Monday, May 30, 2005

The Anti-"FOX News"

If you haven't checked out this site, then you have to go check out News Hounds. This is a blog with 8 contributors who basically call Fox News on its various bullshit. Their slogan, "We watch FOX so you don't have to". That is just brilliant. Go check it out.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Stupid human tricks

So, I went to the beach with a few friends on Saturday night. It was a strane night at the beach so I decided to document the night with the ole digital camera. There is actually a pretty funny story about the beach, but I'll have to post on it later. Anyways, I walk up to this kid and say "Hey kid, do something interesting". He then responded with the following classic moment. (Note: I then showed this picture to his grandmother who nearly busted a gut laughing)

Do the Shiavo

In the spirit of "Do the Lyndie", comedian Amanda Egge has started a "Do the Shiavo" website. I laughed, then felt absolutely horrible for laughing. And now I'm laughing again. Here's a preview of what you are going to get yourself into should you go to Amanda Egge's website.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Got tagged with a meme

I was challenged to do this meme by John over at Upon Further Review, so here it goes:

Three names you go by (that won't give away your identity): Rob, AWOL (My nickname from college band) and I've been accused of being Satan more times than I can count

Three screen names you've had: Goodmeis (Think Good me is), Longhornsurfer, and HateisBliss ( I was a bitter teenager)

Three physical things you like about yourself: One Twig and two berries. Why? Because being a chick sounds way to hard

Three physical things you don't like about yourself: My slowly increasing gut. The hair on my feet. And being a little taller would be nice

Three parts of your heritage: Mexican, German, French (There are several others, but I'm limited to three)

Three things you are wearing right now: Eyebrow Ring. Save Darfur bracelet. Socks.

Three favorite bands / musical artists: Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, hmmmm... Frank Siniatra. The guy was such a badass.

Three favorite songs: Black Dog - Zeppelin, She's Got Issues - Offspring, Crazy - Aerosmith

Three things you want in a relationship: Ideally, she would be an equal, a friend and a great lover.

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeals to you: I like a woman who's got a little junk in the trunk. I also prefer darker features on a women (dark eyes, hair, olive skin).

Three of your favorite hobbies: reading, gambling, anything at the beach

Three things you want to do really badly right now: Get a real job. Get a supermodel. Get my ass to the beach so I can get a tan.

Three things that scare you: Death. Taxes. The Republican Party controlling all three branches of government... oh shit!

Three of your everyday essentials: Shower, toothpaste, and a good meal

Three careers you have considered / are considering: Scientist (the one I'm doing), Astronaut (the I wanted to do but don't qualify for because of my poor eyesight and asthma), and chef (my "if I quit grad school right now" fantasy job)

Three places you want to go on vacation: Rome, Japan, hawaii

Three kids' names you like: Dumbass, girl dumbass... maybe I shouldn't answer this question

Three things you want to do before you die: Contribute something to help improve society, put $10,000 on black for one turn of the Roullete wheel, sail across an ocean.

Three ways you are stereotypically a boy: I like sports way too much. I like to drink lots of beer while I watch sports. I typically will only eat things that once walked on the face of the earth (ie grilled meat) while I drink and watch sports.

Three ways you are stereotypically a girl: I like to cook. I watch the Food network. I like to grow spices (Cilantro, oregano), though I let my current spice garden die from neglect.

Three celeb crushes: I don't really have crushes on celebrities. I think Rachael Ray from the food network is cute. Natalie Portman is hot. Does any women from a Victoria Secret catalogue count?

I suppose I'll pass this to The Chemist and AC Patriot

The quote that always makes me laugh

"You need me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may move you to vote Democratic, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this, to save you from yourselves. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a city to run. " -- Sideshow Bob

BBQ Tour

In Slate magazine today, David Plotz concedes what I have known for years: Texas has by far the best bbq on earth. He has been on a bbq tour going to all the most famous spots for bbq in the southern U.S. I found his exchange with an airport screener to be very typical of what someone in central Texas would say about his bbq tour. (Note: I have been to almost every bbq joint mentioned in this article, and they are all fantastic.)

