Friday, May 30, 2003

The Village Voice gets it all wrong when it comes to nuclear power. In this article Mark Baard bemoans the fact that the latest reactor designs are 1) inherently safe, 2)produce much less, shorter-lived, and more proliferation-resistant waste, and 3) sufficiently cheap to build and operate that they could compete effectively with gas turbines. I hate it when rhetoric substitutes for real thought.

Get the real facts on GT-MHR's here.
Gas Turbine - Modular Helium Reactor

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Getting behind on making complete posts of collected links.

Kevin Drum invites an honest discussion about taxes and government programs. What the tax-hawks are doing is dishonest and beneath the standard for a national discourse.

Social Security and Medicare are expensive programs, and we should have a national debate about their future. The current round of tax cuts is part of that debate, but their impact is being obscured by tax cut zealots who are deliberately trying to create a crisis atmosphere in which it's "obvious" that we can't continue to fund these programs.

But we can. Repeal the Bush tax cuts and agree to a tax increase of 1% a year for the next 30 years and we can do it. If you don't think that's worth it, fine. Make your argument. But in any case, let's argue honestly and may the best argument win.
The $44 trillion hole

This is the bitter fruit of the Bush economic policies. Where did I put those draft articles of impeachment again?
Philadelphia Boy Scouts won't exclude gays

It's about time the local BSA organizations began to defy the homophobic policies of the fundamentalist-hijacked national headquarters. I just might begin supporting them again if this revolution catches hold.
Giving Peace a Real Chance. On the one hand it's tragic that we are in over our heads in Iraq. On the other hand it's going to be a real albatross for Bush come election time. That would be a good thing.
Artificial black holes. Cool!

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

What it takes to be a Bush-friendly economist.

If you want to put a jolt into the economy, fix fiscal policy so that it widens the gap between rich and poor. By reducing marginal rates and cutting taxes on dividends, that's precisely what the most recent gimmick-laden tax bill will likely do.

Every bad idea seems to find some sort of academic champion.
The Iraqi air war wasn't as modern as it looked. By Fred Kaplan
I really like the bit about the Air Force and close air support missions. I hope the military takes a closer look at spending the money where it counts.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Watch out! Coming soon to the minority voters in your state.

Florida was the first state to create, computerize and purge lists of allegedly "ineligible" voters. Meant as a reform, in the hands of partisan officials it became a weapon of mass voting rights destruction. (The fact that Mr. Cooper's conviction date is shown on state files as "1/30/2007" underscores other dangers of computerizing our democracy.)

You'd think that Congress and President Bush would run from imitating Florida's disastrous system. Astonishingly, Congress adopted the absurdly named "Help America Vote Act," which requires every state to replicate Florida's system of centralized, computerized voter files before the 2004 election.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Syd sets the record straight. But forget about the NYTimes getting it right.
Arianna explains why the White House makes no sense.
I've been racking my brain, trying to reconcile the ever-widening chasm between what the White House claims to be true and what is actually true. After all, we know the president and his men are not stupid. And despite the tidal wave of misinformation pouring out of their mouths, I don't believe they are consciously lying.

The best explanation I can come up with for the growing gap between their rhetoric and reality is that we are being governed by a gang of out-and-out fanatics.
Charles Taylor debriefs "24".

Dang! Now I'm going to have to rent it and watch it. It sounds terrific.
A new device can shift light frequency. It seems like a small matter to boost laser frequencies thereby making for greater and greater densities in optical storage devices like CDs. And that fellow in Japan devoted his career into making a blue laser.
With this we may see big oil getting into food processing. Exxon/Mobil and Archer-Daniels-Midland would be quite the combination. Or maybe Shell and Cargill.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

CalPundit is making a good point about progressive taxation. Y'know it seems to me that above a certain threshold money becomes nothing more than a way to keep score. Here in Washington state there has been a few folks that have made a career out of gutting our tax code using initiatives. The one of them that I know personally truly personifies the "I've got mine, keep your hands off!" attitude. I can testify that Kevin's assessment in valid at least in some cases.
Timothy Noah tells why Fleischer may by leaving. He became unqualified for this administration.

The only really satisfying explanation is that Fleischer was telling the truth. The guy is obviously burnt out.
It had to happen eventually. The genome data says that chimps are more human than they are ape. Welcome to the family, cousins.
Check out this new X-Ray technique. Using a smaller dose and no contrasting agents they can get pictures of soft tissue that is practically 3-dimensional. Yes, I said X-rays.

