Radically Inept
Friday, December 03, 2004
  Ross Perot was right!

That dawned on me today. I mean, I sort of knew it, but today it really hit me - Ross Perot was right, and we elected Bill Clinton instead. And Bill Clinton, well, as a friend of mine - a black, Alabama state and national card carryin' state and national told me at a campout a few years ago - Clinton was the best REPUBLICAN (in deed and action) president we ever had. And, if you look at his record of accomplishments and ignore his rhetoric, you'll find that to be a very true statement. As my friend pointed out - no republican party could have passed welfare reform, and probaly they could not have gotten the votes for North American Free Trade Agreement (see Public Citizen | NAFT).

That "Giant Sucking Sound", it's world wide.

That should have been the progressives single slogan, the sound bite for the campaign, "Ross Perot was right!"

Well, leaving for the weekend. Back Sunday sometime. 
  Update on New America Foundation & NYU Law Center Panel on Al-Qaeda -

You can watch the New America Foundation discussion on terrorism if you link through the C-SPAN: archives. It comes into parts, the first is an hour and fifty minutes and the second part is seven hours and forty-five minutes. The short agenda is here: New America Foundation: event -430- "Al Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11 and the complete agenda here: Al Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11 (pdf format)Conference

It's a lot to watch, but I found it well worth my time, though I missed a couple of the later hours while screwing around trying to apply to some govt jobs.

One of the announcers said that NYU would publish transcripts, but I suspect it will take a few days, and I'm not sure if they will make them available on line.

Brief Summary:
There was a fair amount of disagreement on various issues amongst the panalists on specifics, but I think all agreed that Iraq would breed more terrorists, and I think most agreed it was a mistake. All agreed it was badly handled. I say all, not every panalists addressed every issue, but there seemed to be general consensus on these points by those who did address them.

Al Qaeda has been able to survive what we've thrown at it, though not necessarily in its original form and function - may be more the name of a 'movement' now, than a single organization. I heard the terms 'morphed' and resilient to describe them. Also, I think there was a general consensus that we are too focused on Al Qaeda and failing to realize the bigger picture.

The panel that seems to be split between the last of the first part, and the first of the last part, was interesting in the debate on how terrorists are either 'self-selected' and/or recruited. Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks | University of Pennsylvania Press, had some interesting stats on the average terrorist, though he excluded Iraq from his survey, he found most terrorists were from the middle and upper income brackets and highly educated. He makes the point in the Q&A that this has usually been the case. It's true, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the Red Army Faction, almost all revolutionary leaders do appear to fit that bill. Consider Che Guevera, or Fidel Castro as examples.

Jessica Stern, Foreign Affairs - The Protean Enemy, has interviewed over four hundred terrorists to look for commonalities. I think she and just a few others mentioned US home grown terorists along with the islamic terrorists.

Well, I'm not going to try to break down the entire nine hours + panel by panel. It's so easy to want to do that, but it would take me probably the same amount of time to do it, and as I stated above, hopefully we'll be able to get transcripts soon. In the mean time, I highly recommend you get in front of your computer, go to C-SPAN and play solitaire while your watching the program in hour or two chunks.

I've got get back to the job hunt, but I will break in a little while to present some personal observations on 'bar people' - of which I may be considered a true expert. I don't mean like those people that only hang out in bars, I mean as someone capable of probably writing a pretty decent over view of the people found in all types of bars; from biker bars and dives to hotel bars to country clubs to - well, just about most types. Yeah, even those... 
Thursday, December 02, 2004
  On C-SPAN - New America Foundation discussion on terrorism

I am currently watching C-SPAN: Al-Qaida: Transnational Terrorism, while I'm checking emails and working on my resume. It is excellent, and if you can watch it, it will be better than my recount of it later.

Oh. Hopefully there won't be so many of you that my video stream slows down. 
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
  The Fear and Loathing prayer, good for four more years

I received a missive today via Chocolate Morphine in which he pointed to the paranoia of the disclaimer before it:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Notice of Anonymity
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The material you have received has been stripped
of all identifying information regarding its original
source to protect their anonymity.

