:: eyedot ::: images information ideation ::

:: EYE (anatomy), light-sensitive organ of vision in animals.
:: EYE (verb), to look at to look at something or somebody inquisitively.
:: EYE (noun), an ability to recognize and appreciate something; a point of view or way of thinking.

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:: 8.29.2003 ::  

[Pumping iron] is as satisfying to me as coming is - you know, as having sex with a woman and coming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am, like, getting the feeling of coming in the gym. I'm getting the feeling of coming at home. I'm getting the feeling of coming backstage when I pump up. When I pose out in front of 5,000 people I get the same feeling. So I'm coming day and night.
-- Arnold Schwarzenneger, from "Pumping Iron." This guy might be running the fifth largest economy in the world? Thanks to Serena for the forward.

Someone pointed out recently that all the conservative pundits that complained about celebrities speaking out against the war (i.e. Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, Martin Sheen, etc.) have had nothing negative to say about Arnold running for governor of CA. So let me get this straight: it's not legitimate to voice your opinion if you're a celebrity, but it is okay to run for public office? Ridiculous.

:: Deb 10:29 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.26.2003 ::  

Headline: AFL-CIO endorses Bustamante in case Davis recalled
This is a pretty big deal, and a very good sign for California Democrats. Another is that although Bill Simon dropped out, two other Republican candidates have so far refused to "clear the field" for Schwarzenegger; the three could end up splitting the conservative vote and allowing Bustamante to win. That's my hope, anyway! So far, so good - "In a Los Angeles Times poll released Sunday, Bustamante had a 13-point lead over Schwarzenegger among likely voters asked whom they would vote for to replace Davis."

:: Deb 4:56 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day:

"It's not about a monument. It's not about religion. It's about the acknowledgment of almighty God."
-- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was suspended for refusing to remove the controversial Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building

How can you say it's not about religion, and in the same breath say it's about God? Well, unfortunately for Moore the state attorney general says he's obliged to remove it by federal court order, and will do so before Friday. CNN story here.

:: Deb 4:46 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.21.2003 ::  

Two links for you to check out: We Love Arnold and this story, "GOP-led House reneges on pledge to pass $3.2 billion for VA medical care."
"Veterans more and more are beginning to sense a loss of faith and confidence in the administration," said Richard C. Schneider, director of veteran and state affairs for the Non Commissioned Officers Association. "They're no longer willing to be the quiet, accepting veterans that they have been in the past. I think they're actually going to hold some people accountable."

Veterans are talking about increasing turnout at the polls next year, veterans groups say.

:: Deb 6:00 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Followup: David Kelly, the British scientist and former weapons inspector who was found dead in the woods last month, apparently predicted 6 months ago that he would be found dead in the woods if Iraq was invaded.

:: Deb 3:07 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.20.2003 ::  

Aha! Here's an article on the Texas Democrats. Looks like they're going to be fined each day they're not back in Texas.

:: Deb 6:16 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Tampa Eliminates Face-Recognition System
Tampa Police Eliminate Controversial Facial-Recognition System, Citing Two-Year Failure

TAMPA, Fla. Aug. 20 —

Tampa police have scrapped their controversial security camera system that scanned city streets for criminals, citing its failure over two years to recognize anyone wanted by authorities.

The system was intended to recognize the facial characteristics of felons, sexual predators and runaway children by matching passers-by in Ybor City with a database of 30,000 mug shots.

"It's just proven not to have any benefit to us," Capt. Bob Guidara, a department spokesman, said Tuesday. The cameras have led only to arrests for such crimes as drug deals.
Thanks to FARK for this story, and for this one:

:: Deb 6:02 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

So this scientist is developing a transdermal THC patch. Great, right? Well, maybe. It sounds ("Her patch will use synthetic cannabinoids -- active marijuana compounds created in a chemist's lab -- not stuff directly extracted from the illicit plant") similar to marinol, which the article mentions in passing, failing to include the information that the cannabis substitute has been largely inneffective in treating nausea, vomiting and severe loss of appetite from chemotherapy or AIDS... in fact there's anecdotal evidence that it actually causes nausea in some patients. Medical marijuana advocates maintain that the cannabis plant contains many more chemicals than THC, all of which interact to consistently produce the many known beneficial effects (bronchiodilation, euphoria, easing of seizures and nausea, pain management, appetite stimulation, etc.), while causing few negative ones (paranoia, racing heartbeat... was that it?).

:: Deb 5:48 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Remember when Texas Democrats hightailed it to Oklahoma, and then to New Mexico, in an effort to stave off a Republican power grab? Well, you'd never know it from the "news," but they're still in exile.
The Democratic Senators currently in Albuquerque have two critical needs. The first is to generate increased public awareness of the situation. By all reason, every day the Senators are out of the state this story should get bigger. Instead, news media have gradually lost interest in the story. The California recall has dominated the attention of the national media, and the Texas media has largely lost interest in the story -- out of sight, out of mind. Without public attention to this story, the Republicans have all the leverage -- if it does not cost them politically, it costs them nothing(8) to continue calling special sessions until the Texas 11 are forced to come home.

