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.]
Monday, January 31, 2005
  Car vs. Telephone Wires in Texas

An amusing accident...
Photo Series: Car vs. Telephone Wires in Texas

"Upon arrival, the engine company found a vehicle still running, hanging on the telephone wires by its right front tire. "

"Witnesses also reported that the driver jumped down from the vehicle and ran to catch a bus prior to the arrival of Engine 2 and the Harris County Sheriff's Department."
Sunday, January 30, 2005
  Iraqi Election

Omar's voting experience:

I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants.
I put the paper in the box and with it, there were tears that I couldn't hold; I was trembling with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me and said "brother, would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn".

Yes brothers, proceed and fill the box!
These are stories that will be written on the brightest pages of history.

It was hard for us to leave the center but we were happy because we were sure that we will stand here in front of the box again and again and again.
Today, there's no voice louder than that of freedom. - Iraq's mark of freedom: Ink stains - Jan 30, 2005

Saturday, January 29, 2005
  Windows 1.0 Commercial

This 1986 late-night commercial is pretty funny. I think Steve Ballmer was wearing a buttoned up polo shirt with a tie under his jacket.

Video: 1986 Windows commercial featuring Steve Ballmer

Friday, January 28, 2005
  Photoshop Contest: New Cigarette Ads from Fark

The community does this stuff alot, so maybe it's more like a Photoshop scrimmage. This one has some particularly funny entries, I posted my favorites below.
There are dozens more of these posted here.

I found the original poster that was altered for this image, it was originally a WWII "loose lips sink ships" propaganda poster.


New advertisements for tobacco companies

New advertisements for tobacco companies

New advertisements for tobacco companies
  More smoking...this one's real

Thursday, January 27, 2005
  High Hopes and Low Expectations

Ambassador Michael Novak thinks many people are in for a surprise on January 30, and so do I.

I hate it when someone tells me a movie is great. It raises my expectations, and when I finally go to see it myself the movie rarely meets those expectations. This happened to me with the "Matrix" for example. I was told that I should prepare myself for "the greatest movie of all time." I did, and I was very disappointed. I have also often had it happen that somebody would tell me that a movie is not very good, and with those low expectations I am pleasantly surprised to find it has positive qualities when I see it myself. This happened for me recently with the movie "Alexander." I check the Rotten Tomatoes collection of film critic reviews before I see any movie, and "Alexander" got the lowest cumulative score I had ever seen from their featured critics: 8%. "You Got Served" -- an infamously bad, teen dance movie --with a score of 22% did far better than Academy Award winning director Oliver Stone's latest film, so apparently expectations have something to with the perception of quality for professionals as well. I decided to ignore the reviews and check out "Alexander" anyway (I figured I could leave early if it was unbearable), but I was expecting to see a truly awful film. It turned out to be a mediocre film with a few redeeming qualities, which given my deflated expectations made it seem pretty good. A few people in the theater did not enjoy it as much as me, so I guess they had not yet read the reviews.

This psychological phenomenon does not just happen with movies. Take for example the strategy the Bush campaign used to manipulate the reporting on the conventions last year during the presidential campaign:

The Kerry campaign seemed trumped by some of the oldest tricks. Matthew Dowd, the pollster and chief of the BC04 "Strategery Department," kept predicting to reporters that if history was an indicator, Kerry would get a 15-point bounce out of the Democratic convention. The prediction, though inflated and intended to create false expectations, was widely played in the press. Kerry came out of Boston with little or no boost in the polls. (Adman Mark McKinnon laughed about a "dead-cat bounce," from a sick Wall Street joke: even a dead cat bounces if dropped from a high enough ledge.) Dowd then set about lowering expectations for Bush, saying that, historically, the incumbent gets only about two thirds of the challenger's postconvention bounce. Since two thirds of zero is zero, that's about what Bush would get, Dowd insisted to reporters. The whole exercise was a transparent effort to spin, to play the old expectations game. The average bounce for an incumbent was more like 10 percent (Newsweek).

