Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Washington Post Confirms Felt Was 'Deep Throat'

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Lawmaker Wants Lower Soldier Drinking Age

Lawmaker Wants Lower Soldier Drinking Age

Only in Wisconsin:

One Wisconsin lawmaker figures if the U.S. military trusts 19-year-olds with a $10 million tank, then the state should trust them with a beer.

State Rep. Mark Pettis, a Republican who served in the Navy, is pushing a bill that would drop the drinking age to 19 for Wisconsin soldiers — but only if the federal government agrees it will not yank an estimated $50 million a year in highway aid.

A federal law ties federal highway dollars to compliance by the states with the required drinking age of 21.

Not a bad start, but there's lots of ways to serve one's country so why limit it to just troops? And how does one rationalize excluding the 18 year old adults?

Still this is the first I've heard anyone in elected office addressing this - and sorry to say it's not a member of my team.

Monday, May 30, 2005

AIPAC Scandal Goes Bigtime

AIPAC Scandal Goes Bigtime

A Virginia grand jury is now examining the evidence in the case, which involved receipt of classified defense information from Larry Franklin, a Pentagon official, and its transfer to the representative of a foreign country, Naor Gilon, of the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Read through the whole thing, imagine it's twenty years ago, and substitute "Soviet Union" every place it says "Israel."

SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

Aurora Watch

AURORA WATCH: An ongoing geomagnetic storm could spark auroras tonight bright enough to see with the unaided eye from, e.g., Canada and northern-tier US states such as Maine and Wisconsin and Washington. Dim "photographic auroras" (visible to the camera, but not to the eye) could descend to even lower latitudes. Visit spaceweather.com for updates.

THE MOON AND MARS: On Tuesday morning, May 31st, the Moon and Mars will have a beautiful close encounter in the early morning sky. To see them, look east about an hour before dawn. Mars, nestled close to the Moon, is almost twice as bright as a first magnitude star.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Tale of the tape

Tale of the tape

Worth the Salon ad:

"'The romance comes not only from the emotion expressed by a series of songs, but also from the sheer effort that it takes to plan and execute a mix. 'The time spent implies an emotional connection with the recipient,' writes Dean Wareham of Luna. 'It might be a desire to go to bed, or to share ideas. The message of the tape might be: I love you. I think about you all the time. Listen to how I feel about you. Or, maybe: I love me. I am a tasteful person who listens to tasty things. This tape tells you all about me.'"

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth has a new book out about mix tapes...

Oddly enough I am writing this from the library. Bad timing: The week the new laptop arrives coincides with a massive, system-wide outage from my ISP.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Man Can't Bust Our Music (?)

The Man Can't Bust Our Music (?)

That was the tag line of a classically bad CBS Records ad campaign of the late `60s, which also included "The Revolutionaries Are On CBS." Now, as a major fan of the Clash, who were on, uh, CBS, I've always been fascinated by the contradiction of multinational corportations marketing anti-corporate rhetoric. Or, as Strummer and Jones put it more succinctly, "turning rebellion into money."

I'm reminded of all this by the story of Radio Free Ohio, a "pirate" radio station that turned out to be bogus - it was a completely legal marketing ploy by the real owners of the frequency - Clear Channel Communication, the largest radio corporation in the country. Thus setting a new Olympic cynicism record.

Smallest Farm Update

Smallest Farm Update

Despite the recent acquisition of the new laptop, I still get outside sometimes. And not just because of the free wireless internet downtown.

Planting on The Smallest Farm has been delayed due to a combination of the involuntary relocation, wet weather and, yes, the computer transition. But the pole bean teepee went in last weekend and today the bulk of the acreage was sown with shady wildflower seeds. I'm still filling spots in, transplanting volunteers from last year's garden spot. (After starting my gardening life in 1994 and staying in the same spot four years, I have never since had a garden in the same space two consecutive years.)

I'll have to hit the farmers markets for tomatoes and peppers this year. There's just one decent sunny spot on the new farm and I love growing polebeans too much to skip them. As in the 2001 garden, the Narrowest Farm in Iowa. 20 feet long, nine inches wide. Just one long pole bean fence on the edge of a parking lot.

Memorial Day is pretty late for me. Last time I planted Memorial Day was 1996; a combination of wet cold weather and getting married. But that turned out OK (the 1996 garden, not the marriage).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Army's recruitment crisis deepens

Army's recruitment crisis deepens

From ROBERT NOVAK of all people:

The Army's dilemma is maintaining an all-volunteer service when volunteering means going in harm's way in Iraq. The dilemma extends to national policy. How can the United States maintain its global credibility against the Islamists, if military ranks cannot be filled by volunteers and there is no public will for a draft?

Once again, the people are ahead of the leaders on this one...

MI House votes to require ultrasound offered to women considering abortion

MI House votes to require ultrasound offered to women considering abortion

More hoops to jump through, more unwanted hassles...

State Rep. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township, introduced the bill. He has said he hopes giving women the option to see an ultrasound of the fetus would prevent them from having an abortion.

More fundamentalist values shoved onto women. More erosion of choice, nibbling away one barrier at at time.

Firebolt is Flying

Firebolt is Flying

The new laptop is flying just fine. The long-loyal Nimbus 2000 (a/k/a the old laptop) is destined for a better fate than destruction by the Whomping Willow.

I take this moment to offer unsolicited free advertising to the guys at Neo Computers of Iowa City who set me up right, and to the person who must remain anonymous who steered me in their direction.

Job opening at the courthouse. Should lead to some interesting community dialogue next spring.

Public sendoff for Hunter S. Thompson canceled

Public sendoff for Hunter S. Thompson canceled

Plans for a public ceremony celebrating the life of Hunter S. Thompson have been canceled in favor of a private memorial service.

The Aug. 20 ceremony, which will include the scattering of the author's ashes on his Aspen-area ranch, will coincide with the six-month anniversary of Thompson's death, said Doug Brinkley, one of the planners of the memorial...

I'm not sure how private it can be:

Among the suggestions: firing the ashes out of a cannon from a 100-foot pillar topped by a 53-foot statue of the journalist's "gonzo fist" emblem.

Meanwhile another fitting tribute:

Flying Dog Brewery which is creating a new beer in Thompson's honor. At 9.5 percent, Gonzo Imperial Porter has nearly double the alcohol content of average brews.

"We tried to make everything about this beer Gonzo," brewery President Eric Warner said in a statement.

I see. The Jolt Cola of beers...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Frist to Break Compromise Already?

Frist to Break Compromise Already?

Haven't said much about the Nuclear Option War yet; a combination of the computer transition and feeling I had little to add. but I'm sure I'll have more opportunities. This was a battle, not the war.

