Goose the Blog 2.0

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


The Nation For Kerry

by Bill at 10/31/2004 01:37:00 PM

Though the real news is John's endorsement, The Nation has also decied to endorse Kerry.


"The Stab in the Back"

by John at 10/29/2004 02:56:00 PM

Then: Dolchstoß

Now: Liberals and liberal media blamed for failures in Iraq war, because of their criticism of George Bush's policy decisions.

Just one of the baby-steps toward fascism. Want another?

"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

Does the future belong to George Bush? Do they even realize what they are doing? (billmon)

science fights back

by John at 10/29/2004 08:15:00 AM

George Bush has been accused by some of giving little credence to science in many of his policy decisions. Now, science is fighting back. (


clone troopers*

by John at 10/28/2004 01:36:00 PM

* That's my own title, but I got the idea over at daily Kos. Yes, I know this is silly - just more sloppy, unsurprising, Bush-team fakery. Maybe the Russians did it?

missing explosives

by John at 10/28/2004 09:10:00 AM

If you're interested in the developments, Josh Marshall has been keeping up to date on the 380 tons of explosives that are missing from al Qaqaa. He's got most of the story, from the anti-Bush side at least, and manages to throw doubt on every new explanation the administration has come up with so far. Start here for the latest.

Update: It looks like at least some of the IAEA seals were still in place on locked bunkers when embedded reporters with the 101st stopped by Al Qaqaa on April 18, 2003. The same reporters also have footage of a bunker full of explosives, althought it is not clear yet if they are the explosives (HMX and RDX) in question. However, the label in the footage (Explosive 1.1D) is the label for the explosive category that contains RDX. On April 5, 2003, the Washington Post and AP reported that white powders that were identified as explosives were found at Al Qaqaa. HMX and RDX are white powders.

Memo to Secretary Rumsfeld: next war, no embeds.

Update 2: The explosives in the video shot by the embeds on April 18, 2003 were HMX, and the trucks in the imagery from March 17, 2003 released by the DOD are parked at the wrong bunkers.

Memo to White House: it's not the crime, it's the coverup (well... it's also the crime).

auspicious, I guess

by John at 10/28/2004 08:46:00 AM

I'm not going to win any photography awards for them but, after figuring out how to manually set the shutter speed on our digital camera, I was able to get some photographs of the moon being eclipsed that weren't terribly over- or underexposed. When the moon was still mostly showing white, the shutter speed had to be down around 1/60 sec, but for the totally eclipsed moon, the shutter speed was 8 sec (a tripod was definitely necessary!). I don't have a fancy lens, so the photos were taken at 3x optical and 4x digital zoom. In retrospect, maybe I should have used manual focus as well. Anyway, the photos will give you an idea what it all looked like if it was too cloudy to view where you were last night. I went out to see what the moon looked like about halfway through totality, but the clouds had come back in and the moon was so dim (and orange!) I could just barely see it. I couldn't find it in the camera viewfinder at all, so there are no pictures of that.

What have I learned? 1) How to set the shutter speed manually, and 2) Our digital camera is better at looking at bright things than I am, but I am better at looking at dim things than it is. I'll work on my technique and get ready for March, 2007.


proof of Third Age?

by John at 10/27/2004 02:15:00 PM

An exciting discovery for Tolkien nerds everywhere!

Scientists have discovered the skeletal remains of hobbits on the remote Indonesian island of Flores, which some say may be the modern remnants of The Grey Havens. The 18,000 year old skeletons throw into question some of Tolkien's murky chronology, but they are undeniably proof that "hobbit-sized" humanoids (dubbed Homo floresiensis) did in fact dwell on the island sometime in the distant past before the Age of Man.

Flores is "a kind of tropical Lost World," also home to miniature oliphants and dragons.

Homo floresiensis (artist's conception)


ominous or auspicious?

by John at 10/26/2004 05:52:00 PM

I almost forgot - tonight tomorrow night is a total lunar eclipse! Check out this handy NASA page for viewing times and a little bit of science. Maybe I'll set up the camera and tripod and try to get a picture...


by John at 10/26/2004 01:46:00 PM

Man oh man. Endorsements everywhere!

So I'm making mine. It should come as no surprise, but I'm backing John Kerry for President. He's not perfect, but he's the only hope that progressives/liberals have this time. The Bush administration's legacy of ideologically motivated incompetence will undoubtedly last for many years. But, with any luck and not too much interference from outraged right-wingers, Kerry will be able to undo some of the damage the Bush Presidency has done to our country and the world. We will see.

Also, BoingBoing is officially endorsing John Kerry. They are a libertarian and liberal minded bunch, and the uptick in anti-Bush administration posts was evidence that this was coming. I'm glad.

And finally, it looks like Kerry has beaten Bush in the newspaper endorsement race. So what, right? The media is so danged liberal that this is no surprise. Well, up is down, too. Editor & Publisher says that so far this year, Kerry grabbed at least 35 newspapers that endorsed Bush last election. Bush got a measly five papers that endorsed Gore (one due to a change in ownership). And eight newspapers that supported Bush last time are supporting no one this time. Moreover, the newspaper endorsement tally has gone to a Democrat only twice since 1940 (Johnson 1964 and Clinton 1992 - can you believe Dole got more endorsements than Clinton 1996?!). Clearly, Bush has displeased part of his elite base (wealthy, newspaper-owning or -publishing conservatives) nearly as much as he's displeased anyone liberal.

still blogging

by John at 10/26/2004 11:36:00 AM

Check out Michelle's and Jeff's new blog, Carrots and Sticks, for your daily dose of balance. I've added a link on the right under "blogroll."


another chicken update

by John at 10/25/2004 08:43:00 PM

I've posted a few new photos of our chickens. We took close-ups of Cookie, the all black one, because we thought she might be a cockerel (that's a young rooster). Wendy read that Australorp cockerels had pointed neck feathers which Cookie seems to have. However, cockerels also develop larger combs than pullets (a young hen). We now think that Cookie is probably a pullet, but the verdict is still out.

