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:: Saturday, August 02, 2003 ::

Air Conditioning Woes

Well, my air conditioning is officially dead. Not "buy another one" dead. That would, actually, be better. After all, I could buy one at Sears and pay it off over a year.

Nope. This is "thing in the attic that all my old style ducts hook too" (there's a word for it. I don't care. I'm fairly incompetent with such things, so why bother?) problem. It's old, although the air conditioner is new. Apparently it's collapsing or breaking or in some way no longer functioning well.

That I knew. One of the ducts kept falling off of it, and I'd be airconditioning my attic and not the house. I had hoped, however, that the fault was just that section of ductwork. Cheap, easy, and something I might even be able to fix myself...and if I had to hire expert help, something that wouldn't break the bank.

Unfortunately, not the case. I mean, it's not "redo everything", but it's still four hundred dollars I really don't have. We're still waiting to hear about my wife's job (she's got two schools she's waiting to hear from). It's been a hard summer, with her having to take these classes and not being able to work.

Still...could be worse. I just honestly wish I lived somewhere else. Somewhere I could consider air conditioning a luxury. But this is Texas. This is Houston. And it's August. It's 95 degrees during the day, and the humidity is awful. AC here is a necessity.

Oh well. Once it's done, I can keep this place an icebox if I want. And at least I have a job to help pay for it. Quite a few Americans don't have that these days.
:: Morat 10:18 AM :: ::

:: Friday, August 01, 2003 ::

Gay Marriage and the GOP

Why Bush raised gay marriage issue
Still, polls indicate much stronger support for civil unions than gay marriage, and gay activists contend religious conservatives, and now the White House, are deliberately blurring the difference between religious-sanctioned marriage and civil unions.
'We're going to see a collision within the Republican Party between the far right and mainstream Republicans,' Guerriero said. 'It will hurt the president's re-election chances because swing voters typically don't like creepy Republican debates about social issues.'
I'm glad I'm not the only one creeped out by it.

I freely admit that vast majority of conservatives, even Republicans, are fine, upstanding people I simply happen to disagree with a lot. However, I also freely admit that some of the more vocal parts of the party, on this issue, creep me out.

Thank you.
:: Morat 12:37 PM :: ::

Daily Show hearsay...

I missed The Daily Show the last few nights, but apparently Jon Stewart responded to the whole gay marriage thing with a confused question:

"Is this going to be mandatory? Do I have to marry a gay person? Because if it's isn't, why does anyone care?"

Or words to that effect. The best synopsis I've ever seen. Why do you care?

I'm a happily married man. My marriage consists entirely of me, my wife, and our personal promises and feelings towards each other. The government grants me a few benefits, and a few drawbacks, for being with my wife.

But I can't, for the life of me, understand how anyone else's marriage affects mine. Friends get married, they get divorced. Celebrities get married, they get divorced. People I don't know, and will never know, get married, they get divorced. It doesn't affect me. It doesn't effect my marriage.

My marriage endures. If it ends, it will end because of my actions or her actions, my feelings or her feelings. Not anyone else's.

Why should I care who you marry? What possible difference could it make to me? Or my marriage?
:: Morat 12:29 PM :: ::

Creationism and Science

First off, a disclaimer. If you consider yourself a Creationist because you add "And God wanted it thus" to the end of anything biologists or geologists or whatnot says, this isn't about you. If you consider yourself a Creationist, but happily acknowledge that your position is based solely on faith despite evidence to the contrary, this isn't about you. If, however, you think that science backs your believe that God created everything, then this is about you.

The main problem and the fundamental flaw in Creationism is that Creationists attempt to ape science's authority, without using science's methods.

The scientific method was designed to do a number of things. Among other things, it was rather rigorously designed to winnow out personal bias, wishful thinking and human error. It's not a particularly stunning insight to say that the world is rarely the way you want it to me, nor is it particularly insightful to say that humans are prone to error and bias.

