Blogging in Berkeley. Notes on news, politics, law, and technology in the US and China. [This blog is inactive. I am now staying busy and having a great time at UVA Law.]
Great commercials from CNN; I want a Lou Dobbs for Christmas...
Gizmodo : Blacklist Numbers to Prevent Drunken Dialing
"Virgin Mobile is aiming to prevent drunken dialing in Australia by providing a way to blacklist numbers so that they can't be called until 6AM. According to a survey by the company, over 95 percent of drinkers make phone calls after imbibing, with 30 percent of calls going to the most dreaded of recipients: ex-partners."
and more on Jeopardy! giant Jennings...
No Question About It: The Winner Loses (washingtonpost.com)
"The former Mormon missionary from Salt Lake City showed no mercy...
'They could not find anybody to really challenge him,' said [Merv]Griffin. 'That scared me a little.'
Jennings plowed through questions with voracity and occasional delight, his wrong answers often more entertaining than the right ones, like the time the clue board asked for a word that can describe either a garden tool or a person of immoral character.
'What is a ho?' Jennings responded.
'A rake,' host Alex Trebek sputtered through laughter."
USATODAY.com - Ken Jennings' 'Jeopardy!' streak ends
"In the world of tax gripes, Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings has a unique tale: A tax-related question ended his record-setting, 74-win, $2.52 million streak Tuesday."
Telegraph | Money | EU spells out trade threat from China
"China's lightning advance into the production of cars, computers and high-tech industry poses a serious threat to Europe's economic base, according to a report by the European Commission.
Guenther Verheugen, the new enterprise and industry commissioner, said the EU must improve to avoid quick relegation down the world's economic league as Asia storms ahead on every front.
Once despised as low-cost producer of shoddy textiles and toys, China is now starting to match western technology, but at a far lower cost."
Paralyzed woman walks again after stem cell therapy
"A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.
Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.
Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy."
real life vs internet (it's meant to be funny but it's so true) - video
I like the closer: (paraphrase) "How can we prepare for the internet? Trying going to your local middle school chess club and passing out crystal meth and guns, that would be good practice."
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 - With international pressure mounting on Ukraine, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today that the United States could not accept its recent election results. He urged President Leonid Kuchma not to use force against the sprawling crowds in Kiev. streets protesting the official outcome.
Dispatch from the front lines of the culture war:
Reuters News Article
"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.
Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian."
'Security services foil 9/11 attack in UK'
"Britain's security services thwarted a September 11-style attack on targets including Canary Wharf and Heathrow Airport, according to reports.
The plot is said to have involved pilots being trained to fly into target buildings including London's famous financial centre and the world's busiest airport.
It is one of four or five al-Qaeda planned attacks, since 9/11, that have come to nothing, after the authorities intervened, reports claim."
CAL-STANFORD - Color and excitement as football fever sweeps both campuses
"Stanford's color is so taboo at Cal during Big Game week that students are urged to donate blood in the name of 'Get the Red Out.'
Stanford partisans also were shedding blood in the 'Hemo Bowl,' one of several forms of archrival foreplay in the sometimes frenzied buildup to the famous football climax.
Friday morning, Berkeley was out-bleeding its Palo Alto nemesis by 116 units to 60, possibly because Stanford students are less inclined to shed their color, not to mention Cal's much larger student body."
Should cultural heritage be replaced to conform with current fashion? The following blogger has a lot to say about -
"It would not have been the first time that public authority had forgotten its cultural roots. In medieval England the legacy of classical Greece was often regarded as a form of heathenism, even though it lay at the root of Western Civilization. Homer was regarded as the 'devil's entertainment'. The knowledge of classical antiquity was largely forgotten. It was not until the Renaissance that Europe rehabilitated its wellsprings, readmitting it into public life partially because of its technological utility."
Yahoo! News - UN staff ready historic no-confidence vote in Annan
"UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN employees are expected to issue an unprecedented vote of no confidence in Secretary-General Kofi Annan, union sources say, after he pardoned the body's top oversight official over a series of allegations.