These photos were taken on October 2, when the chickens were about three months old. We hope to start getting eggs sometime this coming month.

Links to previous chicken posts: 1 and 2

more reasons to switch

by John at 10/25/2004 11:23:00 AM

Send this to the fiscal conservatives you know - the data is in, and Democrats are better at "the economy" than Republicans. Whether it is GDP growth, low deficits, spending control, wage and salary growth, job growth, or after-tax income growth, Democratic Presidents have historically done better jobs managing the economy than Republicans (or maybe the Republicans were just unlucky). Republicans also tend to use a more regressive taxation plan and, par for the course of modern up-is-downism, have higher government expeditures than "tax-and-spend" Democrats. Richard Kogan of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has put together a handy analysis for you. There is also an interesting chart of the efficacy of Bush's fiscal policy in bang-for-the-buck format (Bush was against 2 of the 3 most effective policies), and a break down of the sources of the current deficit (the war and the recession aren't the big one). (Yoink! MaxSpeak)

Meanwhile, Bush demonstrated once again that he has a problem with fiscal discipline when he quietly signed a bill with about $136 billion in corporate tax breaks on Friday.


More on healthcare

by Bill at 10/24/2004 10:21:00 PM

Here's an excellent op-ed peice on healthcare and the benefits of a single payer system from the New York Times. Read it and enjoy!

zero-g cat

by John at 10/24/2004 03:34:00 PM

Found on BoingBoing, the US Air Force has a movie of a cat (1.9Mb) being thrown around on a "Vomit Comet," a jet airplane that is used as a zero-G trainer. The jet flies a roughly parabolic flight path, creating a bit less than half-a-minute of zero-G at the top of the curve.

Near the end of the movie, watch for the cat spinning more and more rapidly as it tries to orient its feet with the floor, or something. Oh yeah, this is science.

Update: the Air Force has taken down the cat video. A mirror is up here.

And now... The Washington Post!

by Yuris at 10/24/2004 01:51:00 PM

John Kerry gets the Washington Post endorsement!


brain in a jar

by John at 10/22/2004 02:40:00 PM

25,000 neurons are removed from a rat's brain, kept alive in a glass dish, and allowed to make dendritic connections. Eventually, they learn how to control a simulated F-22 jet fighter.

These are the challenges of the future!


by John at 10/22/2004 01:34:00 PM

Coming down the electric wires over the last few days:

"Interview" with Neal Stephenson (author of The Baroque Cycle, of which I've reviewed Vols 1 and 2)

Interview with Charles Thompson, aka Frank Black, aka Black Francis (of Frank Black and the Catholics and The Pixies)

reality-based, too

by John at 10/22/2004 01:10:00 PM

Apparently, President Bush isn't the only one who is reality challenged. Many of his supporters are, too:

"Three out of 4 self-described supporters of President George W. Bush still believe that pre-war Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or active programs to produce them. According to a new survey published Thursday, the same number also believes that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein provided "substantial support" to al Qaeda.

But here is the truly astonishing part: as many or more Bush supporters hold those beliefs today than they did several months ago. In other words, more people believe the claims today –- after the publication of a series of well-publicized official government reports that debunked both notions."

What is wrong with this country? The most important act in Bush's entire presidency, and his supporters are, by an overwhelming margin, misinformed on the basic facts. Maybe it's cognitive dissonace - for when you absolutely, positively have to be in the right.


Scary times indeed

by Bill at 10/20/2004 01:10:00 PM

On a more personal note I came across this yesterday on Tom Tomorrow's blog. As a family medicine PA I don't think I have to much to worry about, but I have colleagues whom work in emergency medicine and surgery that should be worried.


by Bill at 10/20/2004 11:49:00 AM

here's my version of spin that may have been seen during the Civil War if the current system of media was in place then. Excerpts are from Lincoln's Gettysburg address.

Here's what the political hacks might have said.

Lincoln said,"...we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead...forget what they did here."

I think that is the kind of "debate' that John Stewart was rallying against on his crossfire visit.


Winter Blues

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 10/19/2004 09:27:00 PM

Kind of a weird question, but it looks like rain/dark/downright depressing winter has started a little early this year in Seattle. This means no light until case you don't feel like counting, that's six months. Has anyone ever tried a
"natural alarm"? I've been checking them out, but I don't know anyone who has actually used one and can't imagine spending $80 for a VERY cheesy looking light!

unilateral decision

by John at 10/19/2004 05:29:00 PM

So, a few have been watching my blow up in progress. Maybe you are horrified, but I hope not.

Despite appearances, removing Jeff and Michelle's membership was a carefully considered action. I understand that with less incitement and drama, things might not be as interesting around here, yet that is OK with me.

I also strongly encourage Jeff and Michelle to start their own blog - if they like, I will link it here.

I'm tired of fighting and feeling abused - maybe I'm too sensitive. I think this development is for the best. But, I did kick them off without consulting anyone else, and I probably shouldn't have done that to the rest of the team. If you would like me to invite them back (for balance, or fair-play, or whatever) please comment below or send me an email.

