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Monday, February 27, 2006

I Can Still Do Math

At least at an eighth grade level, that is. I found this very easy.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Larry Don't Live Here No Mo'!

I also wanted to post this link to a silly animation starring Larry Summers, who is resigning as president of Harvard. The animators have now added a disclaimer saying that they have no political message and made the thing way back in 2004. I think it's indicative of some of the squabbles Summers got into during his brief presidency, though. And it's also got that great Shaniqua song playing, so what's not to like?

Dubai Ports and the Extra 45 Days

I happen to know a lot about this for reasons I don't want to disclose on the blog. Anyway, there now seems to be some clamoring for an extended review process of the Dubai Ports World acquisition of control of six US ports, as the New York Times is reporting:

An objection from any member of the interagency committee would have started, as required by law, an additional 45-day review. Such a review is being urged by governors and members of Congress.
That interagency committee is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and its role is defined by statute in section 2170 of an appendix to Title 50 of the United States Code. Section 2170a says:

The President or the President's designee may make an investigation to determine the effects on national security of mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers . . . by or with foreign persons which could result in foreign control of persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States. If it is determined that an investigation should be undertaken, it shall commence no later than 30 days after receipt by the President or the President's designee of written notification . . . Such investigation shall be completed no later than 45 days after such determination.
In short, there's the initial 30-day review, and if there are still national security concerns, there's an additional 45-day investigation, which is what a lot of people are suggesting now for Dubai Ports. The odd thing, though, is that such an additional 45-day investigation is actually required by statute when the foreign entity acquiring control of sensitive US assets is owned by a foreign government. Dubai Ports World is owned by the UAE government. This is in section 2170b:

The President or the President's designee shall make an investigation . . . in any instance in which an entity controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government seeks to engage in any merger, acquisition, or takeover which could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the United States that could affect the national security of the United States.
As the statute defined that term "investigation" in subsection a, it refers to the additional 45 days.

The bottom line is that the 45 days is supposed to be a requirement in this instance, not optional. If the members of the Bush administration's CFIUS didn't do the extra 45-day review here, they simply did not follow the statutory mandate, which requires a minimum 75-day total time reviewing anything that could become owned by a foreign government, regardless of how concerned they are about national security in any particular instance.

You know, reading the law really does help sometimes! I am tempted to attack the massive amount of other misinformation that is out there on this story, but I have probably said too much already.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Those Controversial Cartoons, Again

Glenn Reynolds has posted two of them. "Hardly worth rioting over, in my opinion. But the people who do this sort of thing don't care much about my opinion. So why should I care about theirs?"

I have already said that I find this to be an exceedingly dumb controversy in a world full of stupid controversies. Now we'll see if the crazies threaten Reynolds or hack the instapundit.com site.

Don't the rioters in the Middle East realize that the American public's attention moved on once the vice president shot somebody? That was a much more fun story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Question I was waiting for Matt Lauer to ask

When he was interviewing the female halfpipe gold medalist, Lauer really should've thrown in, "Dude, where can I score some weed in Torino?" I don't think she would've missed a beat.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lynn Swann is Stupid

Lynn Swann, his path now cleared to be the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, had his big national interview debut yesterday with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week. He used the occasion to declare himself pro-life and also to reveal that he didn't understand the basics of Roe v. Wade:

In his interview with Stephanopoulos, Swann appeared to be unfamiliar with the way the Roe decision worked. Swann has been criticized for his lack of political experience and apparent reluctance to discuss policy issues in detail.

"Well, if the Supreme Court overturned (Roe v. Wade), then, they've basically overturned it," he said. "They've basically said that, you know, you can't have an abortion."

When Stephanopoulos informed him that a high court vote overturning Roe would leave it up to individual states to regulate abortions, Swann replied: "Well if they send it to the states to decide ... as opposed to making a decision that abortions are illegal, then I would sign [legislation] making abortions illegal."

Idiot! All that Roe v. Wade says is that states cannot categorically ban abortion. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then individual states will be free to ban abortion entirely, or retain abortion as legal, as they see fit. If you are going to run for office on a pro-life platform, you might want to educate yourself a wee bit on the law of abortion.

