Saturday, November 15, 2003

But are you hungry a half hour later?

Some Chinese Mete Out Rat Poison Revenge
BEIJING - Each story is ghastlier than the last. A shop owner poisons the snacks at a rival's store, and 38 people die. A widow spikes the lunch at her husband's funeral, killing 10. A man seeks vengeance against his married lover by targeting her children.

Across China, aggrieved parties are increasingly turning to an outlawed but easily available weapon: a particularly lethal form of rat poison called "Dushuqiang."

With case after lurid case being described in the state-controlled media, the Chinese government has had enough.

Authorities are executing perpetrators and seizing hundreds of tons of Dushuqiang, which translates as "strong rat poison." Police are warning that those caught supplying poison used in fatal attacks could face the death penalty, too.
In January, China executed Huang Hu, 29, a kindergarten owner in Guangdong province who sickened 70 children by mixing Dushuqiang into salt at a rival school's kitchen. The students and two teachers suffered spasms and vomiting. Reports said Huang blamed the rival school for the failure of his own kindergarten.
But there's a problem:
Wang Shizhou, a Peking University law professor, attributes part of the problem to the way rural China operates. It's rife with toxins such as rat poison, pesticides and herbicides, and villagers get little training in their use.

"In the countryside, people do not know what kinds of things will poison somebody," Wang said, and an assailant may simply want to sicken one person but end up killing a dozen.
Hmm, sounds like some state education shortfalls to me.

And speaking of the media ...

The WaPo's Dana Milbank has a hissy fit over President Bush giving an exclusive interview to the (U.K.) Sun - Prez in Topless Tabloid: London Paper Nabs Rare Bush Exclusive.
Word on Fleet Street is it's an obvious payoff to the Sun's owner, Rupert Murdoch, the conservative publisher behind many Bush-friendly news outlets such as Fox News. Officials at the White House acknowledge that it was a reward to the Sun for its unstinting support of the United States regarding the war in Iraq. (The Sun's pro-Bush stance also got it an interview with Vice President Cheney in late 2001.)
Ruh Oh! It must be the VRWC at work!
But Bush aides also said it was done on the recommendation of Tony Blair, Britain's Labor Party prime minister, who has worked hard to bring the Sun away from its Tory Party roots.
Or something like that.
Bush, meanwhile, has given no solo interviews this year to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time or Newsweek. And he hasn't given an exclusive interview in his entire presidency to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and dozens of other major publications.
Do I detect a bit of envy? In any case, most US papers don't need interviews. It's easier to make stuff up.
TV Snooze

TV's bad reception
Quick, can you name a new hit show this fall?
Nope and not for about the last 20 years either. Is Bonanza still on?
No? You're not alone.
Whew, that's a relief!
There aren't any.
Ruh Oh!
In a fall season that usually showcases network TV at its boastful finest, the words "disconcerting," "depressing" and "malaise" are on the lips of network executives as new series falter and returning hits fade. Fox's critically praised Skin, NBC's massively hyped sex comedy Coupling and WB's heroic Tarzan — each considered a network best bet as the season began — are among the first casualties.

Young-adult viewers, the darlings of Madison Avenue, are more scarce than ever, defecting in larger numbers as older folks remain loyal.
Since I'm one of the older folks, I'll take that as a compliment. I must be more trendy than I thought.

The article has lots of theories about the "problem" - DVD's, the Web, video games, cable - but lingers lovingly on the angst about "content" .
"To win back viewers in a big way, broadcast networks need to try shows that are creatively adventurous," Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow says. But in a business in which four out of five new shows fail, networks are hardly in an adventurous mood. "It begs the question of what's the right space for broadcasters."
The farm report is nice.
Walking Wine Vat Speaks!

Kennedy Calls Bush Minority Nominees 'Neanderthals'.

Details over at Sacred Cow Burgers. And while you're visiting SCB, check out the hip, trendy, youthful types at Block the Vote.

It's our little pals again

Suicide Car Bombers Kill 15 in Turkey

This isn't going to end until every nut case takes a hollow point in the brain.