Indoctrination Exam - American Government

by Weisshaupt at 10/19/2004 11:01:00 AM

Multiple Choice Questions may have multiple answers:

1) (True/False) Judicial Activism is justified in cases where congress or the president have refused to act to remedy a social ill
2) (True/False) A democracy automatically confers freedom to its citizens
3) (True/False) The first amendment protecting free speech guarantees the speaker an audience and money

4) The United States
a) Is a Democracy
b) Is a Republic
c) Is Ruled by the judiciary
d) Was founded by greedy capitalists

e) Is the worst violator of human rights in the world

5) The United States Constitution is designed to
a) Provide Basic freedoms from Government that protect all people
b) Allow mobility of an individual's position in the social strata
c) Protect the rich while subjugating the poor, just like every other government
d) Protect the people from their own foolishness
e) Protect the people from bad luck
f) Balance human nature against itself to prevent an usurpation of power

The Function of the Judiciary Branch is to
a) Apply the laws in accordance with the original intent of the legislature
b) Interpret laws where the letter of the law and legislative intent is not clear
c) Ignore the original intent of the legislature and interpret laws based on the needs of society as perceived by the judiciary
d) Enact new laws under the guise of "due process"

7) Judicial Activism is

a) a myth made up by conservatives
b) The Judiciary deliberately interpreting the law contrary to the original intent
c) A good way to create new rights and laws not ratified by the legislature or the people
d) The Founding Father's intended method of allowing the Constitution to deal with the changing needs of the people
e) A rejection of the amendment process and the principle of "Government for the People, by the People"

f) Implementing what the people would want if they truly understood the needs of society

8) "Due Process" as used in the Constitution means that
a) That all citizens must be prosecuted according to legislatively established procedures
b) The legal processes enacted by the legislature must be constitutional
c) The Supreme Court dictates processes to be used
d) The method by which water condenses in the morning

A Constitutional Right is
a) A religious practice performed by superstitious people
b) The opposite of Left
c) A guarantee that prohibits government interference with an individual's freedoms
d) A guarantee that prohibits the people from interfering with Government freedoms

e) A benefit that the government provides to one group at the expense of another group

10) Which of the following are rights protected by the U.S. Constitution
a) Access to clean water
b) Access to clean air
c) Freedom from exposure to religious thought
d) Freedom from being offended in any way
e) Freedom of children from the guidance and discipline of their parents
f) Protection of all genetically separate organisms from torture or inhumane treatment (provided they breathe atmospheric oxygen)
g) Insurance against the effects of making bad investments
h) Insurance against failing to invest in regards to retirement
i) Insurance against the effects of bad health (either self-inflicted or natural)
j) Insurance against the effects of job loss
k) Insurance against the effects of natural disasters
l) Insurance against the effects of anti-social behavior
m) Insurance against the effects of a lack of natural ability (Strength, Intelligence, etc)
n) Insurance against the effects of being unskilled/uneducated (due to monetary circumstances or self-inflicted behavior)
o) Equal incomes and wealth
p) Equal respect regardless of behavior
q) Victim hood
r) The right to inflict costs on others
s) The right to inflict anti-social behavior on others
t) Abortion

u) Gay Marriage


irony can be pretty ironic sometimes

by John at 10/18/2004 05:24:00 PM

Three teachers were threatened with arrest and removed from the premises at a Bush campaign stop in Oregon. The offense? Wearing t-shirts that said "Protect our civil liberties." suggests the campaign might have been happier with "Civil liberties, civil schmiberties."


by John at 10/18/2004 05:12:00 PM

John Kerry gets the crucial High Times endorsement!

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 10/18/2004 04:47:00 PM

Watch this if you are completely tired of political talking heads (aka, Tucker Calrson). It's a bit long (13 minutes), but timely and interesting (and funny too).

Was your Indoctrination Successful? (part 1)

by Weisshaupt at 10/18/2004 11:01:00 AM

Multiple Choice Questions may have Multiple Answers: Answers in RED

1) (True/False) The right social policies will result in a society with no crime, poverty or inequality
2) (True/False) If everyone in a society were treated equally, everyone would end up with equal outcomes
3) (True/False) The general public is irrational and ill educated on many subjects and therefore needs experts to guide them.
4) (True/False) Moral Duty requires any undesirable outcome in society to be solved rather than simply accepted
5) (True/False) Because the downtrodden in society are effectively silenced others must speak for them
6) (True/False) An expert will never let Personal Incentives interfere when making decisions for "the public good" or "in the public interest"
7) (True/False) Experts can always see all of the ramifications of their decisions
8) (True/False) There is never a need to choose between two undesirable outcomes.
9) (True/False) Society can be effectively governed only by the articulated laws and rules written by experts
10) (True/False) Everyone should have the same rights and live under the same set of rules (equal treatment under the law)
11) (True/False) Equality of outcomes should be obtained though the use of laws that treat people differently

12) (True/False) Unequal outcomes are proof of intentional or systematic discrimination against those with the lesser result
13) (True/False) Every one should have equal prospects for success in any endeavor
14) (True/False) Laws that treat people differently should be used to equalize the chances of success where they are unequal
15) (True/False) There is no need to make a tradeoff between Individual Freedom and the needs of Society
16) (True/False) Human Nature should be changed by programs designed to foster individual growth and personal enlightenment
17) (True/False) People who contribute to society should subsidize people who do not
18) (True/False) Differences in ability due to chance occurrences of fate should be equalized at any cost
19) (True/False) A "Crisis" is any situation which calls for a solution
20) (True/False) "Success" is synonymous with "privilege"
21) (True/False) "Failure" is synonymous with "disadvantage"
22) (True/False) Freedom is the ability to accomplish any task

23) Which of the following people are worthy of respect
a) Ghandi
b) Mother Teresa
c) Hitler
d) George W. Bush
e) Ronald Reagan
f) Hillary Clinton
g) All people are worthy of the same level of respect



by John at 10/17/2004 01:57:00 PM

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Ron Suskind, Without a Doubt, NYT Magazine

With Trembling Fingers

by Yuris at 10/17/2004 01:41:00 AM

"I don't think it's accurate to describe America as polarized between
Democrats and Republicans, or between liberals and conservatives. It's
polarized between the people who believe George Bush and the people
who do not. Thanks to some contested ballots in a state governed by
the president's brother, a once-proud country has been delivered into
the hands of liars, thugs, bullies, fanatics and thieves. The world
pities or despises us, even as it fears us. What this election will
test is the power of money and media to fool us, to obscure the truth
and alter the obvious, to hide a great crime against the public trust
under a blood-soaked flag. The most lavishly funded, most cynical,
most sophisticated political campaign in human history will be out
trolling for fools. I pray to God it doesn't catch you."

