn't have good web access, so I'm posting this for him. (Bill, mail me with with additions/corrections if you want.)

He was supposed to go out on the M/V Independence, but it broke, so the research trip organizers had to find a new ship. They did.

Bill is shipping out next weekend on the R.V. Mt. Mitchell. It's based out of Lake Union, WA. He's going to be the ship's medical officer. The Mt. Mitchell actually looks like a pretty cool ship. He'll be gone for about five weeks, I think.

Bonus coolness points if he can use any of the following phrases in their proper context:
5- "I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day."
10- "This is medically impossible!"
10- "He's dead, Jim."
15- "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor not a bricklayer!"
20- "His brain is gone!"


a reminder

by John at 7/16/2004 01:16:00 PM

I wrote this yesterday, after reading Hoagland's column in the Washington Post, which resonated with something I'd been thinking about for a few days. But I decided to shelve it, and lay off the bad news blogging for a little while.

Today I changed my mind, so here is yesterday's aborted post:

It seems we don't hear about it as much as we used to, or maybe we have just gotten used to it and we don't notice anymore. With the transfer of partial sovereignity to the Iraqi Interim Government, perhaps it is because it is now Somebody Else's Problem.

So, just in case you need a reminder or feel like maybe you should pay attention to the background noise, Today in Iraq keeps a daily update (except Thur and Fri) of the deadly, ongoing strife.

I changed my mind because I read "Don't forget the bodies: On losing count of the dead" by Jeff Sharlet at The Revealer. It is a reminder of who is paying for the consequences of our war. You can decide for yourselves who - if anyone - is responsible.

Useful links:
Iraqi Civilian War Casualties
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
Iraq Body Count
Today in Iraq


you can't trust the liberal media

by John at 7/15/2004 03:15:00 PM

(click for the whole comic)



by John at 7/14/2004 08:35:00 AM

I heard it on NPR this morning, and Google News has several articles about it. Congress (Led by Senators Brownback, R-KS and Corzine, D-NJ) is moving to make a resolution declaring the crisis in Sudan to be genocide. It is not clear to me how such a declaration will inform US policy (that is, is it binding on the Executive?) but it gives extra ammunition to those around the world who want swift action.

If you are interested, the blog The Passion of the Present provides news updates and commentary on Sudan.

Update: Rep Payne (D-NJ) introduced a similar resolution, H Con Res 467, on June 24, but I hadn't seen any coverage of it until today.

Update 2: The US State Dept is reporting that Congress is set to vote on the resolutions declaring the Darfur crisis genocide. Your voice will influence their decision, so please let them know how you feel. You can find phone numbers, email, and fax numbers for your Representative and Senators at (if you don't know their names, you'll need your 5+4 digit zipcode). If you already contacted them, it doesn't hurt to do it again.


"Ten Reasons to Fire George W. Bush

by John at 7/13/2004 08:01:00 PM

And nine reasons why Kerry won't be much better", according to Reason magazine, anyway. I don't really disagree with much of the article, actually.

Billmon (where I found the article) has an interesting take on the implications of this kind of movement. Summary: not a big effect, but liberals can hope.

Update: Sorry, I didn't do due diligence on this post. The article is from Reason Online, a publication that is editorially independent from Reason magazine. Both are published by the Reason Foundation, an organization promoting libertarian principles, but not associated with the Libertarian Party.


Man, look at that nice hair

by Weisshaupt at 7/12/2004 03:16:00 PM

Hi All,

For those who might be interested, the next generation of Home theater projectors is out. And, following moore's Law they are now down to around $2000, and have twice the performance of mine. You can now see the Kerry/Bush race in all of its folical glory!

Bulbs are still a bit pricy at $375 for 2000 hours, but how else are you going to own a portable 6lbs, 110in 16:9 HDTV? At 19 cents an hour to operate you can watch 50 movies to the cost of watching one in the Theater, with the added benefits of being able to pause the film, relax on the couch, and not have to restrain yourself from beating in the head of some guy who thinks he IS at home on the couch and talking.

