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lord love a duck
Saturday, April 24, 2004
  The New York Times > National > Pentagon Ban on Pictures of Dead Troops Is Broken: "Among the national television news organizations, only the Fox News Channel had no plans to use any of the photos or explore the issue of why they had been barred from use in the news media, a channel spokesman said." 
  The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial Observer: Golf Anyone? The Movable Feast Called 'Judicial Education': "The report also noted a troubling correlation between attendance at such seminars and rulings scaling back environmental protections, suggesting that these gifts are affecting judicial decisions"

maybe. Alternativly, judges sympathetic to industry concerns might be more likely to attend such seminars in the first place.  
Friday, April 23, 2004
  The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Hug An Evangelical: "This resentment is global. In a Tyndale Lecture in England last year, Cristina Odone complained: 'The chattering classes . . . pride themselves on being tolerant. . . . Yet they share one prejudice that turns them into rabid persecutors: Christians.'"

There's much to be said for this, but it's a strange type of persecution. How much chance does a non Christian presidential candidate have of winning an election in the next decade or so. Not very much.  
  The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Columbine Killers: "If today's suicide bombers are victims of oppression, then the solution is to lessen our dominance, and so assuage their resentments. But if they are vicious people driven by an insatiable urge to dominate, then our only option is to fight them to the death."

Continuing the ideas of the slate piece.  
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
  Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose

gbt, pulling out the heavy artillery, so to speak.  
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
  The New York Times > Sports > Baseball > Rodriguez Awaiting That Big Hit: "Rodriguez ended his afternoon by sliding his batting gloves across the dugout roof to a young fan. Perhaps the kid will collect more hits with them than Rodriguez did."

Burn! 
  The Depressive and the Psychopath - At last we know why the Columbine killers did it. By Dave Cullen: "Their view of Harris is more reassuring, in a certain way. Harris was not a wayward boy who could have been rescued. Harris, they believe, was irretrievable. He was a brilliant killer without a conscience, searching for the most diabolical scheme imaginable. If he had lived to adulthood and developed his murderous skills for many more years, there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse." 
Thursday, April 15, 2004
  The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Learning to Expect the Unexpected: "The mandate is also a prime example of the phenomenon known as hindsight distortion. To paraphrase Kirkegaard, history runs forward but is seen backward. An investigation should avoid the mistake of overestimating cases of possible negligence, a chronic flaw of hindsight analyses. Unfortunately, the hearings show that the commission appears to be looking for precise and narrowly defined accountability.
Yet infinite vigilance is not possible. Negligence in any specific case needs to be compared with the normal rate of negligence for all possible events at the time of the tragedy � including those events that did not take place but could have. Before 9/11, the risk of terrorism was not as obvious as it seems today to a reasonable person in government (which is part of the reason 9/11 occurred). Therefore the government might have used its resources to protect against other risks � with invisible but perhaps effective results."

A profoundly important point.  
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
  The New York Times > Arts > Television > Negotiations Stalled for Voice Actors in 'The Simpsons': "In real life Mr. Simpson and his family of subversives have, by the estimate of accountants employed by the actors who supply their voices, earned Fox upward of $2.5 billion as the stars of one of the longest-running prime-time series in television history. " 
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
  The New York Times > Dining & Wine > A Taste of Chicago: Stand-Up Food in a City of Big Appetites: "Our friend Bill Rice, the esteemed Chicago food writer, who came along to navigate, announced after a bite or two, 'It's like tasting Guinness in Dublin.'"