The UN staff union, in what officials said was the first vote of its kind in the more than 50-year history of the United Nations, was set to approve a resolution withdrawing support for the embattled Annan and senior UN management. "
The New Order of Battle
"So it's reasonable to expect the same quality of complaint we now see under Porter Goss at the CIA (though perhaps with less intensity) once Dr. Rice takes charge at Foggy Bottom. By naming his closest confidant to be his chief diplomat, President Bush has told the foreign service professionals that he's now paying attention and keeping score.
The dog that hasn't barked in this transition--and by all 'rumint' isn't going to bark any time soon--is the ousting of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Given that the Pentagon's management of the Iraq war was President Bush's greatest campaign liability, there's at least a paradox in Rumsfeld's retention. "
Gates gets spammed 4 million times a day
"So you think you get a lot of spam, maybe a few hundred per day? Well think about the amount that bill gates gets at Microsoft, over 4 million a day apparently!
Im sure you can imagine the amount of times this address appears over the web, Steve Ballmer of MS said:
'Literally, there's a whole department, almost, that takes care of it.'"
This is some great analysis from Krauthammer-
New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Charles Krauthammer: 'Redneck vote' is a liberal myth
"Whence comes this fable? With President Bush increasing his share of the vote among Hispanics, Jews, women (especially married women), Catholics, seniors and even African-Americans, on what does this victory-of-the-homophobic-evangelical rest? Its origins lie in a single question in the Election Day exit poll. The urban myth grew around the fact that 'moral values' ranked highest in the answer to Question J: 'Which ONE issue mattered most in deciding how you voted for President?' "
Washington state is still counting ballots for their gubernatorial race. Elections don't get any tighter than this.
Washington Secretary of State
11.15.2004 - UC Berkeley chancellor named to Prop. 71 stem cell oversight committee
"BERKELEY - Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau was named today (Monday, Nov. 15) to a committee charged with overseeing the implementation of California's new $3 billion stem cell research effort.
'I'm pleased and honored by this appointment,' Birgeneau said, after Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante made the announcement at a press conference at UC Berkeley's Hearst Memorial Mining Building. 'This is an important responsibility, and there is much work to be done.'"
Only two months as a Chancellor in the US and he is already getting more state government appointments. I hope he will be as good at fundraising as he is at landing prestige-enhancing positions.
Ultrasound at 24 weeks of development.
BBC NEWS Health Scans uncover secrets of the womb
“The images have shown:
-From 12 weeks, unborn babies can stretch, kick and leap around the womb - well before the mother can feel movement
-From 18 weeks, they can open their eyes although most doctors thought eyelids were fused until 26 weeks
-From 26 weeks, they appear to exhibit a whole range of typical baby behaviour and moods, including scratching, smiling, crying, hiccuping, and sucking.
Until recently it was thought that smiling did not start until six weeks after birth.”
If I could wave a magic wand and overturn Roe v. Wade I would not do it. If a Supreme Court decided that the US Constitution can not be construed to contain a right to abortion I would not be upset that it would become a state rather than a federal issue. I am sympathetic to the concerns of life advocates. Partial birth abortion is not a simply a medical procedure, it is the killing of a child. We must have a PBA ban upheld by the courts. Life does not start at birth, it starts some time before.
I read an article several months ago about the new the new 3D ultrasound imaging (and I heard about it on NPR), so I went to check out what everyone was raving about. The images are impressive.
Here are some images from the BBC
Here are more images using the new ultrasound technology from about.com
As I looked at the images it occurred to me that perhaps some of these unborn babies were still early enough to be aborted. There was no political subtext to anything I had heard about this new technology up to that point. I figured ones past 12 weeks could not be, since abortions are not normally done after the first trimester. Then it occurred to me that I didn't really know that for certain, that is just what I had heard. I decided to google it, to try to find a website with information on how late an abortion could be had in this country. I expected to find shrill, polemical, angry anti-abortion websites when I typed in "25 weeks abortion." I did find some of that, but what I also found was web advertisements for late abortions. I found one page
of links to websites for clinics in 23 states offering abortion on demand until at least 22 weeks from the last menstrual period, some as late as 26 weeks.
Dr. Hern is a heavy web advertiser.
