ustoo Dead

Sites to see:

Almost Essential
From the Left
From the Right
Magazines and Journals
Various Weblogs and Pundits
Think Tanks
Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Shrill Leftist Garbage


Monday, January 31, 2005

Ward Churchhill resigns 

As head of CU ethnic studies department but, in a Bush-era way: he is still a full professor.

-Miguel Sanchez  23:02 EST | |

Ha Ha 

Friday, January 28, 2005

Why does my alma mater keep embarrassing me? 

The AP article introduces Mr. Ward Churchill as:
A University of Colorado professor who compared the victims of the World Trade Center attacks to Nazis said he would not back down from the topic in a speech in New York next month.
I don't even want to delve into the tortured logic that would allow this leap.

This article has more details, such as:
The essay maintains that the people killed inside the Pentagon were "military targets."

"As for those in the World Trade Center," the essay said, "well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break."

The essay goes on to describe the victims as "little Eichmanns," referring to Adolph Eichmann, who executed Adolph Hitler's plan to exterminate Jews during World War II.
Paul: why is this hippie a faculty member?

-Daddy Brooklyn  17:54 EST | |

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Revisionist History 

Juan Cole writes an intellectually honest speech for GWB circa Fall 2002:

My fellow Americans:

I want us to go to war against Iraq. But I want us to have our eyes open and be completely realistic.

A war against Iraq will be expensive. It will cost you, the taxpayer, about $300 billion over five years. I know Wolfowitz is telling you Iraq's oil revenues will pay for it all, but that's ridiculous. Iraq only pumps about $10 billion a year worth of oil, and it's going to need that just to run the new government we're putting in. No, we're going to have to pay for it, ourselves. I'm going to ask you for $25 billion, then $80 billion, then another $80 billion. And so on. I'm going to be back to you for money more often than that unemployed relative that you don't like. The cost of the war is going to drive up my already massive budget deficits from about $370 billion to more like $450 billion a year. Just so you understand, I'm going to cut taxes on rich people at the same time that I fight this war. Then I'm going to borrow the money to fight it, and to pay for much of what the government does. And you and your children will be paying off that debt for decades. In the meantime, your dollar isn't going to go as far when you buy something made overseas, since running those kinds of deficits will weaken our currency. (And I've set things up so that most things you buy will be made overseas.) We'll have to keep interest rates higher than they would otherwise have been and keep the economy in the doldrums, because otherwise my war deficits would cause massive inflation.

So I'm going to put you, your children, and your grandchildren deeply in hock to fight this war. I'm going to make it so there won't be a lot of new jobs created, and I'm going to use the excuse of the Federal red ink to cut way back on government services that you depend on. For the super-rich, or as I call them, "my base," this Iraq war thing is truly inspired. We use it to put up the deficit to the point where the Democrats and the more bleeding heart Republicans in Congress can't dare create any new programs to help the middle classes. We all know that the super-rich--about 3 million people in our country of 295 million-- would have to pay for those programs, since they own 45 percent of the privately held wealth. I'm damn sure going to make sure they aren't inconvenienced that way for a good long time to come.

Then, this Iraq War that I want you to authorize as part of the War on Terror is going to be costly in American lives. By the time of my second inaugural, over 1,300 brave women and men of the US armed forces will be dead as a result of this Iraq war, and 10,371 will have been maimed and wounded, many of them for life. America's streets and homeless shelters will likely be flooded, down the line, with some of these wounded vets. They will have problems finding work, with one or two limbs gone and often significant psychological damage. They will have even more trouble keeping any jobs they find. They will be mentally traumatized the rest of their lives by the horror they are going to see, and sometimes commit, in Iraq. But, well we've got a saying in Texas. I think you've got in over in Arkansas, too. You can't make an omelette without . . . you gotta break some eggs to wrassle up some breakfast.