And in related news - U.N. experts say only technical know-how prevents al-Qaida attack with chemicals, bio-weapons. Yuh think?

Friday, November 14, 2003

No bad idea goes unemulated

Latin American States Give Aliens ID Cards in U.S.:
Several Latin American countries plan to follow Mexico's example by issuing consular identification cards to illegal immigrants in the United States, despite FBI warnings that the cards pose a security threat, officials said on Thursday.

Mexico has issued around two million of the cards, known as the "matricula consular" to its nationals, whether they are in the United States legally or illegally, in the past two years. Guatemala began offering a similar card last year.

Ecuador recently started issuing cards to its nationals. Honduras expects to begin a program soon while Nicaragua, El Salvador and Brazil are studying the issue.
What! You don't recognize an Elbonian ID card!
The World Is Good Hands

I've mentioned this before, but I like it so much - Smoke 'em if you got 'em:
The United Nations is perhaps the last public space in New York where one can light up a Camel over coffee, or even a Cuban cigar after lunch. And diplomats from a dozen foreign nations are working to keep it that way.

Earlier this year, New York City passed one of the most restrictive smoking laws in the country. But the statute has done nothing to stop diplomats from lighting up in the delegates' bar and coffee lounges at the U.N. headquarters building, and New York authorities have no jurisdiction to stop them.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has tried on his own to ban cigarettes inside the Secretariat building on First Avenue, succeeding mainly in prompting hours of debate in General Assembly committees and lending a defiant pleasure to each strike of the match.

When diplomats protested that only the General Assembly, not Mr. Annan, could outlaw cigarettes, the U.N. legal advisers were called in to study the matter.
Read the whole article for all the legal details - if you have a hard time getting to sleep. The UN should resolve this any decade now.
Ruh Oh!

Students call Dean posters a hoax:

"Whoever is doing this is engaging in the most negative form of campaigning imaginable or participating in the most awful sort of prank," Heintz said.
Maybe, unlike the Deanie-Weenies, they just have a sense of humor?
I didn't think they made movies like that any more!

Charles Krauthammer reviews Master and Commander:
Even better is the fact that the hero in his little British frigate is up against a larger, more powerful French warship. That allows U.S. audiences the particular satisfaction of seeing Anglo-Saxon cannonballs puncturing the Tricolor. My favorite part was Aubrey rallying the troops with a Henry V, St. Crispin's Day speech featuring: "Do you want your children growing up and singing the Marseillaise?" It was met by a chorus of deafening "No's." Maybe they should have put that in the trailer too.
We don't see many of them around here!

Chairman Mao impersonators that is.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The East German Women's Shotput Team was just ahead of their time!

IOC OK Transsexual Athletes in Olympics
Athletes who have undergone sex change operations will be eligible to compete in the Olympics for the first time under new rules being finalized by the IOC.
"We will have no discrimination," IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch told The Associated Press on Thursday. "The IOC will respect human rights."
Pat's damn diverse, isn't he?

But here's the best part:
Until 1999, the IOC conducted gender verification tests at the Olympics but the controversial screenings were dropped before the 2000 Sydney Games.

One reason for the change was that not all women have standard female chromosomes. In addition, there are cases of people who have ambiguous genitalia or other congenital conditions.
I'm so confused! Why not skip all the fooling around and just have unisex competitions?
It's a pond scum smorgasbord!

And Best of the Web has the selections!

Yum, I'm hard pressed to decide between the anti-American journalists at Newsweek and the NY Times with an anti-Bush garnish from Reuters or the Pennsylvania librarian who won't allow an American flag in the library because it might offend some patrons. Of course, if you like California cuisine, there's the war protestors in Sebastapol, California who poured concrete in 200 holes used for Veteran's Day flag poles.

Poll finds Chretien achievements forgettable
When there's a casino on every corner, what are they going do?

Tribe members face ouster over recall try:
They may not have a casino yet, but leaders of the Enterprise Rancheria certainly know a thing or two about political hardball.