"At the Austin airport, I was singled out for a special security screening. The TSA agent fingering through my bag pulled out a jar of barbecue sauce I had bought at Gates in Kansas City. "What's this?" she asked.

"It's barbecue sauce," I said.

"I know it's barbecue sauce. I mean, what kind of sauce is it? I've never seen this kind before."

"It's from Kansas City."

She grimaced at this. Holding the jar like it contained C-4 explosive, she showed it to another screener. "Look, this guy has some kind of barbecue sauce from New York City or something," she told the other screener derisively.

"Kansas City," I weakly interrupted.

She waved me off, then said in an ominous voice. "Now, why would you have that?"

"I was on a barbecue tour," I answered. "I started in Kansas City, and finished here."

"Did you go to Rudy's?" she asked.

I shook my head.

"You came to Texas for barbecue, and you didn't go to Rudy's?" She turned to her partner. "He came to Texas, and he didn't go to Rudy's!" The partner shook his head.

"What about the Salt Lick?" she asked. I shook my head no again. She made a face.

The partner continued the interrogation. "How about the County Line?"

I shook my head.

"Well, where did you go?" the screener asked in an exasperated voice.

"I went to Cooper's in Llano. And I went to Smitty's and Kreuz Market in Lockhart."

She lit up. "Well, why didn't you say that to begin with?" She nudged her partner. "He went to Lockhart." The partner nodded. The agent turned back to me, and handed me the bag and the sauce. "You can go ahead now."

Watch that bubble burst

Housing prices seem to be rising indefinitely. It seems like there is no better time to be a home owner. However, Paul Krugman at the N.Y. Times is arguing that the housing market is nothing but a speculative bubble that will soon burst. He references a few sources who predicted the Dot-Com bubble burst, who are now predicting that the housing mark bubble will also soon burst. This is terrible news because the largest asset for most people in the U.S. is their house, and alot of people are going to lose alot of money if the housing market suddenly falls. Still, at least their is hope that those of us who don't own a home may be able to afford one some day.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Not a big suprise

You scored as Just War. You favor Just War. You will fight in defense of your homeland or to stop genocide, but you will not tolerate anything that might harm civilians. Other Just War advocates: Pope Pius XII, the Dalai Lama

Just War




War Liberal




Chicken Hawk




What is your view on War
created with

Hat tip: The Green Knight

A turning point

BBC reports that the Iraqi military is going to launch a massive 40,000 troop operation to sweep through Baghdad in order to find and destroy the militants in the city. This operation could be huge turning point in this war.

If it succeeds, the Iraqi government will have established that it can defend its own people with its own troops. Such a success could do lasting damage to the insurgency and could help the government gain the confidence of the Iraqi people.

If it fails, this could be a complete disaster. If the insurgents kill hundreds, or even thousands of Iraqi troops and manage to escape, the Iraqi government could permanently lose any real credibility it has with its own people. All indications are that the Iraqi military is not an effective fighting force. My brother, after returning from Iraq last year, told me that all the Iraqi troops he met were pretty much incompetent. I guess we'll find out if this is still the case.

Tom Delay just can't stay out of trouble

The following is an article on the front page of the Houston Chronicle today.

AUSTIN — A state district judge ruled today that a political committee founded by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was legally required to report more than $500,000 in corporate cash to state authorities because the money was raised to influence Texas elections.

"I find that the contributions were used in connection with a campaign for elective office. Therefore, they were political contributions or campaign contributions within the meaning of ... the Election Code," visiting District Judge Joe Hart said in his ruling.

While Hart did not rule specifically on whether Texans for a Republican Majority raised and spent the money legally, he said TRMPAC violated state law by not reporting the money to the Texas Ethics Commission.

TRMPAC officials reported the money to the Internal Revenue Service under federal law.

DeLay and other TRMPAC officials have said the committee did not violate state law banning corporate contributions from being used to influence an election because the law has an exception for administrative expenses. Committee officials defined administrative expenses broadly to include polling and telephone banks.

