Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
Q: So what's the plan?
A: The plan is to stick with the plan! If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Q: Why do we need the plan?
A: To stop terrorists like Saddam bin Laden from building another World Trade Center in Iraq - just so they can blow it up again.
Q: That would be horrible! How is the plan stopping them?
A: The plan is the central front in the war against terror! We invaded Iraq to get Iraqis to fight us in Iraq so they wouldn't fight us at home.
Q: The plan has cleverly lured them to where they already were, only in terrorist form!
A: Now you're catchin on!
Q: Hey, I know! We should invade like a small cardboard box. When all the terrorists attack there, we'll jump out of the way, tape up the box, and throw it in the ocean! No more terrorists!
A: Hey! No peeking ahead at the plan!

TAPPED: June 2005 Archives

A fellow at the Hoover Institution (very conservative) explains how we got screwed in Iraq:
The coalition government relied heavily on a revolving door of diplomats and other personnel who would leave just as they had begun to develop local knowledge and ties, and on a large cadre of eager young neophytes whose brashness often gave offense in a very age- and status-conscious society. One young political appointee (a 24-year-old Ivy League graduate) argued that Iraq should not enshrine judicial review in its constitution because it might lead to the legalization of abortion.

Econbrowser: For the love of tulips

A famous economist believes that the Dutch tulip bubble never existed.

Making Light: How not to think

Making Light: How not to think
You know, whatever you think of today’s rulings on the pair of Ten Commandments cases (I haven’t followed the story in detail, and don’t really propose to argue about it), the fact is that “everybody’s unhappy, so it must be fair” is magical thinking. Justice isn’t a function of averaging.

I’m reminded of the number of times I’ve seen modern reporters and editors announce that they get flak from angry right-wingers and angry left-wingers alike, so they “must be doing something right”. (If I had LEXIS/NEXIS I could probably compile pages of links to media professionals regurgitating this odious cliché.) In 1859, many Americans were angry about slavery, and many other Americans were angry about the idea of limiting slavery. You know something? The justice of the matter wasn’t “halfway in between.” Quite the contrary, the radicals on one side were pretty much entirely right. Slavery was wrong.

9/11 Iraw

Publius sampled Bushes speech last night to make a poem. It's all taken verbatim from the speech except for the chorus.

global war on terror
war reached our shores on September 11, 2001.
The terrorists who attacked us
September the 11th
this nation will not wait to be attacked again
murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania
before they attack us at home
when it comes to us
a central front in the war on terror
the words of Osama bin Laden
terrorists who behead civilian hostages
savage acts of violence
if we forget the lessons of September the 11th
bin Laden
defeat the terrorists
they respect no laws of warfare
they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001
terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens
September 11, 2001

9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq
9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq
9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq
9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq
9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq
9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq
9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq 9/11 iraq

September the 11th.

Aikido and the Art of Dodging Freeway Traffic

One of my Aikido instructors sent out this story:

Pardon me for another animal story but on Sunday I noticed what looked like a small animal on the median strip of the Bayfront Expressway. I made another pass and saw what looked like a small kitten. I can't resist these kinds of things, so parked on the shoulder and ran across the highway to check it out. When I went to pick up this tiny thing, it hissed at me and ran into the #1 lane of traffic. I didn't announce my intentions clearly enough and it may also be feral. I herded it back onto the median while keeping an eye on traffic and waited for traffic to clear before beginning Round 2. This time I took off my shirt and threw it over the kitten before scooping it up and dashing for the shoulder.
So if you saw a hairy, shirtless man running around on the freeway, I'll have to admit it was me. The 4-5 week old kitten was unhurt and is doing well.

Same-Sex Marriage, Eh?

Canada now has same-sex marriage.

I Knew It!!!

Confirmation of a simple fact that we here at Turtles have known for a long time:

The Geek Hierarchy!!!

(click for a readable version)

The Not-So-Long Gray Line

The Not-So-Long Gray Line - New York Times
But the honor code was not just a way to fight a better war. In the Army, soldiers are given few rights, grave responsibilities, and lots and lots of power. The honor code serves as the Bill of Rights of the Army, protecting soldiers from betraying one another and the rest of us from their terrifying power to destroy. It is all that stands between an army and tyranny.

