I’ve been doing a combination of camping, BBQing, and trying to get the computer to work. It completely died after an upgrade to Windows XP. It’s still crashing regularly after a complete reformat. Ouch. As the pain continues there hasn’t been any time for posts here. I’ll catch up once things stabilize.

Shrubya Resume

But first, I must digress.  Blogs make news travel in new ways.  I was going to publish the following link last week but didn’t get around to it.  Since that time, it has started ranking high in Google searches.  The author has modified it a little because of all the activity.

I think that Blogs are largely responsible for much of the initial activity and then it mushrooms.  First, the article is seen on a couple of the more trafficked Blogs.  Then some of the Bloggers that see it on those sites link to it on their own sites, like I’m doing here.  Because the number of links (from these other Blogs to the original site) go up, the Google rankings go up.  People using Google tend to choose the highest rated link on the search results, which causes the ratings remain higher for longer.  It’s sort of a phase two of the Slashdot Effect.

And with the digression over, check out the nice, concise Bush Resume.  Here are the first few of his accomplishments that it lists:

  • Attacked and took over two countries.
  • Spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
  • Shattered record for biggest annual deficit in history.
  • Set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.

CBS Poll

According to a early May telephone poll:

Americans also would prefer to see potential tax cut money used to finance some sort of health care insurance. 81 percent think it is more important now for the country to make sure all Americans have access to health insurance, and 14 percent think a tax cut is a greater priority.

That’s just one of many interesting results shown there.

Fair Trial?  Fair Election?

It all starts out with reading a brief article on the State of America’s War on Drugs.  Then one little phrase, “The campaign raised eyebrows from some election-law specialists � the decades-old Hatch Act forbids federal employees to campaign in state and municipal elections,” causes the rest of the writing that follows.

The Trial:

Ed Rosenthal, a medical marijuana activist from Oakland, was convicted in January on three felony counts of violating federal drug and conspiracy laws.  Throughout the trial, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer refused to allow jurors to know that Rosenthal was warehousing medical marijuana, intended to treat sick Bay Area residents … and legally permissible under California’s Proposition 215.  The jurors, left willfully ignorant of Mr. Rosenthal’s legal activities, convicted the 58-year-old on all three counts.  He faces up to 85 years in jail.

More than two dozen House members have introduced a bill which might prevent future Ed Rosenthal-style prosecutions.  If the so-called Truth in Trials Act (H.R. 1717) passes both houses of Congress, future Ed Rosenthals will have a fighting chance in court.  The bill would amend federal law to allow defendants arrested on marijuana charges to introduce evidence that their activities “were performed in compliance with state law regarding the medical use of marijuana.”

Excuse me, but why does it take an Act of Congress (as the saying goes) to allow evidence to be admitted in a trial?

The jurors were also outraged:  Five of them called a press conference to apologize and call for a new trial after learning of the withheld evidence.

The Election:

This information popped up during a search for information on either a lawsuit or criminal charges (or the lack either) concerning violations of the Hatch Act by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and its director, drug czar John Walters.  The Hatch Act, originally enacted in 1887, bars federal employees from carrying out certain campaign-related activities.  Walters crisscrossed the country in the months leading up to the November 2002 elections, making stops in many states to campaign against marijuana reform efforts.

The Marijuana Policy Project, which initiated the one of the ballot questions that Walters opposed, filed a complaint in December with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigator and prosecutor.  And now it seems that any news on it has gone silent.  Not a single item on the Web about anything other than the initial filing.

This opinion piece on Hutchinson and Walters gives some background about their extreme anti-drug stances.  (Hutchinson was also named as a violator of the Hatch Act, but doesn’t not seem to be included in the suit.)  One item that jumped out was that in 1999 Hutchinson “proposed Congress amend the Hatch Act … so that federal monies could be used specifically to influence voters to reject state drug-law-reform initiatives.”  No plausible denial about ignorance of the law there.

Lake Overturn

I never heard of lake overturn until yesterday:

In 1986, before research into the Monoun disaster was made public, it all happened again. The tragedy of Lake Nyos, also in Cameroon, made headlines around the world when almost 1,800 people sleeping in houses around the lake suffocated in their sleep. The team of scientists that went to investigate concluded that carbon dioxide, trapped at the bottom of the lake, had suddenly risen to the surface, killing everything within 25km. They called their theory lake overturn. …

The Nyos disaster promoted a survey of deep lakes in Africa and Indonesia to see where else lake overturn could happen. All seem to be safe, except one – Lake Kivu, in Rwanda. Lake Kivu is one of the largest and deepest lakes in Africa and two million people live around its shore.

Kivu is also filled with methane. It could potentially cause large explosions above the lake that would endanger all two million people.  The show was on The Learning Channel, but the full transcript is available on the BBC website.

Music Choice

Have you noticed the lack of variety in music lately?  Perhaps it’s because Clear Channel has been gobbling up many of the media outlets.  According to their website:

Clear Channel Radio, the largest operator of radio stations in the United States, provides advertisers with a coast-to-coast platform of more than 1200 stations. Broadcasting across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Clear Channel programming reaches more than 110 million listeners every week. Clear Channel Radio reaches 54% of all people ages 18-49 in the U.S. daily.  Advertisers spend nearly 20% of their radio advertising dollars with Clear Channel.

In addition to the reach of our own 1200 stations, Clear Channel�s Premiere Radio Network syndicates more than 100 programs to more than 7,800 radio stations total. Premiere reaches 180 million listeners a week with its network of top #1 names including Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Rick Dees, Casey Kasem, Jim Rome, Carson Daly and Art Bell. Premiere also broadcasts Clear Channel Entertainment concerts and new CD debuts, enhancing the synergies between divisions.

Clearly, if Clear Channel has an opinion, we are likely to hear it (or not hear about it if they disagree and don’t want us to know).

I knew that Clear Channel was taking over radio, but I didn’t realize the extent:  9 stations in Los Angeles and 7 in Santa Barbara.  I didn’t know Santa Barbara even had 7 stations in it; I wonder if any remain that aren’t CC.

Stations owned by Clear Channel in the LA area:


Stations owned by Clear Channel in the Santa Barbara area:


Check you local coverage here by typing in a city name.

So why mention this now?  Because the FCC is reviewing the rules.  The Future of Music coalition is gathering signatures for an open letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, asking the regulator to keep the airwaves from being owned by megacongloms like Clear Channel. It’s been signed by people like Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Buffet, Tom Waits and Michael Stipe.  You can sign it here.

If you’re interested enough to read more, there are links about the issue here.

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld

There’s a humor e-mail going around with some of these poems.  It started at Slate, which compiled a collection of Rumsfeld’s poems. They are the exact words of the defense secretary, as taken from the official transcripts on the Defense Department Web site.  Here’s an example:

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

— Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Say what?  Here are the rest of them.

Road to War Paved With Lies

The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Like I’m surprised.  Found it in a couple of placed:  The Independent, Daily Times