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Sunday, 30 November, 2003
Low Life.

A post, Blogging beyond Anomie, over at Happy Tutor's movable saturnalia caught my eye. More a recursive arabesque of posts than a single post. HT points to some fellow webloggers who have put up posts recently noting a generalized difficulty in writing a politically conscious web log. Partly it may be what the columnist Paul Krugman referred to recently: (Op-Ed Columnist: The Uncivil War) for people who value balance and even handedness it is difficult to keep up an oppositional discourse. The conservative agenda we oppose has all the nuance and bipartisan openness of a pyroplastic flow, the constant negativity and stridency of tone you find yourself adopting seems uncivil, isolating, and wears. Tutor responds with a short list of rallying points (which I admit I haven't examined fully yet).

Tutor points to Jonathan Delacours post Preaching to the Converted who examines an impulse to write about President Bush's aircraft carrier debut (these posts occurred a week or more ago) and Pvt. Lynch and how he let the impulse go on grounds of futility - a reasoned futility - that neither he nor the few that might read it would learn anything new. Delacour brings in a post by a Dave Rogers on speaking out to further illustrate this. Dave Rogers speaks to the need to react to provocation; though, reaction places one in a mode of negative response. What little agreement one gets, and its small validation pales before the certainty that your target of ire remains unaffected. Considering that he himself has never changed his mind before an argument born of simmering difference, he can't see that any other might either.

I thought about this as I had also in this same time frame written a couple of posts on the dubious validity of dedicating all effort to effecting the pushback. I can say two things about this though. First, any argued point of view carries a moral imperative, it carries the speakers ethical attitude as well as meaning, and the former may last longer and burrow deeper than the latter. Second something else i've alluded to in the past. The phenomenon of aggregated opinion. I may decide while watching the game that Louis Tiant is settling down and making his pitches, at the same time every player in the dugout may be coming to the same opinion and thinking anew about the bottom of the eight and trading in their 0 for 4's for a 1 for 3, every member of the crowd may simultaneously come to the same conclusion, speak up with voice and drive a raucous energy down to the field. And the Red Sox may win. In the realm of sports this effect can seem almost magical, the game depending on your watching and believing. In Politics this effect can invisibly transform the realm of the possible in an instant - a new reflection of a dynamic general will.

All the same I have some trepidation joining in on Tutor's 24 hour party people discourse. I see, or think I see ,in the posts there an educated elite talking amongst themselves, whatever I am, I am not that. I remain seven credits shy of even a bachelors degree, and well on the shy side of any fully formed body of knowledge coming from any post graduate degree. I am non-educated in both a formal and practical sense. Nor do I believe that any amount of plucky autodidacticism changes that. Moreover, I am not a under-utilized sideling of the middle class, one break from taking the helm and setting course on a true professional career. I am working class. I make my living attaching barcodes to library books. It's not difficult, and I don't get paid much for it. Call me not Ishmael but Akaky. Akaky Akakovich. An iBook and the universities free dial-up ISP allow me to get over, but don't put me over. Imagine how I feel when talk turns to philanthropy, portfolios and such. When my simple creature comforts are met (a roof and walls in an indistinct neighborhood), and animal appetite appeased, the value of my labor is dissipated. My compensation, for the hours of automated repetitive thrusting of mute limbs and fingers, exhausted.

For all this writing I don't see myself as a writer either. Doing what writers do - writing. I had a friend once. Her name was Micaela, though I called her Nancy (except when it went the other way round). She, who doesn't write very often is a writer. She has the Bachelors in English and the MA in Journalism to prove it. She refuses to web log. She writes or edits when she gets paid to write or edit, when she has a contract in hand. She is a certified published writer and can do that. I can't get paid to write. What I do is lost somewhere between vocation and avocation, and constantly undercut by ignorance. Still, I don't consider stopping.
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Saturday, 29 November, 2003
Don't care if it rains or freezes...