However, the honor code broke down before our eyes as staff and faculty jobs at West Point began filling with officers returning from Vietnam. Some had covered their uniforms with bogus medals and made their careers with lies - inflating body counts, ignoring drug abuse, turning a blind eye to racial discrimination, and worst of all, telling everyone above them in the chain of command that we were winning a war they knew we were losing. The lies became embedded in the curriculum of the academy, and finally in its moral DNA.

By the time we were seniors, honor court verdicts could be fixed, and there was organized cheating in some units. A few years later, nearly an entire West Point class was implicated in cheating on an engineering exam; the breakdown was complete.

The mistake the Army made then is the same mistake it is making now: how can you educate a group of handpicked students at one of the best universities in the world and then treat them as if they are too stupid to know when they have been told a lie?

All very interesting in its own right, and then he ties it in with current-day Iraq. I don't think the current administration has learned the lessons that history has to offer.

The One Ring

From www.e-weddingbands.com, The One Ring!!!

Unfit for command

Jerome Corsi, one of the two main (not so) Swift Vets, is trying to redefine himself as a champion of Iran. This is a little hard to square with some of his previous quotes:

"Islam is a peaceful religion as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels killed."

"Ragheads are boy-bumpers as clearly as they are women-haters _ it all goes together."

"Let's see exactly why it isn't the case that Islam is a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion? Where's the proof to the contrary?"

"Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is OK with the pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press."

Anyhow, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting article on his newfound career. It ends on a very depressing note, though:

'Meanwhile,' said Zand-Bonazzi, an Iranian exile with a father in the mullahs' prison, 'none of us ever gets heard. That's what freaks me out. No one's willing to speak to us. But they bring someone like Jerry Corsi? When did Jerry Corsi end up knowing more than I do?'

Dr. Seuss meets Ayn Rand

E-Man sent me this link: Dr. Seuss meets Ayn Rand. It's some sort of libertarian book for little kids. Funny and scary at the same time.

CNN.com - Web sites change prices based on customers' habits - Jun 24, 2005

Some online companies track your purchases and change the prices they charge based on those purchases. The article below claims that sometimes this results in discounts for customers who buy a lot, but I suspect that it's more often used to get more money from those they think can afford it.

CNN.com - Web sites change prices based on customers' habits - Jun 24, 2005: In September 2000, Amazon.com outraged some customers when its own price discrimination was revealed. One buyer reportedly deleted the cookies on his computer that identified him as a regular Amazon customer. The result? He watched the price of a DVD offered to him for sale drop from $26.24 to $22.74.


Joseph Wilson upset the Bush administration. The administration responded by blowing the cover of Wilson's wife, who had worked undercover for the CIA. They did so by revealing her undercover status to reporters. In the ensuing investigation (blowing her cover was illegal) the reporters wouldn't reveal who blew her cover, and were sentenced to jail time. Today the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal, which means that they will go to jail. Here's what news organizations had to say about it:

CNN.com - Supreme Court refuses to hear reporters' appeals - Jun 27, 2005: 'Important information will be lost to the public if journalists cannot reliably promise anonymity to sources,' news organizations including The Associated Press told justices in court papers.

I, for one, think it will be a great loss if the good people of the government can no longer use the news media as tools of revenge. Just think where we would be if we never knew that Valerie Wilson was at one time involved in non-proliferation efforts for the CIA. I can't even imagine such a world.

I can't imagine why reporters and new organizations are pursuing this. Yes, it's in their interest to cultivate anonymous sources, but it's not in their interest to be used by these same sources, at least not in such a blatant manner.

3000 times more expensive than gas

Inkjet ink can cost up to $8000 per gallon.

The Kiss

BAGnewsNotes deconstructs a photo of Clinton kissing a woman. Reading the article is like watching CSI. It's an interesting study in how the framing, balance, lack of context, etc. can be manipulated to completely change the impression of a picture.