Another (important) endorsement...

by Yuris at 10/17/2004 01:24:00 AM

The New York Times Sunday editorial: Kerry for President

October 17, 2004
John Kerry for President

Senator John Kerry goes toward the election with a base that is built more on opposition to George W. Bush than loyalty to his own candidacy. But over the last year we have come to know Mr. Kerry as more than just an alternative to the status quo. We like what we've seen. He has qualities that could be the basis for a great chief executive, not just a modest improvement on the incumbent.

We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking - something that became more apparent once he was reined in by that two-minute debate light. He is blessedly willing to re-evaluate decisions when conditions change. And while Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam was first over-promoted and then over-pilloried, his entire life has been devoted to public service, from the war to a series of elected offices. He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core.

There is no denying that this race is mainly about Mr. Bush's disastrous tenure. Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right.

Mr. Bush installed John Ashcroft, a favorite of the far right with a history of insensitivity to civil liberties, as attorney general. He sent the Senate one ideological, activist judicial nominee after another. He moved quickly to implement a far-reaching anti-choice agenda including censorship of government Web sites and a clampdown on embryonic stem cell research. He threw the government's weight against efforts by the University of Michigan to give minority students an edge in admission, as it did for students from rural areas or the offspring of alumni.

When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy. As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated, as did the chance to provide adequate funding for programs the president himself had backed. No Child Left Behind, his signature domestic program, imposed higher standards on local school systems without providing enough money to meet them.

If Mr. Bush had wanted to make a mark on an issue on which Republicans and Democrats have long made common cause, he could have picked the environment. Christie Whitman, the former New Jersey governor chosen to run the Environmental Protection Agency, came from that bipartisan tradition. Yet she left after three years of futile struggle against the ideologues and industry lobbyists Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had installed in every other important environmental post. The result has been a systematic weakening of regulatory safeguards across the entire spectrum of environmental issues, from clean air to wilderness protection.

The president who lost the popular vote got a real mandate on Sept. 11, 2001. With the grieving country united behind him, Mr. Bush had an unparalleled opportunity to ask for almost any shared sacrifice. The only limit was his imagination.

He asked for another tax cut and the war against Iraq.

The president's refusal to drop his tax-cutting agenda when the nation was gearing up for war is perhaps the most shocking example of his inability to change his priorities in the face of drastically altered circumstances. Mr. Bush did not just starve the government of the money it needed for his own education initiative or the Medicare drug bill. He also made tax cuts a higher priority than doing what was needed for America's security; 90 percent of the cargo unloaded every day in the nation's ports still goes uninspected.

Along with the invasion of Afghanistan, which had near unanimous international and domestic support, Mr. Bush and his attorney general put in place a strategy for a domestic antiterror war that had all the hallmarks of the administration's normal method of doing business: a Nixonian obsession with secrecy, disrespect for civil liberties and inept management.

American citizens were detained for long periods without access to lawyers or family members. Immigrants were rounded up and forced to languish in what the Justice Department's own inspector general found were often "unduly harsh" conditions. Men captured in the Afghan war were held incommunicado with no right to challenge their confinement. The Justice Department became a cheerleader for skirting decades-old international laws and treaties forbidding the brutal treatment of prisoners taken during wartime.

Mr. Ashcroft appeared on TV time and again to announce sensational arrests of people who turned out to be either innocent, harmless braggarts or extremely low-level sympathizers of Osama bin Laden who, while perhaps wishing to do something terrible, lacked the means. The Justice Department cannot claim one major successful terrorism prosecution, and has squandered much of the trust and patience the American people freely gave in 2001. Other nations, perceiving that the vast bulk of the prisoners held for so long at Guantánamo Bay came from the same line of ineffectual incompetents or unlucky innocents, and seeing the awful photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, were shocked that the nation that was supposed to be setting the world standard for human rights could behave that way.

Like the tax cuts, Mr. Bush's obsession with Saddam Hussein seemed closer to zealotry than mere policy. He sold the war to the American people, and to Congress, as an antiterrorist campaign even though Iraq had no known working relationship with Al Qaeda. His most frightening allegation was that Saddam Hussein was close to getting nuclear weapons. It was based on two pieces of evidence. One was a story about attempts to purchase critical materials from Niger, and it was the product of rumor and forgery. The other evidence, the purchase of aluminum tubes that the administration said were meant for a nuclear centrifuge, was concocted by one low-level analyst and had been thoroughly debunked by administration investigators and international vetting. Top members of the administration knew this, but the selling went on anyway. None of the president's chief advisers have ever been held accountable for their misrepresentations to the American people or for their mismanagement of the war that followed.

The international outrage over the American invasion is now joined by a sense of disdain for the incompetence of the effort. Moderate Arab leaders who have attempted to introduce a modicum of democracy are tainted by their connection to an administration that is now radioactive in the Muslim world. Heads of rogue states, including Iran and North Korea, have been taught decisively that the best protection against a pre-emptive American strike is to acquire nuclear weapons themselves.