The second critical need is funding. The cost of hotels, meeting rooms, staff support, and public relations efforts is mounting. In addition, the Senators must defend themselves legally against Republican efforts to compel their return, while also filing legal claims against the Republican power play. The Senators are actively raising money for the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus Fund to offset these costs and prepare themselves for a stay of indefinite duration in Albuquerque.
You can make a contribution here, and read a letter from one of the Senators involved. Thanks to moveon.org for the heads-up.

:: Deb 12:58 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.19.2003 ::  

From the "Where are they Now?" department:

Of the 55 "Most Wanted" Iraqis listed by U.S. Central Command, "Thirty-six are in custody, 15 remain at large, two have been confirmed killed and two have been reported killed." Story here, link thanks to FARK.

:: Deb 5:52 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.18.2003 ::  

Another Reuters cameraman has been killed - the second since the US invaded Iraq.

:: Deb 10:28 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.15.2003 ::  

The War on Terror ain't going so well.

Apparently, Bush can't stand to be overshadowed:
When asked this week why he was not getting involved in the biggest political story in the country, the president responded testily, "It is the biggest political story in the country? That's interesting. That says a lot. That speaks volumes."

After saying the media would decide if the recall is a big deal, he said, "Oh, I think there's maybe other political stories. Isn't there, like, a presidential race coming up?"
Even the Houston Chronicle has noticed that Bush is acting like a 4-yr-old! Similar article here, actual transcript of the remarks are at the bottom of this page. Thanks to Serena for the story.

She also forwarded the following gem:
A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".
Story here, in the Guardian.co.uk. Not sure who in the US government commissioned this study, but I have a hard time imagining it was the current administration. Here's a quote from a press release from the UC Berkeley website (Jack Glaser, one of the 4 researchers, is an Assistant Prof at UCB):
Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

- Fear and aggression
- Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
- Uncertainty avoidance
- Need for cognitive closure
- Terror management
The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views....

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).
"In many cases, including mass politics, 'liberal' traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty," the researchers wrote.

This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised.

The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and or need for closure, said Glaser.

"For a variety of psychological reasons, then, right-wing populism may have more consistent appeal than left-wing populism, especially in times of potential crisis and instability," he said.
Fascinating stuff!

Quote of the Day:
"Look, my job isn't to nuance."
G.W. Bush to a British reporter, 2002

:: Deb 4:16 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.14.2003 ::  

Quote of the Day:
"These are people who operate in the shadows, with a great deal of secrecy, and a great deal of false information planted all over the place," Wolfowitz said. "I think the lesson of 9/11 is that, if you're not prepared to act on the basis of murky intelligence, then you're going to have to act after the fact. And after the fact now means after horrendous things have happened to this country."
What? I mean, what? I found this on Foxnews.com

:: Deb 3:21 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

From the Washington Post today:
Lieberman, however, was the only candidate who was booed tonight. The crowd reacted when he said Democratic colleagues who had opposed the war in Iraq "run the risk of sending a message that they don't know a just war when they see one."
From an article titled Democrats Stump on GOP Turf: Candidates See Oklahoma Primary as Early Test of Electability

:: Deb 12:10 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.12.2003 ::  

A fun comic from a few days ago:

Note the guy's T-shirt: "They need your fear." How true.

On that subject, here's a point-by-point teardown of Powell's pre-war justifications; link via Tom Tomorrow.

:: Deb 5:42 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day:
“But the true threats to stability and peace are these nations that are not very transparent, that hide behind the — that don’t let people in to take a look and see what they’re up to. They’re very kind of authoritarian regimes. The true threat is whether or not one of these people decide, peak of anger, try to hold us hostage, ourselves; the Israelis, for example, to whom we’ll defend, offer our defenses; the South Koreans.”

— Unpresident George W. Bush
Muddle-headed Hypocrite-In-Chief
March 13, 2001
Media roundtable
Washington, D.C.
[well, it's an old one, but I just read it today]

:: Deb 5:41 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Hey, cool!
Liberals Form Fund To Defeat President
Aim Is to Spend $75 Million for 2004

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 8, 2003; Page A03

Labor, environmental and women's organizations, with strong backing from international financier George Soros, have joined forces behind a new political group that plans to spend an unprecedented $75 million to mobilize voters to defeat President Bush in 2004.
From the Washington Post. Link thanks to Tom Tomorrow.

:: Deb 5:16 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Although most of the stuff I post here is political, occasionally I come across other stuff that seems worth noting. For example, the FDA recently ruled that doctors could prescribe a drug called buprenorphine in their offices for addiction treatment; this drug is thought to be an improvement upon methodone for several reasons: withdrawal is easier, the high is milder, one dose can last up to 2 days, and it has a "ceiling effect" - that is, beyond a certain dosage, taking more does not make the person any higher, or depress breathing any more (reduces the risk of both abuse and overdose). Also, it bonds so well to opiate receptors in the brain that similar drugs cease to have an effect. A bonus of the "ceiling effect" is that doctors can prescribe an entire supply to a patient - rather than a dose a day, as is the case with methedone. This means that a middle-class professional can privately wean himself off heroin without having to visit a clinic every day. Here's a quote from the New York Times article I found on the subject:
"...[some] experts see the change as more evolutionary than revolutionary, warning that much remains to be learned about buprenorphine, and that methadone, too, was once seen as a wonder drug. But they are enthusiastic, saying that since doctors began prescribing buprenorphine in October, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive."