We're humans. We filter the world through a vast array of personal lenses. It's part of what we are, part of who we are. We filter things based on experience, based on past knowledge, based on highly cherished beliefs....

The scientific method is, in one sense, designed to counter human error, human bias. To deal with prejudice, cherished beliefs, and all the assorted human aspects that make it very difficult for us to be objective.

All that stuff about peer-review, about repeating observations...it's all designed to remove the human element.

And, as we've found over the last few centuries, it's amazing what you learn when you start looking at things objectively. People trust science because science cures their ills, builds their bridges, and more or less runs their world. But it's very success lies in a method designed to prevent ideology from clouding judgment.

Good science can start with data or with a hypothesis, but ultimately the data decides. What you want to be true can never trump what is actually true.

Creationists, on the other hand, don't care about the data. They start with a rigid belief that cannot be questioned and look for data to support it. That isn't science. It's not the scientific method. Not even close. In science, you start tentatively and build slowly, testing and supporting along the way. In Creationism, you start and end with "revealed truth".

By starting with the "Truth" and building justifications to support it, Creationists pervert science. And it shows in their arguments, in the contradictions and inconsistencies that are inevitable when approaching science backwards.

Among other things, it leads to what I refer to as a real lack of "follow through". Most scientists, when playing with ideas, ask themselves "If this was true, what would I see?" and work from there. Creationists, on the other hand, frequently rely on just-so stories that are never fully investigated.

Take radiometric dating. To a Creationist, at least a young earth one, it represents something of a problem. Radioactive decay, something so constant you can literally set your watch by it, indicates quite thoroughly that the Earth is something akin to 4.5 billion years old.

So a Creationist says "Perhaps decay rates were faster in the past than now" To a Creationist, the argument is over. He's proposed an explanation that allows his ideology to stay intact. But were he a scientists, he would only be beginning. He would then think "If decay rates were faster in the past, what would it look like? How would it work? How can I find out if they were?" and goes on to work out the answers and then compare them with reality.

Creationism stops were science begins, and thus avoids all the checks, balances, and methods that makes science such a highly successful human endeavor.
:: Morat 11:44 AM :: ::

Creationism in the news

Schools balance science, faith in study of life's origins
When Byron Center High School students start studying theories on the origin of life in biology class, their teacher will tell them about evolution and creationism.

'We do propose them both as theory,' said Ellen Karel, head of the science department. 'Because of the makeup of our community, we look at both the pros and cons and the scientific facts that support both theories.'
Translation: We have Creationists breathing down our necks, so we lie. We lie to them, we lie to the students. Why? Because it's easier than telling the truth."

No flavor of Creationism, from Young Earth to Intelligent Design, qualifies under the scientific label of "theory". You know, the definition of "theory" used in science classes and in science in general.

The most ironic twist is that the Intelligent Design movement more or less accepts all of evolution. A honest conversation between an ID proponent and a Young Earth Creationist would end in with the YEC calling the ID guy a "godless atheist" and the ID guy calling the YEC an "ignorant religious nutcase".

More on Creationism later.

:: Morat 11:06 AM :: ::

Bush does something right!

U.S.: N Korea nuke talks on track
An agreement in principle has been reached for a new round of talks with North Korea aimed at shutting down its nuclear weapons program, a senior Bush administration official has said.
In an 'encouraging sign,' the U.S. has heard through third-country contacts, including Russia, that the North Koreans have agreed to the U.S. demand that the talks be multilateral, not bilateral as Pyongyang had long insisted, the official said.
It looks like someone listened to Powell for once. Congratulations, George, on finally making an intelligent move regarding North Korea.

It may have taken you a long time to get there, but you did it. You deserve a pat on the back, and maybe a cookie. If you can keep this up, and actually get North Korea to shut down their program, well, you'll have managed, in three short years, to restart the policy Clinton was following.
:: Morat 9:58 AM :: ::

Economic Hyperbole

Paul Krugman has a quick, graphical look at the claims of rising durable goods orders and a skyrocketing GDP.

