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December 28, 2005


Yup thats the Bush administration. Lower than whale feces and proud of it.

Gary- Yes I am aware that the above is not an arguement. Sometimes a statement is its own reward.

And bbm wonders why I detest Bush. What I wonder is why anyone can stand him. Not just as president, but as a man.

Maybe he is not worse than most men. Which is a sad thing to say about most men.


They're just working their way through Constitutional amendments, apparently they're up to #13. (okay, that was a bit much)

"Maybe he is not worse than most men. Which is a sad thing to say about most men."

I would have no hesitation in putting Bush into the lower 49% of humans, ranked on a moral basis. In fact I might put him in the bottom 10%. Whether a mansion in Bel Air or a hovel outside Sao Paulo, most men have worked for what they have. What wasn't given Bush, he stole.

I know this is mere Bush-bashing, but what am I supposed to argue anymore? Rational arguments against blanket surveillance, torture, attacks on habeus, freaking slavery?

Umm, my heart is not in it. I guess I admire those who fight the good fight. I think I do.
I could move this thread into heated territory by saying that Katherine, hilzoy, and charleycarp are simply enabling oppression by treating tyranny as a legal question.

I am reminded of the old feminist line:"I will get rational when you take your foot off my neck." I am not sure that rational discussion or adherence to the rule of law remains moral when I see who is making the laws and what laws are being made.
Perhaps I would better serve justice by studying the tactical and strategic material over at Marxists.org, or consulting Osama and Zarqahi.

This is mostly about incompetence and a lack of will to do anything another than to toady to political interests.

Say the nice thing, but don't bother to follow up worth crap. Put morons in charge of trying to implement something (there may in fact be flaws in the initial efforts to craft a policy to enforce the overall goal). Allow favored interest groups to write the rules so that they are not inconvenienced by having to make accommodations for an important policy.

And then pretend that Bush's strong rhetoric somehow counts as policy and that he must actually mean what he says.

What result would be over the line? Which atrocity would end in acquiescence, would not end in:"Well, I lost, but I fought fair and honestly, and I still respect the process and must accept the results?"

Not torture, habeus, slavery, rendition of innocents, illegal war and War Crimes and junking of Int'l law and conventions, then fricking what?

Hilzoy, I really thought you were smarter.

Most of these women wear short skirts and none of them are in a persistent vegitative state. Moreover, most of the men and women involved underprivileged anyway, so labour and prostitution is working very well for them.

Are we seeing a new political weapon---doing so many bad things that the populace can't keep them straight and gets too fatigued to care?

Are we seeing a new political weapon---doing so many bad things that the populace can't keep them straight and gets too fatigued to care?

This is a variant of the NY Knick Pat Riley approach to beating the MJ-led Bulls: foul all the time, the refs can't possibly call every one. Didn't work for Pat, hopefully it won't for the President either.

Bush hasn't defended the human rights records of genocidal tyrants yet. Reagan did that. There's probably no need to do so at the moment.

See, that's the thing I don't get. If this is a country by and for the people, how many totally pissed off people does it take for the few who are enamored with the pres to see that, whatever they personally think, GW and his policies are divisive and, ultimately, damaging to the country?

I don't think that bbm gets that *I* voted for Bush in 2000, and yet I count myself as a yellow dog democrat now. That is Bush's doing. How many other relatively moderate people hold the same opinions? Am I alone in this regard? Do bears not shit in the woods?

The answer is, bears do defecate mostly in the woods, and I am way far from alone, although there are certainly large numbers of moderates who still fear terrorism more than they detest Bush. But I think most of the political middle is shifting away from the pres. Does it take an election for that to become obvious?

When did it become ok for the pres to alienate large portions of the country? I don't get that. There are always a few blowhards, not including Monica, no matter who or what is in the WH. But there are LEGIONS of the sob's now, all created by Bush. I guess we are sort of like insurgents in Iraq. You can't hardly turn over a rock without finding another one.

Personally, I hope we are an IED right into the heart of the GOP, and that all that is left after '08 is the smoking hulk of a burnt out noise machine.