For the most part this strategy seems to have worked. Bush's "bounce" was treated as a surprising success and Kerry's unbounciness was an unanticipated failure. With a different set of expectations there may have been a different perception of the part of those reporting on the presidential campaign. Which brings me back to Michael Novak:

In much the same way, the press seems to be taking for granted a downward spiral in Iraq, and even longing for it. Many reporters in Iraq, especially but not only from the Associated Press, report the news that cheers our enemy, and leave out the stories that give comfort to our own troops. That is a constant complaint of military bloggers and military in the field sending e-mails to friends.

Press distortions have so lowered expectations about the January 30 election that the world may be startled by the outcome. The percentage of Iraqi actually voting may be higher than in the United States last fall. It might reach higher than 70 percent. It may rival turnout in Afghanistan.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the press in Iraq is distorting the reality of what is happening there with their reporting; and I don't know because I have not been there to see for myself. But regardless of the media accuracy, the reports coming from Iraq are setting expectations for the election on January 30 very low. Bad news will not be a surprise. Should there be some moderate level of success in the security, participation, execution, or results of the election it may be perceived as an enormous achievement. Ambassador Michael Novak points out that many are expecting the worst, while he is expecting some very positive news. They all might be surprised on January 30.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I didn't think this was actually possible...

Ananova - Ukrainian hasn't slept in 20 years:
A 63-year-old man who hasn't slept for more than two decades has been told there is nothing wrong with him by doctors.

Ukrainian Fyodor Nesterchuk from the town of Kamen-Kashirsky said the last time he managed to doze off was more than 20 years ago.

Of course there is nothing wrong with this man, he has been blessed!

Google rolls out TV search prototype CNET
"Google introduced late Monday a prototype of a service to search TV programming, an anticipated move to broaden its search franchise for broadcast. "

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
  Iraqi Elections Broadcasts

The Middle East Media Research Institute is translating and streaming video from Middle East channels over the internet. Clip #499 has several pro-unity and election ads that are running in Iraq. The last ad shows a little boy watching as a US military convoy passes by and disappears off in the distance. Then the boy starts playing soccer with his friends. A caption appears: "They move on, we stay."

Video: Iraqi election ads
(check out #499)

Monday, January 24, 2005
  Ashcroft's Last Song

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

The Department of Justice said 'good bye' to Attorney General John Ashcroft today, and Ashcroft sang his last song as Attorney General.

Here is Ashcroft's most famous performance, 'Let the Eagle Soar':
Video - Ashcroft sings

  China Asks N. Korea to Admit Uranium Program

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea:
TOKYO -- China has asked North Korea to admit plans to develop nuclear weapons using enriched uranium, Japan's Nihon Keizai reported Monday. If confirmed, this would mark a substantial shift in policy in Beijing, which had previously faithfully relayed Pyongyang's denials of any such program.

Any movement on the North Korean nuke issue will require a diplomatic effort on the part of the Chinese.

  Inauguration Week In Pictures

Protestors, fashion police, hernia checks, and drunken pandas; a pictorial recap of last week from Pluto's Dad:

Eyes On The Ball News - This Week In Pictures 2

  Are TV Movies for Girlie-Men?

Ann E. Marimow at The San Jose Mercury News is not excited about the new TV movie, "See Arnold Run," but the video clips at the official A&E website are intriguing. Check out the "behind the scenes" section:
governator TV movie video clips

Sunday, January 23, 2005
  Fighting Grade Inflation NewsFlash - Princeton cracks down on grade inflation:
"In a move students protested last year, Princeton became the first elite college to cap the number of A's that can be awarded.

Previously, there was no official limit to the number of A's handed out, and nearly half the grades in an average Princeton class have been A-pluses, A's or A-minuses. Now, each department can give A's to no more than 35 percent of its students each semester.

Princeton's effort is being monitored closely by other hallowed halls, and some expect to see a ripple effect in coming years.