This battle was never about "compromise," or about the over-rated "deliberate". It was about power, about winning, about who had the votes. And the die was cast not this week, but November 2nd. You don't win these fights by calling Senators. You win it by winning elections. Which is why I do what I do.

We lost in November; I absorb the latest GOP outrage of the week with perhaps too much detachment, I look to the next election.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Goodbye Nimbus 2000

Goodbye, Nimbus 2000...

Hello, Firebolt.

The new laptop has arrived. Updates here at John Deeth Blog may be scarce for a little while through the transition.

State can limit party primary election, court rules

State can limit party primary election, court rules

Supremes rule that states can close primaries. The article lists Iowa as a "closed primary" state which is misleading since voters can declare or change affiliation on the spot when voting. Really interesting in our local context, where general elections produce roughly 2 to 1 Democratic majorities and the courthouse has been Republican-free since 1988. Let's just say one hears the phrase "how soon can I change back" a lot.

The Libertarians brought and lost this suit and the stance is interesting: they wanted to open the primary to all voters as a way to boost membership. Some small parties have opposed opening primaries fearing raids or takeovers by other relatively small groups (as happened to the Reform Party in the Pat Buchanan era). Of course, the true Libertarian stance would be to reject th state run primary entirely and nominate candidates via a private-sector caucus...

First Lady: Protests Were 'Very Expected'

First Lady: Protests Were 'Very Expected'

And, given sixty years of US policy, richly deserved...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

No billboards in space

No billboards in space

I spent a summer in Washington fighting billboards (we called them "litter on a stick") but we never set our sights THIS high:

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed Thursday to amend its regulations to ensure that it can enforce a law that prohibits "obtrusive" advertising in zero gravity.

"Objects placed in orbit, if large enough, could be seen by people around the world for long periods of time," the FAA said in a regulatory filing.

Currently, the FAA lacks the authority to enforce the existing law.

For instance, outsized billboards deployed by a space company into low Earth orbit could appear as large as the moon and be seen without a telescope, the FAA said. Big and bright advertisements might hinder astronomers.

"Large advertisements could destroy the darkness of the night sky," regulators said.

I'll be amazed if capatalism can restrain itself enough to pull this off. With the Russian program chronically broke, this is one more lever they can use to get the US to pay more of the cost of the space station. Just like they used the two space tourists - notice how that has quieted down since Lance Bass got grounded?

But folks were of mixed mind on space tourism. It was perhaps unfair that a rich boy-bander cut to the front of the line for a space ticket. Hardly "The Right Stuff". The Right Hair Gel, maybe. But did it really HURT anyone? Not really, so opposition from the scientific community was muted and split.

On the other hand, lighting up the night sky with pitches for... what? What product would demand a literally global audience? I'm guessing the cola companies are already designing the satellite plans.

The live question is, how bad do we want it? This is a classic case where the self-interest of capitalism collides with the greater good. Is our government - THIS government - committed enough to science to ignore the profit motive?


Look at the stem cell debate: this government is willing to squash both science and profit if the fundamentalists tell them to. How can we turn No Ads In Space into a religious right issue? Did Jesus say anything about it? Oh, wait; what He said has nothing to do with what James Dobson says.

Here's my modest proposal. No ads, but let Christo do some big ribbony modern art thing that a lot of people wouldn't get but would have a unique beauty. Let it would orbit the earth for a month or two then gently disintegrate in a firey re-entry. It would be like a one time global 4th of July fireworks (Guy Fawkes Day for the Brits).

Astronomers have fought losing battles against light pollution for decades, but I've never heard an astronomer argue against fireworks. My idea is intriguing, but if we lose the big battle that wouldn't be special. For now I'll settle for the occasional space station pass.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Lost history: The February 2002 Quran Guantanamo incident

Lost history: The February 2002 Quran Guantanamo incident

The oft-overlooked incident, reported in February and March of 2002, concerns an incident of Quran abuse which is believed to have resulted in a formal policy by the United States regarding treatment of the Quran.

While it does not sound nearly as damning as the alleged toilet incident, it does raise an interesting question: Why has the mainstream media and the Pentagon virtually ignored the 2002 incident as a potential source for much of the current tension surrounding the treatment of the holy book?

It happened. It happened. it happened, it happened.

It happened.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Want real glamor? Trying being smart, opinionated

Want real glamour? Trying being smart, opinionated

[I took the photo down. Too many irrelevant hits.]

"Any girl can be glamorous," Hedy Lamarr said. "All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."

I like this column in today's Register, as a father and as a man:

Interesting that the author leads with Hedy Lamarr but leaves out this neat facet:

Allied subs, it seems, were wasting torpedoes. Ocean currents and evasive action worked against them. Lamarr and Antheil meant to do something about that. The solution, they reasoned, was a radio-controlled torpedo. But it would be easy for the enemy to jam a radio-control signal. So they cooked up something called "frequency-hopping." The trick was to set up a sequencer that would rapidly jump both the control signal and its receiver through 88 random frequencies. They patented the system and gave it to the Navy...

I still like Katharine Hepburn better, but Hedy Lamarr certainly met the columnists qualifications:

If we do not want our daughters to stand still and look stupid, we must show them by example that the most glamorous women in the world are those who are intelligent, independent, opinionated and ambitious.

Works for me.

Questionable Query for Quarters

Questionable Query for Quarters

I collected coins when I was very, VERY young, and I've had a lot of fun with the state quarter thing. The folder is nearly up to date but I'm missing just a few from the Philadephia mint:

  • Rhode Island (2001)
  • Mississippi (2002)
  • Illinois, Maine (2003)
  • California, Minnesota (2005)

    Keep your eyes open, regular readers. Thanks to all the bank tellers and HyVee clerks who have been patient with my requests for rolls.

    It also seems someone has started an anti-dime movement - but the proprietor doesn't seem to hate dimes TOO much as readers are encouraged to "SEND ME YOUR DIMES TODAY!" Presumably to keep us safe from this menace.

    As a good Democrat I shouldn't say this but I really like the old Mercury dime design better than the FDR dime. There was an irony that the reverse bore a Roman fasces design: throughout World War II, this US currency depicted the symbol of Mussolini's Fascist Party!

    Not all space geeks were at Star Wars yesterday. I got the telescope out and enjoyed the real thing. The moon was right next to Jupiter and at a nice phase. The spectacular part of full moon is not a sky thing, it's an earth thing, seeing the ground all half-lit. Look at the full moon in a telescope and it's all washed out. But a few days short of full in a small telescope you have nice shadows and get a good sense of lunar landscape, a realization that it's a PLACE with mountains and valleys and plains and craters.