In a maneuver that might make Gray Davis green with envy, five members of the Butte County tribe's council who beat back a recall effort in late September are proposing to throw every person who signed the recall petition out of the tribe.

If approved by three-fourths of the tribal voters who show up at a special hearing in Palermo this morning, 72 people -- or about 20 percent of the 345-member band -- would be "disenrolled."

That would mean no share of revenues, for them or their descendents, from a casino and hotel the tribe is trying to build in Yuba County, near the Sleep Train Ampitheatre and the site of a long-discussed-but-yet-to-be-built auto racetrack.
I was planning to start a tribe with just one member, but after reading this maybe I'll start the "Inclusive and Diverse" Tribe. You know, open to all citizens.
Durn Wimps!

(Via Spoons) You call this a filibuster?
The U.S. Senate has scheduled a filibuster for Wednesday night so senators can talk themselves blue in the face about who's to blame because Democrats won't allow some of President Bush's judicial nominations to come to a vote. We're not going to debate the merits of the issue today--of course every nominee should get a vote. This time, we'd rather complain about the wussy nature of this filibuster.

Time was when a Senate filibuster meant something. Senators were forced to stay up all night and had to keep talking until they were close to collapse. Remember that scene in the movie, "Mr. Smith goes to Washington"? Jimmy Stewart does collapse on the Senate floor.

But the senators of the 108th Congress aren't about to collapse from this effort. This filibuster has been carefully choreographed. It'll last 30 hours, from Wednesday evening through midnight Thursday. No senator will have to blabber on for 30 hours. The time is being split equally between Republicans and Democrats. A Republican will blabber for 30 minutes, then a Democratic senator will blabber for 30 minutes . . . you get the picture. The point of this exercise? Beats us. Even hot air ain't what it used to be.
That's what we really need - a real "no holds barred" filibuster! I want to see Teddy Kennedy pissing in a water jug behind the lectern after a 10 hour speech. Er, I don't actually want to see it, but I want to know that's what he's doing when he crouches down behind the podium and his sigh of relief sounds like it's coming from a barrel.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a double secret plan so that when the 30 hours are up, the Donks all file out and the GOP calls a snap vote? I doubt there is, so we'll just have to extract amusement where we can - Call Democrat Cloakroom 202-224-4691, Ask Senator Byrd To Send Over Some Clean Sheets For GOP Cots. "He's a Kleagle, he's the guy who hands out sheets."
What about Fire Ants?

My interest in Paris Hilton is exceeded by my interest in most insect pests, but Howard Veit points to an article that provides stuff you just can't make up. The story, of course, is that "socialite" (i.e. more bucks than brains) Paris is in a tizzy over the public disclosure of an amateur porn tape she made with pal Rick Solomon:
As for Solomon, who recently launched a clothing and video venture titled Beverly Hills Pimps & Hos, which is described as an A-list version of Girls Gone Wild, one would think the leaked sex tape would serve as marketing gold--particularly since he bragged about the tape's existence earlier in the year.
We're dealing with a classy bunch here!
In the meantime, merchandisers and pranksters have decided to use the media frenzy over the tape to make hay while the sun shines.

"Paris Hilton Sex Tape" T-shirts are available in online boutiques, while a search for "Paris Hilton Sex Tape" on the file-sharing site KaZaA leads to clips of everything from large naked women doing provocative dances to a monkey drinking its own urine.
Glad to see somebody's got it right.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

With his hearing aid off, he can't hear the clue phone

Over in the UK - No obvious limit to immigration, says Blunkett:
David Blunkett blew open the political debate over immigration last night when he said there was "no obvious limit" to the number of foreigners who could settle in Britain.
Does he mean what I think he means?
With figures today expected to show that net migration is running at a record level, the Home Secretary conceded that in some areas people felt swamped or overwhelmed by new arrivals. However, he declined to say how many people he thought Britain could comfortably accommodate.
Ten years ago the annual figure was about 50,000; cumulative immigration in the past five years is equivalent to a city the size of Liverpool. A poll in the summer suggested that voters considered immigration a bigger political issue than crime.