When asked the next obvious question in this area by Stephanopoulos, Swann confirmed is idiocy by saying that he had no idea what the hell stem cell research was all about. Ladies and gentleman, your next governor of Pennsylvania.

Dick Cheney Shot a Guy!

I'm late to the party, but what a ridiculous news item. Our vice president really is a terrible human being, and I shouldn't find this so funny considering a guy was shot. Whatever, this should teach these stupid old farts that they shouldn't be waddling around in the woods shooting at birds anyway.

Here's Joel Achenbach:

As you know, quail hunting is what passes for military service in the upper ranks of the Bush Administration. Dick Cheney knows what it is like to fire a weapon in anger, particularly when the birds flush from the bracken unexpectedly. George W. Bush has flown airplanes, many of them folded from his personal stationery. Donald Rumsfeld has piloted boats and submarines through seemingly impenetrable mounds of suds. And so on. ...

I find the story reassuring. Cheney is a man who doesn't just talk the talk. No, if he's going to send American soldiers into harm's way, where they might be shot at any moment by a deranged fanatic, he's also going to do the same thing to his close personal friends.

Read the post above it mocking the Winter Olympics too, Achenblog was on fire today.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Give Him a Gold and an Oscar

The American guy who won a gold medal in the really long speed skating event a little while ago (in TV time) said afterward that the victory was extra special to him because it was the thirteenth anniversary of his grandmother dying of brain cancer. In fact, he said he wrote her name on his skates today, and he added that he and his coach were crying before the race began.

They just finished up a report on Michelle Kwan who, after a difficult practice, had tears welling up too. I foresee a dramatic comeback for Kwan as she beats back injury to compete in the figure skating. If she medals, there won't be a dry eye in the house!

Who does NBC have as a screenwriter for the Olympics this time around? Could this possibly be more maudlin? Unfortunately it's snowy here so I haven't been out drinking.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Opening Ceremonies!

I really, really enjoy watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, probably to an unhealthy degree. Something always get me excited to see the teams come out in their hideous gear for the parade of nations and to witness the bizarre performance art put on by the host city.

The ceremonies actually just started over in Italy, at around 2pm eastern time, though we don't get to see them until NBC lets us. In addition to Pavarotti singing, here's what's in store:

The ceremony is also expected to include futuristic performers zipping around on roller blades with flames shooting from the back of their helmets. The show will be produced by Marco Balich, who is a veteran of U2, Pink Floyd and Whitney Houston concerts.

There also will be the usual acrobatics and fireworks. In a break from past Winter Games, however, no ice will be used.

That sounds pretty tame, but it would be hard to top the freak show that was the start of the Athens games in 2004.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"AP censorship is [expletive] too!" Jagger added

Irony alert: the AP tells us the Rolling Stones weren't so happy about being censored by ABC during their Super Bowl halftime performance ... but they won't tell us what exactly was censored either.

Censorship of their songs during the Super Bowl halftime show was "absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary," the Rolling Stones said through a spokeswoman on Tuesday. ...

In "Start Me Up," the show's editors silenced one word close to the song's end, a reference to a woman so sexy she could arouse a dead man. (The song hit No. 2 in 1981, has been played on radio for 25 years, and the lyric is almost never cut.) The lyrics for "Rough Justice" included a synonym for rooster that was removed.

The Stones also performed "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," but the lyric "I can't get no girlie action" made it through unscathed.

Even though "the lyric is almost never cut" it apparently is unfit to appear in print in the AP story on the subject. For the curious, the lyric is, "you make a dead man come." I looked that up and found it surprisingly dirty; it's also a bit more than merely being aroused, where I come from, and I intentionally spelled it the non-naughty way to avert some tawdry search engine hits.

Paul Wellstone Redux?

I can hear the Republican spin points being formulated: "They turned a funeral into a political rally!" Such a claim may have some validity if applied to the funeral of Coretta Scott King:

But there was a strong political undercurrent, with several speakers making veiled and in some cases open criticism of the Bush administration from a podium situated just feet from where the president sat.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin recalled how Mrs Scott hadspoken out against "the senselessness of war" with a voice that was heard "from the tin rooftops of Soweto to the bomb shelters of Baghdad."