    Also saw a direct overhead pass of our second largest satellite, the space station. If it's clear tomorrow night just after 8:30, Iowa City eyes get another good look. Details

  • Thursday, May 19, 2005

    Santorum breaks Godwin's Law

    Santorum breaks Godwin's Law

    As long as he doesn't start spamming me:

    "What the Democrats are doing is the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.' This is no more the rule of the senate than it was the rule of the senate before not to filibuster." - Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), quoted on the Senate floor.

    To refresh:

    Godwin's law (also Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies) is an adage in Internet culture that was originated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states that: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

    There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

    This should end the discussion, but ironically, since the topic at hand is the filibuster, discussion should therefore continue and Godwin's Law spirals off into a Moebius strip...

    Larry King kept off stand in Jackson trial

    Larry King kept off stand in Jackson trial

    The judge in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial ruled Thursday against allowing CNN host Larry King to testify for the defense, saying his statements would be irrelevant.

    And that would be different HOW?... My nightmare is that the blog starts to resemble Larry King's old USA Today column... Has anyone else noticed Larry King's increasing resemblance to the late Harry Carey?... Didn't the bit with Larry King playing himself in a movie get old a long time ago?... Speaking of irrelevant, whatever happened to Mark Hammill? And can you keep straight whether Star Wars is Star Wars 1 or Star Wars 4?...

    Loebsack's Latest

    Loebsack's Latest

    From potential Leach opponent David Loebsack:

    Hi, everyone.

    I just want to update you on my recent activities and what I will be up in the near future.

    First, I continue to be impressed by the seriousness of purpose of the Democrats I encounter at every meeting I attend. There is no doubt that the activists among us are eager for change in the second district and we are all anxious to find a strong candidate to run in 2006.

    The encouragement and support I have received over the course of the past several weeks has been remarkable. The responses to my initial "testing of the waters" have been overwhelmingly positive and I am now prepared to make my final decision about running sometime in the summer.

    There are still a number of folks and groups I need to talk to in the coming weeks. As it turns out, I will be in D.C. mid-June to mid-July studying at the Library of Congress. I intend to take advantage of my time there to talk to Democratic Party and other interested parties to gauge possible support for this run.

    Before then, I will be attending a number of central committee meetings and community events. If you know of an event I should be at, please do not hesitate to let me know by responding to this e-mail or calling me at one of the numbers below.

    Finally, while I do not yet have positions on all the issues formulated, I am trying to focus primarily on domestic pocketbook issues that affect the vast majority of the people of the second district. As such, I am open to your concerns, thoughts, and ideas about jobs, education, health care, the environment, etc. At a time when most Americans feel more alienated from congress that at any time in recent history, dialogue and engagement with citizens of the district is more important than ever.

    As always, thanks for all of your support and do not hesitate to be in touch.


    P.S. Contributions are always welcome!

    Loebsack Exploratory Committee
    P.O. Box 81
    Mt. Vernon, IA 52314


    Sadr urges Iraqis to trample on US flag over Koran desecration

    Sadr urges Iraqis to trample on US flag over Koran desecration

    How do they see us?

    Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr urged Muslims across
    Iraq to paint US and Israeli flags at mosque entrances for worshippers to walk on in protest at the alleged desecration of the Koran at the US detention camp in Guantanamo...

    As one and the same...

    (Pretty sharp, too: using the symbol that resonates in America like no other.)

    Pro-Israel Lobbying Group Holds Meeting Amid Worries

    Pro-Israel Lobbying Group Holds Meeting Amid Worries

    "The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is accustomed to getting its way. The powerful lobby has run smoothly and quietly for half a century, successfully championing the close ties between Israel and the United States.

    But this is a different time. On the eve of the organization's annual convention, traditionally a self-congratulatory event, many AIPAC supporters are wringing their hands over a federal probe into allegations that two of the group's employees may have passed classified information to Israel.

    Such doubts are unusual for the organization, which has long been counted as one of the country's most effective lobbying groups. It ranked consistently among the five most influential interest groups in Fortune magazine's poll of Washington insiders (alongside such better-known lobbies as AARP and the National Rifle Association). A recent survey by the National Journal ranked AIPAC No. 2 among Democratic lawmakers and No. 4 among Republicans.

    Money is the main reason. AIPAC takes pains to say that it does not contribute funds directly to candidates for federal office, and that it does not rate or endorse them. It constantly updates its 100,000 members on lawmakers' views of Israel and maintains close ties with a network of wealthy individuals and political action committees that regularly pour millions of dollars into the political process."

    A rare direct statement. Normally one can't discuss Jewish political influence, especially in the context of money, without being accused of anti-Semitism. Discussion of Judaism, money, and behind the scenes influence invokes a lot of very ugly and very ancient stereotypes and hatreds and I understand that.

    Let me be very clear. I have nothing against anyone's FAITH. I have a lot of problems with the policies of ISRAEL. And we can't honestly discuss American policy toward that country without acknowledging that such policy is directly rooted in this. The US has a 60 year policy of Israel Right Or Wrong because - simple statement of fact - pro-Israel Jewish people in the US write a disproportionate amount of political checks and are disproportionately settled in large states (New York, Illinois, Florida) that have traditionally been close in presidential elections.

    In recent years this has been reinforced by the strangest of allies: the fundamentalist right, who sees the restoration of the Israeli state as a sign of the Second Coming. I find this support even more offensive - in fact the very implications are far more anti-Semitic than any criticism of Israeli policy could be.

    In any case we need to examine the influence of the Israel lobby more closely now that our Israel policies are the greatest threat to our national security.

    Interestingly this comes at the same time that Israel is lobbying for the release of Jonathan Pollard:

    The White House yesterday said that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard should remain in jail, rejecting efforts by top Israeli officials to win release of the ex-U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel in the 1980s.

    Jewish groups in Washington, including the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have taken the stance that Pollard's penalty exceeded what others have received and that he should be released after serving nearly 20 years.

    I hate to have to say this but bravo to Bush for keeping him locked up. But here's a twist:

    Earlier this month, Pollard presented a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court to be recognized as a prisoner of Zion. Pollard, a U.S.-born Jew who was granted Israeli citizenship in 1998, said in his petition that he had been the victim of both physical and mental torture during his lengthy imprisonment.

    That's a nice dodge. First you betray your trust and country, then you defect to the country you spied for and claim you're a victim of religious oppression. Now that's, if I may borrow a phrase, chutzpah! Again. This isn't about faith. This is about the policies of a FOREIGN government and how those policies harm us.

