Gear News Archive: September 2005
Released to Continue Pro-Bush Propaganda Campaign
Judith Miller, the Bush
Administration’s mega-megaphone on the immediate threat of weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq, was released from jail after a 12 week hiatus in her
purveyance of pro-Bush propaganda.
Protection of sources
has been stated as the reason for Judith Miller’s refusal to testify in the
Valerie Wilson CIA leak case. So what’s wrong with that picture? Are all
“leaks” from the White House created equal? Of course not. Leaks from the
Clinton White House were leaks in the true sense of the word; invariably bad
for the occupants. Leaks from the Bush White House are orchestrated and
polished bits of pro-administration propaganda, dutifully delivered to the
electorate by the likes of Miller as if they were real news. The fact is
that journalists should know the difference between “purposeful leaks”, and
“damaging leaks”. Damaging leaks never find egress from the Bush White
Miller and others will
say that they need to protect their anonymous sources, or the flow of
“information” will stop, and “journalists” will not be able to report the
big stories, like Watergate. That is pure nonsense. Miller did not expose
any government malfeasance, she helped Scooter Libby and Karl Rove spin
their WMD propaganda to the public through one of the country’s (previously)
most respected newspapers.
The plain fact of the
matter is that The Times and Miller have been as disingenuous as humanly
possible on the obvious distinction between the diametrically opposed types
of “sources” and “leaks”. They know full well that Karl Rove is no “Deep
Throat”, and that Scooter Libby is not going to give them the real scoop.
But if Miller wanted to remain the only piglet suckling at Karl Rove’s
information teat, she needed to dutifully report the leaks as fact. Such is
the sorry state of modern journalism, and its insidious connections to the
very people that they are supposed to scrutinize.
The NY Times should be
It’s been years
since Tom Delay took corporate money, funneled it through the GOP in
Washington, who sent the laundered money back to Delay to help fund Texas
Republicans in order to take control of the Texas legislature. Once in
control, they gerrymandered Texas politics by redrawing Texas districts for
a second time since the 2000 census to help get more Republicans elected to
office. It all worked according to plan, and Delay assumed that he would
never get caught for laundering the corporate money.
Richard Nixon’s role as Crook in Chief, Delay declared defiantly, “I have
done nothing wrong”. A brilliant defense, buttressed by his statement that
his was “one of the weakest indictments in US history”. Based on the
veracity level of past Republican defenses we can assume that his statements
actually translate to “I’ve been a baaaad boy”, and “damn, that indictment
looks pretty air tight”.
Wouldn’t it be
just super if our leaders were actually honest public servants, working for
the good of the people (not just their party)? I can’t wait for the next
election; it’s House cleaning time!
High Def Burners
announced that it is behind schedule on delivering the new blue laser
high capacity DVD burners known as HD-DVD drives until early 2006. The new
drives were supposed to make it to store shelves before the holiday season
this year, but now that is not going to happen. This means that HD-DVD and
Blu-Ray-DVD drives may appear within months of each other, increasing any
indecision among consumers as to which standard will be the most popular.
Chances are, the HD-DVD format will become the more popular because it will
be supported by major operators such as Intel and Microsoft. Blu-Ray drives
will be able to hold more data, but the drives and disks can't be produced
on current factory assembly lines. This will probably limit the market
penetration for Blu-Ray disks drives, unless consumers opt for the larger
While choice is
good, the upcoming battle between the formats is certain to cause end users
untold problems and difficulties as the HD format wars play out.
What is the
NY Times hiding? The Editorial pages have not been graced with a single
introspective look at the connection between the jailing of Times reporter
Judith Miller for contempt of court, and the White House-generated leak of
the identity of CIA agent Valerie Wilson. They have repeatedly voiced strong
words demanding the release of Miller, their senior reporter on the huge
stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, but have never
delved into the unseemly connection between the White House “leak machine”
and Miller’s wildly incorrect reporting on WMD in the pages of the Times.
