:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Saturday, January 31, 2004 ::

I Feel Stupid

I was talking one of my friends through her bf problems last night and ended up staying up much later than I had wanted to (note the 4am post from earlier today). I ended up sleeping through the Fencing tournament I was supposed to go to. I REALLY wanted to go to it. I can't believe I missed it. I'm so disappointed in myself.

:: The Squire 9:05 PM :: email this post :: ::


He's Been Lax In His Duties

I made my Eagle back in August of 2002. On all previous Eagle Scout cards and Certificates had the current President of the United States of America's signature on them. I got mine back, and G.W.Bush's John Hancock wasn't on it. Also, it is traditional for someone in the new Eagle's troop to notify VIPs of the new Eagle's status. The White House, of course, was notified, but didn't send me the traditional letter. Apparently, from what I've heard, no Eagle has gotten a letter from the White House correspondance office since September 11th. I mean, it's not like Eagle Scouts are devious people whose opinions must be shielded from the President. We're bloody EAGLE SCOUTS. It does the President no good to piss off potential constituants by not following through on his duities.

I'm still waiting for my letter, Mr. President.

:: The Squire 4:03 AM :: email this post :: ::


Speaking of Black Helicoptering

The number 19, apparently fleeing from indentured servitude at Seasame Street, has been found on Mars.

But what does it mean? Chillingly, according to numerologists, the numbers 1 and 9 transpose into the letters AI. Co-incidence? We think not.

We can now say with absolute certainty that Mars was previously inhabited by super-intelligent machine beings which, for reasons unknown but probably related to a lack of any decent nightlife on that distant world, came to Earth where they are now running the UK's rail network and teaching cybernetics at Reading University.

:: The Squire 12:07 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, January 30, 2004 ::

Good News From Mars, For Once

Spirit's up and running again, and Opportunity's probably found Grey Hematite, a mineral that usually forms in the presence of liquid water. I say usually 'cos NASA hasn't confirmed it yet - mainly they're double and triple checking the data to make damn sure they're right before announcing it.

:: The Squire 10:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


About Bloody Time

CNN, and by extension the rest of the mainstream media, has finally picked up on the domestic-terrorism story of William Krar that Dave Neiwert has been blogging about for the past couple months.

A raid in April found nearly two pounds of a cyanide compound and other chemicals that could create enough poisonous gas to kill everyone inside a space as large as a big-chain bookstore or a small-town civic center.

Authorities also discovered nearly half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases, plus pamphlets on how to make chemical weapons, and anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-government books.

The findings have led to one of the most extensive domestic-terrorism investigations since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

I could comment on timing, but that'd just be an exercize in black helicoptering.

:: The Squire 10:24 PM :: email this post :: ::


Reason To Vote Democratic

There's no such thing as a good piece of elephant.

:: The Squire 12:20 AM :: email this post :: ::


Pursuant To The Negotiation Breakdown, Buzz Lightyear and Snow White Filed For Divorce Today

Pixar and Disney are splitsville:

Pixar Animation Studios Inc. said Thursday it ended talks with Walt Disney Co. to extend a five-picture deal for Disney to distribute Pixar films.

Pixar, the computer animation pioneer founded by Apple Computer Inc.'s Steve Jobs, said it would begin talks with other companies to distribute its films starting in 2006.

"After ten months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we're moving on," Pixar CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. "We've had a great run together -- one of the most successful in Hollywood history -- and it's a shame that Disney won't be participating in Pixar's future successes."

The move was a clear setback to Disney, which reaped a financial and critical bonanza from the partnership and has struggled with its own strategy for animation.

Disney, whose animation is currently CRAP, must've been too much of a dead weight to Pixar. I look forward to Pixar possibly exceeding Dreamworks as it will no longer be constrained by being forced to focus on a primarily younger audience.

:: The Squire 12:13 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, January 29, 2004 ::

Since When

Does the '80s constitute "Classic Rock?"

:: The Squire 10:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


Hey, Waddaya Know

Apparently, since I first connected my computer to the net the beginning of my freshman semester, Winamp has been completely revised twice. It's gone from Winamp3 to Winamp5.1, and really, the new version is a helluvalot better.

:: The Squire 7:48 PM :: email this post :: ::


I Think They've Given Up

Most of the sidewalks around the Sixpack are unshoveled - my guess is that they're waithing for the snow to stop before trying to dig everyone out.

:: The Squire 4:50 PM :: email this post :: ::


My Father Stands Vindicated

His position was, and is, that all high school students, no matter where they are, are scum.

People who flee urban schools in pursuit of more wholesome settings may be surprised by this report card: Suburban students engage in just as much sex, drugs and fighting as city kids do.

"The desks may be newer, the paint may be fresher and the faces may be whiter, but the students are just as likely to have sex, use controlled substances and break the law," says the report released Wednesday by The Manhattan Institute, a New York-based conservative think tank.

I went to a private high school, and even there alcohol use and premarital sex were rampant. Teens are teens and teens are scum. That's all there is to it.

:: The Squire 2:33 PM :: email this post :: ::


Bitter Economist

One Line sums this one up:

I'll stop calling this administration "Orwellian" when they stop using 1984 as an operations manual.

:: The Squire 2:27 PM :: email this post :: ::


WMD, Where Are You?

Hesiod's been blogging up a storm over the WMD/Intelligence issue. I suggest starting here and then scrolling up to the more recent posts. I'll admit that Hesiod's a fringe member of the Black Helicopter Brigade, but he still makes some decent points.

:: The Squire 2:25 PM :: email this post :: ::


How Hard Can It Be?

The 21 Quad came by THREE TIMES in the time I was waiting for the 26 Pack. THREE TIMES. I was there for over fifteen minutes waiting for a bus that should run every five. It's way too cold out to have that kind of service on campus.

:: The Squire 2:13 PM :: email this post :: ::


New Links

On the left you'll see a link for Wikipedia, a free, collaborative online encyclopaedia (much like the Earth Edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which has also been added at left). Both have informative - and in the case of the latter, often irreverent - articles on just about everything under the sun. The Guide also can be quite fun to explore as a waste of time.

:: The Squire 4:54 AM :: email this post :: ::


To Quote C3P0, "We're Doomed."

El Reg reports that the MyDoom virus is the worst ever.

MyDoom attempts to spread via email and by copying itself to any available shared directories used by Kazaa. Emails have variable subject and attachment names and originate from spoofed email addresses.

Infected attachments have double extensions (e.g. .txt.pif or .htm.zip) in a ploy designed to disguise their hostile payload.

MessageLabs reckons this ploy is a major reason behind the rapid spread of the worm, but there may be additional reasons to consider.

Sneakily, MyDoom avoids sending itself to the email addresses of government departments or the military, in a possible move designed to avoid early detection.

As always, ladies and gents, remember to update your definition files and to never, ever open an email attachment unless you know for damn sure what's in it.

:: The Squire 4:49 AM :: email this post :: ::



For those wondering what I do with my nonexistant free time, here's a series of FAQs on Fencing.

:: The Squire 2:17 AM :: email this post :: ::


Do We REALLY Need All This?

Why are there so many weblog directories? They're not very informative - in fact, most are little more than lists. Besides, the only directories I ever get any regular traffic from are the "Recently Updated Blogs" column at Blogger.com and Weblogs.com. All the others do is clutter up the Google search for the site. When I google this blog I'm looking for links from other blogs and websites that have a point, not a mere arrow pointing back at me. The other directories are just noise.

:: The Squire 1:43 AM :: email this post :: ::


They're Mad As Hell...

Brad Delong explains (eloquently, as always) why his fellow economists and himself are no longer the centrist, bipartisan people they once were.

We worked very hard for years to repair the damage that Ronald Reagan and company had done to America's fisc. We strained every nerve and muscle to find politically-possible and popularly-palatable ways to close the deficit, and put us in a position in which we can at least begin to think about the generational long-run problems of financing the retirement of the baby-boom generation and dealing with the rapidly-rising capabilities and costs of medicine. We saw a potential fiscal train wreck far off in the future, and didn't ignore it, didn't shrug our shoulders, didn't assume that it would be someone else's problem, but rolled up our sleeves and set to work.