But Mr Blunkett does not consider that ceilings or quotas are practical and he seeks a "balanced" policy. Interviewed on BBC2's Newsnight, he declined to accept that there was a maximum population which the country could sustain.

"I don't think there is. But I think we need to work on much more robust projections of what is sustainable in the long term. It is a crowded island. We've always been a crowded, vigorous island."
Something to look forward to, I'm sure. But why?
Publishers insult Prophet (pbuh)!

Big Mo says Babe-a-licious!

The usual suspects are having turbo wedgies because an ancient drawing of Big Mo has some nekkid women faintly in the background. Woohoo! Looks like pr0n to me! Also, despite one's first reaction, pbuh is not an expletive.

LGF has all the details. I'm just doing my part to make sure everyone sees this scandalous example of non-PC behavior! "Hey Mo, is that a banana in your pocket?"
Dang, where'd I put the tin foil beanie?

Now here's the story. First, you have a Jewish billionaire who's been involved in a bunch of financial hanky-panky around the world which has actually shaken national governments. He also funds a worldwide political organization with branches in over 50 countries.

Then he turns up at a public conference and opines that he is one of the reasons that anti-Semites are claiming that "Jews rule the world". But he puts most of the blame for anti-Semitism on the governments of the USA and Israel.

To top it all off, he declares war on President Bush and makes big bucks contributions to the USA's "party of the people," skirting the campaign finance laws via donations to various soft money sinkhole organizations like everyone's favorite foreign front group,

Now all I have to do is come up with an ending and get it all typed up and my fortune as a Hollywood screenwriter is assured!

You don't think the plot is too far fetched, do you?
Vanguard of the proletariat alert!

(Via Gweilo Diaries) Party inquiry after communist chief dies on golf course
The head of the Chinese Communist party in Chairman Mao's home town has died on a golf course, prompting a full investigation into his presence at such a potent symbol of capitalism.

Li Zhen'e, party secretary of Changsha in Hunan province, was at the course with two representatives of a local car manufacturer and two Japanese visitors. Late for his next appointment, Mr Li drove off in a golf buggy, but the vehicle went out of control and fell 10 feet on to a concrete road, killing him.

The location of his death raised many eyebrows and the party opened an inquiry. It concluded that there was no evidence of corruption, but it also found many niggling questions concerning the relationship between the party, big business and the sport of the "very wealthy".
Hey, even commies need a hobby.
Hot steaming chili alert!

Faked chili lands joker in hot water:
It started as a prank, said Don Eastep, an Illinois retiree. When his brother Larry couldn't attend the Terlingua, Texas, cook-off, Eastep went under his brother's name.

But he had no chili. So on cook-off day, he scooped up spoonfuls of chili from some of the 80 or so contestants' pots and entered the mishmash in his brother's cup.

He figured he had no chance, but the judges loved it. And when he was declared the winner, Eastep was speechless. "Maybe I was afraid if I would have said something at the time, a Texas lynch mob would have come after me," he said.
Isn't the state motto 'Don't mess with chili"?
Suspicious contestants told the judges that no one had seen Eastep cooking chili. When confronted, Eastep fessed up and turned over his winnings -- trophy, engraved necklace and hand-painted stove -- to the runner-up, a Dallas dentist.

In the future, said judge Tom Nall, cook-off participants will be required to show photo identification. And Eastep will be banned from the competition.
OK, but what about the implications of "super combo chili" tasting better than any of the entries of the individual contestants? Have the chili gurus been funnin' us all these years?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

On Veterans' Day and every day, our thanks to those who have served

Don't makes us come down there

(Hat tip:
The clue phone is ringing but no one is home

Other than in passing, I didn't mention the 9 Dwarves debate last week sponsored by CNN and "Rock the Vote" for reasons amply described by Matt Labash. Not only is "Rock the Vote" a partisan Democrat operation, but the forced "hipness" of the Mouseketeers that run it and the cheap whores, er, Democrat candidates that play along is very cloying. Do you really want to hear about Weasley Clark's favorite rap musician? Or whether Bubba wears boxers or briefs (when he wears them).

