The parties are advised to chill.
Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 908 (9th Cir. 2002)

Friday, April 29, 2005
Zero Tolerance Watch

Okay, this is too good to not share (via SF Chronicle):

A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

[ . . . ]

"There needs to be security before the kids walk through the door," said Heather Black, whose son attends the school.

[ . . . ]

The burrito was part of [eighth grader Michael] Morrissey's extra-credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," Morrissey said.

Posted 7:29 PM by Tony

The Pod People

This is interesting - a radio station in San Francisco is switching to an all-podcast format (via SF Chronicle):

San Francisco's KYCY-AM plans to convert to an all-podcast format, the first over-the-air radio station to embrace the Internet's nascent but expanding do-it-yourself broadcasting phenomenon.

Radio industry powerhouse Infinity Broadcasting Corp., which owns KYCY, announced Wednesday that it will dump the station's lineup of syndicated talk shows on May 16 and replace it with amateur podcasts, homespun audio programs posted on the Web for downloading into iPods or similar portable digital audio players.

Infinity will promote the station, at 1550 AM, as "KYouRadio'' and stream the podcasts on the Web.


Posted 7:27 AM by Tony

An Interview With Vo Nguyuen Giap

The Korea Times has an interview with Vo Nguyen Giap, which is pretty interesting and timely, if you can get past cringe-inducing suckup lines such as:

This interview was conducted on April 19 at Giap’s residence in Hanoi to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and the liberation of southern Vietnam from foreign occupation on April 30.

My favorite line was this:

Q) What do you think the South Korean government should do now for the relations between the two nations?

A) We remember that South Korean troops committed wrongdoings in southern Vietnam during the war. The thing is that the South Korean government and people should not forget what its troops had done during the Vietnam War.

Shoot, I certainly hope the Koreans don't forget the White Horse, the Tiger, and the Blue Dragon (via Vietnam Studies: Allied Participation in Vietnam, Chapter 6):

During 1968 the pattern of Korean operations did not change materially from that of previous years; the Korean troops continued to engage in extensive small unit actions, ambushes, and battalion and multi-battalion search and destroy operations within or close to their tactical areas of responsibility. Over-all these operations were quite successful. An analysis of an action by Korean Capital Division forces during the period 2329 January 1968 clearly illustrates the Korean technique. After contact with an enemy force near Phu Cat, the Koreans "reacting swiftly . . . deployed six companies in an encircling maneuver and trapped the enemy force in their cordon. The Korean troops gradually tightened the circle, fighting the enemy during the day and maintaining their tight cordon at night, thus preventing the enemy's escape. At the conclusion of the sixth day of fighting, 278 NVA had been KIA with the loss of just 11 Koreans, a kill ratio of 25.3 to 1."

Later in 1968 a Korean 9th Division operation titled BAEK Ma 9 commenced on 11 October and ended on 4 November with 382 enemy soldiers killed and the North Vietnamese 7th Battalion, 18th Regiment, rendered ineffective. During this operation, on 25 October, the eighteenth anniversary of the division, 204 of the enemy were killed without the loss of a single Korean soldier.

Posted 7:18 AM by Tony

Thursday, April 28, 2005
I Say We Just Scatter Them To The Four Winds

Sure, people here get ticked off when certain Supreme Court justices open their mouths. But that ain't nothing compared to this, which really ticks me off (via MSNBC, by way of Winds of Change and Instapundit):

Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan, seen in video seated to the right of the crown prince, is chief justice of Saudi Arabia's Supreme Judicial Council. His sermons and words carry great significance.

In an audiotape secretly recorded at a government mosque last October and obtained by NBC News, Luhaidan encourages young Saudis to go to Iraq to wage war against Americans.

"If someone knows that he is capable of entering Iraq in order to join the fight, and if his intention is to raise up the word of God, then he is free to do so," says Luhaidan in Arabic on the tape.

He warns Iraq is risky because "evil satellites and drone aircraft" watch the borders. But he says going is religiously permissible.

"The lawfulness of his action is in fighting an enemy who is fighting Muslims and came for war," says Luhaidan.

The sheik also says those donating money to the fight in Iraq should be sure it actually helps the cause.