It's hard to search the net for abortion information and not find his ads. He has even paid to have a sponsored link for the search term "third trimester abortion" at Google
. His services include: "Outpatient elective abortion through 26 weeks from the last menstrual period." They are trying to sell a service, so the description provided on this type of website for the procedures are certainly presented in way that make it seem as inoffensive as possible. Yet the descriptions are still disturbing, especially after seeing an ultrasound image of a baby blinking and smiling at 26 weeks of development.
At the point at which a baby can live independently outside the mother's body nobody should have the right to kill that baby. If the doctor could induce labor or remove the baby by cesarean section then the doctor should not kill the baby. At some point it stops being "reproductive rights" for the mother and becomes an issue of human rights for the child.
What is the point at which a life is a life? I don't think it happens at the moment of conception. So somewhere between the extremes of the moment of conception and the moment of birth there should no longer be elective abortions performed. Since the majority of people in the US are pro-choice and the majority of people also oppose partial birth abortions I suspect most people fall somewhere in between the extremes as I do. I think that the pendulum has swung too far toward one extreme and it is time for it to swing back in the other direction. This is not an issue of religion. France is probably the most aggressively secular nation on the planet; in France abortions are "available on demand until the tenth week of pregnancy on condition that they undergo counselling on alternatives and observe a one-week waiting period
." I don't agree with the French on much, but I think they have a better policy on abortion than we have in the US.
NEW HAMPSHIRE ITCHES FOR 2008 RACE TO HEAT THINGS UP
This is an interesting article. I guess it is pretty transparent to NH residents which politicians are seriously considering a presidential run. How many low-population, late-primary states get visited frequently by high profile senators and governors from out-of-state? None, of course. I suppose Iowans have a similar vantage point from which to watch things shape up for the presidential election too. I wish my state would move up its primary; it would be nice for California to have some relevance in a presidential election year in spite of the fact that it is a solid blue state. It seems silly that the only time a prosepective presidential candidate might be in the state anywhere near the election date is for a fundraising event.
NH = 4 EV = dozens of visits from candidates and their surrogates.
CA = 55 EV = no campaign stops...not one from either candidate.
It just doesn't add up.
Wonkette: Fight for Your Right's Party
"'2004 Irrelevance Tour,' listing the artists who toured in support of the erstwhile Democratic ticket: Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, John Fogerty, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and John Prine. Our hearts go out to the tireless Jon Bon Jovi, who didn't even make the 'irrelevant' line-up. Clearly, Carter did not grow up in the '80s.
But what we really love is the jocular apercu Carter's come up with: 'You lost. Now shut up and entertain me!' "
Wounded soldiers describe 'reckless' Fallujah rebels
"'This is a rooftop to rooftop kind of fight. You see the snipers jumping from one roof to another.'
Ryan Chapman, a 22-year-old Marine, was hit above the left eye by a sniper's bullet, but escaped with a fractured skull.
'People keep on telling me that I'm lucky,' he said. 'I don't mind being lucky.'
Despite his brush with death, Chapman was keen to return to fight in Iraq.
'I want to go back. It kills me when I see the news, when I think of all my buddies back there.'
More than 1,200 rebels have been killed in the battle, the US military said on Monday."
Goodbye, Dollar -- and Empire
"Thus no successful assault will be made in the next four years on a fiscal deficit of $415 billion (4 percent of GDP) before the first wave of 77 million Baby Boomers reaches early retirement in 2008. After that, goodbye balanced budgets forever.
Our trade deficit is now $600 billion a year, with a deficit in goods near $700 billion. To finance our binge buying overseas, we borrow $2 billion a day from abroad. Foreigners are using the dollars to snap up our stocks, bonds, and real estate, gaining a permanent lien on the future rents, interest, and dividends of U.S. enterprises. We have mortgaged our children's future to enjoy the good times today."
MANDATE? NO. CONSEQUENTIAL? NO DOUBT ABOUT IT
"With 55 Republican Senators and the ghost of Tom Daschle echoing in the Senate chamber, President Bush is going to seriously reshape the third branch of our government. While the press may reduce this to being all about abortion, in reality abortion and Roe vs. Wade will only be a very small part of what the Supreme Court is going to have the final say over in the next 30 years. And liberals know that it is not just the three or four appointments to the High Court, but the dozens, even hundreds of lifetime appointments to the entire Federal bench that will lock in conservative jurisprudence for an entire generation. "
Statement by the President
"Statement by the President
November 10, 2004
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors. During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace."