In essence? Not so much.
:: Morat 9:53 AM :: ::

For an Iraqi Family, "No Other Choice"

Daily Kos pointed this out:
Two hours before the dawn call to prayer, in a village still shrouded in silence, Sabah Kerbul's executioners arrived. His father carried an AK-47 assault rifle, as did his brother. And with barely a word spoken, they led the man accused by the village of working as an informer for the Americans behind a house girded with fig trees, vineyards and orange groves.

His father raised his rifle and aimed it at his oldest son.
'Sabah didn't try to escape,' said Abdullah Ali, a village resident. 'He knew he was facing his fate.'"
...
In his simple home of cement and cinder blocks, the father, Salem, nervously thumbed black prayer beads this week as he recalled a warning from village residents earlier this month. He insisted his son was not an informer, but he said his protests meant little to a village seething with anger. He recalled their threat was clear: Either he kill his son, or villagers would resort to tribal justice and kill the rest of his family in retaliation for Kerbul's role in a U.S. military operation in the village in June, in which four people were killed.
Between the guerrillas, and the tribal system, being an informer isn't exactly the safest job in Iraq. And yet, it appears that our few successes have come from them.

Yet, according to this article, we're making no real efforts to protect them.

Why aren't we? Lack of resources. Once more, we don't have enough boots on the ground. It's cost us lives, it's cost the Iraqi's security, and now it's starting to cost us our only sources of intelligence on the guerrillas.
:: Morat 9:33 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, July 31, 2003 ::

Sidestepping on Iraq

The New York Times has an interested Op-Ed up. Sidestepping on Iraq
Mr. Bush's vague and sometimes nearly incoherent answers suggested that he was either bedazzled by his administration's own mythmaking or had decided that doubts about his foreign and domestic policies could best be parried by ignoring them.
Mr. Bush will simply not engage the issue of whether his administration exaggerated the Iraqi threat in the months leading up to the American invasion. When asked whether the United States had lost credibility with the rest of the world since neither weapons of mass destruction nor a strong Al Qaeda connection had been uncovered in Iraq, the president veered off into a tour through American history and the difficulty of coming up with an Iraqi version of Thomas Jefferson. He then skidded to a halt with the announcement that 'I'm confident history will prove the decision we made to be the right decision.'
...
Given the rambling non-answers the president gave to questions about Iraq and the economy, it was interesting to hear how focused he was when someone asked how, with no opponent, he planned to spend $170 million or more on the primary. "Just watch me," Mr. Bush said concisely. There is one area in which the president's thinking is crystal clear.
Go read the whole thing. It's worth it.

:: Morat 9:57 AM :: ::

Torture and death

Tom Spencer points out
American military officials acknowledged that two prisoners captured in Afghanistan in December had been killed while under interrogation at Bagram air base north of Kabul -- reviving concerns that the US is resorting to torture in its treatment of Taliban fighters and suspected al-Qa'ida operatives.
A spokesman for the air base confirmed that the official cause of death of the two men was 'homicide', contradicting earlier accounts that one had died of a heart attack and the other from a pulmonary embolism.
The men's death certificates, made public earlier this week, showed that one captive, known only as Dilawar, 22, from the Khost region, died from 'blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease' while another captive, Mullah Habibullah, 30, suffered from blood clot in the lung that was exacerbated by a 'blunt force injury'.
Allright. Let's sum up, shall we?
  • Secret Detentions
  • Secret trials
  • Secret Courts
  • Suspects being tortured to death
Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't those things on the list of "atrocities" Saddam committed? I mean, didn't we just overthrow a government because of that? (Well, true, it was WMD to start with. But it's mass graves and torture now).

Is there anyone out there who can honestly say that America is about secret courts and people being tortured to death? Anyone?