Then the Bush people come in. And in two and a half years they trash the place. They trash the place deliberately. They trash the place casually. They trash the place gleefully. They undo our work for no reason at all--just for the hell of it.

Before Bush the Lesser, both parties were, in economists eyes at least, equally uninformed and single-minded when it came to fiscal policies. Things have changed, and so have the economists.

:: The Squire 1:30 AM :: email this post :: ::


Addition To The Site

By now you've probably noticed the MoveOn.org mini-banner nestled in the links on the left side of the page. It's location was chosen by me as the most aestetically pleasing, but if you read it or click on it (it's not an ad, it's a PSA) you'll see why it's there. Since it deals with MoveOn's attempt to place an ad during the Superbowl, it obviously has a limited period of relevance, and once it has outlived that timeframe I'll remove it. If I run across any more small spots like that one in the future, though, I won't be hesitant to put it on the site.

:: The Squire 12:47 AM :: email this post :: ::


Local Politics

David Gill, an ER doc from Clinton, is running for Congress around these parts as a Democrat.

:: The Squire 12:37 AM :: email this post :: ::


I May Regret This

I have just done something that may eventually become a bad idea: I've agreed, in principle, to take an active role in shaping the UIUC College Democrats weblog. Hopefully I can pull off a Kos-like stunt (or, even better, a Political State Report level effort) and get many other people to post on the blog so that all I have to do is make sure nothing bad/stupid happens. We'll see how it turns out.

:: The Squire 12:25 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 ::

Hurry Up And Wait

I'm registered in the Psych 100 subject pool, but there aren't any experiments yet for me to participate in.

:: The Squire 1:40 AM :: email this post :: ::


Theocrats Next Door

Via David Appell I've learned that the Missouri legislature is trying to madate Intelligent Design be included in the science curriculum. St. Louis Today has a very accurate editorial damning such a decision.

Scientific theories are based on evidence and observation. Science excludes from consideration that which cannot be measured, observed or known. Every scientific theory is subject to revision. Even the best theory is only good until a new set of facts proves it inadequate, and then it must be supplanted by another theory. Intelligent design is based on theological certainty and can't be revised. It argues that life is "irreducibly complex" and must therefore be the product of an intelligent designer, aka God. But that begs the question: How can that theory be tested against empirical observation? What can it tell us about future observations?

Critics of evolution shrilly argue that the theory is "atheistic." Not everyone with strong religious views agrees. "New knowledge has led us to realize that the theory of evolution is no longer a mere hypothesis," one such person said in 1996.

But what does Pope John Paul II know about science and religion?

:: The Squire 1:26 AM :: email this post :: ::


An Interesting Development

Bob Novak, the very twerp BushCo used to destroy Valerie Plame's cover, has had a criminal assault complaint filed against him for attacking a man who called him a traitor. I wonder if he'll get off or if he'll actually pay the penalty for his action like a lowly mortal.

:: The Squire 1:01 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 ::

The Quotable Roommate

Me: Tuesdays and Fridays are they days the restock these [ice cream].

Roommate: No thanks, I've been trying to avoid the sweets since I've got back, and it's working pretty well. I haven't had much besides water and beer since I got back.

Me: As if beer's any good for you.

Roommate: Exactly.

:: The Squire 11:51 PM :: email this post :: ::


Primary Blogs

Daily Kos, after spending most of the past few months being pro-Dean has now written the man off. Atrios, like myself, doesn't think this is a wise thing to do. Hesiod agrees and goes so far as to do a minor bit of black helicoptering and says that the media wants Dean out so that they can go back to ignoring the Democrats and better obey their corporate Republican masters.

James Capozzola switched his allegiance from Kucinich to Kerry, while Dave Appell, as a New Hampshire resident, voted for Dean. Dave's also of the opinion that the status of first primary state should rotate between bunches of states and shouldn't be New Hampshire's static privilege. Josh Marshall was at Dean's party and was reporting that Dean's staff wasn't overjoyed but also weren't overly worried either.

The Onion was covering the Republican primary and has some decent coverage.

:: The Squire 11:26 PM :: email this post :: ::


Party On With The College Dems

Was at Legends bar watching the New Hampshire returns come in. Lieberman said some crap about being in a three-way tie for third. I dunno what returns he was seeing, but 6,000+ votes and 3% between you and the guy ahead of you does NOT count as a tie. Elections don't have margins of error. Lieberman just needs to drop out and narrow the field to four major candidates. The CNN pundits were also saying that Dean's second place was bad for him, but I'm not so sure. Yeah, Vermont's right next door, but so is Massachusetts (where Kerry's a senator), and most of New Hampshire's part of Boston's media market. Coming back as far as he did this week, I think Dean did what he had to in order to stay alive. Had Edwards or Clark overtaken Dean then he'd be out of the race. Instead, Dean lives to see Super Tuesday. Clark and Edwards virtually tied, which was good for Edwards, but not so great for Clark. Edwards is out of his region, so not too terribly much was expected for him (and he had some ground he could give after his out-of-nowhere finish in Iowa). Clark, though, had sat out of Iowa to concentrate on New Hampshire and really he should've had a tad more than 13% to show for it. Because of their tie, though, neither Clark nor Edwards will get delegates (didn't break the 15% barrier), reducing Clark's 1% edge into a mere beauty contest victory. So as it stands now Kerry gets 13 Delegates from New Hampshire while Dean gets another 9 from the state.

:: The Squire 10:53 PM :: email this post :: ::


Move To The Back Of The $%&*ing Bus!

The CTA now has nicer ways of reminding passengers to be courteous and polite.

:: The Squire 3:45 PM :: email this post :: ::


GOP: Party Of Morality ::Gag::

Emma gets some things straightened out thanks to the moral paragons that are the Republican Party.

:: The Squire 3:36 PM :: email this post :: ::


Dean Screams For Ice Cream

Slate has a bunch of political cartoons (mostly vicious) portaying Dean, though my favorite is the last one on this page.

:: The Squire 3:12 PM :: email this post :: ::


Get Him Into A 12-Step

Kos has a Poll problem:

Update: MSNBC will supposedly release their early exit poll numbers at 4 p.m. I'm kind of turned off at the thought of releasing exit poll numbers before the polls close, but as an addict, I crave them NOW!

Apparently the 1pm polls show Kerry and Dean neck-and-neck (and statistically tied), with Clark and Edwards tied for third. If you're in New Hampshire, get your ass out and vote for your guy.

:: The Squire 2:49 PM :: email this post :: ::


Forseeing Your Doom

Apparently the MyDoom virus, which I reported on earlier, has become so prevalent that 1 in 12 emails right now are currently being generated by the worm. If you get a email that says it won't display in ASCII, DON'T OPEN IT. This worm is also sinister because it'll choose an email address from the infected computer's address book and use that as the "From:" address, so just 'cos you got a virus email from someone doesn't mean that they're the one who sent it - most likely a mutual acquantance sent the email.

:: The Squire 2:41 PM :: email this post :: ::


Is It The Return Of The "Me, Al Franken" Decade?

Saving the world (or at least our sanity) from marginal presidential candidates in New Hampshire:

Followers of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche interrupted a campaign event for Dean on Monday in Manchester, New Hampshire, before being drowned out by his supporters and removed from the room with the assistance of author-commentator Al Franken. They screamed that Dean is "a liar" and not a Democrat. They said the only candidates telling the truth are LaRouche and Kerry.

Also in the same article: Dean tells Kerry to "stop whining."

The Massachusetts senator has accused Dean of running a negative campaign in recent days by questioning his 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq and his decision to vote against the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which Dean supported.

"I was the front-runner in this race for a long time. Everybody threw everything they could at me," Dean told CNN's "American Morning."

"One of the things John will have to learn as a front-runner is (to) stop whining when people say something different about him."

If you're reading this in New Hampshire (Ha! As if!) and you haven't voted yet, go out and do so. If you don't vote in the primary, you have no right to bitch when you think the Democratic nominee isn't worth the chad you punched out of your ballot in November.