    I await someone's Sister Souljah Moment with the Israel lobby.

    Meanwhile, in Israel-Palestine proper, the Dead Sea is drying up. And it's not completely unrelated:

    Gotlieb and others said the traditional Zionist dream to "make the desert bloom" has to be updated to reflect the scarcity of resources in a more densely populated country. She pointed to the reserve's neighbor, Kibbutz Ein Gedi, and said it was no longer appropriate for residents there to use natural spring water to tend fruit groves and a botanical garden with more than 800 species of exotic plants in the middle of the desert. Of the 3 million cubic meters of water that flow from Ein Gedi's four springs, not a drop reaches the Dead Sea anymore, she said.

    Pregnant student banned from graduation walks stage anyway

    Pregnant student banned from graduation walks stage anyway

    I picked this up third-hand from Amanda and Feministing but the hypocrisy factor is such that it deserves wider note:

    Alysha Cosby waited four years to hear her name called at her high school graduation.

    When it wasn't, she took matters into her own hands.

    After the last graduate was asked to come forward to receive his degree at St. Jude Educational Institute's commencement Tuesday night, Cosby announced her own name and walked across the stage.

    Cosby, who is pregnant, was told in March that she could no longer attend school, due to safety concerns. School officials also told her to complete her class work at home and said she could not participate in graduation...

    The father of Cosby's child also is a senior at the school. He was allowed to participate in graduation.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    Rift over recruiting at public high schools

    Rift over recruiting at public high schools

    The No Child Left Behind (sic) Act requires that schools receiving federal funding must release the names of its students to recruiters. Some feel that's an invasion of privacy prompted by a war effort that has largely divided the American public. Others say barring recruiters is an infringement of free speech - and a snub to the military, particularly in a time of war.

    Garfield High School took a decisive step last week with a vote of 25 to 5 to adopt a resolution that says "public schools are not a place for military recruiters."

    All this comes as recruiters struggle to meet enlistment goals...

    Frist Implodes on Senate Floor

    Frist Implodes on Senate Floor

    GOP Hypocrisy Watch:

    SEN. SCHUMER: Isn’t it correct that on March 8, 2000, my colleague voted to uphold the filibuster of Judge Richard Paez?

    SEN. FRIST: The president, the um, in response, uh, the Paez nomination - we’ll come back and discuss this further. … Actually I’d like to, and it really brings to what I believe - a point - and it really brings to, oddly, a point, what is the issue. The issue is we have leadership-led partisan filibusters that have, um, obstructed, not one nominee, but two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, in a routine way.

    Newsweek Lutefisk Story Sparks Fury Across Volatile Midwest

    Newsweek Lutefisk Story Sparks Fury Across Volatile Midwest

    Koran flushing may be deliberate...

    Decorah, IA - The debris-strewn streets of this remote Midwestern hamlet remain under a tense 24-hour curfew tonight, following weekend demonstrations by rock- and figurine-throwing Lutheran farm wives that left over 200 people injured and leveled the Whippy Dip dairy freeze. The rioting appeared to be prompted, in part, by a report in Newsweek magazine claiming military guards at Spirit Lake’s notorious Okoboji internment center had flushed lutefisk down prison toilets...

    ... but lutefisk flushing could just be an honest mistake.

    How To Kill The Messenger and Get Away With It

    How To Kill The Messenger and Get Away With It

    The initial report by Newsweek, in respect to the Koran being desecrated, is correct. It has happened and isn’t a new story. But it is a new chance for the White House to shift blame for their own failed policies to the media.

    Media control is a big part of this administration. What’s the easiest way to discredit a truthful report? Easy, just offer a truthful statement that supports the story, and then lie about having told the truth in the first place. Then focus all the attention on the lie and claim the whole story is wrong.

    The wingers ranting about Newsweek sound to me like OJ loudly proclaiming his innocence, when all he ever was "Not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt". But the principle of double jeopardy doesn't apply to the media and I strongly suspect new evidence will prove the point.

    The Jolly Green Giant - What's wrong with the David McCulloughs of history

    What's wrong with the David McCulloughs of history

    An interesting look at popular published history that addresses lots of the barriers I hit in the process of crashing and burning in my academic career:

    A number of our own practices lead us away from engaging the public as we should. I've seen students entering graduate school aspiring to write like Arthur Schlesinger, only to be shunted into producing pinched, monographic studies. I've seen conferences full of brilliant minds unable to find an interesting presentation to attend that isn't literally read off the page in a soporific drone. We write too much for each other—and, as we do, a public hungry for good history walks into Barnes & Noble and gets handed vapid mythmaking that uninformed critics ratify as "magisterial" or "definitive."

    Thankfully, historians now seem to be recognizing all this as a problem. At one point, many academics seemed to consider popularity a first step into the Hades of commercialization and dumbing down. But today, most of my peers, myself included, seem eager to publish with trade presses, to write op-ed pieces about our research, or to appear on NPR and Charlie Rose—not just because we want the ego boost (though who wouldn't?), but because we enjoy discovering new audiences who respond intelligently to our ideas.

    It also provides enough suggestions to fill up anyone's summer reading list.

    Frist to Open with Priscilla Owen Weds. Morning

    Frist to Open with Priscilla Owen Weds. Morning

    It's nuclear option day: or, as Bush would say nuculer option day.

    I'm nervous. Filibuster is inside baseball and if the Dems follow through with dilatory action to shut down the senate, we can VERY easily be portrayed as the bad guys and gals.

    This is a battle we lost November 2nd - and we can't win the long-range fight without more seats.

    As usual I'm naysaying without answers.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Cyclists push pedals to work

    Cyclists push pedals to work

    Local bicycle enthusiasts are encouraging people to find the youthful joy of bike riding by celebrating national Bike to Work Week through Friday.

    HA! That's EVERY week for me...

    Experts and novices are asked to head to work on two wheels and take part in a series of events this week encouraging bicycle use as a mode of transportation.

    "Iowa City has a great population that regularly bikes to work," said Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. "We have about 2.5 percent that bike to work, not including college students who regularly use bicycles for transportation."

    Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Prince

    Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Prince

    "I wish I could just wave a magic wand and lower the price at the pump,' Bush said. 'I'd do that.'"

    He keeps using this line over and over again. Makes me wonder if the book (!) he was pictured with was an advance copy of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, rather than Tom Wolfe's academia bodice-ripper (well, low-riding jeans un-zipper) I Am Charlotte Simmons.

    A spell for reducing Muggle fuel prices would be relatively useless in a world of flying brooms, but I suspect the phrase might be reducto petroleum.