Hart said there were different ways of calculating damages in the case and he could have awarded as much as $59.7 million. But he limited damages and attorney fees to $196,660 to be divided among five losing Democratic candidates who brought the lawsuit.

TRMPAC lawyer Terry Scarborough said he was unhappy with Hart's ruling.

"While we are disappointed that Judge Hart awarded any damages, we are pleased that he limited damages to their race," Scarborough said. "Obviously, this case will be appealed to the Third Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court."

Hart's ruling in a civil lawsuit gives the first indication of how the judiciary will view TRMPAC's effort to influence Texas House elections in 2002.

Three of DeLay's political associates have been indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges related to illegally raising the corporate money. They are TRMPAC Executive Director John Colyandro, fund-raiser Warren RoBold and Jim Ellis, the executive director of DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority.

The three have cited similar defenses to those used in the civil lawsuit in asking to have their cases thrown out. District Judge Bob Perkins is scheduled to rule June 27 in that case.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Humiliation, Respect

The United States has lost. I don't mean militarily, because in the end I think the Iraqi government will eventually(several years from now) be able to stand up to the insurgents without the U.S. military to help them. No, the U.S. has lost something far more precious than that. The U.S. has lost its soul in this war on terror.

We have abused prisoners. We have destroyed an entire country, so that we could save that very same country. An entire generation of soldiers have now gone to Iraq and have had to face the horrors of war. These soldiers volunteered to defend the U.S. and have now become occupiers half a world away for a lie. A lie perpetuated by the leaders that were not elected the first time around, and yet somehow got elected the second time. Why? Because too many people feared that two men might marry each other.

Once, the U.S. was probably considered a champion of human rights. Now, we deny rights to anyone we deem an "enemy combatant". We don't stop torture anymore, we justify it. Or export it to someone else. Maybe it is legal to do this. But it certainly is wrong. The U.S. now threatens to unilaterally strike anyone who doesn't cooperate with out agenda. We respect no one. And then wonder why our support around the world has sunk to nearly nothing.

The U.S. has already lost. The fallout from our actions today will be a stain on my generation for years to come. The resources we are wasting will come back to haunt us when other countries, such as China and India, economically become our equals. The soldiers who are forever scarred by this war will never be the same people they were before we sent them to Iraq. And for some, what little trust we have in the government has been shattered, maybe forever. I only hope that one day, the price this country had to pay will be worth it. But I doubt it.

Because I'm not inspired to write today

Your Dominant Thinking Style:


Super logical and rational, you consider every fact available to you.
You don't make rash decisions and are rarely moved by emotion.

You prefer what's known and proven - to the new and untested.
You tend to ground those around you and add stability.

Your Secondary Thinking Style:


You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.
You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.

An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.
You show people how to question their models of the world.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Jesus food and Texas Catholics

BBC reports on a new fad diet that has just come out. The Jesus Diet. Yes that's right, now you can lose weight the pious way, sticking the food Jesus ate as described by the bible. According to Dr. Dan Colbert, "If you truly want to follow Jesus in every area of your life you cannot ignore your eating habits." I'll be sure to tell that to people who are allergic to fish or have diabetes (hence the five loaves of bread is NOT such a good idea).

In another story, according to a survey reported in the Houston Chronicle, 3/4 of Texas Catholics support use of birth control. Also in the survey, Texas Catholics appear to split on the issue of women becoming priests; nearly 43% support women becoming priests while 50% oppose it.

I'm hungry just thinking about it

Check out this article in Slate about barbeque. Finally, I found someone who loves barbeque almost as much as myself. Admittedly, one of the things I miss most about Texas is the amazing barbeque joints. Well, I think I may have been inspired to bust out the grill this week.

