The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, November 23, 2002


Cal won the Big Game today, routing Stanford 30-7, for their first win over the Cardinal since 1994.

Yes, despite my presence at UCSB, I have many good reasons to be able to say "we". Those who know me, know why. (:

(or is it "why-ness"?)
Sick of the Bushies? Wish they'd go away? Well, here's some surprisingly-optimistic perspective on our country's experiment with Suharto-style democracy. Be sure to bookmark it, time goes by a lot faster than you might think.
PLA has an excellent post on a case of mistaken identity between the 2000 campaign candidates. That mistaken identity is, of course, which one is the habitual liar.
TBOGG has some proposed titles for Justice Clarence Thomas' memoirs. My personal favorites include:
Long Dong's Journey On The Right

SCOTUS Gone Wild!
I Done Paid His Daddy Back
Now there's a book that's bound to have the pages stick together!

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 — The American Civil Liberties Union has agreed in principle to hire Representative Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican and one of the most conservative members of Congress, as a consultant to work on privacy, surveillance and national security issues.(full story)
That's nuts! Next thing you're gonna tell me that Andrew Sullivan is writing for Salon! . . . oh.

This means a couple of things:
1) Conservatives will have to stop badmouthing the A.C.L.U. for a while. They probably won't stop, but at least we have an ironic comeback for them.
2) Does this mean that according to Jerry Falwell, Bob Barr caused 9/11? Actually, given Barr's personal history, he now fits two of Falwell's stated devils-incarnate (ACLU and abortionists)

Friday, November 22, 2002

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A U.S. military jury acquitted an American soldier of negligent homicide charges Friday, five months after the vehicle he was driving on a training mission struck and killed two South Korean girls.

The acquittal of Sgt. Mark Walker was expected to prompt further outcry from South Korean activists already angered by Wednesday's acquittal of the vehicle's commander, Sgt. Fernando Nino, on the same charges.

While the jury deliberated for 4 1/2 hours Friday, dozens of activists hurled eggs and paint bottles into Camp Casey, the U.S. military base north of Seoul, where the trial took place.

The demonstrators called the trial a sham.

Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander of the Eighth U.S. Army, appealed to South Koreans to trust the judgment of the jury panels. (full story)
This is not exactly the right way to get on other countries' good sides. This feeds the negative perception of America that exists in so many places, that we're hellishly arrogant, smug and happy to fuck with the rest of the world. And this lends more credence to Chalmers Johnson's thesis. Oh and the Iraq war won't help. In the end, this goes in the file next to Okinawa and the gondola in Italy.

Progressive Gold catches this little nugget from Liberal Oasis:
Stealing Gore

If you are going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first.
-- Al Gore, 9/23/02

Contrary to my image as a Texan with two guns on my side, I'm more comfortable with a posse.
-- Dubya, 11/21/02
This is not the first time that this has happened. TFM recalls this sort of thing coming up back when Bush was making the tasteless "trifecta" joke to partisan audiences this past summer. Back then, in a case of revisionist campaign history, Bush was telling a mythical anecdote about how he supposedly told someone during the 2000 campaign that he would only deficit spend if there were a war, a recession or a national emergency. ("Never did I dream that I would get the trifecta" was the punchline) At that time, when real journalists looked into the matter, they found that the only candidate who made a promise in 2000 that was even slightly near that was Al Gore (A piece at had shown this, but a search seems to show that it went down the memory hole).

I'd love to remove the Smirk from the White House. Just lemme get my posse together...

Yesterday the office lottery for new congressmen was held, and which new representative got the first choice, and thus the best office?

None other than Cruella De Ville herself, Katherine Harris.

Time for an investigation. I would also note that the worst (and last) office was awarded to a freshman rep from California, a Democrat.
I strongly dislike The American Prowler, or pretty much any publication with a title starting with "The American..." (with the obvious exception of The American Prospect). However, Paul Beston of the Prowler has written a very beautiful piece on the terminally-ill Warren Zevon's recent Letterman appearance, which had me in tears (both the appearance and this article).

