Jan. 2nd, 2003

sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
digby has a blog!

I think I have my ambivalence under control, here.

Now he just needs to get on me-zine.

(nag nag nag. It's a parent thing).
sisyphusshrugged: (Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness)
from the morning's papers


Lies, Damn Lies, and Really Really Big Damn Lies

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is looking into accusations that its premier laboratory lied to cover up serious problems with the technology at the heart of the administration's proposed antimissile defense system.

The university was prodded to act by Theodore A. Postol, a tenured M.I.T. physicist in security studies and a prominent critic of the antimissile plan. In letters to Congress and elsewhere, Dr. Postol has said M.I.T. appeared to be hiding evidence of serious flaws in the nation's main antimissile weapon, a ground-based rocket meant to destroy incoming enemy warheads by impact. His accusations center on a 1998 study by Lincoln Laboratory, a federally financed M.I.T. research center, and have grown over the years to include the institute's provost, president and corporate chairman.

Dr. Postol became known as an antimissile critic after the Persian Gulf war in 1991, when he argued that contrary to Pentagon assertions Patriot missiles had shot down few if any Iraqi Scud missiles. His contention, at first ridiculed, in time became accepted as truth.

Officials at the institute strongly deny any wrongdoing.

"The bedrock principle for all research done at M.I.T. is scientific integrity," officials said in a statement. "Any allegation that there has been any deviation from that principle must be taken seriously, and that is what M.I.T. has done in this case."

These officials dismissed Dr. Postol's accusation that they had delayed acting on his accusations.

Dr. Postol, who first called for an investigation 20 months ago and repeated his request many times, is unsatisfied...


What's wrong with this picture?


Schadenfreude, call your office

Want to catch the latest episode of the CBS hit "C.S.I." in France? Tune in Saturdays at 11 p.m. How about the CBS show "Judging Amy" in Singapore? Try weekdays at midnight.

Those programs would have been candidates for prime time several years ago. But today American dramas and sitcoms -- though some remain popular -- increasingly occupy fringe time slots on foreign networks, industry executives say. Instead, a growing number of shows produced by local broadcasters are on the air at the best times.

"Whereas American TV shows used to occupy prime-time slots, they are now more typically on cable, or airing in late-night or weekend slots," said Michael Grindon, president of Sony Pictures Television International.

The shift counters a longstanding assumption that TV shows produced in the United States would continue to overshadow locally produced shows from Singapore to Sicily. The changes are coming at a time when the influence of the United States on international affairs has chafed friends and foes alike, and some people are expressing relief that at least on television American culture is no longer quite the force it once was.

I'd like to offer words of sympathy to the US media, including Fox, Time Warner, Disney/ABC, CBS, [MS]NBC and all the other media conglomerates who have built their businesses on the current (now unsustainable) syndication structure and are being gutted by the man they teamed up to push into office.

I'd really like to, but since I'm gladgladglad, haha, so there, eat hot red ink, pigboinkers, mwahahahahaaaaaaaaa

I won't.


A Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness Award for the New York Times

The governor used the word "crisis" yesterday. He didn't say he contributed to the crisis. He didn't give its dimensions or say what he was going to do about it other than call for the kind of nonpartisan "unity" that is as alien to Albany as a snowless winter.

But when Gov. George E. Pataki used that word, "crisis," yesterday, about halfway through his third-term inaugural speech, it was as though he'd shouted it from the roof of the Capitol.

"The challenge isn't over," he said in his insistently plaintive voice. "We still face a crisis" .

Better late? The only practical answer to that question, other elected officials were saying yesterday, is yes, because the governor gave New York no other choice. In his re-election year (a few months ago), he was having none of what he termed "the gloom-and-doom talk."

Other states are in deep fiscal trouble, too, but while several governors got down to the business of a budget rescue weeks and even months ago - limiting the damage - Mr. Pataki has made only modest moves.

He imposed a state hiring freeze, cut agency spending and proposed a new bond sale using the tobacco settlement - a risky proposition. That money is already earmarked for, among other things, the raises he gave to the largely Hispanic hospital workers' union on the eve of his campaign, and health programs that he promoted heavily during it.

To predictions months ago that the budget gap could be as high as $10 billion, Mr. Pataki said no way, rejecting the notion of a serious budget problem.

"All the gloom-and-doom talk is not the case," he said in mid-October. Transit fare increases? They could be avoided by finding new riders, he insisted. The fares are about to go up. Tax increases? "I can tell you right now, we're not going to raise taxes next year." Taxes have already gone up in New York City and in other localities, and there's talk of statewide increases.