You have to
wonder if the silence has more to do with pending legalities, rather than a
lack of journalistic ethics. But the silence is stark in its totality, and
is sinister in the implications for a press that has such close ties to the
administration they are supposed to be critically covering. With Judith
Miller’s reporting, we weren’t getting the pinnacle of Fourth Estate
scrutiny, we were getting an administration bullhorn jammed in our ears.
Never heard of it.
Undermines US Foundations
If you thought
that the lack of government response to hurricane Katrina was a mistake, you
would be mistaken. Indeed, it was part of a plan hatched at the Heritage
Foundation to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, and to
prevent experienced career civil servants from “going off message”, and
attempting to formulate policies. The Heritage Foundation, a think-tank of
rich Republicans, insisted that for George Bush to succeed as President,
politicians, not experienced civil servants, should be placed in charge of
all Federal Agencies. Think, for example, Michael Brown of FEMA.
Indeed, this is
the very same concept behind Karl Rove and the Republicans choosing George
W. Bush for the office of president, because he doesn’t know enough about
how government operates, or how foreign policy works, to argue with the
political operatives that formulate daily Republican talking points. It’s
easier to keep an uniformed political hack in line and on message than it is
to keep a highly intelligent person from spoiling the spin of the day. Bill
Clinton was very good at going off message, and delving deep into the
details of administration policy.
Now that their
scurrilous plan has backfired on them, they have quickly cooked up a
plan B, as all good political machines should. This one is to exploit
the Katrina flood disaster to further dismantle worker protections, funnel
more federal funds to Republican cronies, and advance their
ultra-conservative political schemes. It was reported in the
NY Times today that over 80% of the billions of tax dollars already
allocated for Katrina recovery has been awarded with no-bid contracts to
companies like Halliburton.
Republicans can stand this is beyond me.
Even the Navy's
dolphins have defected from the war effort, and have gone missing. The
Navy's "Cetacean Intelligence Mission" trains Atlantic bottlenose dolphins
fitted with toxic dart guns to patrol around submarines and ships while in
port, looking for terrorist divers to shoot at. Apparently, hurricane
Katrina over-flooded their pens, and washed 36 trained, dart-toting dolphins
into the ocean. So far the Navy does not know the whereabouts of the
defecting dolphins, but rumors from participants in the peace march in DC on
Saturday suggest that the dolphins were spotted in the Potomac river,
joining the peace march around the White House.
Pro-War Rally Big
On Sunday, to
counter the insignificant peace march in DC that occurred on Saturday,
almost 400 people showed up to proclaim their love of war. This show of
support for Karl Rove's and Don Rumsfeld's masterful prosecution of the war
in Iraq was so successful, that it was
given as much space in the Washington Post as the previous day's poor
showing by the anti-war protestors. It was estimated that the anti-war
protest could only muster between 250 and 400 thousand marchers, proving
that the war remains highly popular among the US electorate.
Version 2.0 Begins Today
and enlightenment march steadily backward in the religion-soaked United
States, today marks the beginning of the
second trial in a century to attempt to remove the teaching of evolution
from our schools. If all goes well for the Inquisitors, evolution will, like
gravity, be reduced to a suspect theory only entertained by that lunatic
fringe of society known as scientists.
Doesn't Innovate Anything
long article in the Wall Street Journal (the mouthpiece of American
Corporatocracy) describes in detail the dysfunctional, bloatware coding
culture at Microsoft, and how Windows has always been cobbled together like
a Rube Goldberg contraption. The article goes on to talk about how Jim
Allchin kept urging Mr. Bill to fix the way Windows was made. It was taking
them too long to reverse course on the coding of Windows Longhorn (Vista),
and years of coding had already been wasted. Microsoft was going to have to
start over from scratch. The funniest part is how they gloss over the fact
that the "about face" that Mr. Bill was forced to swallow was really a
retreat, and a defeat:
27, 2004, Microsoft said it would ship Longhorn in the second half of 2006
-- at least a year late -- and that Mr. Gates's WinFS advance wouldn't be
part of the system. The day before in Microsoft's auditorium, Mr. Allchin
had announced to hundreds of Windows engineers that they would "reset"
Longhorn using a clean base of code that had been developed for a version of
Windows on corporate server computers."
