Now This Log

Archives: February 2002

Friday, 15 February 2002

There's just something about an intelligently-written negative review that I find immensely satisfying...

'John Q.' Shoots Itself in the Foot [Washington Post]
...if a man goes to a busy emergency room, pulls a gun, takes the place over and demands policy changes or he'll start killing hostages, what would you call him? Why, I believe the answer is: a terrorist.

But ... according to the grotesquely inverted moral compass of "John Q.," here's what we'd call the man: a hero. On top of that, he'd be played by ... that emblem of decency and intelligence, Denzel Washington.

It's as crass and manipulative as a Stalin-era poster, it reduces the complexities to bromides and slogans and it gets so preachy-keen and so tub-thumpingly loud it makes you feel like a chump just for sitting through it. (You don't have to; I took one for the team and already did.)
permanent link [Post a comment]

How to Take an Interesting but Complicated Result and Oversimplify it into a Short, Alarmist Headline, exhibit 22: Study Links 8 Hours' Sleep to Increased Death [Washington Post] permanent link [Post a comment]

Wednesday, 13 February 2002

Via Flutterby: The Post Office ran the Segway through some tests and has reported the major tradeoffs back to the media:

Scooter Awaits Stamp Of Approval [Tampa Tribune]
* Packing a load of 325 pounds, including the weight of the driver, the transporters allowed carriers to deliver much more mail between trips back to the mail truck.

* Instead of sorting mail as they walked, carriers had to focus on driving.

Carrier Chris Pesa, who works a route north of downtown, at first claimed he could deliver mail faster on foot. That was before he got used to the scooter. "Right now, I'm as fast as the machine." The difference, Pesa said, is the transporter is a lot easier on his feet. "When I was walking, by the end of the week, my feet would really be sore," he said. "Now, it actually feels like I've got a little spring in my step."
Now think if you didn't have mail to sort in the first place; if you were just going somewhere with maybe a small bundle... Once these puppies get cheap, they'll be awfully attractive. permanent link [Post a comment]

Tuesday, 12 February 2002

Shuger on Cohen on Steele on Walker: A while back Richard Cohen smacked Shelby Steele about his tarring of Marin County as a place which produces all sorts of America-hating children based on the anecdotal evidence of John Walker Lindh's choices, saying that surely more Marinites have joined the Armed Forces than joined the Taliban. Scott Shuger follows up:

The Few, the Proud, the Marins: A top conservative is wrong about John Walker [Slate]
How unlike a newspaper columnist to pose such a perspective-inducing question! But how like one not to bother to answer it!

Fortunately, enough data exists to show that Cohen has won this bout... According to the United States Army Recruiting Command, during fiscal year 2001, the time frame during which John Walker cast his fate with the Taliban ... eight people from Marin County joined the Army... I don't know how many more Marins are in the Marines, or in the Navy or Air Force -- maybe as penance Mr. Steele should have to chase around the Pentagon for those figures.

...But we now know that whatever moved Walker to take his drastic action wasn't in the local wine and (sparkling) water. And should that really be a surprise -- least of all to a conservative? Aren't they the ones who relentlessly downplay external circumstances in favor of personal responsibility?
Rah, I say. Rah. permanent link

Looking for a great concert to go in the D.C. area this Thursday?

Well, the Bobs are at Wolf Trap, but they're sold out.

Instead, you could see a great songwriter in Vienna, VA: Bob Hillman is singing at Jammin' Java. We saw him open for Suzanne Vega last year and were impressed enough to immediately buy his CD (which was mighty fine). Visit his site (which is pretty darn good) for samples, lyrics and other info.

I'm itching to see him again, but am otherwise committed this time. Next time he's in town, though, don't get in my way... permanent link

New FBI alert, this time with more specifics...

Seeking Information - 2-11-02 [FBI]
Recent information indicates a planned attack may occur in the United States or against U.S. interests in the country of Yemen on or around 02/12/02. One or more operatives may be involved in the attack, including Fawaz Yahya Al-Rabeei...
Photos of relevant individuals [FBI] permanent link

Monday, 11 February 2002

All your Enron commentary needs can be fulfilled by late-night comedians:

Jon Stewart, The Daily Show:
Arthur Andersen CEO [on film]: The question isn't ... what did we do wrong or not do wrong, the question is: what can we do better?

Stewart: No actually, the real question is: Why aren't all of you in jail? ... And not, like, white-guy jail, jail jail.
Jon Stewart interviewing Ron Insana, 28 January 2002:
Tell me who's going to jail. Because honestly, you've got kids selling mushrooms at a Phish concert, and they're up for 15 years. These guys are living in McMansions; it's crazy.
Dennis Miller Live:
Hey Ken Lay, borrow some guts and start spillin' em. ... You know, last year this Lay jackoff was touting himself as a complete corporate genius who had the ear of the President and half of Congress. Now he's passing himself off as some clueless Mr. Magoo starring in the film Memento who had absolutely no idea what his company was up to.

You know how deep you are in shit when you have to hire a public relations firm to put the word out to people that you're an out-of-the-loop asshole?

...We here in California can't help but have a little enjoyment at Enron's expense, because these are the same people who turned off all our lights last summer and then proceeded to charge us for energy like it was coming out of a hotel minibar.
permanent link

Sonny sits by his window and thinks to himself
How it's strange that some rooms are like cages
Sonny's yearbook from high school is down from the shelf
And he idly thumbs through the pages

Some have died
Some have fled from themselves
Or struggled from here to get there
Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls
Runs his hands through his thinning brown hair
-- Paul Simon, "The Obvious Child", Rhythm of the Saints

permanent link

via Rafe: Salon has (scanned images of) the list of Enron people who got major 'retention bonuses' just before the big layoffs occurred. Surely someone somewhere will be putting it in a spreadsheet so we can sort by amount...

Background: Enron's last-minute bonus orgy permanent link

Links, exploration and
synthesis from
Steve Bogart

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photo by my wife
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