We have specific fears about what would happen in a second Bush term, particularly regarding the Supreme Court. The record so far gives us plenty of cause for worry. Thanks to Mr. Bush, Jay Bybee, the author of an infamous Justice Department memo justifying the use of torture as an interrogation technique, is now a federal appeals court judge. Another Bush selection, J. Leon Holmes, a federal judge in Arkansas, has written that wives must be subordinate to their husbands and compared abortion rights activists to Nazis.

Mr. Bush remains enamored of tax cuts but he has never stopped Republican lawmakers from passing massive spending, even for projects he dislikes, like increased farm aid.

If he wins re-election, domestic and foreign financial markets will know the fiscal recklessness will continue. Along with record trade imbalances, that increases the chances of a financial crisis, like an uncontrolled decline of the dollar, and higher long-term interest rates.

The Bush White House has always given us the worst aspects of the American right without any of the advantages. We get the radical goals but not the efficient management. The Department of Education's handling of the No Child Left Behind Act has been heavily politicized and inept. The Department of Homeland Security is famous for its useless alerts and its inability to distribute antiterrorism aid according to actual threats. Without providing enough troops to properly secure Iraq, the administration has managed to so strain the resources of our armed forces that the nation is unprepared to respond to a crisis anywhere else in the world.

Mr. Kerry has the capacity to do far, far better. He has a willingness - sorely missing in Washington these days - to reach across the aisle. We are relieved that he is a strong defender of civil rights, that he would remove unnecessary restrictions on stem cell research and that he understands the concept of separation of church and state. We appreciate his sensible plan to provide health coverage for most of the people who currently do without.

Mr. Kerry has an aggressive and in some cases innovative package of ideas about energy, aimed at addressing global warming and oil dependency. He is a longtime advocate of deficit reduction. In the Senate, he worked with John McCain in restoring relations between the United States and Vietnam, and led investigations of the way the international financial system has been gamed to permit the laundering of drug and terror money. He has always understood that America's appropriate role in world affairs is as leader of a willing community of nations, not in my-way-or-the-highway domination.

We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.

Voting for president is a leap of faith. A candidate can explain his positions in minute detail and wind up governing with a hostile Congress that refuses to let him deliver. A disaster can upend the best-laid plans. All citizens can do is mix guesswork and hope, examining what the candidates have done in the past, their apparent priorities and their general character. It's on those three grounds that we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president.

An endorsement of Senator Charles Schumer for re-election to the Senate appears today in the City, Long Island and Westchester weekly sections.


Visions and Dialogue

by Weisshaupt at 10/15/2004 11:56:00 PM

Amy Said: "Bohm goes on to talk about how discussions are never deeply serious because we won't go into arenas that we hold to be non-negotiable or untouchable. This is where discussion's also where dialogue begins. Dialogue is less about what we believe to be true (ultimately, our opinions), but why we believe it. "

This dovetails nicely into the Sowell book I have been reading called "A Conflict of Visions : The Ideological origins of political Struggles" (Bohm is queued up next. ) Sowell suggests that there are two dominant visions that determine what we believe (the basis for Why we believe certain things) He defines these visions as either constrained or unconstrained.

Those with the unconstrained vision do not believe that the world or human beings are inherently limited, only limited by the particular beliefs and institutions that are now in place. The operative assumption being that by placing new institutions and encouraging growth in people any problem in the world can be surmounted and solved. This leads to a problem-solving approach in which (near) perfection is sought.

Those with a constrained Vision believe that both the world and human beings are limited in their possiblilities and abilities. The operative assumption here is that the plights of mankind are caused by the nature of man, and inherant limitations in his environment, and all we can hope for is to make the best trade-offs we can. This leads to a process oriented approach where optimization (rather than perfection) is sought

Ultimately I think this probably is the source of our disagreements.

Animal Fiction

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 10/15/2004 08:02:00 PM

Hee. If you are looking for a few moments of high entertainment this weekend, I would suggest checking out Animal Fiction. My personal favorite at the moment is Jacob Meerkat.

Fanciful Fiction

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 10/15/2004 07:46:00 PM

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but if anyone is looking for a great fiction read, check out Little, Big by John Crowley. His latest book is The Translator which is also great, but not so great as the aforementioned novel.

Blurb (from Amazon since it's late in the longest Friday ever!): Little, Big tells the epic story of Smoky Barnable -- an anonymous young man who meets and falls in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, and goes to live with her in Edgewood, a place not found on any map. In an impossible mansion full of her relatives, who all seem to have ties to another world not far away, Smoky fathers a family and tries to learn what tale he has found himself in -- and how it is to end.

You can usually find used copies in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section but the book doesn't really fit into that category. It's a bit long, but VERY worth the journey. The characters are fantastic and the story is nothing short of amazing. If you decide to read it, let me know what you think!

WTN X Prize

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 10/15/2004 04:43:00 PM

Looks like a planned expansion for the X Prize concept...

Read about it: "X-Prize for world's 'Holy Grails'"

Have ideas for for a prize challenge, submit it here.

look like a Real Genius

by John at 10/15/2004 04:25:00 PM

These replicas of t-shirts worn by Chris Knight in the movie Real Genius would make excellent Christmas presents for any 30ish-year-old nerds you know. (Yoink! Boing Boing)

(Yes, Honey, that's a hint.)


