I’m often confused when I do some simple math on poll data. According to this poll, for example, Only 32 percent said they were satisfied with how Bush is handling his job and only 21 percent said they believe things in the U.S. are heading in the right direction. So 32 minus 21 … Does that mean 11 percent are satisfied with heading in the wrong direction? Is there an alternate reading of these numbers I’m missing? If not, what is wrong with those eleven percent?

 

As I was attempting to buy gas last week, I was somewhat startled to read this error message:

Invalid Loyalty

You may recall a few years back, the Defense Department had a Total Information Awareness plan to data-mine credit cards for suspicious activity. And the FBI had its own Carnivore program to survey online activity. Put these two programs together, and the government could shut off my credit card after discovering I didn’t support the war. INVALID LOYALTY.

Thankfully we’re not there quite yet. I was using a gas station affiliated with the local grocery store, and apaprently I pressed the wrong button to indicate I wanted to use my discount card to get a discount on gas (in exchange, apparently, for my loyalty). So when prompted to scan my card, I scanned my credit card. And the result was this, I think, funny error message: INVALID LOYALTY.

I was in a bit of a hurry on my way out of town, but I thought it was worth repeating the process to get a picture of the gas machine apparently questioning my patriotism.

 

I was just reading about Miranda warnings, looking for evidence that we don’t lose our rights if we’re arrested for murder, much less when we join a homeowners association. I’ve seen a surprising number of Americans suggesting otherwise today. But much more interesting than a “Satanic” peace wreath (I totally saw that coming) was this:

Ten years after the ruling in the case that bears his name, Miranda was killed in a knife fight at a Phoenix bar; his suspected killer was read the “Miranda warning” and declined to give a statement. He was released and promptly fled to Mexico. The Miranda murder case became a “closed file.”

That’s the problem with rights: everyone has them.

 

On the off chance that someone stumbled upon this unaware that Nov. 7, 2006 is an election day, it is. And you should vote. Unless you’re not registered, in which case you should register. Unless you’re not old enough to register, in which case you should look forward to growing older. Unless you’re not American, in which case you should vote in your own country. Unless you don’t have elections in your own country, in which case you should watch in bitter resentment as Americans take our democracy for granted.

 

Here is a picture of a stem cell from the Biomedical Image Awards 2006:

stem cell

Here is a picture of me, taken a few weeks ago as I tried on my friend Phil’s glasses:

Scott Reynen wearing glasses

Phil’s glasses improved my vision slightly, but I don't wear glasses because the improvement isn’t consistent over time. I have juvenile diabeties, so my blood glucose levels don’t remain steady, and when they fluxuate, my vision blurs. Apparently the shape of our eyes is somewhat dependent on the amount of glucose in our blood.

Anyway, I present these two pictures here as an exercise for you, the reader. I don’t have perfect vision, so maybe you can see better than I can: which of these looks more like a person who could use help from the government?

 

This is a great country, built on the backs of the poor. And there's a whole lot more room to pile on.

Rep. Richard Martin

 

When you're a law student, they tell you if say that if you can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you if you can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either, apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations offensive and make it a political issue... to say over and over again "it's lawful", and to think that the American people will somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough.

David Cole, Georgetown University Law Professor

 

Dave Rogers writes:

And let's return to this romantic notion of "subverting hierarchy." Where did that come from? It sounds like a good thing, right? Being "subversive" sounds kind of edgy and cool. The hierarchy is the stale, old "establishment." Hyperlinks "stick it to the man," I guess. Except subverting hierarchy is merely a form of competition, and competition determines its success or failure through measuring changes in rank in a hierarchy. How else can you tell if you're being "subversive" unless you're paying attention to rank? I mean it's implicit in the whole idea!

Good point. This is why I'm wary of Green Party enthusiasts. It's easy for the Green Party to push good ideas from the outside, but I have little faith that they would continue to do so were they to achieve any real control of the government. I watch as the Green Party gains acceptance in America, and I see the candidates quietly morph from people with ideas to push to people with themselves to push.

The Green Party is pushing ideas I like, but the success of those ideas is tied to the success of candidates, and I don't trust those candidates to hold to their principles once in power any more than I trust Democrats or Republicans to do so. Power breeds corruption; Green Party power breeds Green Party corruption.

This mistrust won't prevent me from voting Green on occasion. If I only voted for politicians I trusted, I wouldn't vote at all. But don't feed me this line about voting only for Green Party candidates because any other vote will be an acceptance of the status quo. The status quo in American politics is blind party allegiance, even when the parties change.

 

In case you missed it, the President King broke the law by spying on Americans without legal oversight. Though some in Congress knew about it, they apparently forgot their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic when they decided not to tell America about it.

In other words, he has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. Or maybe it would be better to say he has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. Or maybe the executive branch is just suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

This, after protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States and depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury and transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences. Also, he is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Basically, it looks like he has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. Or maybe I'm thinking of a totally different George with plain, homely, thrifty manners and tastes.

 

I keep update notification on in NetNewsWire. Often it's more annoying than helpful. Tom Coates' links, for example, are updated every day, for formatting not content, but I see them all as new when they are updated. But every once in a while I see something valuable in the updates. Most often on BoingBoing, because they don't have comments, so they post selected comments sent via email as addendums to the the original posts. And often the comments are more interesting than the original post.

But today I got another kind of treat via update notification:

Screenshot

Someone at the DNC obviously said "change that to point out that Delay is the Republican Leader and get the word 'criminal' in there too." This is why I don't like the Democratic Party much more than the Republican. I don't have much sympathy for Tom DeLay, but I think the Democrats can let him dig his own grave and concentrate on something else. Maybe health care? Education? Equal rights? Peace? I really hope Democratic candidates in 2006 and 2008 have a platform beyond "Republicans are bad." I'm getting awfully tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

 

I think it was just last week that I subscribed to Dave Roger's blog after he said some seemingly intelligent things over on Shelley Power's blog. Two days ago I saw that he had a new post and I went to read it, but after reading a few paragraphs, I saw that it was quite long and put it away. My mistake. Lucky for me, Shelley read the whole thing and wrote that It is by far the best work he has ever done, and one of the best writings I’ve read this year. So I went back and read the whole thing tonight, and I can now confirm that it is indeed well worth the read. Maybe it's just because it's so timely, but right now it seems not just one of, but the best writing I've read this year. It's called Change. Go read it. If you find your attention start to waver at the beginning as mine did, skip straight to When I was executive officer of USS JOHN HANCOCK (DD-981), I had to perform my first burial at sea.

 

Dave Rogers has spotted a creature rarely seen in America: a real reporter (video). Real reporters can be distinguished from the more common species of imitation reporters by their ability to hold government accountable.

 

Today I listened to some radio shows I had recorded last weekend from the local NPR station. The shows are interspersed with short news updates from last week on topics such as problems with the new Iraq constitution, conflict between anti-war and pro-war protesters near Bush's vacation in Texas, threats of violence between Israel and Palestine, and of course the then-impending hurricane. I found myself feeling nostalgic for last week, when the most immediate problems were the thousands needlessly dying on the other side of the world. I look forward to next week when, I hope, the accountability will begin. It has to begin at some point, right?

...right?

 

When you're in a car and you see you're about to hit something, it's important not to overcompensate and swerve too far in the other direction, else you might run into something else. It's hard to think about this rationally, though, when overcome by the fear of an impending car accident. Fear is a useful motivator in emergency situations, but the rest of the time it tends to cause problems. We can see recent evidence of this in Iraq and America. When we spend so much energy worrying about what might happen, we can easily lose sight of what is happening.