Chicago hot dogs.  
  BBC NEWS | Programmes | Correspondent | Japan: The Missing Million: "Teenage boys in Japan's cities are turning into modern hermits - never leaving their rooms. Pressure from schools and an inability to talk to their families are suggested causes. Phil Rees visits the country to see what the 'hikikomori' condition is all about. " 
  BBC NEWS | Programmes | Correspondent | Japan: The Missing Million: "Teenage boys in Japan's cities are turning into modern hermits - never leaving their rooms. Pressure from schools and an inability to talk to their families are suggested causes. Phil Rees visits the country to see what the 'hikikomori' condition is all about. " 
  BBC NEWS | Programmes | Correspondent | Japan: The Missing Million: "Teenage boys in Japan's cities are turning into modern hermits - never leaving their rooms. Pressure from schools and an inability to talk to their families are suggested causes. Phil Rees visits the country to see what the 'hikikomori' condition is all about. " 
  spiked-culture | Article | The geek shall inherit the Earth: "In short, there has never been a better time to be an anorak - a word that now has affectionate, rather than pejorative, connotations. The word 'geek' has also lost its stigma, having been promoted from a noun to verb, as in to 'geek out'. If you want to insult somebody today for being obsessive about fantasy or sci-fi, you have to resort to calling them a 'nerd', which in polite society has become almost tantamount to using a racist slur."

Huh? Nerd is ok (see:news for nerds, stuff that matters). Must be a limey thing.  
Monday, April 12, 2004
  Dim and Dimmer -- The ten lowest lights in Congress by Ken Silverstein: "Since winning office in 1994, Dickey has emerged as a leader of the foot-in-mouth caucus. In discussing the topic of malpractice lawsuits, he said that doctors sometimes carry out unnecessary procedures, such as 'perform[ing] a C-SPAN even though you don't need it.'
On another occasion he explained that incest is different from rape because the former 'can be handled as a family matter within the family.' ('No one's ever going to accuse me of being a great orator,' Dickey conceded when a furor erupted after that comment was published.)" 
  The New York Times > Magazine > What the World Needs Now Is DDT: "Given the malignant history of American companies employing dangerous drugs and pesticides overseas that they would not or could not use at home, it is understandable why Washington officials say it would be hypocritical to finance DDT in poor nations. But children sick with malaria might perceive a more deadly hypocrisy in our failure to do so: America and Europe used DDT irresponsibly to wipe out malaria. Once we discovered it was harming the ecosystem, we made even its safe use impossible for far poorer and sicker nations. "

Screwing the poor of the world, once again. We should be considering *marginal costs*, not making absolutes.  
Saturday, April 10, 2004
  Revitalizing Drinks Are Also Pepping Up Sales: "'In convenience stores, a case of Red Bull sells for about six times the amount of a case of Coke or Pepsi,' said John D. Sicher, the editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, a trade publication. 'The margins are somewhere between excellent and obscene.'" 
  The New York Times > Business > Economic Scene: "Publicly traded stocks have the attractive feature of explicit market values. The value of options, on the other hand, generally has to be estimated. One problem with the accounting board's proposal is that it does not recommend a specific way to value options, but allows companies to choose among various option-pricing models.
The traditional choice has been the Black-Scholes formula, but it applies to options that are freely traded on organized exchanges with lifetimes of a few months.
Employee options generally have a long lifetime and cannot be traded. Restrictions often apply to the exercise of the options, and typically they must be forfeited if employees leave the company."

I've always wondered about this. Could employees granted stock options lock in a garunteed profit by selling futures or hedging in some other way?  
Friday, April 09, 2004
  The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: One Good Month: "For perspective, it helps to remember what solid job growth looks like. During Bill Clinton's eight years in office, the economy added 236,000 jobs per month. But that's just an average: a graph of monthly changes looks like an electrocardiogram. There were 23 months with 300,000 or more new jobs; in March 2000, the economy added 493,000 jobs. This tells us not to make too much of one month's data; payroll numbers are, as economists say, noisy. It also tells us that by past standards, March 2004 was nothing special."

What'd I say? Good ol predictable krugman.  
Thursday, April 08, 2004
  Armchair Arcade: Article/Review: "In Troika Game�s computer role playing game The Temple of Elemental Evil (2003), the player is presented with a role-playing scenario that may shock even seasoned veterans of the genre: The player is asked to rescue, and given the option to marry, an openly gay character." 
  Armchair Arcade: Article/Review 
  THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY 
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
  Op-Ed Columnist: The Mercury Scandal

Look at what he doesn't talk about.. the recent good news on the payroll number.  
  Results...: "Thomas L. Friedman
You are Thomas L. Friedman! You're the foreign
affairs expert. You're liberal on most issues,
except you're a leading voice in the pro-war
movement. You're probably the most popular
columnist at the Times, but probably because
you play both sides of the Iraq issue and
relish your devotion to what you call
'fanatical moderatism.' You sure can
write, but you could work on your sense of
humor.