A Real Tragedy

by Wendy at 10/14/2004 01:00:00 PM

"Great news!", I thought when I saw this article ("Rape of Nanking Comic Draws Ire"). The Japanese are finally showing some sensitivity about the Rape of Nanking, during which up to three hundred thousand Chinese were brutally raped, maimed, tortured and killed by invading Japanese soldiers in 1937. The publisher of Weekly Young Jump magazine received almost 200 angry phone calls from Japanese citizens protesting the portrayal of the Rape - the Holocaust of China - in one of the magazine's comics.

Unfortunately, as I got to the end of the article, I realized that the Japanese weren't upset that the comic was portraying the Rape in an insensitive manner, but that it was portraying it at all. The Japanese still insist the Rape of Nanking never happened.



by John at 10/12/2004 01:25:00 PM

This is so very disturbing. Totally worksafe science, but your mind may never be the same! These are the challenges of the future, my friends.

On the other hand, I have never been bothered much by the shoes I wear made of leather and death. Perhaps it is almost time for a paradigm change.

(Yoink! Boing Boing)

another one

by John at 10/12/2004 11:05:00 AM

On NPR Morning Edition, an undecided commentator took this quiz at He got Kerry 54%, Bush 50% and Brown 45%. No wonder he is undecided!

My results for current Presidential contenders (% agreement with candidate position):
Cobb, David - Green Party (91%)
Nader, Ralph - Independent (91%)
Brown, Walt - Socialist Party (71%)
Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (69%)
Badnarik, Michael - Libertarian (29%)
Peroutka, Michael - Constitution Party (14%)
Bush, President George W. - Republican (13%)

Note that the test does not include character questions, just policy, which invalidates the whole thing. After all, character is king.

Nobel Laureate speaks

by Michelle at 10/12/2004 10:57:00 AM

Nobel laureate of Economics calls for steeper tax cuts in US.


Henry David Thoreau and Government

by Weisshaupt at 10/11/2004 10:44:00 AM

Also in On the Duty of Civil Disobedience :

" Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads."

But some do think that the Government should educate, should provide health care, should equalize incomes, should set wages, should take care of the poor, should take care of the homeless, etc. All of these represent government restrictions on the liberty of individuals to make their own choices Instead the Government decides what kind of education ( human secularist with leftist indoctrination), what kind and amount of health care (Kerry's plan will reduce consumer choice because he will use the government to run others out of business - he said as much in the debate folks) , and how we will deal with with social issues of poverty or inequality. These all represent the reduction of choices and therefore a reduction of freedom for individuals and the ability to use their own consciences in dealing with social problems.

The intentions in all of these actions are for "the public good", but an empirical study of the results reveals that the effects do not mirror the intentions. These are all presented as "solutions" to the public, but every "solution" has a cost and not always in monetary terms- in other words these solutions are really trade-offs. This is because the world is made up of complex interactions of constraints. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Categorical solutions dismiss the underlying reality of trade-offs, and that incremental solutions need to be used. An optimal solution will leave many needs unmet because we have limited resources. A certain degree of social ill must be expected if not accepted because the there is a point of diminishing returns. To use an example from Thomas Sowell - Perfect justice requires all 100 passengers on a sinking ship with 40 life preservers to go into the water without one. Is Justice always more important than lives? It is a trade off. Given the constraints of time, knowledge and resources it is very likely that a "optimal" solution for society would involve trade-offs that would leave some areas of a society "imperfect" by the dictates of some peoples conscience.

"Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? "

"the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other"

"Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow"

These statements by Thoreau are implicit recognitions of the trade-offs inherent in personal liberty vs. Government and the benefits it brings to society and the individual. In this essay Thoreau is merely describing what trade-offs he finds acceptable as dictated by his particular version of conscience, and he is not describing disobedience as a categorical moral good. That someone should use it in this way to justify imposing their own values on others by violence simply demonstrates a lack of understanding of why we have the American system in the first place.



by John at 10/10/2004 09:59:00 AM

What do these two newspapers have in common? They both endorsed Bush in 2000.

But now, both The Oregonian and The Day endorse Kerry for President.


"Kerry's Undeclared War"

by John at 10/09/2004 02:45:00 PM

From NYT Magazine. Looks good - I haven't had a chance to read it all yet (11 pages!).

Update: OK, I read it. It is pretty good. There's a little something in there for everyone (Kerry-haters and -likers both).

From near the end:

"Kerry's view, that the 21st century will be defined by the organized world's struggle against agents of chaos and lawlessness, might be the beginning of a compelling vision. The idea that America and its allies, sharing resources and using the latest technologies, could track the movements of terrorists, seize their bank accounts and carry out targeted military strikes to eliminate them, seems more optimistic and more practical than the notion that the conventional armies of the United States will inevitably have to punish or even invade every Islamic country that might abet radicalism.

And yet, you can understand why Kerry has been so tentative in advancing this idea. It's comforting to think that Al Qaeda might be as easily marginalized as a bunch of drug-running thugs, that an ''effective'' assault on its bank accounts might cripple its twisted campaign against Americans. But Americans are frightened -- an emotion that has benefited Bush, and one that he has done little to dissuade -- and many of them perceive a far more existential threat to their lives than the one Kerry describes. In this climate, Kerry's rather dry recitations about money-laundering laws and intelligence-sharing agreements can sound oddly discordant. We are living at a time that feels historically consequential, where people seem to expect -- and perhaps deserve -- a theory of the world that matches the scope of their insecurity."


Resistance to Civil Government

by John at 10/08/2004 10:32:00 PM

or Civil Disobedience, by a famous un-American.

un-American 1: "Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right."

un-American 2: "I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law."

un-American 3: "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

un-American 4: "You don’t wait for a politician and popular opinion to do the right things. I say learn from history and practice what you preach."