Two days after the Presidents visit to the troops on Thanksgiving the press is full of reactions. There is a degree to which opinion is breaking along the lines of pre-installed notions. Some regard it as a stunt, no different than the stunt on the Aircraft Carrier last spring. In this the Alternet article A Chickenhawk Thanksgiving in Bagdad is typical. They have their point, perhaps. I am prepared to see the President try to use this to his own advantage. In posters, in stump speeches, in television advertisements, in base political fashion. When and if that time comes I will be dutifully disappointed and then move on. Most of the press are willing to regard it as exhibiting leadership, at least acknowledgement of the incumbant. Some are labeling it heroic, that it is not quite and will be even less so, if it is handed over to Karl Rove. It is worth noting that if any President does well as President, does well by the American people, even in a single small way, he is of course doing well also, by his own party and cause. This can't and shouldn't be avoided. In their own time and in the most recent past the republican party refused to let a democratic president do his job. To the absolute limit of their ability to prevent it; again and again and again. In this they own, and are worthy of whatever blame accrues to them.

I see this for now as the right thing done. I have my reasons, these do involve my four years in the Navy. I went in during a - lets call it a resolutely atimocratic period of American history. Early in the volunteer force period, but after the first round of generous pay and benefits ran out. So here is an impromptu sea story I offer up. At some point in the middle of what Navy termed a WestPac tour on the Aircraft Carrier USS Ranger at the end of a long day in a period of rising tensions where the potential of our peaceful cruise becoming unpeaceful lay on the litorals beyond the waters where we maintained modloc. The ships chaplain came on the 1MC as he did every night just before lights out for evening prayer. Something was up with him this night because instead of the usual brief homily he descended into a long rambling speech about how our friends and family may clearly have forgotten us, our girlfriends and wives undoubtedly running around with other men. Our children rampaging wild in the streets. We must continue somehow to do our jobs and get it done, for the sake of people who could care less about us.

Being nineteen at the time and not having a girlfriend back home, and not being unduly concerned with how closely my family was following my lot, I was not affected as much as the others (plus I was working a twelve to twelve). I could see the looks; though, of all the other people in the room, who did have wives, sweethearts, children. I could feel their stunned pain and silence, sense the vacuum of having the spirit sucked straight out of them. The warmth of our comradery stripped from us, flung into separate existential wells. Shuffling off to their rack or to throw themselves into the sea. I know what it is like to feel alone, far out on a dark empty ocean.

I can't tell you why the chaplain did this. Maybe he wrapped it up with a "So remember folks. Jesus is your only friend". Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe he didn't realize what a downer he had put across. This I do know for the soldiers and marines in Iraq knowing that they are still in an active war, where they risk being killed daily. Fighting a war that is not well understood and increasingly unsupported. A war even its advocates and enthusiasts desire to be out the headlines and dispatches now. I know they feel they are alone and forgotten.
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Friday, 28 November, 2003
Opal Whiteley

Here is web site I came across embedded in a MARC record Enchanted Fairyland. I was looking at a new book a biography of a forgotten, children's author, Opal Whiteley. I went looking from there to see if the library where I work had any of her works. Strange story. Her most well known work Diary of Opal was serialized in the Atlantic Monthly in 1921. She presented it as a diary she had written when she was seven growing up in Washington state. The back story was that a jealous stepsister tore it all up, and she had kept all the pieces in a box until the editor of the Atlantic asked her if perchance she had a childhood diary they might publish. So she sent for it and glued it all back together. By this time she already had cultivated an image as a mysterious etheral nature child in a transcendental mode. Asking people to believe in a seven year old who kept a pig named Soloman Grundy and knew a tree named John of Gaunt seems to have been a step too far.
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Thursday, 27 November, 2003
Like Inside Baseball

It was a surprise to see the President show up in Iraq to share thanksgiving with the troops Yahoo! News - Bush Surprises U.S. Troops With Iraq Trip. It was a nice gesture and one of the few genuinely class moves by this administration. This comes on the heels of two articles in the Washington Post this week: How Cleric Trumped U.S. Plan for Iraq, Top Cleric Faults U.S. Blueprint For Iraq, and a similar piece in the Times Iraqi's May Be Moving Toward a Compromise on Government. These articles press beyond the surface of meetings and statements, beyond announcements of troop movements Army Is Planning for 100,000 G.I.'s in Iraq Till 2006, Yahoo! News - Pentagon Sending More Marines to Iraq, through the daily trauma of the insurgency Attacks on G.I.[base ']s in Mosul Rise as Good Will Fades, to blow away the swirling dust and get to the actualities of the balance of the Iraq situation. There is a certain Inside Baseball feel to these articles, which leaves me feeling, as it does with baseball, specially informed, but reliant on a particular, potentially artificial, narrative.