Which New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Monday, April 05, 2004
  Word of the day feature.
THE WAY WE LIVE NOW Eurabia? :
When those words were published in 1788, the idea of a Muslim Oxford could scarcely have seemed more fanciful. The last Muslim forces had been driven from Spain in 1492; the Ottoman advance through Eastern Europe had been decisively halted at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

Today, however, the idea seems somewhat less **risible**. The French historian Alain Besancon is one of a number of European intellectuals who detect a significant threat to the continent's traditional Christian culture. The Egyptian-born writer Bat Yeor has for some years referred to the rise of a new ''Eurabia'' that is hostile in equal measure to the United States and Israel. Two years ago, Pat Buchanan published an apocalyptic book titled ''The Death of the West,'' prophesying that declining European fertility and immigration from Muslim countries could turn ''the cradle of Western civilization'' into ''its grave.''



"5 entries found for risible.
ris�i�ble ( P ) Pronunciation Key (rz-bl)
adj.
Relating to laughter or used in eliciting laughter.
Eliciting laughter; ludicrous.
Capable of laughing or inclined to laugh. " 
  Op-Ed Columnist: The Floo Floo Bird: "Today we are engaged in the wrong debate. The brouhaha about whether the new Bush administration treated the threat of Al Qaeda as 'important' versus 'urgent' is history almost as ancient as whether F.D.R. did enough to avert Pearl Harbor. "

I agree. The world is a complicated place, and it is not necessarily a fatal flaw if our leaders didn't do what in hindsight would have been fatal.. there's not much point in worrying about it. Of course, it would be a lot easier to take the forward looking view if the administration and their supporters admitted that they didn't deal with terrorism perfectly (of course they didn't.. what policy has ever been perfect?) and their critics acknowledged that being less than perfect is to be expected.  
  Op-Ed Columnist: We�re More Productive. Who Gets the Money?: "American workers have been remarkably productive in recent years, but they are getting fewer and fewer of the benefits of this increased productivity. While the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, has been strong for some time now, ordinary workers have gotten little more than the back of the hand from employers who have pocketed an unprecedented share of the cash from this burst of economic growth. "

The real question is, why is this happening? Capitalism, for all it's reputation for inequity, should work better than this. My thought is that workers are being ineffecient in exploiting their marketplace value. They place a lot of value on stability and having a job and health insurance, while the more statistical universe type large corporation can take greater risks in the hiring/firing/compensation game and average out ahead.  
Sunday, April 04, 2004
  Fewer Say Bush Is Serving Middle Class (washingtonpost.com): "The Post poll found Americans split over whether Bush has governed in a compassionate way, with 49 percent saying he has and 45 percent saying he has not. That is down sharply from February 2003, when a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans thought he had governed compassionately. "

64 percent of Americans thought he had governed compassionately?  
Saturday, April 03, 2004
  Time Records Often Altered, Job Experts Say: "Mr. Pooters quit, landing a job in 2002 managing a Family Dollar store, one of 5,100 in that discount chain. Top managers there ordered him not to let employees' total hours exceed a certain amount each week, and one day, he said, his district manager told him to use a trick to cut payroll: delete some employee hours electronically.
'I told her, `I'm not going to get involved in this,' ' Mr. Pooters recalled, saying that when he refused, the district manager erased the hours herself. "