On the other hand, Abramhoff may do it for us. And won't that be sweet - justice served up by one of the insiders. OMG, that has all the trappings of a wet dream. Here's hoping it isn't all fantasy.


How many other relatively moderate people hold the same opinions? Am I alone in this regard?

I've felt for some time now that yes, many other moderate people hold the same opinions, but no, it won't make any difference until the press starts reporting on that fact as something other than a curiosity or aberration. Why that is I'm not entirely sure -- why the "movement" isn't a movement at all; why the legions of anti-Bush voters never seem to cohere in a useful political way; and perhaps strangest of all, why the press clings to its "Bush Is Popular!" (tm) storyline with the ferocity of a limpet in heat -- and I'd dearly love to be proven wrong on any of those observations, but thus far I can't see any way out of this bind.

Ultimately, though -- and this is a pretty far-down-the-road "ultimately" -- it boils down to two simple truths: the anti-war/anti-Bush "movement" hasn't yet found leaders of the requisite wisdom, strength and integrity to go up against the colossal GOP Cult Of Personality machine*; and the press is too deeply complicit in Bush's failures -- by their war against Gore in 1999-2000, their swallowing of the Administration's bullshit in the run-up to war, their early dismissal of the anti-war position and conflation of patriotism with jingoism (or, to steal from a previous thread, Presidential fellatio), and now the cover-up being spawned by the slowly dawning realization that not only have they been wrong about damn near everything but that the very people they were dismissing as "loony", "far-left", "un-American" and the like were pretty much right about everything -- to ever let the truth come out until their asses are safely covered. By which time it'll be too late, no-one will care, and this whole sordid incident will be safely forgotten until the next Nixon/Reagan/Bush disciple lurches into the forefront with another Variation On A Theme Of The Imperial Presidency.

Or maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age.

* Not that the GOP COP machine has leaders of any wisdom, strength or integrity either; but since they're the ones calling the shots, they don't need them.

There are dark women showing their nipples at sporting events....that is priority one to "the culture of life."

"When did it become ok for the pres to alienate large portions of the country?"

When wasn't it ok?


You beat me to it, that was the exact parrallel I was going to draw. (To further the analogy, compare the watchability of the NBA now to pre-ThugBall. But I digress.)

What's next: the Bush administration coming out in favor of female genital mutilation?

Don't. Tempt. The. Gods.

Donald Johnson: You may have missed Bush's praise for the regime in Uzbekistan, for starters. They got that one covered.

Yeah. Backing up Bruce, Bush has said sent some odd praise in the direction of a host of other nations as well such as Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and others despite some pretty atrocious human rights records. Not genocidal per se, but not deserving of the praise Bush heaped on them either. As long as they go along with our policies, or are useful in some way, the Bush team will look the other way. Here is the Aardvark discussing some of the hypocrisy:

Most Arabs are deeply cynical about American intentions, and they can't help but notice when "useful" Arab countries get a pass. Tunisia invites Ariel Sharon to come visit, and the Bush administration has not a word to say when a human rights activist is sent to jail for publishing an article on the internet describing torture in the Tunisian prisons. Heck, the administration doesn't even seem to consider it a problem that the regional office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative is based in a country which the State Department describes as having an extremely poor human rights record, where "members of the security forces tortured and physically abused prisoners and detainees... [and] arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals."

Nor did the Bush administration have a word to say about Jordan, where King Abdullah's regime spent much of the last year getting more and more repressive. It got bad enough that Abdullah finally sacked his prime minister and appointed a new "reformist" PM a month ago, but - amazingly - no Bush official has yet said a single word in public about it....Places like Tunisia and Jordan really hurt America's image as a credible democracy promoter among Arabs, who pay attention to such things.

It got worse last week. The pictures of Bush kissing Crown Prince Abdullah and walking hand in hand with the Saudi leader reinforced this impression for Arabs. The op-ed pages of the Arab press have been filled to the brim the last week with pieces extolling (or damning) the return to normal American-Saudi relations. Whatever the Realist reasons for cozying up to the Saudis - oil prices, their newly helpful attitude on terrorism - it's got nothing to do with Arab democracy, and Arabs see that. Remember, they already don't trust this administration, so there's a big hurdle...and scenes like the Crawford love-fest raise it even higher.