Well, golly! Lookihere: CNN planted question at debate, student says:
CNN planted a question about computer preferences at last week's debate of the Democratic presidential candidates at Faneuil Hall in Boston, according to the student who posed the query and wrote about it yesterday in an online forum of the Brown (University) Daily Herald. During the debate, cosponsored by the nonprofit Rock the Vote organization, Alexandra Trustman asked the candidates whether they preferred the PC or Mac format for their computers.

Trustman wrote yesterday that she was called the morning of the debate and given the topic of the question the CNN producers wanted her to ask. She wrote that she was "confused by the question's relevance" and constructed what she thought was a "much more relevant" question.

But when she arrived in Boston for the debate, she wrote, she was "handed a note card" with the question and told she couldn't ask her alternative "because it wasn't lighthearted enough and they wanted to modulate the event with various types of questions."
How classy! Actually, if the Brown Daily Herald's server isn't still overloaded, you can read the full original letter which is rather plaintive. Excerpts (with some format improvements):
I'm writing in response to the Daily Jolt forums, the student dialogue and The Herald representation of me and my question at CNN's Rock the Vote. I'm extremely disappointed in the student body's reaction, especially because they weren't privy to the circumstances under which I had to ask the question, a situation that occurs daily in the media.
Sounds like Alexandra is catching some flak. There's hope for the Republic yet!
To clear things up, I was called the morning of the event and asked by the executive producer of the show if I would ask a question at the forum. I was told the question would probably be something about Macs or PCs, but that, once I arrived in Boston, we could amend what I would ask. Immediately, confused by the question's relevance as well, I tried to think about ways to make it seem applicable. I thought perhaps CNN's aim in wanting the candidates to answer their computer preference was really a way to breach the topic of technology. So, I constructed a much more relevant question, about how, if elected, the candidates would use technology in their administrations. Once in Boston I was handed a note card with the Macs or PCs version of Clinton's boxers or briefs question. After reading it, I told the executive producer that I didn't see the question's relevance and had thought of one that I would like to ask instead.

He took a look at my question and told me I couldn't ask it because it wasn't light-hearted enough and they wanted to modulate the event with various types of questions — mine was to be one of the questions on the less serious side. The show's host wanted the Macs or PCs question asked, not because he was wondering about the candidates' views of technology, but because he thought it would be a good opportunity for the candidates to relate to a younger audience — hence the 18- to 31-year-old audience of Rock the Vote. At this point it was clear to me that the question would be asked regardless of whether I was the person to ask it. I had to make the decision whether to actively participate in Rock the Vote by asking a question that wasn't mine and wasn't representative of me as a Brown student, or to sit in the stands uninvolved. The executive producer had asked and wanted me to pose the question, so being someone who doesn't like to go back on her word, as a favor to him I went ahead, hoping that if CNN wanted the question asked there must be a reason.
Er, the reason is that they're asshats, Alexandra.

Of course, Alexandra doesn't exactly have a career in rocket science pending:
Loyalty to my commitment and the opportunity to be involved in Rock the Vote outweighed any criticism I thought would come from the question. Granted, I wish I had been able to ask something else, but when put into perspective, there are many questions I could have asked that would have yielded a much more negative response. It's not as if what I said was inappropriate or politically incorrect. As the New York Times put it, Rock the Vote was "intended by its organizers to offer a somewhat offbeat view of the candidates by having them answer questions from young voters. And there were, indeed, the offbeat questions, like whether the candidates … preferred PCs to Macs." It's unfortunate that the candidates were unable to take advantage of the question to try to relate to the young viewers by extrapolating their answers. In effect they missed the opportunity to reveal an aspect of their offbeat, youthful side.

