Wednesday, July 02, 2003


Ok, the new site is up and running, so point your browsers to www.flameturnsblue.net and bookmark it. The new site has lots of cool features not found here. Make sure you leave a comment or two if you see an entry worth talking about.



P.S. - Thanks to Dean Esmay at Dean's World for all of his time and help in getting the new site set up. Pay him a visit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


Looking to spice up your collection w/ music from bands you've probably never heard of? Check out KEXP's new music reviews. They have a nice archive of older reviews as well. Or browse the "dj's cd picks" list.

The site of the 2010 Winter Olympics will be chosen tomorrow, and Vancouver, BC is the odds-on favorite. That would be very cool. We would get the best of both worlds: the Olympics in our backyard w/o the hassles of the inevitable, massive infrastructure projects necessary to host such an event.

"Going anywhere but Vancouver would 'make a mockery of moving the games around,' senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound said."

Mind if we call you Richard instead?

UPDATE: Vancouver got it!

Apparently 250 emails sent between NASA and the Space Shuttle Columbia have been released to the public. This note sent from NASA was particularly chilling:

"There is one item that I would like to make you aware of for the upcoming (public affairs) event. This item is not even worth mentioning other than wanting to make sure that you are not surprised by it in a question from a reporter.

"During ascent at approximately 80 seconds, photo analysis shows that some debris from the area of the -Y ET Bipod Attach Point (on the external fuel tank) came loose and subsequently impacted the orbiter left wing. Experts have reviewed the high-speed photography and there is no concern for (wing panel) or tile damage. We have seen this same phenomenon on several other flights and there is absolutely no concern for entry


Kraft is taking the bold step of reformulating products to combat obesity in children. It says it will stop marketing in schools too. Critics argue the moves, which will begin next year and take up to three years to implement fully, are an effort to avoid lawsuits. Who cares?

I think we will find the evidence of WMD in Iraq that will support the Bush administration's decision to fight a preemtive war (I think we may have already, but let's assume we haven't). However, the failure to find conclusive, irrefutable evidence to date may spell trouble for Bush's doctrine of preemption in the future.

According to columnist George Will, "To govern is to choose, almost always on the basis of very imperfect information. But preemption presupposes the ability to know things -- to know about threats with a degree of certainty not requisite for decisions less momentous than those for waging war." (via OxBlog) I don't know what the tipping point is for "certainty", but the implication is that the intelligence must support an airtight case.

Robert Kaplan, in his article "Supremacy By Stealth" in the most recent edition of The Atlantic, argues the point differently. "Because the consequences of attack by weapons of mass destruction are so catastrophic, the United States will periodically have no choice but to act pre-emptively on limited evidence..." I tend to agree with Kaplan, but Wills' point is still crucial.

Because of the atrocities committed by Saddam's regime that have been uncovered since the end of the war, the public seems to be giving Bush a free-pass on this one. "Hey, he may have stretched the truth a bit, but Iraq (and by extenson, the US) is better off without him". The potential difficulty for Bush will come if he argues for another preemptive strike. Any such decision will be based on intelligence, but will the public trust him?

Which leads me to this article in the NYT this morning outlining recent intelligence by the C.I.A., which suggests that North Korea's nuclear weapons program is more advanced than we previously suspected. I fear that the current WMD debate will cause us to underestimate real threats identified by the intelligence community in the future.

Monday, June 30, 2003


They should name streets after guys like this. An Australian miner was forced to amputate his own arm Saturday night after his tractor flipped. I like this quote.

"Police said a state of delirium might have caused Mr Jones to amputate his arm." News Flash!

The article mentions American climber, Aron Ralston, who was forced to do the same thing this spring after his arm became trapped by a boulder.

David Adesnik at OxBlog has a good analysis of the recent guerilla activity in Iraq. He concludes that it's not as bad as the media makes it sound.

Lance Armstrong is a badass. He starts his bid for a fifth straight Tour de France victory this Saturday. There's something fun about watching a brash Texan take on the sport's European establishment. Sounds familiar?