And Matt Yglesias had a pretty comprehensive article on this topic and more. Highly recommended if you haven't read it already:


CNN's "American Morning" anchor compared an upcoming Kerry campaign speech to one being given on the same day by President George W. Bush: "President Bush heads to the swing state of Florida today. He'll be in Tampa appealing to conservative voters (emphasis added) with an address on human trafficking and then to a rally in Beckley, West Virginia.... And John Kerry will be in Washington speaking to the American Federation of Teachers.He's promising full funding for the No Child Left Behind Act. Later he'll hold a rally in Arlington, Virginia." And exactly what kind of voters did Kerry aim for in his teachers union speech? "Liberal" voters, perhaps?

On the same day, "CNN Headline News" compared the two speeches: "Earlier today, in Tampa, the president addressed the Justice Department conference on human trafficking. He says it's a global problem that the U.S. must tackle head-on.
It's also an issue many conservative (emphasis added) voters say is important in November's election.... Bush's Democratic opponent is talking to teachers in the nation's capital today. Right now, John Kerry is addressing the American Federation of Teachers. The Democratic candidate says he would fully fund the No Child Left Behind education reforms authorized by Congress."

Wait a sec. Again, Kerry's speech before the teachers union, apparently, does not count as a pitch to his "liberal" base? And when did the issue of human trafficking concern primarily "conservatives"?

CNN's Judy Woodruff, host of "Inside Politics," moments later echoed the same theme: "This hour, John Kerry is here in Washington to accept an endorsement by the American Federation of Teachers and to criticize the president's education policy in the process. . . . Over on the Republican side, President Bush has a rally in West Virginia the next hour, after stopping in another showdown state, Florida, this morning. In Tampa, Mr. Bush urged aggressive law enforcement to combat the crime of human trafficking, an important issue for evangelical Christians (emphasis added), a big part of his political base." Move over, "conservative." Now the "evangelicals" care about human trafficking. Once again, no word on whether Kerry aimed his teachers union speech at his "liberal" constituency.


The federal government spent $81.8 million abroad during the 2004 budget year to combat human trafficking internationally. Money was spent on such projects as creating a radio-based soap opera on child trafficking in West Africa and helping faith-based groups reunite children with their families in Sierra Leone.

The U.S. Department of Justice also awarded anti-trafficking grants totaling $13.1 million in 2004 to municipalities ranging from Collier County, Fla., to Seattle. Most U.S. trafficking victims were found last year in Arizona, California, Illinois, New York and Texas.

Local Story:

Under President Bush, the Justice Department has made rooting out human trafficking a priority nationally and internationally. Aided by a $450,000 federal grant, the local task force already is training police to pick up on clues that illegal immigrants might be part of a trafficking scheme.
The two-day conference commenced with opening video remarks from the U.S. First Lady, Laura Bush, introduced by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and former Senator, Howard Baker.

“I want you to know that ending modern-day slavery is a high priority for President Bush, the United States Congress, and the people of America,” said Mrs. Bush. “We are monitoring human trafficking patterns, we are working to build public awareness, and we plan to spend approximately $150 million over two years to support anti-trafficking in persons programs around the world.”


Note that the $81 million for 2004 budget year jibes with the $150 mil two-year amount Laura Bush noted. Could the admin do more? Well certainly, yes. Are they pro-slavery or pro-mutilation as suggested? Certainly no.

Republican anti-trafficking legislation in 2003.

Health and Human Services department program under the Bush admin.

It is also a priority for the State Dept

Don't you people realize that the abstinence policy takes care of the human trafficking problem?

Sure, young men and women can be lured, paid, and kidnapped to service the world's private contractors and our men in (out) of uniform, but it is their personal responsibility to abstain -- to just say no.

Even through the beatings, which are moral because they have been contracted out.

The Bush Administration, K Street, the Christian Right, all of them John Birchers redux, have given everything a good rogering. They've ruined our government, our country, our international standing -- the whole ball of wax.