This, from the land that whelped 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers. The more time I think about it, the more that crushing the House of Saud seems like an attractive option.

Posted 8:54 AM by Tony

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Bending Over Backwards

So, here's what "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" at UC San Francisco (one of the country's best medical centers" is going to look like (via Matier and Ross in the SF Chronicle):

For example, the 9- and 10-year-old daughters are being invited to participate in 17 hands-on activities such as working with microscopes, slicing brains, doing skull comparisons, seeing what goes on in the operating room, playing surgeon, dentist or nurse for a day, and visiting the intensive care unit nursery, where they can set up blood pressure cuffs and operate the monitors.

They can learn about earthquake and disaster preparedness, how to use a fire extinguisher, how to operate several types of equipment -- even fire a laser.

And what do the boys get to do?

Learn about "gender equity in fun, creative ways using media, role playing and group games" -- after which, the boys can get a bit of time in with a microscope or learn how the heart works.

So the kids get to learn about gender equity by not being treated the same. Just marvelous.

According to UCSF, the day is "about dealing with effects of sexism on both boys and girls and how it can damage them." I'm not sure what the connection firing a laser has with sexism, but okay. Seems to me that if they're worried about the girls being edged out when they're in mixed gender groups, they could just split up the boys and the girls and have them each do the same activities. But I guess that splitting them up wouldn't be . . . equitable.

Posted 9:22 PM by Tony

Saturday, April 23, 2005
An Unusual Diversion In Seoul

This is unexpected - it doesn't exactly jibe with my impression of Korean pop culture (via Korea Times):

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch," John Cameron Mitchell's cult off-Broadway musical about transsexuals and love lost and found, may not be for everyone.

Inundated with sexually suggestive gestures and lines, the musical in no way appears to make young female audiences’ hearts leap with joy, except for the fabulous rock music that is sure to please everyone.

With Cho Seung-woo playing the title role, however, the show seemed to have a mixed effect on audiences (who were overwhelmingly young females) packing the Live Theater in Taehangno, Seoul, as of Tuesday night’s performance, which was good and bad at the same time.

I'll tell you what the weird part is: I always figured that Koreans were more into hip hop than rock music.

Go figure.

Posted 7:48 PM by Tony

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The Oriental Gatsby

As you already know, indictments have been issued relating to the oil-for-food scandal. I would note that this scandal was given very little attention by the general news media, with a few notable exceptions, such as Claudia Rosett (for background, see the UNScam site). That is, until a Texas oil executive was indicted. Figures.

What I find interesting is that one of those indicted is a Korean individual, Tongsun Park (via SF Chronicle; see also here):

A separate criminal complaint charged Tongsun Park, a South Korean businessman who was at the center of a congressional influence-peddling scandal in the 1970s, with acting as an unregistered agent of Hussein's government and trying to bribe a U.N. official for relief from economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Thursday's action, announced by David Kelley, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, represents the largest round of criminal charges against individuals accused of abusing the $64 billion U.N. oil-for- food program. Recently Samir Vincent, an Iraqi American businessman, pleaded guilty to illegally lobbying U.S. officials on behalf of Hussein's government and agreed to cooperate with Kelley's investigation.

The oil-for-food program was created in December 1996 to offset the consequences of sanctions by allowing Iraq to sell oil to purchase food, medicines and other humanitarian goods; it ended after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. The Iraqi government raised more than $2 billion illicitly through the program, which has become the focus of a U.N. probe, six congressional inquiries and a federal criminal investigation.

[ . . . ]

The federal complaint charges that Iraqi authorities reached an agreement with Park and an unnamed coconspirator, who is cooperating with federal authorities, in October 1992 to lobby U.S. and U.N. officials to grant it relief from U.N. sanctions. Kelley declined to name Park's coconspirator, but court papers released in January said that Samir Vincent had also engaged in lobbying U.S. and U.N. officials between 1992 and 2003.

Over the following five years, Park presented Baghdad's case to U.N. officials and foreign delegates and solicited as much as $10 million from Iraqi authorities "to take care of his expenses and his people," the complaint said. Iraq ultimately paid Park only $2 million, and Park's coconspirator said some of that money was intended for a U.N. official, the complaint said.