There you have
it, the massive innovative design decision was to use the existing code base
for Windows 2003 Server, which was written between 2000 and 2002. So by the
time that Vista comes to market, it will be based on code that is over 5
years old. Innovation, perhaps, is in the eye of the coder.
Idiots or Crooks?
and the Republicans promised to clean up the corruption in Washington when
they got elected, but what they really meant was they were going to ensure
that only Republican corruption would be tolerated.
The number of
scandals swirling around the White House and the Republicans in Congress may
be at unprecedented levels, but the number of actual ongoing investigations
is tiny, because the Republicans control the means by which investigations
How have the
corrupt Republicans injured We The People? Let me count the ways.
1) Tom Delay,
Republican House Majority Leader: Abramoff-Gate.
2) Bill Frist,
Republican Senate Majority Leader: Insider Trading-Gate.
3) Karl Rove,
Republican aid to George Bush: Plame-Gate.
Rumsfeld, Republican secretary of defense: Abu Ghraib-Gate
5) George Bush
and Iraq WMD-Gate.
And this is
just the multipronged tip of the iceberg. I'm leaving out dozens of other
scandalous actions like the purposeful dismantling of FEMA, and scandalous
lack of actions like the Bush administration's non-response to the flooding
disaster in New Orleans.
With so many
scandals occurring in such a short space of time and involving so many
prominent Republicans you have to wonder if the Republicans are idiots, or
just crooks? I think by now it's clear the later is the case.
If you live in
the Washington area like I do, please attend tomorrow's peace march in the
capital to let the scandal-ridden Republican Party know that we are fed up
with their malfeasance in office, and that we aren't going to forget all of
their scandals once they are no longer in control of both houses of Congress
and the White House.
Bill Gates Finally
Listens to Me
chiding Bill the other day for micromanaging Microsoft, and for the unwieldy
nature of the massive bureaucracy his mega-company has become, the head
honcho of Microsoft conceded that I was right, and so he decided to break
the company into
3 new divisions. Keep in mind that this is not April 1st.
divisions will be: 1) Platform products and services (Operating systems,
etc.) 2) Business products and services (Office applications, etc), and 3)
Entertainment and devices (games and hardware). It seems somewhat ironic
that Microsoft fought this exact type of subdivision tooth-and-nail when the
Justice Department was charging them with antitrust activities. Now, based
on widespread criticism, Bill finally realized that it was a good idea to
streamline the various different parts of Microsoft, and put them into their
if Bill would just remove himself from the company, and start a
distinguished career as a mega-philanthropist, everything would be just
thing you can say about George Bush; he's not a complicated man. Indeed, he
always seems single-minded, even when tending the store requires serious
multitasking. Before the terrorist attacks in 2001, he and his
administration were still concentrating on communism and other perceived
threats that had long ago faded into obscurity for most of us. Then after
9/11, the administration turned all attention to terrorism, and even
launched an unrelated war in Iraq in the name of fighting terrorism, while
at the same dismantling important parts of the federal system, such as FEMA.
that hurricane Katrina has proven that myopic administration style to be
inadequate to the job of President of the United States, will the Bush
administration learn how to juggle competing priorities like normal,
competent administrations have always done? Don't count on it. Expect all
attention to turn to responding to Katrina and other possible disasters,
while ignoring the deteriorating situation in Iraq, letting the Taliban
regroup in Afghanistan, spending tax dollars like a drunken sailor without
regard to the debt, continuing to dismantle federal agencies such as the
Environmental Protection Agency, and ignoring problems with agencies such as
Tunnel vision is great for subway security cameras, but not for Presidents
of the United States.