And they refuse to wear condoms so the future for our children has been given a permanent dose.

Things will never be put right. All of this must be avenged. I spit on the ballot.

Removing these people from office and permitting them to lead lives in the private sector is not enough. They must be hounded, quarantined, taxed out of existence, destroyed .. screw them back personally.

Brand their children.

Is this what the outrage is about?

Bush has pledged $15 billion over five years for the battle against HIV/AIDS in some of the world's worst-hit countries, but U.S. law requires recipient organizations to have a policy "explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking." The requirement applied initially to foreign organizations but earlier this year was expanded to U.S.-based groups as well.


Or maybe the Wolfowitz memo is the problem. Notice a direct connection between neo-con and human trafficking policy here?

I could go on and on, and might. Yes, I know there is hyprocrisy regarding Saudi Arabia, among other Arab countries. I understand that, and it is a bad thing. I mean, Sudan had chattel slavery going on like a couple of years ago, and probably now for that matter, but the Sudan Peace Act did significantly slow down the slave trade there.

Is DaveC a spambot?


Not that I can speak for anyone else, but I think the problem people have is the fact that the DOD under Bush is not adopting an anti-human trafficking policy.

I certainly do not take the position that the Bush administration has done nothing to counter human trafficking. But I do think that the lack of movement on the DOD/contractor side of this issue is appalling and deserves criticism.

It should be possible to voice that concern without having to listen to someone rattle off all the ways he is not as bad on this issue.

All those other items you mentioned were good, and deserve praise, but they do not obscure the fact that the position of the DOD is craven and immoral.

Is it possible to hold both ideas in one's head at the same time? I think so.

But I do think that the lack of movement on the DOD/contractor side of this issue is appalling and deserves criticism.

Yes, but this loophole is stuck in Congress

Oh, here is a pro-prostitution

Oops, Time to quit.

Messed up that last LINK to that other point of view.

DaveC: and who, exactly, is in charge of Congress these days?

And to reiterate: it's easy to give speeches. It's even easy to give the odd grant. But actually instituting a policy governing the people you contract with, who also happen to be large campaign contributors -- apparently, that's just too much to expect.

Props to DaveC for the link filled comments.

"Props to DaveC for the link filled comments."

I suppose. I first posted here on forced servitude in Iraq in summer(?) of 2004, I think, with a hat tip to a story from a Indian newspaper found at Max Sawicky's. I sometimes wonder at the average US soldier's relationship to the Indian national who does his laundry and cooking.

With all apologies to DaveC, whom I respect and admire, I am just not in the mood to exchange cites, trade arguments and allegation, or play fair. But I won't subject the thread to rants and venting.

Bush has pledged $15 billion over five years for the battle against HIV/AIDS in some of the world's worst-hit countries, but U.S. law requires recipient organizations to have a policy "explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking."

It's time for my semi-annual request: does anyone know how much of the $15 billion Bush pledged has actually arrived in Africa in the form of HIV/AIDS aid? I'm particularly interested in figures that don't (accidentally or no) incorporate diverting of existing funds towards the cause.

"DaveC: and who, exactly, is in charge of Congress these days?"

BusHitler can't even get the Patriot Act passed.

Looks like Democrats are to me

I think it's easier to give grants to the faith based communities the Bush admin. favors and make speeches than actually forcing their business partners to make structural changes.

Iraq and Bird flu stuff is a great example of this.

Better to pay off the minor players (religious nuts and the businesses of up-and-coming Republicans) than force major players to make major changes.


Can you cite a single person ever using such nomenclature on this blog? I certainly could have missed it; I simply don't recall ever seeing it here.

"...Looks like Democrats are to me...."

Just a tad counter-factual, however.

Incidentally, maybe it's just my browser, but it appears to me then when people don't embed links, but try to simply cut and paste them, they simply given broken and incomplete links (the box used to scroll, which was, of course, quite annoying, but now the software just seems to break non-tiny non-embedded links, which makes them perhaps less useful than intended. But, again, maybe it's just my browser; the internets are funny that way.

(I'm prefectly willing to expain how to embed a link, if finding such arcane knowledge is difficult for anyone.)