Since a person with 20/20 vision needs to be less than 3 times the picture height away from a screen to see 720p hi-def pictures, Projection is still the only way to go unless you have a small living room. (which is why the plasma displays that cost twice as much are always right on the isle at best buy)

Steve Smallcombe is a web-friend of mine, and knows his stuff. Here is a review of one of the leading new projectors written by him.

hook up a Myth-TV (linux based) and a Sony lifestyle speaker system and you have a small, easily hidden solution/alternative to a big screen.
(Of course you can also get the automatic screen and drop/lift for the projector, but add on another $4000 to the cost)

Cool Stuff.

grandson of of interest to some

by John at 7/12/2004 08:08:00 AM

For sublime political commentary, nobody beats Jesus' General.

Browse around if you have some time. (Fair warning: you may have to call 911 after laughing your ass off.)

by popular demand

by John at 7/12/2004 07:49:00 AM

Here it is! This is what you want so badly.

This is fluffy. He is the destroyer of worlds.

15% of the hits to this blog over the last several days were to this image, all from some google image search. Unfortunately, the referring URL is truncated, so I can't see what the search terms are. Anyway, if you came to this web page via a google image search, please be so kind as to leave a comment about what search terms you used. I'm just curious.

The Mgmt.


Switching my Vote to Kerry/Edwards

by Weisshaupt at 7/09/2004 04:50:00 PM

Edwards being on the ticket has changed everything for me. Its probably old news to most of you, but I just picked this up.
Edwards does in fact have supernatural powers that will help the Kerry/Edwards administration to make decisions that will stand the test of time!

Sadly, its isn't the power of Oracle. Edwards, does have, however, the omnipotence to see what is in someone else's mind both in the present and in the past!(something that I claimed in my previous essay would be required to gets facts right):

'I have to tell you right now -- I didn't plan to talk about this -- right now I feel her (Jennifer), I feel her presence,' Edwards told the jury according to court records. "[Jennifer's] inside me and she's talking to you ... And this is what she says to you. She says, 'I don't ask for your pity. What I ask for is your strength. And I don't ask for your sympathy, but I do ask for your courage.'"

"She said at 3, `I'm fine.' She said at 4, `I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing O.K.' Five, she said, `I'm having problems.' At 5:30, she said, `I need out.' "

Um, on second thought, maybe I have the wrong John Edwards,
Nope, it isn't a transcript of "Crossing Over", its the transcript of the malpractice suit of Jennifer Campbell in 1985.

I wonder if he can tell us what a Partial Birth Abortion fetus is thinking? *

Someone with Abilities like that should definitely be on the Presidential ticket, and deserves my vote.

But then again, if Edwards has it, then its possible other people do. Take this test to find out if you are one of them!

I tried this twice. Once really quickly to make sure it didn't prompt for personal info or anything (neither of these links do) and then again using the force. First trial I got the expected value, but in the second, got more than twice the expected vale (25 trials,clairvoyance, feedback, open deck), I got 12 right) which gave me a significane level of 0.01. Post in the comments if you beat it :>)

Or try the computer generated Psychic here

I swear its right every time. :>)
But you do have to yell out the card name to get it to work.

*(I stole that from Ann Coulter)


a double dog dare

by John at 7/08/2004 09:37:00 AM

This is good, but it could be better.

Danforth, our new US Ambassador to the UN (replacing Negroponte, who is our new US Ambassador to Iraq), is calling for swift action on Sudan. The UN Security Council is still discussing the draft proposal by the US to ban travel and arms sales to the Janjaweed militia. We should also be acting to authorize funds for humanitarian aid - it's cheap compared to what we spend on so many other things.

But I double dog dare him to call it genocide. This would force the hand of the UN and signatory states under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Unfortunately, it would force our hand as well (unless we no longer consider ourselves bound by the treaties we sign, which is a possible).

Once again, I'll say it: if we believe in this stuff, we have to act like we believe in it.

You have called/mailed/emailed your congressional representatives, right? And President Bush? You can look up their names, numbers, and addresses at It's so easy to do, and only takes a moment. Here is a copy of the email I sent to Sen. Specter:

Senator Specter,

In May, the Senate unanimously passed S Con Res 99, condemning Sudan
for the crisis in Darfur. I am writing to urge you to continue to
pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence and allow
humanitarian aid to enter the region by supporting Sec. of State
Powell's call for UN action. We must act multilaterally on this issue.
If we act immediately, hundreds of thousands of lives can be saved
from death by disease and starvation.