"This is fast-food nation, but barbecue is America's own slow food. It is impossible to barbecue well quickly. It is also difficult to barbecue alone. And it is no fun to barbecue without alcohol—all of which make barbecuing one of the most sociable hobbies imaginable." - David Plotz

Thursday, May 19, 2005

New advance in stem cells

Check out this article on CNN about the latest advance in stem cell research. In South Korea, they can now form stem cell lines that are customized to an individual patient. They do this by using human embryonic clones formed from donated eggs. It's pretty incredible. The South Koreans seem to have really jumped ahead of the rest of the world in this technology.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The United States of Space

In the spirit of such great ideas, like missile defense, the Air Force now wants to deploy massive space based weapons platforms. I mean, why just establish air superiority when you can establish space superiority as well. (Too bad we can't establish ground superiority) So, what wonderful waste of time and money are we talking about...

1) A new Air Force strategy, Global Strike, calls for a military space plane carrying precision-guided weapons armed with a half-ton of munitions. General Lord told Congress last month that Global Strike would be "an incredible capability" to destroy command centers or missile bases "anywhere in the world."

2) Another Air Force space program, nicknamed Rods From God, aims to hurl cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium from the edge of space to destroy targets on the ground, striking at speeds of about 7,200 miles an hour with the force of a small nuclear weapon.

3) A third program would bounce laser beams off mirrors hung from space satellites or huge high-altitude blimps, redirecting the lethal rays down to targets around the world.

4) A fourth seeks to turn radio waves into weapons whose powers could range "from tap on the shoulder to toast," in the words of an Air Force plan.

What the hell is Air Force thinking? Probably something along these lines:
Uhhhhhh... this must help us fight terrorism right? No, i guess not. But they sound so cool. Just like in Star Wars. I'm talking Death Star motherfuckers. Let's blow those non white-chrisitian, pinko-commie terrorists right off the face of the earth.

"I'm tired of talking about the war and the economy, I got that shit under control...Write this down. M.A.R.S. That's right! Mars, bitches!" - Dave Chappelle as Black Bush

My world view

You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.











Cultural Creative






What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with
Hat tip: The Recidivist

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mainstreaming hybrids

Toyota has just announced that it will be producing a hybrid version of the best selling Toyota Camry. They will be built in a plant in Kentucky and produce roughly 48,000 hybrid Camrys a year. According to the article, that is just a few thousand less than the total Prius sales for the U.S. , which means that this will effectively double the number of Toyota hybrid passenger cars produced in the U.S. each year. While the hybrids will cost $3000-$5000 more than the gasoline Camrys, a $2000 government tax credit will help to defray the extra costs. I think it is nice to see that hybrids are starting to become more mainstream. I'm hoping that when I need to buy a new car after grad school that I can buy a hybrid.

A plant that makes you drink less

I'm not sure how I feel about this story. Apparently, there is a plant called Kudzu which has been shown in some experiments at Harvard to reduce the number of alcoholic drinks that a person consumes. One current theory is that the drug speeds up the absorption of alcohol into the blood, thus producing the feeling of being drunk with far less alcohol consumed.

I guess that's a good thing, especially for alcoholics. And yet, there is just something satisfying about getting drunk on a whole crapload of beer. Still, I guess this drug will never become an additive in beer, because there is no way the beer companies would put something in their beer that makes you drink less.

Need Laptop advice

So, I'm going to buy a laptop sometime in the next month. I'm selling my old desktop computer, so my laptop will become my only computer from now on. So, basically, I'm asking for some advice from all the laptop users out there. Would you go with a smaller, lighter laptop, or a bigger, heavier laptop that has more power and a big ass screen? Any advice from current laptop owners would be much appreciated.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Dave Chappelle speaks

Here is an article in which Dave Chappelle finally speaks about why he fled to South Africa. Apparently, he was very stressed, fatigued, and needed to get away to get his head together. He also denies going into a mental facility, but says he did have a 40 minute consultation with a psychiatrist. Here is an excerpt from the article...

"If you don't have the right people around you, and you're moving at a million miles an hour, you can lose yourself," Chappelle said. "Everyone around me says, 'You're a genius, you're great, that's your voice,' but I'm not sure that they're right. ... You got to be careful of the company you keep. It's hard to know how much to say. One of the things that happens when people make the leap from a certain amount of money to tens of millions of dollars is that the people around you dramatically change."