Starting with a piece a week ago on the decision to declare the iraqi army nonextant", the Post seems to be embarking on a series to examine the turning points and decisions of the 'post war' phase of the war. Consensus opinion is coming to view this dismissal as an error despite Secretary Rumsfeld's view that the iraqi army voluntarily demobilized, this ignores that they did so out of absolute self preservation, and precludes discussion on whether it was not in our interest to put out the word that we required them only to stand down and return to their barracks - which is what we were telling them as the war began. The articles from this week look at the progress or lack of it from the Iraqi congress. This group selected by the American occupation needed to effect three things, generate a certain respect from the iraqi people, through their behavior and activities. This would gain them a degree of legitimacy to the authority lent them only by American arms. Then to use this legitimacy to draw up a constitution, organize an election, and accept sovereignty.

The crux of the situation is the order these things happen. The administrations interest was to have the council either directly or by subcommittee write a full constitution under American aegis. Apparently in response to rumors that Bremer desired that American and British experts undertake this as a technical task. The Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sistani issued a fatwa insisting that Iraqi's write the constitution and that the drafters or assembly that assigns them come from a prior national election. Between the line of this is a contest over the nature of the new nation - will it be secular or Islamist? The American authority is undoubtedly aware of polls that indicate the Iraqi people favor either an Islamist monarchy or Islamist republic. / News / World / Poll: Most Iraqis accept US troops (Andrew Hammond, Reuters. "Poll: Most Iraqis accept US troops." Boston Globe, 21 Nov 2003. see also: Brookings Inst. Iraq Index).

Despite intense prodding the Iraqi congress is willing to do nothing in the face of this edict. In October the U.S.'s favored alternate Shiite authority Ayatollah Hakim was assassinated, since then Bremer has been forced to offer various forms of possible elections schemes to Sistani while trying to avoid a full formal election. This would likely favor the current most organized elements of Iraqi society, The former (baathist) elite, and Islamist theocrats. The administration favors a light managed electoral scheme of caucuses to elect a constitutional assembly. Further the U.S. desires, at the least, the current congress hammer out a document being referred to as the Basic Law. This document seems intended to be an amalgam of essential elements seen in our Declaration of Independence , Articles of Confederation, and Bill of Rights. It would probably contain a vision statement for the new state, a statement of sovereignty, and a guarantee of suffrage. To me this seems sensible and practical given the situation at hand. Especially if a powerful head-of-state authority is not created until after a formal constitution with more rigorous and developed delineations of power, balance, and checks is developed.

Among all groups (those mentioned in these articles and those not) is occurring a game theory jockying over which scheme, order of events, and time frame favors their interest. In this their guess is a good as mine.
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Wednesday, 26 November, 2003

I believe its time for another sea story. This one will be about Paul Habel - Lieutenant Commander Habel when I knew him. He was our Ops boss, That made him the number three guy in the squadron (RVAH-7) behind the CO and XO, people named Tom Meyers and Ken Storms. Habel had been in the Navy long enough to have considered one of life's perplexing little questions - can a RA5c Vigilante outrun an SA-2 Guideline? Answer: most of the time, yes. In the mornings in the fleet hanger at NAS Key West. The officers would habitually gather in the second floor hall lean on the wall and stare out the window.A picture named kws_FltHngr.JPEG This always stuck me as odd because those windows simply looked out over the interior of the hanger where all you could see were the Jet Mechs sprinkling ground clay over the JP-5 leaks from overnight. Beyond that was visible only a narrow rectangular view of the tarmac outside. Usually on first sighting me for the day, Habel would address me in variations of the following : 'Good morning Seaman Bushmiller. Citizen Bushmiller, or is it...Comrade Bushmiller!'