I know Dick Cheney and Condi Rice have gone around scaring your kids with wild talk of Iraqi nukes. I have to confess to you that my CIA director, George Tenet, tells me that the evidence for that kind of thing just doesn't exist. In fact, I have to be frank and say that the Intelligence and Research Division of the State Department doesn't think Saddam has much of anything left even from his chemical weapons program. Maybe he destroyed the stuff and doesn't want to admit it because he's afraid the Shiites and Kurds will rise up against him without it. Anyway, Iraq just doesn't pose any immediate threat to the United States and probably doesn't have anything useful left of their weapons programs of the 1980s.

There also isn't any operational link between a secular Arab nationalist like Saddam and the religious loonies of al-Qaeda. They're scared of one another and hate each other more than each hates us. In fact, I have to be perfectly honest and admit that if we overthrow Saddam's secular Arab nationalist government, Iraq's Sunni Arabs will be disillusioned and full of despair. They are likely to turn to al-Qaeda as an alternative. So, folks, what I'm about to do could deliver 5 million Iraqis into the hands of people who are insisting they join some al-Qaeda offshoot immediately. Or else.

So why do I want to go to war? Look, folks, I'm just not going to tell you. I don't have to tell you. There is little transparency about these things in the executive, because we're running a kind of rump empire out of the president's office. After 20 or 30 years it will all leak out. Until then, you'll just have to trust me.

-Ziggy Stardust  17:50 EST | |

Yea for nays 

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Crime... Or Fucking Awesome? 

I salute these brave soliders, defending the American way of life against domestic terrorists.

All I want to know is, who is the America-hating snitch?

-Miguel Sanchez  13:21 EST | |

Monday, January 24, 2005

"Shouldn't the relevant authorities be doing something about this?" 

China's Prime Minister asked the preceding questions regarding the falling dollar, but really, shouldn't this question be asked of everything the Bush Administration has touched.

-Daddy Brooklyn  22:11 EST | |

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wasting Time... 

Here's a recent craze sweeping the blogsphere: put your ipod or music player on shuffle, what are the first ten songs? Mine:

1. El Condor Pasa (If I Could), Simon and Garfunkel
2. Simple Twist of Fate, Bob Dylan
3. Venus as a Boy, Bjork
4. Is it Wicked Not to Care, Belle & Sebastian
5. Try Not to Breathe, R.E.M.
6. Changes, David Bowie
7. Lovesick Blues, Hank Williams (thanks, Josh!)
8. From Blown Speakers, The New Pornographers
9. The Lure of the Sea, The Beautiful South
10. Something to Talk About, Badly Drawn Boy

Add your own.

-Ziggy Stardust  22:24 EST | |

Directions in New York 

Perhaps less useful for those of you not in the City:

-Ziggy Stardust  16:47 EST | |

Saturday, January 22, 2005

David Brooks is on someone's payroll 

It's hard to believe that David Brooks is naive enough to believe what he writes here:
Two years from now, no one will remember the spending or the ostrich-skin cowboy boots. But Bush's speech, which is being derided for its vagueness and its supposed detachment from the concrete realities, will still be practical and present in the world, yielding consequences every day.

With that speech, President Bush's foreign policy doctrine transcended the war on terror. He laid down a standard against which everything he and his successors do will be judged.

When he goes to China, he will not be able to ignore the political prisoners there, because he called them the future leaders of their free nation. When he meets with dictators around the world, as in this flawed world he must, he will not be able to have warm relations with them, because he said no relations with tyrants can be successful.
I'm glad that The Washington Post acted quickly to clear up the misunderstanding:
White House officials said yesterday that President Bush's soaring inaugural address, in which he declared the goal of ending tyranny around the world, represents no significant shift in U.S. foreign policy but instead was meant as a crystallization and clarification of policies he is pursuing in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and elsewhere.
I'm never reading David Brooks again.

-Daddy Brooklyn  17:10 EST | |

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A new blog you should read 

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Update: The above blog isn't new per se; however, it's new to me. Thanks, Mark.