Sunday night

So, I don't know what you did with your Sunday night, but here is what I did with mine. I'll give you a hint: It involves an animal trying to cut me into little bite sized pieces. And here's a picture I took of it.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I weep for the education system in this country

This post is inspired by recent tutoring sessions with two high school students. One student is taking a conceptual physics class, and the other is taking a physics class designed to prepare a student for the SAT II physics test. Both students go to excellent schools in a wealthy community. Both are also pretty intelligent. Why do they need tutoring?

They both have absolutely HORRIBLE textbooks. As I was trying to teach torque to my student last night, I got completely confused by the explanation in her book. It was completely incoherent. The diagrams of the example problems were even worse. I finally just closed her book and explained torque to her in the simple and straightfoward manner in which it should be taught.

But the most annoying things about these books is that they just make up laws as they go. Of course they have important laws, like conservation of momentum and energy. However, these stupid books will just make up a law for anything else. Later in the energy chapter, they came up a new law to explain why machines can put out more energy than they take in. They used a simple derivation from conservation of energy, but then they called it "The Law of Machine Energy Output" or some bullshit like that. There are many other stupid made up laws in that book. I honestly don't know how anyone can learn science with these crappy textbooks.

Quote of the day

Just found this quote on arse poetica, which by the way is a pretty good blog.

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dave Chappelle is crazy... no really, he's lost it.

The following is an article from Entertainment Weekly

"Comedian Dave Chappelle has checked himself into a mental health facility in South Africa and has remained there since late April, according to a source close to the situation. The same source denies rumors of drug abuse. Other sources have also told EW that the future of Chappelle's Show — the hit Comedy Central series that was entering its third season — is more uncertain than the network has suggested.

Comedy Central last week made a hasty announcement that the show's third season, already delayed from its planned February start, had been postponed again. The network said it remained ''optimistic'' that production could resume. The highly rated sketch series has been a huge moneymaker for Viacom, which owns Comedy Central. Its second season is about to be released on DVD, on the heels of first-season sales that made it the top-selling television DVD in history.

Thanks in large part to the DVD sales, Chappelle last year netted a $50 million deal for co-writing and starring in the show. Sketches to fill about four episodes in the third season have been taped, but Chappelle's interstitial material with live audiences has not. The fate of the sketches has not been determined."

I hope Dave Chappelle gets better down in South Africa. He's a great comedian and his show is/was by far the best sketch comedy show on television.

You can never go home

Poor Bill Frist. He's getting protested at one of those dirty liberal elite institutes of higher learning, Princeton University. Oops, that's the dirty liberal elite institute of higher learning that he attended. Oh heavens to Betsy no! Why do they hate the prodigal son? In what manner would they protest of their most famous alumni? Well, using the tool that Bill Frist is fighting hard to kill. That's right, the filibuster.

Apparently, various students and faculty of Princeton have been filibustering for two weeks in protest of Bill Frist's fight against the filibuster in the Senate. Apparently, the literature used during this filibuster has varied from "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and the Q section of the dictionary all the way up to papers from Einstein and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. Still no comment from Frist. I'm sure he'll just watch some video of the protest and announce that he has determined that they are all suffering from brain damage.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

New season of Chappelle Show delayed

Damn! One of the best shows on TV, the Chappelle Show, is being delayed in production. Apparently Dave Chappelle is having some issues and needed to take a break. I hope he fixes whatever is wrong, because I'm dying to see the third season. In just two seasons, there are so many classic sketches from that show. I'd say my top 5 favorite sketches are...
1) Black Bush
2) The Black White Supremacist
3) Wayne Brady on a rampage
4) Rick James fighting with Charlie Murphy - "I'm Rick James, Bitch"
5) Prince and his crew destroying Charlie Murphy and his crew at basketball - "Blouses win"

Feel free to comment with your favorite sketches and/or quotes from Chappelle Show.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Where have I heard this one before?