:: The Squire 2:24 PM :: email this post :: ::


Common Names

Listening to the Boob Tube, I've found out that apparently there's a local car dealer named Bob Barker. Shouldn't he be on The Price Is Right? Or does his usual car-dealer scams get him out of doing a stint on the show? Either way, he's on the wrong station - the ad I heard was on the Discovery Channel.

I'd love to take a test drive there, though, if they had some of the girls from the show bring out the cars. :-P

:: The Squire 1:45 AM :: email this post :: ::


Clark Surges Ahead

The first two small hamlets in New Hampshire have cast and tallied their votes and Clark won both of them. Not that it means anything - the early primaries are probably the entire PR those towns ever get and there appears to be less than 30 voters in each town.

:: The Squire 1:41 AM :: email this post :: ::



Krugman lays out why the federal government is running an enormous deficit.
According to cleverly misleading reports from the Heritage Foundation and other like-minded sources, the deficit is growing because Mr. Bush isn't sufficiently conservative: he's allowing runaway growth in domestic spending. This myth is intended to divert attention from the real culprit: sharply reduced tax collections, mainly from corporations and the wealthy...

Of course, most people don't feel that their taxes have fallen sharply. And they're right: taxes that fall mainly on middle-income Americans, like the payroll tax, are still near historic highs. The decline in revenue has come almost entirely from taxes that are mostly paid by the richest 5 percent of families: the personal income tax and the corporate profits tax. These taxes combined now take a smaller share of national income than in any year since World War II...

What's playing out in America right now is the bait-and-switch strategy known on the right as "starve the beast." The ultimate goal is to slash government programs that help the poor and the middle class, and use the savings to cut taxes for the rich. But the public would never vote for that.

So the right has used deceptive salesmanship to undermine tax enforcement and push through upper-income tax cuts. And now that deficits have emerged, the right insists that they are the result of runaway spending, which must be curbed.

As always, it's a good idea to read the whole thing. Crappy fiscal policies like this is why you'll be hard-pressed to find a well-known economist who supports the administration's plans.

:: The Squire 1:26 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, January 26, 2004 ::

Aaron McGruder Had It Coming

P.A.T. spoofed The Boondocks.

:: The Squire 11:16 PM :: email this post :: ::


It'll Be Your Doom If You Open That Email

A very sneakily socially engineered computer worm is making the rounds.

UPDATE: El Reg has more on the virus.

:: The Squire 10:44 PM :: email this post :: ::


Take That BushCo!

Part of the Patriot Act has been declared unconstitutional. While not one of the parts more immediately dangerous to my own civil liberties, it's a foot in the door to take down this heinous legislation.

:: The Squire 10:42 PM :: email this post :: ::


Different Topic, Same Good Journalism

Dave Neiwert, after a piss-poor performance by NBC's journalists, posts more facts about the Bush AWOL issue.

:: The Squire 6:16 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, January 25, 2004 ::


My Seti@Home client has processed it's 200th data unit. Me so proud.

:: The Squire 11:29 PM :: email this post :: ::


I'm So Proud ::Tear::

One of the guys on the floor sent everyone this email:
Message: RESUME of
George W. Bush
The White House, USA


I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in
1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol.

I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's
license suspended for 30 days.

My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is


I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went

I refused to take a drug test or answer any
questions about my drug use.

By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was
able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.


I graduated from Yale University with a low C

I was a cheerleader.


I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.

I began my career in the oil business in
Texas, in 1975.

I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any
oil in Texas.

The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold
all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in
a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer

With the help of my father and our right-wing
friends in the oil industry
(including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected
governor of Texas.


I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power
and oil companies, making
Texas the most polluted state in the Union.

During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles
the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury
to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any
governor in Ameri can history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of
Florida,and my father's appointments to the
Supreme Court,I became President after losing by
over 500,000 votes.


I am the first President in U.S. history to enter
office with a criminal record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a
continuing cost of over one billion dollars per

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively
bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual
deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private
bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures
in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop
the history of the U.S. stock market.

In my first year in office, over 2 million
Americans lost their jobs
and that trend continues every month.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are
the richest of any administration in U.S.
history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza
Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign
fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.

I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder
for receiving the most corporate campaign

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and
one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided
over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in
U.S. History, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and
corporate attorneys to assure my success with
U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and
Halliburton against investigation
or prosecution. More time and money was
spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair
than has been spent investigating one
of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in
U.S.history and refused to intervene when
corruption involving the oil industry was

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted
criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to
administration than any President in
U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security,
the largest bureaucracy in the
history of the United States government.

I've broken more international treaties than
any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have
the United Nations remove the U.S. from the
Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspectors access to U.S.
"prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have
refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse
United Nations election inspectors (during the
2002 U.S. election).

I set the record for fewest number of press conferences
of any President since the advent of television.

I set the the all-time record for most days on
vacation in any one-year period.

After taking off the entire month of August, I
presided over the worst security failure in U.S.

I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after
the World Trade Center attacks and less than a
year later made the U.S. the most hated country
in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in

I have set the all-time record for most people
worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public
venues (15 million people),shattering the record
for protest against any person in the history of

I am t he first President in U.S. history to
order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the
military occupation of asovereign nation. I
did so against the will of the United Nations,
the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans
and support a cut in duty benefits for active
duty troops and their families --in war time.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about
our reasons for attacking Iraq, then blamed the
lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a
majority of Europeans (71%)
view my "presidency as the biggest threat to
world peace and security." this is an actual
quote by the mayor of London, Ken Livingston.

I am supporting development of a nuclear
"Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring
Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein to justice.


All records of my tenure as governor o f Texas
are now in my father's library, sealed and
unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my
insider trading and my bankrupt companies are
sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or
my Vice-President, attended regarding public
energy policy are sealed in secrecy and
unavailable for public review.



While I oppose spam, I have no compunctions against posting this on my website. It's been going round the net for a while, I know, but it's still good (and apparently it's been updated since the last time I came across it.)

:: The Squire 11:03 PM :: email this post :: ::


So I'm Curious

Who it is who drops in here and has Comcast as their ISP. Either its a bunch of people checking infrequently, or I have a regular reader whom I don't know. If Comcast IS your ISP, please drop me a line at the linked email address above so I can sate my curiosity. Thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

:: The Squire 10:49 PM :: email this post :: ::


Bit Chilly In Here

Brad Delong posts his top ten list of people who, in his opinion, did the most to end the Cold War - and Ronnie Reagan (quite correctly) isn't one of them. Suprisingly, I didn't know three of them. Brad does favor the economic efforts a bit, but then again he's an economist, so he's allowed some leeway.

:: The Squire 10:41 PM :: email this post :: ::


Dumbing Down Our Psycologists

In my Psych textbook (Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, and Roy. Psychology Sixth Edition. Houghton Mifflin: New York 2003) is a painful simplification of molecular genetics. The most heinous crime the text commits is not only depicting nuclear DNA as being condensed for mitosis (which it isn't) but also as, somehow, having the chromatid of a mitotic chromosome composed of two chromosomes, one from each parent. What really pisses me off is that this diagram is from a 1994 issue of Time magazine and not any real scientifically accurate publication. It's bad enough that a major periodical screwed up basic molecular biology, but such inaccuracies appearing in a college textbook is simply inexcusable. Who knows how many countless English majors have seen this diagram in the text and were led astray from the truth of what exists inside every cell? The unclean masses need to have bad science kept away from them, not touted as the truth.

UPDATE: I suppose I should note that the offending illustration is on page A-2.

:: The Squire 4:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


This Is Insane!

Apparently there are already more bars in downtown Champaign than there are in Campustown - and apparently the city council's suprised that they're starting to have frat guys bleed over there. If the frat guys are going that far for their booze then they need to have an additional liquor license or two in Campustown. Besides, who do they think is going to go to any new downtown bars anyway, besides Greeks?

:: The Squire 3:43 PM :: email this post :: ::


Musical Interlude

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys in ev'ry store,
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.
A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen;
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
There's a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Problem is, it's almost February.

