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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bottom of the Slippery Slope.

Utter contempt for human rights in Guantanamo reported today in the Washington Post and a week ago by Kari Lydersen in "The New Standard" via Patiotdaily which looks reasonable (except that they linked to the post below).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

An incomplete attempt to translate the incomplete Iraqi constitution into plain English
Working from the AP partial translation here

Chapter One
Article One
The Republic of Iraq is an independent state.
We didn't want to write this but Bush Insisted
Article Two
The political system is republican, parliamentary, democratic and federal.
1. Islam is a main source for legislation.
so you thought we couldn't find a compromise betwee "the source for legislation" and "a source for legislation".
-- a. No law may contradict Islamic standards.
"a main" is to be read as "the" . Sistani keeps the veto on everything that he has had since Bush declared "mission accomplished." You don't like him then just wait for the Afghan lunatic who is next in line (remember the invasion had something to do with Afghan lunatics).
-- b. No law may contradict democratic standards.
Democracy comes second. We didn't want to bother with this but you know how much Ayatollah Sistani likes democracy.
-- c. No law may contradict the essential rights and freedoms mentioned in this constitution.
Third and last
2. This constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the Iraqi people and guarantees all religious rights; all persons are free within their ideology and the practice of their ideological practices.
no harm done
3. Iraq is part of the Islamic world, and the Arabs are part of the Arab nation.
if your ideology involves telling a Kurd (s)he is part of the Arab nation then you can forget about article 2 clause 2, but hey, you've forgotten most of it already.
a. Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages, and Iraqis have the right to teach their sons their mother language like the Turkomen and Assyrian in the government educational institutes.
do such teachers get paid or are they mothers volunteering their time.
b. The language used orally in official institutions such as the Parliament and the Cabinet as well as official conventions should be one of the two languages.
c. Recognizing the official documents with the two languages.
d. Opening the schools with two languages.
Article Three
Federal institutions in Kurdistan should use the two languages.
Article Four
The Turkomen and Assyrian languages are the official languages in the Turkomen and Assyrian areas don't ask us where they are. Turkomen s and Assyrians should be glad they get mentioned in the consititution, and each territory or province has the right to use its own official language if residents have approved in a general referendum vote.
Article Five
Power is transferred peacefully through democratic ways.
Article Seven
1. Any organization that follow a racist, terrorist, extremist, sectarian-cleaning ideology or circulates or justifies such beliefs is banned, especially Saddam's Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols under any name. And this should not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq.
This does not refer to the Mahdi army of Moqtada al Sadr which is perfectly OK
2. The government is committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms, and works to protect Iraqi soil from being a center or passage for terrorist activities.
see comment to article 7 clause 1 above
Article 35
-- a. Human freedom and dignity are guaranteed.
-- b. No person can be detained or interrogated without a judicial order.
-- c. All kinds of physical and psychological torture and inhumane treatment are prohibited, and any confession is considered void if it was taken by force, threats and torture. The person who was harmed has the right to ask for compensation for the financial and moral damage he/she suffered.
none of that Miranda crap here.
Article 36
The State guarantees:
1. Freedom of expression by all means.
2. Freedom of the press, printing, advertising and publishing.
Article 37
Freedom to establish political groups and organizations.
Article 39
Iraqis are free to abide in their personal lives according to their religion, sects, beliefs or choice. This should be organized by law.
Notice that personal lives include divorce. This means Iraqi husbands are free to divorce Sharia style. Their ex wifes probably voted for us and have no one but themselves to blame.
Article 66
A presidential candidate should:
1. Be Iraqi by birth and the offspring of two Iraqi parents.
2. Be no less than 40 years old.
3. Have a good reputation and political experience, and be known as honest and faithful to the nation.
Who the hell decides that ?
Article 75
The prime minister should have all the qualifications as the presidential candidate and should have a university degree or its equivalent and should not be less than 35 years old.
Article 104
A general commission should be set up to observe and specify the central (government) revenues, and the commission should be made up of experts from the central government, regions, provinces and representatives.
Article 107
Federal authorities should preserve Iraq's unity, security, independence and sovereignty and its democratic federal system.
Article 109
Oil and gas are the property of all the Iraqi people in regions and provinces.
Article 110
The central government administers oil and gas extracted from current wells, along with governments of the producing regions and provinces, on the condition that revenues are distributed in a way that suits population distribution around the country.
I really like article 110.
Article 114
1. A region consists of one or more provinces, and two or more regions have the right to create a single region.
2. A province or more has the right to set a region according to a referendum called for in one of two ways:
-- a. A demand by one-third of all members of each of the provincial councils that aims to set up a region.
-- b. A demand by one-tenth of voters of the provinces that aim to set up a region.
Article 117
A region's legislative authority is made up of one council, named the National Assembly of the region.
Article 118
The National Council of the region drafts the region's constitution and issues laws, which must not contradict this constitution and Iraq's central laws.
Abdul Aziz Al Hakim didn't get to be prime minister. Therefore the 3 Sunni arabs who might have supported this consitition have to be offended by a clause which gives Shi'ites their own region even though they are a majority in the whole country. You must understand if Al Jafaari is Prime Minister Al Hakim has to have his consolation prize. Don't worry about the oil money. It will be taken care of.
Article 120
The executive authority of the region is made up of the president of the region and the region's government.
Article 128
The region's revenues are made up from the specified allotment from the national budget and from the local revenues of the region.
Article 129
The regional government does what is needed to administer the region, especially setting up internal security forces, such as police, security and region guards.
Article 135
This constitution guarantees the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights of different ethnic groups such as Turkomen, Chaldean, Assyrians and other groups.
Article 144
The Iraq Supreme Criminal Court continues its work as a legislative, independent commission to look into the crimes of the former dictatorial regime and its symbols, and the Council of Deputies has the right to annul it after it ends its duties.
Article 145
a. The Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification continues its work as an independent commission, in coordination with the judicial authority and executive institutions and according to laws that organize its work.
b. Parliament has the right to dissolve this commission after it ends its work, with a two-thirds majority.
Article 151
No less than 25 percent of Council of Deputies seats go to women.
Article 153
This law is considered in force after people vote on it in a general referendum and when it is published in the official Gazette and the Council of Deputies is elected according to it.
and hell freezes over.