When Zevon first disclosed his cancer to the public, he said his only wish is that he would make it to the next James Bond movie. Congratulations, Warren! (:

...via Eschaton, Max, a bunch of irony-lacking Freepers, and ultimately Mad Magazine...

Seriously you have to check out this picture. I'd stick it here but it's pretty big.

TFM especially digs the finer print at the bottom:


Obviously, these bits of irony and satire are lost on the Freepers, who choose rather to express their excitement that a "Warthog" was used in the picture.

Anyway, that picture is pure gold.

The last time that GOP took over both houses of congress (1994), one month later Cal won the Big Game. Eight years later, the Rethugs are in complete control of the Dome again, so could history repeat itself?

Could the first blow for the left against wing-nut domination be tomorrow, when Cal rises up to defeat Condi U? Time will tell...

For those of you who enjoy living in the past, here are some tidbits on The Play.
Ahh, it was only a matter of time: Trashy reality dating TV comes to Isla Vista.

Three UCSB film majors are running this show. And remember, we should all be nice to UCSB film majors, because hey, you never know.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 — Democratic leaders of Congress appealed today to President Bush to intervene in a standoff over extending unemployment benefits. House Republicans said they would not consider any proposal when the House met on Friday. (full story)
A moment of truth for Dubya. Hard right . . . or centrist-triangulation? Surely the ghost of 41's presidency lingers over him, saying "don't lose your conservative base"... uh oh.
Moron from GMU edition

From the UCSB Daily Nexus:
A national group of young conservatives says a class on clean air is dirty with liberal bias, but the UCSB professors in charge of the course say that's just hot air.

UCSB's Geography 135, a course that holds a mock environmental summit, was #7 in this year's Young America's Foundation list of the "dirty dozen" - a list of "the 12 most outlandish and politically biased courses on today's campuses."

George Mason University student Rick Parsons created YAF's "dirty dozen" list. Parsons made his selections by looking through the titles and course descriptions of all courses offered at major universities around the country and released his findings at the end of August. (full story)
That's a real scientific process this Parsons fellow has going, branding a course "outlandish and politically biased" just by looking at the course description. Perhaps he is the kind of fellow who reviews movies based on the previews. I'm waiting for him to tell us that Signs is "all about aliens and crop circles, nothing but, and that's it!"

But just for kicks, let's look at Geography 135's course description, the basis for Parsons' branding. The Nexus is nice enough to provide it in their piece:
The course description for Geography 135 reads, "A mock summit in which students act as representatives of different countries participating in environmental treaty negotiations. Students work in teams of four or five to prepare a presentation and discussion of environmental issues of concern to the world (e.g. energy, greenhouse gasses, etc.)"
What could possibly be wrong with that, mister Parsons? A mock summitt, with points of view spanning various nations around the world? Sorry Rick, but I hear there's plenty of space over in Unilateral Denial 122 at GMU.

The real reason for the YAF's attempted red flag is this: god forbid the words "environment" and "greenhouse gas" ever show up in a course description. Those traitors! Don't they know there's a war on?

Needless to say, UCSB Geography Chair Keith Clark defends the class as being anything but biased, and rightfully so.

YAF and Parsons add a number of other SB classes to their hit lists for this school year, including English 129, Queer Textuality, not to mention Film Studies 163, Women and Film: Feminist Perspectives. Again, sorry guys, but this disqualifies you from having any sort of credibility in this debate. The world is much, much more than dead white men.

Finally, I took a stroll through the YAF website earlier today. I must say, I was intrigued by their holiday present reccomendations. ("Aww, Why the Left Hates America! You shouldn't have! What a thoughtful gift!")

The academic director of Lakeshore High School in Detroit is crying foul after their women's basketball team lost a game by a score of . . . get ready for this . . . 115-2. Here's the story, from ESPN.

What does this mean to me? Breaking down of gender barriers, that's what! Women can be just as vicious and unsportsmanlike on the field of play as men often are.