:: The Squire 2:19 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, January 24, 2004 ::

Dude, That Blows

Man hit and killed by a car mere hours after winning lotto.

:: The Squire 11:36 PM :: email this post :: ::


And For A While I Thought I Might Be Voting A Split-Ticket

But then the local Greens lost their case to run for local elections.

:: The Squire 4:33 PM :: email this post :: ::


"He Wants Democrats To Sound Like Democrats!"



If you are, go watch this mock political ad making use of Dean's Iowa speech and the following "Rebel Yell" (or "Barbaric Yawp" if you're an Atrios reader/Whitman fan).

My roommate and I agree that this ad needs to be redone (get the rights to the Mudvayne song and do something about the "bitches" line to get it past the FCC) and put on MTV and Spike. This ad simply HAS to be seen by college students.

As one of Atrios's commenters said, "If this becomes the latest internet sport, then this whole thing would become more an embarassment to the crazy, angry media than to [Dean]." And craze it's becoming - there's already tons of "Rebel Yell" remixes going round the net.

(Links thanks to Atrios.)

By the way, has anyone else stumbled onto the thought that if the yell had been an octave or two lower, there'd be photoshopped pictures of Dean in pirate suits going round the net now?

UPDATE: It helps to actually link to the ad in question.

:: The Squire 4:09 PM :: email this post :: ::


It's All Greek To Me

Hesiod took a passage from a speech by Xerxes and substituted some words to make it a bit more timely.

:: The Squire 3:41 PM :: email this post :: ::


I've Noticed

That site traffic goes way down over weekends.

:: The Squire 12:53 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, January 23, 2004 ::

I Scream, You Scream

Now available for puchase at your nearest URH Late Night Ala Carte location: pints of Hagen Daas ice cream!

:: The Squire 10:52 PM :: email this post :: ::


It Finaly Rears Its Ugly Head

Apparently at the recent Democratic debate Peter Jennings let it slip that there are (quite substantiated) accusations of Bush being AWOL for over a year while he was a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. Dave Neiwert rounds up the topic the best of anyone I've seen yet, so you can go read more about it at his site.

:: The Squire 10:51 PM :: email this post :: ::


Black Helicopters, Vince Foster, NWO, September 11th, and Republican Staffers

Dave Neiwert has an exhaustive post on the differences between conspiracies and conspiracy theories and on how current trends are to discredit real concerns of the left by calling them conspiracy theories.

:: The Squire 2:36 PM :: email this post :: ::


Spirit In The Sky

The Mars rover Spirit is now occasionally talking to its parents.

:: The Squire 2:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


An Auspicious Start

I've already slept through one class this semester.

:: The Squire 2:32 PM :: email this post :: ::


What I'm Avoiding

If I go to sleep, I'll have to get up and go to chem.

:: The Squire 2:40 AM :: email this post :: ::


Krugman Doing What Krugman Does Best

Giving known issues a higher profile.
Fortune magazine rightly declared paperless voting the worst technology of 2003, but it's not just a bad technology ? it's a threat to the republic.

First of all, the technology has simply failed in several recent elections. In a special election in Broward County, Fla., 134 voters were disenfranchised because the electronic voting machines showed no votes, and there was no way to determine those voters' intent. (The election was decided by only 12 votes.) In Fairfax County, Va., electronic machines crashed repeatedly and balked at registering votes. In the 2002 primary, machines in several Florida districts reported no votes for governor.

I've been raving about this one for a while - electronic voting machines have to have paper receipts for recounting purposes, else there can be no confidence in them.

:: The Squire 12:42 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, January 22, 2004 ::

DVDs No Longer Proprietary

Now that DeCSS is legal (or at least, no longer being challenged in court), you can now decode DVDs and make your own DVD player if you really wanted to. Or - better yet - modify your current computer to take out-of-region DVDs. Not that I have the programming experience to actually do that...

:: The Squire 9:19 PM :: email this post :: ::


Trying To Win At Our Game

According to Kos, it appears that a bunch of warbloggers are trying to googlebomb Hillary Clinton with the phrase "Miserable Failure." It won't work, though, since we all know who the real Miserable Failure is.

:: The Squire 2:41 PM :: email this post :: ::


Sitemeter Is A Fun Toy

For example, I looked to see who'd shown up at the site and saw that someone from the Federal Aviation Administration had found their way here via The Rittenhouse Review. While I am not opposed to reading blogs on company time, doing so on government time is just a tad different, seeing as I'm the one ultimately footing the bill. If you're a government employee, blog on your own time. If you're a corporate peon, though, come here as often as you want.

:: The Squire 2:20 PM :: email this post :: ::


Insert Ace Ventura Quote Here

A bunch of guys from the floor just got back from a barcrawl and, believe me, the bathroom is not a good place to be right now.

:: The Squire 2:21 AM :: email this post :: ::


One Bloody Morning After

Blogistan has spoken in the aftermath of the State of the Union. Here's a roundup of stuff I haven't yet blogged about.

Hesiod provides a link to the Center for American Progress's handy Claim vs. Fact chart for the SOTU, quite thoroughly deconstructing the majority of points in the address in a way only a large group of people smarter than I can do.

One of Atrios's readers has sent in an apparent instance of plagiarism in the SOTU. I myself am not suprised by this and it makes me wonder what he might have done in order to get through his undergraduate degree at Yale while spending his time partying with his frat.

Brad Delong comments that the words "Osama," "Bin," and "Laden" were not heard during the SOTU.

Both David Appell and Dave Neiwert note, as I did, that the space initiative got absolutely no lip service during the address.

Stranger admitted he was wrong about the whole victory in the War on Terrah thing that, after it had initially scared me, made less and less sense the more I thought about it.

While not a blog, the SOTU Drinking Game has an unofficial count posted but won't put up a final tally until a full count has been made (no hanging chads there, I'm sure). As with last year, anyone who really completed the game most likely has done the gene pool a favor.

And, last, my favorite is from Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Nation who apparently was the other living being besides myself to notice the small applause when Shrub mentioned parts of the Patriot Act expiring. The best part of her post, though, is this:
And, as for trying "to send the right messages to our children," I did make my daughter watch the speech. Her response was to ask why Bush doesn't propose a constitutional amendment making it illegal for pop stars like Britney to marry if he cares so much about preserving the sanctity of the institution of marriage.

That's it, I shouldn't have much more to say on the SOTU.

:: The Squire 2:03 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 ::

These Students Are Wrong

University of Colorado College Republicans have started a website that allows students to "report" their teachers for being too liberal. Apparently they're whining that their views are discriminated against in the classroom. This coincides with state lawmakers introducing a resolution "calling for the defense of students' First Amendment rights, including expression 'based solely on viewpoint.' " Problem is, in college one is expected to back up one's viewpoints with reasoning, and most right-wing viewpoints fall apart when challenged by reason - not that it stops conservatives from having them, it just makes them feel put down when bested by those with letters after their names.

Some may notice the reference the title of this post makes to signs posted wherever the "Orange and Blue Observer" is found, namely that "Your Professors Are Lying To You." I really don't understand these signs. The O&B Observer is the publication of the College Republicans, but if they think their professors are lying to them, why are they going here. Wouldn't a fine (and unaccredited) institution such as Bob Jones University be better suited to their ideologically blind needs?

UPDATE: My gf has suggested a "fine community college" for those afraid of being rightfully put in their place in classroom discussions. Seeing as Shrub praised them in his State of the Union, I have no option but to agree that such would be a fitting alternative to BJU (an abbreviation I'm sure they don't like, by the way).

:: The Squire 10:24 PM :: email this post :: ::


My Poor, Poor Braincells

During finals week last semester they painted the stairwells in the dorm, and now they're painting the hallways, which have only slightly better ventilation. At least it's only a short walk to the stairwell or the men's room from my door.

:: The Squire 2:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


I Have To Agree

This Boondocks is just creepy.

:: The Squire 1:12 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 ::

More thoughts

Prompted by a post by Atrios, I'd like to comment that while Kay found "evidence" (if it can even be called that) for WMD activities, we found no actual, real WMDs. None. To quote The Nation's David Corn, "Programs are not weapons."