At some point Habel got into some curious game with our Ensign, Richard Gent. 'Our' refering to the photo interp shop: IS1 Mark Ramsey, IS3 Mark Edmunds, LTjg Quentin Herring, Ensign Gent and myself. This game involved things like LCDR Habel's stopping by the BOQ before Ensign Gent left for work and filling his hubcaps with pebbles. Ensign Gent was already feeling a little beleaguered having been put in charge of Navy Relief fund raising for the unit. The way that worked - there was a unit goal, whatever you didn't raise toward that goal came out of your pocket. Eventually he decided to fight back. One day after lunch Gent spotted Habel's volkswagen parked by the mess hall. Officers never walked the half mile from the hanger to lunch, they drove (Officer's also had their own little section of the mess hall to themselves - the wardroom). Turning to us Ensign Gent said 'alright let's hide it', intending to let the parking brake out and roll it off someplace. Unfortunately Habel had locked the door. A truck full of Marines who were watching us, and seeing our difficulty, stepped in picked up the volkswagen and carried it around the corner. They glad to help, particularly after we explained the situation to them, being gentlemen they hadn't asked. They figured we had a good reason. I salute the U.S. Marine Corp.

The other thing I remember about LCDR Habel is from some months later. It was following one of the cross countries (we were attached to the flight wing of the USS Ranger, which lived in San Diego in this period) One morning, I think it was a Saturday or a Sunday actually and we showed up at the office on special invitation, LCDR Habel showed us some home movies (super 8) he had shot on the last flight. Now considering that this man might still have a pilots license and be flying for the Navy or some airline. I feel I shouldn't say too much except; I would not have thought it was possible to fly a plane that large through the Grand Canyon at 400 knots.
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Tuesday, 25 November, 2003
A fish, a barrel, smoke - - file 404: gun not found.

I read an article (read it while holding a paper-based news delivery system) on 404'd web sites On the Web, Research Work Proves Ephemeral ( The article is in line with others I've read about the dark(ening) web and dead blogs. This one considering impact on research made me stop and think. My first thought, being thoroughly old school, was: what are people doing citing links in a research paper? As much as I like the www, I think I regard it in my heart as being like the beautiful frost patterns that used to form on my bedroom window on those cold winter mornings back in Massachusetts. It would be there when you got up, it would be gone when you went to grab your books before running off to the bus, but there would be another one the next morning. Now with so much information existing in its primary form as a web document, research can't always fall back on the expediency of citing in more traditional form (Chicago, APA, MLA - choose your poison) an alternate print publication. Article has some nice quotes from Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive, and mentions the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) concept. I know Jakob Nielsen and others has been stressing the absolute need for permanence and stabality in URI's for years. Problem with the web is that it shifts the burden towards the content creator / provider where with print, sorting it out and storing it fell to libraries and librarians, generally a government function. But hey as long as the archive is still up, what me worry.

Addendum: sorry I seem to have left an empty link to the magazine archive originally. it's fixed now.
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Saturday, 22 November, 2003
What Mir said.

Occasionally I grow tired of approaching every post to this site as needing to be a subdued philipic against something or other, a pointed stick to poke the government with. Why should I care about the government; can't they care for themselves? The answers are: because I was a Government and Politics major in college and have my head stuffed with pointed stick notions about good government and right rule, and yes, governments do care for themselves - that's the problem. When I try to think of other things to write about I discover the wall.
If you have a blog, it is a known fact that you will invariably hit the wall when it comes to writing interesting entries. Today I ran out of ideas. My past few entries seem like total crap.
That's Mir from Dim Sum Diaries. I identify, second, and call for the motion to be voted on. I habitually use the Rss News aggragator that came with this weblog to pull down a fat stack of newspaper stories and such. Then I write about that stuff; its a closed loop. You're often far better off foregoing that, and taking a dive into your blog roll (I don't put web logs in the RSS thing, because I like to see peoples sites - their pictures and colors, setup and so forth). Journalists as a tribe, are bigger navel gazers than web logists will ever be.