Regardless of the gender, I'm not a big fan of such vicious competition, and I think that no matter what the coach or athletic director says, the girls of the Walkerville High b-ball team should have taken account of the situation and gone a little easy once the game was out of reach. We've seen so many movies about youth sports where the youths themselves come to enlightened understandings about competition, teamwork and sportsmanship. Heck, we even saw that in Bring It On (okay so we also saw a car wash scene in that one). My point is that the Walkervile girls should have known better than to run it up to a 113-point win.

Could the American Cancer Society have thought of a better name for their quit-smoking campaign than the "Great American Smokeout"?

Sounds like a Cheech & Chong movie festival to me.

What makes it worse is that they feature "words of motivation" from a few celebrities, notably "super"model Christy Turlington, about quitting smoking. Now wait a second. Why did the American Cancer Society seek out Christy Turlington for a statement? Because she's famous. How did Turlington become famous? By being a stick-thin supermodel. How did she become stick thin? By smoking! Eh, screw it. (:

From an obligatory current-events question in this morning's test:
17. The government response to recent accounting scandals has been
A) Strong reform at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the sure leadership of William Webster.
B) Uncertain implementation of reforms at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the controversial tenure of William Webster who recently resigned.
C) Strong reform at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the sure leadership of Harvey Pitt.
D) Uncertain implementation of reforms at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the controversial tenure of Harvey Pitt who recently resigned.
Good luck!

Though honest conservatives might argue that under the Pitt regime, reforms have been made in their favor, because the SEC will end up being gutted in next year's budget, allowing more corporate criminals to get away scot free, similar to how the Gingrich congress gutted the IRS for similar purposes.
Today's Joe Conason is a must-read.

(via Hesiod, Flablog et al)

This is an actual stamp, for sale as we speak:

Does this scare you just a little bit?
WASHINGTON — A massive database that the government will use to monitor every purchase made by every American citizen is a necessary tool in the war on terror, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Edward Aldridge, undersecretary of Acquisitions and Technology, told reporters that the Pentagon is developing a prototype database to seek "patterns indicative of terrorist activity." Aldridge said the database would collect and use software to analyze consumer purchases in hopes of catching terrorists before it's too late.

"The bottom line is this is an important research project to determine the feasibility of using certain transactions and events to discover and respond to terrorists before they act," he said.

Aldridge said the database, which he called another "tool" in the war on terror, would look for telltale signs of suspicious consumer behavior. (full story)
I hope no conservatives are suprised by this. The Bushies have been shredding civil liberties for quite a while now.

What's really gonna get some conservatives' undies in a bunch is this line:
Examples he cited were: sudden and large cash withdrawals, one-way air or rail travel, rental car transactions and purchases of firearms, chemicals or agents that could be used to produce biological or chemical weapons. (emphasis mine)
Well kiss my cousin, how can they do that? Surely a gun has absolutely nothing to do with potential violence! Well, expect the "cold dead hands" crowd to throw a fit.

What makes it even worse is that this database is being developed by Reaganite and convicted felon John Poindexter. This is why conservatives are so entertaining. They'll go on and on about how homosexuals in government and military are "more vulnerable to blackmail", and then they'll hire a guy like Poindexter to oversee this kind of information. Sheesh.

It's Bush and Cheney's world, we're just being monitored in it.

We'll do something about that in 23 and a half months. If they haven't cancelled elections by then.

Republican Tom McClintock has finally conceded in the race for State Controller, and has congratulated Democrat Steve Westly on his victory.

This means that every statewide office in California is occupied by a Democrat, the first time that this has occurred since 1882, not to mention control of both the state legislature and the state senate.

Sorry, Republicans, nominating Riordan would not have mattered.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Tom Daschle is absolutely right. Though the only thing I would say is, now he notices? Rush and his imitators have been inciting threates against liberals for years, and don't get me started on how Limbaugh talked of Chelsea, who under no circumstances should have been talked of in such a way. (do a google search on that, i'm too tired and burnt out from reading econ to do it, hehe)

And to echo the point made by various liberals on the net and elsewhere: If the Republicans are so upset about the "liberal" media, where are the calls from their side to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine?