    Håppi Syttendë Måï

    Håppi Syttendë Måï

    Break out your copy of "Fargo" and pass the lutefisk. Pass it as far away as possible, I'll save my appetite for the kolaches on Thursday.

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    How is Truth Irrelevant?

    How is Truth Irrelevant?

    The blogosphere and commercial press are up in arms today about Newsweek's reports of Koran desecration at Gitmo. Newsweek has retracted the report following riots across the Middle East. The call is out for a full denial - which from a prior restraint standpoint is really scary. But this blogger captures the rightgeist perfectly:

    Whether Americans flushed the Koran down the toilet is irrelevant. Newsweek should not have reported it, even if true. It’s common sense, people. Those journalists knew how Muslims would react! Why would you hurt your own country and risk more deaths just to report this “fact?” To what end???

    America-hating media!

    You report the truth to keep us honest. How is violating the principles America supposedly stands for "irrelevant"? And yes, I hate that any American would treat someone else's book of faith callously.

    Personally? After Abu Gharib, I believe it, and no denial from Newsweek will convince me otherwise. If some other journalist can prove it, then frankly we're getting what we deserve.

    Also worth noting: in the riots, protestors burned American and Isreali flags together. They see us as one. I've been saying it for years: this is about us sticking our noses in a part of the world we're not wanted, and it's about Israel, Israel, Israel. The interests of America (not getting blown up) no longer coincide with the interests of Israel (stealing Palestinian land), and we really need a divorce if we're ever going to get out of this.



    Some explaination about the spam auf Deutsch:

    If you've been getting e -mails with subject lines like "Bloody Self-Justice," "Multi-Kulturel=Multi-Kriminell," or Turkey in the EU -- with a short message saying "read for yourself" and links you're supposed to follow -- then you're the victim of a Sober.Q worm sent to infect your computer by the NPD (German National Party), a neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic party that has scored heavily in some parts of the country by preaching racist, anti-immigrant xenophobia. So reports Der Spiegal Online this morning. This brown-shirted worm is attacking computers all over the planet...

    Don't touch it, just dump it fast: "The worm infects address books and sends a copy of itself to all the entries. Various security firms have released warnings that they received hundreds of thousands of Sober.Q emails within the first 24 hours of the virus' outbreak."

    New casino plans leave Iowans with mixed reactions

    New casino plans leave Iowans with mixed reactions

    The front page Register photo depicts the mayor of Riverside in front of the Enterprise, which suggests the whole Trek theme for the casino:

  • Vulcan greeters advising gamblers to "live long and prosper"
  • "I'm a doctor, not a black jack dealer!"
  • Klingon security guards: "A Klingon warrior would never deal from the bottom of the deck!"
  • The bar would of course be called Ten Forward, although the synthehol would probably have to go. Undecided yet whether cocktail waitresses would go Uhura miniskirt or Deanna Troi formfitting (Dr. Crusher is more my taste anyway).

    Of course, with the Ferengi running the whole thing, the casino should be highly profitable.

    Beaming back down to Earth, I'm not excited about the whole thing. My libertarian streak makes me feel like people should be able to gamble if they wish, but the dominant progressive gene knows that gambling functions as a regressive tax.

    Here's the other problem: there are a finite number of gambling dollars. Some folks are just never going to gamble. You could float a boat in front of Hancher, two blocks from my apartment, and I still wouldn't go there. At some point the market will be saturated, and I think we've reached that point already in Iowa. Building more casinos does not really create new jobs and new wealth. Every dollar gambled in Riverside, every job created, will be a zero-sum loss for Tama or Dubuque or the Quad Cities or Marquette.

  • Und hier ist der Schpamm

    Und hier ist der Schpamm

    Pandagon: "Has anyone else been getting massive (100-plus) amounts of German-mail, most of which have links to Der Spiegel?"

    Ja, wohl, ich got a couple dozen already, und mein schpammengefilter hast missed them

    That has to be the worst mock German since the Blinkenlights poster...

    Army offers 15-month hitch

    Army offers 15-month hitch

    Draft Watch:

    The Army, faced with a severe and growing shortage of recruits, began offering 15-month active-duty enlistments nationwide Thursday, the shortest tours ever.

    The typical enlistment lasts three or four years; the previous shortest enlistment was two years.

    Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the head of the Army Recruiting Command, said 2006 could be even worse than this year, a continuation of "the toughest recruiting climate ever faced by the all-volunteer Army."

    Recruits in the new 15-month program could serve in 59 of the more than 150 jobs in the Army, including the combat infantry, and then serve two years in the Reserve or National Guard...

    But people have already figured out that any sort of enlistment is a reservation at the Hotel California.

    Sunday, May 15, 2005

    A thousand beats and a thousand drummers

    A thousand beats and a thousand drummers

    Amanda at Panda asks the question: where are you off the liberal ranch?

    My free speech absolutism places me beyond the pale on a number of "PC" issues. Hate speech, tobacco advertising, corporate news bias and the exploitation of women and sexuality in the media are all bad things. But having someone else tell you what you can and can't say is worse. It drives me crazy when people are so sensitive about speech that they can't even use the words to discuss it. It's not "the N word," it's nigger and it's in five of the top ten singles. The way to defeat a bad idea is to out-argue it, disprove it, not to silence it. Banning an idea only increases its appeal.

    People whose contempt for anyone who wants to smoke or drink drive me crazy. I'm a non-smoker and a recovering alcoholic and as I learned the hard way you have to make your own mistakkes. (like that typo)

    The space program is the next great human adventure and I think people who say "spend the money on earth" are small-minded and short sighted.

    And I think Dennis Miller, while he's slipped, is still pretty funny. Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Bike Update

    Bike Update

    I should explain: regular readers will note reference to a bike theft last week and a bike ride yesterday. I have acquired, through the generosity of coworkers, TWO bikes since the theft, one of which is actually nicer that the one that was stolen.

    Also: despite the removal of the photo of the (formerly) redheaded actress from "That 70's Show", the April 2004 Columbine anniversary post was still regularly drawing at least HALF of the site traffic. So it's now been renamed. People looking for the original link, which got indexed by Google of Canada, will be 404'ed. So traffic will slow down dramatically unless I do something like write some interesting original content. The whole episode has been sort of interesting although it hasn't really taught the world anything we didn't already know (that a huge amount of internet traffic is guys looking for pictures of women).

    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    School's Out

    School's Out

    Well we got no choice
    All the girls and boys
    Makin all that noise
    'Cause they found new toys
    Well we can't salute ya
    Can't find a flag
    If that don't suit ya
    That's a drag

    School's out for summer
    School's out forever
    School's been blown to pieces

    Ah, the greatest summer song ever written by anyone anywhere.

