Is this a ‘blog’?

I don’t think so…although you would be forgiven for thinking that it is given the new design. At the moment I’m just trying to simplify things and get rid of the graphics-heavy look. While the large section of whitespace in the middle here does lend itself to brain dumps, the odds of that happening on anything resembling a regular basis are slim.

So for now, just think of the new design this way: professional stuff on the right, personal stuff on the left, and a big blank canvas in the middle…

One more thing…my apologies if you’ve come here looking for something and gotten a “not found” error.

Our morning conversation

               INT. DAY, DINING ROOM

                         I talked with Jon & Lisa last night
                         and was a non-family witness that
                         they don't want to be kept alive
                         with a feeding tube.

                         Did you sign something?


                         Ok-- that probably won't count
                         then. You need to get something on

                         Just for the record, I don't want
                         to be kept alive, either.

                         I want to be kept alive, though.


                         Yes. Only under certain conditions,
                         though. I want to be kept alive and
                         propped up in Congress as a public
                         testament to the value of life. I
                         also want to wear seasonally
                         appropriate hats.

                         Like for Dr. Seuss' birthday?

                         Sure, and a yarmulke for Hannukkah
                         and Yom Kippur, a Santa hat for
                         Christmas, a green hat for St.
                         Patrick's Day. And a sombrero for
                         Cinco de Maya. 

                         How about beads for Mardi Gras?

                         Sure-- and if the women in Congress
                         flash me, they can take a set of

                         You really want Hillary Clinton to
                         flash you?

                         Hey, if she really valued life, she

Posted by Jason at March 19, 2005 11:09 AM
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A Civil Discussion

Test post – turning comments on

This is just a quick test of the rel=”nofollow” plugin to verify that it’s working. If this works, then I may start allowing comments again…


Not sure what’s going on with the weird entries. Movable Type & NetNewsWire seem to be having some sort of spat. I’ll see if I can’t straighten that out here…


Over at Daily Kos there’s a bit about Dubya’s tendency to personalize things:

What’s depressing is this infuriating penchant for Bush to villify individuals, as though our battles can be won by exterminating a few well-placed leaders. We have seen this with al Qaida and OBL, we have seen it with Saddam Hussein, and now with our two latest boogeymen — Sadr and Abu Musab Zarqawi.

The enemies we face are bigger than one person. Killing Sadr would be as effective in ending Shiite opposition as capturing Saddam was in ending Sunni opposition (or killing his sons, for that matter). Killing or capturing Osama bin Laden would make us all feel good (especially killing him), but it wouldn’t have any real effect on Al Qaida operations.

Yet the administration insists on creating the fiction that killing or capturing any one man can help us win our various wars. It’s understandable, in a way — a relatively easy way to prove progress to a domestic audience.

This is one case where I don’t think Bush is really to blame. The tendency to focus on individuals is actually fairly common in American diplomacy. I don’t remember the details, but this is something Kissinger covered in his book, Diplomacy. The point Kos makes is perfectly valid in terms of how focusing on individual personalities can be the wrong approach, but it’s not necessarily a flaw of Bush’s particularly (although I’ll grant that his lack of attention probably exacerbates the problem).

Bullets over Baghdad

You know, I get tired of posting this graphic, but there’s “supporting the troops”, and there’s supporting the troops:

“Countering the insurgency, [Cpl. Richard] Stayskal [, a 22-year-old Marine from San Jose, Calif.] said, has been difficult for Marines on the ground. In his case, his unit was chronically short of ammunition, and his support unit got pinned down at the same time across town. The two units couldn’t help each other.

“They weren’t giving us nearly enough ammunition for the situations out there. Everyone was running out. Everyone was grabbing each other’s ammunition.”

This is a test

Sometimes you just have to test things, that’s all.

Free Speech

Now this is what free speech is all about:

According to ACLU legal papers, local police, acting at the direction of the Secret Service, violated the rights of protesters in two ways: people expressing views critical of the government were moved further away from public officials while those with pro-government views were allowed to remain closer; or everyone expressing a view was herded into what is commonly known as a “protest zone,” leaving those who merely observe, but express no view, to remain closer.

. . . .

In one example, retired steelworker Bill Neel, 66, was handcuffed and detained by local officials at a rally in western Pennsylvania last year after he refused to be herded into a remote “designated free speech zone” located behind a six-foot chain-link fence.


Here’s a tip: if it’s behind a fence, it’s not free.

When is a former Iraqi minister like a Beanie Baby

Just heard that another former Iraqi official has been rounded up. That brings the total up to 39 collected from the infamous deck of cards. At this point, however, I have to say “who cares?” I find it hard to believe that these captures will have any impact on security in Iraq, and I doubt any of them will have information to help yank Dubya’s cojones out of the fire as far as WMD’s go. I can’t help thinking that this is kind of like the Beanie Baby collector who keeps buying the latest toys even after the collecting craze is gone and folks have moved on to the next hot thing.