Friday, May 07, 2004

Nader supporter = Bush supporter

Hey, there's a point where we are all young and naive, and we say silly things like "our vote is too important to waste on the lesser of two evils". In a perfect world John Kerry would not be my choice for president. However, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in "Bushworld", and unless we want to continue living in "Bushworld" we need to let go of these infantile fantasies that Ralph Nader would have us believe.

Nader is a drug that we have to let go of. Some of us can go cold turkey, some of us need a 12 step program, but it is already proven that a careless habit of Nader leads inexorably to a full fledged addiction of Bush . And Bush is a drug that is known to cause death in humans and is hard to break the habit of.


Gasoline at $10 per gallon? - You bet!

Paul Krugman discusses what is happening in the world oil markets and why oil is at $40/barrel.

I work in the oil industry, and I can tell you that within my (very large) company, there is a sense of growing concern, if not panic, as to where even the medium term replacement reserves are for the oil and gas we are producing today. I can tell you that there is a lot of wishful thinking about future opportunities and also a lot of faith being put on what I would call (using a couple of football metaphors) "trick plays" and "hail Mary passes".

Anyway, here are some exerpts from Krugman's article.

The question, instead, is when the trend in oil prices will turn decisively upward. That upward turn is inevitable as a growing world economy confronts a resource in limited supply. But when will it happen? Maybe it already has.


Since then, however, world demand has grown rapidly: the daily world consumption of oil is 12 million barrels higher than it was a decade ago, roughly equal to the combined production of Saudi Arabia and Iran. It turns out that America's love affair with gas guzzlers, shortsighted as it is, is not the main culprit: the big increases in demand have come from booming developing countries. China, in particular, still consumes only 8 percent of the world's oil — but it accounted for 37 percent of the growth in world oil consumption over the last four years.

The collision between rapidly growing world demand and a limited world supply is the reason why the oil market is so vulnerable to jitters. Maybe we'll get through this bad patch, and oil will fall back toward $30 a barrel. But if that happens, it will be only a temporary respite.

In a way it's ironic. Lately we've been hearing a lot about competition from Chinese manufacturing and Indian call centers. But a different kind of competition — the scramble for oil and other resources — poses a much bigger threat to our prosperity.

So what should we be doing? Here's a hint: We can neither drill nor conquer our way out of the problem. Whatever we do, oil prices are going up. What we have to do is adapt.


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Editorials on prisoner abuse in Iraq

Here are several editorials from midwestern papers about the abuse and tortures of detainees in Iraq.


Tom Friedman - Restoring America's Honor

Friedman is not one of my favorite writers. He was a war supporter- but for really wierd reasons. And he can't come to terms with how bad things are turning out.

His view of much of the world I don't agree with. He does travel a lot though, and talks to a lot of movers and shakers. He is worth reading even if you don't agree with him.

We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom "Friends" right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Let's talk about health care

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may spend twice as much on health care as other rich countries but it is not getting results to match, according to three studies released on Tuesday.


It finds the United States spent $4,887 per capita on health care in 2001, compared to $2,792 in Canada, $2,513 in Australia and $1,992 in Britain.

"Our results also fail to reveal what the extra spending has bought, although there are many important places to look," the report reads.

It finds the United States has fewer doctors, nurses and hospital beds than many countries that spend less on health care. The United States has 2.7 doctors per 100,000 population, 8.1 nurses per 100,000 and 2.9 beds.

Yet Greece manages 4.4 doctors per 100,000, 3.9 nurses and 4.0 hospital beds.

A third study by Rand Health, part of the Rand Corporation, found that Americans across the country risk poor health care, even if they live close to a top hospital.


From Cosmic Iguana:

Keith Olbermann on his Countdown interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson tonight, reported that he received 3 different emails from the White House with talking points and questions. One of them asked Olbermann to phone the White House prior to the interview to "discuss" it.

Olbermann's response, "There may be other venues where they take questions from the White House, but we are capable of writing our own questions."


GQ says Powell is kaput!

According to a new article in GQ about Colin Powell, he is ready to quit the adminstration. Author interviewed Powell and his close aides at the State Dept. Worth reading.


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Hit counter BS

OK, so the hit counter was counting something but who knows what. I guess you get what you pay for. Anyway for the few who "pinged" me thanks.

Right wingers I read

George Will has a pretty good column that was picked up in several papers including my own beloved Houston Chronicle. Will is a Country Club Republican elitist asshole, and he is definitely in love with his own vocabulary in the vein of Willam F. Buckley. On the other hand, he has been a critic of our administrations strategy (or lack thereof) in Iraq for some time now.

Anyway Will's column starts with this lovely observation of our President

Appearing Friday in the Rose Garden with Canada's prime minister, President Bush was answering a reporter's question about Canada's role in Iraq when suddenly he swerved into this extraneous thought:

"There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern."

What does such careless talk say about the mind of this administration? Note that the clearly implied antecedent of the pronoun "ours" is "Americans." So the president seemed to be saying that white is, and brown is not, the color of Americans' skin. He does not mean that. But that is the sort of swamp one wanders into when trying to deflect doubts about policy by caricaturing and discrediting the doubters.

His column rambles somewhat but the gist is that the neoconservatives running our foreign policy aren't conservative at all.

Ron Chernow's magnificent new biography of Alexander Hamilton begins with these of his subject's words: "I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be." That is the core of conservatism.

Traditional conservatism. Nothing "neo" about it. This administration needs a dose of conservatism without the prefix.

- Well Duh!!

Anyway, kudos to George for at least firing a small shot across the administrations bow from the starboard rather than the port.


Monday, May 03, 2004

OK, when you are an anonymous blogger you just post shit out there for the world to read and hopefully comment on. But, of course, most people don't comment - which is OK because I only comment on other blogs occasionally too.

However, every once in a while I wonder if anyone is actually reading. Now there are a couple of people who I know read this (like my kids who love to point out my use of profanity in these posts). Also there is my lovely friend Sandi. Other than that, it's pretty much a guess.

Anyway, I put a hit counter on the blog today, and in a couple of hours there was close to 170 hits. Well either the hit counter is total BS or there are people actually reading this. So people, who the hell are you? Where the hell are you? Give me some idea. Just put Buffalo, or Delhi, or Quito in the comment log.


Who Hacked the Voting System? The Teacher

In the NY Times today - Why we should be scared shitless about electronic voting.

"The fix was in, and it was devilishly hard to detect. Software within electronic voting machines had been corrupted with malicious code squirreled away in images on the touch screen. When activated with a specific series of voting choices, the rogue program would tip the results of a precinct toward a certain candidate. Then the program would disappear without a trace.

Luckily, the setting was not an election but a classroom exercise; the conspirators were students of Aviel D. Rubin, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. It might seem unusual to teach computer security through hacking, but a lot of what Professor Rubin does is unusual. He has become the face of a growing revolt against high-technology voting systems. His critiques have earned him a measure of fame, the enmity of the companies and their supporters among election officials, and laurels: in April, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave him its Pioneer Award, one of the highest honors among the geekerati. "


Tomato Observer has an interesting post about how political arguments get framed. It's worth checking out.