Saturday, May 28, 2005


Up here in Twin Falls for the summer and it's already hot. Visited my old stomping grounds at the Hayspur fish hatchery; Hailey, home of Bruce and Demi; or which ever one got the property, but didn't go up to Ketchum. I was too wiped out from the move and realized it after I got up there. Wood River was running at bank-full. There will be other days on Silver Creek, home of huge, smart rainbow trout.The valley has had a lot of new development since 1987; much more spiffy than back then with huge price tags to match.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Political Judges

So I guess this whole judge affair settles one point: judges are political and not objective and independent, which is sad given the fact that objectivity is the gist of what judging IS. We'll see how it turns out. As for the compromise, the three wingnut judges are in. How is this different from a court of mullahs? Madison would not be impressed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Condom Propaganda

60 Minutes reports. While abstinance is a worthy goal not everyone will make it if statistics are any testimony to reality. Yet religious groups continue to spread lies about condom failure. If these kids fail the test, doing so without the benefit of protection known to be 99 percent effective will be a rude awakening.


Interesting post on the rating of Texas judges. At the bottom is Priscilla Owen.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bashing Newsweek II

Boy I don't side with David Brooks often, sometimes but not often, but today we're marching in lockstep on the Newsweek story. The bloggers, particularly the right-wing bloggers are as ususal, completely out to lunch on media bias. They're extremists in their own right but the enemy is not us. It's the real killers. Who David don't have a prayer of conquering the West, so let's all keep this in perspective. Damn, and I set out to agree.

Senate Coups

You want totalitarian rule? Then elect 60 Republican senators. That's how the founders set it up. I wonder why? To avoid the tyranny of King's.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The not So Blank Slate

"It may not be a coincidence that the new discovery came from researchers in Europe. In America, the biology of homosexuality is a politicized minefield that scares away scientists (and the universities and agencies that pay for their research). Which is a pity. Regardless of where homosexuality resides in the brain, the ethics of homosexuality is a no-brainer: what consenting adults do in private is nobody's business but their own. And the deterrents to research on homosexuality leave us in ignorance of one of the most fascinating sources of human diversity."

Steven Pinker, a professor of cognitive science at Harvard, is the author of "How the Mind Works" and "The Blank Slate."

My dad would agree with this. He was a gay in the military decorated in WWII.

The Good Reporter

Does this: "The simple fact is that a lot of it simply comes down to the experience and good judgment of the journalist, knowing a certain source is knowledgable, evaluating the agendas of their sources, thinking through alternative scenarios that could explain the facts they're seeing. Like I said, that's what makes a rock-solid journalist a great thing and a great asset to society."

Josh Marshall

Salvage Logging Ruse

"Report calls for massive logging

This spring, the board of commissioners in Douglas County, northeast of Siskiyou National Forest, ponied up $25,000 for a study of the potential benefits of salvage logging. The fast-track study by four faculty members at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry was led by John Sessions, a professor of forest engineering. No biologists served on the study team.

Environmentalists call the Sessions approach “forestry from the dark ages,” and many take issue with the proposal for using industrial forest techniques to create fast-growing conifer plantations in one of the planet’s most diverse temperate forests."

It's good piece from High Country News who I couldn't get too excited about my San Bernardino story, but I guess this is a precedent case, your classic up-is-down science from partisan industry people.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Dan Brown Inc. cont'd

What's with the claim by Dan Brown that he wrote a song Peace in our Time and it was performed at the 1996 Olympics? It's clear that he didn't despite the number of times it's been published. Why? Bad PR or a history of deception? Album from 1996 no such song. 1988 by Jennifer Holliday. Hmm.

From John Braheny's "The Craft and Business of Songwriting."
"A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Amherst College, D.B. is a member of MENSA, an internationally published novelist, and the composer/producer of four CDs of original music. His single 'Peace in Our Time' was recently performed at the Atlanta Olympics. Dan's live performances..." etc.
I don't think so. Why is this?