Bill Gates is a
all know that Bill Gates is a greedy guy, and loves to bully other people
and companies, and you might expect that would mean that he is not a
particularly good boss to work for. Indeed, that
appears to be the case, as internal grumblings from current and former
employees filter out of the Redmond gulag. Some of the most telling
commentary on Bill's bad boy bossiness come from Kai-Fu Lee, the Chinese
computer scientist recently hired away from Microsoft by Google. Microsoft
sued to prevent Lee from defecting to Google, but lost the initial court
battle. Lee was quoted in the court hearings as saying that Microsoft was a
dysfunctional company, and called them "incompetent". In contrast, Lee's
comments on Google were opposite: "the culture is very supportive,
collaborative, innovative, and Internet-like -- and that's bottoms-up
innovation rather than top-down direction."
all knew that Bill ran Microsoft with an iron hand from the top down. That's
the main reason that Windows is a kludge of dozens of unrelated modules that
don't always work together properly. It's also why Bill can only talk about
"innovation", when history shows that he steals or buys almost all of the
stuff in his wares. Bill is a bully, not an innovator, and the waves of
defections by highly talented, disgruntled employees speaks volumes of the
incompetence and poor leadership. Bill knows how to make money, but he is
not the kind of employer that engenders loyalty, or employee satisfaction.
recent defections include Steven Walli, who was supposed to counter the
Linux threat, but instead migrated to an open-source consulting firm.
Engineers Joe Beda and Gary Burd left Microsoft for Google, where they
helped create Google-Talk, the VoIP/instant messenger that Google just
released. Overall, defecting employees say that Microsoft's past successes
and enormous size have made them sluggish, apathetic, and lazy.
give you an idea of how non-innovative Bill and Co. have become, just think
of Vista. It was supposed to be a totally new operating system, but almost a
year ago, Microsoft announced that the kernel of Windows Vista was the same
code that formed the base of Windows Server 2003. Now that's a real
innovative breakthrough, if I ever heard of one.
day that Bill Gates turns over all Microsoft operations to a competent and
respectable corporate leader will be the day that Windows starts down the
long road to recovery.
Taking a page from Karl Rove's black-hearted playbook, I will create a sound
bite that everyone can identify with the Bush Administration's criminal
negligence in handling the New Orleans levees and the resulting flood when
the levees failed. I will call the debacle "Flood-Gate". The reasons that
the Republicans always give every supposed Democratic scandal a name is to
simplify the criticism into a single sound bite that everyone can identify
with. So Flood-Gate it is, and what I want is to get to the bottom of how
the federal government failed so completely to prepare or respond to the
disaster, which developed far more slowly than any terrorist attack would
have. FEMA and the Bush Administration had days to prepare, and days to
respond after the fact, but instead, Bush and his friends remained on
vacation. That's disaster preparedness at it's absolute worst.
admitted in a rather pitiful way yesterday that the Federal Government
failed to respond properly to the flooding, and he actually said he accepted
the blame. His stuttering, rambling performance in the news conference was
as poor as any I've ever seen from a sitting president. But the major point
remains that Bush is feeling the heat of his abysmally low poll ratings, and
the deteriorating situation in Iraq, which is sure to drag his presidency
into the ranks of the failed administrations of the past, including that of
Bush didn't admit yet is that his policies in the US and overseas have all
been failures, from his clumsy attempt to reform Social Security to his
failures to finish the war in Afghanistan and catch Osama Bin Laden. But
even the Iraq quagmire will not be as damaging to Bush and Co. as
Flood-Gate: his dismantling of FEMA at a time when he said he was protecting
America from danger. He was talking up a good game, while at the same time
he was degrading the ability of FEMA to respond to disasters caused by
nature, or by terrorists. It is time for a full Congressional hearing into
the dismantling of FEMA, and the failure to fund levee improvements in New
Orleans. Open the Flood-Gate investigation, and hopefully that will open the
news media flood gates on the rest of Mr. Bush's failures.