Those who criticized the question didn't take into account why CNN might have wanted it asked — what's more, they didn't hesitate to judge me for asking a question I couldn't change. I would have hoped that such a liberal student body, from a school that in the very school catalog advocates intellectual freedom, would have reserved judgment on a situation and person it knew little if nothing about. Not one person bothered to inquire or find out the truth about the incident. No one even asked me to write this opinions column. My side was left completely unrepresented and was as a consequence misrepresented. At a school where we pride ourselves on open mindedness and good journalism, I would have expected that before being criticized, both sides of the story would be presented, if not for the professionalism of the Brown Daily Herald, then perhaps for the respect of a fellow student.
You've been conned, Alexandra. Deal with it. And if you're going to spend much time dealing with the Donks, get used to it.

Monday, November 10, 2003

This guy looks familiar!

Only bigger.

And looking at the background reminds me of the old saw about scoundrels wrapping themselves in the flag. But since MoveOn was a sponsor, shouldn't there have been some foreign flags?
Meanwhile back at Fantasy Island, Weasley spots "Da Plane"

In the New Yorker, Peter J. Boyer interviews asshat brasshat Wesley Clark:
When I asked Clark how he explained being fired by Clinton after winning a war for him, he said that he didn’t believe that Clinton had anything to do with it. The President did indeed sign the order that mandated Clark’s early removal from the SACEUR post, but Sandy Berger later explained to Clark that neither he nor the President knew what they were signing. It was, Clark says, a setup, engineered by Cohen’s office and by the Chiefs. As for Clinton, “He was hornswoggled.”
While the concept of the horndog being hornswoggled definitely amuses, last week Weasley was saying that he hadn't been fired. So which is it, Weasel Boy?

Meanwhile, Tommy Franks has some words on Weasley:
WASHINGTON - Gen. Tommy Franks, who retired after leading the first stage of this year's war against Iraq, says in a new report that Wesley Clark, another former general, would make a lousy president.

"Absolutely not," said Franks, when asked if Clark, who recently joined the pack of presidential wannabes, would make a good commander-in-chief.
Stick a fork in him, he's done.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Today's Hoot

Babara Amiel in the Telegraph tells us about A breakfast lesson in the art of friendship, Prodi-style. In case you've forgotten, Romano Prodi is the head Euroweenie and while the whole article is amusing, I really liked this:
It was left to the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, to get to the key point.

Mr Ailes was taken with Mr Prodi's declaration that the EU would not give any money to the reconstruction of Iraq. "Did the Europeans realise," he asked, "that American taxpayers spent billions reconstructing Europe?" "They did," replied Mr Prodi expansively, "but friends could differ."

"Did the Europeans realise," continued Ailes, unabashed, "that their position in supporting the elimination of sanctions against Saddam when he was in power and refusing to aid rebuilding Iraq when he was gone, appeared 'odd'?"

Mr Prodi's English became more Italianate and his arm gestures more expansive. He appeared to be conducting Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries . It was not the case that the EU did not want to help reconstruction, he said, but there was no legitimate government in Iraq to which the EU could give any money.

Ailes continued: "The United States has some reservations about organisations the EU gives money to as well as regimes it supports. In Iraq we are trying to build a new government with some democratic standards. Why won't you help us?" he asked. "No, no, no," Prodi said theatrically. "We will not give money when we don't know to whom." Which of course explained the hundreds of millions given to the Palestinian Authority by the EU. They must have known it would end up in Mr Arafat's Swiss bank account. I had fleeting visions of jolly African dictators cashing their Euro-cheques.
And this:
In the crusade to be non-discriminatory in passenger profiling, American airports are second to none. So it was that the 64-year-old, white, Italian president of the European Commission was pulled out of line for a full security check. There is no record of just how "extensive" that check was, but one fears the worst for the EU-US alliance.
OK, who's got the shoulder length latex gloves?
Expense Account Augmentation Alert!

The United Nations hasn't held a "Summit" lately, so can you say "Road Trip"? I knew you could!