Later in the article, Walmart says their policy is to pay employees for every minute worked. Yeah, but at some stores, night employees are locked in until the morning manager gets there.. when their shift ends, they have to clock out, and just sit in the store. I'll dig up a reference sometime, maybe.  
Friday, April 02, 2004
  Economist.com | American politics: "IN THE crude and easy-going manner that used to pass as folksy among elected politicians in America�s deep South, Edwin Edwards liked to say that he would lose office only if found in bed with �a dead girl or a live boy�. " 
  Economist.com | George Bush's credibility: "The reason this pattern is disturbing is that all these features can be seen in the policy debates over both the war in Iraq and tax cuts�the policies on which Mr Bush deserves, above all else, to be judged.
In both cases, the administration stuck relentlessly to an unchanging line in radically changed circumstances. It argued that the tax cut of 2001 was justified because there was a large surplus. It argued that the tax cut of 2003 was justified even though there was a large deficit. It argued that war in Iraq was justified because Iraq's weapons of mass destruction threatened the United States. It argued that war was justified even when it failed to find those weapons." 
  Issue Cover 
  Economist.com | The American economy: "Paradoxically, despite these widespread gains, the unemployment rate�the percentage of the workforce who are not in fact working�edged up from 5.6% to 5.7%. But the paradox is only apparent: many Americans, despairing of ever finding a job, had dropped out of the workforce altogether in recent months and were therefore not counted as unemployed. New glimmers of hope about their job prospects may have tempted some of them back into the labour force and thus back into the unemployment statistics."

A couple of months ago, the administration cited the falling unemployment rate as a positive sign, despite a terrible (and more meaningful) payroll number. Now, with a great payroll number, will they tell us to look at the unemployment rate again.. or brag about the payroll number. I'm getting mad just thinking about it.  
  Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time: "#14: The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local prankster named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, 'This time you've gone too far!'
Comments" 
  April Fool's Day, 1992: "Tax the Poor
Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk-show host famous for his support of conservative issues, declared his belief that the U.S. government should raise taxes for the poor because 'they're the wealthiest poor in the world.' Many of his listeners called in to applaud his belief. Later Limbaugh confessed that he does not actually support such a belief and chastised his listeners for being 'too quick to believe anything that hits a hot button.'" 
  April Fool's Day, 1992: "Welcome to Chicago
The Hollywood Park racetrack in Los Angeles placed an 85-foot banner on the ground that spelled out, in 20-foot-high letters, 'Welcome to Chicago.' This is what airline passengers saw as they descended into Los Angeles Airport."

Heh. That's a good one.  
  Who's Got the Acid? - These days, almost nobody. By Ryan�Grim: "The LSD market took an earlier blow in 1995, when Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia died and the band stopped touring. For 30 years, Dead tours were essential in keeping many LSD users and dealers connected, a correlation confirmed by the DEA in a divisional field assessment from the mid-'90s. The spring following Garcia's death (the season the MTF surveys are administered), annual LSD use among 12th-graders peaked at 8.8 percent and began their slide. Phish picked up part of the Dead's fan base�and presumably vestiges of the LSD delivery system. At the end of 2000, Phish stopped touring as well, and perhaps not coincidentally, the MTF numbers for LSD began to plummet." 
Thursday, April 01, 2004
  SI.com - Magazine - SI's 2004 Baseball Scouting Reports - Tuesday March 30, 2004 1:30PM

I can't help but suspect that SI's prediction of the cubs winning the world series is more likely to sell issues than, say, giving the nod to the yankies.  
  "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. " 
  This Is SportsCenter? - The decline and fall of ESPN's franchise. By Matt�Feeney: " The nightly Top 10 Plays�which could offer a connoisseur's appreciation of the great improvisational stuff that still happens in pro ball�typically regurgitates the same overdone moves seen in video-game commercials. After 30 years of slam-dunk competitions�and after Michael Jordan killed the contest for all time in 1987 with two unfathomable dunks�elaborate breakaway dunking has all the spontaneity of a waltz. These are the static, overscripted moves that the NBA has doltishly made its selling point, and SportsCenter has slavishly followed its lead. As John Buccigross might say, as Pravda was to the old Soviet Union, SportsCenter is to pro basketball." 
Just a list of interesting things I read online that my friends and family might be interested in.

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