It often seems to me that I have plenty of other things to write about, Then when I try to sit and write these things it doesn't happen. I go someplace else and wait for other ideas. Sometimes, I will revisit one of these bypassed ideas, and it will flow out with only the normal effort and pain of writing. When this happens, with the aid of a little introspection, I know it is because I understood it differently the second time. More likely only understood it then. When you find you can't write about something it is because you didn't really understand what was happening in the moment you were trying to describe, or didn't encompass all it truly meant to you. Articulation signifies understanding and nothing else does.

I took an english class once (this was a long time ago). It was a 200 level class, anyone could take those, even GVPT folk. The class was taught by a visiting professor who was on hand to teach a graduate seminar. With the natural grace of the highly educated, she reminded us continually that she put up with our slackjawed stupidity only through computer error, not desire. She was semi famous. She had written a journal article years before which people I knew spoke of in hushed tones. Dancing through the minefields and a book about the settlement of the American Frontier called Lay of the Land Her name was Annette Kolodny. Toward the end of the semester, she called me into her office, and told me that she had to tell me that she considered me functionally illiterate, and further despite that, even more because of it, I needed to learn to think faster on my feet. I've decided to take that under advisement. Just as soon as I teach myself how to use this OPML outliner to write posts.
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Friday, 21 November, 2003
Fantasy Camp

A few additions to my repost to William Safire's NY Times Opinion column. In my reply to point 8 I wanted to add a comment I remembered from some General, or Colonel that on the day that Bremer (on Doug Feith's orders), dismissed the entire Iraqi army with no further pay or pension, the U S made 400(500) thousand enemies we didn't have the day before. I wanted to try to find attribution for that statement, but haven't so far. The Washington Post did run an article in yesterdays paper, pointing to that action as one of the pivotal moments in this affair Wrong Turn at a Postwar Crossroads? ( The Post also ran a second column on the Weekly Standards article derived from Feith's leaked memo. Newsweek took up this story as well Case Decidedly Not Closed The former editor of Washington's city paper advises us; however, to suspend judgement for now Case Open - Why is the press avoiding the Weekly Standard's intelligence scoop? By Jack Shafer

After 35 years under the repressive tyrannical one party rule of the baathist in Iraq it was fantasy to suppose that the country could be run with out recourse to individuals and institutions touched by the baathists, but it was a fantasy some in the current administration have tried to impose. The Boston Globe did a piece on Feith about a month ago, lost forever inside their pay-for-play archive, (BUSH AIDE UNDER FIRE AS IRAQI RECONSTRUCTION LURCHES October 19, 2003 Bryan Bender, Globe Correspondent, and Stephen J. Glain,Globe Staff) which makes clear that he is acting on long and firmly held idea's and is not likely to change as long as he holds office.
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Thursday, 20 November, 2003
Sanc. Safire