American Goals

by Weisshaupt at 10/08/2004 01:39:00 PM

I would like to remind those that think they are justified in performing actions that disobey laws that they are by definition "un-American". Patriotism (or at least my patriotism) is not defined by a geographic boundary, or by the people who live within it. America is a process by which citizens come together to govern themselves, and agree to abide by the decisions of that process.

Civil disobedience to the law can be an effective way to gain media attention and command public attention on the law. However, it is critical that the law (however unfair) be enforced by those sworn to do so until changes are made via the process. Those who feel that they should get to pick and choose the laws they obey are in direct conflict with the American form of government and the principles it rests on. Those who justify their lawbreaking by pointing to their vision of the (political) truth are merely advocating the use of force (or threat of force) against their fellow men to impose their viewpoint upon them and fall into the same category as dictators and tyrants. Those who take glee in breaking the law and not getting caught or punished, incrementally undermine the principle of law itself and endanger us all.

I was going respond to Amy's comments on Dialogue, but I find I am now at a loss for words on the subject. Maybe my next epiphany will help or maybe I should ask a Professor. I still think it was important, and maybe Amy will be willing to say a little more about it.

Anyway, Amy also had this to say:

"I used to think that we all wanted the same end but had different ideas of how to get there, but lately I'm realizing that this isn't the case. It's not about what is the best way to accomplish a goal, it's about the goal itself..."

Amy, since you sense a difference can you more fully extrapolate on what goals you see being pursued? The rest of your comment doesn't appear to be about differing goals, but instead differing priorities. I thought the goal on both sides was "to protect America and Americans"
Are you implying that one side has a different goal in mind? Is my definition of the Goal wrong?

Iraq had no WMD

by Michelle at 10/08/2004 11:56:00 AM

The ISG Report has concluded what we pretty much already determined: there is no evidence of stockpiles of WMD. Bush has acknowledged that, to his credit. The Bush administration made a serious blunder in emphasizing Iraqi stockpiles when making their case for war.

But how long can we ignore the elephant in the room? The mainstream media cannot ignore forever the serious implications outlined in the ISG report about oil-for food program and massive corruption at the UN and the governments of China, Russia, and France. It also cannot ignore forever the implications that Saddam Hussein was still very much a threat to our national security.

Democrats like Kerry need to shut up and think for a second. Why were we worried about WMD stockpiles and programs? Because we didn’t want Al-Qaeda and other jihadists from getting their hands on WMD. How could they get their hands on WMD? They could be given the knowledge to create it themselves or they could be slipped the real stuff. We were worried about even a small vile of anthrax or other deadly substance getting into their hands (remember Colin Powell’s vile he showed during his speech to the UN?) The ISG report proves that Saddam could have very easily given Al-Qaeda WMD knowledge or smaller quantities of WMD. Okay, so it’s not likely they were going to be given hundreds of tons of mustard gas or anthrax by Saddam. So What!

The ISG report sheds light on what Saddam’s real plan was: get out from under UN Sanctions and then start up his chemical and biological WMD programs again. His nuclear programs would be restarted if it appeared that Iran was going to go nuclear (which it does). He knew that starving his people was helping him meet this objective by turning public support around the world against sanctions. That, in conjunction with the bribery of French, Russian, and Chinese Security council member states, was his ticket out from under sanctions.

Why the media is not spending a lot of time discussing the level of UN corruption outlined in the ISG report is mind-boggling! I strongly urge you to read the key findings from the ISG report that just came out. It’s clear to me that the US had 3 options:

1) Topple the Saddam regime (which we did)
2) Give “diplomacy” more time (as Kerry would have done. Kerry does not provide details beyond “give diplomacy more time”, and I guarantee you he won’t!) and presumably give UN sanctions more time. Thus enhancing Saddam’s vast smuggling network, worldwide bribery, and starvation of his people.
3) Let sanctions lapse, thus allowing Saddam to take advantage of the smuggling network he put in place under sanctions and secretly start up his weapons programs again. Presumably we would eventually find out, and even democrats would at this point realize Saddam was a threat and would confront Saddam while he’s vastly more dangerous – truly armed with chemical and biological weapons.

So given the choices, I’m glad we took Saddam out when we did. It’s also clear to me that we would NEVER have gotten the cooperation of France, Russia, and China.
Earth to Liberals: the Coalition of the Bribed and Coerced consist of France, Russia, China, and Saddam’s Iraq. John Kerry would have joined them.



by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 10/07/2004 06:03:00 PM

OK...maybe I'm stretching here, but I was wondering if anyone on this blog is a Perl person. I'm trying to find a regular expression that will look for the numbers 60-72 (or any given string of numbers that I need, but are specific). I know NOTHING about Perl, so the closest I've gotten it [6x-7x] but this will find 6, 7 as well as 73-79. Please feel free to tell me I'm a geek...I've accepted it.


What about the children?

by Bill at 10/06/2004 08:14:00 PM

First Clinton's actions lead children to believe that oral sex wasn't really sex.

Now this.

to: the first President with an MBA

by John at 10/06/2004 03:21:00 PM

from: Business school professors

You flunk!

(Yoink! MaxSpeak via Atrios)

Who really is tough enough to fight terror?

by Bill at 10/06/2004 02:56:00 PM

Note: Republicans have used erasable markersand concrete chunks, while Democrats have used break-ins, bullets
and bayonets.

smooth move, ex-lax

by John at 10/06/2004 10:13:00 AM

Bush flip-flops on his support of rendering terrorism suspects / enemy combatants to foreign governments for "interrogation" (pronounced "tor-chur").

In a letter published in The Washington Post, White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales said the president "did not propose and does not support" a provision to the House bill that removes legal protections from suspects preventing their "rendering" to foreign governments known to torture prisoners. Gonzales said Bush "has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture."