At other Ivy League schools, the percentages of A's in undergraduates courses ranges from 44 percent to 55 percent, according to Princeton's Web site. At Harvard University, 91 percent of seniors graduated with some kind of honors in 2001."

Saturday, January 22, 2005
  FireFox continues gains against IE

FireFox continues gains against IE | CNET
"The popularity of alternative Web browser FireFox continues to rise at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to a new study.

From the beginning of December through mid-January, 4.78 percent of Internet surfers studied by online measurement company WebSideStory used the Mozilla Foundation's FireFox browser, a gain of 0.88 percentage points. At the same time, IE usage declined 0.7 percent to 92.7 percent, the firm reported. WebSideStory said IE use has declined from 96.7 percent since June."
Thursday, January 20, 2005
  Tortured Reasoning?

Karen J. Greenberg, executive director of New York University's Center on Law and Security, and a co-editor of a new collection of memos called The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib answered some questions online at The Chronicle of Higher Education website today.

The Chronicle: Colloquy: Tortured Reasoning?:

Question from Theodore Hasse, UC Berkeley:
It seems that the assertion by some administration officials and advisors (Professor John Yoo for example) that unlawful combatants are not protected by the Geneva Convention has been inaccurately equated with a defense of torture. Is the denial of Geneva Convention protections to those who do not meet the criteria for such protections really tantamount to torture?

Karen J. Greenberg:
This is an excellent question and one I really like to hear John Yoo discuss. Deciding to move away from the Geneva Conventions is not the same thing as condoning torture or even suggesting a torture policy. In the case of these memos, however, the discussion inside the administration bases its later policies on the initial decision to separate Taliban and al Qaeda from prisoner of war status and therefore to not extend protections of the Geneva Convention. This may not have been intended to result in torture, but it set in motion perhaps unintended consequences.

It seems that Professor Yoo has commented on the claim that his legal opinion on granting prisoner of war status to Afghan fighters somehow led to Abu Ghraib.

San Francisco Chronicle - Furor over UC prof's brief on war:

But Yoo said Bush's move to exempt the Guantanamo Bay prisoners from the Geneva conventions applied to those prisoners only and had no role in any subsequent abuses in Iraq.

"To say the decision on al Qaeda helped create a culture in which abuses were accepted, that it set the tone for Abu Ghraib -- how can you prove or disprove that?" Yoo asked. "That's just an accusation, that's like saying, 'Because we have the death penalty or abortion in the United States, we have a culture of death.' That doesn't make sense. It is unproven and unprovable."

  Opinio Juris

There is a new blog on international law and politics hosted by Professor Julian Ku (Hofstra), Professor Chris Borgen (St. Johns), and Professor Peggy McGuiness (Missouri):
Opinio Juris

hat tip Volokh

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Company Wants To Buy Courthouse Land To Display Ten Commandments:
"Montgomery County, Indiana, officials are considering a plan to sell a plot of land in front of the county courthouse to a private company that wants to erect a Ten Commandments monument.

Four years ago, the county's commissioners ordered a Ten Commandants monument removed from the courthouse grounds after the Indiana Civil Liberties Union sued."


CBS News | Carson Feeds Jokes To Letterman | January 19, 2005:
"These days Carson gets his dose of late-night programming during prime time in California, watching shows over East coast feeds. Lassally didn't say whether Carson watches The Tonight Show, now hosted by Jay Leno.

But he's a fan of Letterman, whose career took off when he became a regular on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. 'I think the thing (Johnny) misses the most is the monologue,' Lassally said. 'When he reads the paper every morning, he can think of five jokes off the bat that he wishes he has an outlet for.' Carson sends some of those jokes to Letterman, who occasionally includes them in his monologues at the beginning of each show. 'Johnny gets a big kick out of that,' said Lassally, who talks to Carson regularly by telephone. "
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
  The Onion on Rehnquist's Retirement

First the Beatles, then the New Kids on the Block, and now the Supreme Court?