By the way, David Corn's article is a very good (and since the bloggers have yet to really chime in, the only) deconstruction of the State of the Union. I suggest reading all of it.

Unfortunately, I was unable to watch the Democratic Response, as my gf and her roommates were having a minor crisis that I somehow got involved in. As the response is usually somewhat lame and devoid of point-by-point rebuttals, I don't think I missed anything truely important.

:: The Squire 11:36 PM :: email this post :: ::


First Reactions

I found it quite amusing that there was scattered applause when Bush mentioned that parts of the Patriot Act, as well as the Tax Cuts, would soon expire. I doubt the White House Communications Dept. was expecting or were overjoyed with it.

My gf, who attended a Junior College for a few years, pointed out that his use of the phrase "Fine Community Colleges" is a contradiction of terms.

Another question: what happened to the big space progam push? Did it flop so much in the court of public opinion that they didn't dare put it in the State of the Union.

As with last year, those playing the drinking game will no longer have livers, and those livers that did survive will most likely file for legal separation in the morning.

:: The Squire 9:27 PM :: email this post :: ::


Pyrrhic Victory

Stranger over at Blah3 predicts that in the SOTU Shrub will declare victory in the War on Terror. I'm not sure what disturbs me more: that someone predicted it or that I wouldn't be terribly surpised if it happened.

:: The Squire 7:08 PM :: email this post :: ::


Fair Warning

Because this is an election year, I feel that I must put forward one of my basic attitudes towards other people. If you do not act on your own behalf (i.e. vote) then you have no right to complain or to expect others to listen to your complaints if things do not turn out the way you like.

:: The Squire 7:00 PM :: email this post :: ::


More Homework

With under an hour and a half to go before the SOTU, go read the Nation's Kitchen Table State of the Union

:: The Squire 6:41 PM :: email this post :: ::


Do Your Homework

Before watching or listening to the State of the Union Address, read Krugman's column in today's New York Times.

But some Americans will respond to upbeat messages, no matter how unrealistic. And that may be enough for Mr. Bush, because while he poses as someone above the fray, he is continuing to solidify his base.

The most sinister example was the recess appointment of Charles Pickering Sr., with his segregationist past and questionable record on voting rights, to the federal appeals court — the day after Martin Luther King's actual birthday. Was this careless timing? Don't be silly: it was a deliberate, if subtle, gesture of sympathy with a part of the Republican coalition that never gets mentioned in public.

A less objectionable but equally calculated gesture will be Mr. Bush's demand that his tax cuts be made permanent. Realistically, this can't make any difference to the economy now, and it makes no sense, given the array of new spending plans he will simultaneously unveil. But it's a signal to the base that any seeming moderation needn't be taken seriously, and that the administration's hard-right turn will continue.

Go read the whole article.

:: The Squire 4:31 PM :: email this post :: ::


Prognosticating Bushie's Bad Ideas

Brad Delong post a link to an article on Social Security Reform that does a good job of explaining why privatising Social Security is a very bad idea. Not that this'll stop Shrub from including it in the State of the Union.

...[T]he privatization plans can only work by imposing huge additional expenses on the federal government...

Let?s put things another way. According the SS Administration, the total deficit that the SS Trust fund is facing over the next 75 years is currently about $3.5 trillion in terms of today?s dollars (present discounted value). As it stands, that deficit will have to be made up through other government taxes. Meanwhile, the SS Administration estimates that the Graham privatization proposal will increase that deficit to $4.9 trillion. The estimate of the Ferrara plan's deficit is even bigger, at $6.9 trillion. The lesson is simple: the bigger the privatization proposal, the more expensive it is.

There?s a simple and unavoidable reason for that, by the way. Any privatized SS system requires that each individual?s own retirement benefits come out of their own contributions, unlike the system today where much of the benefits paid to retirees actually come directly from taxes paid by people who are still working. To switch to a privatized plan, today?s workers will have to pay both for current retirees? benefits and also will have to fully provide for their own future retirement. Instead of honestly forcing workers to pay for such increased costs directly through higher SS taxes, the deceptive privatization schemes effectively propose paying for it through other taxes. But the result is the same.

Privatization of Social Security has numerous other potential problems, of course, including the inherent riskiness and variability that it would add to retirement income, a reduction in the ability of the SS program to serve as a safety net, the huge transfers in resources that it will entail to a handful of investment firms, the potentially huge and poorly-understood effects that it could have on the stock and bond markets more generally, and the vast scope that it would allow for fraud and abuse.

My own opinions on Social Security are lukewarm at best, as all predictions point to Social Security becoming insolvent long before I'm elligible for them (thanks Mom and Dad!). Even so, privatising Social Security is just another one of Shrub's bad ideas.

:: The Squire 4:21 PM :: email this post :: ::



Kos trots the Cattle Call back out after last night's suprises in Iowa.

:: The Squire 2:52 PM :: email this post :: ::


How Things Now Stand

As an update from earlier, CNN reports Kerry 38%, 17; Edwards 32%, 15; and Dean 18%, 7. All this, with 98% of precincts reporting.

:: The Squire 1:08 AM :: email this post :: ::


Shoot, And I Was So Hoping For A Single

My roommate finally showed up.

:: The Squire 1:05 AM :: email this post :: ::


Damned If You Do...

If the curtains are open, then it gets significantly cool at night.

If the curtains are closed, there's no sunlight to wake one up in the morning.

:: The Squire 1:02 AM :: email this post :: ::


That Was...Odd

An interesting animated movie.

:: The Squire 12:46 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, January 19, 2004 ::

'Tis A Silly Place

The "Camelot" song from Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail done entirely in LEGOs.

:: The Squire 11:57 PM :: email this post :: ::


You Know You've Been Waiting For It

The rules for the 2004 Edition of the State of the Union Drinking Game. I kept tally last year (I don't drink, though keeping score was fun) and I determined that the livers of anyone who actually played the game would seceede from the country. Of course, I do not condone such behavior, though I find that the State of the Union has enough predictable events to make it suitable for a drinking game an amusing fact.

My favorites for the year:


of Drinks

Every time he says....

“The state of our union is strong…”


Terror (however it’s pronounced)

small 1



multilateral or multilateralism

Group shot

unilateral or unilateralism

Choose one person
to drink

aliens (as reference to immigrants)


aliens (as reference to extraterrestrials)

Look wistfully towards
the heavens; then finish your drink

bipartisan or bipartisanship


Any mention of the deficit


prescription drugs


*bipartisan or bipartisanship,
in the context of the prescription drug bill


Announces a new program


* If the program will be massively
expensive (use your judgement)


“Leave no child behind”


college or university or
higher education


**Any word of 5 syllables or more

(bonus +1 if he stumbles through it)

Every time....

he praises a Democrat by name


they show either Bush daughter


they show an announced Democratic
presidential candidate


he gets a standing ovation from HALF
of Congress


they show a military official in
uniform who looks asleep



if he wears a blue tie (he has for
the past two years)


Note: I'm learning how to mess with tables as I add to this post, so forgive me if it looks a bit weird when you see it. I also apologize to the insanely huge gap between the initial text of this post and the table below it. I'm not sure why this occurs, though I suspect that Blogger doesn't like embedded tables.

:: The Squire 11:16 PM :: email this post :: ::


I'll Put Money On It

I know I'm being cynical, but I'll bet a small amount of money that the terror threat level will be raised a just a few short days before the November elections.

:: The Squire 10:52 PM :: email this post :: ::


How Things Stand

From what CNN is reporting, of the top four, Kerry polled at 38%, earning himself 12 delegates; Edwards polled at 32%, earning himself 10 delegates; Dean, suprisingly, only polled 18%, earning himself 5 delegates; and Gephart polled at only 11%, earning himself NO delegates. Gephart is expected to officially withdraw tomorrow.

:: The Squire 10:24 PM :: email this post :: ::


Wherefore Art Thou, Roommate

The dorms have been open since yesterday (not that it stopped me from arriving Saturday), classes start tomorrow, and my roommate still hasn't shown up yet. I don't think he's withdrawn from the university, as his TV, DVD/VCR Player, and Stereo are still here, but his absence is conspicuous.

