"But the developments in Iraq do not appear to have reshaped the presidential race in any discernible way. If the election were held today, 46 percent of registered voters would vote for Kerry and 44 percent for Bush, the poll found. With Nader in the race, Bush would get 43 percent, Kerry 41 percent and Nader 5 percent, suggesting that nearly all of Nader's support comes from voters who would otherwise back the Democrat."
I can find no good reason why Ralph Nader is running- and, worse, why an estimated 5% would vote for him.




Typo, or a crack in the system?
A direct quote from the International Herald Tribune:

"'I was shocked at how much political capital Bush is trying to make out of 9/$ 11,' Graham said. 'But I found it kind of interesting that Johnson was using the same kind of technique against a Republican.'"

IHT: Scientists take a peek into voters' brains

The Onion, even

"BAGHDAD—With little more than two months remaining until the American-led occupation force hands sovereignty to an interim government, Iraqi citizens are joyfully arming themselves in anticipation of independence.

'Saddam is overthrown! Praise Allah! Iraq is ours once more!' Baghdad native Alaa al-Khawaja said, as he busily shoved boxes of 7.62mm ammunition beneath the bed in his two-room home on the outskirts of Baghdad. 'Now is the time for all citizens to prepare for our nation's glorious future—a future certain to contain wave after bloody wave of sectarian violence.'"

The Onion | Iraqis Arming Selves For Independence

Somebody save us

"Those who want disarmament say Israel's very existence is no longer under threat, and they say the presence of an Israeli nuclear stockpile, real or perceived, is destabilizing because it promotes an arms race among Arab nations.

'For us it really is a matter of to be or not to be. It is not a simple scope. And everyone that knows Israel knows that Israel is so far from being aggressive,' says Peres."



Why not?

I see absolutely no reason why negotiations simply could not occur with Osama bin Laden. The man makes his first respectable idea ever and the world immediatly disdains him even more. say, invte him to the White House, talk about the lack of good new movies, and try to figure out what we can do to stop people getting killed. If he is still adamant that all Americans should die, then we can arrest him and send him to Gitmo or whatever.
His concept of a "truce" with Europe is a huge change in his ideology. Instead of being determined to conquer everywhere that Muslims have ever stepped foot- basically from Pakistan to Spain, or thereabouts- he is beginning to back down. Talking (that means, yes, negotiating with terrorists) is a heck of a lot better than shooting at Al-Qaeda and whatever srings up to take its place- and having the favor of flying metal and exploded civilians returned.



Iraqi Oil

The American public- including liberals- has forgotten about the huge oil fields in Iraq. Besides ADD, why?
Today, right now, there could easily be several thousand- if not million- barrels of oil being shipped out of Iraq. Even though the US (rather obviously demonstrated on CNN) does not even come close to having true control of Iraq, we do certainly have control of the oil fields. And, if the order came from the top to protect the oil pipes and the shipping centers and the rest of the hose to American SUVs, it would be done quickly, simply, and with very little fuss.
But we don't want that oil being exported and a few dimes winding up in Iraqi hands. Instead, the administration can afford to drive up gas prices at home- no one who votes cares. Instead, all of the oil buried under the bloody sands, the amount of which is estimated to be equal to the combined reserves of Russia, the United States, China, and Mexico, is going to be saved for later so that no one's dinner is spoiled by too many cookies. When Saudi Arabia suddenly finds that their geologists were a little happy in their estimates of huge untapped reservoirs, the US could step in, instantly undercutting the extraordinary prices of whatever is left of OPEC.
It doesn't matter how many US troops get killed or how many times the Green Zone is hit by mortars this year in Iraq- the oil will still be there, waiting.

My first original post in a while, partially inspired by Mother Jones. I still think that the Administration has been underestimated by everyone- Rove certainly still has some tricks up his sleeve. Their leader is invincible, their record seemingly spotless, and no one cares about dead Americans anymore- these things just happen.

Electronic Voting

"In 1992, investment banker Chuck Hagel, president of McCarthy & Co, became chairman of AIS. Hagel, who had been touted as a possible Senate candidate in 1993, was again on the list of likely GOP contenders heading into the 1996 contest. In January of 1995, while still chairman of ES&S, Hagel told the Omaha World-Herald that he would likely make a decision by mid-March of 1995. On March 15, according to a letter provided by Hagel's Senate staff, he resigned from the AIS board, noting that he intended to announce his candidacy. A few days later, he did just that.

A little less than eight months after steppind down as director of AIS, Hagel surprised national pundits and defied early polls by defeating Benjamin Nelson, the state's popular former governor. It was Hagel's first try for public office. Nebraska elections officials told The Hill that machines made by AIS probably tallied 85 percent of the votes cast in the 1996 vote, although Nelson never drew attention to the connection. Hagel won again in 2002, by a far healthier margin. That vote is still angrily disputed by Hagel's Democratic opponent, Charlie Matulka, who did try to make Hagel's ties to ES&S an issue in the race and who asked that state elections officials conduct a hand recount of the vote. That request was rebuffed, because Hagel's margin of victory was so large."