update: Given this, I must confess that my translation into plain English of article 7 clause 1 and 2 was incorrect.

Monday, August 22, 2005

burying the lede in the Washington Post August 22, 2005; Page A01

Skin Cells Converted to Stem Cells
Scientists' Work Could Clear Moral Hurdle to Embryonic Research

Rick Weiss strongly suggests that the barrier to embryonic stem cell research built by George Bush has been surmounted. He notes that this, reported on page A1 of the Post no less, might have an effect on the upcoming vote in the Senate. He better hope that Senators read to the end of the article which quotes people explaining why the fascinating scientific results have no practical applications without another break through.

Also the sentence in bold is false as written. Without qualification "the DNA in those new stem cells" refers to all of the DNA in the cells and not to half of the DNA in the cells. The reason foreign grafts are rejected is that they present foreign HLA antigens. A cell with the host genome plus a foreign genome will be rejected just as a foreign cell would be. The result is fascinating but it does not remove any of the problems with using existing lines including their expression of foreing HLA. Sometimes good science does not have immediate political applications. The sentence in Bold Italics is total nonsense. It means that Weiss has refused to understand the explanation of why this is not true.

Also Mr Weiss does some nit picklering. When the headlined scientists whose paper has been accepted by a peer reviewed journal say they have not solved Bush's political problem, he writes that they "do not mention" the allegedly promising research of other scientists who choose to communicate by interview not via peer reviewed journals. Then Weiss speculates, with no zero zip evidence, that something can be done to solve the problem.

