:: 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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:: 1.29.2004 ::  

As you may have noticed, now I really do have monthly archiving.

Woo hoo!

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

Telemarketers now must show up on Caller ID
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Starting Thursday, if you have Caller ID you'll know when a telemarketer is trying to reach you.

That's when Federal Trade Commission regulations kick in requiring telemarketing firms to identify themselves.

Such calls had shown up on Caller ID as "out of area." Now the name displayed by Caller ID must either be the company trying to make a sale or the firm making the call. The display must also include a phone number that consumers can call during regular business hours and ask that the company no longer call them.

The change is part of the rules that set up the do-not-call registry, which consumers can use to block certain telemarketers from calling. Telemarketing companies were given additional time to install the technology needed to display their names and numbers. Some places still don't have Caller ID technology, and firms in those areas do not have to comply.
In the Houston Chronicle, again thanks to Fark.

:: Deb 3:20 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

U.S. frees 3 teens at Guantanamo base
Thursday, January 29, 2004 Posted: 12:54 PM EST (1754 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three teenagers who have been held with other prisoners at a U.S. military detention camp in Cuba have been released to their home country, the U.S. Defense Department said Thursday.

The teenagers were detained for more than a year at the U.S. naval complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Defense Department didn't identify the detainees' country.
All three were under the age of 16. More at CNN.

:: Deb 3:12 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"Historically, our estimates of what these programs will cost have been so far off as to be meaningless."
- Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., who voted against Bush's Medicare bill in November.

White House budget office spokesman Chad Kolton would not comment on the Medicare figures. But an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the estimate would rise to nearly $540 billion.
CBO, Congress' nonpartisan fiscal analyst, estimated the bill's 10-year cost at $395 billion. But administration officials repeatedly stood by the $400 billion figure, which Bush had included in the budget he proposed last February.

Bush's new budget will also estimate this year's budget deficit at about $520 billion, the congressional sources said. That would easily surpass the $375 billion shortfall of last year, the highest deficit ever in dollar terms. [emphasis added]
The good news is Congress refused to make the tax cuts permanent. From YahooNews, courtesy of Fark.

:: Deb 2:16 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.27.2004 ::  

And the Quote of the Day goes to...

...economist Paul Krugman!
"At best - to borrow the already classic language of the State of the Union address - his administration is engaged in deficit reduction-related program activities."
He is of course referring to W. and his ongoing mismanagement of the federal budget.

You can read the rest of his NYTimes op-ed column here, for a limited time for free. Thanks to Serena for the forward.

:: Deb 12:54 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

George W. Bush, deserter
Bush was apparently absent without official leave from his assigned military service for as little as seven months (New York Times) or as much as 17 months (Boston Globe) during a time when 500,000 American troops were fighting the Vietnam War. The Army defines a “deserter” -- also known as a DFR, for “dropped from rolls” – as one who is AWOL 31 days or more: www-ari.army.mil/pdf/s51.pdf.
Quote from moveon.org, as lifted from Michael Moore's letter.

:: Deb 11:46 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Finally! Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional
The judge's ruling said the law, as written, does not differentiate between impermissible advice on violence and encouraging the use of peaceful, nonviolent means to achieve goals.

``The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature,'' the judge said.

Cole declared the ruling ``a victory for everyone who believes the war on terrorism ought to be fought consistent with constitutional principles.''
Read the rest here, linked from Fark, first heard on NPR this morning. The ruling was made on Friday, and announced yesterday.

:: Deb 9:52 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.24.2004 ::  

In his own words
DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?


PRESIDENT BUSH: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be de — dealt with, and it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's a danger. And so we got rid of him and there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.

DIANE SAWYER: But, but, again, some, some of the critics have said this combined with the failure to establish proof of, of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that there's just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah. Look — what — what we based our evidence on was a very sound National Intelligence Estimate. ...

DIANE SAWYER: Nothing should have been more precise?

PRESIDENT BUSH: What — I, I — I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that this country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.

DIANE SAWYER: What would it take to convince you he didn't have weapons of mass destruction?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a threat and the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

DIANE SAWYER: And if he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction [inaudible] —

PRESIDENT BUSH: Diane, you can keep asking the question. I'm telling you — I made the right decision for America —


PRESIDENT BUSH: — because Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction, invaded Kuwait. ... But the fact that he is not there is, means America's a more secure country.

[emphasis added]
This is an excerpt from an interview on ABC about a month ago. Link thanks to the Daily Mislead.

Well, woo-hoo that he's so fucking confident in his own judgement. His complete lack of interest in the accuracy of his public statements before the war, or of the intelligence upon which the decision to invade Iraq was made, are precisely what I expected and feared.