Mother Jones


"If anyone took the time to interest himself in the troubles of others, he encountered an ironic spectacle: the Americans have supplanted us in the headlines. Their air force carried out targeted assassinations, letting the chips of civilian casualties fly where they may as they lop off the arm of terror. In a confusion of historic images, the Iraqi quagmire was dipped into the Lebanese quicksand with a touch of Vietnam jungle… [T]he peak of the coordination between [Israel and the United States] is the current situation, in which for the last few years we have been witnessing a kind of Israelization -- or Sharonization -- of America: in its attitude toward the threats of terrorism, America is talking and behaving in Iraq like the last of the hawks on the Israeli General Staff. Instead of giving Jerusalem an example of political daring, Washington has become a huge version of the Israeli army's ‘we'll show them' approach. Sharon's visit there next week will look almost like the hosting of the aged mentor by his slightly maladroit disciple."

And in the coming weeks as we launch our "offensive" to retake urban Iraq, we're bound to see more of the same.

From Mother Jones

Won't say this is a good idea

"An ad placed in a Florida community newspaper by a city Democratic club attacks President Bush and U.S. policy in Iraq, and threatens Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The ad says of Rumsfeld, 'We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say, 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger.'"


Bright Lights can lead to Confusion

"But one question for which Bush was evidently not prepared invited him to name his biggest mistake since 9/11.

'I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it,' Bush joked before taking a long pause.
'I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet.'...
'I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one,' Bush concluded."



NSA is hiring

"The highly secretive National Security Agency is looking to hire 7,500 workers over the next five years in the spy agency's largest recruiting campaign since the 1980s....
Law enforcement officials have said that among the millions of intercepts the NSA gathered on September 10, 2001, were two Arabic-language messages that warned of a major event the next day. The Arabic messages were not translated until September 12."
I should apply.


Happy Easter

Pope John Paul:
"May the culture of life and love render vain the logic of death."


Jimmy Carter Speaks

In an interview with the American Prospect:

"First of all, we worship the prince of peace, not war. And those of us who have advocated for the resolution of international conflict in a peaceful fashion are looked upon as being unpatriotic, branded that way by right-wing religious groups, the Bush administration, and other Republicans.

Secondly, Christ was committed to compassion for the most destitute, poor, needy, and forgotten people in our society. Today there is a stark difference [between conservative ideology and Christian teaching] because most of the people most strongly committed to the Republican philosophy have adopted the proposition that help for the rich is the best way to help even poor people (by letting some of the financial benefits drip down to those most deeply in need). I would say there has been a schism drawn -- on theology and practical politics and economics between the two groups."
American Prospect Online


"Military leaders have begun thinking about a very different kind of transformation. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, plans to close several air-defense and artillery batteries and shift tens of thousands of soldiers into jobs as military police personnel, engineers and civil-affairs officers, thus reversing the process of shedding noncombat forces that began in the aftermath of Vietnam. Schoomaker has also suggested that rather than spending a summer training with the active military, West Point cadets live with a family abroad and learn a foreign language and culture."
The New York Times Magazine


Condi Lies

I mean, "testifies."

"Rice also sparred with Kerrey, who took issue with Rice's repeatedly quoting Bush that he was 'tired of swatting at flies' and that he demanded a more comprehensive strategy to attack the terrorist network.

Kerrey said there was no U.S. response to the October 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors, an attack blamed on al Qaeda.

'What fly had he swatted?' asked Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska. 'We only swatted a fly once, on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterwards. How the heck could he be tired?'

Rice responded that the president meant that the United States should do more than just respond to individual terrorists."


Another Israel?

"Marines control 25 percent of Fallujah, a city of 200,000 people, Byrne said.

The country's most respected Shiite leader, silent until Wednesday, called for all sides to stop fighting.

'Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani condemned the methods used by occupation forces in the current escalating situation in Iraq... . We also condemn assaults on public and private property, and any action that disturbs order and prevents officials from carrying out their duties,' a statement said.

The U.S.-appointed Governing Council condemned the violence and denounced al-Sadr."



Gmail: Google Expands Even More

"Let's make some guesses about how one might build a Gmail.

Hotmail has 60 million users. Gmail's design should be comparable, and should scale to 100 million users. It will only have to support a couple of million in the first year though.

The most obvious challenge is the storage. You can't lose people's email, and you don't want to ever be down, so data has to be replicated. RAID is no good; when a disk fails, a human needs to replace the bad disk, or there is risk of data loss if more disks fail. One imagines the old ENIAC technician running up and down the isles of Google's data center with a shopping cart full of spare disk drives instead of vacuum tubes. RAID also requires more expensive hardware -- at least the hot swap drive trays. And RAID doesn't handle high availability at the server level anyway.

No. Google has 100,000 servers."