Curiously, Park's indictment has not received heavy coverage in the Korean media, as far as I can tell, except for stories such as this one in the Korea Times, and this one in the Chosun Ilbo.

What gets me is Park's previous connection to the 70s Koreagate scandal (via Washington Post):

More than a quarter of a century later, the South Korean businessman is back in the news, the subject of a federal arrest warrant that alleges he acted as an intermediary with corrupt U.N. officials in an oil-for-food conspiracy orchestrated by then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The criminal complaint charges that Park received at least $2 million from Iraq, much of it in cash delivered by diplomatic pouch from Baghdad.

Dubbed the "Oriental Gatsby" by the media because of his lavish Georgetown parties, Park put together an impressive list of friends and clients over the years, including former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega, U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) and former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards. His charm was legendary, as was his habit of disbursing white envelopes stuffed with as much as $20,000 in cash to congressmen as part of a lobbying campaign financed by South Korean intelligence.

That's just marvelous.

Posted 8:13 PM by Tony

Procurement Issues

The Washington Post has a story and accompanying video on the upcoming deployment of the F/A-22 Raptor. Now, the airplane maxes out on the "Isn't this cool?" factor, but is it really something we need?

Here's what caught my eye:

The question facing the Pentagon and Congress is whether the Raptor's superior abilities, and the affection of pilots and Air Force leaders, is enough to justify a more than $70 billion investment at the same time the military is stretched thin by ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics contend that the Air Force, long dominated by fighter pilots, is exaggerating the threat it faces from enemy fighters at a time when warfare has changed and low-tech weapons such as shoulder-fired missiles are a greater threat. The service, they say, should be deploying more unmanned aircraft and replacing an aging bomber fleet.

[ . . . ]

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin Corp., the main contractor, say the Raptor is essential in either scenario. They tout it as an insurance policy in any conflict against China or a resurgent Russia, and to counter increasingly sophisticated surface-to-air missiles with longer range and better targeting capabilities. "We have made it look so easy for so long, people don't realize how hard it is to establish air dominance," Brig. Gen. S. Taco Gilbert III, the Air Force's deputy director of strategic planning, said in an interview. "Iraq is not a good example of what we'll see in the future."

The aging fleet of F-15 Eagles, which the Raptor will replace, is being bypassed technologically, Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, said in a recent interview in his Pentagon office.

Citing the latest planes being developed in Europe and Russia, he said, "I do not relish the idea of some of the technology I saw in the Eurofighter . . . in the hands of certain nations. I think certain models of the [Russian built] Sukhoi are already superior to the F-15."

[ . . . ]

In 2002, the Air Force gave the Raptor a makeover, adding the "A" to F-22, and touting added capabilities for attacking ground targets. The changes are estimated to add billions to the program's cost and take years to complete.

The Raptor's new focus opened a new line of criticism. "It appears by making the F/A-22 more of a multi-role combat aircraft, the Air Force is blurring the distinction between the Raptor and Joint Strike Fighter," a recent Congressional Research Service report on the program noted. In fact, the cheaper F-35 strike fighter will have a "superior payload," carrying 14,600 pounds of bombs compared with the Raptor's 2,000, the report said.

The addition of the "A" designation is pretty familiar. Thye F-15, as originally designed, was never intended to have any ground attack capability: "Not a pound for air-to-ground." Only later was a ground attack version, the F-15E, developed.

So, it seems to me that critics have a point when they argue that the F/A-22 duplicates to a large degree the capability found in the (cheaper!) F-35, the Joint Strike Fighter. And it seems even more duplicative considering that Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the Raptor, is also the prime contractor for the F-35. What should also be considered is that, despite the "A" designation, the F/A-22 may have sharply reduced capability to perform the air-to-ground role.