If you send this forward to others please honor this
request for anonymity by stripping off all identifiers.

ยท * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Which is a sad reflection on the lack of humor now found in this country. I mean is this so bad(?):
Bush is my shepherd; I shall dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of
thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.
Well maybe, but it also seems to contain a lot of truth. Maybe that explains the paranoia?

Which reminded me of the lyrics to Destroyer by The Kinks. Seems like not much changes. In fact, I remember years ago I was singing the Kinks Low Budget lyrics (whole album is awesome), and now I am again. 
Monday, November 29, 2004
  Just some questions & a little rambling

Alright, I guess I should put just the questions first, sort of...

Has Communism been defeated or discredited, or both, or neither? For just a little bit of context of how I'm asking this question: No country has practiced communism. None. Zero. Zilch.

There have been oligarchies with centrally planned economies, but I can't think of a single incidence of a truly communistic government beyound the level of governance found in monastaries, convents, kaputzes, and, like, hippie attempts. So, I as far as I can tell, there really hasn't ever been a defeat of communism because, on the nation state level, it has never existed.

So, this is a real question; I'm up for insights and opinions. Also, should our current system fail, which at the rate our national wealth is being looted and squandered might be sooner than we think, what system would you want to replace it? A Meritocracy, mayhaps? Lets put it this way - what form of government would you like to see, and what form of government do you think would be acheivable?

The second question I found, surprise, watching C-SPAN. I found myself watching an excellent debate: Debate on Confidentiality of a Reporter's Sources(Program ID 184309). It turns out Judith Miller may being going to jail for not revealing who told her about Valerie Plame, although she herself never published the information. Robert Novak on the other hand, did publish the information, but he apparently is not facing incarceration for failing to reveal his source (the same?). Nice article here: Robert Novak - The hollow center of the Plame Affair. By Chris Suellentrop

Oh, the question is should the law protect journalists from having to reveal their sources?

The two main arguements being:

For: No one would come forward to provide the information if they didn't believe that the journalists could shield their identities, and hence the public would lose access to valuable information.

Against: How would you know if the sources were even real, or determine the credibility of the information without gaining access to the source(s)? And Joseph DiGenova, famous - Washingtonpost.com Special Report: Clinton Accused - for his involvement in the Clinton scadals, did list the guidelines the government had to follow to force a reporter to reveal their sources. [I can't find a simple list quickly, but I did find this - The Reporter's Privilege - though this appears to be biased toward privilege.] The list seeemed reasonable to me.

In the end, I could see the potential for abuse either way, and I don't think I would support a journalists privilege to the degree that I support doctor/patient or lawyer/client privilges. But at the end of the debate, the crowd at Boston University certainly felt those protections would be justified.

Oh, yeah, the real question: Are bloggers journalists? This came up in the debate, and according to wiki:
A Journalist is a person who practices journalism - that is, who creates reports as a profession for broadcast or publication in mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, documentary film, and the Internet.
And according to that definition it would appear so. Would you like to be able to sheild your sources? Do you in fact have 'sources'? I know some blogger most certainly are practicing 'journalism', but I can't say that most of the stuff I write would qualify...On the otherhand, some of it might...And I guess I do have a few 'sources' that I protect, but not based on any criminality, really, more based on the idea that being associated/named with this blog, might not be so could professionally.

Lastly, I have to get some stuff done, but I will probably post a little science tonight. Also I plan to edit my links list. It's grown longer than I think is useful, and it contains links I no longer even visit. This is not necessarily a slight against those blogs that I'm going to de-list, but a matter of time and my ability to absorb information. I mean, you hit one source on a good piece, and you start following the links to more information on the subjects, especially lengthy, in depth articles and reports, well, then my time is shot. So, I will be adding a link to Josh over at Remain Calm, and a couple of others, but I think I will be removing far more and hopefully get the list pared down to something I can manage, and try to instill a sense of community. Oh, if you are reading this, you are probably not the the de-list list. It's going to be more like Kevin Drum and Atrios. I don't visit there at all anymore. It's not that I don't think they are good sites, but they are generally, I don't know...I just haven't visited either site in months.

Gotta go...
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