the 2004 election, Mr. Bush arrogantly said; "I've earned political capital,
and I'm going to spend it". He overspent it all on a reckless political
spending spree, and now the country is stuck with the sad results of his
political credit card debt. Don't
blame me for putting this bumbling amateur back in the White House, I
proudly voted for Kerry, someone with actual experience in combat, and
Scandals Aren't Us
you imaging if Bill Clinton had lied about going to war in Bosnia, and then
thousands of soldiers were killed and wounded? Scandal material? Sure thing,
so what’s up with the scandal-less or scandal-lite treatment of the Bush
administration by the so-called liberal media? Every usual suspect in that
liberal media cabal, ranging from the NY Times, to the Washington Post to
CNN, have been more than supportive of the Bush administration, including
being very helpful in the run up to the war in Iraq. So I thought it would
be interesting for both liberals and conservatives alike to do a scandal by
scandal comparison of the Bush and Clinton administrations, and the degree
to which the media treated the stories as scandals, or not.
Which was worse for the country, “White Water” under Clinton, or failing to
connect terrorist dots before 9/11 under Bush? One was a failed Arkansas
land deal for $30,000 by a Clinton friend and business partner that occurred
10 years before Mr. Clinton became President. The other scandal concerned an
incumbent President ignoring mounting intelligence information that Osama
Bin Laden was preparing terrorist cells to attack the US, possibly with
hijacked planes. White Water got much more air time and column space during
the Clinton presidency than the failure to protect the US from terrorists
did under Bush...
We've Heard of It.
you want to really beef up a federal organization's ability to get a tough
job done quickly, and correctly, what do you do? If you're President Bush,
you fire all the experienced career crisis management personnel at FEMA, and
appoint political buddies in an orgy of political nepotism.
opening: FEMA director, qualifications: Republican - will get on the job
Washington Post has a great
article (for a change) on how the experienced career crisis managers at
FEMA have been replaced by Bush with inexperienced Republican
politicians. In fact, it turns out that Michael Brown, new head of FEMA,
lied on his
resume' for the job saying he had a job in "overseeing emergency
management in Edmond OK" 30 years ago. That would make the now 50 year old
Brown 20 years old when he got the job in Oklahoma, an age when most of us
are either in a job, or in college. Sure enough, it turns out that Brown was
only an "intern" at the agency for several years, and had no management
responsibilities. Many other items on his resume' are just as questionable.
Overall, 3 out of 5 FEMA directors now have no experience in disaster
management, and a full 9 out of 10 regional managers lack experience. So
Bush and friends took a premier Federal agency headed by James Lee Witt, and
filled the positions with political buddies without experience. This is the
man who says he is going to protect us from terrorist disasters?
New Orleans was flooding on Monday, FEMA did nothing. By Tuesday the
flooding was very extensive, and life threatening. Michael Chertoff, Mr.
Browns boss under the Homeland Security Department, was interviewed on TV
where he repeatedly said that all the headlines on Tuesday said "New Orleans
dodges bullet". No national paper had any such headline on Monday,
Tuesday, or any other day. Either the people in charge are idiots, or they
are pathological liars. In either case, we are screwed when it comes to
ask yourself, is Mr. Bush making you safer? Is he a competent leader you can
trust? Does he "surround himself with the best and brightest?" Or does he
care more about politics than about good governance?
answers are now self evident.
Divide and Deceive
Bush Administration put Karl Rove in charge of "emergency management". Not
management of the emergency in New Orleans, the emergency of spin control in
the White House. Sidney Blumenthal has a
piece today that is a must read for all. I
dare Republicans to read the whole thing, and point out any errors. I mean
real errors, not points that simply contradict Rush Limbaugh's lie machine.