-Ziggy Stardust  19:43 EST | |

WaPo op-ed for you 

Here's a few snippets:
...we now have a new red-state political majority comprising voters who, while professing distrust of government and disdain for the values of the blue-state minority, are only too happy to rely on Washington and blue-state wealth to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed...'d think those truly committed to free markets and smaller government would be raising hell over the big increase in farm subsidies over the past two years, even as farm incomes doubled...

...George W. Bush says he wants to put aside this silly red-blue thing and be president of all the people. So far, however, his actions -- and those of his congressional allies -- suggest a different reality:

To the victor belong the spoils.
Nothing terribly new, and a bit shrill maybe, but interesting nonetheless.

-Ben  13:32 EST | |

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Now you can send fat fatty fat-face a thank you note 

Karl & Darby Rove: 4925 Weaver Terrace NW Washington, DC 20016

When writing a thank-you note, its best to be brief. Here's a sample:

Dear Hot Karl,

Thank you for ruining the country. No matter what you do, you will always be the little fat ass who was picked last for sports and bullied, because you are worthless and unfit to be loved.


Miguel Sanchez

-Miguel Sanchez  16:46 EST | |

Sunday, January 16, 2005

How unlikely would you say this is? 

Andrew Sullivan is Sensible 

I've often had my objections to Andrew Sullivan, but he has been an articulate and passionate opponent of American torture. Read his long review of books on torture in the NYT.

The last paragraph says a lot about American during the last election:

Perhaps the saddest evidence of our communal denial in this respect was the election campaign. The fact that American soldiers were guilty of torturing inmates to death barely came up. It went unmentioned in every one of the three presidential debates. John F. Kerry, the ''heroic'' protester of Vietnam, ducked the issue out of what? Fear? Ignorance? Or a belief that the American public ultimately did not care, that the consequences of seeming to criticize the conduct of troops would be more of an electoral liability than holding a president accountable for enabling the torture of innocents? I fear it was the last of these. Worse, I fear he may have been right.

-Ziggy Stardust  01:43 EST | |

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Why schools should teach students about religion 

I read "A Nation of Faith and Religious Illiterates" a few days ago, but never got around to posting it. The gist of the article is in these four paragraphs:
Things are different in Europe, and not just in Sweden. The Dutch are four times less likely than Americans to believe in miracles, hell and biblical inerrancy. The euro does not trust in God. But here is the paradox: Although Americans are far more religious than Europeans, they know far less about religion.

In Europe, religious education is the rule from the elementary grades on. So Austrians, Norwegians and the Irish can tell you about the Seven Deadly Sins or the Five Pillars of Islam. But, according to a 1997 poll, only one out of three U.S. citizens is able to name the most basic of Christian texts, the four Gospels, and 12% think Noah's wife was Joan of Arc. That paints a picture of a nation that believes God speaks in Scripture but that can't be bothered to read what he has to say...

...When Americans debated slavery, almost exclusively on the basis of the Bible, people of all races and classes could follow the debate. They could make sense of its references to the runaway slave in the New Testament book of Philemon and to the year of jubilee, when slaves could be freed, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus. Today it is a rare American who can engage with any sophistication in biblically inflected arguments about gay marriage, abortion or stem cell research...

...Now that the religious right has triumphed over the secular left, every politician seems determined to get religion. They're all asking "What Would Jesus Do?" — about the war in Iraq, gay marriage, poverty and Social Security. And though the ACLU may rage, it is not un-American to bring religious reasoning into our public debates. In fact, that has been happening ever since George Washington put his hand on a Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. What is un-American is to give those debates over to televangelists of either the secular or the religious variety, to absent ourselves from the discussion by ignorance.
Of course, I'm part of the mass of theologically ignorant Americans the author describes (I'm gonna read about religion right after I clean the house), but as I understand at, a selective reading of any of the Abrahamic religious texts coupled with broad ignorance and faith could lead one to condemn all kinds of people (e.g., divorcées, unmarried and pregnant women, men who touch menstruating women, those who prefer a little cashmere with their wool, and so on). It troubles me that self-interested preachers adopt this this tactic to fill the church coffers when they hate on gay people who are supposedly destroying families. If numerical realities were different and divorcées (but not gays) were a small enough group to be marginalized and then reviled, then divorcées would no doubt feel the wrath for destroying families. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think more religious education would stop this sort of simplistic scapegoating and make religion more of an introspective force for good.