The F-15 may be soon outclassed, but it seems to me that the F/A-22 buy would be justified only if the F-35 is incapable of establishing air superiority. The Lockheed Martin F/A-22 site claims that the F-35 would be unable to perform the same mission. Perhaps. Now, there may be good reasons that justify the cost of acquiring both weapon systems, but I sure don't know what they might be.
On another note, I noticed a recent defense of the Stryker armored vehicle, which was praised as "fast, quiet, survivable, reliable and lethal." Here's what I'm wondering: the Stryker was designed, as noted in this 2004 GAO report (PDF) to be readily deployable via air transport, able to arrive in combat-ready condition via C-130 transport. The Stryker met the requirements, but, significantly, only after a 1000 mile airlift capability requirement was dropped, and only under sharply limited flight conditions. Money quote on page 32:

Furthermore, although the Army has successfully demonstrated that Stryker vehicles can be transported on C-130 aircraft during training events, routine use of the C-130 for airlifting Stryker vehicles, for other than short-range missions with limited numbers of vehicles, would be difficult in theaters where U.S. forces are currently operating. Therefore, the intended capability of Stryker brigades to be transportable by C-130 aircraft would be markedly reduced. The Army’s operational requirements and information the Army provided to Congress created expectations that a Stryker vehicle weight of 38,000 pounds—and a similar weight for Future Combat System vehicles—would allow routine C-130 transport in tactical operations. Consequently, congressional decision makers do not have an accurate sense or realistic expectations of the operational capabilities of Stryker vehicles and Future Combat Systems.

As a result, even though the Stryker may be useful in Iraq, it still fails to do what it supposed to do, raising serious questions in my mind.

Posted 6:32 PM by Tony

A Bitter Cup

Over the last couple days, I came to a realization about my personal life. And that realization is really pissing me off.

Posted 7:37 AM by Tony

Monday, April 18, 2005
Lost In Translation?

A while back, I mentioned that South Korean president Roh had made comments in which he was apparently distancing himself from the US, and ingratiate himself strike a 'balancing role' with respect to China.

Now, the Korean government is claiming that the US is on board with this (via Korea Times):

Kim Sook, director general of the North American Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said after returning from a trip to Washington that the governments of the allied powers came to a definite understanding about the controversial "balancer" strategy.

Kim said he met with congressional representatives and officials of the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon and explained what the balancer role means while staying in Washington since last Tuesday.

"I told them that we want to play an active and positive role in the peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia on the firm basis of the South Korea-U.S. alliance, which is quite different from the `balance of power’ concept of the late 19th century," he said in a radio program.

I suspect someone at the US embassy in Seoul is falling down on the job. It's nigh-impossible for me to believe that anyone in Washington would believe this, for lack of a better word, nonsense. As an example, I point out this governmental web page,

Roh said South Korea will strengthen its role as a “balancing power” in Northeast Asia to prevent possible disputes in the region.

“To that end, we will seek to set up a regional security structure through close cooperation with the U.S. and other neighboring nations,” he said.

Later, on, the government engages in a wondrous display of double-speak:

Answer: The basis of its national security policy being pursued by the Participatory Government rests on promoting self-reliant defense capabilities on the foundation of the ROK (Republic of Korea)-U.S. alliance, which constitutes the very cooperative self-reliant defense.

[ . . . ]

Under today’s circumstances prevailing in Northeast Asia, where the situation is unstable and the future is unclear, the international order we should aspire to is not one of a confrontational setup like during the Cold War, but a stable, cooperative system ensuring peace and reciprocal developments.

I can only marvel in wonder at a cooperative security arragement involving the US, Korea, and its "neighbors" Japan, China, Taiwan, and Russia. To borrow a phrase from the Marmot and the Flying Yangban, someone (or perhaps, many someones) in Roh's government are on crack.

Moreover, Roh's comments have received wide coverage, such as in the International Herald Tribune. Another example is the Washington Post):

Roh came to power in 2002 on a campaign promising a foreign policy independent from the U.S., winning a surprise victory helped by an Internet campaign backed by younger and liberal voters.

The "balancer" idea is also driven by South Korea's economic stake in China, which happens to be North Korea's chief backer.

South Korea has been talking lately about boosting military exchanges with China, and has joined Beijing in opposing a permanent seat for Japan on the U.N. Security Council - something Washington supports.

So it's hard for me to believe that people in Washington would seriously believe the line being peddled by the Korean government.

Especially where that government has chosen to abstain from a UN Resolution concerning North Korea, but the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Korea in Geneva is raising the issue of Japanese textbooks.