Along the same lines, I read a very interesting review of a book called Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use in Mother Jones the other day. Here's an excerpt:
Saying Yes is not primarily (as its subtitle says) a defense of drug use. It is, rather, a critique of anti-drug propaganda and a plea for reason. Sullum, a scholar on drug policy and an editor for Reason magazine, argues that there is a "silent majority" of drug users who smoke pot, snort cocaine, even shoot smack without losing their lives, jobs, or families. They stay quiet, because if they spoke up they would be ridiculed, fired (in 2000, two-thirds of big companies drug-tested), or arrested.

"People who use illegal drugs in a controlled, inconspicuous way are not inclined to stand up and announce the fact," Sullum writes. "Prohibition renders them invisible." The visible minority, then, are mostly people in trouble -- under arrest, on the streets, in the morgue. But to mistake them for the average drug user, Sullum argues, "is like assuming that the wino passed out in the gutter is the typical drinker."
The central argument of Saying Yes is that we should replace the current model of selectively coerced abstinence with one of universal temperance. As it is, some drug dealers sit in jail while others sit in corporate suites. Robert Downey Jr. is a disgrace for using cocaine. Robert Dole is "brave" for pitching Viagra. This system, Sullum writes, makes no sense intellectually, morally, or practically. Yes, many people do hurt themselves badly with coke and heroin and pot -- and Ecstasy and LSD, and so on. But they are the small minority. Even drug czar William Bennett acknowledged this in 1989 when he wrote, "Non-addicted users still comprise the vast bulk of our drug-involved population."
The point -- which physicians and psychologists affirm -- is that however good or overwhelming a drug, human beings never fully lose their ability to choose. Drugs are never satanic or angelic in themselves, but rather agents of human possibility. [emphasis added]

:: Deb 3:39 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.11.2003 ::  

Oy. I've been hearing this allegation since 9/11; the rumors appear to have been confirmed:
The draft of the inspector general's report also says the agency "did not have sufficient data and analyses" to make a "blanket statement" when it announced seven days after the attack that the air around ground zero was safe to breathe. "Competing considerations, such as national security concerns and the desire to reopen Wall Street, also played a role in E.P.A.'s air quality statements," the report said.
"As a result of the White House C.E.Q.'s influence, guidance for cleaning indoor spaces and information about the potential health effects from W.T.C. debris were not included in the E.P.A's issued press releases."
New York Times story is here, and here's the New York Post. Synopsis thanks to the Daily Grist:
White House Pressed EPA to Say Air Was Safe After 9/11

In the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks, the White House pressured the U.S. EPA to issue unsupported statements reassuring the public that air quality around ground zero was safe, according to an investigation by the EPA's inspector general. Also, as a result of "influence" from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the EPA omitted from its press releases information about potential health threats from the World Trade Center debris, the inspector general's draft report found. EPA and White House officials dispute the report's conclusions, saying they are oversimplified. Meanwhile, thousands of 9/11 emergency workers and other New Yorkers continue to seek assistance for a wide range of health problems that cropped up after the terrorist attacks, including respiratory ailments and pneumonia.

:: Deb 6:32 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.07.2003 ::  

I was reading thru old Dykes to Watch Out For strips (I got into them cuz of the Funny Times - thanx Gae :) and found this little beauty from last year:
It's in a strip titled "Swords into joysticks" (#407). Also check out #408, "Foreign Policy," for a the use of a very appropos metaphor to explain why the current foreign policy is bunk.

:: Deb 11:15 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.04.2003 ::  

Here's a decent interview with Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and Democratic Presidential candidate.

:: Deb 4:19 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

A followup on last week's bit on global warming:
Warming Climate in Alaska Causes Headaches for Oil Companies
In an ironic twist, oil companies operating on Alaska's North Slope are finding their work impeded by a warming climate. The companies depend on long stretches of hard freeze during which they can haul heavy drilling equipment over tundra, but those cold periods are shrinking. In 1970, there were more than 200 days with adequate snow and ice cover to meet state standards for safe tundra travel; in recent years, there have been only about half that many days. The window for oil exploration on the North Slope "seems to get shorter every year," said Jack Bergeron of oil company Total E&P USA.
Stories in Reuters' Planet Ark, the South Africa Independent and Grist Magazine.

:: Deb 1:28 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 8.01.2003 ::  

Here's an interesting site, titled "how to defeat the Right in 3 minutes." It distills the right-wing ideology into a single, pithy catchphrase that seems to be quite appropriate: "cheap-labor conservative." It then goes on to explain how that label clarifies the various (sometimes seemingly contradictory) aspects of the right-wing agenda, such as opposition to socail programs, corporate welfare, emphasis on punishment rather than rehabilitaion, deficit spending and a bloated military.

:: Deb 3:45 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

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