Why haven't I been blogging today? Because the power was off. No, not "out", but "off". "Off" means a guy comes and tells you that your power has been disconnected because you're late on payment. Of course, late wasn't specifically me this time (like my Yoda grammar?). Anyway, the centerpiece of today was an odyssey to get the bill paid for and turn the juice on before it was too late, and all that tasty food in the freezer would spoil. Luckily, due to fortuitous circumstances (i.e. Ben coming home for lunch), everything was taken care of.

And now, to never take electricity for granted again (I shouldn't hvae before, hehe), and to read the news...
LONDON (Reuters) - An ornate box that former Beatle John Lennon used to store his marijuana is expected to fetch up to $40,000 at auction in London Tuesday.

The leather, barrel-shaped box, decorated with Middle Eastern-style pipes, goes under the hammer with other Fab Four memorabilia.

Auction house Cooper Owen said Lennon used the "stash box" during the 1960s to hide his drugs from housekeepers at his home Surrey, southern England. (full story)
1) I hope that money goes to a good cause
2) I hope the new owner of the box uses it for a similar purpose, and
3) This is much more noteworthy than the Jesus'-brother box from a few weeks ago. Again, this proves that the Beatles were, and still are, bigger than Jesus.
LONDON (Reuters) - Women are not the only ones to turn on the acting abilities in the bedroom, said a survey released ahead of the world's largest adult festival in London.

The survey of 2,500 Britons, by organizers of the Erotica 2002 festival, said 23 percent of men claimed to have faked an orgasm, compared to 56 percent of women. (full story)
Well, we know who one of those 23% is:

("Well if its enough already and I just want to get some sleep")

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

TAPPED sets the record straight on Nanci Pelosi, and also offers a couple principles for us bloggers, readers, and political observers to follow:
1. A pundit or blogger is worth reading in inverse proportion to the frequency with which he or she uses the word "leftist."

2. A conservative pundit or blogger immediately loses whatever argument he or she is trying to make once they compare any Democrat in Congress to a socialist or Communist.
TAPPED is responsible enough to note that sometimes us liberals refer to all Republicans as "right-wingers". I think that's too responsible. In terms of the Senate, for example, I don't see McCain, Chaffee, Specter, or even Frist, Collins and Snowe that way all the time. And many Republicans have interesting quirks on various issues. For example, due to Mormon definitions of the beginning of life, Orrin Hatch went against his conservative buddies to support embryonic stem cell research. But the rest of them are "right wingers", haha.
Paul Krugman on the real reason for the Bushies' desire to privatize almost a million federal jobs: Karl Rove wants to bring back the spoils system, as old as Old Hickory.

The Senate passed the Homeland Security measure by a vote of 90-9 today. Before that lopsided vote, the main sticking point had been a number of provisions in the bill which would have protected some special interests (particularly Eli Lilly and the pharmaceutical industry) from litigation etc. After an amendment to get rid of the offending pork was voted down earlier in the day, soon-to-be-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Hairspray) promised that if the bill was passed as-is, then in next year's session, the three most offending provisions would be elimintaed at that time.

As the Washington post pointed out earlier today about the amendment vote (defeated 52-47), Senator Mary Landrieu was basically being blackmailed by the Republicans into voting against the amendment. She's up for a run-off election on December 6th, and had she voted for the amendment, the GOP was basically threatening to use that vote against her to say she was stalling the bill, and thus question her "patriotism", in a way similar to how they dug up old SDI votes to question the patriotism of triple-amputee Max Cleland in Georgia.

So the questions are: 1) What's the GOP's plan B on ousting Landrieu? and 2) Will Lott keep his word once he has the reigns of power? I'm not sure, though there could be big-time political consequences (all the way to 04) if he doesn't. Or they could question the Dem's "patriotism" again, hell, it worked so well in the midterms, given how impotent the Dem's were in fighting back.


Until reading this week's Onion AV Club, I had no idea that the Federation's favorite nervous-but-studious geek has a blog!

