Mike Shropshire gives another view of Spring Training.


Note to Hootie, sometimes its as important to pick your friends as it is your enemies.
Does it ever feel like your head is going to explode? This guy fights for the Taliban. Against the Brits and the US. Becomes frightened when the new western backed leadership takes the helm, and then applies for asylum in the UK. Insanity. Oh yeah, the punch line, they give it to him.
I have questions for my friends out there on the Right and the Left. For those on the Left (the anti-war Left more specifically) how do you reconcile the inconsistency that the only Arabs in the Middle East for whom democracy and self-autonomy you feel are worth fighting for are the Palestinians? Thomas Friedman brings the point up and posits that for many Europeans its related to the Jewish question. Namely, its only the Arabs engaged in direct opposition against the Jews who are worthy of liberty. But don’t the peoples living under Saudi and Iraqi tyranny deserve some basic freedoms as well?

And Nick Cohen reminds us that the current regimes have been brutal for women and gays. He asks if the left has an answer other than the “brutal status-quo”.

And what about the Left within Iraq? While not all off them support the war, almost none of them support the idea of Saddam Hussein staying in power. LA Weekly with something to say (finally)

So the question remains, how do you justify maintaining this current situation? Is the alternative actually worse?

And my question to my friends on the Right, were the hell did you find this Ashcroft guy?
Nation building. Who will run Iraq when its all over? Slate takes a crack.
The Guardian offering up some nuggets on historical precedence.
Frontline's continuing investigative report on the Bush Administration's rationale for war is as well thought out, informative, and important piece of journalistic television I have seen in a while. What struck me about last night’s episode was how series of a threat President Clinton took Iraq to be. It was unquestionably one of the primary areas of concern in the region for the former president, once going so far as to actually order a bombing raid on Bagdhad only to recall the fighters in mid-flight. It serves us to remember this in light of those who say that this war is Bush’s opsession. Its clear that Iraq has offered sercurity concerns to this nation for some time. And right on cue as always, Andrew Sullivan had this quote this morning:
"Now, let's imagine the future. What if he (Saddam) fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made?
"Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction.
"And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal...
Bill Clinton 1998

The rest of the passage: "But if we act as one, we can safeguard our interests and send a clear message to every would-be tyrant and terrorist that the international community does have the wisdom and the will and the way to protect peace and security in a new era."
I never realized Clinton was so in bed with Texas oil-interests.


I've always thought it was the Junk Science fed to us by the media that made us fat. Our friends at Reason agree.
The Department of Transportation is proposing that surveillance of travelers be exempt from the Privacy act. They are asking for the public’s comments. I suppose as you don't travel with any pot paraphernalia you should be ok.
And speaking of surveillance, don’t forget to get your t-shirt from this week’s Homeland Security Conference. Wired has a report and says that the major obstacle to having a cohesive, comprehensive, IT system monitoring, analyzing, and sharing data isn’t lack of technology but entrenched cultures. Unfortunately for us, our enemies have no such shortcomings.
Connie Rice, Gov. of California? That would go a long way towards addressing the Repubs. color/gender gap.


Andrew Sullivan leads me to an article about Amiri Baraka’s appearance at Yale. After he discussed his slur-laden poem "Somebody Blew Up America” coupled with the usual anti-Semitic rants, he received raucous cheers. Nothing like a room full of Yalies cheering on an anti-Semite to warm the heart. If children are “the future” than we are screwed.
Mark Sakalosky compares the Total Information Awerness (TIA) program with CRM. "Anyone introduced to CRM through a sales presentation typically comes out believing CRM is the cure for all that ails you. I find it just a tad disconcerting government officials may pin their hopes of halting terrorism on a CRM PowerPoint show."

And as usual, the Weekly Standard tells us we have nothing to fear. I know I would feel more confident in Ashcroft's intentions if he didn't seem so obsessed with potheads. Either way, it highlights the importance of voting.
What does the Google purchase of Blogger portend? David Ghallager thinks it’s actually a way for them to stay even closer to the zeitgeist.
Again, I awed and humbled by the amazing variety of feedback on the VaxGen piece. I'll work through them and comment on them later. Its amazing how many brilliant people have interesting thoughts and viewpoints on this idea. But let's take another, important perspective right now. What about the racist dog?


Its been asserted by many that race doesn't exist in the biological sense. Now this debate is getting new legs thanks to the results of a vaccine study. VaxGen Inc announced that their highly anticipated AIDS vaccine had failed. It did not reduce infection rates in any meaningful way, except in some minorities. For reasons even VaxGen is at a loss to explain blacks in the study had a 78% lower expected infection rate and a 67% reduction in non-hispanic minorities.