:: Deb 7:35 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

And just for the record:
While the emphasis was on weapons of mass destruction as the reason to wage war on Iraq, the administration also suggested that Saddam was linked with the al-Qaida organization. Like the weapons, no firm evidence of a solid link has been produced. [emphasis added]
Also from YahooNews.

:: Deb 7:26 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

In the interests of providing balanced coverage...

Here is the entire Dean "red-faced rant", as seen+heard from the crowd.

Also, I missed it myself but I heard Dean did a pretty good job of delivering his own "Top 10" on Letterman last week. If you missed it too, you can read the list on YahooNews.

:: Deb 7:22 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.23.2004 ::  

Hey! I'm archiving by month now. Much less cluttered over there

Happy Friday :)

Or NOT. Trying to figure that out. In the meantime, back to weekly (yeesh).

:: Deb 12:34 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Speaking of football...

I had an interesting thought about the economics of professional sports a few nights ago.

I know I'm not the only who finds it boring that the Yankees, the richest team in MLB, consistently end up in the World Series final game. Unlike the NFL, pro baseball has no salary cap, so whichever team has the most money gets the best players, period. And the better a team plays, the more money it makes from ticket and merchandise sales. You end up with a very vicious and boring circle.

Let's look at football.

With the institution of the salary cap, along with free agency and the NFL's policy of giving the team with the worst record from the previous season the first draft pick, the pro football league has essentially mandated an economically level playing field. The result? A lot of interesting and unpredictable games, especially in the playoffs, and a cinderella story for the Superbowl - the Carolina Panthers. A league that used to be ruled by dynasties is now, I think, a much healthier institution (at least in terms of team makeup - whether refereeing has improved over the last ten years is a whole other question).

Now this is very interesting to me. Granted, the NFL is a closed economic system. But the league seems to have proven that a level economic playing field will not pull everyone to the bottom, but rather lift everyone up. MLB, on the other hand, is "semi-regulated - like electricity or farm price floors, which gets you the worst of the market and the worst of regulation." That last is a quote from my friend Leslie, an econ guru who works for HP. As she says, "hybrids don't work." If the MLB was truly a free market, with teams allowed to operate in any city and open competetion working to even the odds, we might get a more vibrant league. Too bad that's not the case.

:: Deb 11:51 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

CBS refuses to air Moveon.org anti-Bush ad during Superbowl halftime
Meanwhile, the White House is on the verge of signing into law a deal which Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says is custom-tailored for CBS and Fox, allowing the two networks to grow much bigger. CBS lobbied hard for this rule change; MoveOn.org members across the country lobbied against it; and now our ad has been rejected while the White House ad will be played. It looks an awful lot like CBS is playing politics with the right to free speech.

Of course, this is bigger than just the MoveOn.org Voter Fund. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) submitted an ad that was also rejected.4 But this isn't even a progressive-vs.-conservative issue. The airwaves are publicly owned, so we have a fundamental right to hear viewpoints from across the ideological spectrum. That's why we need to let CBS know that this practice of arbitrarily turning down ads that may be "controversial" -- especially if they're controversial simply because they take on the President -- just isn't right.

To watch the ad that CBS won't air and sign our petition to CBS, go to:

(If you want to skip the ad and just sign the petition, click here.)
Not to mention that CBS was happy to air the White House ad claiming that drug users support terrorists during the Superbowl, then refused to air Arianna Huffington's parody ad that said the same thing about SUV owners. Their reason for refusing the second ad? One guess.

:: Deb 11:01 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.21.2004 ::  

Do you still think electronic voting is the best option?

Listen to "The Annoying Gap Between Theory and Practice, Act One" on This American Life (which is a great radio series, by the way, just in general). Thanks, Serena!

:: Deb 4:50 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Imagine the US cuts its consumption of oil in half...

... well this technology could actually improve on that. The DOD is looking into converting its verhicles to fuel cell technology, potentially raising the bar to 90mi per gallon. Why? To save money - currently it costs the US $40 to move a gallon of diesel from Kuwait to Bagdad. Scientists at Auburn University held a demonstration in December where they "took jet fuel, which is very similar to diesel, and catalytically converted it, separating out the sulfur, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide," and then ran a fuel cell on the result. Those present were apparently impressed.

However, the technology isn't quite ready for the big time -
On a technological-readiness scale of one to 10, one being the theory stage and 10 being ready for mass market, the design of the hydrogen-based fuel-cell is at a four or five, Tatarchuk said.

For widespread military applications, however, a lot of work needs to be done, he said. That work entails re-engineering of the entire military inventory and upgrading the legacy fleet.
How fast the technology will get here will depend on how much the national, state and local leadership focus on making research dollars available, he said.