Scientists for the first time have turned ordinary skin cells into what appear
to be embryonic stem cells -- without having to use human eggs or make new human
embryos in the process, as has always been required in the past, a Harvard
research team announced yesterday.
The technique uses laboratory-grown human
embryonic stem cells -- such as the ones that President Bush has already
approved for use by federally funded researchers -- to "reprogram" the genes in
a person's skin cell, turning that skin cell into an embryonic stem cell
The approach -- details of which are to be published this week in the
journal Science but were made public on the journal's Web site yesterday -- is
still in an early stage of development. But if further studies confirm its
usefulness, it could offer an end run around the heated social and religious
debate that has for years overshadowed the field of human embryonic stem cell
Since the new stem cells in this technique are essentially
rejuvenated versions of a person's own skin cells, the DNA in those new stem cells matches the DNA of the person who provided the skin cells.
theory at least, that means that any tissues grown from those newly minted stem cells could be transplanted into the person to treat a disease without much risk that they would be rejected, because they would constitute an exact genetic match.

Until now, the only way to turn a person's ordinary cell into a
"personalized" stem cell such as this was to turn that ordinary cell into an
embryo first and later destroy the embryo to retrieve the new stem cells growing
inside -- a process widely known as "therapeutic cloning."

[ Huge deletion]

They and others have for some months predicted that if such new findings were to
emerge, they could shift the balance of votes in the Senate.
The researchers
emphasize in their report that the technique is still far from finding an
application in medicine. Most important, they note: Because it involves the
fusion of a stem cell and a person's ordinary skin cell, the process leads to
the creation of a hybrid cell. While that cell has all the characteristics of a
new embryonic stem cell, it contains the DNA of the person who donated the skin
cell and also the DNA that was in the initial embryonic stem cell.
At some
point before these hybrid cells are coaxed to grow into replacement parts to be
transplanted into a person, that extra DNA must be extracted, the researchers
The team describes this task as a "substantial technical barrier" to
the clinical use of stem cells made by the new technique.
They do not mention
that several teams, including ones in Illinois and Australia, have said in
recent interviews that they are making progress removing stem cell DNA from such
hybrid cells. None of those teams has published details of their results. But
several leading researchers have said they believe it will be feasible to remove
the extra DNA.
Some even suspect that the new technique for making
personalized stem cells would still work even if the "starter" stem cells' DNA
were removed before those cells were fused to the skin cells. It is not clear
whether the genetic reprogramming imposed upon the skin cells by the fused stem
cells requires the initial presence of the stem cells' DNA, or whether fluids in
the initial stem cells can do the job themselves..

I found the article interesting, but the journalism is poor and the headline is terrible. Still it is not as bad as the New York Times headline which just ruined the humor in Paul Krugman's "Opinions about shape of earth differ" joke.

update: I have now read the dead tree version of the post. It is much worse than I thought. The totally false paragraph in bold italics above concludes the part of the story on page A1. The reader has to jump to read that it is false and that practical applications of the research will require further maybe possible maybe impossible breakthroughs.

Update 2: I just heard something on NBC about the stem cells. This was absolutely awful. In the broadcast there was no mention at all of the excess chromasomes. Recall this eliminates the advantage of using the patient's cells in the process. The "balance" was quoting a scientist at Stanford. However the quotes were cut down to one sound bite stating the definition of "stem cell". Are we to believe that this guy didn't mention the problem ? Further "balance" was from someone from focus on the family saying this new approach would be OK by Bush but not by them.

I am visiting the US. My contact with US TV is via lefty bloggers who criticize it. I was sure it couldn't be that bad. Now I think that mediamatters is part of the MSM conspiracy.

Finally, I'd like to ask why this new approach is not theraputic cloaning. An embryonic stem cell can grow into a complete organism. By the same argument that blastocysts are humans, embrionic stems cells are all human beings. That is Bush's compromise was always logically absurd. What the Harvard researchers lead by Doug Melton have done is found a way to make a totopotent cell without using a human ovum. I don't see how the luniest fundamentalist loony could imagine this has any ethical relevance. I understand that I am agreeing with the focus on the family spokesperson, but he, the iron grip of logic is hard to break.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mattew Yglesias and the English Language (a hell of a homonym)