Monday, May 19, 2003

100 of the Rising New Democrat Stars. Anyone you know?
Dean, like a shark. Hat tip to Stoutdem.
Now the pro-invasion people are beginning to come around to what I predicted was Saddam's best move all along.

Gary Schmitt:
Gary Schmitt, of the pro-invasion Project for the New American Century, said investigators "may well not find stockpiles, because it may well be that Saddam figured out it was better to get rid of the stuff" and start over after inspectors left.

Saddam's major mistake was not the let the inspectors have a freer rein sooner.
LiberalOasis: Interview with Howard Dean
What an opening line!
President Bush, of course, is not a junior reporter for The New York Times. So maybe it doesn’t matter if he makes up stories and puts them in the newspaper. After Ronald Reagan, it’s almost a presidential tradition.
The law of contraries. The people who talk most about morality probably aren't. If someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. If someone says it's not about sex, it's about sex. Caplan's problem is that he has been seduced by the hype. The real moral people are not going around tooting their horns about how moral they are. They are busy putting energy into maintaining a high standard in their day-to-day lives because it isn't an easy thing to do.
Fleischer's out. Wonder if the next guy will be as unfazed about lying as he was.

Update. Quote from SLATE.
Fleischer holds the record for most citations in "Whopper of the Week," as compiled by Timothy Noah. As Noah commented in February 2003, "Ari Fleischer's ability to repeat a lie even after it's been shown, repeatedly, to be false is what separates him from the amateurs."

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Eric Schlosser has a new book that nails the new American hyprocrisy. Gary Kamiya reviews it.

...indeed, some of the bravest statements on marijuana have been made by conservatives like William F. Buckley Jr. But the ascension of Bush and Ashcroft has not helped: The sanctimony, ignorance, bad science, rage at the "cultural left," and political cowardice that has kept America benighted seems only to be getting worse.
I watched my man Howard Dean on CSPAN today at an Iowa event. He is so impressive because he tells it the way it is and eschews spin. He was talking about achieving universal health care access. He was not an idealogue. He wants to base the policy on what can pass Congress even if it isn't ideal. It's the kind of thinking that will get things done rather accomplish nothing more than melodramatic grandstanding. Such honesty is so rare in political arenas that it makes him look unique.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

The case for evolution continues to get stronger the more we know. Alternatives can not offer laboratory proofs.

Evolutionary design can often solve problems better than we can using our own intelligence.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Monday, May 12, 2003

This guy is just crazy. And unfortunately the White House listens to him.
In American society (and others as well) religion can begin to look very much like the tyranny of the majority. We are all minorities in some sense and we all benefit when the rights of minorities are protected.
Whoo-hoo. The killer bees have hit the mattresses again in the Texas legislature.

Friday, May 09, 2003

The real story on sustainable development may be a mixed bag.

Those who hold that globalization is a disaster for the poor are factually wrong. The living standards of perhaps 3 billion or more people have been increasing over the past 25 years and it is the diffusion of knowledge and technologies that has allowed for this.

On the other hand, there are the three deep negative trends. There is no doubt that there is profound and dangerous ecological stress at every scale of our human society. Significant places in the world face ecological collapse. There is no doubt also that, at the global scale, we are pushing limits of profound risk, whether over anthropogenic climate change, depletion of global fisheries, or loss of biodiversity.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

My local Dean Meetup actually happened last night. 'Course there were only two of us that showed up. We were able to get acquainted and scheme about the future. Doubling our numbers for next time shouldn't be too hard either.

Friday, May 02, 2003

What are they smokin' now?

"By the year 2002, we can have a federal government with a balanced budget or we can continue down the present path towards total fiscal catastrophe."—Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, 1995
But don't tell us this was a triumph in the war on terror, Mr. President. Don't tell us the defeat of a secular dictator has turned the tide against a gang of religious fanatics. And don't talk about patience. You inserted a battle that could have waited into a war that couldn't, precisely because you lacked—or thought we lacked—patience for the slow, diffuse, half-invisible struggle against the people who hit us on Sept. 11. You wanted a quick, clear victory, and you got it. But don't flatter yourself. You haven't changed the world in 19 months. You've only changed the subject.
This is the place to start the spending cuts. You can run lots of Head Start centers with what you can save on totally unnecessary and some nonfunctional weapons systems. Bush won't do it. Doesn't have the stomach (and other assorted body parts) for it. Dean will.