Open Letter

Open Letter:
I am writing you with much concern after I read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design to be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design..

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.

I’m sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming to long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don’t.

There's more, including "an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget," and proof "that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s."

Update from the Hunt for Bin Laden

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
'Marco!' says me. We sit an wait with the radar an the sonar an the complicated listenin devices but there is no response.

'Marco!' says me again.

'He's cheating,' says Giblets.

'Nah, I think maybe we oughtta try those mountains over there,' says me. 'Wait, did you hear that?' There's a sound like lotsa feet runnin real quick.

'Fish outta water!' says me. Everybody gets real quiet. A coupla sheep go by chewin grass.

'He's totally cheating,' says Giblets.

X Commandments

Crooked Timber:
(via Carpetbagger Report.) So, there was a state-sponsored display of the Ten Commandments in front of the Gibson County Courthouse in Princeton, Indiana. Some citizens brought it to court, arguing that it was unconstitutional, and won.

Indiana Republican Representative John Hostettler introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would "prohibit funds in the Act from being used to enforce the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in the case of Russelburg v. Gibson County." Says Benen, "In other words, Hostettler would prevent the federal judiciary from enforcing its own court order. Gibson County could refuse to comply with the law and the judge couldn't send marshals to resolve the problem."


Yes, the amendment passed. 91% of voting Republican representatives supported the amendment, versus 19% of voting Democratic representatives. I really don't believe that 91% of the House Republican caucus didn't know better. I don't understand these people.

What are the republicans smoking??!

Kerry's Choice

There was a lot of talk after the election about how Kerry should have released this or that record, and THAT would have shut up his accusers. I think that watching the Schiavo fiasco has put all of that talk to rest. There is NOTHING that Kerry could have done that would have stopped the dishonest attacks against him. Nothing.

A Great Nuclear-Age Mystery Solved

SPECIAL REPORT: A Great Nuclear-Age Mystery Solved:
One of the great mysteries of the Nuclear Age was solved today: What was in the censored, and then lost to the ages, newspaper articles filed by the first reporter to reach Nagasaki following the atomic attack on that city on Aug. 9, 1945?

The reporter was George Weller, the distinguished correspondent for the now-defunct Chicago Daily News. His startling dispatches from Nagasaki, which could have affected public opinion on the future of the bomb, never emerged from General Douglas MacArthur's censorship office in Tokyo. Carbon copies were found just two years ago when his son, who talked to E&P from Italy today, discovered them after the reporter's death.

Four of them were published today for the first time by the Tokyo daily Mainichi Shimbun, which purchased them from Anthony Weller. He told E&P he hopes to put them and others together into a book.

The articles published in Japan today reveal a remarkable and wrenching turn in Weller's view of the aftermath of the bombing, which anticipates the profound unease in our nuclear experience ever since. 'It was remarkable to see that shifting perspective,' Anthony Weller says.


slacktivist: Threshholds:
Because the odds against picking the winning numbers in Powerball are 121 million-to-1, I’ve argued that the game is for suckers. It’s not a fair bet, which is to say the odds against winning are greater than the payout. It would be a fair bet to wager $1 for a $10 million jackpot if the odds of winning were 10 million-to-1, but not if the odds are 121 million-to-1. Thus, I argued, playing Powerball is irrational unless the actual jackpot equals or exceeds $121 million.

This argument makes mathematical sense, but it is nonetheless wrong. The idea of a fair bet, it turns out, only makes sense at a certain scale, up until a certain threshhold.

The Powerball jackpot, even at its lowest, would be for most people a life-changing sum. And conventional arithmetic does not apply to life-changing sums. A $10 million jackpot would radically alter the winner’s life in a way that any additional tens of millions of dollars would not. For most people, therefore, the difference between a $10 million jackpot and a $121 million jackpot is inconsequential compared to the difference that initial $10 million would make in their lives.

He's not really musing about the jackpot, he's talking about torture, and whether our torture is as bad as other torture. I think he's got a point.

The ["Not As Bad As"] defense correctly insists that Guantanamo is different in degree from Stalin’s gulag. It is different in degree, but not in kind. And that difference of kind is the only difference that matters. America has entered the wrong category. We have crossed a threshhold.