In an apparent swipe at the domestic eavesdropping programme authorised by Mr Bush as part of the war against terror, Mr Carter recalled how Mrs King and her husband had been the targets of secret government wiretapping.

"It was difficult for them personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated, and they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance," he said.

Mr Carter also referred to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as evidence that the struggle for civil rights was not complete. "We only have to recall the colour of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi who are most devastated by Katrina to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans," he said.

Mr Clinton was joined at the podium by his wife, Hillary. When he said how pleased he was to be in attendance with the current and former presidents a voice in the crowd shouted, "and the future president", provoking first laughter and then applause.

The blacks still love them some Clinton, don't they?

Part of me agrees that it is rather tacky to discuss politics at a funeral--the minister who referred to the lack of weapons of mass destruction seemed to be reaching to me. At the same time, though, it does bear mentioning that the current administration espouses policies that are in many ways antithetical to the work of Martin Luther King and his wife.

My gut says that things like Carter's Katrina reference are fair game, especially when stated as a call to finish the Kings' work, rather than used as a weapon to attack the current leadership in Washington (like the more direct Iraq references made by others).

Monday, February 06, 2006

I Agree with Jeff Jacoby!

To mark this momentous occasion, I will throw out a link to Jeff's Sunday column "We Are All Danes Now" and even excerpt it:

Hindus may consider it odious to use cows as food, but they do not resort to boycotts, threats, and violence when non-Hindus eat hamburger or steak. They do not demand that everyone abide by the strictures of Hinduism and avoid words and deeds that Hindus might find upsetting. The same is true of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Mormons: They don't lash out in violence when their religious sensibilities are offended. They certainly don't expect their beliefs to be immune from criticism, mockery, or dissent.

But radical Muslims do.

I find it ironic that Muslims upset by a depiction of Muhammad as a terrorist resort to acts of terrorism themselves.

You probably know by now that I am all about mocking religion here at DK. I think what Islam needs is its own Life of Brian in order to really arrive in the modern world.

Stop being so darn serious my Islamic friends! It is possible, and I would argue essential, to embrace the absurdity of humanity while also maintaining a sense of spirituality.

Wow, I need to go to bed, this is becoming a strange post.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Gay Bar in New Bedford?

I don't mean to have an unserious response to a very serious story, but honestly, my first reaction to this item was, "Wow, there's a gay bar in New Bedford?" That alone should be an indication that the Jacob Robidas of the world are losing the battle and homosexuality is gaining mainstream acceptance.

Jerome Bettis = Saddam Hussein

In case you, like me, are feeling ambivalent about the Super Bowl, go read DC Charles for a reason to back Seattle (via Zunta). It turns out Jerome Bettis is the first person to receive a key to the city of Detroit since Saddam Hussein back in 1980. I guess even RoboCop wasn't worthy of getting a key, so it must be a high honor indeed.

This is almost as important as rooting against the Steelers because Condi Rice picked them.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Astounding Hypocrisy"

The Arab News didn't much like the state of the union speech:

In his address, Bush made no attempt to analyze the motives of the majority of Palestinian electors, demonstrated no insight whatsoever into their agonies and frustrations. Instead he made it clear that though they had held a free and fair election, the Palestinians had made the wrong choice and America therefore had no intention of accepting it. Yet in the very same speech, Bush trotted out his hopes for a democratic Iran and a freely elected government with whom Washington would one day be able to work.

Now at least Bush’s perverse vision of the democratic process is patently clear. A democratic election must produce a government that is acceptable to the White House. Anything else will be rejected. The democratic voice of the people will be ignored unless it is singing the song that Washington wants to hear. This astounding hypocrisy undermines everything America says it is trying to achieve in the region and everything that America once stood for.

Bush's simplistic rhetoric on the magic of free elections has never made sense, and again last night he demonstrated the shallowness of his vision, spouting off statistics on the number of countries that are democracies in today's world without seriously analyzing what it means to be a democracy. It is hardly a new insight that free elections do not make for enlightened leadership, and it is long since time that the Bush administration figured this one out.

Kerry's Senate floor speech on Alito

Good for Kerry (via The Chimes). Unfortunately, now this applies.