-Daddy Brooklyn  09:41 EST | |

Friday, January 14, 2005

A disquieting idea 

Another form of WMD 

Who would have thought?

ARABS! Saddam had hidden thousands of potentially deadly "dual-use" Arabs that could have been weaponized at any moment! Fortunately the US military has been rounding up and destroying these civilians of mass destruction. But did Saddam hide any of these CMDs to other countries such as Iran and Syria? Giblets says there's only one way to find out!
Fafblog makes political life almost bearable.

-Ziggy Stardust  17:14 EST | |

Pell Grant Monte 

Lucky for Bush, people can't remember anything. Before christmas, Bush reduced pell grants.

Well, look fast, cause he's going to now increase them (from their reduced levels).

Quick! Keep your eye on the red card... But only suckers expect to win a game of 3 card monte.

-Miguel Sanchez  13:07 EST | |

Does the NYU campus smell like manure? 

Well, look no further than 0-7 political superstar Bob Shrum, now at NYU. Big, funny helmet trend to follow.

For some reason I haven't gotten to this until now, but I can't understand why the dems keep hiring this professional loser (Shrum does, however, afford me a rare chance to agree with Ann Coulter). In this excellent piece on the stupid, entrenched, unethical consultants and their role in bungling elections for democrats, the author gets it precisely right:

" Yet, instead of abiding by the "seven strikes and you're out" rule, Democrats have continued to pay top dollar for his [Shrum's] services".

I wouldn't hire Shurm to mow my lawn. In an hour, everyone in the neighborhood would be dead and the grass would somehow be substantially longer than when he started.

-Miguel Sanchez  11:52 EST | |

Thursday, January 13, 2005

How did we get here? 

The Department of Education pays a conservative columnist $240,000 to shill for No Child Left Behind, and as far as I can tell, nobody is really batting an eye. Would this have been a bigger deal a few years ago?

-Daddy Brooklyn  22:34 EST | |

An analysis of the Booker/Fanfan decision 

From Guest Poster: Jon

Disappointingly, the Supreme Court has managed to take the promising start towards sentencing reform embarked upon in Blakely v. Washington and has managed to make it nearly meaningless. Here’s the problem:

Under the old federal guidelines system, for any given crime, there was a statutorily mandated maximum. Armed robbery (for example) might have a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10, with certain elements defined. There was also a maximum mandated by the guidelines, which, for the “base offense” of armed robbery might be 5 years. Blakely was based upon the problem that occurred when a judge, using a weak evidentiary standard, increased a defendant’s sentence from 5 to 6 years (say, for brandishing a gun). The argument successfully made under Blakely was that 5 year guideline maximum had become the effective maximum (because it was mandated by the guidelines, and, sans additional facts, was the maximum assignable). Under this logic the 10-year statutory maximum was basically irrelevant, due to the binding nature of the guidelines. It was possible to read Blakely as implying that all facts that could impact the length of a sentence needed to go to a jury and be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; they would essentially become elements of the crime.

Under Booker/Fanfan, the majority (with the help of Justice Ginsburg) decided instead to remove the mandatory nature of the guidelines. Now, the 10 year maximum is very relevant, and judges essentially have the freedom to play around anywhere within the statutory range. Rather than bringing “sentencing factors” within the ambit of the jury, it has left them with the judges, but now also removed the standardization that was the selling point of the guidelines in the first place.

Given that most judges seem to feel the guidelines are absurdly strict, Booker/Fanfan may still work to the benefit of defendants. But it’s a much worse system than the one that could or should have been designed.