The Onion Supreme Court To Break Up If Rehnquist Leaves:
"Bernard Tomaine, publisher of the Supreme Court fanzine The Docket, characterized Rehnquist's role as 'essential.'

'When Rehnquist leaves, it's going to be the end of an era,' Tomaine said. 'He's absolutely irreplaceable.'

Added Tomaine: 'I've got a bootleg copy of an opinion that Rehnquist wrote for U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez that would blow your mind.'

Although the associate justices have yet to announce their plans following the dissolution of the Supreme Court, Tomaine said he believes that many will continue on with solo judiciary projects.

'I don't think they're ready to give up interpreting the law just yet,' Tomaine said. 'I wouldn't be surprised if a number of these justices get together and start something very similar to the Supreme Court, but under a different name. I heard that Scalia wants to set up a new organization under the name 'The U.S. Supreme Court featuring Antonin Scalia.' Personally, I think it's very disrespectful to use the name of that honorable institution, but I suppose it's his right.'"

Monday, January 17, 2005
  RIP Zhao Ziyang

"BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Comrade Zhao Ziyang died of illness in a Beijing hospital Monday. He was 85.

Comrade Zhao had long suffered from multiple diseases affecting his respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and had been hospitalized for medical treatment for several times. His conditions worsened recently, and he passed away Monday after failing to respond to all emergency treatment."

Zhao Ziyang had been the chosen successor to Deng Xiaoping when he was ousted from his position as General Secretary of the CCP during the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. Zhao advocated dialogue with the student protestors and opposed the declaration of martial law. Zhao Ziyang made his final public appearance on May 19 at Tiananmen Square where he pleaded with the students to leave peacefully. Martial law was declared the next day and on June 4, 1989 PLA troops fought their way to Tiananmen and cleared the square. Zhao was under house arrest until his death on Monday morning in Beijing.

Wu Guoguang, a former speechwriter for Zhao Ziyang wrote about his former boss for Time:
"When he invited me to leave my job as an editorial writer for the People's Daily to join his advisory committee on political reform, I had expected to be working with a protean party bureaucrat, an expert in cynical self-preservation. But when we had our first face-to-face talk in 1986, I found a paradox: a leader staunchly committed to dismantling the very system that supported his power.

Zhao called political reform 'the biggest test facing socialism.' As I grew to know him, I came to understand why. He believed economic progress was inextricably linked to democratization. As early as 1986, Zhao became the first high-ranking Chinese leader to call for cha e xuanju—elections offering a choice of candidates from the village level all the way up to membership in the Central Committee. His economic policies were, for their time and place, similarly progressive. He developed 'preliminary stage theory,' a course for transforming the socialist system that set the stage for much of the prosperity China enjoys today."
Zhao was accompanied by another aide in his final public appearance at Tiananmen, Wen Jiabao. Wen is now ranked third in the Chinese leadership.

It is noteworthy that the the Tiananmen affair in 1989 was touched off by the death of another popular leader and chosen successor to Deng Xiaoping who had also been ousted from the General Secretary position: Hu Yaobang. The situation is very different today in China. The leadership in China have learned a lot since 1989 and major protests seem unlikely. But such things can be unpredictable, and this would be the best opportunity for another spontaneous gathering in the capital since the Tiananmen Protests, and there may not be another for a very long time. No matter what happens on the street, there will likely be disagreements over the handling of Zhao's death within the CCP --for example his obituary and funeral -- though this will all occur behind closed doors. The official account of Zhao Ziyang's life will be complimentary but cautious: "A revolutionary Communist leader who was true to Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong Thought but made mistakes on the socialist path," or something like that. There will be no revision of the official CCP account of what happened at Tiananmen as long as Jiang Zemin is still alive because it would call in to question the legitimacy of his rise to power, and despite his retirement Jiang still holds a lot of informal influence.

Identifying Iranian Nuke Facilities...
Report: U.S. Conducting Secret Missions Inside Iran: "The New Yorker reports that this task force, aided by information from Pakistan, has been penetrating into eastern Iran in a hunt for underground nuclear-weapons installations.