Then why the hell are we doing it?

In three years, in just three short years, this country has changed. You look around. You take a long look around. And you ask yourself: Is this what America is all about? Is this the country I want for my children? Secret court and secret arrests and secret trials and people being tortured to death?
:: Morat 9:27 AM :: ::

American Abuses in Iraq

Best of the Blogs has a good post up on American abuses in Iraq. Permalinks are bloggered, so scroll down to "American Abuses in Iraq" (big surprise, right?)
Little by little the human rights abuse stories are making their way through the khaki wall of silence in Baghdad. We're not talking about Saddam's mass graves here. We already knew about those. We're talking about daily horrors being committed by American soldiers and occupation officials.
The post is pretty detailed, and well worth your time.

On the one hand, this sort of thing is certainly understandable. American troops are being assaulted by guerrillas at every turn. It's hard to blame them for overreacting when every hand might be an enemy.

On the other hand, this sort of behavior makes it worse, and some of the stories told are inexcusable. (Why are we raiding homes to violently arrest people who have already tried to turn themselves in?).

So, no, I don't blame the troops. And no, I don't think Saddam is some nice guy are that the Iraqis are worse off under us. I do, however, blame George Bush for failing to plan for this, and I do think that we, as Americans, should be held to a higher standard than brutal dictators.

So, yes. I'm going to bitch about American troops acting in ways I consider unworthy of America. Why? Because we're better than that. We're better than secret arrests, secret trials, and torture. We're not that kind of country, and we're not that kind of people.
:: Morat 8:56 AM :: ::

Iraq and the UN

Through the Looking Glass has a good post up today. He points out a story about India's refusal (despite some hefty bribes) to send troops without a UN mandate and a broader UN role. Then he notes India isn't alone. Germany and France won't send troops without a UN mandate either, and we're getting desperate for boots on the ground.

Then, as icing on the cake, apparently the World Bank is refusing loans to Iraq until, get this, after the country writes a Constitution and conducts National Elections.

The only thing that can save Bush from his own mistakes is the UN. You know, the people that warned him about this course of action and refused to support it.

And now that we've gone and done it, instead of letting us stew in our own mistakes, they're offering to help. Now, it's not strings free. India, Germany, and France (and many other nations, I'm guessing) aren't about to send troops into the grinder without having some serious authority of their own.

I don't blame them. If we're asking them to help us out, they've got every right to demand they get the authority to go with it.

And, frankly, Americans are pretty supportive of the UN in general. Inviting in the UN and handing this thing over gets rid of a lot of the current political downsides. And with the World Bank trying to force free elections, maybe it'll even reduce some fears about American colonialism....both here and abroad.

The only problem is George Bush himself. Everything I know about the man says he and his advisors are stubborn idealogues. Powell's the only one likely to be pushing for Bush to eat crow and invite the UN in.

I find it ironic that the UN, despised, insulted and dismissed as irrelevant by Bush, might be the only thing to save his political hide. And I find it sad that Bush's stubborn pride will probably keep him from taking their help.
:: Morat 8:31 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 ::

Flip-flop on air marshal schedules

Flip-flop on air marshal schedules
In an apparent reversal of policy, the Transportation Security Administration will immediately begin scheduling air marshals back on cross-country and international flights, MSNBC.com has learned. The move comes less than 24 hours after MSNBC.com reported that air marshals were being pulled from those flights because of budget problems associated with the costs of overnight lodging for the marshals.
Whomever approved the idiotic notion in the first place should be fired.

And then some hard questions should be asked about why we pay 4 billion a month in Iraq, but are starving airline security to the point where idiocies like this seem like a good solution.

It won't happen, of course. "They didn't have enough money because we spent it all on tax cuts and wars" doesn't really play well in Peoria.
:: Morat 1:15 PM :: ::

Iraq, Nation Building, and George

A thread over at Calpundit got me thinking on what, exactly, my objections are in Iraq, and even Afghanistan, and why they weren't as strong in the Balkans..or even Iraqi in 1991.