Candidate Pataki said that a budget gap, whatever its size, would be closed as it always was: "We are going to look, as we did in 1995, to continue to make the government operate in a more efficient and more effective way as we go forward. My goal has always been that you balance budgets by increasing revenues."

Gosh, can't think how you could have missed all this while Carl McCall was begging you to cover the issues and you were too busy writing puff pieces about the governor's personal style. Now don't you feel bad about endorsing him over the state comptroller who kept him fiscally honest (over his vehement objections) during his first term?

Ladies and gentlemen, the liberal New York Times.


Sorry, Flipper

Tuna caught by encircling dolphins may be labeled "dolphin safe" if it can be certified that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured during the catch, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The ruling opens the way for Mexico and Ecuador to ship tuna to the United States.

The decision to soften the requirements for using the "dolphin safe" label brought immediate criticism from environmentalists who say international safeguards are insufficient to ensure that tuna is caught without harm to dolphins.

The action by the department's National Marine Fisheries Service came after the agency determined that although thousands of dolphins continue to be killed during tuna fishing, the losses pose no significant threat to the species.

The marine fisheries service said tuna caught by encircling dolphins may immediately be imported into the United States and bear the "dolphin safe" label as long as observers aboard the fishing vessels certify that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured during the catch.

"Americans can continue to have confidence that when they purchase tuna with the dolphin safe label that dolphins are being protected," Bill Hogarth, the agency's director, said.

Under the old definition, any tuna caught using dolphins as targets were barred from bearing the consumer-friendly label on cans sold in the United States.

Got that? Dolphin Safe != Dolphin Safe. Happy New Year.


A Massachusetts prep school has accepted a donation from a Saudi Arabian prince whose $10 million offer to aid New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was spurned by then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who earned a sharp rebuke from Giuliani for remarks critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, donated $500,000 to a scholarship fund at Phillips Academy in Andover established to honor former president George H.W. Bush, a 1942 graduate. President Bush is a 1964 graduate.

Andover spokeswoman Sharon Britton said Tuesday that when the school solicited the gift, the prince's comments were not seen as a problem. She said there is nothing unusual or untoward about the Saudi prince's donation to the scholarship fund, which totals $3.3 million and was announced at Bush's 60th reunion in June.

New York officials rejected the check from Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, because of his suggestions that U.S. policies in the Middle East were partly to blame for the attacks.

A Giuliani spokeswoman refused to comment.

Specifically, the gentleman, who has family and business connections to Bush pere et fils, wanted us to reconsider our support for Israel, since it was our support for Israel and lack of consideration for the Palestinians that caused the attacks, he said.

The donation was, some folks close to the situation say, solicited by the president himself, and has not thus far been rejected by either himself, his eponymous father or the school that taught them both their Values. The Bush family could easily afford to replace the gift themselves out of income.

Why, as pundits so often say about people who question America's actions leading up to the attacks, do these people hate America?


...Plants and animals have always had to adjust to shifting climates. But climate is changing faster now than in recent millenniums, and many scientists attribute the pace to rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

In some cases, species' ranges have shifted 60 miles or more in recent decades, mainly toward the poles, according to the new analyses. In others, the timing of egg laying, migrations and the like has shifted weeks earlier in the year, creating the potential to separate species, in both time and place, from their needed sources of food.

One academic not associated with the studies, Dr. Richard P. Alley, an expert on past climate shifts who teaches at Pennsylvania State University, said that climate had changed more abruptly a few times since the last ice age and that nature had shifted in response. But, he noted, "the preindustrial migrations were made without having to worry about cornfields, parking lots and Interstates."

Citing the new work and studies of past climate shifts, Dr. Alley saw particular significance in the expectation that animals and plants that rely on one another were likely to migrate at different rates. Referring to affected species, he said, "You'll have to change what you eat, or rely on fewer things to eat, or travel farther to eat, all of which have costs."

The result in coming decades could be substantial ecological disruption, local losses of wildlife and extinction of some species, the two studies said.

The authors express their findings with a certainty far greater than in the last decade, when many of the same researchers contributed to reports on biological effects of warming that were published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the top international research group on the issue...

Kind of touching, really, how different the world looks when you're going to live to see that global crisis you don't believe in.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
Wanted a post with this time on it.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
Someone in the Palestinian Authority decided it was time to deal with the endemic corruption and lack of meaningful oversight which ensure that money gets stolen and misappropriated and made available to terrorists and ordinary people get screwed issue.

Ya think?

The Poor Man has it.



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