:: The Squire 9:49 PM :: email this post :: ::


Sorry For The Hiatus

I got back into town on Saturday and have spent most of the past two-an-a-half days hanging out with my gf, whom I had not seen in two weeks. 'Cos the first week is truncated, my morning lab doesn't meet and as such I don't have my first class until 1 pm tomorrow.

:: The Squire 9:47 PM :: email this post :: ::


I'm So Flattered

The coaches for Fencing Illini have deemed me worthy to lose at tournaments while being associated with them.

:: The Squire 9:45 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, January 16, 2004 ::

Sad Day For Science

Via Atrios comes word that Hubble will no longer be serviced and will end up being deorbited before its original end of mission date.

:: The Squire 10:17 PM :: email this post :: ::


BSE Rears Its Mad Head

The Onion reports on McDonald's new product:

McDonald's Introduces McCrazy Burger

OAK BROOK, IL—Responding to an over-abundance of low-cost beef, McDonald's unveiled the new five-patty McCrazy Burger Tuesday. "A pound and a half of all-American beef topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of our new peppercorn sauce," said Melanie Haas, marketing director for the fast-food giant's Northwest region. "We promise you'll go crazy from the delicious taste of 100 percent pure beef, and not from bovine spongiform encephalopathy!" Haas refused to comment on the exact geographic origin of the cattle used in the new sandwich.

So that's where that meat went...

:: The Squire 10:09 PM :: email this post :: ::


Creating a Better Self-Image

There's PR, then there's this.

One of the more sickening tricks, and most obvious, are the pictures emanating from the president's public relations office. Some of them are portrayed on this page for the readers to inspect. If you look at them closely, you realize that they are not accidental. They are staged and Mr. Bush is posing for them.

The picture of Bush posing before a lighted cross, under a crown and the word LORD is probably the most pretentious of the lot.

Why would someone as elevated in office as our president stoop to such trickery? There is good reason.

As writers Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague explained it: "Television and movies have made us a nation, nay, a world that substitutes pictures for fact. We make stars of actors and heroes of those whose heroism exists only in their publicity releases.

"Every day we are shown pictures that the White House Republicans uses to influence our vote. A carefully constructed news item is released to the media knowing full well the pictures the TV outlets will run with it," Louise and Sprague said.

:: The Squire 9:48 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, January 15, 2004 ::

The State of the State's Education System

...was the focus of most of Gov. Blagojevich's State of the State address. Even though I voted for the guy, I have the suspicion the reason he's focusing on education is 'cos he's got no clue on how to recover the remaining $2 billion of deficit in the state's budget without restructuring the tax codes.

:: The Squire 3:19 PM :: email this post :: ::


Be Careful What You Buy On eBay

Someone tried to sell the entire state of West Virginia.

:: The Squire 3:11 PM :: email this post :: ::


And Then There Were Seven

Fomer Senator and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun has dropped out of the Democratic Presidential Primary race. She has asked her supporters in the Iowa caucuses to instead support Howard Dean.

Braun was joined during her announcement by Dean and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin.

Before the announcement, a Democratic source said Braun felt it was time to quit because her campaign had not caught fire.

"Carol felt like she had done what she needed to do," the Democratic source said. "She did herself a lot of good in this race.

"She ran a good race and now she felt like it was time to hand it over to someone who can win. Those are the feelings that were expressed to me this evening."

Braun was elected to the Senate in 1992 but was defeated in a bid for a second term in 1998. She is the only African-American woman to have served in the Senate. After her Senate defeat, she served as U.S. ambassador to New Zealand.

:: The Squire 3:05 PM :: email this post :: ::


The Monster's Missing his Box

Spalding Gray has been reported missing, and his family fears that he may have committed suicide by jumping off a Staten Island ferry. Gray, a relatively minor actor who managed to do somewhat better recording (quite funny) monologues about acting, has apparently attempted suicide before.

:: The Squire 3:00 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 ::

Interesting Disconnect

The headline of a recent News-Gazette story was "Violent crimes up after bar hours change" yet the gist of the article is that all things considered, the later bar hours both hurt and improved different crime statistics, giving no real net change.

:: The Squire 1:38 PM :: email this post :: ::


That You, Q?

Rabbit poachers are using Bond cars.

:: The Squire 1:25 PM :: email this post :: ::


Fifty-Seven Channels

In flipping through the channels this morning, I saw that MTV (which isn't, but that's another rant) and VH1 were showing the SAME VIDEO at the SAME TIME. What's the point of having two music video channels if both of them are showing the same thing?

:: The Squire 10:19 AM :: email this post :: ::


I'm Not Even Back In Skool Yet

But I've got homework, assigned by Kos. You should read it too and learn about what the media's doing/will do to Dean and/or the eventual Democratic nominee.

:: The Squire 10:18 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 ::

So THAT's What They're Spending Grant Money On

The University of Wisconsin Madison has been cutting cheese with lasers.

:: The Squire 2:34 PM :: email this post :: ::



Emma has a good post about Al Capone, her father, and Insurance Companies. It's a good read.

As for me, I find it amusing to hear people complain about the lack of choice implied by a national health care system. Tell me, what choice do you have now if your insurance company decides not to cover you? Shop for another one? If you have a pre-existing condition (and that is one of the most widely defined terms in medical insurance), good luck. If you are unemployed, good luck. If you are employed but your employer does not supply insurance, good luck. If you are employed but your salary does not run to enough, good luck.

In fact, if you are one of those forty million uninsured and uninsurables, good luck to you all. You'll need it. If you are employed and insured, double good luck. Because if you lose your job, or your employer changes the rules, you will be the forty millionth and one.

:: The Squire 12:07 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, January 12, 2004 ::

Another Thing Conservatives Deny

"Global Warming isn't occuring," they say. Yet Europe's gonna get more summers like the one they had last year, according to climate scientists. What has to happen in order to get through to these people? Melting the ice caps?

:: The Squire 11:48 PM :: email this post :: ::


Krugman and O'Neill

Paul Krugman does a very good job listing the implications of O'Neill's book as well as pointing out the hypocrisy between the Administration's handling of the Plame incident and O'Neill's book. Atrios, though, has the best exerpt from Krugman's column, so I'll not reuse it here.

:: The Squire 11:41 PM :: email this post :: ::



Dr. Josh makes a relevant Mastercard spoof revolving around Shrub.

:: The Squire 11:26 PM :: email this post :: ::


Back In The Day

Were I about five years younger, this would be funny.

:: The Squire 11:23 PM :: email this post :: ::


As Inquired For

The curent Sesame Street Terror Alert Level:

Terror Alert Level

Click on the image for the full Alert system.

:: The Squire 10:10 AM :: email this post :: ::


My Big Fat Non-Greek Life

Off of Smirking Chimp comes a description of Fraternities and such things as come with them.

:: The Squire 10:00 AM :: email this post :: ::


Dept. Of "Yeah, Right!"

Next time you're in Chambana, be sure to visit here.

:: The Squire 9:21 AM :: email this post :: ::


Helpful Blogosphere Citizen

Because it seems to have impacted some of my readers, I'm linking to a story in El Reg explaining Verisign's inability to maintain their own certificates and the resulting mess it has caused since last Wednesday for a number of applications, including Norton Anti-Virus. Said story also links to instructions from both Symantec and Verisign on how to rectify any resulting errors.

:: The Squire 8:26 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, January 11, 2004 ::

I Knew It!

Science discovers why you can't understand a damn thing a soprano sings.

"New measurements show that a soprano distorts pronunciation when she opens her mouth wide and adjusts her vocal tract to hit the highest, loudest notes.

In doing so, she sacrifices the acoustical nuances that listeners require to understand the words.

"It's not our ears," said Australian physicist Joe Wolfe. "In some cases, the information simply is not there."

Ah, the march of progress

:: The Squire 7:29 PM :: email this post :: ::


Northern/Southern Strategy

Dr. Josh warns Democrats against completely writing off "The South."

