Saturday, July 30, 2005

NYTimes Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Re "When the Profile Fits the Crime," by Paul Sperry (Op-Ed, July 28):

Responses to terrorism like Mr. Sperry's make me wonder whether the goal of Islamic terrorists is really to kill us, or to have us dismantle our way of life until the United States is a police state.

Racial profiling is more than just prejudicial: it's unconstitutional. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that people will be safe from "unreasonable searches and seizures" barring a showing of probable cause. There are only limited exceptions (like hot pursuit).

Almost every legal opinion on the matter has held that skin color or other superficial markings of ethnicity or race cannot, alone, create probable cause. It's not about being politically correct; it's about the rule of law.

Too many people are now prepared to undo the very freedoms that make us who we are as Americans in the (naïve) hope that it will make us safer. If we are willing to guarantee the rule of law only until we are sufficiently afraid, then we aren't guaranteeing it at all.

Nathaniel Falda
Brooklyn, July 28, 2005
The writer is a lawyer.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Good point.

The absence of proof is not the proof of absence.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Another good comment at Delong's Blog

First they came for the metalworkers, but I wasn't a metalworker, so I said nothing. Then they came for the autoworkers, but I wasn't an autoworker, so I said nothing. Then they came for the information workers, and by then, there was no one left to speak up for me.

Well, no one except for a few economists who failed to understand what they could see.

Today I work at Wal-Mart -- may I help you?

Good comment

"Remember "MBA" presidency? Who ever thought that was gonna be a thing to admire. Blame the staff when things go wrong, take credit when things go right. Hell, if things don't go too badly wrong, claim they went right and take credit."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Makes no fucking sense

This NYT LttE makes no sense:

To the Editor:

Why not create the option of see-through tote bags and backpacks?

While far from being a foolproof deterrent, this would offer an additional impediment to potential terrorists. Even an enquiring look by a few fellow passengers might save lives.

Make a safety statement, not a fashion statement.

Mel Miller
New York, July 21, 2005

What a douche

What a sinister bastard.

In an unusual, 30-minute private meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday night, Mr. Cheney warned three senior Republican members of the Armed Services Committee that their proposed legislation would interfere with the president's authority and his ability to protect Americans against terrorist attacks.

The legislation, which is still being drafted, includes provisions to bar the military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross; prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees; and use only interrogation techniques authorized in a new Army field manual.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Quote of the Day

"If there aint no uranium, then hit him in the cranium!" - Jon Stewart

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Family Guy quotes from a few minutes ago

"Here's another thing: the book can also be a hat."

"What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm a dog. I have a very tough time standing up in the car."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Cool link

Apparently that's a CIA front.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A quote

"The artist constructs a new symbol with his brush. This symbol is not a recognizable form of anything that is already finished, already made, or already existent in the world — it is a symbol of a new world, which is being built upon and which exists by the way of the people." - El Lissitzky

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Bart: [after they watch a foreign film] I was so bored I cut the pony tail off the guy in front of us.
[holds pony tail to his head]
Bart: Look at me, I'm a grad student. I'm 30 years old and I made $600 last year.
Marge: Bart, don't make fun of grad students. They've just made a terrible life choice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Talking...err...praying to oneself

"Someone from the White House called me yesterday, asking for any input I might have," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and chancellor of Liberty University in Virginia.

Mr. Falwell said he declined to offer advice, telling the White House staff member that, because of Mr. Bush's track record appointing conservative judges, "I am willing to sit back and trust him and pray for him."

Well... at least Falwell isn't doing anything efficacious.

Tour de France from the back

Some TdF commentary (not by me):

Stage 10

It's official: Lanterne Rouge [the last-placed rider] fever has swept France. With
Jean-Patrick Nazon challenging for the overall victory, the
french are overjoyed. Everywhere you go frenchmen on bikes
are staggering up hills and being passed by foreigners laden
with paniers.

The mania has created quite a problem for race organizers.
Rider complaints have been pouring in about race interference
by the so-called Nazon hooligans. A typical complaint was made
by Frederic Bessy, currently in fifth place, who detailed an
assault. "I had just expended nearly the last of my energy and
was preparing to shift down and gain time the false flat when
three large goons dressed in the French Tricolore jumped off
the side of the road. I tried to tell them I was also french;
but before I could make them understand, they had already
pushed me at least forty meters up the slope."

Despite the complaints the stage to Courcheval went off
relatively okay. It did not produce the fireworks some had
expected. Karsten Kroon of the Netherlands, a country known
for producing great climbers, led a pack of fifty riders across
the finish. Nazon was right on his wheel and finished second.
The current leader, Iker Flores, finished safely in the pack.
He continues to hold his lead of 8:34.

The top three positions remained the same. The aforementioned
Bessy dropped from fourth to fifth place, possibly sped up by
his encounter with the hooligans.

As a side note, the wrong end of the peloton saw some action of
its own. Lance Armstrong took over the yellow jersey of shame.
Few analysts were surprised as his team is, perhaps, the weakest
in the race.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Few Wealthy Farmers Owe Estate Taxes, Report Says

The estate tax raised an estimated $23.4 billion last year. Repeal would shift part of the burden of taxes off the fortunes left by the richest 1 percent of Americans, some of whose fortunes were never taxed, onto the general population. The lost revenue could be made up in three ways: through higher income taxes; reduced government services; or more borrowing, which would pass the burden of current government spending to future generations.

President Bush, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association have asserted that the estate tax is destroying family farms. None, however, have cited a case of a farm lost to estate taxes, although in June 2001 Mr. Bush said he had talked to such farmers.

The estate teax, along with the death penalty and science-related political issues, fire me up because of the incredible amount of disinformation on such issues. I saw a Frontline special on marketing, and Frank Luntz, the Republican marketing asshole, was bragging how renaming the estate tax as the death tax convinced many Americans to support its repeal, even though it only affects the richest 1 percent of all Americans.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Entry-level workers at Vietnamese tech outsourcing operations earn an average of $3,276 a year, compared to $5,443 for such workers in India, $5,616 in Romania and $25,338 in Canada. Those stats are among the juicy nuggets that can be snagged from a report released Wednesday by consulting firm neoIT. But the salary information must be put in context, neoIT cautions.

"Salary differences are huge when comparing IT jobs onshore versus offshore, but taken in isolation they don't provide an accurate picture of the total cost of offshoring since it requires a more complex management and governance structure in order to ensure that goals are met," Atul Vashistha, CEO of neoIT, said in a statement. According to the report, firms have realized net cost savings in the range of 10 to 35 percent by outsourcing IT operations to lower-cost offshore and "nearshore" locations. Examples of "nearshore" nations include Hungary, Israel and Ireland, according to neoIT.

Of 18 outsourcing countries, India had the highest year-over-year growth in average salary for IT outsourcing professionals in 2004, at roughly 13 percent, the report found.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Why even bother with a trial?

So some Congressional Republicans want to limit habeas corpus hearings in federal courts for capital cases. Sounds like a good idea considering the following:

A study headed by Columbia University statistician and political scientist Andrew Gelman of all 5,826 death sentences imposed in the United States between 1973 and 1995 found that 68 per cent were reversed on appeal.

The most common reasons were "egregiously incompetent lawyering, prosecutorial misconduct or suppression of evidence, misintruction of jurors or biased judges or jurors," said the study published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

I'm number 153

I'm at the bottom left of the picture! Racing is my excuse for not updating the blog. I'm sure you all missed me.