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Night Owl - Knowledge is the Past. Wisdom is the Future.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Republicans Trace Their Roots to Scotland
From the BBC:

"It's a fantastic place for these very old invertebrates."
Sorry, couldn't resist. Seriously though - a fascinating find by amateur fossil hunter, Mike Newman, who makes his living as a bus driver in Aberdeen.

"It is thought that the one-centimetre millipede which was prised out of a siltstone bed is 428-million-years-old. . . . They say the find is the earliest evidence of a creature living on dry land, rather than in the sea."
Way to go Mike! Gives hope to the rest of us amateur 'whatevers' that we also might someday hit it big. Something else to think about:

"Scotland has the best palaeozoic - pre-triassic, pre-dinosaur - sites in the world. There's more sites in the small country of Scotland than the whole of the US and Russia put together."
Wow.

Posted by Night Owl at 10:09 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, January 25, 2004 10:18 AM PST
Saturday, January 24, 2004
New Voters? We Don't Need No Stinkin' New Voters!
Ruy Texiera at Donkey Rising has this to say about Dean's GOTV efforts.

"Most obviously, an influx of new voters didn't help Dean much at all in the Iowa caucuses. In fact, those new voters surged in the direction of the caucus winners, Kerry and Edwards. Is there any reason to think this result will be different in the general election? Nope, that's what usually happens with new voters: they go for the winner and therefore amplify, not change, the result we would have seen without the new voters."

So let me get this straight. All those new voters who Dean registered to vote in the DEMOCRATIC primary are going to vote for BUSH in the general and therefore amplify Bush's win? Apparently, Ruy believes that the very same people who turned up for the specific purpose of picking the guy to BEAT BUSH are now simply going to turn around 180 degrees and vote for Bush come November.

Of course, Ruy cites some statistics which supposedly lend credibility to his argument:

"But Dean's campaign apparently believes they can make up, say, a 52 percent to 48 percent split against the Democrats among the previously-existing electorate (pegging it at 2000's 105 million voters) by attracting 8 million new voters into the process.

This is nuts. Even assuming they can increase turnout that much, they'd have to get a 3:1 split among these new voters (that is, win these 8 million new voters by 6 million to 2 million) to dig themselves out the hole they'd dug themselves among the rest of the electorate.

Ruy fails to cite any empirical data of WHY its 'NUTS' (note the 'Crazy Dean' meme), to assume that 3 out of 4 who voted in the Democratic primary will vote for a Democrat in the general - Dean or otherwise. But worse than that, he misses the fact that anything over 1 out of 2 is itself a WIN which improves the Dem vote tally. (Of course, he also fails to mention why, after TWELVE YEARS of 'centrist' party leadership, there remains a four point electoral deficit against the Dems in the first place.)

Ruy's post is really just a rehash of the tired, old, 'Dean is unelectable' meme. Basically Ruy is saying: 'Dean will lose, and the voters he registers will just make him lose bigger.'

Beneath his obvious anti-Dean bias, however, lurks a more sinister, anti-GOTV motive. Ruy does not WANT Dean to register new voters because he knows that an influx of new Dems threatens the fragile status quo to whom he remains beholden.

As Dean has shown quite clearly, new voters mean new ideas, new energy, and new enthusiasm, which is always anathema to the retention of failed leadership. Ruy's 'we don't need no stinking new voters' attitude - however he wonks it - is still just a rationalization for denying the new blood that might one day overturn the current party establishment structure.

It is also typical of the failed electoral attitudes of the current party leadership. Woe is the day that the rest of the Democratic Party decides that DEPRESSED voter turnout is a good thing. A more self-defeating strategy for a populist party that relies on the support of 'average voters' I can not possibly imagine.

When Ruy and his guys start winning elections against actual REPUBLICANS, then let them come tell me how bad GOTV drives are. In the meantime, they should quit slamming one of our own for his efforts to recruit new members to the party that Ruy and those like Ruy would rather turn into an elitist clique.

Ruy ends with: "It ain't gonna work. Time to bury this particular idea and bury it deep."

You said it Ruy.

Posted by Night Owl at 2:48 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, January 24, 2004 10:00 PM PST
Friday, January 23, 2004
Dean's Crazy Train
Put on some headphones, turn them up real loud, and then go HERE.

I'm on Howard's Crazy Train, because if the rest are all sane, then there's something seriously wrong with the railroad.

All aboard

Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it's not too late
To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

Mental wounds not healing
Life's a bitter shame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
Let's go

I've listened to preachers, I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role

Mental wounds still screaming
Driving me insane
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I know that things are going wrong for me
You've gotta listen to my words, yeah

Heirs of a cold war, that's what we've become
Inheriting troubles, I'm mentally numb
Crazy, I just cannot bear
I'm living with something that just isn't fair

Mental wounds not healing
Who and what's to blame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train


Posted by Night Owl at 2:47 PM PST
YAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!
The guy holds a pep rally to keep the troops from getting discouraged while blowing off a little steam for getting clubbed unfairly by the media for three straight months - doing it all in a upbeat and positive manner - and the corporate news hacks spin it like he's some deranged lunatic.

But not to worry. This season is not like normal years, and the winner will not be decided in two weeks. For the first time I can remember, the big states (NY, CAL, IL, etc.) are all gonna have a say. Dean lost the opener, but he's got plenty of money for the entire season and no reason not to spend it. And even if he doesn't win states outright, his hard core of support means he will still pick up enough delegates in each round to keep him viable.