[T]here’s something key being missed by those who want to write off entirely how Democrats play in the South.

The most important of these is that there are large chunks of the South that are, to put it squarely, in the North. For instance, large portions of Ohio and Pennsylvania and Missouri – ‘Northern’ or ‘Midwestern’ states that Democrats must do well in in a presidential contest – are culturally very much in the South. Not South Carolina perhaps, but very much like Kentucky.

The devil is in the details as always but to a real extent if you write off the South, you’re actually writing off or risking writing off parts of the North without knowing it, parts Democrats must win.

:: The Squire 7:04 PM :: email this post :: ::



The blog goes international as it attracts a Brazillian reader. Now onward, over the pond!

:: The Squire 6:57 PM :: email this post :: ::



Tbogg does a very good job of ripping apart upper-middle class white suburban culture:

Yes, thank the baby Jebus that the holidays are over and the kids are back in school and we can all get back to our usual routine of having that first drink at eleven followed by lunch with Courtney and Whitney and Lauren where we can discuss the latest in Prada handbags and how fabulous it is that the President (who comes from such a good family regardless of that black sheep brother with the herpes and the Thai hookers) is going to let us keep our Guatemalan housekeeper Rosario and won't the kids be thrilled when they hear we won't have to hide her in the laundry room anymore and she can go back to sleeping on the floor in Fionnabhair's room and, why yes, I do think that I'll have another drink before I have to rush off and pick up the kids from their feng shui class.....

That must be...exhausting.

As always, I suggest reading the entire post.

:: The Squire 5:17 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, January 10, 2004 ::

This Sucks

I can't go to Archpundit's blog.

:: The Squire 2:45 AM :: email this post :: ::


I Wonder Who They're Joking

Anyone with a mind can see that the Bush Administration will not let the Terror Threat Level fall below Bert, so why are they bothering to have lower levels? There will ALWAYS be a terrorist threat, such is the nature of terror. Instead of keeping it at "Low" or "Moderate" (in my opinion, where it should be) they instead keep it at "Elevated," most likely just to try to scare people.

On an associated grammar note - last time I checked, "Moderate" is a middle-value indicator, so why is it the second-lowest ranking, shouldn't it be in the middle? Also, what is the real difference between "Elevated" and "High?" Isn't every value on the damn chart above "Low" considered "Elevated?"

I'm sorry for this bout of rational thought, I now return you to your regularly scheduled propaganda.

:: The Squire 2:31 AM :: email this post :: ::


Good Observation

Via Hesiod:

Number of trips to Iraq and a war zone by Al Franken: 1

Number of trips by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan combined: 0

Chickenhawks: So eager to send our men and women, yet not willing to go themselves and support them.

:: The Squire 2:11 AM :: email this post :: ::


One Thing (Among Many) That I Don't Understand

Is a bias among the liberal bloggers I read against the space program. ISS and the Shuttle are important as they represent part of the first steps humanity must take before reaching the stars. Yes, I acknowledge that often manned space exploration has been often as politically motivated as scientifically motivated, but I think that just because some people view space as a means that it shouldn't be abandoned by others as an end in its own right. Yes, it's risky, but its a risk the astronaut corps and this country, this species has accepted, and it is a risk we must take considering the crap we're doing to our own planet.

:: The Squire 1:12 AM :: email this post :: ::


Shiny Objects

My sister's friend has loaned the family the first three seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD, so I've been watching those instead of spending gobs of time online.

I'm sure it's probably been noticed before, but while there are differences, there are also striking and disturbing similarities between Pres. Clark on B5 and Pres. Bush in reality.

:: The Squire 12:45 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, January 08, 2004 ::

Welcome Back!

One of my favorite, though infrequently posting, bloggers, Emma at Late Night Thoughts, has returned from a two-month hiatus. Instead of cutting and pasting, I'll just put up a link and let her speak for herself.

:: The Squire 12:42 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 ::

Number 2 Meal, No Cheese, Root Beer, Oh, And Some Internet

McDonalds is adding WiFi capabilities to many of its fast food restraunts.

:: The Squire 10:51 PM :: email this post :: ::


Things I Didn't Know

Looking at only a day's worth of Sitemeter data, I've already discovered something interesting - apparently someone's reading the blog from the Pacific Time Zone, most likely in California. Hello!

:: The Squire 10:49 PM :: email this post :: ::


One Of The Ways Karl Rove Sees The World

Via Smirking Chimp comes a take on national politics as a bad screenplay:

Bush had not defeated Al Gore fair and square, and was seen by most Americans as a spoiler, an illegitimate leader. As soon as the details of his proposed "supply side" voodoo economics hit the press, the markets went into a nosedive.

And already there were stories circulating in the media of his cozy relationship with corrupt oil barons like Ken Lay and the secret energy meetings in the Spring of 2001 - before 9/11 - in which Cheney, Lay, and others in the oil industry were apparently carving up the oil fields of Iraq. Bush, in short, was seen as a buffoonish pretender, an ineffectual manager, and a sellout to big oil and other scandal-ridden industries. He was the butt of late-night jokes, a former college cheerleader, a "dry drunk" (except when tempted by pretzels), an inside trader, a small man on the national and international stage.

George W. desperately needed his own Lex Luthor if he was to reinvent himself as Superman.

Rove and Bush realized that if they simply branded Osama as the criminal thug that he was - the leader of an obscure Islamic mafia with fewer than 20,000 serious members - they wouldn't have the super-villain they needed for George W. Bush to be seen as a super-hero. If Bush only authorized a police action, he'd miss a golden opportunity to position himself as the Battle Commander of The War Against Evil Incarnate.

And so began the building of the mythos. Osama as evil genius. Osama as worldwide mastermind. Even Osama as the antichrist (as General Boykin reminded us so candidly).

Even though Osama is almost certainly dead or badly disabled (otherwise we'd see him on the video he so loved to use before Tora Bora), Bush can't afford to acknowledge that - to retain his Superman pose, George must continue to have a Kryptonite-equipped foe....

...For George to remain SuperGeorge throughout his term of office, and thus to pull the country behind him for an FDR-sized transformation of the nation on behalf of his corporate masters, George needs a war every bit as huge as FDR's WWII. And that requires Osama to be as big as Hitler in the minds of Americans. Thus, Richard Perle writes in his breathless and hyperbolic new book An End To Evil: "There is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or holocaust."

Pearl laments (although his ilk fought Clinton's attacks on bin Laden) that "Terrorists attacked and murdered Americans in East Africa, in Yemen, in Saudi Arabia - and America responded to these acts of war as if they were ordinary crimes." (He conveniently leaves out the largest attack of all, on Reagan's watch, in Lebanon, which led Reagan to simply fold our tents and leave.) These were acts of WAR, Perle and Frum argue.

But there is no nation that has attacked us - these criminal acts were perpetrated by an Islamic mafia that no more represents the interests or opinions of the majority of the world's Muslims than Tim McVeigh represented the majority of America's Christians.

This archetypal transformation of George W. Bush from spoiled, rich pretender-to-the-presidency into the caped (well, flight-suited) SuperGeorge, Defender Of All Things Good And Right has had a powerful impact on the American people, and Rove hopes to ride it to victory in 2004.

But there is a weakness in it, which the Democrats can use to stop Bush's demagogic PR machine and ongoing destruction of American democracy.

Howard Dean was the first to raise a fist full of Kryptonite against SuperGeorge when he suggested we should internationalize the efforts against al-Qaeda and involve more police agencies. Dean's speeches - particularly his speech on foreign policy - make clear that while he realizes the very real danger al-Qaeda represents, he also knows that Bush's superhero go-it-alone posturing is doing us - and democracy itself - more harm than good.

To the extent Democrats can de-mythologize bin Laden, they will deprive Bush of his superhero costume. Bin Laden-as-wretched-criminal must become part of the lexicon of the Democratic worldview.

:: The Squire 10:32 PM :: email this post :: ::


Bringing the Pigopolists Down

Kos does a good roundup of the Enron investigation. Apparently, they're now starting to get the executives that caused all this crap.