And, more or less, the answer is pretty simple. I don't trust George Bush or his staff to handle something as complex as nation building. I have a hard time believing they won't screw it up.

Sounds pretty partisan, eh? Well, rest assured, I don't trust Clinton, Gore, Dean or Kerry to do it either. I don't trust the US to do it, or any single nation.

And I especially don't trust them in a situation like this.

So why wasn't I as worried about the Balkans? Or the first Gulf War? Pretty simple: Multilnational action.

I expect France, or Germany, or Canada to be as self-interested as we are going into another country. I expect them to show at least as much political calculation and opportunistic thinking. Why shouldn't I? Politicians are politicians, and it's a very rare government that acts with purely altruistic motives.

I expect better from the UN, even from groups like NATO, because they represent a variety of self-interests. Ones that cancel out. If Germany wants one thing, odds are France (or the US) opposes it, and will raise a big stink about it. Several countries, all with equal stakes and authority, are going to watch each other carefully. And while the US and France might try a little quid pro quo, the odds are Germany or Canada will put the brakes on it. After all, what's in it for them?

All in all, I don't trust Bush's nation building to succeed because their are no brakes on self-interest. There are no "other parties" to say "Hey, wait a second, that's a bloody stupid idea". In business terms, in honor of our CEO President, it's like asking me to invest in a company that not only doesn't want to let it's books be audited, but has a history of poor planning, and fudging the truth.

I think the UN has a better chance of success precisely because America would be watching France like a hawk, waiting for those darn Frenchies to try something....and France would be watching us.

I hope to be wrong. There are signs, if few and far between, that the US is working out it's mistakes and moving slowly to correct them. The thing is, a lot of damage has already been done. But, had we not gone in alone, perhaps these problems might have been addressed before they happened.

There are other reasons, of course. The use of the UN would make the task itself easier. One of our biggest stumbling blocks in Iraq is that we're viewed as invaders, just there for oil or Christianity or Israel. The UN doesn't have nearly as much to overcome in that area.
:: Morat 12:35 PM :: ::

Killer D's update

Let's just put it this way: Since the courts aren't currently allowing DPS to track down and drag back rogue Democrats (and even if they were, DPS can't cross state lines), and the Democrats have thoughtfully fled to a state with a Democratic Governor and AG, the situation has degraded to the point that the Governor of New Mexico felt it necessary to remind Texas Governor Perry about the definition of kidnapping.

Specifically that it covers, say, bounty hunters hired by Perry to go to New Mexico and drag Democrats back to Texas. More importantly, implied that conspiracy to commit kidnapping would be applicable to Perry.

Does that tell you something about this mess?

In less than three years, thanks to Tom DeLay, Texas has gone from a model of bipartisanship (at least on the state level) to a state where it's believable that the GOP Governor would hire bounty hunters to kidnap Democratic Legislators and force them to Austin.

What an absolutely shitty three years it's been. I've got to hand it to the GOP. I'd personally have bet it would take a decade or more for them to do so much damage. They're considerably more efficient then I realized.
:: Morat 9:05 AM :: ::

When tax cuts kill

Memo Warns Of New Plots To Hijack Jets
The threat comes just as the federal government has started to trim the nation's new airport security agency, by cutting the number of security screeners and other resources. Just one day before the memo was distributed, an official with the undercover Federal Air Marshal Service canceled what are considered some of the most vulnerable flight missions because they required marshals to spend nights in hotels, as well as cut training for Washington-area agents next month. The official cited 'monetary considerations,' according to an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post.
I'm beginning to be impressed by the Post. They seem to have an almost uncanny ability to actually report news, on occasion, rather than (as other papers of record seem to be doing) ignore it.