Tax Rates

The New York Times has an article about total tax rates. Contrary to popular belief (and my belief), rich people do not pay more taxes than poorer people. The graph (below) says it all. A lot of attention is paid to the federal income tax, but I guess the other taxes and the ability to hide money from taxes greatly skews overall tax rates.

The myth of big bad John McCain

Many liberals like John McCain. The Carpetbagger Report says that they're wrong. Food for thought.

Malpractice Insurance

The Washington Monthly
... here's another study of medical malpractice that comes to the same conclusion as practically every other study done in the past couple of years: the medical malpractice 'crisis' is mostly an invention of insurance companies and their friends in Congress. As the chart below shows, malpractice payouts have grown at about the same rate as medical costs in general. In 1992, malpractice payouts amounted to about 0.3% of total healthcare spending and 1.2% of physician and clinical spending. In 2002, the numbers were....0.3% and 1.2%.

The burden of bearing a massive penis

No, I'm not blogging about myself, it's about spiders and fish.


We went to DC's sister's graduation this past weekend. Like all graduations, it was boring 99% of the time, then erupted with excitement when our grad was up on stage, then went back to boring. It was nice seeing my future in-laws and Steeljelly.


Lawyers, Guns and Money: Guns and Genocide:
Finally, this whole line of thought on the justification of gun ownership needs to die in the face of the Iraq situation. Iraqi private citizens were heavily armed by most standards, and yet could not throw off the yoke of Saddam Hussein. Indeed, the strength and viability of the insurgency should demonstrate that tyranny is not the most important problem for most people. Thousands of Iraqis who were willing to live under the murderous regime of Hussein have taken up arms against the US.

I never thought about it this way. There are obviously many people in Iraq who are willing to fight and die for a cause. Evidently overthrowing Saddam Hussein didn't reach that threshold, but getting rid of the U.S. does.

When Marine recruiters go way beyond the call

It looks like the military is really getting desparate for new recruits. When Marine recruiters go way beyond the call:
Next thing Axel knew, the same sergeant and another recruiter showed up at the LaConner Brewing Co., the restaurant where Axel works. And before Axel, an older cousin and other co-workers knew or understood what was happening, Axel was whisked away in a car.

'They said we were going somewhere but I didn't know we were going all the way to Seattle,' Axel said.


At about 3:30 in the morning, Alex was awakened in the motel and fed a little something. Twelve hours later, without further sleep or food, he had taken a battery of tests and signed a lot of papers he hadn't gotten a chance to read. 'Just formalities,' he was told. 'Sign here. And here. Nothing to worry about.'


CNN.com - Researchers: Dolphins use sponges as tools - Jun 6, 2005: "A group of dolphins living off the coast of Australia apparently teach their offspring to protect their snouts with sponges while foraging for food in the sea floor. ... Researchers say it appears to be a cultural behavior passed on from mother to daughter, a first for animals of this type, although such learning has been seen in other species."


Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.

Insolent Democrats have no vision of their own so they lash out at Giblets's - saying no to Giblets's federal harem of gold, no to Giblets's invasion of the kingdom of the mole people, no to his appointment of Zombie the Hun as ambassador to the United Nations! Lately they have spent so much time saying 'no' that the leader of the Democratic National Committee should not be Doctor Howard Dean but Doctor Something Else, like Doctor Angry Broken Robot Which Can Only Say 'No' Due To A Tragic Programming Error Which Will Eventually Drive It To Rise Up Against Mankind In An Orgy Of Apocalyptic Sci-fi Death And Destruction.2

Giblets has a plan to solve everything by grinding up Democrats and turning them into delicious pepper sausage... but you can guess what Democrats have said to this one. (Answer: not yes.)

2. This has been a joke. Behold the power of Giblets's joke! Laugh now or die.

Sometimes no comment will do

Man With Stained Chain Saw Let in to U.S. - Yahoo! News
On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres. Then they let him into the United States.

The following day, a gruesome scene was discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on Fulton's kitchen floor. His head was in a pillowcase under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom.