As an example, the Republicans have been lying about when Louisiana governor
Blanco declared a state of emergency. Republicans keep saying she did it
long after the storm. Well, Republicans only need go to this
link at the White House to see that the state of emergency was declared
long before the storm even hit.
are some very pertinent quotes from Mr. Blumenthal's article.
"Even as the floodwaters poured
into New Orleans, unimpeded by any federal effort to stanch the flow, the
White House mustered a tightly coordinated rapid response of political
damage control. Karl Rove assumed emergency management powers. The strategy
was to dampen any criticism of the president, rally the Republican base, and
cast blame on the mayor of New Orleans and governor of Louisiana, both
Democrats. It was a classic Bush ploy against the backdrop of crisis. The
object was to polarize the nation along partisan lines as swiftly as
possible. While policy collapsed, politics reigned. Once again, Bush the
divider, not the uniter, emerged.
President George H.W. Bush's loss of Florida in the 1992 election is partly
attributable to FEMA's mishandling of Hurricane Andrew. President Clinton
appointed James Lee Witt as the new director, the first one ever to have had
experience in the field. Witt reinvented the agency, setting high
professional standards and efficiently dealing with disasters.
FEMA's success as a showcase federal agency made it an inviting target for
the incoming Bush team. Allbaugh, Bush's former campaign manager, became the
new director, and he immediately began to dismantle the professional staff,
privatize many functions and degrade its operations. In his testimony before
the Senate, Allbaugh attacked the agency he headed as an example of
unresponsive bureaucracy: "Many are concerned that Federal disaster
assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a
disincentive to effective State and local risk management. Expectations of
when the Federal Government should be involved and the degree of involvement
may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level. We must restore the
predominant role of State and local response to most disasters."
There you have it, now national
disaster relief is a "local responsibility", and has become an "oversized
entitlement program". And I thought that the people served by FEMA were
taxpaying US citizens. Silly me. United States? Where is the 'united' part
as far at the Republicans are concerned?
Karl Rove, the traitorous CIA leaker, went into crisis management mode, he
fell back on his standard (one trick pony) modus operandi: divide the
electorate by means of deception. As long as Republicans are willing to be
pawns in Rove's game, this country will remain as divided as it was before
the civil war.
Bush administration continues to put more effort into
damage control and managing appearances than on properly managing
disaster relief along the Gulf Coast. This is not just the fault of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
and its ineffective boss, Michael Brown, but a direct result of policies
and decisions made by President Bush and his staff. Be assured that
Republicans will try to blame local Democrats, and failing that, will try to
blame lower level crisis managers, but the real culprits in this debacle
reside entirely within the White House.
only did Bush and colleagues reduce funding for levee improvements in New
Orleans starting as long ago as 2001, but they made a decision that natural
disaster recovery would be better managed at the state and local level. That
is why FEMA responded so slowly to the Katrina disaster, because the agency
was now part of Homeland Security, whose main purpose according to Bush is
to respond to terrorism.
According to Trina Sheets, the
executive director of the National Emergency Management Association, which
represents local emergency personnel; "since the Department of Homeland
Security was established there has been a steady degradation of the
capabilities [at FEMA]." State and local officials complained earlier this
year when the Department of Homeland Security proposed an agency
reorganization that would officially absolve FEMA of its
disaster-preparedness functions and instead hand disaster relief to a new,
as yet non-existent agency.
Because of their failure to
connect the dots concerning the terrorist attacks before 9/11, the Bush
administration became obsessed with anti-terrorist activities, to the
exclusion of natural disaster preparedness. So you can see how hollow the
idea of a homeland security department has become when it focuses myopically
on rare terrorist events, and ignores much more common and deadly natural
Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff were both
intimately involved in the shift of priorities at FEMA and Homeland
Security, and did so at the behest of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The Bush
administration is in damage control mode now, because for them appearances
are everything, when in reality, appearances amount to nothing at all when
it comes to disaster relief.