Posted 7:07 PM by Tony

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Quote Of The Day

Sure, people here in the Bay Area generally dislike Republicans, but at least Republicans have snappier comebacks. Compare "Hey hey, ho ho, [insert cause here]" to the Republican response to Ted Kennedy's "Where was George?" speech (answer: Dry, sober, and at home with his wife), for example.

Today's quote relates to Bay Area congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who are the minority leaders in their respective parts of Congress (via SF Chronicle):

"When Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid accuse you of arrogance, it's like being told by a pig that you stink,'' said GOP consultant Mike Collins.


Posted 12:42 PM by Tony

Monday, April 11, 2005
Links For The Day

Dan misses his days as a "super-duper paratrooper." My reaction to that has always been one of horror (an old roommate of mine was with the 101st): Who the f*ck is crazy enough to jump out of a perfectly functioning airplane?

In a twist, Dean's World links to people doing crazy things with perfectly functioning airplanes(via Annika).

Posted 4:49 PM by Tony

Friday, April 08, 2005
Adscam In Microcosm

I first noticed the sponsorship scandal last February, while Jean Chretien (spit) was still Prime Minister. Since then, I've seen it develop, here, here, and here. According to Maclean's, the Liberal Party got hammered in the Commons mere minutes after Justice Gomery lifted the publication ban.

For those of you just coming into this, Jean Brault's testimony, which was the subject of the ban, really sets it all out (via the Globe and Mail):

Montreal ad executive at the heart of the federal sponsorship scandal says Liberal organizers pressed him into secretly donating more than a million dollars to them through various covert methods that included envelopes full of cash, fake invoices and putting phony employees on his payroll.

[ . . . ]

Mr. Brault also said he made disguised payments to provincial political parties, in contravention of Quebec law. He illicitly gave at least $100,000 to the Parti Québécois and $50,000 to Jean Charest's provincial Liberals.

[ . . . ]

He said Benoît Corbeil, the executive director of the party's Quebec wing, once asked for a $400,000 donation and promised that he would get him a $3-million sponsorship contract. The commission Mr. Brault would earn on that contract was to compensate for the donation.

[ . . . ]

While some of his allegations cannot be independently verified, many others were buttressed by scores of bogus invoices, cashed cheques, annotations in agenda books and other records the inquiry's forensic accountants dug up.

[ . . . ]

Mr. Brault said at least five Liberals were put on his payroll at the request of party organizers, though he would only describe one, Maria Lyne Chrétien, the prime minister's niece, as a person he would have needed to hire.

So much for the "hiss of dissipating anger," though I'm certain Ms. Blatchford is glad that Adscam hasn't gotten swept under the rug - I suspect Ms. Sherrer may be of another mind about it, though.

On a side note (caution: geek alert) . . .

There’s a game called Heavy Gear, made by Dream Pod 9, out of Quebec. One of the nations described in the game, the Southern Republic, is a de jure democracy, but governed in reality by a cabal of insiders. If Adscam had happened a little earlier, I would have suspected that the Liberal Party and its doings had served as the inspiration for the Southern Republic.

Posted 12:16 PM by Tony

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
I Swear I Can't Make This Up

From today's SF Chronicle, on Chinese Catholics (see also this story on lines to see the Pope's body):

This week, as the world awaits the selection of a successor to John Paul, millions of Chinese Catholics are waiting anxiously to find out whether the new pope will usher in a new era in the Vatican's uneasy relations with Beijing.

The Chinese government recognizes the pope but has rejected the Vatican's jurisdiction over its flock in China and its authority to appoint bishops for more than half a century.

The Vatican estimates that China is home to 12 million Catholics, only a third of whom worship in the country's legal, government-sanctioned churches. So millions of Catholics across the nation who are not part of the official "patriotic church" remembered the pope and expressed fealty to the Vatican last weekend in private homes and makeshift, illegal churches.

Apparently, those underground Catholics would not be "decent Christians," at least judging from this Morford column, also in today's Chronicle:

They are the legions of recovering Catholics, people for whom the radiant and positive aspects of this most intense of faiths still hold powerful sway but who just can't abide by the ridiculous and outdated and often homophobic and sexist doctrines hurled forth like so much flaccid manna from the unhappy red-robed automatons of Vatican City.

That's why I so enjoy Morford - not only is he delightfully incoherent, but his sense of timing is so execrable as to be a thing of art.

