<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: May 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Will Bill Gates' "Reality Acquisition Device" save the world, or destroy it?

Is this science fiction or horror? At a thing called the "D" Conference in Carlsbad, California, Bill Gates unveiled his idea for the ultimate personal digital assistant: a "Reality Acquisition Device." The Reality Acquisition Device will be a portable device, much like the Blackberry, that we will place in front of us as we move through life. It will help us answer questions such as "Have I been here before? Where did I go? Are there buildings or businesses that my social network of friends have told me about? What are the local issues related to those I have already expressed concern about?"

Blogger Hilary Rosen thinks we need Reality Acquisition Devices "to preserve our daily experiences...so that the next time Americans go into the voting booths they will look at their handheld before they vote and remember the thousands of dead and wounded in Iraq and still no strategy for victory or exit; the size of the check they wrote for their last health insurance payment and their fear if they didn't have any at all; the price of filling up their last tank of gas without an energy policy; a President who panders to religious conservatives by telling the rest of us what our family values should be...until the choice of the lever we pull in that booth becomes no real choice at all."

But if we need such a device to help us remember the atrocities of the Bush administration, then voting probably won't make much difference anyway, will it?


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lay and Skilling convicted

There is justice in America (at least this time). Enron founder Ken Lay was convicted today on all six counts against him, including conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements to banks. Former Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling was convicted on 19 of 28 counts, including securities and wire fraud and insider trading.

No word yet on the sentencing. We don't really care how much time they serve in prison, as long as they have to pay back every penny they stole from their employees.


Is Jon Stewart helping or hurting America?

This is bad news for Jon Stewart fans like us. A paper published by American Politics Research, "The Daily Show Effect: Candidate Evaluations, Efficacy, and American Youth," says that college students who watch The Daily Show are more cynical than others toward the news media and the electoral process in general.

Study co-author Jonathan Morris says, "We are not saying The Daily Show is bad for democracy. We're just pointing out that exposure to this show among young adults is associated with cynicism toward political candidates and the political process as a whole."

So the argument is:
A) Watching The Daily Show increases cynicism.
B) Increased cynicism is linked to decreased political participation.

Therefore, watching The Daily Show leads to decreased political participation. Which means that Jon Stewart is, ironically* and unfortunately, hurting America.

Read more at: http://www.tompaine.com/uncommonsense/index.php#8463

*In 2004, Stewart himself accused the former hosts of CNN's Crossfire, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, of "hurting America."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Flowchart of Republican corruption

Oh, what a tangled web they weave...


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Idol" finalist Taylor Hicks is affecting the Alabama primary

Virtually the entire state of Alabama will be tuning in to "American Idol" tonight and tomorrow night to see if their new favorite son, Taylor Hicks, will beat Katharine McPhee, and Alabama political candidates have bought commercial time on the show to see if they can win a few votes themselves.

The show's rising popularity has resulted in the cost of local 30-second ads quadrupling from $5,000 to $20,000 over the past couple of months, so only candidates with deep pockets (or corporate sponsorship) can afford air time on the show.

It's kind of a perfect storm: American culture + politics + big bucks. And at the center of it all is a chubby, gray-haired guy who is a better harmonica player than he is a singer.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Reality has a way of insisting itself on you

When asked if he's likely to see Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," Bush said, "Doubt it." He's also unlikely to change his mind about global warming:

"New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment. And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the enviroment."

That's right, set aside the facts so we can concentrate on what's really important: maintaining the American Way of Life.

At least one politician gets it: Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival about global warming, Gore said, "I even believe there is a chance that within the next two years, even Bush and Dick Cheney will be forced to change their position on this crisis. One can only attempt to create one's own reality for so long. Reality proper has a way of insisting itself upon you."

Is it the day after tomorrow yet?


Monday, May 15, 2006

Karl Rove is an a**hole

In an address today to the American Enterprise Institute, Karl Rove said, "People like this president. They're just sour right now on the war." Uh huh. The war, the economy, gas prices, the incredible incompetence, the rampant corruption, the cronyism, the complete and utter disregard for anyone but the wealthy...yep, other than these few nitpicky things that we're "sour" on, we like this president just fine!

Here are a few of Rove's other fantasy-based zingers:

"The reality is, the tax cuts have helped make the U.S. economy the strongest in the world."