Agenda Lacking As U.N. Tech Summit Looms:
UNITED NATIONS - Who controls the Internet and how richer nations should subsidize its growth in poorer countries are central issues dividing planners a month ahead of the first U.N. summit on information technology.
Both of which make me think the UN should just butt the hell out.
More than 50 heads of states have confirmed their attendance for the Dec. 10-12 Geneva meeting but there's still no agreement on what they'll be asked to consider.
Aside from the menu and the goods in the shoppes.
With expectations low that much of substance can be achieved at what has been christened the World Summit on the Information Society, organizers are stressing the complexity of the issues.

Even setting broad guidelines on governance of the global yet massively decentralized Internet is a huge challenge, they say.

"Probably what will happen is more a sketch of what needs to be done," said Nitin Desai, special adviser to the summit for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Plus lots of good shopping, I'm sure. Hmm, I wonder who'll be there?
But U.N. officials say they now have confirmation from the French prime minister and the German chancellor, among at least 56 world leaders expected. Stauffacher said he expected 5,000 to 6,000 people to attend, representing government, business and civic sectors.
Jacques, Gerhard, and 5 to 6 thousand people to do nothing? You have to give them credit for knowing how to throw a party. I just wish the taxpayers weren't footing the bill.
President Bush is not yet among them.
Smart move, but stay tuned for the whines about unilateralism.

You really have to read the whole article to get the full flavor of the "issues". It's that bad United Nations taste again. Basically, the one donkey countries want control of Internet technology and content plus lots of cash. Gee, that's a big honking surprise.

And here's the best line:
Andrew McLaughlin, a former ICANN official now fellow at Harvard focusing on global telecommunications policy, dismisses the summit as a "blabberfest that is not likely to produce results."
It's what they do. It's all they do. has a lot of friends in foreign places

A poster on FR had some interesting comments about this article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. Well, I don't speak Swedish so I did a little Googling for co-author Hanna Armelius, and, lo and behold, here it is in English:
Democracy aid to the US

One year from now, on November 2nd 2004, the next American Presidential elections will be held. For the first time ever, because of the Internet, it is possible for non-American private citizens to participate in the campaign process. Should the rest of the world interfere with the choice of the US President? We claim that support for such action can be found in current theories of democracy.
The theories are tedious as expected. But here's the big plan:
Soon there will be another election, and the campaigning has already started. An estimated 100 million Americans (half of those who are eligible) will cast their vote. As always, there is a vast amount of money involved. However, in our view the greatest scandal is not that American Presidents can be bought -- but rather that they are so cheap. One dollar per EU-citizen would suffice to raise more money than the entire Bush campaign budget for the elections in 2000.

Compare this price to the cost of having Bush in the White House. Not only do we have the cost of rebuilding Iraq, the rest of the world will also have to suffer the consequences of environmental decay due to the withdrawal from treaties like the Kyoto protocol. Some countries might even cease to exist as the amount of carbon dioxide increases.

Charity contributions to democracy enhancement are becoming more popular. Why not invest where it will really make a difference? Since all the citizens of the world are obviously affected by the choice of American president, shouldn't we all have the right to engage in cross-border opinion making?
OK, but exactly how would a good leftoid do this?
In the light of the above, we would like to bring attention to an organization that makes it possible for non-American citizens to contribute to Bush's defeat, and thereby indirectly support democratic values, in the US as well as globally - It is not tied to any particular political party. Due to the wide international breakthrough of their peace campaign, "9-11", foreigners now constitute one third of their network of 2 million. It is illegal for American presidential candidates to receive contributions from other countries. However, all private citizens can make donations to as an organization. Currently they are buying TV commercial time to criticise the Bush administration. There is also a petition that anyone can sign, that calls for the resignation of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Emphasis is mine. Think about that when you hear about the Goron's speech this afternoon. Of course, Prince Al had a lot of practice with this kind of thing down at the Buddhist temple.

The Swedish meatballs also provide a convenient link for MoveOn contributions.
MoveOn Morons Hype Gore Bore!