It seems to me that because the Bush admin has tried to stop soldiers, etc, from soliciting prostitutes, BECAUSE OF THEIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING, that this has become an issue. Now, this is the first time in 200 + years that the military has come down so hard on this, or even acknowledged the fact that there is a phenomenon of importing hookers or sex workers or whatever you want to call them, into areas with lots of soldiers, and making official policy against it. The US military is NOT the people who are doing the trafficking. In fact the policy that has been imposed that is tougher on soldiers than on ordinary people, take for instance Hugh Grant.

And ask yourself honestly if this was even thought of as an issue in the "Democrat wars", such as WWI, WWII, Korea, or Vietnam. I doubt it.

Random OT - well, about a writer on morals: anyone know what happened to Respectful of Otters, which hasn't been updated since Sept?

"...anyone know what happened to Respectful of Otters, which hasn't been updated since Sept?"

A braver man than I. I am always afraid of such questions, or afraid of some possible answers. And I respect people's choices about what they want to share with the internet, and perhaps a kindness too exhausted for the sympathy of strangers.

I noticed today a placeholder on my long list where a blog used to be. I can't remember which it was.

"Now, this is the first time in 200 + years that the military has come down so hard on this...."

While it sets aside none of what Hilzoy said, DaveC has something of a valid, if small, point there.

As usual, when I read the post, the historical ramifications sprang immediately to my mind, and the fact that pretty much every army in history has had, um, related phenomena, shall we say.

Not that this in the least justifies or defends the Administration's delays in getting much done on this issue, and it would be awfully nice if anyone who wants to lecture me on what's bad here would take note of the first clause of my first sentence in this comment before making it so.

RilkeFan -- the 8-month old baby probably has something to do with it...

My understanding about the problems in human trafficking are not the age old question of camp followers, but the ballooning problem of hiring third world nationals to perform work in Iraq. If I recall, there was some question as to how much money was actually getting to those who were getting hired and how much was being skimmed off by middle men. This is certainly seems to be a newer problem (especially given the rampant outsourcing that is going on in Iraq), though I suppose that mercenaries have always had middle men. Here is a link that hints at the problem.

I interpreted Hilzoy's noting of sex slaves to point out that the administration cannot act on these clear cases because they are so wrapped up with things of dubious morality. (I realize that this suggests that I think prostitution/sex slavery is clearly immoral while getting men to do dangerous work is not, but that is not the case, it's just that DaveC seems to have an idea of human trafficking as only dealing with women for the purposes of sex.)

Anybody want to take odds on SCOTUS punting again in the Padilla case (which I heard pronounced as Pa-dilla, as in the pickle, on CBS national radio news this morning)? Looks like they can declare it moot, or call it a political question. Here's hoping they give the Bush admin the smacketh downeth.

Ugh, Jose Padilla pronounces his name to rhyme with "gorilla", not "tortilla".

KCinDC - Didn't know that, thanks (though I thought I had always heard it in the "tortilla" sense).

Ugh, I believe the case was in the news for a long time before reporters figured out that was how he pronounced it (his being held incommunicado probably had something to do with the delay).

I think this is another example of the "all hat and no cattle" nature of this administration. The problem is not that Bush endorses human trafficking--clearly, on a personal level, he doesn't. The problem is that, as usual, the rhetoric doesn't match the reality. He says he wants to keep us safe from terrorists but in the DHS it is more important to keep chemical plant CEO's happy than to prevent the devastating effects of a chemical plant blow-up on an urban area. Bush is one of those people who thinks things become real because he hath said it. Meanwhile, behind the scenes where the decisions that count are made, its all about money.


Can you cite a single person ever using such nomenclature on this blog? I certainly could have missed it; I simply don't recall ever seeing it here.

People at this site often talk about Republicans and fascism in the same breath. It's pretty common. Just a little while ago a whole thread got taken over by the discussion of Republicans and fascism if I recall correctly.

"People at this site often talk about Republicans and fascism in the same breath."

True. I take it then that you agree with me. Feel free to denounce people calling Republicans fascists, and any other silly things they actually say. You have my full permission. Contemplate the Golden Rule in regard to this, I humbly suggest.