Take this, for instance. I think that, especially in light of the 4 billion a month we're spending for the President's optional war, that the fact that we're canceling air marshal protection on vulnerable flights because Homeland Security doesn't have enough money is news.

Especially given the recently released warnings that more hijackings might be in the offing.

I find this a really surprising move by the Bush Administration. I mean, sure they stiffed the poor on child tax credits in order to cut taxes on the rich. Sure they're stiffing veterans to cut taxes on the rich. Sure they're stiffing everyone who isn't rich to cut taxes on the rich.

But hasn't it occurred to them that hijackers aren't going to let the first class passengers off? Or does Bush only care about those rich enough (or important enough, like Ashcroft) to fly chartered jets?
:: Morat 8:38 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 ::

Additions to the Blogroll

I've added two new blogs to the blogroll, both science blogs. The first, Pharyngula is a biology blog authored by PZ Myers. Anyone familiar with the Usenet group talk.origins, or the Talk Origins website probably recognizes PZ Myers.

The second, Uncertain Principles, is a physics and politics blog. Although, to be honest, it was the nifty physics more than the interesting political commentary that caught my eye.

Check them out.
:: Morat 12:06 PM :: ::

No Choice but Guilty

Since I wasn't disillusioned enough with my government today, I took various bloggers' advice and checked out this Washington Post article. No Choice but Guilty
Even now, after the arrests and the anger and the world media spotlight, the mystery for neighbors in this old steel town remains this: Why would six of their young men so readily agree to plead guilty to terror charges, accepting long prison terms far from home?
...
But defense attorneys say the answer is straightforward: The federal government implicitly threatened to toss the defendants into a secret military prison without trial, where they could languish indefinitely without access to courts or lawyers.

That prospect terrified the men. They accepted prison terms of 61/2 to 9 years.

"We had to worry about the defendants being whisked out of the courtroom and declared enemy combatants if the case started going well for us," said attorney Patrick J. Brown, who defended one of the accused. "So we just ran up the white flag and folded. Most of us wish we'd never been associated with this case."
I have no problems believing Ashcroft would happily threaten to move these men to a military tribunal if they didn't fold. After all, little things like legal ethics or the Constitution didn't prevent him from "forum shopping" the Sniper case, or from publicly using the death penalty as a lever to secure plea bargains.

And everyone expects him to move the 20th Hijacker to Gitmo any day now, as the Constitution keeps rudely interrupting his mock trial.

What bothers me is that Ashcroft has been in office less than 3 years. So has Bush. And we already have in place a parallel legal system with virtually no safeguards and little appeal. We have already sentenced US citizens to it's tender care. And we're now using it as a club to coerce confessions in deals in the regular justice system.

Had you asked me in 2000 if the American justice system could be perverted so far, so fast...I'd have laughed. Now? I've become so used to outrage that all I feel these days is something of a cold numbness. Nothing Bush and Ashcroft do these days shocks me.

Well, that's not true. If Bush stated he was asking the UN to take over in Iraq, that would shock me. But in all honesty...outrage has become the norm. Seeing another right, another safeguard, another little bit of America go flushing down the drain no longer surprises me.

I just feel..numb.
:: Morat 10:52 AM :: ::

More on hostages

Phil Carter at Intel Dump pointed out that we never signed Protocol I of the Geneva Convention. However:
Mark (with an assist from Atrios) cites to Art. 75 of Protocol I to the Geneva Convention, as his support for the contention that this is unlawful. Unfortunately, the U.S. has not signed Protocol I, and thus cannot be bound by it by the conventions of positivistic international law.

Of course, that's just a legal footnote about Protocol I. The U.S. did sign the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949, and it explicitly precludes hostage taking in armed conflict:

Art. 34. The taking of hostages is prohibited.

There is also a norm of international law known as 'distinction' -- which literally means distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants. This principle would probably preclude the kind of conduct conducted by COL Hogg in Iraq, since the Iraqi Lt. Gen.'s family members are unquestionably non-combatants.
Also, as best I'm aware, the actions freely described to the press violate the US Military Code of Conduct as well.