Reason: Two Sides to Global Warming: Is it proven fact, or just conventional wisdom?
"Christy is the climatologist who has put together the highly accurate atmospheric temperature data from satellites since 1978. And confidence in his data is bolstered by the fact that they correlate nicely with temperature data from radiosondes, which are a completely independent measure of temperature. Christy's data show that since 1978 the planet is warming up at a rate of 0.08 degrees Celsius per decade. The Arctic, according to Christy's data, is indeed warming faster than the rest of the planet, at a rate of 0.39 per decade. But the Antarctic is cooling by 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade.
For the nationalistic, Christy's satellite data find that the lower 48 states of the U.S. are warming at a rate of 0.07 degrees per decade. If temperatures continue to increase by 0.08 degrees Celsius per decade, the planet will warm by 0.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. That compares to an increase of 0.6 degrees Celsius during the 20th century. Not much of a crisis. Richard Lindzen says he's willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now."
Charles Krauthammer: Chapter two
"Reagan and Clinton, on the other hand, left office popular, which to me is a great failing. They retired rich in political capital. What a waste.
Bush will not waste his. As he said explicitly in his Thursday news conference, ``I earned capital on the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.'' After all, in his first term, with his political career at stake, he undertook Iraq, something no one asked him to do and that promised only terrible political risk. He knew that he was wagering his presidency, but did it nonetheless because he thought it necessary for the safety of the nation."
The Israelis knew this decades ago...
Yahoo! News: Arafat 'brain dead'
I recieved an e-mail from one of my professors regarding this post. (Pre-election criticism from China). Very interesting.
I just got back from a conference where I met a former student who now teaches at his alma mater, Peking University, and he had an interesting take on this. Bearing in mind this is a biased view, he thought the author, Qian Qichen, was pretty full of himself and just wrote it on his own--he's at a high enough level that he wouldn't need to get Politburo approval to publish an opinion piece. His evidence for his relatively low estimate of Qian is: (1) he is the first Chinese foreign minister to write his memoirs, (2) he is the only one who took a second post upon retiring, that of dean of the school of international politics at Peking U (his dean). (Zhu Rongji was once planning to become dean of the business school at Tsinghua but got shamed out of it.) I asked him about this before the election, so it wasn't yet expedient to disavow the piece.
Was Pre-Election Plot Averted?
"For example, ICE agents arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani man in late October who had illegally entered the United States through Mexico in 2000 and was working as a fuel tanker truck driver with access to a major U.S. seaport. The man, who was not further identified, is charged with making false statements about how he entered the country and remains under investigation for any links to terrorism."
New York Post Online Edition: postopinion
"The USA Today exit poll shows Hispanics, who had voted for Al Gore by 65 percent to 35 percent, supported Kerry by only 55 to 43. Since Hispanics accounted for 12 percent of the vote, their 10-point shift meant a net gain for Bush of 2.4 percent -- which is most of the improvement in his popular-vote share."
"And how doubly sweet the joy felt by the president's supporters after those same (misleading) exit polls had plunged them--us--into 12 long hours of anxious gloom. 'Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result,' Churchill quipped. This week millions of Republicans know just what he was talking about.
But they should know something else, as well. Exit polls aside, the election was not, in fact, a 'squeaker.'"
Benefitting from W's Win: The Daily Show
Some funny quotes here courtesy via Wonkette.
When things started looking bad for Kerry last night they turned on the Daily Show at the Institute of Governmental Studies library at UC Berkeley. I think I was the only Bush voter there.
reflections on elections
Tuesday went well for the GOP.
Senate is now 55-45 in favor of the Republicans
Before the election I had not read any predictions of a 4 seat pick-up. (Not even the most ideological and optomistic
in their predictions thought that this would be the balance.) This is a surprising result.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle defeated by John Thune
The last time a sitting Senate leader lost re-election was 1952
Republicans gain seats in the House
11 states vote to ban gay marriage
Voters in all the states with gay marriage
propositions passed them, some by overwhelming margins.
