The Border Between Them

Image from AmazonLast weekend was the football game between MU and KU. I don't give a damn about sports, but it is interesting that this rivalry is called the Border War because there really was a time when the citizens of Kansas and Missouri were at war with each other. I'm currently reading The Border Between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-missouri Line by Jeremy Neely which explores the causes and effects of that war on six of the border counties. I live in one of those counties and it's been fascinating to learn more about the history of the area. I recommend the book to anyone who likes history, especially if you live in the area like I do.

Miranda Wrongs

MirandaKeep in mind that according to our President, we're keeping troops in Iraq to create breathing room for their fledgling democracy to stabilize. The US embassy in Iraq is giving instruction on democratic principles to Iraqi lawmakers through its Office of Legislative Statecraft. So far so good. Who did the Bush administration appoint to direct this office? Manuel Miranda.

Where did Miranda hone his own legislative statecraft? At the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this decade, where he led an 18-month effort to pilfer documents from the Democratic staff.

Miranda, who moved on to work as judicial nominations counsel for then-Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) in 2003, was forced from his job in early 2004 after an internal Senate investigation determined he and a junior aide had swiped 4,670 documents, memos and e-mails.

Miranda subsequently acknowledged doing so. He said that because the committee had no internal password protection at the time, no laws were broken when he looked through and printed out other aides' electronic files. (Washington Post)

Wii

After months of talking about it and mentally converting various sums of money to the equivalent number of Wiis (1 iMac = 6 Wiis), I finally broke down and bought a Nintendo Wii. I picked up Wii Play and Super Mario Galaxy. We set it up last night and had a lot of fun. Sara destroyed me in tennis and bowling. Emma and I made Miis that look like us and I added the Check Mii Out channel and downloaded a few celebrity Miis. Ever wondered who would win in a boxing match between Chuck Norris and Jesus? If you have a Wii and want to exchange Wii # so we can send each other Miis, email me.

Intelligent Design on Trial

Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on TrialNova | Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial - I just finished watching this PBS documentary about the trial in Dover, PA. Like the trial itself, the film gives a good overview of the science of evolution and the criticism leveled against it by proponents of ID. I highly recommend it. You can probably catch a rerun on PBS, or watch the whole program online.

The PBS site has some extra information, including several examples of transitional fossils.

Violence in Basra Drops 90% After British Withdrawal

In Basra, violence is a tenth of what it was before British pullback, general says - International Herald Tribune

BAGHDAD: Attacks against British and Iraqi forces have plunged by 90 percent in southern Iraq since London withdrew its troops from the main city of Basra, the commander of British forces there said Thursday.

(via TruthDig)

Blunt in trouble

Matt BluntMissouri Governor Matt Blunt is in hot water over a former employee who says he was forced out for trying to get the administration to follow the law. Here's an overview of the scandal:

Eckersley: Hey boss, I don't think you're retaining emails as public records like you're supposed to.

Blunt: Guess, what. You're fired.

Eckersley: Hey reporters, the governor fired me for telling him he was breaking the law.

Reporters: WTF, Blunt?

Blunt: No, he never mentioned mentioned anything of the sort to me. And not all emails are state records.

Reporters: Uh, yeah they are. Have you read the Sunshine Law?

Blunt: Anyways, I fired him because he was working on an outside project on State time.

Eckersley: It was 2 hours of work over 9 months. And I had permission from my boss.

Blunt: Well, we really fired him because there were dirty emails in his inbox.

Reporters: Dude, that's called spam. You don't know anything about computers, do you?

Blunt: Scott Eckersley does drugs.

Eckersley: The hell I do. Hey, Matt, remember that email I sent your staff telling them to stop deleting emails because it's against the law?

Blunt: No such email exists.

Eckersley: I have a copy of it right here.

Blunt: I don't, because I delete my emails. Crap, uh, attention state bar association, I'd like to file a complaint against Scott Eckersley because he repeated his private advise to me in public.

Everyone: So, you're admitting that he discussed email retention with you?

Blunt: Oh, shit.

Skelton on readiness

Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and my congressman, spoke in Kansas City this week about the effect of the war in Iraq on our military readiness.

Why should any of us worry about a military readiness crisis? The lack of readiness of our Army forces that are not currently deployed is of great concern because we depend on those forces to be able to answer the nation’s call in the event of some unforeseen future conflict. Make no mistake, the American military remains a formidable force, even when stretched. But the way things are now, it would be difficult for those forces to respond in a timely manner. Readiness is our insurance policy for national security. ...

Clearly, the most urgent national security issue facing the United States today is the tremendous burden that the war in Iraq is currently placing on our military, in particular the Army and Marine Corps. We must ask whether our significant commitment of forces in Iraq serves our broader national security interests. In my estimation, the answer is no. We are not properly prepared to respond to numerous and readily conceivable security challenges outside of the Middle East. We are taking on a significant level of strategic risk, and it will be years before this problem can be fully solved.

Give 'em hell, Ike!

(via Fired Up Missouri)

Obama speech in Iowa

This speech is already being called a turning point in Barack Obama's campaign.
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Number one

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of ExcellenceA few months ago I mentioned that my site was the #2 result on Google when you search for Danny. Well, now I've moved up to the first result. Take that, other people named Danny! Seriously, this seems like a big mistake. Yahoo at least puts Danny Elfman ahead of me.

Paying more and dying sooner

Paying more and dying sooner - This brief article shows how little Giuliani knows about health care and then goes on to summarize a recent study comparing the health care of America and several countries with single-payer systems. I recommend reading this quick article and even looking at the study itself if you have time. Here are a few facts:

  1. The United States spends $6,697 per capita annually on health care, according to the survey—more than twice as much as any of the other countries surveyed.
  2. The United States ranks dead last in life expectancy, at 77.9 years, among the countries surveyed.
  3. Respondents in the United States were less likely than those in any of the other countries to say their health care system “works well”—and much more likely to see a need for “fundamental” change or a total overhaul.
  4. According to the survey, 80 percent of Americans have a regular doctor whom they usually see. That sounds pretty good, until you learn that 84 percent of Canadians, 88 percent of Australians, 89 percent of New Zealanders and Britons, 92 percent of Germans and 100 percent of Dutch respondents surveyed said they had regular doctors.

Why are we so afraid of "socialized medicine" when it's working for every other industrialized country in the world? And where do you think the extra $3000 per year per person that we spend ends up? At least some of that goes to insurance companies, which are required by law to maximize shareholder value. They're in business to make money, which mean paying for as little health care as possible. So, if you're afraid of public health care, then stop for a second and think about who is profiting from that fear. Apparently it's not us.

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