Interesting OP/ED contribution to the N.Y Times about the attempted destruction of the judicial branch by the Republicans. Apparently, this happened once before. I'd forgotten all about this, but the article is essentially just a rehash of the battle over the powers of the judiciary that led up to Marbury vs. Madison.
Essentially, the Republicans took power from the federalists in the executive and judiciary branches. Then they attempted to strip the power away from the judiciary because it was dominated by the federalists. A power struggled ensued eventually leading to Marbury vs. Madison and the courts establishing the power of judicial review.
Anyway, I thought it was an interesting OP/ED and anyone who has the time should give it a quick read.

Top U.S. High Schools

I just ran across this story in Newsweek, in which they rank the top 1000 U.S. public high schools. The method they used was to take the number of AP and IB tests taken by the students and divide it by the number of graduating seniors. Not the best ranking system in the world, but probably as good as using the S.A.T. So, here are 3 personal observations that I had from scrolling through the schools.

1) All the high schools I recognized from Texas are mostly in wealthy districts.
2) Austin, Texas and Irvine, CA (the two college towns I have lived in) had nearly every high school from their districts somewhere on the list.
3) Orange County in general had ALOT of high schools on the top 1000 list.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The battle for science continues

Mainstream science organizations are boycotting hearings being held by the Kansas State Board of Education on whether to include Intelligent Design in science classrooms. Essentially, they hope that by boycotting the hearings, the effectively will destroy the legitimacy of the proceedings and prevent them from becoming a large media event that will only elevate the status of I.D.

The article talks about how science groups are preparing for the real battle ahead, which is the fight over the content of textbooks. To be blunt, most biology teachers at the high school level pretty much just teach straight from the book. Therefore, the content of biology textbooks are extremely important. The science community won the last battle over textbooks, keeping out creationism, but I'm a little worried about this round with I.D. Damn social conservatives.

I have been trying to figure out what is the real motivation of creationists, because it is obviously not promoting good science. I think it is basically just a narcissistic arrogance. They'd rather believe that they were created directly from god, and not evolved from a monkey. Well, I'd have to say my response to that is nicely summed up by this fight club quote...

"You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Coulter gets hooked by the longhorns

For those who do not know, I got my B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. While many might believe that the flagship public university for the state of Texas might be a highly conservative school, it is in fact the exact opposite. The city of Austin and the University of Texas at Austin are essentially an island of liberalism in the sea of conservative Texas. Something that everyone's favorite blonde conservative Ann Coulter seemed to be unaware of.

Apparently, when Ann Coulter gave a speech at UT, she had quite an angry protest launched at her. In fact, one student was arrested when in response to Ann Coulter's opposition to gay marriage he asked...

To all this, I just have one thing to say. HOOK EM HORNS!!!

Update: Just saw that The Prejudicial Effect has posted about this in his snazzy new Sideblog

Update II: Firedoglake has commented with a link to the letter written by Ajai Raj describing his experience. You should definitely go check it out. Here's a quote from the end of the letter.
"And hey, Ann, don't come back to UT. We're better than your bullshit here. And I can think of at least one jackass here who can dish it out better than you." - Ajai Raj

Update III: Ann Coulter talked about the liberal protests she gets at college campuses last night on Hannity and Colmes. Check it out, if you can stomach it... (I just threw up in my mouth a little)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I am negative percent Republican, Comrade.

I am:
"You're a damn Commie! Where's Tailgunner Joe when we need him?"

Are You A Republican?

Props to the Chemist

That son of a bitch

I just read this post in the N.Y. Times. I decided to copy it so that everyone can read it. This is just the typical bullshit we have come to expect from President Bush. He'll give lip service to anything, as long as it doesn't require any action. Read and become angry.

"Finally, finally, finally, President Bush is showing a little muscle on the issue of genocide in Darfur.

Is the muscle being used to stop the genocide of hundreds of thousands of villagers? No, tragically, it's to stop Congress from taking action.

Incredibly, the Bush administration is fighting to kill the Darfur Accountability Act, which would be the most forceful step the U.S. has taken so far against the genocide. The bill, passed by the Senate, calls for such steps as freezing assets of the genocide's leaders and imposing an internationally backed no-fly zone to stop Sudan's Army from strafing villages.

