Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Germans rock

Here are a few key excerpts from a story on signonsandiego.com

"MAINZ, Germany – Some 7,000 protesters, some carrying banners saying "Bush go home," "War Monger" and "No. 1 Terrorist," marched through the German town of Mainz on Wednesday but were kept away from the visiting U.S. president."

Go Home
Bush's visit contrasted with that of his father to Mainz in 1989 when large crowds cheered Bush senior for his calls for the Berlin Wall to be torn down.

Other U.S. presidents have also been given a hero's welcome in Germany.

"When John F. Kennedy came to Germany he drove through cheering crowds," said Mark Reichelt, 20, a student. "Now Bush is here and will drive through empty streets."


Terrorist #1

Ignoring snow and freezing temperatures, the demonstrators held banners chastising Bush in English with slogans such as: "You can bomb the world to pieces but not into peace." Many had pre-printed posters reading: "Bush, No. 1 Terrorist."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I wish I could write like this

I'm speechless.

"He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash" - H.L. Mencken, on US President Warren G. Harding.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ready to try something new ?

Are you bored with your current job and looking for an exiting change? Are you sick of not getting any respect, and dream of the day when all who appear before you have to have to kiss your ass and refer to you by a grandiose title? Are you tired of not being taken seriously, and long to have your every word and proclamation recorded and studied for generations to come, thus enshrining your place in history? Are you weary of regular clothes and have a secret desire to make a fashion statement in a snazzy black dress?

If all these things sound exiting to you, then the answer is obvious. You need to be a Federal Appeals Court Judge. Not a lawyer? No problem! Under the administration of Dumbya, you are no longer required to be a lawyer to be a judge.

Thomas B. Griffith, President Bush's nominee for the federal appeals court in Washington, has been practicing law in Utah without a state law license for the past four years, according to Utah state officials.

Job requirements: No law license required. Blind loyalty to Republican Party a must. Clinton hatred a bonus. Fullfilling your biblical duty of procreation viewed favourably.

Griffith, 55, is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and was the lead counsel for the Senate during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. Married and the father of six, he is a former partner at the D.C. firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding, whose partners served in prominent positions in past Republican administrations..

Full story at the Washington Post.

Thanks to thinkprogress.org

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Free iPod music

So I went on a ski trip last weekend, and it turned out that I lost the cable to connect my MiniDisc player to my computer. And I couldn't find any blank discs. And I lost the adapter for the charger.

Rather than spend a bunch of cash buying old tech, I decided to take the plunge into the digital era and picked up an iPod Mini. Being the cheap bastard that I am, I picked up a As Is/Open Box model, which someone had apparently bought and returned. (Incidentally, with the savings I was able to pick up a Best Buy 3 year extended warranty for almost what a "virgin" iPod would have cost).

Now I'm not going to write odes in praise of the iPod because to be honest, I really don't see what the public's fascination with this device is. What I did find very cool was the fact that there were almost 900 songs on the thing when I got it, almost half of them from artists that I had never heard of. (Did you know there was Spanish ska? I didn't).

This weekend I'm going to start scouring the local Best Buys and Circuit Citys to see what other musical treasure chests I can dig up.

To the anonymous person whose purchase (and return) provided me with 1.7 days of a truly fascinating mix of new music that I would never have listened to otherwise, thank you.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Consumer Reports tests condoms.

Picked this up from my favourite blog, boingboing

Consumer Reports, has recently done a comparison test on condoms. Frankly, given the obvious health benefits of condoms, its about time. Since we live in Puritan America, it seems that there are actually some Consumer Reports subscribers that were so offended by the subject matter, that they have cancelled their Consumer Reports subscriptions in protest.

CR has a feedback link, via which I sent this letter to the editor.

Dear Sir,

I have heard through the online community that some of your more ignorant readers have taken offence on your recent article on condoms and are cancelling their subscriptions, despite the overwhelming evidence that condoms reduce unwanted preganancies and help prevent the transmission of STDs and the deadly AIDS virus.

I am a former CR subscriber that did not renew his subscription as I did not wish to support such an overtly conservative organization. I hereby pledge to renew my subscription if provided with good faith evidence of a condom related cancellation, such as a condom cancellation letter (names may be of course removed).

Regards,

Me.


If you are so inclinded, send a letter to the editor praising their action.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Iraqi elections - History repeats itself

Now that we have achieved our primary goal of
capturing Osama Bin Laden
establishing a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11
proving that Saddam Hussein supported Al Qaeda
finding and destroying the the WMD's that posed an iminent threat to the US
establishing Democracy in Iraq, we all need to celebrate.

If this seems familiar, its because it is.

Thanks to Tom Tomorrow, for pointing this one out.




U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

Pending more detailed reports, neither the State Department nor the White House would comment on the balloting or the victory of the military candidates, Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running for president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate for vice president.

A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not, in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's disruption of the balloting.

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout. That was the figure in the election in September for the Constituent Assembly. Seventy-eight per cent of the registered voters went to the polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Before the results of the presidential election started to come in, the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80 per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three hours less than in the election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in the 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to render the election meaningless. This effort has not succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967: p. 2.