Biking is not the most electrifying sport to watch on television, but if you want to catch him in action, I'm pretty sure Fox Sports will be covering the event again this year.

Did you know that the Tour de France is the most-watched sporting event in the world? An estimated 15 million people will watch the wheels go 'round.

Here's a great profile of Mr. Armstrong from Outside magazine.

UPDATE: Here's another article about Lance from the NYT (registration required).

Sunday, June 29, 2003


It was on this date in 1950 that a ragtag U.S. team defeated England by a score of 1-0 in the World Cup. "Britain's loss to the US was so shocking, that a some British newspapers gave a score of 10:1 thinking there was a mistake."

Which nation ended up winning the World Cup that year? The answer can be found here.


The LA Times also has a long profile of the band Coldplay. Say what you will about their hit song "Yellow", but their most recent CD, A Rush of Blood to the Head, has been firmly entrenched in our CD player for some time. It's been sharing space with a couple Joseph Arthur CDs, Redemption's Son and Come to Where I'm From.

The best line of the piece comes from one of the band's critics, however. "Alan McGee, the maverick record executive who signed such rebellious bands as Oasis and Jesus and Mary Chain, wisecracked that Coldplay's tender strains appealed only to 'bedwetters.'" Ouch!

The LA Times has a review of a new biography of Benjamin Franklin (registration required). The article has a good summary of Franklin's fundamental beliefs, which still resonate today. Here are a few excerpts:

"For Franklin, the American Revolution was chiefly about civic virtue. And in this regard, the Revolution was an extension of what Franklin had been attempting all his life. Walter Isaacson, in this solid new biography, aptly quotes Franklin to summarize his guiding principle as 'a dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people.'"

"Franklin articulated what became a credo for journalists: 'Printers are educated in the belief that when men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public, and that when Truth and Error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.' What is less remembered in newsrooms, or at least less revered, is Franklin's corollary: a reminder that printers must make ends meet. 'Hence they cheerfully service all contending writers that pay them well.'"

"At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he argued for measures to keep money out of politics. 'There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men,' he declared. 'These are ambition and avarice: the love of power, and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects.'"

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz has an interesting column today about the role of money/lobbyists in politics today. The GOP is winning the game right now.

Saturday, June 28, 2003


A NYT article profiles a case in Texas where, "19 illegal immigrants died from the oppressive heat in a truck ferrying them through South Texas." This immediately reminded me of the HBO series The Wire, which follows a group of Balitmore cops on the job. This season the case they are working on is the suspected murder of 14 female illegal immigrants who died trapped in a ship container en route to the Baltimore port. I've been sucked in by the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and now The Wire. Check it out on Sunday nights.

Another long piece from NYT Magazine examines the situation at Guantanamo Bay, where the US is holding 680 prisoners classified as enemy combatants, as opposed to P.O.W.s. This means they can be held indefinitely and are denied the basic rights given to P.O.W.s under the Geneva Convention. Some are juveniles. In a touch of irony, they are also recieving the best healthcare of their lives and have gained 13 pounds on average. An excerpt:

"What is normal for teenagers who were made to fight in a war? Do we have any idea? Could being locked up ever be therapeutic? I mean these as real questions, not rhetorical jabs, and I recently visited Guantanamo to try to get a sense of how, a year and a half after its creation, the detention-and-interrogation center, this place where hundreds of people are being held indefinitely so that we might find out what they know, had evolved. What kind of community had grown here, and what might it say about America's attitude toward these prisoners of war?"

David Brooks looks at the good old-fashioned work ethic, as illustrated by Honest Abe, in this week's NYT Magazine (registration required).

Friday, June 27, 2003


Victor Davis Hanson's weekly column is up at NRO. I haven't read it yet, but I know it will be good.

UPDATE: It's good.

Ok, I wouldn't go this far to solve my chicken problem.

If you read the book Fast Food Nation, you know that cash strapped school districts have struck exclusive food and beverage deals w/ companies such as Coca Cola, Pizza Hut etc. Opponents of the idea argue that this creates a "cradle to grave" customer for these companies and provides no healthy options for the kids. The Seattle school district is re-thinking its current deal w/ Coca Cola, which expires this summer. Read about it here.