Posted 5:19 PM by Tony

Jaw Dropping Quotes

Let me be clear - I figure that the Minutemen are more trouble than they're worth. The Minutemen, for those of you not following the story, are private individuals who are sitting on the border and watching for illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border. I just don't think the disruption in Border Patrol operations is worth whatever incrememtal value to border security these folks bring.

That said, the Mexican government's reaction is quite astonishing (via Washington Times):

Meanwhile, the Mexican government yesterday again condemned what it called "vigilantism" along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, demanding the U.S. government ensure that the Minuteman volunteers do not abuse Mexican nationals crossing into the United States.

Mexican Consul Miguel Escobar told reporters his government "considers it unacceptable that certain people are detaining Mexican migrants."

Well, I consider it pretty goddamned unacceptable, Consul, that the Mexican government, and the state of Yucatan, has seen fit to publish comic book-style guides that implicitly encourage illegal border crossings (via Diggers Realm).

Posted 5:08 PM by Tony

A Reality Show That I'd Actually Watch

Okay, why they don't show the following on American TV, I don't know (via Voice of America/Chosun Ilbo):

In Iraq, a controversial television program is broadcasting confessions by individuals accused of responsibility for the wave of violence in the country. The program is popular with many Iraqis, tired of the continuing instability two years after the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

A man, appearing disheveled and uncomfortable, sits on a wooden chair in a dim room of what appears to be a police station.

As an interrogator peppers him with questions, the man says he was part of a gang that kidnapped and murdered Iraqis during the past two years in order to create a split between Shi'ite and Sunni Iraqis. But he says his acts were not holy war. They were blasphemous.

Police say his name is Ramzi Hashem and he carried out the bombing nearly two-years ago at a Shi'ite shrine in Najaf that killed senior Shi'ite cleric Mohammed Bakr al-Hakim and 100 followers.

During the interrogation Ramzi Hashem also admits to committing rapes and taking drugs. Prisoners in other interviews on the program say they were paid an average of $150 per killing and after committing 12 murders were given the title of prince (emir) and paid a salary.

[ . . . ]

The hour-long program is called Terrorists in the Hands of Justice. It appears nightly on the government-owned Iraqia network.

It has gripped the attention of the general public, angry over the violence that has killed thousands of Iraqi civilians and 1,200 foreign troops.

Sounds like it sure as hell beats "Cops."

Posted 5:02 PM by Tony

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Yes, I Know, It's A Disgusting Comparison

One of the more common human parasites is the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides (picture - not for the easily grossed out). In cases of heavy infestation, the only treatment avaiable is surgical, involving an incision into the intestine, and the surgeon must reach in, grab, and remove the writhing mass of worms. Non-surgical treatments are generally not a good option, as it tends to drive the worms crazy, and they end up literally tying themselves in knots. (this is based off of classes I took a while back, so my memory may be a bit faulty.)

For some reason, the current Adscam inquiry in Canada, which has included a publication ban, reminds me of nothing so much as bunch of writhing roundworms.

So, what's for lunch? :)

On a less farcical note (or more, depending on your sense of humor), Andrew Coyne notes that Canadian papers cannot even link to Captain Ed's extraterritorial publication of the Gomery Commission testimony concerning Adscam, but can apparently drop enough hints that any half-wit who has access to Google can find the testimony.

The Canadian media's efforts to avoid violating the publication ban show how ill-advised the notion of a publication ban was to start with:

CNews - "The American blog, being promoted by an all-news Canadian website, boasts that "Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open" and promises more to come."

CTV - "Ed Morrissey said Tuesday he first posted testimony from Quebec advertising executive Jean Brault on his web log, commonly known as a blog, on the weekend."

Globe and Mail - "An unassuming 42-year-old call-centre manager and Star Trek fan from Minneapolis, Minn., has provoked a political firestorm in Canada. Ed Morrissey -- Captain Ed to his friends -- published on the weekend what no Canadian is allowed to print or broadcast. On his Internet blog, he posted testimony before the Gomery commission that is subject to a publication ban."

Toronto Star - "Ed Morrissey said today he first posted testimony from Quebec advertising executive Jean Brault on his web log, commonly known as a blog, on the weekend."