In exchange for this cooperation, the official told Hersh, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has received assurances that his government will not have to turn over Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, to face questioning about his role in selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Hersh reported that Bush has already 'signed a series of top-secret findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as 10 nations in the Middle East and South Asia.'"

I'm back from Disneyland
Thursday, January 13, 2005
  What do you believe but cannot prove?

Edge asks some very sharp folks: "WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?" There are some interesting responses. Here is one from Dr. Randolph Nesse:

"I can't prove it, but I am pretty sure that people gain a selective advantage from believing in things they can't prove. I am dead serious about this. People who are sometimes consumed by false beliefs do better than those who insist on evidence before they believe and act. People who are sometimes swept away by emotions do better in life than those who calculate every move. These advantages have, I believe, shaped mental capacities for intense emotion and passionate beliefs because they give a selective advantage in certain situations."
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A complete phobic meltdown on live TV. Very funny, it's best with sound:
video clip

  The War Against World War IV

Commentary Magazine has posted an article by Norman Podhoretz that will appear in the February issue:
The War Against World War IV

"Will George W. Bush spend the next few years backing down from the ambitious strategy he outlined in the Bush Doctrine for fighting and winning World War IV?"
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
  Meeting of moviemaking minds

A colorful guy on the left and a religious guy on the right make nice. (Max Rossi)

"I saw the film, I liked it. I, you know. I feel a kind of strange kinship with Michael."
-Mel Gibson commenting on Fahrenheit 9/11

"I saw it twice, it was a powerful piece of filmmaking. I took my father to see it."
-Michael Moore commenting on the Passion of the Christ

Crooks and liars has the video posted:
Mel Gibson and Michael Moore

This is a little bit too perfect. I bet the two of them got together backstage at the People's Choice Awards and planned this:

Mike: "Hey Mel! Have you noticed how journalists just can't stop contrasting Fahrenheit and Passion? Wanna really freak everybody out and get a whole bunch more attention for our films?"

Mel: "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

Mike: "No. I think we should talk about how much we love each others films!"

Mel: "Uh...OK. I'll say Fahrenheit 911 was better than Cats."

Mike: "No, no. That would be too obvious."

Mel: "Yeah, I'm going to have a hard enough time keeping a straight face."

Mike: "Just compliment my film and talk about our special kinship. I'll say that I saw the Passion a bunch of times. I think I can sell that, just tell me how it ends."

Perhaps they may decide to collaborate on a documentary sometime in the future. It is actually not so hard to imagine...
United Press International: Michael Moore plans Bush-bin Laden film (3/28/2003):"Variety reported that Moore is working out a deal with Mel Gibson's production company, Icon Productions, to finance 'Fahrenheit 911.'"
Saturday, January 08, 2005

News from Danwei blog, Beijing's famous (or infamous) Silk Alley shut down today...
"Xiushui Market aka Silk Alley has been open for 20 years and is famous for selling fake brand name clothes. "
Friday, January 07, 2005
  Polling Pre-election Iraq

Ali Jasim/Reuters

Ladybird translated an election poll from Al-Sahab newspaper...

Baghdad Dweller -- Election poll from Al-sabah:
The poll was of 4974 Iraqis living in and around Baghdad.

The following is the translation of the poll and the results:

Will the security problems cause you to?
Not come out and vote the day of elections = 18.3%
Come out and vote the day of elections = 78.3%
No opinion = 3.4%

Do you support the Iraqi Government having its own official newspaper?
Yes = 67.7%
No = 30.9%
Do Not know = 1.4%?

Do you support military action against the terrorists?
Yes = 87.7%
No = 11.1%
Don't Know = 1.2%"

A few points about these results...

Almost 5,000 people seems like a pretty good sampling. Most US polls with margins of error under 5% have 1,000 or less participants. I would be interested to know more about the sample group though. For instance what percentage of the respondents were women?