The White House was roused from its stupor of indifference on Darfur to send a letter, a copy of which I have in my hand, to Congressional leaders, instructing them to delete provisions about Darfur from the legislation.

Mr. Bush might reflect on a saying of President Kennedy: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality."

Aside from the effort to block Congressional action, there are other signs that the administration is trying to backtrack on Darfur. The first sign came when Condoleezza Rice gave an interview to The Washington Post in which she deflected questions about Darfur and low-balled the number of African Union troops needed there.

Then, in Sudan, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick pointedly refused to repeat the administration's past judgment that the killings amount to genocide. Mr. Zoellick also cited an absurdly low estimate of Darfur's total death toll: 60,000 to 160,000. Every other serious estimate is many times as high. The latest, from the Coalition for International Justice, is nearly 400,000, and rising by 500 a day.

This is not a partisan issue, for Republicans and the Christian right led the way in blowing the whistle on the slaughter in Darfur. As a result, long before Democrats had staggered to their feet on the issue, Mr. Bush was telephoning Sudan's leader and pressing for a cease-fire there.

Later, Mr. Bush forthrightly called the slaughter genocide, and he has continued to back the crucial step of a larger African Union force to provide security. Just the baby steps Mr. Bush has taken have probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

So why is Mr. Bush so reluctant to do a bit more and save perhaps several hundred thousand more lives? I sense that there are three reasons.

First, Mr. Bush doesn't see any neat solution, and he's mindful that his father went into Somalia for humanitarian reasons and ended up with a mess.

Second, Mr. Bush is very proud - justly - that he helped secure peace in a separate war between northern and southern Sudan. That peace is very fragile, and he is concerned that pressuring Sudan on Darfur might disrupt that peace while doing little more than emboldening the Darfur rebels (some of them cutthroats who aren't negotiating seriously).

Third, Sudan's leaders have increased their cooperation with the C.I.A. As The Los Angeles Times reported, the C.I.A. recently flew Sudan's intelligence chief to Washington for consultations about the war on terror, and the White House doesn't want to jeopardize that channel.

All three concerns are legitimate. But when historians look back on his presidency, they are going to focus on Mr. Bush's fiddling as hundreds of thousands of people were killed, raped or mutilated in Darfur - and if the situation worsens, the final toll could reach a million dead.

This Thursday marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. The best memorial would be for more Americans to protest about this administration's showing the same lack of interest in Darfur that F.D.R. showed toward the genocide of Jews. Ultimately, public pressure may force Mr. Bush to respond to Darfur, but it looks as if he will have to be dragged kicking and screaming by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Granted, Darfur defies easy solutions. But Mr. Bush was outspoken and active this spring in another complex case, that of Terry Schiavo. If only Mr. Bush would exert himself as much to try to save the lives of the two million people driven from their homes in Darfur.

So I'm going to start tracking Mr. Bush's lassitude. The last time Mr. Bush let the word Darfur slip past his lips publicly (to offer a passing compliment to U.S. aid workers, rather than to denounce the killings) was Jan. 10. So today marks Day 113 of Mr. Bush's silence about the genocide unfolding on his watch." - Nicholas D. Kristof, Columnist, N.Y. Times

Monday, May 02, 2005

Haloscan engaged!

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. So, I like the Haloscan system, and I thought I'd give it a try. Unfortunately, it appears that the old comments on my blog are not compatible with Haloscan. What a bummer, but still I think this will work out for the best in the end. If anyone out there knows how to put your old comments on Haloscan, let me know.

"You wanna why? Cause we got the bombs. Nuclear fucking weapons"

Kofi Annan appears to be using the 5 year review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pressure the U.S. and Russian to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Why is he even wasting his time? You think ole Georgie is going to reduce the number of nukes? Fat fucking chance Kofi. He's already pulled out of ABM Nuclear Treaty, so he could make expensive toys that don't work. Besides Kofi, Georgie doesn't even like the U.N. I mean come on, he's trying to send this asshole to you guys. Just wait for 2008 and hope for someone a little more receptive.