Saturday, January 18, 2003

"Suppression of innovation need not be overt. It can be simply a matter of people’s walking around in tacit agreement and full comfort with the status quo."...from an article on innovation and the culture of ideas over at Technology Review.

When I took general biology, it was a given that at maturity you had all the neurons (brain cells) you would ever have. A 49-year-old neurobiologist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., showed that is not the case. So, perhaps innovation is not a quality of age. .

Nice collection of photographs from a Ridgewood, N.J. high school for the Mirror Project.

If the administration of John F. Kennedy was "Camelot", may we conclude that this administration is "Chickenhawk-alot".

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Politics and North Korea Part 3:
An icrediblily odd series of events: In 1991 George W. Bush Sr was given a job on the board of a Carlye owned company; Texas-based airline food caterer Caterair International back. Bush Jr breaks off relations with North Korea suggesting they cannot be trusted (see part 1), yet in June Bush Jr resumes suddenly resumes talks with North Korea, According to some reports this was at the request of his father who was looking out for Carlye Co. business interest in North Korea....read more here.
Is this getting strange enough? Wait. April 3, 2002 Bush releases $95 million in aid to North Korea, saying,"vital to the national security interests of the United States".
Do you ever just sit back and think that the average citizen or soldier is just some pawn being manipulated around an international chessboard. Many have said it before me; could the Bush administration just try to be honest. Could US foreign policy be more open and honest. We're supposed to be the good guys, and I believe we are. Not perfect, but certainly better then any government in the Middle East or Asia. When our government plays games with the truth, dances with countries like Iraq or Korea one minute and then call them evil the next it undermines our best attempts at setting a higher standard. Is it any wonder that as facts start to come out about the Bush ties to the Bin Laden family and Carlye, not mention Vice President Cheneys sell of supplies to Iraq while at Halliburton, many of us may support military action where requiered to safeguard America, yet see the administration as cynical manipulaters.

Politics and Korea Part 2:
North Korea recent timeline of events...here
Diplomatic solutions and all out warfare with Korea are at the least problematic. It’s ironic that Colin Powell finally admits that in public, yet the administrations right-wing supporters insist that there is some crystal clear military solution. That any attempt at negotiation is weak kneed appeasement. Apparently in a world of 6 billion people and growing, to lose an estimated 1 million (some of those American military) people in a new Korean conflict is a mere piffle, they'll hardly be missed. The wing-nuts that seem obsessed with pinning every new foreign policy crisis on Ex-president Clinton commit two sins: 1. that of not reporting all the facts and presenting only those bits and pieces of the facts that support their nearly incomprehensible and morally lacking position.2. Not taking responsibility for their words and actions. To start on that road to morality they must first admit that real politik in regards to North Korea in 1994 or 2003 is that we face two choices. One is we attack North Korea and cause the death of millions while we remove a murderous communist dictator. Or we offer both a system of rewards and consequences. The choice is one between two evils, between containinment (a cold war strategy that leaves a thug in charge) or the use of regular or strategic nuclear force which would certainly stop the Jong dynasty , but which might have as nearly as million casualties and precipitate World War III….as North Korea has a defense treaty with China that affords them both mutual protection if either is attacked.

Politics and North Korea Part 1:
This article which was breathlessly pointed to by a warblog purports to expose or blame Clinton for the current Korea crisis, yet does nothing of the sort. From the last paragraph "When Bush came into office he ordered a review" of the Agreed Framework that was completed in June 2001. But it wasn't until the summer of 2002 that the administration concluded North Korea was in violation of the Agreed Framework. Congressional reports, available to the public and other sources, such as Janes would suggest that the Bush administration was lieing, simply didn't do its homework, or was distracted by the situation in Iraq.Ashton Carter, Clinton's assistant secretary of defense has said that the "Framework" was only meant as a stop-gap measure and was not, nor intended to be the last
word or action in regards to North Koreas defense posture or its corrupt government.TPM by Josh Marshall was one of the first, if not the first to nail the Cheney/Rove side of the Bush team for dropping the ball. A fair minded review of the events that lead up to the framework and the attack plans that Ashton Carter worked on with the Pentagon could hardly be described as "appeasement".

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

An Irish student has developed a web browser that up to six times faster then IE on a 56k connection.
Unfortunatley the link doesn't say when it might be available commercially.

Muckraker:such a great American word.
Be a Citizen Muckraker

Muckraker: Center for Investigative Reporting

Center for Digital Democracy....one of the Big Five media companies that controls the news is GE, which owns NBC and is a large defense contractor. can you say "conflict of interest"?

Their are posts on at least two warblogs that purports to show that ex-president Clinton is somehow responsible for the current North Korea crisis. They breathlessly point readers to a link, a smoking gun supposedly that validates that claim. The link doesn't
even come close. Their proposition is so ridiculous I wasn't sure it was even worth responding to, but apparently this is the right-wing mantra of the moment. Using their own link and others I'll show how tenuous this argument is in a future post.

That the media is liberal is a myth repeated so often and with such conviction by the speakers it has come to be at least taken as a given. Conservatives have engineered their own lexicon of code words. One is that rationalism and objectivity are liberal concepts, and that stories that are not passed through what Roger Ailes at Fox News has referred to as a "conservative filter", then the story has a liberal bias. The Right have insisted that the media as a business institution is liberal, yet most news producers whether print or broadcast are conservatives, as are the large corporations that own them.
There has never been a nation that has survived for long without the free exchange of information and ideas. This should be viewed as a progressive ideal beyond the pettiness of both parties. It is one of those intangible conditions of a healthy democracy. Regardless of political persuasion its in everyones long term interests to stop the
misguided deregulation of our media outlets. While I'm not enamored with the old "fair-ness" doctrine in which media outlets had to provide some equal time to opposing points of view, perhaps that concept should be revisited.