But John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who introduced the bill last Friday, said the provision had actually been requested by the Department of Homeland Security. "For whatever reason," Feehery said, "the White House has decided they don’t want to take this on because they’re afraid of the political implications."

At least the White House is on the right side, even if it's for the wrong reasons.

more endorsements for Kerry

by John at 10/06/2004 09:22:00 AM

Former communications director for Sen. John McCain endorses John Kerry.

John Eisenhower (President Dwight Eisenhower's son and lifelong Republican) endorses John Kerry.

180 former US ambassadors from Democrat and Republican administrations endorse John Kerry.

More follies on the political front

by Michelle at 10/06/2004 02:07:00 AM

So much for laying low for a while...

It seems the lawless Democrats are at it again. GOP Headquarters in Orlando was ransacked by protestors and another GOP Headquarters was shot at outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. But that's not voter intimidation, and it's certainly not a threat to our freedom of speech. Do you think if this had been a Democratic Headquarters in Harlem we'd get this kind of apathy?


Nobel Prize

by John at 10/05/2004 03:40:00 PM

The big news today is, of course, the Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded to David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczeck. They won for their work on the "strong" nuclear force that bind quarks together in nuclear particles. But you can read about that just about anywhere on the web.

Here at Goose the Blog, however, we have an exclusive. Dr. Politzer was my sophomore physics professor at Caltech. He tried to teach us all about quantum mechanics (well, as much QM as a sophomore needs to know). Sophomore physics has just about all the Caltech sophomores in it (about 200 students) so it is held in a large lecture hall.

Here are some stories (tending toward the sensational, of course):

1) Politzer once verbally chastized three girls (names withheld for privacy reasons) because they were giggling in class. Giggling in class, in his estimation, was worse than sleeping in class, because sleepers were at least only wasting their own time. I had been asleep up to the point his tirade began.*

2) He said (regarding a quiz or midterm), "I bet you think I pulled those questions out of my asshole!" and then went on to explain to us that it was OK to use the word asshole in this context, because he was using it anatomically, not as a pejorative.

3) He said, "Don't look at it, 'cause it's a fucking bright light!" just before peforming an experiment in front of the class. I have no recollection of what the experiment was.

4) In another experiment (well, it *might* be the same experiment as above) he made Helium-4 superfluid, the mysterious state of helium that forms at very low temperatures, when helium atoms stop acting like fermions and start acting like bosons. Cool! Note that I probably have the physics wrong.

5) Once I walked into class and Dr. Politzer was sitting cross-legged on the massive, soapstone topped lab table at the front of the room, playing a flute or a piccolo or panpipes. My memory is fuzzy - maybe it was a ukelele or a banjo.

6) It was the rumor that Dr. Politzer did all the chalk board equations for the movie "Fat Man and Little Boy" which was about the development of the A-bomb during WWII.

Congratulations to David Politzer and the other two guys I didn't know for their award!

*Update: I just remembered this part. The girls were sitting just next to me - when I awoke from my semi-stupor, I thought he was yelling at me! I almost had a heart attack.


did you get the message?

by John at 10/04/2004 05:33:00 PM

I hope so - I don't like to repeat myself. (5.4Mb Quicktime)

(Yoink! from Atrios, by Brennan Houlihan)

X Prize awarded to SpaceShipOne

by John at 10/04/2004 11:17:00 AM

The SpaceShipOne team had a second successful launch this morning, within the two week window required by the X Prize rules. CNN is reporting that they have won the prize.


Later today, you should be able to watch the webcast here.


15 pages?

by John at 10/03/2004 03:27:00 PM

How the White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence (NYT login requried, yoinked from Boing Boing)


Be afraid, be very afraid

by Michelle at 10/01/2004 10:59:00 PM

Cameron Diaz claiming on Oprah that if you don't vote, then the evil Republicans will legalize rape.

Various democratic party officials including Kerry himself using scare tactics like Bush will reinstate the draft if he gets re-elected.

Terry McAuliffe of the DNC encouraging supporters to flood post-election flash polls.

Widespread vandalism and theft of Bush/Cheney signs throughout the nation including here in Longmont, CO. Republican party headquarters on Main St gets tagged with dog poopie and its main Bush/Cheney sign is decorated with the word FU** . Signs stolen from yards. Cars vandalized. (real voter intimidation)

Democratic party-led ballot initiative to change the electoral allocation in the state of Colorado in favor of Kerry using controversial retroactive legislation. Electoral votes to be divvyed up based on number of votes. Of course, such a thing is not being sought in California where it would obviously hurt Kerry.

Beginnings of reports of widespread voter registration fraud, especially in battleground states. For instance, one county in Ohio now has more registered voters than they do people of voting age. Dead people signing up to vote in another Ohio county. (proof that verification is necessary and is NOT voter intimidation)

Washington State Republican Party Headquarters is broken into in Watergate fashion. Only 3 key laptops stolen. Other laptops and valuables spared. Stolen laptops contain key Republican election strategies.

Get ready for a bumpy ride folks. I think maybe I'll just lay low for awhile. You never know who might be reading this!

facts? check!

by John at 10/01/2004 04:25:00 PM

CJR Campaign Desk has a run-down of post-debate fact checking from major news media.

Anyway, something is bugging me. Several of the fact checkers have cited this line by Kerry:

And now we see beheadings. And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they're blowing people up.

And the fact checkers say, "What's he talking about? WMD crossing the border?"

Do they all not understand metaphor? The WMDs are the suicide bombers, who are widely believed to be non-Iraqis (and therefore must cross the border into Iraq), and who are blowing people up almost everyday.

Perhaps he should have used a simile.