Kerry's the candidate du jour now, but it won't last. Wait'll he goes south and has to compete with Clark AND Edwards (as well as Dean). This thing's going down to the wire - and we may even be looking at a brokered convention to boot. Pretty exciting.

March 7, 2004 Update:

oops.


Posted by Night Owl at 2:33 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, March 6, 2004 9:11 PM PST
Monday, September 29, 2003
Text of the Statutes in the Wilson/Plume Affair II - Definitions
USC Title 50 section 426

Sec. 426. - Definitions


For the purposes of this subchapter:
(1)

The term 'classified information' means information or material designated and clearly marked or clearly represented, pursuant to the provisions of a statute or Executive order (or a regulation or order issued pursuant to a statute or Executive order), as requiring a specific degree of protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national security.

(2)

The term 'authorized', when used with respect to access to classified information, means having authority, right, or permission pursuant to the provisions of a statute, Executive order, directive of the head of any department or agency engaged in foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities, order of any United States court, or provisions of any Rule of the House of Representatives or resolution of the Senate which assigns responsibility within the respective House of Congress for the oversight of intelligence activities.

(3)

The term ''disclose'' means to communicate, provide, impart, transmit, transfer, convey, publish, or otherwise make available.

(4)

The term ''covert agent'' means -

(A)

a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency -

(i)

whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and

(ii)

who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

(B)

a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information, and -

(i)

who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or

(ii)

who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or

(C)

an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.

(5)

The term ''intelligence agency'' means the Central Intelligence Agency, a foreign intelligence component of the Department of Defense, or the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(6)

The term ''informant'' means any individual who furnishes information to an intelligence agency in the course of a confidential relationship protecting the identity of such individual from public disclosure.

(7)

The terms ''officer'' and ''employee'' have the meanings given such terms by section 2104 and 2105, respectively, of title 5.

(8)

The term ''Armed Forces'' means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

(9)

The term ''United States'', when used in a geographic sense, means all areas under the territorial sovereignty of the United States and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

(10)

The term ''pattern of activities'' requires a series of acts with a common purpose or objective


Posted by Night Owl at 6:10 PM PDT
Text of the Statutes in the Wilson/Plume Affair I - Protection of Covert Identities
USC Title 50 section 421

Sec. 421. - Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources

(a) Disclosure of information by persons having or having had access to classified information that identifies covert agent

Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(b) Disclosure of information by persons who learn identity of covert agents as result of having access to classified information

Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(c) Disclosure of information by persons in course of pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents

Whoever, in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States, discloses any information that identifies an individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individual's classified intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(d) Imposition of consecutive sentences



A term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment



Posted by Night Owl at 4:22 PM PDT
Friday, September 26, 2003
Who Says Clark is More Electable?
The convention wisdom and DLC mantra about Wesley Clark's campaign is that a centrist who appeals to Independent and Republican swing voters is more electable than partisans like Howard Dean.

I'm not convinced. Where is the proof that centrist, luke-warm Democrats actually DO win elections? Show me ONE DLC presidential candidate that has ever gotten over 51% of the vote. Not Billy, who got 43% in '92 and a bare 50% in 1996. And don't get me started about how these same geniuses killed Gore's campaign.

Moreover, the track record of Congressional Democrats has been absolutely abysmal since the DLC took over. Ten years ago Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. Now they are not only the minority in both houses, but with the 2002 catastrophe, Democrats endured the almost unprecedented shame of LOSING seats to an opposition President in an off-year election.

And the DLC still has the gall to tell us that PARTISAN Democrats are unelectable? How bankrupt is this strategy? And why do so many still buy into it?

Posted by Night Owl at 12:21 PM PDT
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Mentally & Spirtually, We Are Dying . . .
From Common Dreams via Blah3.com

'Yes, we are physically able to finish our mission, but mentally and spiritually we are dying.

'We are slowly becoming frantic. I hear people saying they are going to begin hurting themselves or others if they can't go home. The helplessness our soldiers are feeling is indescribable, it is past the point of "suck it up and drive on." We just want somewhere to drive on to.'

Posted by Night Owl at 12:41 PM PDT
Bush's $87 Billion War Bill
This says it all.

Posted by Night Owl at 11:04 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, September 25, 2003 11:31 AM PDT
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Bush Pimps for Gates at the UN
Nicholas Kristof is right now on a humanitarian tour with Bill Gates in Africa. Guess what cause Bill's promoting?

You guessed it: AIDS and the Sex Trade.

"He's going to talk to the prostitutes about male and female condoms, the sex trade and safe sex options as part of his campaign to understand and ultimately defeat AIDS in Africa."

So now we know the answer to why Bush took so much time to tout a completely extraneous topic in his UN Iraq speech yesterday. It's a sop to one of his big donors.

Don't get me wrong. Gates is doing a noble thing here (his suspect motives notwithstanding as Kristol points out). But Iraq is crumbling down around our ears, and Bush has a big opportunity to try start turning it around by playing it straight at the UN. What does he do instead? He turns the prestigious forum into a cheap political fund raiser. How pathetic.

There is NOTHING this guy won't do for a quick buck.

Posted by Night Owl at 11:02 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, September 25, 2003 11:28 AM PDT

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