I admit that my ad homonym attacks on the always brilliant Matthew Yglesias are not allowed by the Marques of Queensbury rules but I have to note that, in this post, he hits the jackpot making an error pointed out by Orwell in "Politics and the English Language." Yglesias writes "I heard General McCaffrey speak one time shortly after he stepped down as Drug Czar and he said many eminently sensible things about that particular quagmire. Unfortunately, it was hard not to notice that those things were pretty sharply at odds with the line he'd been towing in his previous job"

Orwell wrote "Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written tow the line"

Now Matt and a copy editor can do some serious damage with the English language. His point is

Take this, for example, from page three listing the number one CENTCOM vulnerability:
Premature drawdown of U.S. ground forces driven by dwindling U.S. domestic political support and the progressive deterioration of Army and Marine manpower. (In particular, the expected melt-down of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve in the coming 36 months)

If you ask me, an expected melt-down of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve seems like the sort of thing that's worth more than a parenthetic mention. Some would say this is kind of a big deal. Indeed, it raises in my mind some serious questions about this conclusion:
We face some very difficult days in the coming 2-5 years. In my judgment, if we retain the support of the American people --we can achieve our objectives of creating a law-based Iraqi state which will be an influencing example on the entire region.
How is it, exactly, that we're supposed to prevail over a five year timeline if the Reserve and Guard components of the Army "melt-down" over the next 36 months? That seems like a kind of basic issue that needs to be addressed here.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Spam Watch

Don't just delete it learn from it. In 2000 I decided that the US economy was in trouble because the "pre-approved credit card" spam turned into "consolidate your debt spam." Since then, the main thing I've learned from spam is that someone out there is very dumb. I hope it is the spammers. I mean does anyone fall for this

"Dear PayPal UserAs part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. For your protection, we have limited access to your account until additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Why is my account access limited?

Your account access has been limited for the following reason(s):

June 06, 2005: Our system requires further account verification.

(Your case ID for this reason is PP-74-627-092)


Please click the following link to proceed PayPal verify procedure.

AOL Users click Here to continue.


Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team"

Note the spam did not arrive the the e-mail address I gave pay pal. This means that the spam scammers are e-mailing random e-mail addresses. Click the link (don't give them your paypal account information ... I know none of the few people who read this blog are dumb but safety first). Among the irritating semi spams I get are the dozens of warnings from PayPal about this scam. The URL redirects. Eudora (not the latest version of not the latest program) explicitly warns me.

Still it's not as obvious as the old favorite Mobuto's widow scam which now has a new accent. Today I got an e-mail from the personal treasurer of the jailed ex CEO of Yukos.

"Dear friend,

I am Mr. Alexei Zakharenko a personal treasurer to Mikhail Khodorkovsky the Richest man in Russia and owner of the following companies: Chairman CEO: YUKOS OIL (Russian Largest Oil Company) Chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (A well reputable financial institution with it’s Branches all over the world).

SOURCE OF FUNDS:I have a profiling amount in an excess of US$100.5M, which I seek your Partnership in accommodating for me. You will be rewarded with 4% of The total sum for your partnership. Can you be my partner on this?"

I'd say it is not a good sign for Russia that crooks think that dishonest dumb people think that Russia is a plausible source of money to be laundered. I fear dishonest dumb people control the world.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Iraqi Chemical Stash Uncovered
Post-Invasion Cache Could Have Been For Use in Weapons

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, August 14, 2005; Page A18

The headline basically says it all. The war to eliminate WMD in Iraq which might be used by terrorists has, as one of it's many costs, the existence of WMD in Iraq which might be used by terrorists. Not there before. There now. 1,500 gallons less than nothing accomplished at the cost of tens of thousands of lives.

This reminds me of the main reason I opposed the invasion. I generally oppose war. I especially oppose wars of choice (also called aggression). Saddam Hussein's tyranny was aweful. I feared that post Saddam Hussein Iraq might slip into civil war. All leaving me very confused. The deciding factor for me was the belief that there was poison gas and weaponised anthrax in Iraq. I thought that Saddam Hussen could be deterred from using weapons or giving them to terrorists, since he would have to know that the US would invade if there were any WMD terrorism involving WMD which did not demonstrably come from somewhere other than Iraq (like the Anthrax mailed to Daschle). However, post invasion, some of the WMD which I thought were in Iraq would end up in the hands of terrorists who could not be deterred.

