The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, January 22, 2005


In the wildcard round I got 1 out of 4 games right. In the divisional playoff round I got 2 games right. So this week, my goal is to get 3 games right. It's a tall order, given that there are only 2 games total this weekend. Crap. Anyway, let's try this...

Patriots 16
Steelers 23

Falcons 19
Eagles 27

Yes, should be a great Super Bowl, Patriots/Falcons, yeah that's right.

Friday, January 21, 2005


It's official: Bush is ditching the Hubble, the one thing NASA has that actually works:
The White House has eliminated funding for a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope from its 2006 budget request and directed NASA to focus solely on deorbiting the popular spacecraft at the end of its life, according to government and industry sources.

NASA is debating when and how to announce the change of plans. Sources told Space News that outgoing NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe likely will make the announcement Feb. 7 during the public presentation of the space agency’s 2006 budget request.

That budget request, according to government and industry sources, will not include any money for Hubble servicing but will include some money for a mission to attach a propulsion module to Hubble needed to deorbit the spacecraft safely with a controlled re-entry into the Pacific Ocean. NASA would not need to launch such a mission before the end of the decade to guide the massive telescope safely into the ocean.

Sources said O’Keefe received his marching orders on Hubble Jan. 13 during a meeting with White House officials to finalize the agency’s 2006 budget request. With both robotic and shuttle-based servicing options expected to cost well in excess of $1 billion, sources said, NASA was told it simply could not afford to save Hubble given everything else NASA has on its agenda, including preparing the shuttle fleet to fly again.
Curious, the old space shuttle fleet lives on, yet a telescope that gives us irrefutable evidence that the universe is billions of years old gets the boot? The slow creep toward theocracy continues!

The linked article features an impressive slide show of the better images captured by the Hubble over the years, definitely worth a look.

Ward Connerly and Michael Powell in the same week. Two intersections of "door" and "ass".

Fafnir's is good, but Giblets' is better.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

At last, some balance!

...Hey, wait a minute...

Even when Instapundit is fundamentally right about something, he can't help but give nods to two separate canards!

In his post, he agrees with Kevin Drum's point that Christian proselytizing and "Intelligent Design" have no place in the biology classroom of a public school.
So far so good. But then,
I suppose there are atheistic Intelligent Design fans out there somewhere, but I don't think I've met one. And I doubt that they really fit into the ID community.
(canards in italics) In fairness, Glenn conveys some measure of skepticism about the first of the two fake groups, so he gets off with a warning there. But the other one? No. The Falwellites want people to think that there's some sort of independent faction of curious, semi-religious "Goldilocks" types who have organized to push their viewpoint emphatically through a carefully-orchestrated campaign. Sure. The radical confused middle.

The arguments for and (mostly) against intelligent design are one thing. (It goes against human intellectual curiosity and the value of empirical research) However, the vast bulk of its proponents, if not virtually all of them, are from among the creationists. Anyway...
This vote is an expression of my determination that we hold the Bush administration accountable.

Dr. Rice is a principal architect, implementer, and defender of a series of Administration policies that have not made our country as secure as we should be and have alienated much-needed allies in our common cause of winning the war against terrorism. Regrettably, I did not see in Dr. Rice's testimony before our committee any acknowledgment of the need to change course or of a new vision for America's role in the world.

On Iraq, on North Korea, on Iran, to name just a few of the most critical challenges, it seems to be more of the same. I hope I am proven wrong. I hope the course will change. And I hope that the Administration will recognize the strength of a foreign policy that has bipartisan support.

I am prepared to work with Dr. Rice and others in the Administration to try to reach agreement on policies that will truly strengthen our security and restore America's credibility on the world stage. And I am confident colleagues on both sides of the aisle are prepared to do so as well.

But, we've got to remain firm in our insistence that those who create policies that don't work have the courage to admit their mistakes and the wisdom to change course.
His vote against the $87 billion, you might recall (if you are intellectually honest), was a vote to hold the administration accountable.

(By the way, I was busy and missed Bush's inauguration speech, but from the way Woodruff Greenfield and co. talked about it, seems like it was more of the same. As in, extravagantly-phrased endorsements of the neoconservative worldview, plus framing the war in terms of the Cold War.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


As a UCSB student from the SF Bay Area, I grew very, very familiar with the stretch of Highway 101 that links those two locales, as well as the stretch beyond to the south. Thus, I have one minor quibble with Sideways, which I finally saw last night.

When Miles and Jack make their initial departure from LA, we see them driving north on 101. We see them driving on the freeway, between the ocean and some prominent hills, with a small island visible just off the coast. This island can be seen five miles west of Ventura, a few miles before you hit La Conchita, where there was a recent mudslide.

What's wrong with this?

The boys then arrive at Miles' mom's house... in OXNARD. Oxnard, of course, is to the southeast of Ventura, which they had already passed. Oops! There goes the Oscar!

Other than that, no major missteps that I could find.

--The emotional beachside conversation the guys have ("I think that was Bukowski") seems to occur at Gaviota State Beach, 15 miles west of UCSB (the bridge for the Union Pacific line is a dead giveaway)

--I can't really vouch for the exact locations of wineries, but the travelling between Solvang and Buellton seems to check out accurately.

--No, I've never stayed at the Windmill Inn, but I've taken the main Buellton exit a number of times to fill up, as the nearby Arco isn't that expensive. Also, there was a County Supervisor debate at Andersen's Pea Soup there back in early '04.

And as a final, amusing touch,

--Last weekend, I stayed at the big tacky Holiday Inn off Sunset Blvd that's featured in the opening sequence of the movie.

Great film, by the way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


From Jesse.

Are you sure it was a new season of Family Guy starting May 1st? Are you sure it wasn't nothing?

I can't wait.

Monday, January 17, 2005


2003: Filed amicus brief in opposition to affirmative action at public universities.

2004: Appointed Charles Pickering to the Federal Judiciary during a Congressional recess to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Why was he being filibustered, you ask? Oh yeah, because of his dark record on civil rights.

2005: ??

What will it be this year? Will Dubya invoke King by saying he would have supported privatization?

While we wait for Bush to open his mouth and remove all doubt honor the Nobel Peace Prize winner, you should check out Bill O'Reilly's comments on what MLK's positions would be, were he alive today. The teaser is, and yes, you probably guessed it: "He probably would have supported the war in Iraq". Bill, go falafel yourself.