William Safire has write himself an editorial in the New York Times: 'Mistakes Were Made'. It takes the form of a numbered memo, very trendy these days. I can't speak for all his points. His premise is people ought to admit their mistakes on the Iraq exercise. Does he mean Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and company? Not quite, he means you who dared question, who presumed to doubt, these righteous giants. I've prepared a short gloss:
  1. Noisy, discourteous, whinging pacifist leftys spoiling King George's triumphant tour of his best colonial possession. I'm not sure where Safire gets the idea of their being the minority opinion, maybe he did his own polling. I also note the curious phrase freedom-speaking nations, an odd reference to english the new order's lingua franca? Perhaps an admission that the hawks and neoconservatives travail for freedom is mostly lip service.
  2. Lets take No.s 2, 3 and 4 at one. He offers himself up with an ever-so-cute mea culpa of the 'have you stopped beating your wife yet' type. that the Iraqi Dr. Germs have not fessed up to where they hid the WMD, and not really WMD at that. Conservatives are now only talking about chemical weapons, the one nonconventional armament everyone knows the Iraqi's had. Safire would like Wesley Clark to admit his military incompetence for predicting casualties and difficulties in the conventional phase of the war (he wasn't the only one with General in his sig to think that). Rumsfeld goofed by losing track of the Republican guard, and having them come back (perhaps) to form a baathist terrorist insurgency, but really, it's the Iraqi's fault not Don's: for not lining up and allowing themselves to be slaughtered by our smart bombs, artillery, 20mm chain guns, and multi layered 3C. They just don't 'get' modern superior techno warfare. A backward people! Then there's his Chalabi reference, the army of Iraqi expatriates that Powell and Tenant didn't allow to be trained. Actual the Pentagon special projects office did fly Chalabi and a small force into h2 on their own without asking or telling. Like Lenin on a sealed train through Poland. He didn't do much when he got their but sit around and wait for people to come by and offer him bribes (and hasn't done much else since). I do not see what any additional taxpayer money spent on him would have accomplished
  3. For not being Bush's lap dog, Schroder gets called Chirac's toy Spitz by one William Safire, I can feel the shrug of indifference across oceans and continents.
  4. The Memo. CIA Seeks Probe of Iraq-Al Qaeda Memo Leak ( Yes the one the Weekly Standard wrote up in flushed wet fever in their last issue Case Closed Never mind that 98 percent of it is the same tired retread that vP Cheney trots out every time he's in public. Never mind that this is the manipulated pressure cooked, tenuous, self serving intelligence that is in dispute and subject to Senate inquiry. Oh that's right, this letter and its top secret attachments were on their way from DoD Dep. UnderSec Douglas Feith's office to the Senate subcommittee on Intelligence when somehow a copy got dropped off at Bill Kristol's office. The remainder of this 'bombshell' is the Feith's special ops office's take on gleanings from interrogated prisoners. Safire's casual brushing aside of the CIAs requested investigation indicates he missed this press release: DoD News: DoD Statement on News Reports of al-Qaida and Iraq, and the Post's reports of similar concerns from the NSA
  5. The Kurd's take a hit for spurning Turkey's offer of 10,000 troops to help suppress the terror campaign; of course, it's not the terror campaign the Turks were interested in suppressing.
  6. Paul Bremer comes under question for dismissing the Iraq army as part of the Clean Break plan. Since that plan cannot be questioned, Safire decides, what else could have been done? The Iraqi army might have attempted a coup (and the difference that would make?)
  7. His ninth point is curious and arcane, certainly it is not an obvious error to desire a constitution of some sort before an election to establish a head of state. There had been a continental congress, and articles of confederation, but Geo. Washington was elected on the ground of our Constitution. The Sunni's appear to have stalled writing a constitution in order to force a expedited round of elections diminishing formal recognition of Shite majority opinion.
  8. The conservative clarion call of freedom and democracy for Arab people (which they continually insinuate liberals doubt, sometimes seems thin and tinny when one stops and reflects that their vision of Iraqi freedom, is not true democratic freedom for it was never intended to give complete control of Iraqi state powers, or control of natural resources and contracts to what group prevailed in post Suddam Iraq. Nor were they going to have the freedom to form their own attitude towards Israel. The neoconservatives had a handpicked government in exile - waiting. What the second half of his fourth point is really about, is that they blame the State department and CIA for preventing this group from forming a large armed force that could have gone in and staged a coup of their own at some appropriate moment.

Thus spake Safire. Yet the right is willing to call Paul Krugman a sanctimonious twit. What possibly could we call this one?
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Saturday, 15 November, 2003
"...what my Politics really are"

Sometimes folks ask me about my politics. This is similar to when people tell me they want to know what I think, until I tell them. Then they're not so sure, because they thought I was going to agree with them, and I never do. I have a unique ability to be in non-agreement with all people at all times. It's a gift.

People looking at Atomized Jr. here, figure I might be a Democrat. Well, they'd be right about that, strictly speaking. I was not always a Democrat; though, I registered as an independent all through the Navy and through college (not that I voted for independants, what a bucket of fools they be). Eventually I must have thought I was missing out on Md state primaries or something so I began thinking whether I'd might be a 'scoop' Jackson democrat or a Harold Stasson republican, and which set of reprobates would I rather apologize for - If I had my d'ruthers. I believe the coin was in the air spinning round right at that point between rising and falling when I recalled a quote attributed to Winston Churchill [paraphrase] A man who is conservative as a youth has no heart, and one who is liberal when old- no head. [/paraphrase]

I had already been fairly conservative as a kid, so I caught the quarter, bought myself an RC cola and put a Fugazi record on the turntable.
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Monday, 10 November, 2003
Diebold. Diehard.