:: Deb 2:46 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.20.2004 ::  

So it's possible after all...

Tho if you follow the "all things in moderation" mantra you've got no problem.
First death by dope
A man aged 36 is thought to have become the first in Britain to die directly from cannabis poisoning.

Lee Maisey smoked 25,000 joints during his 11-year addiction to the drug — due to be decriminalised later this month.

He said he had a headache before collapsing.

Yesterday a coroner recorded that single Mr Maisey, of Summerhill, Pembrokeshire, died from cannabis toxicity.

Afterwards experts warned cannabis was getting stronger — and risks were even higher if it is eaten rather than smoked.
From the UK Sun, c/o Fark.

:: Deb 10:31 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.19.2004 ::  


MIT brings you Open Courseware - they have opened course materials for 500 of their classes to the public. Article and more independent study links here. Linked from Fark.

:: Deb 12:52 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

And a final quote, in honor of the men, women and children who die every day in Iraq.
If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
- Martin Luther King Jr., "Justice Without Violence", 4.3.57

Thanks to People For the American Way for sending some of this great teacher's words to me today.

:: Deb 11:09 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

At Least 20 Dead in Baghdad Blast
BAGHDAD, Jan. 18 -- A white pickup truck loaded with 1,000 pounds of plastic explosives and several 155mm artillery shells exploded at the main public gate to the U.S. occupation headquarters Sunday, killing at least 20 bystanders and injuring more than 60 others, U.S. military officials said.
The attack was the deadliest in Iraq since Hussein's capture on Dec. 13. It came on the eve of a planned meeting in New York on Monday between the chief U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Bremer is seeking to enlist the United Nations in the effort to forestall demands from leading Shiite clerics for direct elections.
In recent days, U.S. officials had reported a reduction in attacks on American forces, to about 17 a day from more than double that number in November. However, insurgents in central Iraq have launched a continuous stream of attacks, sometimes spectacular, taking many Iraqi lives. Car bombs have often been set off in the perimeter between fortified U.S. compounds and streets.
Story in YahooNews.

Quotes of the Day

"This is not war, this is criminal."
- Mehdi Hamdani, an Iraqi merchant who ran toward the carnage from his store up the street.

"It is dangerous to be an Iraqi in the open."
- Abdullah Daud, who was standing in line waiting to be searched at the gate before entering the compound.

:: Deb 10:58 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.16.2004 ::  

A new musical artist (for me) that I love: Cat Power. The new album, "You Are Free" is really good, but her second one, "Moon Pix" is truly gorgeous. Thanx Serena!

:: Deb 12:17 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Bush seeks billions for religious groups
Thu Jan 15, 1:34 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS, United States (AFP) - US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) asked his Justice Department (news - web sites) to take steps to release some 3.7 billion dollars in federal monies aimed at helping religious charities, the White House said.

"At the President's direction, the Department of Justice took action to finalize regulations that implement President Bush's policy of ending discrimination against faith-based charities in the Federal grants process," it said in a statement.

The move applies to 3.7 billion dollars, including programs to support victims of crime, the prevention of child victimization, and safe schools, the White House said.

Bush decided one year ago to implement by decree some elements of his controversial "faith-based initiative," which aims to steer funds to religious charities, eroding the traditional separation between church and state.

The program was part of the president's 2000 campaign platform, but the divided US Congress has yet to approve it.

Hoping to win momentum for the initiative, as well as court black voters who overwhelmingly backed his 2000 rival, Al Gore, Bush visited a New Orleans church he said would benefit from his plan.

"This country must not fear the influence of faith in the future of this country. We must welcome faith in order to make America a better place," said the president, who is a regular church-goer. [emphasis added]
Article in YahooNews.

:: Deb 10:27 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.15.2004 ::  

Quote of the Day

"Bush announced today that we're going to Mars... which means he's given up on Earth."

- Jon Stewart, last night on The Daily Show.

His guest last night was Carol Mosley Braun, who demonstrated her awesome geekiness by saying "live long and prosper" while using the appropriate Vulcan hand gesture, and then quoting Frank Herbert's Dune: "Fear is the mind-killer." She dropped out of the Presidential race this morning and threw her support behind Dean.

:: Deb 3:18 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

WASHINGTON Jan. 14 — U.S. soldiers in Iraq are killing themselves at a high rate despite the work of special teams sent to help troops deal with combat stress, the Pentagon's top doctor said Wednesday.
From ABCNews, again thanks to Fark.

:: Deb 11:09 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.14.2004 ::  

This is one of several incredible sidewalk chalk drawings:

From this site, c/o Fark.