President George W. Bush re-elected
There was record voter turnout this election and the President won a majority of the votes. (Clinton
won less than 50% in both of his elections as did Bush in 2000. His father was the last President to win a majority in 1988.)
MSNBC -Tim Russert
"MSNBC: What do you think the political landscape will look like in 2008?
Russert: I think we're going to have two open primaries. I believe Hillary Clinton will run for president. I think John Edwards will run. I think Howard Dean will run. I think Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, will run.
On the Republican side, I think John McCain will run at age 72. Rudy Giuliani will run. Bill Frist, the Majority leader of the Senate, will see Giuliani and McCain -- two moderate Republicans -- and he'll run to the right. I think there will be Republican governors who will run. If Arnold Schwarzenegger can change the constitution, he'll run."
William F. Buckley Jr. on George W. Bush's Reelection on National Review Online
"Bulletin #2 came under extraordinary auspices. A phone call from someone I love just after the woman who bore him. A master of the universe in the political-journalistic world, he had a working guest in house whence he would report on the elections. At 6 o'clock in the evening of Election Day a call came in from his newspaper's equivalent of the CIA Board of Estimate.
That communique was delivered in a single word: 'Kerry.'
So the guests filed in and, in my new role as soothsayer, I informed them, in humbled tones, but no less solemn, 'It will be Kerry.'
"Statement from John Zogby on 2004 Presidential Election Results:
'We feel strongly that our pre-election polls were accurate on virtually every state. Our predictions on many of the key battleground states like Ohio and Florida were within the margin of error. I thought we captured a trend, but apparently that result didn't materialize.'"
Ted's election eve analysis
Possible scenarios based on the five states that I think are really in play.
The total electoral count for the other 45 states that I believe are good bets for either Bush or Kerry:
As for "battleground" states that means Kerry winning New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Hawaii.
Bush will win Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Missouri.
That leaves Ohio(20), Florida(27), Wisconsin(10), Iowa(7), New Mexico(5).
It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidential election.
Scenarios for a Bush win:
1- Bush takes Ohio and Florida as he did in 2000 - 274+ electoral votes
2- Bush wins Florida, Wisconsin, and Iowa - 271+ electoral votes
Here are the possible ties:
Bush loses Florida but wins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Mexico.
269 - 269
Bush wins Florida, Wisconsin, and New Mexico; Kerry takes Ohio and Iowa
269 - 269
The decision would then go to the newly elected House of Representatives and Bush would be re-elected by a Republican majority of state delegations.
Here is the bottom line:
If my predictions are correct on the 45 states that I exclude from these scenarios then to win re-election outright on November 2nd, President Bush cannot lose Florida. Bush could lose Ohio but would have to win in Wisconsin and Iowa. The two tie scenarios would also allow for a Bush win but not on electoral votes. I see one path to re-election without Florida, and two paths to re-election for President Bush without Ohio. If Bush loses both Ohio and Florida then John Kerry will be the next President of the United States.
Bush seems stronger in those swing states that I am predicting he will win than Kerry seems in the swing states that I think will go in to his win column. For example, Hawaii's 4 electoral votes could make a difference if they went to Bush, and he is ahead in the most recent (though out of date) polls.
The big mystery is voter turn out. With record high voter registration this election the "get out the vote" effort that is mounted in these key states may prove to be the deciding factor.
My final prediction:
Ohio - Bush
Florida - Bush
Wisconsin - Kerry
Iowa - Bush
New Mexico - Kerry
I predict Bush will win re-election on Tuesday, November 2nd.
"I'm Theodore Hasse, and I approved this message."
ABC News: Noted Now: The Latest Breaking Political News
"BUSH AND KERRY CROSS PATHS IN MILWAUKEE:
THE OTHER GUY IS STILL PREZ: Kerry is held on Milwaukee tarmac until Bush's motorcade, excluding press and extraneous vehicles, arrives at Air Force One. Kerry's motorcade was then allowed to depart as Bush's press corps was held at the entrance to the airport, ABC News' Ed O'Keefe reports."