-Ziggy Stardust  16:31 EST | |

A test for gmail 

Everyone knows that what makes g-mail free is the friendly robot who reads your mail before you do and suggests things you might like to buy.

How far does g-mail go, I wonder. If all of the people on this blog could send me e-mails about a recent death in the family that didn't happen, I would appreciate it. I want to know if g-mail will suggest a provider of mortuary services.

-Miguel Sanchez  09:39 EST | |

This is really good news 

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Port Huron Statement 

I confess that I learned of the Port Huron statement from the Big Lebowski, perhaps because of a feeble education in American history that I am attempting to rectify now. Anyway, I think the statement is pretty damn fine--I am skeptical of the primacy or even importance of the role of students, but it is a minor quibble compared to the majesty of the values presented.

Anyway, check out this post from Left2Right, a group blog of liberal academics whose purpose has changed away from its title, but has some pretty big names. The post is about the statement and the unsurprising mendacity of Christopher Hitchens who is fast becoming the uber-hack.

-Ziggy Stardust  14:56 EST | |

Where we are and what our options are 

This piece seems to me to be one of the more well thought out pictures of our situation in Iraq. I especially like that he doesn't call the Prez a dumb ass outright, but his report is damn scathing.

Question: didn't this same mag endorse John Kerry? Maybe the 'conservative' part of the name refers to the old school conservative, not the neo-con nazi that flies the conservative flag.

Thanks, American Conservative.

-Lucky  10:46 EST | |

At what point can we no longer say Saddam was worse? 

Monday, January 10, 2005

In that case 

If you, like me, had completely misunderstood the motivation for Abu Ghraib, this will set you straight:

In opening arguments at the court martial for the soldier, Specialist Charles A. Graner, his lawyers insisted he was simply following orders, and using lessons he had learned in his civilian life as a prison guard to try to maintain discipline in a chaotic war zone.

Using naked and hooded detainees to make a human pyramid was much like what cheerleaders "all over America" do, the lawyer, Guy Womack, argued. Putting naked prisoners on leashes was much like what parents in airports and malls do with their toddlers: "They're not being abused," the lawyer told the jury of 10 soldiers, "they're being kept in control."
I really thought the cheerleader analogy was limited to right-wing radio.

-Daddy Brooklyn  17:26 EST | |

Saturday, January 08, 2005

One reason we didn't lose the election 

We certainly had the support of the powerful bubble gum cigar lobby. As you can see, Bush is represented splendidly with "it's a girl" pink.

Oh, John Kerry. If only you could be as electable as these delicious candy cigars.

-Miguel Sanchez  20:12 EST | |

Friday, January 07, 2005

It isn't real blogging if you're just responding to Kevin Drum 

But that's what I want to do anyway since he's so damn interesting.

He's opposed to Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposal to eliminate gerrymandering in California because of the whole unilateral disarmament aspect of California's action.

I, sadly, agree. I hate gerrymandering and think it a pox on our democratic house. But I hate what the theocrats and plutocrats (what do you get when you get the fervor of the former and the policies of the later: a GWB Republican) are doing to our country more. And so I must forgo my ideals (not that my preference matters at all) for realpolitik. So sue me.

-Ziggy Stardust  15:24 EST | |

Managing Teachers 

Kevin Drum has an interesting insight into one of the major difficulties of merit pay for teachers. The gist of his point is that in the private sector, managers determine what employees deserve raises, promotion, demotions, firings based on personal observation of the actual work of the employee. And that for merit pay to work in the public schools, the schools would need many, many more managers. So this would lead to better supervision and thus improved evaluation that would allow for more accurate merit determinations. But it'd cost a lot. My question is what other areas of the government does. I know there are set pay scales for the feds and lots of tests used, like the sergeants exam for police departments. How much personal evaluation goes into raises and promotions?