Despres, 22, immediately became a suspect because of a history of violence between him and his neighbors, and he was arrested April 27 after police in Massachusetts saw him wandering down a highway in a sweat shirt with red and brown stains. He is now in jail in Massachusetts on murder charges, awaiting an extradition hearing next month.

Paul Revere A Despicable Tattletale, Says GOP

Paul Revere A Despicable Tattletale, Says GOP:
Republicans today criticized Paul Revere for his famous ride, saying that he had violated professional colonial ethics by divulging military secrets in violation of his duty to his lord, the King of England.

'These were sensitive informations about military troop movements with which he had been entrusted,' said G. Gordon Liddy, an expert on ethics in government and a professor at several unaccredited law schools.

'Paul Revere was a traitor and a law breaker,' said Anakin Skywalker in a confidential interview shortly before his limbs were lopped off and he burst into flame.

Conservatives all over America pointed out that Revere also endangered people's lives by riding willy nilly all over Massachusetts at a full gallop in the dark of night. 'He could have trampled someone,' said Bill O'Reilly. 'Paul Revere was a reckless and irresponsible nazi,' he added.

Pat Buchanan derided Revere as a 'coward' and a 'snake' who was unwilling to be direct with the British government regarding his complaints about the monarchy. 'There were channels,' he said.

Peggy Noonan shook her head. 'There's nothing sadder than Americans who have no respect for the rule of law,' she said.


Dungeon Master’s Guide II, coming to a store near you. Here are some excerpts. It could be useful, but I'll have to browse through it at the bookstore before I shell out $40 for it.

Separated at Birth

This is pretty blatent. This guy took a picture of Howard Dean in front of a crowd, replaced Dean's picture with his own, made the "Howard Dean for America" sign into his own, and made a "Howard Dean" hat say his name instead. Voila, an ad for himself!


Publius always has fairly long, thought-provoking posts. Here's another:
It’s important to understand that secularism is not the same as forced atheism – it’s about respecting the dignity of autonomous humans to make choices for themselves. That’s why the ban on forced school prayer is not an “imposition” of belief, but a position of neutrality. People can pray if they want, or not at all. Forced school prayer, by contrast, actually imposes a religious view on others. If we could be confident that men knew exactly what God is and what God wanted, then this would just fine. But we can’t – and so it’s better for the state to stay neutral when governing people of diverse faiths who answer to different gods or no gods.

Viking Kittens!

Viking Kittens! I dare you not to say, "Awwwww!"

The Mac Startup Sound

More useless information to push useful information out of your brain: the history of the Mac startup sound.

How to Eat Sushi

Dave Lowry has a book coming out soon on how to eat sushi, "The Connoisseur’s Guide to Sushi". Here he explains about using soy sauce and wasabi with sushi. Note: Sashimi is little pieces of raw meat. Sushi, on the other hand, is little things (sometimes raw, sometimes cooked) on top of rice.
If, by “only recently learning about stirring the wasabi into the soy sauce for dipping,” you mean you have recently learned to do it, you really ought to make every effort to unlearn it. It is an egregious habit, utterly in contrast to the real enjoyment of sushi.

Sushi is, despite common misconceptions, about the rice. The mixture of rice, rice vinegar, and sugar, was the impetus for the evolution of sushi and it is still the standard by which it is best evaluated. The fish or other ingredients are the icing on the cake. The manipulation of these basic materials, rice, vinegar, and sugar, form most of the real art of sushi. The relative measures, for instance, change between summer and winter, age of the rice, type of sushi, etc. Too involved to go into it here; I spend several pages on this in the book. Suffice to say that whipping up a slurry of wasabi and shoyu and baptizing your sushi in this will effectively kill any chance to taste or appreciate the delicately and deliberately flavoured rice. A tiny bit of wasabi is used on some kinds of sushi, but this is usually to accentuate the taste of the fish in one way or another.