Something a Colonel in the Air Force is certainly aware of.

This is something that should be cleared up. Quickly.
:: Morat 10:39 AM :: ::

I wish..

There's a lot I wish, actually. Ranging from a whole laundry list of wishes concerning our current foreign and domestic priorities and actions, all the way down to a much smaller list of personal wants and needs.

But right now, in true selfish fashion, what I really wish is that the Pasadena school district would call my wife and tell her she got the job. Or the Deer Park school district.

Or, really, anyone. Now that she's certified (or close enough for hiring purposes) we're all looking forward to her teaching. The fact that she hasn't been hired, and school is about to start, is beginning to bug me just a bit.

:: Morat 10:25 AM :: ::

:: Monday, July 28, 2003 ::

Killer D's...official

Texas Democrats bolt again -- this time to Albuquerque
Eleven of 12 Democratic state senators abruptly left the state Capitol this afternoon and headed for Albuquerque after learning that Gov. Rick Perry was about to call a second special session on congressional redistricting.
The second special session officially began at 3:15 p.m. with congressional redistricting as the only issue in the governor's proclamation. Neither the House nor the Senate had a quorum.
One Democratic senator who asked not to be named told the Chronicle that 11 Democrats were flying this afternoon to Albuquerque, N.M.
The Senate requires two-thirds, or 21 senators, to be present to conduct business, meaning the absence of 11 senators breaks a quorum. The senator said the action was precipitated by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's decision to bypass a traditional Senate rule that requires a two-thirds vote to debate any bill.
Well, it's official. The funkiest, funnest political ride in years...now has a sequel. And like any good sequel, it boasts twice the thrills.

:: Morat 2:38 PM :: ::

Killer D's...on steroids.

According to Off the Kuff:
According to the Quorum Report, the House Democrats have also vamoosed. This is going to get out of hand in short order.
What happens next? According to the Quorum Report, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst will 'put out a call on missing Democrats', which I'm guessing means an announcement that if they come back now, he'll pretend nothing happened, and if they don't, he'll take whatever steps are at his disposal to bring them back. He only needs one, after all. Judge Charles Campbell is expected to rule shortly whether or not Dewhurst can use DPS to find them.
If Campbell rules that DPS is off limits, I can't really see what Dewhurst can reasonably do. I doubt he'll send out bounty hunters, though at this point I'm leery to make any unqualified remark. If DPS is in play, then I'd expect this to be over quickly, though the apparent re-disappearance of the House Dems greatly complicates things.
The Democratic Senators, at least the minimum 11, have left. The Democratic House members appear to have gone too. August is going to be an interesting month.
:: Morat 1:49 PM :: ::

Long Weekend

It's been a long weekend, so don't expect too much out of me today. Not unless something truly amazing happens. For the most part, I'm still trying to wake up. It's nearly 2:00, I've been at work for hours, and I'm not exactly awake.

On the other hand, the fact that my work, at the moment, consists of redoing the last three weeks of effort in order to comply with new rules might have something to do with it.

I'm rarely Mr. Motivated to begin with, but the prospect of redoing work that's already been done, well...you can imagine.

:: Morat 11:54 AM :: ::

Oh god...

Atrios pointed this out. U.S. Adopts Aggressive Tactics on Iraqi Fighters (washingtonpost.com)
Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: 'If you want your family released, turn yourself in.' Such tactics are justified, he said, because, 'It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info.' They would have been released in due course, he added later.
The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.
We just took hostages. By absolutely any definition, we took innocents hostage.

Is there any part of the Geneva Convention we won't break?

I find my illusions about the nobility, professionalism and character of this country starting to shatter rapidly. Could we please elect someone else while I still have things I can love about this country?
:: Morat 8:51 AM :: ::

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