    Graduation day at UIowa, and the three weeks of the year when you can get a parking space downtown begin.

    And why is it that when frat boys in SUVs get frustrated at being behind a hard-working, against the wind bicyclist, they always assume the cyclist's relative lack of speed is some indicator of sexual preference? And why are they so concerned with which, uh, side of the street I like to, uh, ride my bike? I can only think of one reason why it would matter in the last to them. They must figure that since I'm riding a bike, I must have really nice legs (which I do). So, guys who tried to run me over at the Coral Ridge Mall: Sorry, but I'm straight.

    My trip back from the mall was better; I discovered the local Arabic-North African market completely by accident and am nibbling on some tasty Turkish pepper spread. I also had a nice chat with the guy working there who is in this rap group:

    And tomorrow as soon as the sun rises, we will still have surprises, full of good times and crisis, either way I'll still ripp the mic into slices, either way I'll let my mind go so it can take me places, if there's a line, well then I guess I'm about to cross it, driven by what I heard Mos Def and Talib kweli mention, yes ya'll, knowledge of self determation.

    Petition calls for legalizing marijuana

    Petition calls for legalizing marijuana

    Well, not quite. It's got the socially acceptable "medical" qualifier:

    A University of Iowa student filed a petition Friday calling for the Iowa City Council to approve an ordinance that would legalize use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    George Pappas, co-founder of Student for Sensible Drug Policy, turned in a petition with more than 2,800 signatures before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline. At least 2,500 signatures are required.

    The city has 20 days to certify the petition. When a petition has been certified, the council must either adopt the proposal or place it on the ballot, according to the city clerk's office.

    The initiative of the petition is intended to ensure "patients, for whom marijuana has been recommended by a physician, suffer no punishment or penalty for obtaining, possessing and or using medicinal marijuana and or paraphernalia used to consume medicinal marijuana."

    I don't know this guy but I wish I did: George, where do I sign up to help? I have a bad feeling, though. They cut it pretty tight on the signatures, and I'm sure the city will try to find a way to weasel out of it like they did on the charter amendments.


    Aurora alert

    Aurora alert

    And the skies are clear - at least this morning:

    "A coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading for Earth following a strong solar flare on May 13th. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the cloud arrives on May 14th or 15th. The display, if it materializes, will be best over high latitudes--e.g., Alaska and Canada. But CMEs sometimes spark auroras over lower latitudes, too, so everyone should keep an eye on the sky this weekend."

    1 PM update: And... the clouds have rolled in.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    Loophole may allow US crime spree

    Loophole may allow US crime spree

    A loophole in US law may allow people to get away with any major crime within a 50-square mile "zone of death" in eastern Idaho, according to a Michigan law professor.

    The jury would have to be drawn from the Idaho portion of Yellowstone which, according to the 2000 Census has a population of precisely zero.

    "Assuming that you do not feel like consenting to trial in Cheyenne, you should go free."

    Benn's call for SF to take seats

    Benn's call for SF to take seats

    Sinn Fein won five seats in the general election but has a policy of abstentionism.

    This means its MPs refuse to swear the oath of allegiance to the Queen and so cannot enter the commons chamber.

    Mr Benn said he understood Sinn Fein's position on British sovereignty but still thought it made good political sense for them to put their point of view across in the Westminister chamber.

    "The thing about it that's offensive is that it requires MPs to swear allegiance to the Queen.

    "If you're an MP your allegiance is to your constituents, to your party to your conscience so really MPs have to lie in order to sit in Parliament. I had to tell 17 lies."

    Tony Benn, four years after retiring from Parliament "to devote more time to politics", remains a fascinating character. The purest of the lefty pure - the closest American equivalents would be a Paul Wellstone or a Bernie Sanders. Yet he's the son of nobility and led a challenge to the system in the 1960s when he inherited his family title and had to fight to renounce it and stay in the House of Commons. No friend of New Labour, he seemed hardly disturbed when his seat went Lib Dem on his retirement.

    CNBC cancels 'Dennis Miller'

    CNBC cancels 'Dennis Miller'

    Wonder if Monday Night Football needs a key grip...

    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    Barrow, Alaska, begins 12 weeks of midnight sun

    Barrow, Alaska, begins 12 weeks of midnight sun

    "Monday's sunrise was the last for Barrow residents for the next 84 days, as the summer of continuous daylight begins for the USA's northernmost point..."

    Lots of interesting astonomical and geographic weirdness when you're living on an extreme edge of the Earth.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Army, Marines miss recruiting goals again

    Army, Marines miss recruiting goals again

    Even the Coach, my reality check raging moderate dad, says the American public won't stand for a draft. The real question is: does Bush want his empire bad enough to risk it?

    After more than three years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the all-volunteer military is facing its toughest test yet.

    In April, the Army missed its recruiting goal for the third month in a row, short by nearly 2,800 recruits, or 42 percent off its target.

    And for the first time in 10 years, the Marine Corps missed its recruiting goal for the last four months...

    The Bicycle Thief

    The Bicycle Thief

    Thanks, jerk. It's bad enough my car died, and I know I was an idiot for being trusting enough to think no one would steal my unlocked bike from in front of the county building in broad daylight.

    But you're still a jerk and with any luck your bad karma will bite your ass. Thanks again for depriving me of my sole transportation and my main exercise.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    Bohemian Paradise

    A Gaslight Village moment: neighbors hanging out on the porch singing Bohemian Rhapsody loudly - at 7 PM on a Monday out of joie de vive and not at 3 AM Saturday out of intoxication. And with a reasonable approximation of harmony.

    It truly is Bohemian Paradise up here on the north side. I'll grant you that life in a rundown ramshackle set of mismatched buildings, among very broke arty college kids, is not everyone's cup of espresso. But I'm having fun with it.

    Democrats' platform shouldn't back gay marriage, Kerry says

    Democrats' platform shouldn't back gay marriage, Kerry says

    Thanks, John, for that gutsy stance. Leaders lead. Just Another Politicians pander. And guess what? Anyone who's voting solely on opposition to gay marriage is already voting Republican anyway!

    Sunday, May 08, 2005

    CJR May/June 2005: Stations of the Cross

    Stations of the Cross

    A true must read overview of "Christian" media.

    Conservative evangelicals control at least six national television networks, each reaching tens of millions of homes, and virtually all of the nation’s more than 2,000 religious radio stations. Thanks to Christian radio’s rapid growth, religious stations now outnumber every other format except country music and news-talk. If they want to dwell solely in this alternative universe, believers can now choose to have only Christian programs piped into their homes...