And a liberal one at that!

Yes, Wil Wheaton, formerly of Stand By Me, but perhaps better known (by me at least) as young Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: TNG has a frequently-updated weblog, appropriately titled

I found out about this from an interview that was included in this week's Onion. Regarding the interview, Wheaton writes on his blog: "It absolutely, positively doesn't get any better than this".

Anyway, I urge you to check out his blog. Again, And after you're done, here's an old Crusher fan site I stumbled across today, called The Wesley Crusher Estrogen Brigade. They have haikus, as well as anagrams of "ensign wesley crusher".

(By the way, let's do a checkup on the big-4 from "Stand By Me". Wil Wheaton: acting in a comedy troupe and running a website . . . Corey Feldman: uhh, aside from the Moby video . . . Jery O'Connell: as good as dead . . . River Phoenix: dead . . . Wil wins!)

Monday, November 18, 2002

This piece in the Salt Lake Tribune claims that John McCain is "...poised to jump parties."

I would love to see both McCain and Lincoln Chaffee leave the Repubs. But this strikes me as wishful thinking. Remember when Jeffords jumped, how McCain, Chaffee AND Zell Miller were all supposedly thinking about jumping?

But we can dream, can't we?

R.I.P. JAMES COBURN, 1928-2002

In the Stonecutters episode (which is classic, of course), Patrick Stewart does the voice of a character named "Number One". Hmmm, that's not right!

Great piece in the Washington Post's sunday magazine from Liza Mundy.

(via TAPPED et al)
Nov. 18, 2002 | MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of Alabama's judicial building violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had the 5,300-pound granite monument installed in the state building, 30 days to remove it. (full story)
Presumably, Ashcroft is heading straight down to Montgomery to block the door.

Charlton Heston could not be reached for comment, because he is currently holding a NRA rally across the street from the Jam-Master Jay memorial service. Afterwards, he'll still be busy, holding another rally outside the premiere of "Half Past Dead".

From my local student paper, a discussion of gender roles originating from an ass-grabbing.

From Newsweek (via Hesiod).

Scroll down a bit and you find:
"In general, would you like to see George W. Bush reelected to another term as president, or not?"

Yes 49%
No 42%
Don't Know 9%
In this poll, Bush doesn't even crack 50%. That spells trouble. Then again, 1) this poll was taken just before the midterms, and 2) like I said, there's still a long time between now and November 2004.

With Gore re-entering the public realm and making his rounds on TV, we're bound to see the usual spin come about on him. All those cliches and all that nonsense. As to be expected, it's there, and over at Daily Howler they're all over it.

This week's Time has some Gore-related polls out, including puting him up against bush:
--Suppose the 2004 election for President were being held today, and you had to choose between Al Gore, the Democrat, and George W. Bush, the Republican. for whom would you vote?

Gore -- 40%
Bush -- 57%
And as with all presidential polls held almost two years before an election, this poll mean . . . altogether now, folks . . . absolutely nothing!

What strikes me are that these poll numbers are almost identical to Gore vs Bush poll numbers from this time in 1998, right after Dubya was reelected as Texas Governor. (I remember this because at the time, former highschool classmate Robb "Bush will save us" McFadden sent me an email with those numbers) In fact, if I recall, Smirk was polling about 18% ahead at that time. Someone remind me, who won the popular vote in 2000? After all, that's a poll of about 100 million adult Americans.

Keep in mind that the Republicans control the entire federal government right now, so if things go badly, they can't pass the buck, and that could certainly affect Dim Son's reelection hopes.

Anyway, the point is that it's a loooong time before campaign 2004 becomes serious. I know that Time wants to sell magazines, but as readers let's not take crap like this too seriously right now. Given that according to their polling, 81% of Democrats are "not familiar with" Howard Dean, yes, it's early.

My brain has been in cold-storage all weekend, and is still decompressing at the moment, so actual blog entries will commence later today. In the meantime, check out this internet clock (flash required).

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Sorry about the lack of posts this weekend, I've been recording! And it sounds good, too.