:: The Squire 8:19 PM :: email this post :: ::


Calling A Sheep a Sheep

Kos calls Bush's Immigration reform package what it is.

Bush has no intention on spending the political capital needed to pass the proposal (three year renewable guest worker visas). The opposition within GOP ranks dooms it outright. And there's no way that Democrats allow this thing to pass, giving Bush an election-year trophy amongst Latinos (the biggest swing constituency in politics today). They would poison-pill it by adding amendments further easing immigration restrictions -- perhaps an outright amnesty -- that would guarantee the opposition of wavering GOoPers. Democrats would also seek stronger labor protections in the law (think WalMart), further dooming its prospects amongst the Right.

But that's all irrelevant to Bush. He could care less, and you can bet none of his legislative aides will exhert more than a token effort on the immigration issue. Bush is getting his headlines now, and that's all that matters.

It's not wonderful. It, like everything else this administration does, is for show so that they can get reelected.

:: The Squire 8:16 PM :: email this post :: ::


Now I'm Just Stalling

I don't want to go to bed, but I will have to sometime.

:: The Squire 2:52 AM :: email this post :: ::


Threat Level May Soon Be Lowered From Ernie to Bert

Though, of course, all the "Terrah" threat stuff is an attempt to scare people into voting for Shrub in November.

:: The Squire 2:18 AM :: email this post :: ::


BOT Roundup

The News-Gazette (the local C-U area newspaper, for those not attending the University or living in its environs) recently ran a story detailing the various issues that will soon come up before the Board of Trustees. Of course, I have my own unsolicited opinions on some of this stuff:

The Budget: This one's simple. The state's been negligent toward higher education and needs adequately fund ALL of its state skools.

The Chief: Retire him already. Sheesh.

College of Communications: I know nothing beyond the fact that they need to listen to their own students before condeming entire departments.

GEO: More power to them, as well as to the Association of Academic Professionals.

Assembly Hall: I have yet to see or understand how spending money on it would benefit the university more than, say, renovating the decrepit Lincoln Hall.

Orchard Downs: Don't live there, never been there, so I know nothing.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

:: The Squire 1:02 AM :: email this post :: ::


Just Doesn't Make Sense

From the current front page of the Chicago Tribune's website:

Democrats Battle Over Taxes in Debate
For one day, at least, Howard Dean had company in the political cross-hairs. Amid signs that the presidential race is tightening in Iowa, prompting campaigns to adjust their strategies, two Dean rivals expanded their focus beyond the national front-runner and turned against the two presumptive leaders in Iowa: Dean and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

Now, are they saying that Dean is his own rival, or did they screw up and place Dean's name in instead of, say, Clark or Kerry?

:: The Squire 12:31 AM :: email this post :: ::


Alright, Maybe THIS Will Work

Had to add the meter code manually. The little square is at the bottom, so all should be well. Theoretically.

:: The Squire 12:21 AM :: email this post :: ::


See Why I Don't Add Features?!?

I've been trying to add a Sitemeter to the blog ('cos I'm curious to see whether it gets read by three, four, or five people including myself) but the counter isn't showing up. Grumble. Yet another reason why I'm not about to try adding comments.

:: The Squire 12:11 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 ::

Connecting The Dots

I know I'm a bit late on this one, but Tbogg has posted on his site (typing slowly so that conservatives might be able to understand) the casual linkages that make the "War for Oil" meme feasible:

The US Government, which is now run by former oilmen, invades Iraq which reportedly has the world's second largest reserves of oil. The US taxpayers pays for the aforementioned invasion, the US Military that is being used as an occupying security force, and the reconstruction of pumping and oil transportation infrastructure. Meanwhile the oil companies work out sweetheart deals with the handpicked (see: Bush Administration) Iraqi Governing council. Any ongoing damage to the pipelines and wells is paid for by...the US taxpayer again out of reconstruction funds.

To recap:

Expenses, liabilities, exposure = US taxpayer
Profits = Oil companies and Halliburton

UPDATE: It does help to actually title the post.

:: The Squire 11:45 PM :: email this post :: ::


GOP - The Party of Big Business

Dave Neiwert reports on the Bush Administration's stonewalling the effort to place, well, nearly anything, but in this case the Puget Sound Orca pods on the Endangered Species List. The Miserable Failure's excuse is that not listing species or critical habitats will cause short-term losses. Not suprising, considering our Unelectable President's inability to consider consequences past the next election. The whole point, as Dave points out, is that we'll take the short term loss so that we can have the long-term gain of maintaning biodiversity. I'm suprized that this one hasn't made it onto the Scorecard of Evil yet.

:: The Squire 2:00 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, January 05, 2004 ::

Crush, Kill, Destroy

My UIUC email account is taking forever to load. I've been online over twenty minutes and I've only read one email so far. I am not happy.

:: The Squire 3:18 PM :: email this post :: ::


You Knew It Was Online Somewhere

Via The Smirking Chimp comes the Top 10 Most Moronic Stories of 2003.

10 Ann Coulter unilaterally decided that Joseph McCarthy, whose name is synonymous with malicious prosecution and persecution of political enemies and the innocent, who at long last had no shame, was a Great American Hero who should be revered. It's pretty clear that she was rewriting history since McCarthy was a great embarassment to all Americans and the principles and values of fair trials and due process upon which the nation was founded and because he was a Republican. Unable to reconcile in her mind the infallability of Republicans and the treachery of McCarthy, she simply decided that McCarthy wasn't treacherous at all, despite that fact being well-documented, in spite of the Venona papers that she foolishly asserts exhonorated him of wrongdoing. I don't know how many times I have to say this, but even if every single person McCarthy accused were patently guilty, it still doesn't excuse his behaviour.

For the rest, go to the site.

:: The Squire 12:18 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, January 04, 2004 ::

I've Read Tolkien and Rowling

But still the British spelling of "connexion" seems weird to me.

:: The Squire 1:20 AM :: email this post :: ::


Why Pseudonymous?

First, I hate people who voice opinions anonymously. If you're not man (or woman) enough to own up to your own words in some form then I don't want to hear them at all. Growing out of this, all my intellectual online product is under the same pseudonym. As such, if one were ambitious, one could probably figure out who I am by looking at all the personal information placed on this blog alone, let alone my admittedly meagre contributions to the comments sections of other blogs. I mean, I've let out that I go to UIUC (no shit), that I'm an MCB Pre-Med major, that I'm catholic, that I'm an EME at St. John's Catholic Chapel in Champaign, that I'm an Eagle Scout and Arrowman, that I'm in IEMS and the College Dems, the name of my high skool, and, not to mention, my own course loads. Then again, if one were that nosey/that much of a stalker, it would be easy enough to bug my computer by some electronic means and cut through a bunch of crap. As I've said before, I have a pseudonym not to protect myself and my friends and loved ones from the determined stalker but instead to keep myself and those I know and cherish from more casual types of thuggery like this.

Most significantly, this was not mere eliminationism; it was outright advocacy of someone's death. Taken alone, it bordered on a criminal threat, but probably didn't cross the boundary because it didn't suggest that Misha himself was going to carry out the threat. It was more in the nature of telling someone "you deserve to die and I hope somebody does it to you soon."

But then he told his readers how to do just that.

Shortly after posting the text, Misha began directing his readers on how to find Blumrich's address. On his front page, he posted a map of Blumrich's neighborhood, complete with a red star over his residence. He went on to create and post a map showing directions from Fort Dix to Blumrich's residence. Commenters posted: "ROAD TRIPPPPPP! And we can't wait to arrive..."

Neither component in and of itself constitutes a serious threat, but the combination of the two is almost certainly actionable, since it not only incites violence but helps facilitate it. Laws regarding threats and intimidation are different in various states, and I gather that Blumrich is consulting with local authorities so that it can be dealt with accordingly.

There are wackos out there, and readers of this blog should realize that said wackos are way too numerous for comfort. I'm not going to give them the easy in, hence the Pseudonym. Don't like it? Too bad. If you wanna cry about it, email at the link at top, otherwise leave me alone.

:: The Squire 1:13 AM :: email this post :: ::


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