So how did this get started? Because mixing shoyu and wasabi and dunking slices of sashimi in it is a standard practise. Sashimi, as you probably know, is always served with plain rice, not sushi rice or sushi-meshi, as it’s called. Big difference. It is a common practise among sushi tsu (connoisseurs) to order a plate of sashimi at a sushi-ya as a first course, to get an idea of the place’s quality. With that course, wasabi-joyu is typically used. I think people saw this and assumed it applied as well to sushi.

Yes, I know. There will be members writing who live in Japan and who will insist they see Japanese using wasabi-joyu with sushi every day. And of course, they are correct. Unfortunately, it’s become common in Japan as well. There will also be those who opine that not being Japanese I am not in a position to comment on the “correctness” of sushi dining etiquette and those who, conversely, will note that I am trying to “be Japanese.” They are certainly entitled to their opinions. But I have spoken with a hell of a lot of sushi itamae and sushi connoisseurs in Japan in doing research for the book and the overwhelming consensus is as I have told you and for the reasons I have explained.

Universal Health Care

I've been saying for a while that I think universal health care is inevitable. My reasoning is that employers who pay health care will realize how much they're getting screwed compared with employers (some overseas) who don't pay for health care, while at the same time the users of health care (i.e. people) will become more and more annoyed with rising prises.

Robin Cook (yes, the author, but also a doctor) has another reason. I'll let him explain for himself:
Knowledge of the genome has greatly improved our ability to predict an individual's predilection for a host of diseases. Thousands upon thousands of markers have been identified throughout the genome and linked to particular mutated, deleterious genes associated with specific medical problems.


Not only is microarray technology easily accessible, but for-profit private insurance companies have strong incentives to use it to protect their bottom lines by denying service, claims or even coverage.


As a doctor I have always been against health insurance except for catastrophic care and for the very poor.


But with the end of pooling risk within defined groups, there is only one solution to the problem of paying for health care in the United States: to pool risk for the entire nation. (Under the rubric of health care I mean a comprehensive package that includes preventive care, acute care and catastrophic care.) Although I never thought I'd advocate a government-sponsored, obviously non-profit, tax-supported, universal access, single-payer plan, I've changed my mind: the sooner we move to such a system, the better off we will be. Only with universal health care will we be able to pool risk for the entire country and share what nature has dealt us; only then will there be no motivation for anyone or any organization to ferret out an individual's confidential, genetic makeup.

FBI Harassment

Protesters Subjected To ‘Pretext Interviews’: New FBI documents to be released today show that anti-terrorism agents who questioned antiwar protesters last summer in Denver were conducting “pretext interviews” that did not lead to any information about criminal activity.

Instead, one heavily censored memo from the FBI’s Denver field office, dated Aug. 2, 2004, characterized the effort as “pretext interviews to gain general information concerning possible criminal activity at the upcoming political conventions and presidential election.”

Michael Froomkin explains why this is bad:
No one is saying that the FBI shouldn't investigate threats. The question is, how does the FBI allocate its resources. We don't say that the FBI should go and randomly interview people, on the grounds that it might turn up a threat, even though finding out where threats might be is part of the FBI's job. (And if there is going to be random interviewing it @#$@$# better be really random...)

We expect the FBI to prioritize. But if the metric that the FBI uses to prioritize is to target people engaged in protected political speech, then that's chilling -- and a serious First Amendment violation.

So, the (only) way that the FBI interviews activists without being accused of mis-behavior is by only doing so when the reason for the interview has nothing whatsoever to do with their exercise of their legal rights. It's that simple.

That's Harsh!

Ouch!: "Met with my advisor the other day to go over a conference paper I gave him that would eventually be turned into a chapter. He said that it was ‘better than ok’, which is the most positive comment I’ve ever gotten from him. Much better than when I was writing my MA, when he’d give me back drafts with comments like “don’t ever give anything of this quality to me again ever”."


I hate being sick. I think that 18 days is more than enough!

Fafblog Again

Q: Help! I'm being tortured to death in an American military prison! What should I do?

A: First of all, you should get your facts straight. You're not being tortured to death in an American military prison; you're being interrogated to death in an American detainment facility. America does not tolerate torture.

Meeting Deep Throat

Woodward explains how he met Deep Throat.