On voting-

Baghdad Iraqis intending to vote: 78.3%
Voter turnout for the 2004 US election: 59%

Any US poll asking voters whether they intend to vote will have a higher percentage than the actual voter turnout (Americans don't like to admit that they won't or don't vote). But I'm not sure that the Iraqi responses would be similarly inaccurate. Some Iraqis -- especially Sunnis -- oppose the election altogether. So there would be less stigma attached to admitting to not planning to vote out of opposition or apathy than in the US. Here we treat voting as a sort of civic duty, not enough time has passed for such an attitude to develop in Iraq.

On government media-

I'm not crazy about "official" newspapers, but Iraqis are just starting to think about what democracy will mean and we also must accept that Iraqi democracy is not going to be a carbon copy of American democracy.

Additionally, I think that affirmative responses could be interpreted as Iraqis indicating that they want their elected government to have the trappings of legitimacy to which they Iraqi people are accustomed and they want their government to communicate with the people about policies.

On terrorists-

Whether we call them insurgents or terrorists, the will to stop them from destroying Iraq is not diminishing among Iraqis, if anything it is strengthening.

Baghdad blogger and dentist, Omar of Iraq the Model pointed out that this poll was conducted in the most dangerous area of Iraq, and that is also disproportionately populated by Sunni Arabs. Perhaps similar polls in areas with a greater percentage of majority Shi'a Arabs would be even more strongly in favor of elections and military action against terrorists.

ScrappleFace: Bin Laden Seeks Geneva Ruling on Beheadings:
"(2005-01-07) -- Al Qaeda chief executive Usama bin Laden today requested a formal ruling from the U.N. Human Rights Commission on how to conduct beheadings of civilian and military prisoners in ways that comply with the Geneva Conventions.

'Al Qaeda seeks the global credibility that comes only from adherence to the Geneva Conventions,' Mr. Bin Laden wrote. 'Specifically we want to know what kind of cutlery is permissible, guidelines for videotaping the beheading and any advice about dealing with crowds as they burn, hang and mutilate the corpses of the infidels.'"

Hat tip Volokh Conspiracy

Kelly and Patrick visiting my former home, Ayutthaya.
..:: Kellog ::..

HIV testing in Singapore:
Mandatory for moms and marriage?

Cal Alum Kellykelly wants to set things straight in the Singapore state, "Educate, don't Mandate!" ...before it's too late?
I'm sure the Singaporean government has good intentions with these sort of mandates, but the implications for personal liberty are troubling. I wonder what the penalty would be for a mother that did not comply...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Abramyan at Res Ipsa Loquitur on the correlation between intelligence, per capita income, and economic freedom...

Res Ipsa Loquitur: Economic Freedom is Smart.

Cox & Forkum: Tsunami-Relief Art Auction:
Editorial cartoon studs Cox & Forkum are auctioning this original cartoon to raise money for tsunami and earthquake relief efforts in South/Southeast Asia.

The Daily Ripper Blog -- Osama defends double tape deck:
"Bin Laden admitted being tempted by the iPod's sleek, minimalist design, easily navigated menu system and the recent U2 limited edition version. But he bristled at Jobs's suggestion that his tapes were not of the highest fidelity. 'The only people who have a problem with fidelity are the infidels like Jobs and I couldn't give a fatwa what he thinks,' he said."
"'The American imperialist aggressors have destroyed many of my weapons caches in the Tora Bora caves but I still have a large supply of Maxell blank tapes, and they're C90 ones at that.'"

Bin Laden admitted there was some audible hissing on his tapes. He had tried the Dolby Noise Reduction button on his stereo "but it just seems to make me sound muffled like I'm talking through a burqa.'"