[name and address deleted, but put it here if you want their attention as a constituent]

See the former post for extra information.

Update: Gambits don't hide Darfur crisis


The Power of Spin

by Weisshaupt at 7/07/2004 10:47:00 AM

(As usual I apologize for the Length. I did considerable research on this, so I hope someone at least skims it. John, quite understandably, missed the point of my conclusion, mostly because I communicated it very poorly. This error I have tried to rectify below)

A While ago John posted in earnest, accusing President Bush of all sorts of things. However, with all of the historical reading I have done lately I realized that John must have had the name wrong... it appears he was in fact talking about Thomas Jefferson…

[Jefferson] made our nation more vulnerable to terrorism, damaged the ability of our armed forces to defend us, ruined our international credibility, put young men and women at unnecessary risk for the foreseeable future,

Jefferson launched a war against Muslim Terrorists (back then they called them the Barbary Pirates) who demanded the United States pay protection money for their shipping in the Mediterranean. During this effort against the terrorists he was simultaneously cutting military (Army and Navy) spending that supported the effort, and putting the Seamen and small Navy America had at risk.

Jefferson tried to create an “International Task Force” to police the region, but failed to build a consensus among the other Nations of Europe. Obviously our “international credibility” during the Napoleonic Wars was low, and this encouraged both the English and the French to impress our soldiers during the Napoleanic Wars.

Our “International Credibility” was strained further when Jefferson introduced the ineffectual embargo act, that had no effect on either power, but devistated the economy at home.

Jefferson’s lack of military preparedness and use of policies that were ineffective against our enemies and harmful to the American economy put the entire country in peril (including women and children) in 1812.

[Jefferson] threatened our constitutional freedoms in the name of security, abused and expanded the power of the Executive Branch, dangerously mismanaged the occupation of a foreign nation,

Jefferson leaned on Republican Governors in selected states to bring up libel charges against Federalist newspaper editors. The State libel laws required statements had only to be damaging to one’s character(The Federalist Sedition Acts required the statements to be false) in so doing Jefferson restricted Freedom of the Press for his political enemies

Jefferson carried out a prolonged attack on the federally packed judiciary, bringing unfounded impeachment charges against Justice Samuel Chase for enforcing the Sedition acts. He was acquitted.

In trying to enforce the Embargo against England and France, Jefferson introduced measures that included the ability to seize of property and to prevent the departure of vessels.

Jefferson contracted for the Louisiana purchase, which was outside of his Constitutional Purview. The Republican Congress retroactively voted Jefferson the funds to cover the purchase after the signed treaty was already on its way to France.

Once the Louisiana purchase was signed, Jefferson set up a despotic government for the Territory, appointing a Magistrate and a council of “notables”. Louisiana was essentially a Foreign country with a diverse population of English, French, Spanish and Creole. Jefferson believed they were “as yet incapable of self-government as children” and ignored delegations and petitions from the territory asking for representative government.

Jefferson also refused to turn over documents for cases pending against the Federal Government involving their public duties (delivery of Commissions)and not National Security concerns. The case of Marbury vs. Madison established that the President could not be forced to turn over such documents, thereby increasing the power of the executive.

[Jefferson] [deferred] record deficits, substantially increased government spending,

The Jefferson administration DID NOT create huge deficits; it deferred them on to the next President, James Madison. Jefferson and Albert Gallatin instigated a plan to pay off the debt over 16 years. In order to do this Jefferson and his Secretary of the treasury Albert Gallatin :

1) Called for the repeal of the (unpopular) excise taxes that Hamilton put in place to retire the public debt. This left the Federal Government completely dependant upon Import Tariffs, which were reduced to almost nothing with the establishment of the Embargo Act.

2) Called for vast cuts in military spending that resulted in a United States Army of 7000 men that was undisciplined, reluctant to leave their home states and in need of good officers (Almost every land battle fought in the War of 1812 was was a humiliating defeat.) Likewise the U.S. Navy consisted of Seven Frigates, nine lesser craft (sloops) and 170 gunboats to confront the British Navy’s 600 warships.