DaveC and Gary- It seems to me that you are getting sidetracked to some extent. I knew about two years ago that stories like this would start to emerge in the not too distant future. And its not a matter of what happens in every war. When Bremer announced that US contractors in Iraq were not subject to Iraqi law, it was clear to anyone who looked at the facts that there was no remaining way for US contractors in Iraq to be brought to justice. No matter what they do. Heck, I think there was a frontpage post on Obsidian Wings about it. Kidnapping workers and subjecting them to death camp like conditions is just good business in Iraq. Similarly enslaving women for the profit of their owners.

Bush saying he is "concerned" about human trafficing, is remarkably similar to Bush saying he is "concerned" about the NYT story on NSA spying on Americans. I would need to see a lot of evidence to believe it is more than window dressing.

The more relevant question turns on whether or not voters want the era of a rubber stamp Congress to end.

"It seems to me that you are getting sidetracked to some extent."

I prefer to think of it as being able to hold onto more than one thought at a time.

Thanks for paying attention to my first sentemce and last paragraph here.

"Thanks for paying attention to my first sentemce and last paragraph here."

I'm going to have to go reread this discussion of snark as a violation of the posting rules, though perhaps the above is less snarky than snide.

Isn't "snark" just a contraction of "snide remark"?

"Snark" is slang; I don't have any of the specialized dictionaries I once had, so I can't check the OED or any of the slang dictionaries. There's this.this seems about as reliable as random conversation often is, at least in my view.

Since I read the sentence in question I think I would class Gary's comment as misdirection. More along the lines of: What Gary has threadjacked let no man try to rejoin. If Gary had read my post he would have noticed that I adressed DaveC's "small" point. (snark)

I tend to think of "snark" as indicating less seriousness and more wit and playfulness than "snide", perhaps based on Television Without Pity (e.g., the reviews of Buffy episodes). I think of "snide" as inherently unattractive while "snarky" isn't - one might be snarky with one's friends but not snide. Nothing Snape of Harry Potter says is snarky, is it?

I think of "snide" as inherently unattractive while "snarky" isn't - one might be snarky with one's friends but not snide.
I point to no authority, but that's within the comfort zone of my own usage preference.

I tend to have snarky friends, but I wouldn't want to have snide ones (although, of course, I do). I enjoy the snarky ones, so long as it's not over-the-line into downright mean and hurtful. Naturally, we all have different sensitivities as to what that constitutes.

OT: Hilzoy, had you heard about this conference on torture convened by George Hunsinger of Princeton Theological Seminary?
Jan. 6 at Princeton.

"I point to no authority"

You're a high-end user of English with a long-term interest in pop culture (at least the relevant bits) - you have some innate authority.

Slightly apropos, anybody know the source of the slacker (?) exchange along the lines of, "Are you being snarky or serious?" "Dude, I don't even know any more."

What's next: the Bush administration coming out in favor of female genital mutilation?

Are you kidding? It would obviously be unrealistic to eliminate the use of female genital mutilation by overseas contractors.


...refers to a pejorative style of speech or writing. It could loosely be described as irritable or "snidely derisive"; hence, 'snarkish', 'snarky', 'to snark at somebody'....It could less politely be described as 'bitchy'.

Since rilkefan has already was kind enough to note it, I would simply add that snark as snide remark is probably a false etymology. While I was hoping for a meta discussion on snark and its relation to the comments here, we at HoCB are not proud and more than happy to take any comment scraps for the ObWi table.

What's next: the Bush administration coming out in favor of female genital mutilation?

It has been pointed out in conservative blog comment section that this is bad if it could be construed as any kind of free healthcare.

(In a discussion of MEMRI interview.)

Sigh. It's not female genital mutilation but in the words of Marsellus Wallace, it's "pretty fuckin' far from okay." And it was certainly endorsed by this administration. Kos has put up documents from Craig Murray (former British ambassador to Uzbekistan) protesting Britain and the US's use of Uzbek "intelligence" derived by torturing detainees. The British government is trying to get these dox taken off the Internet in the UK - and in fact I couldn't get through to Craig Murray's website through the link Kos put up - whether because of high traffic or nefarious interference I don't know.