:: Deb 1:34 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

"The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider whether the government properly withheld names and other details about hundreds of foreigners detained in the months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks."

Yeah, we don't really need to think about that too deeply.


"Twenty-three news organizations and media groups, including the Associated Press, joined in asking the high court to hear the case.

?It is the responsibility of courts, and especially this court, to provide meaningful judicial review when the government invokes national security to justify unprecedented secrecy in exercising its awesome power to arrest and detain hundreds of people,? lawyers for the Center for National Security Studies argued in a court filing."

Yeah, I gotta agree with that.

More at the Miami Herald; thanks to Fark.

:: Deb 9:46 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.12.2004 ::  

This is really cool. Link (with info) found on Fark.

:: Deb 4:59 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.08.2004 ::  

Quote of the Day

"Man, they can't pay me enough to stay here."

- a 23-year-old specialist from the Army's 4th Infantry Division, as he manned the checkpoint with Iraqi police outside this city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. He's referring to the $10K re-enlistment bonus announced by the US Army on Monday. The bonus is offered to soldiers currently stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Farked again!

:: Deb 12:33 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Bush Proposes Legal Status for Illegal Immigrant Workers

I heard on NPR this morning that the President had announced plans to register illegal immigrant workers uner his so-called "temporary worker" program. This program would give undocumented workers temporary legal status in the US.

The US has lost 3 million jobs in the last 3 years. And Bush is now proposing to encourage cheap labor from Mexico to flood the job market.
In addition to conferring temporary legal status on undocumented workers now in the country, Bush's program would allow an unlimited number of new immigrants to enter as long as they obtain jobs through a database that would be run by the government and would offer the openings first to U.S. citizens.
[emphasis added] That quote is from the Washington Post story. There's more:
Labor advocates warned that the president's proposal to have workers sponsored by employers to obtain legal status would prevent them from complaining about job conditions, out of fear that the employer would revoke the relationship and have them deported. Others cautioned that employers could use the threat of recruiting low-wage, legal immigrants to threaten existing U.S. employees and prevent them from seeking better working conditions.
Talk about a union-buster. Surprise surprise, businesses welcomed the program, and immigrant advocates condemned it.

A point: this comes in the wake of the huge stink Republicans made about Gray Davis' plan to give illegal immigrants drivers' licenses, in the interests of keeping better track of who was using CA roadways. Granted, a lot of Republicans aren't thrilled about this plan either.

The program sounds eerily similar to one proposed in June of last year by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. Will this kind of program actually encourage immigrants to register legally? Probably not: "[Ben Ferro, a former high-ranking official of the INS] said a federal government analysis of a 1986 amnesty program found that more than 90 percent of those applying used fraudulent documents or made false statements."

It also recalls the 22-year "bracero" program (ending in 1964) that brought an estimated 4 million Mexicans into southwest border states to work as farm laborers. You can read more about this program here. For the first five years...
...the number of Braceros admitted was relatively small, and they accounted for less than 10 percent of US hired workers. However, US employers as well as Mexican officials became dependent on Braceros for willing workers and bribes were paid to get contracts. Several years of short-term agreements led to widespread illegal immigration and a growing preference among migrants and US farmers for operating outside the program.
However, according to this paper from the University of Texas, "The manner in which the Bracero Program was run before 1954 stimulated unauthorized migration; after 1954 it substituted for it." This is because "in 1954, the U.S. government planned and launched the mass deportation campaign known as [D. - wait for it...] 'Operation Wetback.' The Mexican government participated in its implementation by transporting migrants, close to 2,000 per day, from the border to points in the interior. User fees were dropped for employers who hired braceros." Also, "The new program was attractive to growers in large part because labor guarantees were not enforced." [emphasis added]

In the final analysis, however, the program benefited few beyond the growers.
In 1961 the Kennedy administration extended the agreement, though reluctantly, citing adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of domestic farmworkers and the “serious impact in Mexico if many thousands of workers employed in this country were summarily deprived of this much-needed employment.”
Is this really what we want?

:: Deb 11:27 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.06.2004 ::  

Not much updating recently - I've actually had too much work to do! Imagine!

:: Deb 7:54 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Read this now. Please.

:: Deb 7:46 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

If you're looking for something new to read, I highly recommend The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. Both are beautifully written, with interesting and complex characters and an absorbing storyline. Enjoy!

:: Deb 9:41 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.05.2004 ::  

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

As you may already know, Moveon.org recently launched a contest called Bush in 30 Seconds, the object of which was to produce an 30 second anti-Bush ad that will be broadcast on TV before the election. You can see the finalists on their website.

:: Deb 1:12 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

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