This has added to the schism within the scientific community between those who feel that there is "race" and those who don't. Dr. Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, a San Francisco General Hospital lung disease specialist who studies racial differences in response to asthma medicines, said that the racial differences that emerged could prove to be important in the search for a cure. "There are differences among racial groups in disease prevalence, as well as in response to drugs," Burchard said.

However Troy Duster, a UC Berkeley sociologist and advisor to the Human Genome Project, said race is simply too crude a measure to have much scientific meaning.
"The role of race in science is one of the most vexing of all," he said. "Once you inscribe meaning to race at the biological level, people make an unwarranted leap to the meaning of race at behavioral level, and it's just not borne out with research."

Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the "racial" disparity "very provocative, and unexplainable," and hence requiring further analysis of the data. "We need to be very careful before drawing conclusions about what it means." He knows of no vaccine to have meaningful differences between races.

The study was intended to measure the drug's effectiveness but did not focus on race. This very well may be a statistical anomaly since the sample of blacks in the study was so small. (Only 9 became infected with the placebo and 4 with the drug)

VaxGen's stock has fluctuated wildly during the study's run and was hammered on the news. Some AIDS activists claim that this is a classic tactic used by the drug companies to find a salvageable positive result. Today at least, the scientific community scratches its head.


The New BetaMax?
"TiVo is God's machine"-Chairman of the FCC. Unfortunately for Tivo the incredibly loyal following hasn't translated into profitability. Its not even the market leader for DVR in the U.S. Today's Chron with a piece on the machine, its fans, and the troubles the company is having turning it into money.

Speaking of FCC Chairman Michael Powell, good profile of him from Slate last week. It covers his political philosophy (not as "knee jerk" of a deregulator as advertised) and gives us a glimpse of the telecom future from the eyes of that rarest of creatures. The D.C. Visionary. "Al Gore in Republican clothing" priceless.
Max Boot at the Weekly Standard seems to think that Chirac has done more harm to "his" cause than good. More importantly, recently rumblings aside Europe and America will continue to enjoy their merry partnership. I supposse that a good thing.
As always, thanks to the internet for instantaneously exposing, deconstructing, and improving ideas. A lot of great feedback about the Barnett Esquire piece (I am still working through most of it) All good ideas are patchworks that build upon the theories that came before them. In that vein a number of people mentioned how Fukuyama’s “End of History” predicted Barnett’s major thesis. (If I have a nickel for every time Fukuyama is mentioned in this blog…) and with him Thomas Friedman’s “The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization” was mentioned a few times. Out of the blue (to me) someone noted “Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years “ by Wired contributor Bruce Sterling. Have not read it, if anyone can contribute more, it would be most appreciated. Others have chimed in with Connie Rice's A Balance of Power That Favors Freedom

Another remindes us of the Anne Applebaum piece from October 1, 2001 werein she cautioned us: "What worries me about the New New World Order is something different: how cleanly and easily it explains the world and how like an academic article everything suddenly appears to be. Like the Cold War, the War on Terrorism will tell us everything about Abroad that we need to know: Who are our friends, who are our enemies, where our priorities lie. Like the Cold War, the War on Terrorism seems to appease both the idealism of Americans—we are, after all, fighting to rid the world of an evil—and the realism. No intellectual contortions are required to explain why the fight against Osama Bin Laden is well within the sphere of America's national interest...Alas, the real world isn't like an academic article. It is certainly comforting to have one big idea around which all other policies easily fall into place, and it is easy to see why everyone is so relieved. Even I am relieved. But I am also afraid that in the complicated, interlinked, globalized modern world, one big idea isn't going to be enough."


In 1880, George Hearst accepted a small daily newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, as payment for a gambling debt. Seven years later Heart's son William wrote him a letter from Harvard asking to take over the newspaper. An American icon was born. It’s been painful to watch but it appears that the Examiner is close to its last breath. On Friday the publishers abruptly layed off essentially the entire staff and announced that it would fold into the Fang Families' free newspaper. No reports, no writers, no readers, and almost no money. If only there was a war to cover….
Today’s SF Chron profiles the man who will be (or at least should be) the next mayor of San Francisco. A typically bland but balanced profile that focuses on his money and various business dealings and partners. (For those keeping score at home, Gavin Newsom’s major “crimes” are that he is a successful and wealthy businessman who is well connected). He’s shown himself to be a thoughtful politician and a caring citizen.Only in San Francisco does a moderate get labeled as a “fascist” for attempting to give a voice to the majority of residents.
Post script to the resumption of the Cal/Stanford rugby rivalry. Stanford won 98-0. If it weren’t for the seven missed penalty kicks the Bears would have broken the century mark. Either way, hats off to the boys from the Farm for at least showing up.