From a 1998 Boston Globe story:
Brown was a pianist and creative writer who graduated from Amherst College and moved to Los Angeles to seek his fortune as a musician and songwriter. He produced four CDs. One of his songs,``Peace in Our Time,'' was used in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Inspired by the strange people he saw in Los Angeles, Brown got the idea for a joke book about men to avoid. In 1990, his music agent, Blythe, who is now his wife, sent Brown's manuscript for ``187 Men to Avoid'' to a literary agent, who said he wanted to represent Brown for a deal with Putnam Publishers.
What's going on here?


Josh Marshall has a nice long review of David McCullough's latest 1776 . Other historians have told me that, alas, everyone thinks that anything that had little to do with George Washington isn't worthy of notice. So it goes with my book concerning his shipbuilder and supplier, my ancestor Reuben Colburn.

Mine Patriot on the Kennebec goes into the story of money promised by Washington, but not delivered, for the first military failure of the war for independence. Too obscure for major publishers these days. I'm sure he wrote a fine book but it's the same kingmaking hagiography over and over. We'd like to know the foibles found deeper than surface worship. But fame is fame and feeds itself forever often at the expense of other players on the stage that no one yet knows. Or will, but I'll keep the story in the pipeline no matter how long it takes. I owe my patriot ancestors that much.

Quran Story

Hosed by the source? I don't know, but Gen. Meyers just said detainees tried to stop up the toilet with pages torn from the Quran. Did they? Newsweek retracted the story formally just now.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

America's Founding Beliefs

I got an e-mail from a relative of the opposite party affiliation and highly religious claiming the Christian foundations of our country. It's no surprise it's a false propaganda from the wingerville community including the Aryan Nations where I found it verbatim. By this reckoning I'm sure Adolph Hitler and Jesus are walking arm in arm in heaven. It's total BS of course as Snopes makes quick work of it:

Claim: Religious symbols and references abound in U.S. capital buildings and the words of America's founders.

Buildings in the U.S. capital and statements by America's founding fathers includes references to Judeo-Christian tradition: True.

The items included in the piece quoted below demonstrate a government endorsement of Judeo-Christian tradition: False.

Including a made up quote from James Madison found nowhere in his writings.

Did you know.......

As you walk up the steps to the Capitol Building which houses the Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world's law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view — it is Moses and the Ten Commandments!

As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see the wall right above where the Supreme Court judges sit a display of the Ten Commandments!

There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C.

James Madison, the fourth president, known as "The Father of Our Constitution" made the following statement "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians...not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ".

Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher...whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.

Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the established orthodox churches in the colonies.

Thomas Jefferson worried about that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law would begin making oligarchy...the rule of few over many...

The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, said, "Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers."

Classic out of context quoting used by propagandists worldwide regardless of affiliation. It works for dupes.

It is to be regretted, but so I believe the fact to be, that except the Bible there is not a true history in the world. Whatever may be the virtue, discernment, and industry of the writers, I am persuaded that truth and error (though in different degrees) will imperceptibly become and remain mixed and blended until they shall be separated forever by the great and last refining fire.

Madison: "[T]he number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."

–Letter to Robert Walsh, March 2, 1819

"A lie can travel around the world while the truth is just getting its boots on." Mark Twain

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Memo

"The minutes also recount a visit to Washington by Richard Dearlove, the head of the British intelligence service MI6: "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.""

Yeah. Not surprised at all, but I don't really see this as damning per se. We knew they were fixing the facts and didn't fully know what the intelligence was. There's more than enough wiggle room here for Bush to skate away. His followers believe on a etherial level. They don't care about facts. Neither does he.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Deficit Amnesia

For heaven's sake listen to Robert Rubin and not these voodooeconists connected to the Bush family.

"For example, if the tax cuts for those earning above $200,000 were repealed and the inheritance tax as reformed were continued rather than eliminated, the 10-year projected deficit would be reduced by roughly $1.1 trillion, or almost 25 percent, and the 75-year fiscal reduction would be roughly $3.9 trillion, or approximately equal to the Social Security shortfall. This course of action would be similar to the income tax increases that were combined with spending cuts in the 1993 deficit reduction program, which some predicted would lead to recession but which, instead, was followed by the longest economic expansion in our nation's history."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ms. Brown I Presume?