"...consumer confidence is relatively high. In fact, it is much higher than the average of the last 40 years. Their personal circumstances are good. They're feeling good about where they are. They don't like gas prices. Who likes having to pay more at the pump? But they do feel that overall the economy is good for them, that the prospects for their family in the near term and for the future are good."

"They're worried about the long haul. They've heard about the problems with Social Security. They're worried about globalization. But they're confident about where they are right now and where they find themselves."

"I love this mania which has swept through American media today which substitutes polls for coverage of substance. There's, I'm sure, going to be a special Betty Ford addiction for those that are addicted to regular poll numbers, but you'll work your way through it."

Despite Bush's low approval ratings, Rove is "sanguine...I know our own polls."

He said that Bush's likeability, his personal approval ratings, were in the 60s in some polls, but that "Job approval is lower. And what that says to me is that people like him, they respect him, he's somebody they feel a connection with, but they're just sour right now on the war. And that's the way it's going to be."

Obviously, Rove is speaking not from Earth but from Planet Rove--which is approximately the shape and size of a very ugly, very smelly sphincter.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bush has the power to reduce gas prices

It's simple. If Bush wants to bring down oil prices, he can. All he has to do is stop threatening war, and bring home the troops from Iraq. What does Bush have to gain by not taking these easy steps?

That's simple, too: greater wealth for his oil-soaked family and friends.


Monday, May 08, 2006

George W. Bush's best moment so far: catching a fish

When a German reporter asked Bush what the best moment of his presidency has been so far, Bush replied, “I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake.”

As Tristero says on Hullabaloo:

"Just for the sake of argument, let's say it's true. He really did catch that large a fish and that was his happiest moment in five years. Does he realize what this says about him and his presidency?

"With all the daily opportunities available to do such good for your fellow country-folk, and the world, the only thing Bush specifically mentioned that made him happy is catching a big fish. In his own lake. Which could very well be deliberately stocked with big fish.

"There are, imo, only three ways to understand this comment, assuming it's true. Quite possibly it's the pathetic whine of a deeply, perhaps clinically, depressed man who believes himself a total failure. Or maybe this is a man so uninterested in his job, let alone in serving his country, that he has no business whatsoever being president. Or perhaps this is simply an arrogant bastard who holds in utter contempt anyone who dares to ask him a question, so he responds with the stupidest thing he can say. (Obviously, nothing precludes all three or some combination of two.)

"To be all pre-emptive about it, someone's bound to comment that maybe this just shows how much of a down-to-earth regular guy Bush is. Yeah? All the down-to-earth regular guys I know don't have their own lake, fer chrissakes. Those people are filthy rich, even if they wear jeans on their estates. But there's a character thing here, too. The down-to-earth people I know who hold important jobs are mighty proud of of what they do and mighty happy with their achievements. And they can tick them off without thinking too hard about what they might be. And, even as a joke, they don't talk about catching a big perch when a newspaper asks them to name their best moment in more than five years. They name their accomplishments. Or, if they're trying to play up the down-to-earthiness, they name their children or something they did with their spouse.

"The perch record in Texas is for a 12 pound 1 ounce Nile Perch caught in 1980 . But I gather that's very small, actually, for a Nile Perch (the fish itself is, via its introduction where it's not supposed to be, a textbook example of an ecological disaster). So if Bush caught a Nile Perch in his own lake, that is nothing to brag about.

"But here may be the smoking fish. According to this link of perch fishing records, which goes to 2003, the heaviest perch officially caught in the US (besides the Nile mentioned above) was a Sacramento Perch from 1971 weighing 4 pounds, nine ounces.

"LIke I said, I don't know enough about fishing to know whether I've been swimming up the wrong stream. But even if I'm way wrong, I wanna see a photo of this fish Bush is all boasting about catching all over the world.

"One last thing: A long time ago, when the country was led by a qualified and patriotic American, Candidate George W. Bush memorably said, 'I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.'

"Well, if you believe the president's latest fish tale, apparently not."



Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Great new word: "libidophobes"

In his column in today's NY Times, Nicholas Kristof says, "Unless the libidophobes in the Bush administration mandate chastity belts, their opposition to Plan B, the emergency contraceptive, amounts to a pro-abortion policy."

Libidophobes is a great word for the Bushies because it goes beyond just their fear of homosexuals and addresses their fear of all things sexual.

Like their opposition to Plan B.

(Available only to TimesSelect subscribers)