From one of my nearly forgotten email accounts:
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Gore speaks out on Freedom

Dear MoveOn Member,

In June, twenty thousand MoveOn members interviewed each other by phone to help us explore the values underlying our work together.
Call Guinness, it's a circle jerk record!
One striking theme emerged: the deep concern Americans have with the Bush administration's attacks on our cherished liberties, in the name of security.
Yikes, the button-down shirted thugs must be everywhere!
Since June, we've been looking for a powerful way to respond to this clear mandate, and when former Vice President Gore asked us to co-host a policy address on Freedom and Security, we jumped at the chance.
The ankle biters swell with pride when the celebs notice, even if it is Big Weird Al looking for a handout.
You are invited to view this important speech on Sunday, November 9 at 2pm EASTERN by web cast, or on Link TV.
I've mentioned Link TV before under it's old name WorldLink TV. If you have never seen it, think of it as al-Jazeera for leftoids. Thankfully for my blood pressure, they took it off the satellite our dish is pointed at.
In Washington DC, this event will be attended by local MoveOn members and by members of our partner in this effort, the American Constitution Society.
Mentioned them before too - "progressive lawyers".
Unfortunately, all seats for the event are filled.
Despite the button-down shirted thugs!
But we encourage you to tune in this Sunday, at 2pm Eastern, by going to: (webcast link removed)
In this, his third major speech on the Administration's response to terrorism, Mr. Gore will describe the Administration's assault on our civil liberties as un-American and will charge that the Bush/Ashcroft attack on the Constitution is actually a smokescreen that obscures the Administration’s fundamental failure to meaningfully protect our national security, and that their efforts have weakened rather than strengthened America.
See you there.
All across America, the progressive forces will defy the "Administration's assault on our civil liberties" by huddling around computers and TV sets in darkened rooms listening to the call of freedom from Big Weird Al. If they don't fall asleep.

--Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The Team
November 7th, 2003
A team of wacky Berkeley software millionaires and their dingleberries.

Or you could always watch football.
It's the Bish!

Our local "big city" newspaper today ran Gene Frankels's Saturday WaPo puff piece about Archbishop Rowan Williams of the Anglican Church - Anglican Head Seeks 'Middle Way'. The gist is that the sincere but harried cleric is trying to keep things together despite the rancor over gay clergymen:
Friends say Williams is deeply frustrated that the church is obsessed with this issue when he would prefer to focus on poverty, AIDS and the impact of globalization. But they insist he will continue to try to work through it by buying time and keeping the two sides from leaving the church.

"Rowan hasn't got an agenda here, except to keep the communion united if he can," said Rev. Martin Reynolds, spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
Translation: he wants to keep the cash cows from leaving the barn so he can continue to pursue his hobbies.

I know, old snooze. But the best part is that along with:
The archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans, has called himself a "hairy lefty," ...
they ran what has to be the most unappealing picture of the Bish I have ever seen. I could't find it on the web, but this one will give you the flavor.
Interesting, if true

Daniel Drezner says Must be a full moon, because I agree with Robert Reich:
Mickey Kaus links to this Robert Reich commentary that took my breath away because it was both blunt and correct. The key parts:
America has been losing manufacturing jobs to China, Latin America and the rest of the developing world. Right? Well, not quite. It turns out that manufacturing jobs have been disappearing all over the world. Economists at Alliance Capital Management in New York took a close look at employment trends in 20 large economies recently, and found that since 1995 more than 22 million factory jobs have disppeared.

In fact, the United States has not even been the biggest loser. Between 1995 and 2002, we lost about 11 percent of our manufacturing jobs. But over the same period, the Japanese lost 16 percent of theirs. And get this: Many developing nations are losing factory jobs. During those same years, Brazil suffered a 20 percent decline.

Here’s the real surprise. China saw a 15 percent drop. China, which is fast becoming the manufacturing capital of the world, has been losing millions of factory jobs.

What’s going on? In two words: Higher productivity.
The only problem with this and all other economic analysis is the poor quality of economic data. As for China, I've noted before that they apparently make it all up. That being said, the idea that manufacturing employment is falling worldwide just as agricultural employment fell throughout the developed world in the last century has a variety of interesting implications. If we don't grow food and we don't make stuff, what do we do? I'm going for overrated and annoying conceptual artist myself.