Thursday, June 26, 2003


Beginning on Friday, June 27th, consumers will be able to go online and register their phone number on the "The National Do Not Call Registry". It's supposed to block 80% of telemarketing phone calls. Go here and follow the instructions.

UPDATE: Here's a better link than the one I provided above, http://donotcall.gov/ . Also, even though you sign up now, the regulation doesn't go into effect until October, so don't expect a slowdown in call volume until then.

The online version of "The Atlantic" magazine has a great section called "Flashbacks" where it profiles articles from its archives that are relevant to current events. Here's the synopsis for one article that was particularly interesting:

"When the Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of affirmative action, Justice Thomas expressed an emphatic dissenting opinion. In 1987, when Thomas was chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity commission, Juan Williams profiled Thomas and traced the development of his views on affirmative action." Read the whole thing here (warning, their articles are very, very long, but never dull).

They have some other great articles in the current issue as well. "The Hard Edge of American Values" offers a vision of U.S. foreign policy in a changing world. Oh, just go to the site and browse.

UPDATE: If you get through the Clarence Thomas piece, take minute to read this op-ed piece by Marueen Dowd from the NYT. I linked to the Seattle PI version so you don't have to register. All I can say is "WOW".


A new study reveals that people, "who eat a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and fish have at least a 25 percent reduced risk of dying from heart disease and cancer, researchers reported in a study being published today."

I need to kick this Bush streak, but here's another article examining the language Bush uses in his public remarks. The implication is that the President uses, "negatively charged emotional language," to scare the country in order to create support for his policies. An excerpt:

"To create a dependency dynamic between him and the electorate, Bush describes the nation as being in a perpetual state of crisis and then attempts to convince the electorate that it is powerless and that he is the only one with the strength to deal with it. He attempts to persuade people they must transfer power to him, thus crushing the power of the citizen, the Congress, the Democratic Party, even constitutional liberties, to concentrate all power in the imperial presidency and the Republican Party." Well, I'll concede the part about the Democratic party (duh), and Ashcroft, with the Shrub's consent, has arguably tried to stifle a couple civil liberties.

Here's the kicker.

"Bush's political opponents are caught in a fantasy that they can win against him simply by proving the superiority of their ideas. However, people do not support Bush for the power of his ideas, but out of the despair and desperation in their hearts. Whenever people are in the grip of a desperate dependency, they won't respond to rational criticisms of the people they are dependent on. They will respond to plausible and forceful statements and alternatives that put the American electorate back in touch with their core optimism. "

We are but sheeple, incapable of independent thought. Please enlighten me.

Anyway, she does touch on one thing Bush has failed to do. He failed to give us all a collective "charge" following 9/11. Through personal initiative, many people donated to Red Cross, gave blood, even enlisted in the military. However, I never heard Bush tell us to drive less, plant a victory garden, save scrap metal etc. in order to make a material, significant contribution. People were willing to make a sacrifice, we just weren't quite sure what was needed. Instead he told us to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting. Um, ok. I guess duct tape can fix just about anything.

At least according to some people. Here's an article from The New Republic that tries to make the case. Many people think the authors make a pretty convincing case. I wouldn't know b/c I haven't read it yet. Yet

I guess b/c I never relied on any proclamations made by Bush et al to reach my own conclusion regarding Iraq, I'm not really interested in the whole "he lied" screech. If there's some truth to it, he'll certainly pay for it. So be it. His critics absolutely hate him and will do just about anything to bring him down. Here's a couple excerpts from emails I got from a very liberal Democratic friend who used to work in D.C.

"If I knew it would do any good, I would abandon my job search and move to DC and go to any end of the earth to ensure that Bush doesn't see a second term. I can't imagine what he'd be like in a second term, with no restraint.

Taking the White House back has to be the paramount priority for every self-described liberal, progressive and left-leaning activist in the nation. In our lifetime, I do not believe that there has been a more important niche in time to drastically alter the direction of the country and the composition of its leadership

Sound like the conservative attack on Clinton while he was President? Politics as usual, I guess.

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