3) Sold Public lands (some with questionable titles which required reparations to the original owners)

Through these policies Jefferson avoided the cost of a military buildup which may have avoided the War of 1812. In effect, he merely deferred the cost of a military buildup into the next administration, which then also had to pay additonal costs of War in money and in human lives. The cost of the War of 1812 more than doubled the public Debt to around $120 million during Madison’s tenure.

[Jefferson] widened the political and cultural divisions among Americans

Before and After Jefferson was elected he supported and aided a vicious Republican Press whose sole purpose was to slander and malign Federalists. in some cases he comissioned work directly designed to spead malicious lies about his political enemies. (The Prospect before us).

The Federalists say “we lied them out of power and they openly vow to do the same by us” , Jefferson once commented on the Federal press.

[Jefferson] mislead the nation both deliberately and negligently in pursuit of [his] goals,and demonstrated dubious ethics and morality throughout.

Jefferson deliberately kept the Negotiations with France over the Louisiana purchase secret to avoid constitutional entanglements.

Jefferson publicly disavowed any relationship with scandal-monger James Callender. Jefferson was proved to have colluded and supported Callender by letters written in his own hand.

Jefferson’s long-standing dislike of the English due to personal snubs he had received at their hands influenced and hampered his foreign policy with a Pro-French bias.

Jefferson lied to the public about his long-term sexual relationship with his Slave Sally Hemmings, 30 years his junior. DNA testing has proven he fathered at least one child by her.

Jefferson secretly financed, leaked information to, and encouraged the Anti-Federalist Press while part of the Federalist Washington and Adams Administrations.

Jefferson Retained his slaves despite earlier declamations against slavery and set only a few (the Children of Sally Hemmings) free at the end of his life.

Jefferson sponsored the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions that opposed the Adams Administrations Sedition acts while serving as Vice President in that administration

Jefferson was an adulterer who made advances upon the Wives of others both in Virginia and in Paris

And there's more.

How about Stole the Presidential Election?

Aaron Burr through various intrigues and cajolements, secured the New York state electoral voters for Jefferson. In return, Burr was put on the ticket for Vice President.

Jefferson also would NOT have been elected president if the infamous federal ratio (3/5 clause) were not part of the Constitution.

How about running a secretive administration?

The Jefferson Administration told very little to the public about what it was doing. No one had official opportunities to meet with the President except members of Congress and those invited to dinner (where political topics were banned). He held no public addresses or levees and almost never made public statements. Jefferson’s State of the union Addresses were published and sent to congress in writing -- his only public speaches were his inaugural addresses.

How about being a poor public speaker?

Jefferson was a horrible orator who was horrible at Ad-Lib comments of improvisation.

How about War Mongering and Imperialism?

Throughout his Presidency Jefferson was continually on the lookout for ways to take the Floridas from Spain and establish the principle of manifest Destiny (including removal of the "aboriginal inhabitants" ) as it concerned western lands...

Jefferson said, “I had rather have war against Spain than not, if we go to war against England. Our Southern Defensive
force can take the Floridas, volunteers for a Mexican army will flock to our standard, and a rich pabulum will be offered to
our privateers in the plunder of their commerce and coasts. Probably Cuba would add itself to our confederation”

How about a conclusion finally?

Jefferson is universally hailed by both the right and the left as the most enlightened founding father, and one of top three Presidents. Jefferson really did these things, but in many places I omitted the historical context or other pertinent facts (Like the Jefferson Administration paid off over $45 million in debt even with the Louisiana purchase, and only failed to have a surplus in one year.) Some of it is historical supposition and spin (like the war of 1812 could have been avoided, or Jefferson let his Anti-British bias get in the way of good policy) that requires me to have Omnipotent knowledge of Jefferson's state of mind or the powers of the Oracle to forsee the consequences of actions that might have been. (Such statements can be argued, but by their character all are circumstantial.) Some of the decisions Jefferson made involved unconstitional actions and lies, but were ultimately good for the country (Louisiana purchase). Jefferson provided me with a good opportunity to demonstrate the amount of spin-able events available, the purposes to which they can be turned, and the difficulty of sifting through the result. I suspect I could provide similar treatment for any American President who has presided over the very real and very messy affairs of the United States, rather than the mythical, ideal country some appear to think we govern.