URL: http://www.dailykos.com/special/Torture_memos

javelina: the posting rules forbid profanity. We're trying to keep this work-safe (for people with filters.)

And Nell: the conference sounds cool. Alas, as lucky me gets to have surgery two days before, I think I'll have to miss it. (Surgery: not serious, but I should be in the hospital for 3-4 days, and recovering on pain meds for another week or so. Very annoying.)

Alas, as lucky me gets to have surgery two days before, I think I'll have to miss it. (Surgery: not serious, but I should be in the hospital for 3-4 days, and recovering on pain meds for another week or so. Very annoying.)

Ouch. Stay/get well.

"recovering on pain meds for another week"

A week of surreal blogging, no doubt. Hope John Thullen's around for it.

Podcasters (whatever that means) out there, how about some material for hilzoy in the hospital?


surgery is never fun, but proper use of pain meds promotes recovery. so don't be afraid of posting while stoned. we'll save some of your more choice posts and re-post them in a year.

best of luck. get well soon.


Good luck hilzoy, I send you all my love and prayers (pathetic deist kind, alas). I hope you know that I have sincere best wishes for you.

Hey Anarch, could you check my math here? It's been a few seconds since I took real analysis.

it's been a really long time since i've seen a 1=2 proof (like at least a couple of decades), but i recall that the proof involved starting with the proposition that x=2, at some point squaring both sides, then sneaking in a division by zero (a x-2 term) somewhere along the way.

Good luck, Hilzoy.

Rilkefan: "Hope John Thullen's around for it."

Thanks, I think. Poets never mean what their words say. ;)

Oddly, and why would I want it any other way, that week has conflicts. First, one of my New Year's resolutions is to quit the Internets and read more, practice guitar more, and vituperate less, which seems like four resolutions, but I need to fool myself on these things.

One other resolution is to learn to link and cite. I took a look at Gary's link to "Bare Bones Guide to HTML" and my eyes permanently glazed over, so hopefully the quitting the Internets resolution will win out, given my MGKS/, which stands for Maynard G.(J.?) Krebs Sensibilities -- backslash.

The bad news is that my New Year's resolutions usually run out of steam around January 11 each year .. and the bad habits return and seem fun again in refreshing sorts of ways.

But wait, I have knee surgery January 14 and will be hallucinating on my own pain meds for a while and thinking up new cuss words to go with the physical therapy.

Anyway, I hallucinate in surrealist imagery just to stay even with reality.

My best to everyone, including DaveC., in 2006, which is an awfully big number now that I look at it in preview.

Hey Anarch, could you check my math here? It's been a few seconds since I took real analysis.

Um.... it's excitingly different, I'll grant you that :)

And yeah, most of the usual proofs of 1=2 that I've seen are algebraic, like...

  • Assume a = b.
  • Multiply both sides by b to get ab = b^2.
  • Subtract a^2 from both sides to get ab - a^2 = b^2 - a^2.
  • Factorize both sides to get a(b-a) = (b+a)(b-a)
  • Divide both sides by b-a to get a = b+a
  • Recall that a = b, so we really have a = a + a = 2a
  • Divide both sides by a to get 1 = 2.

Few mathematicians know about Hating-on-Jes logic.

Maybe a=b is the wrong question.

a IS b reaches the truth of the matter.

Or, political calculus would dictate "Tell them a is b and we'll do c over here.

Few mathematicians know about Hating-on-Jes logic.

Yet am I wise in the ways of the Stygosphere, and so am capable of Hating-on-X for almost every X.

I'd continue the joke, but my meager skills are null and void (or at least nowhere dense enough) to take this to the limit.

Grammar question from Mrs. R.: what's going on with "plus" in "1 plus 1 equals 2."

Anarch: don't stop! Now that the tread has meandered from DoD human trafficking regulations to my future surgery to proofs that 1=2 to alternate hating-on logics, someone has to come up with some new unanticipated digression.

Did anyone see posts from me in this thread from last night with the name "M/rray"?