    This is the fundamentalist subculture, self-segregating and self-seceding - something between a quarter and a third of the country, and absolutely unreachable for the Democratic Party.

    The latest from the smallest

    The latest from the smallest

    Having yet another human being weekend. After last weeks UK election obsession I'm having trouble getting my head back into US domestic politics.

    The Smallest Farm in Iowa is going through a forced move to a less sunny spot. The peas and volunteers are staying put and hopefully the house painters won't trash them, but the main farm is moving to the back of the complex. I dug it up Tuesday and re-dug it yesterday, and transplanted some catnip and bee balm. The soil looks good - this is, after all, Iowa - but the sun situation looks iffy, at least for beans and tomatoes. Eggplant is definitely out this year.

    On the indoor domestic front, the acquisition of a new printer led to four hours of rearranging last night, digging though the Gordian knot of cords behing the World's Cheapest Entertainment Center. I also need to de-clutter the Bohemian Paradise; I'm a pack rat by nature and unfortunately my daughter and I love shopping together. After two years I'm still adjusting from home ownership to apartment life. With the pending departure of my kitchen neighbor I may also need to haul my kitchen toys back into the dining room...

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Trimble Defeated

    Trimble Defeated

    "The centre dropped out of Northern Ireland politics this evening..."

    An 8.1% swing to DUP, and the Nobel Peace Prize winning UUP leader loses. UUP has now lost 2 to DUP and one, freakishly, to SDLP. The Six Counties are turning a darker shade of orange... and waiting on Foyle to see if it turns darker green as Sinn Fein is challenging SDLP hard there. (Oops, never mind.)

    UPDATE: UUP loses ANOTHER one to DUP and are now down to one seat. Meanwhile, Sinn Fein picks up one from SDLP, and SDLP holds steady only because a dead-even DUP/UUP split lets them pick up a fluke win in a Unionist constituency.

    Meaningless Swing and a rare change

    Meaningless Swing and a rare change

    It's extremely unusual for a Northern Ireland seat to switch from Unionist to Republican, but SDLP just picked up South Belfast. DUP left UUP alone in 2001 here, but this time the Protestant vote split almost evenly. SDLP wins with 32%; add SF's 9 and it's still only 41% Republican vs. 51% Unionist.

    The BBC has the swing as "13.4% from SDLP to DUP" which makes no sense at all; it's hard to imagine individual voters switching from Republican to Unionist, and how do you swing FROM the winner TO a party that didn't contest the seat last time?

    Election Night: Day 2

    Election Night: Day 2

    Gerry Adams holds West belfast for Sinn Fein. Swing 4% from SDLP to SF and 4% from moderate protestant UUP to hardline DUP. Doesn't tell us much, this is the strongest Sinn Fein seat and everyone expected the hardline parties to gain from the moderates.

    I don't officially know why the Northern Ireland results are announced the next day unlike the rest of the country. But I assume, in a country where people march through the other community's neighborhood to celebrate kicking their butts in 300 year old battles, it's to keep people from killing each other in election night "celebrations."

    In any event, this is a completely different ball game than the rest of the UK. The big question is will DUP knock off UUP leader David Trimble.

    British Blur

    British Blur

    Random first impressions before I start tainting my brain with anyone else's analysis.

    My blogging got interrupted last night first by a meeting then by CSPAN's decision to leave the BBC at 9 PM (3 AM UK time). I was able to get the BBC feed on line but the poor three year old laptop was bleeding from the strain of streaming video and half a dozen open tabs.

    A near-perfect result from my point of view. Labour is zinged, and the zinging was explicitly about the war. It would only take about 30 or 35 back bench defections for Blair to lose a confidence vote, and that puts him under some pressure even if he commands majority support within the Labour MPs. (I don't know how a leadership challenge works in Labour.)

    I would have rather seen the Lib Dems benefit a little more, it was a perfect storm for thee. Yet they find themselves in their strongest position since Labour became a major party.

    And I'm surprised by Howard's announcement that he's standing down. He may have suffered an electoral defeat, but it was at least a moral victory, similar to Kinnock in `87. I suppose that when you look a little closer, the Tories didn't really GAIN so much as Labour LOST, and they just barely failed to break the 200 seat mark.

    The really interesting math of a three-party plus system is that Labour can win an outright majority with only 36% of the vote. Makes Clinton's 43% in 1992 look massive... of course the UK is really a four way election when the regional parties are factored in.

    In the end I think this is a transitional result, much like 1992 was. Much will depend on when Blair steps down and how much time before the 2009/10 election Gordon Brown (presumably) will have to put his stamp on the party. Brown could emerge as a John Major, consolidating Labour's gains temporarily. Or he could be James Callaghan, an interim leader hanging on and delaying the inevitable. In any case I don't think this result allows Blair to hang on four or five more years.

    The first test is in a month, with an oddball by-election. The Lib Dem candidate in one seat died, and the way the Brits do things they postpone the election if the candidate dies, even if it's the Loony candidate.

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Election Map

    BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Election Map

    11:50: One difference between UK and USA election returns is the hyperactivity of results: In the US we have the luxury of time zones and some staggering of poll closings, so the results trickle in from 6 PM (Iowa time) till the wee hours. All lpolls in the UK close at the same time, 10 PM. And there are no preliminary results by precinct or county. There's just one result: the final. So the results come in not in a cross country steady sweep but in a rapidly ramping up bell curve, peaking at 2 or 3 AM. That may contribute to Peter Snow's hyperactivity...

    Peter Snow the King of Swing

    Peter Snow the King of Swing

    11:07 UK Time: Peter Snow is thehyperactive, graphically enhanced, BBC numbers guy and I want to be him.

    Exit poll suggests Labour victory

    Exit poll suggests Labour victory

    10:41 and they're racing for the first result...

    Ultimate guide to today's election

    Ultimate guide to today's election

    Slow loading pdf with an, uh, interesting angle on the prospects:

    Pentagon Analyst Charged With Disclosing Military Secrets

    Pentagon Analyst Charged With Disclosing Military Secrets

    Federal agents arrested a Pentagon analyst on Wednesday, accusing him of illegally disclosing highly classified information about possible attacks on American forces in Iraq to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group.

    The analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, turned himself in to the authorities on Wednesday morning in a case that has stirred unusually anxious debate in influential political circles in the capital even though it has focused on a midlevel Pentagon employee.

    The inquiry has cast a cloud over the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which employed the two men who are said to have received the classified information from Mr. Franklin. The group, also known as Aipac, has close ties to senior policymakers in the Bush administration, among them Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is expected to appear later this month at the group's annual meeting...