Blame Game Only
Good for Democratic Presidents
Republicans who think that Bill Clinton would not have been raked over the
coals and impeached again if he were in charge during the abysmally poor
response to the Katrina disaster is living in a fantasy world. Instead, Bill
Clinton, like the statesman and gentleman that he is, stood up with George
Bush Sr. to support George Bush Jr. and ask for donations for the victims.
At the same time, rather than being honest and responsible, Republicans
duplicitously demanded that no one start "finger pointing", while at the
same time blaming local Democratic officials for the slow response.
both hypocrites and incompetent at the same time, the Republicans
nonetheless are in charge of the country now, so don't expect any heads to
roll, or any investigation to find out what happened. Don't expect any
meaningful hearings from Republicans as to why FEMA was so ineffective in
this time of "Republican Homeland Security". Don't expect to hear much about
how in 2001, the funds for levee improvements were drastically cut after
George Jr. got into office. Expect to see lots more disingenuous appearances
by the president hugging people, and expect to hear more refrains from
Republicans not to start the "blame game", while at the same time pointing
their fingers at local Democrats as those who should have been in charge of
the US response.
Did Mad Cow Disease
Originally Come from Humans?
People who are eating should not read this. Wait until you're finished with
your meal, please.
report has come out that seems to have pinpointed the origins of both
mad cow disease and "variant CJD", the new human form of the deadly brain
disease known as Kuru. In the 1960s and 70s, British cattle raisers were
experimenting with high protein feed as a way of boosting milk production.
Apparently, one of the sources of that protein was... have you finished your
What?? How the hell could human bodies get into cattle feed? The author of
the report notes that tens of thousands of human corpses are floated down
rivers in India and Pakistan every year, and that unscrupulous "meat
byproduct" vendors would gather the remains downstream from the funeral
sites, and mix them with the animal body parts destined for cattle food. He
estimates that over 100 corpses infected with Kuru made it into the cattle
food supply every year for over a decade. Then, after thousands of cattle
developed mad cow disease in Britain, a modified form of Kuru, "variant CJD",
began to break out among beef eaters throughout the country. Eventually,
most cattle had to be slaughtered and buried, and the British cattle
industry had to start over from scratch.
they say, you are what you eat.
Intel Says AMD and
Mike Magee are Liars
Intel says that AMD, the entire IT
industry, and even The Inquirer's Mike Magee are all daft when it comes to
that Intel bullied customers into avoiding AMD chips. Mr. Magee, for one,
has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged Intel to call him a liar in
court. This I can't wait for. Intel really did not counter AMD's claims in
their court filings, but instead claimed that they invented the
microprocessor, and are true innovators. Innovation seems to be a
particularly popular court defense among large IT companies like Microsoft
and Intel, even if innovation is something neither of them have heard of.
Direct X 10 Not Backward Compatible!
As you might expect from the company
that brought you the blue screen of death, Microsoft has announced that
Direct X 10
be backward compatible with DX 9 and earlier games! Uh, let me think...
I guess that means all games on earth right now! But they will of course
offer software emulation! Gee Bill, thanks very much for that. We can't wait
for all our favorite games to run much slower on all that expensive hardware
we've bought. Good deal!
FEMA Failed as Part of "Homeland Security"
When president Bush subsumed the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) into the "Homeland Security
Department", he took a functional and highly important Federal agency
and put a disorganized, mission-less mega-agency in charge of emergency
management in the US. As a result, FEMA
to respond in
an effective and timely manner to hurricane Katrina and the flooding
caused by levee failures. A serious disaster has been turned into a
massive human tragedy, temporarily turning the New Orleans area into a
third world country without any infrastructure.