I'm getting highly weirded out by this.

Saw some in the holiday thread.

Hilzoy, best wishes for a successful, minimally disruptive operation.

On re-reading the conference prospectus, I'm not sure what made me think it was Jan. 6.

It's January 13-15. May not make a difference for you, but just in case...

Other readers here: please pass the link along to ethicists, ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, and others in your communities who might be interested in attending. One possible outcome of the conference is a national religious campaign against torture.

I'm sure that many people think (and some hope) that the McCain amendment is the end of public discussion of U.S. torture. In fact, rendition to torture continues. Prison rape and torture goes on and on (state and federal pens and immigration lockups). And the Graham amendment means that those detained from here on out in Guantanamo and secret prisons have no way of getting their cases heard.

Every religion has its own basis for concern with justice and humane behavior. Christians are specifically called to visit and care for those in prison (Matthew 25:31-46).

rilkefan, are you talking about subject-verb agreement? It's not the "plus" -- it's the "1 plus 1", which is a quantity, or at least some sort of unitary component. Like "50,000 dollars *is* a lot of money."

Okay, for the billionth time:
No, it still won't post. Absolutely bizarre.

Okay, the essence: use the wayback machine on Murray, and see his wikipedia entry.

It's driving me nuts that I can't post this message.

One more time, with the HTML deleted.
Documents are useful. As a rule, I'm for having access to them.

I'd like to note, though, for anyone unaware, that Craig Murray's saga has been playing out in the newspapers and BBC and worldwide press since his public speech on torture in Uzbekistan in October of 2002, and then all the events between him and the Foreign Office in 2003.

Sample Wikipedia link, with a sample of news stories over the last few years at the bottom. Or Google. His has not been an unheard voice nor has his story been secret or obscure or unreported. Just saying, since you didn't feel it worth mentioning, javelina. As usual, I have no larger point here; this is not put forward as an argument towards or against any other point than what I just said.

Oh, and regarding Murray's personal site, I suggest looking here. I'm not bothering to check the Wayback Machine, but you might want to.

Okay, yup, there's a March 9th, 2005 archive still there. Are we sure his site isn't gone because it's amazingly badly designed and ugly?

I'll assume someone at DailyKos bothered to look in the obvious places, and reported on it.

And this comment won't post. Presumably They are stopping it. (I think it was Firefox acting up, actually; it's been quirky all day; I've restarted.)

Okay, maybe not. I'll save it for later.

It's later; my test post to the post-Christmas open thread worked. Now this? No. Neither did trying the NSA thread under the hypothesis that we're presently allowed only one new comment per thread. Will using IE work?
[mentions of zillions of other attempted fixes deleted]


Okay. Apparently something in the HTML of one of the various links in my post made MT refuse to accept the post. Mystery finally effing solved.

(If you're paranoid, you can suspect that the NSA is preventing said links from being posted anywhere. If you're paranoid. Which this episode certainly made me feel.)

Grammar question from Mrs. R.: what's going on with "plus" in "1 plus 1 equals 2."

Collectively it's an NP; as an individual grammatical component I'm not entirely sure, since it's a construction specific to mathematical language and such things are (AFAIK) not well-studied in linguistics. Mathematically it's a function symbol, albeit written infixed, though I don't think that answers Mrs R's question...

[The "equals", as somewhat noted subsequently, is probably best considered a copulative -- yes, it's everyone's favorite not-actually-dirty piece of linguistic terminology! -- instead of a direct relational verb or anything like that.]

Sometimes I wonder: will the Bush administration ever run out of issues on which to take completely appalling positions?

Evidently not. (via Political Animal):

Churches, social service agencies and immigration groups across the country are rallying against a provision in the recently passed House border-security bill that would make it a federal crime to offer services or assistance to illegal immigrants.

The measure would broaden the nation's immigrant-smuggling law so that people who assist or shield illegal immigrants would be subject to prosecution. Offenders, who might include priests, nurses or social workers, could face up to five years in prison. The proposal would also allow the authorities to seize some assets of those convicted of such a crime.

It would, of course, never be a federal crime to employ illegal immigrants.

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