CBC - nothing; of course, it is a government funded media organization, so no surprise there.

So much for Ms. Mallick's pride that Canadians are ever so much more enlightened than we benighted Americans living in the long twilight of Neanderthalism.

Posted 6:24 PM by Tony

A Connection

The problem with adding 2 and 2 to get 4 is that it's hard to tell if you're adding the right 2 and 2. Speaking metaphorically, that is.

In the SF Chronicle, there's a mention of a "in pectore" cardinal:

The cardinals — who are sworn to secrecy on their deliberations — are to review any papers the pope may have left for them.

One may reveal to the college the name of a mysterious cardinal John Paul said he had named in 2003 but had never publicly identified. The name of the cardinal was held "in pectore," or "in the heart" — a formula that has been used when the pope wants to appoint a cardinal in a country where the church is oppressed.

Navarro-Valls said Tuesday he didn't know if the pope had included any mention of the "in pectore" cardinal in any documents given to the cardinals to read. He said if he had any information, he would make it public.

In the meantime... (via BBC):

The Vatican might be ready to cut ties with Taiwan in order to establish diplomatic relations with China, a senior Hong Kong bishop has said.

Joseph Zen said the Holy See might change allegiances if Beijing was "willing to grant real freedom to the church in mainland China".

[ . . . ]

Bishop Zen, a vocal critic of Beijing's policies, said that he hoped someone could explain to the Chinese government that the Vatican just wanted religious peace.

"It has no political ambitions whatsoever," Bishop Zen said. "The Pope appoints bishops everywhere, and nobody is offended. We hope the Chinese government can understand this."

[ . . . ]

[Vatican denies of change of position] But analysts say there is little doubt that if the Vatican were to sever ties with Taiwan it would be a major blow to the island - which is now recognised by just 25 nations.

The Vatican is Taiwan's only remaining ally in Europe.

Bishop Zen told Reuters news agency that there was already an understanding that one day the Holy See would have to sever its ties with Taiwan in preference for mainland China.

I don't know if I'm adding the right 2 and 2, but I'd speculate that if an "in pectore" cardinal exists, it'd probably be in China.

On an aside, if the Vatican does sever ties, this particular Catholic is going to be really, really pissed.

Posted 6:14 PM by Tony

Friday, April 01, 2005

I've always enjoyed Mark Morford's columns in the SF Chronicle - they're always so delightfully incoherent. Even more so when he goes off, as he does in today's column, about automobiles. Suffice to say that, even when talking about cars, Morford cannot resist gratuitous anti-Bush ad hominems. For instance, when discussing the Chrysler 300c, he feels compelled to write that "it sucks gas like Jenna Bush sucks a beer bong." It's worth noting that car purchases are an intensely personal aesthetic choice - all of the cars he likes all look like personality-less blobs of metal to me. And as for not liking old cars, I think Mickey Kaus would have something to say about that.

Of more interest is NY Times article on the connection between car ownership and political affiliation (see also post by Boi from Troy). What I found telling was this:

How valuable is this information? "I think it's fun to talk about," the political analyst James Carville said, "but I mean, you see a guy in a pickup truck with a rifle and a Confederate flag, and you know how he's going to vote anyway." But upon further reflection Mr. Carville acknowledged the value of the surveys. "It actually does have some merit, especially when used in conjunction with other information about consumer habits. It can be a very accurate predictor."

Is it just me, or does it seem that Democrats cannot resist the lure of the Confederate flag/pickup combo?

Then there's this:

The Saab is a Democratic car, according to both CNW and Scarborough, which found that Saab owners were about twice as likely to be Democrats. It's an upscale car an affluent Democrat can drive without feeling guiltily ostentatious while also reveling in a different sort of status symbol, said the president of Scarborough, Bob Cohen.

Seems to me that, if this is true, it's consistent with the concept about well-off people voting Democrat because they feel guilty about their wealth.

But, I'm not so sure that this holds, given the counter-examples. As for me, I really don't care about the potential political affiliations that go with car ownership (except for my admittedly irrational bias against Volvos and Saabs). The criterion for me is, "How cool is it?" Which is why I bought what my current ride.

Posted 5:40 PM by Tony

An Orange County native trapped in the SF Bay Area. Email at

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