Now it turns out that I was right even though I was wrong about the little detail of whether there were WMD in Iraq.

This, by the way, is the discovery which caused Captain Ed to notice the fundamental distinction between "the chemicals" and "the chemicals themselves" (see post below).
The Three R's

reading and rightwing riting

Captain Ed Writes

No one believes at this point that the chemicals predate the fall of Saddam.
Either of those two scenarios could point back to pre-invasion Iraq as the source of the chemicals themselves,
UPDATE: Welcome, Eschaton readers ... who apparently can't read

I am an Eschaton reader and I confess that, presumably as a result of a lax permissive progressive education, I can not for the life of me understand the crucial distinction between "the chemicals" which do not predate the fall of Saddam and "the chemicals themselves" of which pre-invasion Iraq may have been the source.

I guess my problem is not with the perfectly plain words captain Ed wrote but rather with the words themselves.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mark Kleiman is consistently brilliant. I actually don't know from what field he specialised to be an expert on drug policy, since he seems expert on everything.
However, in response to this post, I really have to say "Same 'difference'"
here "the differences among the (abusable) drugs are as great as the differences."

This, is brilliant and lacks funny typos, although I think that Roberts is as good a nominee as we are going to get.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Kossaks on the rampage

Markos Moulitsas is only recently famous, but he is willing to take on NARAL and the DLC at the same time. The Kos DLC fight has gotten coverage in the MSM. Kos also criticized NARAL for endorsing Lincoln Chafee. Now NARAL is fighting back asking members to post comments on KOS and similar blogs. I think that Kos quotes them fairly, at least the quote is a well framed sneaky argument. His reply is devastating.

NARAL as quoted insinuates that activist blogs ("The call to action includes links to Daily Kos, MyDD, Swing State Project, Atrios, and Left Coaster) talk about abortion as an issue that Democrats can use to win elections and ignore the fact that it is an important issue. Kos puts it better than NARAL "Their message -- choice affects women, not just politics." I think it is impressive that KOS frames criticism of KOS in such a fair way.

I am even more impressed that his reply does not include a refutation of NARAL's insinuation "But what's disturbing is that choice and abortion are being discussed--in blogs and in the media--more as a political tool than as an issue that affects women's lives." He could easily have proven that the daily KOS displays passion about the issue. See for example the post which immediately precedes his debate with NARAL. I didn't have to look far to prove that the accusation suggested but not stated by NARAL is false. Kos, however, ignored it entirely, passing directly to a constructive debate about what supporters of obortion rights should do. This shows an admirably thick skin. Abortion rights supporters like Markos Moulitsas should not allow the debate to shift to one about how NARAL is unfair to abortion rights supporters like Markos Moulitsas.

Instead KOS convincintly argues (I would say proves) that NARAL would serve its cause better if it endorsed a pro life Democrats instead of a pro choice Republican. The reason is that the issue will be decided by the Supreme court so what should matter to NARAL is how Senators vote on judicial nominees. In practice, pro choice Republicans like Chafee vote to approve Bush nominees and pro life Democrats vote against some of them. Thus, if NARAL really cared only about that one issue, they would care only about party affiliation.

I think the fact that NARAL can't respond to this evidence explains why they resorted to dishonest hints of clearly false claims. Similarly the DLC is clearly hurting, since Marshall Whitman felt the need to talk about "the daily Kosy " and claim that a site with over 500,000 visits a day has only a few thousand readers.

I hope that Moulitsas manages to keep redirecting the debate to issues and not insults.