Another major barrier to merit pay is the power of unions. Now I do love the proletariat
(in a distant, paternalistic and cloying way, but it is still love), but teacher's unions--like all unions--aren't acting the public good and so they should be supported always. But what I'd like to know is how other public and private institutions navigate the power of unions and still have something like merit pay (assuming they do). I remember LP commenting that public unions have much more power now. Is that still true?

-Ziggy Stardust  15:09 EST | |

Good reasoning, Good torture 

Did I mention I am upset with Ken Salazar?

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) quotes from a speech Gonzales once gave at his alma mater, Rice University.
"During my years in high school, I never once asked my friends over to our home," Gonzales had said. "You see, even though my father poured his heart into it, I was embarrassed that 10 of us lived in a cramped space with no running water or telephone."

I see. Well, I'm satisfied. If I had been raised in these conditions, I would have had little recourse but to systematically undermine human rights. Thanks for pointing out this fellow latino's hard, hard childhood.

No telephone. I once left my cell phone on the bus, and when I realized I had no phone, I just started putting bags over people's heads and ramming a broom handle up their asses. What else could I have done? I was embarassed I had no phone!

More excellent reasoning in RMN [note: the Rocky Mountain News today has another piece with more detail, but it isn't on the web]

-Miguel Sanchez  10:07 EST | |

Salazar for Torture 

This morning, I was delighted to see the senator I worked so hard to get elected endorse Alberto Gonzales for the position of attorney general. Thanks for nothing, Salazar. I guess blood is thicker than electric cables hooked up to some arab's nuts.

With a start like this, what else can we expect? Salazar for social security privitization? Salazar for invading Iran? Salazar for suspending the 1st amendment?

With a democrat like this, who needs republicans?

-Miguel Sanchez  09:43 EST | |

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Is this a good idea? 

I am interested in getting a masters in political campaign management. Is this a good idea? And if so, where should I go to school? I know that this blog has a readership that is slightly lower than it's staff, does anyone know anyone who has done this?

Last thing I need is to get a freaking masters degree and still be unemployed....

-Miguel Sanchez  14:41 EST | |

Sunday, January 02, 2005

'tis the season, to hate... 

Christmas is clearly over.

There are too many issues to go into now (I'm on my way to the airport) but I think this excerpt from one of the comments to this post highlights the fundamental problem, and a basic comparison of this language and the language of the new testament to me says it all:

Tucker's story makes it clear that we must continue to marginalize, discriminate and otherwise harrass Homos for their own good.

I'm so sorry.

-Lucky  08:33 EST | |

Happy Anniversary!  

Well, we've been blogging for a year now!

-Ziggy Stardust  03:18 EST | |

Saturday, January 01, 2005

'Tis The Season 

This LAT story on U.S. foreign aid was written before the gov't upped the disaster relief funding to a decent level, but it's still a valuable comparison of how and what rich nations give to the world's poor. Surprising to me was that the old conservative shibboleth that Americans are more generous privately than other countries isn't true. Norwegians give $.24 per person per day while Americans only give $.05 per person per day.

It's just sad...

Via Jack O'Toole, who is a very good blogger.

-Ziggy Stardust  18:03 EST | |

About us:

This weblog is an ongoing, if periodic, effort by several friends to stay in touch, in reading material, and in ideas.

Lucky Luciano is a former Italian Stallion real estate hustler and Benedict Arnold CEO turned shady lawyer-to-be. He lives in Denver.

Ben is a Paramedic and would-be philantropist who lives in Denver. He knows everything about nothing.

Fuzzy Dunlop lives in Manhattan. He is more than capable of standing up to the stresses of a high crime urban environment.

Jess is a teacher. But have YOU given her an apple? No, you haven't. You should be ashamed of yourself. This crazy feminist currently rests her copy of Awakening in Jersey City.

Matt is a pariah, iconoclast, and professor of gambling living in Oakland.

Miguel Sanchez is not Lionel Hutz.

Daddy Brooklyn lives in Brooklyn. He hates Republicans, though he wouldn't mind being ensconced in the landed elite of New York City.

Paul just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette.

Ziggy Stardust has no past.

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