The details and historical context of each charge are important in deciding on President's performance and place in History. We lack this historical context and must muddle through a pile of spin and lies to unearth and distiguish the Diamonds of Fact from the Rhinestones of Fiction, and then string these gems together to form a chain of reasoning leading in some direction, and then waiting years to discover if this direction was the correct one. John, for some reason, seems to feel that an argument devoid of these strands of thought would be convincing,and substituted polemic for reason.

Jefferson set the right expectations for a Presidential candidate in his first inaugural address:

“I have learned to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from his station with the reputation and the favor that bring him into it…. I shall often go wrong through defect of Judgment. When right I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions that will not command the view of the whole ground. I ask for your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional; and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts”

I thank you all for your attention. You can now go back to chanting the Kerry rally cry, "He's Not Bush!,He's Not Bush!,He's Not Bush!!!! Yaaay!!!"


The Chicken Has Landed

by Wendy at 7/04/2004 03:34:00 PM

Everyone knows that chickens can't fly, but they somehow made it all the way here from Texas.

You can meet them here.



by John at 7/02/2004 09:53:00 AM

Some news:

1) I installed some new StatCounter code two nights ago. It grabs more detailed information about site visits. Pretty intrusive, huh (check under Visitor)? I find it a little bit intimidating.

2) The chickens are coming! (more details soon)

Have a good Fourth of July weekend!


meet the new boss

by John at 7/01/2004 03:17:00 PM

How's the rest of that go?

From the Guardian:
American military police yesterday raided a building belonging to the Iraqi ministry of the interior where prisoners were allegedly being physically abused by Iraqi interrogators.

The raid appeared to be a violation of the country's new sovereignty, leading to angry scenes inside the ministry between Iraqi policemen and US soldiers.


Nashwan Ali - who said his nickname was Big Man - said: "A US MP asked me this morning what police division I was in. I said I was in criminal intelligence.

"The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn't strip them naked, photograph them or fuck them like you did."

Oh yeah, now I remember: Same as the old boss.

some good news from Africa

by John at 7/01/2004 08:50:00 AM

I guess you probably don't care much about this (from the limited attention it is getting, it seems most Americans don't) but the US and UN are making some good progress toward remediating the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.

The Sudanese government has twice promised to crack down on the Janjaweed militia groups. Annan has demanded action within 48 hours, and Sec. of State Powell is calling for the UN to impose an arms embargo and travel ban on the Arab militias responsible for the violence. Annan is also raising the possibility of using international troops to control the Darfur region if the Sudanese government is incapable. (Of course, using US troops is necessarily off the table because we are already overextended in Iraq). If the experience in Rwanda is any indication, even a few foreign troops can make a tremendous difference in detering violence.

It's important that we not let up on this. If the violence can be stopped immediately and humanitarian aid and services made available, USAID estimates that we can keep the number of dead down to just 300,000. Does that sound like a lot? If the world doesn't do anything, estimates are that 1 million people will die from disease and starvation.

The United States was instumental in preventing the UN from stopping the genocide in Rwanda 10 years ago. We should not make this mistake again. While the ultimate responsiblity rests on those would commit these kinds of atrocities, we must stand up for the values we claim to have if we want credibility and respect as a world leader.

What you can do:
Donate money to NGOs (See USAID link for some ideas)
Write/call/email your representatives and senators (If enough people shout about it, they will do it. Remember cable regulation in the 90s?)
Write/call/email your President

Link dump:
Annan Wants Sudan Progress in 48 Hours
300,000 Deaths Foretold
USAID Sudan: A Reinvigorated Commitment
UNICEF - Darfur (Sudan/Chad) - Region in crisis
Darfur Destroyed

Update: one more link from The Economist
Powell seeks to stop the killing

Update 2: I think I should take back the first line. It's a little insulting. Probably, you do care about this.