Mostly, I have the same reaction to these debates as to The daily Howler. Why is it that bloggers are so much better at doing the elites job than the elite ? How did journalism manage to not find a use for Somerby and why was Moulitsas an obscure poltical consultant ? How did the blogosphere find them and tell me about them ? I mean what suddently went right ? Does Google deserve the credit ? Finally, if I'm so impressed with the blogoscreen should I be worried that I get about one visit an hour ?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Don't Trust Anyone Under 30

Seanet explains that people under 30 were more likely to refuse to say that US involvment in Vietnam was a mistake than people over 30. Amazing.

via the poor man

Monday, August 08, 2005

The amateur physicist attempts D-squared amplification in answer to a DeLong query

D-squared presented the intuition brilliantly (I don't know about this D-Squared guy but I know of a Daniel Davies who is f*ing brilliant).

Imagine the positron and the electron under water. The electron pushes water away from the positron and so swims toward the positron. This leaves a bubble (vacume not air). For some totally mysterious reason the bubble floats over to the positron which finds itself with water on one side and nothing on the other (towards to photon). Thus the water pushes the positron into the bubble that came over and the positron moves towards the electron.

This intuition isn't really close to what is happening. It's much more like the positron is a bubble and the electron is a fish displacing water. The point is when the bubble moves East that means water is moving west. so if a drop of water breaks off the fish facing side of the bubble and goes to the other side, the bubble moves towards the fish. If the drop pulls on the water next to it as it is breaking off the fish facing side of the bubble it pulls the fish towards the bubble.

These stories are bad science (BS for short). However, positrons really really are like electron holes (as in you know real key to making computers work) because empty space is, in a way, really really like a silicon crystal. I suppose any people who read this far are really really worried that I am totally confusing the real universe with cyberspace.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Josh Marshall has gone commercial

Mr Marshall's, whose indifference to money made me wax poetic in a bit of this blog's archives which I really hope Blogspot has lost, has sunk to covert advertising of internet religious sites here. Note the big red arrow pointing at "The Sim City Planning Commission Handbook" and "The Sim Earth Bible" and the big red circle around the e-mail of his cyberholiness

Mr Marshall attempts to convince the naive that all of this has something to do with current events in the real (non cyber) world using some references to someone named "Robert Novak" who may, for all I know, have been someone in the past century (got to check in "Who Was Who in America").

I haven't been so disillusioned since Belle Waring Brad DeLong and Matt Yglesias shilled for the mighty Quinoa lobby. Brad was the worst, since he also included a totally implausible attack on the rival potato (or potatoe as Dan Qayle whould write).

I mean I understand that you have to start somewhere and not everyone can shill for Halliburton but I mean you guys can do better than Quinoa and "The Sim Earth Bible" which probably has Jesus multiplying the Quinoa and the javascripts.
simulspam. I am impressed at the audacity or something of who (which) managed to simultaneously spam my gmail account and my hotmail account (doubly one in junk and one not filtered). All this to send me advertizing in Kanji, which gmail can handle and hotmail can't (chalk one up for hotmail).

I am glad to say that Sida_siori_bb714 hasn't gotten to my uniroma2 account.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Josh Marshall is amazed that Mickey Kaus got a fact right

Wow, he's right. Now that I look, it's there as bright as day.

Look at the still frame of Novak and Carville at the Crooks & Liars site. Mickey Kaus says there's a big reddish-brown book sitting there on the table and that it's Who's Who in America, the book Novak has sorta kinda implied was his source for the name Plame. And, yes, there it is, sitting right there on the table, or at least something that looks a lot like it. (Perhaps we can enlist a forensic videographic to enhance the image to see just what's written on the spine of the tome.)

I'm still not sure I see just what about the book would make Novak freak out. I've always thought his Who's Who in America story was a crock. But surely he looked it up to make sure she was named, right?

Come on Josh it's rare but it's not unprecendented. I mean Kaus must have gotten something right before. Musn't he ?

I understand it is not easy to find out if Valerie Elise Plame is mentioned in Joeseph Wilson's bio in the 2003 edition of Who's Who in America. Who's Who does not allow web access and terrifyingly threatens that one will be contacted by one of their representatives if one requests a trial web subscription (this one closed the window before he pissed his pants at the thought).