    Do you think this guy will get zinged as bad for spying for Israel as he would have if he'd been spying for Osama? And how's this going to play in the Arab world? Can't help. If we were REALLY worried about national security we'd worry more about stuff like this and less about harassing airline passengers.

    UK goes to polls with Labour set for win

    UK goes to polls with Labour set for win

    You would think, if you knew the Prime Freakin' Minister was going to be voting there and the picture would be all over Britain, you would have gotten the building PAINTED.

    I still haven't figured out which party is Sensible and which one is Silly.

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    Marijuana Becomes Focus of Drug War

    Marijuana Becomes Focus of Drug War

    "In reality, the war on drugs as pursued in the 1990s was to a large degree a war on marijuana," said Ryan S. King, the study's co-author and a research associate at the Sentencing Project. "Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance, but that doesn't explain this level of growth over time. . . . The question is, is this really where we want to be spending all our money?"

    Judge to Lombardo: No deal

    Judge to Lombardo: No deal

    I think the correct phrase is "fuhgeddaboudit":

    A letter purportedly penned by Joey "the Clown" Lombardo says the reputed mob boss would turn himself in if certain conditions were met--an offer swiftly rejected by a federal judge...

    Blair set for third landslide as campaign wraps up

    Blair set for third landslide as campaign wraps up

    The final ITV News/Times tracker poll, published this morning, gave the Tories 27 per cent support, by far the lowest of the campaign. Labour was unchanged on 41 per cent, while the resurgent Liberal Democrats were up two point at 23.

    Although that kind of support would see Labour's 2001 majority of 160 seats reduced, Mr Blair would still win an historic third successive term, possibly with a three-figure majority.

    Wo. The race is for second place and the Lib Dems could actually top the Tories.

    The Guardian offers aprint-out-and-keep guide to election night; subtract six hours to convert UK time to Iowegian. Should make for an interesting evening - we Colonists can check out the proceedings on C-SPAN. Hear, hear.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    Tactical Voting update

    Tactical Voting update

    In irritating pdf, the seats that matter in the UK...

    Architect Urges Boycott of Prison Construction

    Architect Urges Boycott of Prison Construction

    "It's great that the people who are designing these prisons feel that they shouldn't be built," said Braz, one of several prison reform advocates whom Sperry consulted. "Because you know, if they build them, somebody will fill them."

    Bill Would Add House Seats

    Bill Would Add House Seats

    Interesting tradeoff:

    Davis' legislation "would temporarily expand the chamber to 437 seats, providing the District with full-fledged House representation while also adding a fourth district in Utah, which fell short of receiving a new seat after the 2000 reapportionment."

    DC statehood = one additional Democratic seat. A fourth Utah seat = one additional GOP seat. Will it fly? Depends on the Senate provision. If it's two senators for DC, then no way...

    UPDATE seems the bill addresses only the House NOT the Senate.

    Garbage's hometown love fest

    Garbage's hometown love fest

    The local coverage. They have the Clash thing with the opening act, too. No pics unfortunately.

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    The marginal election battle

    The marginal election battle

    The BBC runs down the swing seats, while the Guardian looks at moderate Protestant leader David Trimble's seat in Northern Ireland, likely to fall to the more hard-line DUP.

    I'm only happy when it... snows?

    I'm only happy when it... snows?

    Shirley's shirt indicates there may be hope for me yet, as does her comment that only female Garbage fans seem interested... and no, I'm not afraid of tall redheads.

    But this is supposed to be a musical review and not a drooling groupie mash note, and one of the tricks I learned from my brother is you get the best sound next to the sound board. So that was the spot, and there was a very young girl parked behind it next to the sound guy. Aside: It's not bad going to a rock concert and not being the OLDEST or BALDEST person there (and I'm not even counting the band in this case). Aside 2: You know you're back home in Wisconsin when it's May Day and it's SNOWING.

    The opening act, the Dead 60s, had a sort of 80sish rock-ska-reggae thing going on like they'd found their older brother's copy of London Calling. If I were younger I'd probably work in a Sublime reference, but I'm not so I won't.

    They played 8 or 10 songs and kept us Garbage folks entertained.

    Then the main attraction hit the stage to the tune of Johnny Cash's version of Trent Reznor's "Hurt."

    I can't really analyze the performance too much - my first time seeing one of my favorite bands. They were loud, I loved it, Shirley has a, uh, strong stage presence, and there was a neat hometown vibe to it. Here's a rough set list:

    First four songs: Queer, Bad Boyfriend, Stupid Girl, Supervixen

    Then some chitchatting with the audience, at which point we learned taht the little girl behind the board was Steve's five year old daughter.

    Somewhere in mid set I lost track of the order but we heard: Sex Is Not The Enemy (with lots of text flying by Zooropa style on video screens), Vow, I Think I'm Paranoid, When I Grow Up, Push It, Bleed Like Me, Hammering In My Head, and I'm Only Happy When It Rains. We were supposed to sing along the "pour some misery down on me" part but I couldn't quite tell if we did or not. We also heart Shirley and Duke sing Happy Birthday to a band friend named Craig - you got the feeling that there were a lot of people there who had known the guys at least 20 years.

    The main set ended with Why Do You Love Me and we all did the cheer for an encore ritual. The encore set started with Metal Heart, which surprised me a little as a choice from the new album. Then they did Cherry Lips which I expected because the techs had soundchecked the chimes part on Duke's keyboard - but by that point in the show I was wondering if they had disowned the entire beautifulgarbage album. The closer was Right Between The Eyes. Shirley left the stage when the vocal finished while the hometown boys soaked up the last cheers, ending with a very happy looking Butch Vig alone on stage waving to lots and lots of old friends.

    The noise that keeps me awake managed to ring in my ears long enough to keep me awake and get me back to Iowa City way past my normal bedtime. Today is recuperation day...

    The whip cracks for Leach

    The whip cracks for Leach

    One more strike against our so called "pro choice" congressman. From Karen Kubby at Emma Goldman:

    You know that bill at the Federal level that we asked you to lobby Leach to vote against (Child Interstate Abortion Notificatin Act --CIANA)? It was the one where if minors received any assistance to cross a state line to receive abortion care, she would may have to comply with both state parental involvement laws AND there would be some Federal notification and delay attached to her health care. Well, Leach voted FOR the bill. Please contact him to let him know of your disappointment in his vote.


    All about the numbers anymore

    All about the numbers anymore

    Tactical voting is the only issue left:

    "The study found that a swing of 11.5 per cent from Labour voters to the Liberal Democrats could deprive Mr Blair of his overall Commons majority but it would be virtually impossible for such defections - at even twice that rate - to let in the Conservatives to form a government."