James Taranto points out some egrigious metaphor abuse...
"From a column by Helen Thomas, American journalism's crazy old aunt in the attic:

'I have observed that whenever a major news outlet is stung with the label 'liberal' and feels the hot breath of ultra-right critics on its neck, it circles the wagons and hires yet another conservative commentator. Take PBS, for example. Running scared after giving [Bill] Moyers the spotlight over the years, PBS made amends by hiring two conservatives.'"
Tuesday, January 04, 2005

More proof that Eastern Europeans drink way too much (as if we didn't already know!)

Doctors astounded:

"A breath test showed an incredibly high blood alcohol level, but police officers thought the result was inaccurate because the man was conscious and talked with them, said Col. Angel Rangelov, head of police in Plovdiv.

Laboratory analysis of five subsequent blood samples taken the same day confirmed that the man had had a blood-alcohol level of 0.914, Rangelov said. A blood-alcohol level of 0.55 is usually considered life threatening."

Somewhere in Bulgaria a liver is screaming.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Naseer Flayih Hasan.

FrontPage :: How the Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq by Naseer Flayih Hasan:

"Worse, we realized it was hopeless to make [Western leftists] grasp our feelings. We believed -- and still believe -- that America's removal of the regime opened a new way for democracy. At the same time, we have no illusions that the U.S. came to Iraq on a white horse to save our people. We understand this war is all about national interests, and that America's interests are mainly about defeating terrorism. At this moment, though, U.S. interests are doing more to bring about democracy and freedom in Iraq than, say, the policies of France and Russia -- countries which also care little for the Iraqi people and, worse, did their best to save Saddam from destruction until the last moment.

It's worth noting, as well, that the general attitude of peace activists I met was tension and anger. They were impossible to reason with. This was because, on one hand, the sometimes considerable risks they took to oppose the war made them unable to accept the fact that their cause was not as noble as they believed. Then, too, their dogmatic anti-American attitudes naturally drew them to guides, translators, drivers and Iraqi acquaintances who were themselves supporters of the regime. These Iraqis, in turn, affected the peace activists until they came to share almost the same judgments and opinions as the terrorists and defenders of Saddam."

Military blogger Greyhawk has a great post on his blog about MSM reporting on Iraq. Here is an excerpt.

Mudville Gazette:
"When imaginary reporters ask me for advice, I respond.

Cub Reporter: I've got to do a piece on a recent US victory in Iraq, but my editor told me know that even though we're covering this story to claim 'balance' in our reporting I still have to find a way to leave readers demoralized and if possible unaware that the US actually is winning. What advice can you give me?

Greyhawk: Well, the common approach is what's called the 'S*** sandwich, where you write two stories, one the American victory and the other listing every 'successful' insurgent attack over the past couple weeks, then combine them by alternating paragraphs into a fused product. To break it up a little, toss in the phrase 'beleaguered Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has been rebuked in recent weeks by Republican Senators and Army Privates alike, was not available for comment.' Whatever the story is be sure to mention the upcoming elections and how this makes it less likely for them to be seen as legitimate, then top it with a headline that makes it clear that the country is descending into chaos.

Cub Reporter:The headline isn't a problem, my editor already wrote it, along with all the Rumsfeld parts. But we ran several of those 'sandwich' stories already this week...

Greyhawk: So you need something else?

Cub Reporter: Right.

Greyhawk: Well, here's an idea. It's not new, but it hasn't been completely burned out yet either. Play the 'human cost' card."
Monday, January 03, 2005 - Local/ Regional News: Starbucks hitches cab ride:
"A holiday advertising gimmick placed atop cabs in recent weeks has been fooling Hub motorists who continually mistake the ad for a Starbucks cup left on the roof."

Madness. Marketing firms are just getting too clever, they must be stopped!

"While the rooftop ad has received significant praise, some drivers say it is so effective it actually creates a maddening distraction from people who point, beep and yell when they see it.

'It's a real pain for the driver,' Meister said. 'People will stand in traffic and yell, `Hey, you left your coffee cup on the roof!'''

I hope Pampers or Gerbers don't try something like this to promote their products. Babies magnetically attached to the roof of cars just aren't as funny.

Location: California, United States
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