However, Novak has been pushing the "Who's Who in America" crock for a while and a bit of googling took me to an obscure publication called "The New York Times" and

In the Who's Who directory for 2003, personal information about Mr. Wilson includes his origins in Bridgeport, Conn., and the names of his previous wife and his four children. His current wife is listed as Valerie Elise Plame, and the date of their marriage April 3, 1998.

There is no mention of her employer.

So if the big book in front of the Novak is indeed "Who's Who in America" it wouldn't have scared Novak. I'm not surprised that Kaus couldn't be bothered to google [plame "who's who in america"] but I think that Marshall has commented on the article.

Personally I don't think the book that made the undead one lose his cool is "Who's Who in America" I think it is "Who Was Who in America". Now that could get on his nerves.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ever Heard of Clermont County Ohio ?

Probably not if you are not paranoid. I was not paranoid until about 5 minutes ago.
Clermont county is in the 2nd congressional district of Ohio. This is a very very Republican district. In a special congressional electon, Democrat Paul Hackett is currently ahead of Republican Jean Schmidt 25920 votes to 24527. This is amazing. Another odd thing is that with over a third of precints in the district reporting 0 precincts in Clermont county have reported results. That is zero. Hmmmm now where have I heard that name before ? Here, here or here ?

Blogs with tinfoil hat internet access reported white stickers covering up Kerry-Edwards votes on optically scanned ballots scanned in, you guessed it, Clermont County Ohio.

Will I be able to keep my sanity if Schmidt wins because of suprisingly strong support in Clemont county ? Do I have any sanity to keep ?

Update: Now its Schmidt 46,304 Hackett 43,708 with 81.19 % of precincts reporting. Schmidt did indeed do well in Clermont but is also winning outside of Clermont. The Republicans keep a seat in one of the most Republican districts in the country, but at least I keep my sanity.

Update 2: I called it too soon. I mean still looks like Schmidt is going to win, but I'm not so sure about my sanity. Votes in Ohio 2nd outside of Clermont county are complete and Hackett won outside of Clermont by 877 votes. Schmidt is ahead in Clermont by 1770. All remaining non reporting precincts are in Clermont county.
Time to invest in tinfoil futures. The real world might not notice but I predict interesting times in the left reaches of the left blogosphere.

Update 3: I guess some of you have heard of Clermont county. In fact some of you might live in Clermont County. I have a link from a daily newspaper ! OK it's for being paranoid and it's not the highest circulation newspaper in the world but thanks for noticing me Jessica Fisher.

Schmidt did indeed win by slightly less than 4 %. This is bad enough for the Republicans for Charlie Cook to call it a serioius warning that they are in deep trouble. So far I have kept my sanity. The strongest blow was finding that I am on the same wavelength as Michelle Malkin who also predicted tin hat accusations of fraud. nnnoooooo not Michelle Malkin who now has a zillion and one undeserved links.

Checking around it looks like Michelle and I are mostly wrong. First of all, Hackett is smart enough not to act paranoid (I made no prediction). My guess is he will run for Senate next. At the DailyKos there are proud and, I think, sincere declarations of moral victory here here and here. A lot of victory laps for a moral victory, but no tinfoil. I haven't read the comments.
Atrios declares moral victory, Josh Marshall calmly notes moral victory as does Kevin Drum.

But Billmon ah Billmon has, at least, a tinfoil yamulka. Thanks, I'm not alone. I'd be glad to share a tinfoil hat with Billmon (although I'd rather share a bottle of whiskey)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Unicef Reminds me that Niger is not just a country which didn't sell Uranium to Iraq.

A critical food shortage in Niger, brought on by a combination of drought and locust infestation, threatens the lives of some 3.3 million people — including 800,000 children under age five. Donate now to help UNICEF deliver needed relief to these children.
Scuse me while I tell a lie

Armando at the Daily Kos reports
that "Rock legend Jimi Hendrix pretended he was gay to get out of the US Army." Now I don't especially blame Mr Hendrix for doing what the President did too, but couldn't he have come up with a more plausible lie ? I mean who has ever been more enthusiastically heterosexual that Jimi Hendrix ?