Lewis Perdue's infringement case against Dan Brown keeps getting more bizarre all the time. Back on April 2, a poster named Ahamedd Saaddoodeen asked a question on Lee Goldberg's blog thread on the case leaving an active e-mail address. Later the poster commented on Lew's Da Vinci Crock blog saying he/she had information the lawyers would be interested in and to contact them.

Apparently the data they sent Lew leads to the identity being a long time alias for one Blythe Newlon Stafford Brown. All of the investigated addresses belong to Mrs. Brown. While the data may be faulty, it comes from multiple sources. It's unlikely that the poster IS Ms. Brown. The poster also implicates long time Brown editor Jason Kaufman in the infringement scenario against The Da Vinci Legacy and Daughter of God. What in hell is going on here?

Shrinking Glaciers In the Antarctic

The Guardian. notes that while 212 receded in the last 50 years 50 advanced due to local conditions. I would expect the naysayers to use that tidbit in a formal fallacy. It would of course be an invalid conclusion.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Self-published Dangerous Drek

Why? Because they provide propaganda for the deniers who are always hunting for fake data and fake scientists to fight the real ones. The public can be fooled and is in many cases. It takes time, although not much in this case, to fight them with online shills. A case in point from below: Wow.

Monbiot eviscerates:
Iceagenow was constructed by a man called Robert W Felix to promote his self-published book about "the coming ice age". It claims that sea levels are falling, not rising; that the Asian tsunami was caused by the "ice age cycle"; and that "underwater volcanic activity - not human activity - is heating the seas".

Is Felix a climatologist, a volcanologist or an oceanographer? Er, none of the above. His biography describes him as a "former architect".

Up is down baby!

Junk Science

That's the typical naysayer fare on global warming, deforestation, endangered species, what have you, as Monbiot exposes in this Guardian piece.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fundraiser Scientists

Since Bush politicises everything and doesn't believe in science to begin with, here's a nifty plan to require GS-11 scientists at the Bureau of Reclamation to raise money for their projects. This is outrageous.

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it was ending a system that based performance evaluations for its scientists in part on how much money the scientists raise to support their research projects. The sudden turnaround came in response to media inquiries following the revelation earlier this week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) of explicit agency fundraising quotas as part of scientist ratings used for promotions and raises.

And as soon as the media dug in they dropped it. Score one for the reporters.

What Corn Said

David Corn that is on the Huff Post.

"Before the war, I and others argued that an invasion of Iraq could lead to a situation in which there would be no good options. [This was my position as well]That prediction has come true. Bush has created a mess that defies an obvious and low-cost solution. Military experts of late have been saying that the insurgency probably will last for years (perhaps decades) and that establishing an effective Iraqi security force could take five years or more. Yet Bush refuses to admit these realities."

Of course he does. He refuses to see any realities so it's no surprise to me. Withdrawing from Iraq may be the best of two bad choices. The question is when do we roll the dice?

The Huffington Post

I don't know what the big deal is really. There's good stuff on there and a lot of it. Many are up in arms because the celebrity pundits aren't allowing comments. True but they might. I'll take Shafer's view over Finke. She was too quick on the draw on this one for my taste.

Oh and CNN's blog reporter Abby Tatton called Roger L. Simon a "conservative blogger" today. That's my take on him as well as I've said.

Monday, May 09, 2005

More "Private" Solutions

Yeah. Scorched earth is the only method known for private interests and the governments that support them. This from the AP in New Hampshire. As you can see Maine passed a new law based on the corrupt practices of the Madison, Maine logging company, so he had to move to greener pastures. They won't be for long.

More on Kansas

What Mooney points out.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Demise of Newspapers Is Premature

Says Tim Rutten of the LA Times who gets my vote with this assessment of the blog triumphalists:

First are the ideologically minded commentators — mostly right wing, a handful on the left — who have found a congenial home in the blogosphere. Their critique is basically an exercise in wishful thinking. They want newspapers to die because their editors just won't print the news they want in the language they demand. These folks see the world through utterly polarized lenses and don't believe any other view is possible.

