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Archive for August, 2002

With Power Comes Responsibilitude!

The Amazing George W, via PlasticBag. Can we get Cheney with the J. Jonah flattop?

Show him the money.

Dubya sets a new (and dubious) record for raising midterm campaign cash. “There’s some senators up there who would rather listen to special interests in Washington, D.C., than listen to the voice of the people,” Bush told Republicans in Little Rock. “There are senators who would rather give us a rule book this thick about how we have to behave, and what we must do to protect the homeland than to trust any administration for protecting America.” THAT‘s his speel? I’ve heard better, more plausible stuff on late-night infomercials. I guess if you’re a GOP bigshot and you’ve already thrown lots of money Dubya’s way, all you can really do at this point is protect your investment.

Betamax and DivX Redux.

Three different formats vie to become the standard for blue laser DVD’s, expected in the market by 2005. No 8-track worries just yet – all models will be retro-compatible with red-laser DVD’s.

Shame of the Founders.

“The only thing the FISA court proved was that when wolves are guarding the henhouse, they eat a lot of coq au vin.” The always incisive Dahlia Lithwick rails against secret courts and the overlooked provisions of the Patriot Act.

I wonder if he read Dune too…

Does Osama Bin Laden have a Hari Seldon complex? This article examines the (possible) links between Al Qaeda and Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation series. (Via Julian’s Jabberings.)

Larger than life.

Also in TNR (it seems the links are coming in pairs today), Nicholas Lemann critiques Robert Caro and Master of the Senate, the third volume in his LBJ series.

Broadband and Narrow Minds

John Judis blames Michael Powell’s deregulatory fixation for telecom’s collapse. “Powell has proven a disaster…Like Harvey Pitt, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Powell would be ripe for replacement–if his feckless, ideological approach didn’t so perfectly reflect the president he serves.” To be fair, telecom was starting to look a bit peaked before Powell was Chairman (although that’s also partly because Powell was something of an obstructionist on the commission before his ascent.) And, while I’m sure it’s risen lately, demand for broadband services was egregiously low back in 2000. Like campaign finance reform, it’s one of those things you’d expect people to be all over, but for some reason it just isn’t reflected in the numbers. Without a true “killer app” for broadband (Napster/Kazaa comes close, but it’s not it), low demand will continue to be one of the reasons why the big boys aren’t building out. That all being said, I agree with the fundamentals of Judis’s piece.

Star Power.

NASA finally goes ga-ga over Lance Bass. “What’s exciting about this is getting a creative person up there,” said Duane Carey, a space shuttle pilot and father of two teens. “Maybe some songs or some poetry or some type of inspiration can come out of it.” Um, I think it’s great that Bass is getting a chance to pursue his dream, but let’s not get ridiculous here. We’re not sending W.H. Auden or Bob Dylan into space…heck, we’re not even sending John Tesh. Expecting anything more than “Girl, you knock me outta this world!” from Bass is just wishful thinking.

Stalled Straight Talk Express.

Also from Slate, has John McCain removed himself from contention in 2004?

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