The New York Times picked up on the unfolding Diebold story over the week-end Machine Politics in the Digital Age. This story has been simmering in the background for a while, I only began to follow it with a Slashdot post last week Slashdot | Students, ISP Sue Diebold (this is, I think, a follow on to the slashdot post that first caught my eye). Two parts of the general backstory came together when some group pulled a large cache of emails off Diebolds corporate website and began linking it and soliciting mirrors on this site. The issues were, first, concerns professional programmers had from a technical standpoint; whether such systems were really secure, and from the other side of the coin what guarantees exist for a tabulating system which is a massive proprietary closed-source software program that doesn't issue receipts. Second were concerns people, even people within Diebold, had with the systems performance in actual elections. Notoriously including a Florida precinct that uploaded negative 16 thousand votes for Gore in the last election. Diebold went into massed lawyer overdrive to shut these sites down and chase this information out of the publics reach. The EFF has stepped in on the side of the activists in this murky fair use vs copyright issue (covered by All Things Considered NPR : Activist Group to Sue E-Voting Firm) last Monday.

The Times article introduced a whole new side to this by detailing that Diebolds CEO is a republican campaign fund raiser of the first water ["I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year"], and that 11 other diebold executives have donated money to President Bush's campaign. None have donated to any democratic campaigns. In such hands I do not see how a voter has any reasonable assured expectations from this corporations product.
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Saturday, 8 November, 2003
Sea Story 1 (a continuing series)

I would like to take a moment to lapse from current events into what compatriots of mine would refer to as a "sea story". An appellation not intended as naming a mode or narrative style, but rather a warning. While flipping channels earlier in the week I lit upon NCIS a series spawned from either CIS or JAG (or something acronymed) the issue at hand was aircraft carriers and drugs. All of a sudden the present shook and withdrew, and the past issued forth and swirled into place around me. This is a story of my naive past, not to be confused with my naive present or naive future.

I got down into the line of the aft mess deck for lunch, which I preferred to the forward mess deck which was sort of an ersatz McDonalds. Often one could be in these lines for forty minutes to an hour, they packed a lot of people into the USS Ranger (CV 61). The line moved at a predictable velocity once you got into it, so you could assess the trouble you were in by how far down the passage and how many ladders up you found the line. I remember being ahead of a group of ships company ratings, older than me, engaged in a animated discussion. Until they noticed I was listening in, then they bolted. Usually if people where going blow out of the line they did so in the first ten minutes, at that point we were within five feet of being able to actually see food. I ate and got back up to the CVIC. Where I told the gang that something odd had happened to me at lunch - 'a bunch of guys were behind me talking about how someone they knew had a locker full of some stuff - which I called what they had called it - on the fifth deck.' I said this as I was looking back to the work I was doing before lunch. I jabbered on some more then looked up and was confused for a moment. In a compartment that had had about seven people in it suddenly they where gone vanished. Only two were left, one of those who was still listening and asking questions laughed nervously (which he did from time to time anyway) backing up off his chair, mumbled he had someplace to go and he was out the hatch too. I was left, feeling and looking very puzzled, with only Mark (Edmunds) who was also from Heavy 7, our actual unit. "Where did everybody go?, I said. "Your fault, he replied. "My Fault", I said, "How is it 'my fault'?" "Coming in here and telling that story." "But its true", I protested. "I'm sure it is" said Mark as he patiently lettered his frisket, "so were they." Ah! I exclaimed trying to look like I understood, "Hey Mark, clear something up for me,
What is Crystal Meth anyway."
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Friday, 7 November, 2003
Dark suits and power ties

In a small display of rampant me-too ism I would like to point to a picture in the news the other day (widely linked to already). The picture accompanies and illustrates a story - which it does very very well. Some pictures are supposed be worth a thousand words. The scene is; President Bush Signs Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 the story is the ten middle-aged white men sitting at, or standing around that table. Much can be said on the issues of abortion and particularly partial birth abortion, None of which obscures the fact that while republicans may not bandy about the same jargon as your average elitist lefty, gender/identity politics the twin pillars of the american collapse, it is in the end what their politics is solely based on.
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Last update: 12/08/03; 01:36:18.