He's right, the two are linked. No pun intended, I'm sure.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Hear No Evil

"If you want to know about science, ask a scientist. If you want to know about faith, ask a minister," said Robert Hagen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Kansas. "If I were to go into that hearing and tell them why the 'science' of intelligent design is wrong, I'd have to get into such detail that most people would just glaze over." To me this is the key quote in the he said she said LA Times story. In Kansas and Ohio there are many who refuse to separate truth from fiction and faith from education.

Oil For Food

Paul Volcker says there is "no evidence that Kofi Annan knew of contract with his son's company." Do you think that will stop the wingers? I don't.

Roadless Rule Death

"If a governor proposes no changes, the land would be managed according to 10-year guidelines set by each national forest. Under those existing guidelines, nearly 60% of the 58.5 million acres of roadless forest could be immediately opened for development. The remainder is guaranteed protection until a forest's guidelines are revised," reports USA Today.

They'll open it to more roadbuilding and unless a governor decides to keep it protected. There's almost no chance of this given the persuasion of the governors. Oregon and Montana may be exceptions. We'll see.

The Google Code

Still monitoring Roger Simon and found this conspiracy gem.

What they are really doing is turning their search capabilities into the instrument of a form of censorship never before devised. No matter what supposedly impartial algorithms are built into their ranking system, I would bet my house that they will be constructed to come to the conclusion that, say, CBS News is to be trusted far more than the bloggers who correctly showed the network's anchorman was lying. And all this will be done in the name of "science." Wow.

Wow indeed. Lying he says! I wasn't aware that was what the commission found in the Rather story. The source lied, and it a took a while to get that admission, but still. I'll take that bet. We can even trade houses so you won't be technically homeless in the deal, but the ranking of Google is likely to find that the sources used by legitimate papers, wire services, and networks are liable to be better than the opinions of a bloggers who never leave their houses. That's a fact and I suspect the algorithim with take that under consideration. He's clearly lost it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Roadless Ruse

"The rule allows governors to petition the secretary of agriculture to develop regulations to manage roadless areas that meet the specific needs within each state. USDA will accept state petitions from governors for 18 months after the effective date of the final rule. During the state-petitioning process, the Forest Service will continue to maintain interim measures to conserve inventoried roadless areas."

All of them will as designed.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Simon Says

Huh? Roger dodger claims John Kerry has abused campaign funding rules to pay for parking tickets on a rented car. So?

Kerry, meanwhile, used presidential campaign funds for a $3,150 tab for Boston Red Sox tickets in July when he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before the Democratic National Convention.

A Federal Election Commission spokesman said congressmen are entitled to pay for parking tickets and other expenses from their campaign funds as long as they were ``campaign-related.''

Is this the best Simon can muster as proof of what moral decay? Unscrupulous campaign tactics? Abuse? This is chump change. I wonder if Tom Delay gets a free pass? Of course he does. Isn't it obvious he should? Republicans are so much more comfortable with hypocrisy as Maureen Dowd says. They don't even see it when it flashes before them on a billboard.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Ritz Blog

According to the New York Sun "Mr. Simon went a step further, saying his readers, based on an informal survey he did on his site three months ago, have a median income of $100,000. His blog averages about 18,000 unique visitors a day."

Well la de da. I find this hard to believe based on the crude commentary of the visitors and regulars over there. But if by chance this is true then these types are so out of touch with the real America that it explains the cockamamie right-wing views where other people's money fuels their fantasies. Talk about elitists.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Behind the Veil

"As long as the issue is hashed out only in the invisible realm of fisheries bureaucracies, there will be little progress, environmental experts and industry representative agreed." Andrew Revkin writes in the NY Times.

I operate behind the scenes in this invisible realm which is why I have a hard time selling my books I suspect. This story concerns bluefin tuna, but overharvesting anything has to be exposed and usually can't be justified by the science. In fact the science is ignored. As scientists we must be certain of the message, and beat back the opposition with facts. The future of our resources and ultimately, us, depends on it.
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