As help finally begins to trickle in to
the area 5 days after the disaster, and as the Bush Administration says it's
not time for finger pointing, we can only hope that the finger pointing
increases to a blistering intensity. Clearly, FEMA and Homeland Security
failed completely to respond to a normal, natural disaster. How much poorer
would their response have been if terrorists had blown up a nuclear power
plant, or set off a small nuclear weapon in a US city?
is the agency that needs to respond quickly (and even pre-emptively) to
natural disasters in the US, which happen every few years. They can't be
saddled with a large overlying bureaucracy that prevents rapid response. By
focusing so myopically on terrorism, Bush has failed to protect US citizens
from the much more common, and more predictable natural disaster.
poor people who have been displaced from New Orleans will probably never be
able to return. Local developers will use eminent domain and other
mechanisms to claim the land at pennies on the dollar, and expensive housing
and resorts will replace what had been this historic city. The poor will
have to migrate away, and try and find lives elsewhere.
Bush Lied While
Anyone who thought that the Bush
Administration was ready for another big terrorist attack was given a
rude wake up call this week, as it became apparent that our government
couldn't even respond to a disaster when given 5 days notice beforehand.
People are starving and living in filth five days after the disaster, and 10
days after it became clear that something like this was likely to happen.
What did President Bush say about it
yesterday? First he said, just as he did right after 9/11, that "no one
could have known". That
disingenuous refrain has grown very, very tiresome. We are also seeing
that rolling FEMA and other emergency response agencies into the new and
disorganized "Homeland Security Dept." was probably a
bad idea. FEMA is still nowhere to be seen in New Orleans. Mr. Bush also
told the starving people of New Orleans to "take personal responsibility"
for their situations. That should go over well with people living in a trash
pile surrounded by flood waters, dead bodies, gangs of armed looters, and no
food or water anywhere.
Bush started his response to the
disaster on Tuesday by continuing his vacation, and Dick Cheney is still on
vacation now. Condoleeza Rice went to see "Spamalot", and then went shopping
for shoes. One woman at the store screamed at her for buying shoes when the
disaster was unfolding, and so Ms. Rice had her security agents physically
remove the woman from the store, so she could get back to shoe shopping.
You'd think she might instead be trying to get shoes to he homeless,
foodless, waterless, shoeless people of New Orleans, wouldn't you? No, not
this administration. They are too busy denying any culpability, and saying
"no one could have known".
Again, Despite Warnings Again
As the horrific tragedy unfolds in New
questions are being asked about how the levees around lake Pontchartrain
were not improved over the last several years, despite warnings from local
officials. The local Times Picayune newspaper had run a series of articles
in 2004 on the cuts in Federal funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to
shore up the levees around the lake, and warned that the cuts would lead to
a disaster if a large hurricane hit the area before improvements could be
made. But because of funding demands for the war in Iraq, funds in 2004 were
cut by 80%, and a hiring freeze on workers was put in place. The work was
Furthermore, environmentalists (evil
bastards in Bushspeak) warned in a carefully drafted report that the
destruction of wetlands in the New Orleans area to allow increased
development would make flooding more likely in the event of a hurricane. The
Bush administration called the report "highly questionable", and said that
"everybody loves what we are doing". Until now, that is.
Bush was warned by President Clinton
that terrorism would be his biggest worry, and then the August daily brief
warned Bush that "Bin Laden was determined to attack inside US". Bush did
nothing to stop the terrorists, despite information on Atta from the FBI.
Bush was then warned that plans were required for the aftermath of the war
in Iraq, but he ignored those warnings and we are now in a quagmire with no
good end in sight. Bush was warned that draining funds from the New Orleans
levee reconstruction for the war in Iraq was a mistake, but he ignored those
warnings too. Not to mention the fact that
the National Guard is in Iraq,
not here to help with natural and un-natural disasters.
Bush's tin ear for politics and good
governance has created or exacerbated some of the worst disasters in recent
US history. The question for me is, how much more damage can he do over the
next 2 1/2 years? Impeachment never sounded so good.
2005, KickAss Gear