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5.31.2004

Reversal 

In the late 1990s Republicans vigorously opposed Bill Clinton's decision to engage in military action in Yugoslavia, and in 2000 George W. Bush declared that the US should not be in the business of nation-building.

Today the Bush administration is engaged in an all-out culture war, trying to introduce democracy to the Middle East. In contrast, John Kerry has declared that national security is more important than effecting democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, China and Russia


Blender's top 50 

Since comment on this list is overdue, here we go:

50. Celine Dion - My heart will go on
49. Right Said Fred - I'm too sexy
48. The Beatles - Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da
47. Bryan Adams- The Only Thing that looks good on me is you
46. NKOTB - Hangin' Tough
45. Ja Rule feat Ashanti - Mesmerize
44. Meat Loaf- I'd do anything for live but i won't do that
43. Uncle Kracker - Follow me
42. Simon and Garfunkel - Sounds of Silence
41. Billy Joel - We didn't start the fire
40. Color Me Bad - I wanna sex you up
39. Ricky Martin - She bangs
38. Rednex - Cotton Eye Joe
37. Gerardo - Rico Suave
36. Master p - Make em say uhhh
35. R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People
34. Dan Fogelberg - Longer
33. Aqua - Barbie Girl
32. Will Smith - Will 2K
31. Crash Test Dummies - Mmm mmm mmm mmm
30. Whitney Houston - Greatest love of all
29. Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffany's
28. John Mayer- Your body is a wonderland
27. Europe - The Final countdown
26. The Doors - The end
25. Puff Daddy - I'll be missing you
24. Five for fighting - Superman
23. Corey Hart - Sunglasses at night
22. Toby Keith - Courtesy of the red white and blue
21. Spin Doctors - Two princes
20. Lionel Richie - Dancing on the ceiling
19. Mr. Mister - Broken Wings
18. Chicago - You're the inspiration
17. Hammer - Pumps and a bump
16. 4 Non Blondes - What's Up
15. The Rembrandt's - I'll be there for you
14. Bette Midler - From a distance
13. Genesis - Illegal Alien
12. The Beach Boys - Kokomo
11. Clay Aiken - Invisible
10. Paul McCartney and Steve Wonder- Ebony and Ivory
9. Madonna - American Life
8. Eddie Murphy - Party all the time
7. Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy
6. Huey Lewis and the News - The heart of rock and roll
5. Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby
4. Limp Bizkit - Rollin
3. Wang Chung - Everybody have fun tonight
2. Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky heart
1. Starship - We built this city

Hmm. Five for Fighting's "100 years" should be on the list too. John Ondrasik could then join Paul McCartney as the only songwriters with two entries on the list.

Oh, wait. Most of Ricky Martin's catalog should be on the list as well.

I disagree with the inclusion of "We Didn't Start The Fire". I recall the Blender editors saying something to the effect that it was ridiculous to place the cola wars alongside the Tiananmen Square massacre as monumental events in modern history. But if you consider Pepsi and Coke as representatives of the scourge that is modern advertising, it's not so ridiculous.

I don't know why "The Sound Of Silence" is on the list either. That song features some of Simon and Garfunkel's finest vocal harmonies.

I kind of like Spin Doctors' "Two Princes".

"I'll Be Missing You" should be way higher than #25. How did a stalker's obsessive ballad turn into a eulogy for the Notorious B.I.G.?

Kelis's "Milkshake" could also be on the list, just because of her denial that the term carries any sexual connotations.

"The Final Countdown" isn't a terrible song, it's just overplayed at sporting events. (Have you ever heard the whole thing?) The Detroit Pistons first discovered it during the late 80s, and they should have exclusive rights to that song among sports teams.

Warning: Extremely inappropriate Kobe Bryant joke ahead 

Kobe's on-court game and off-court game are quite similar: he forces every fucking shot.

UPDATE: Apparently the judge in the Kobe Bryant case has ruled that the plaintiff is not to be referred to as a "victim", since the term implies guilt.

This makes complete sense, but I can't ever recall something like this having been done before in a rape trial. The rest of the quibbling about what to call Bryant and the plaintiff is rather silly though; they should be referred to as "defendant" and "plaintiff".

5.30.2004

William Hung and the Toronto Blue Jays disgrace baseball 

William Hung sang during the 7th inning stretch of a Toronto Blue Jays game.

See, the theory is that Asians are supposed to have more finely tuned senses of pitch than other humans because their languages tend to have all sorts of funny vowel sounds with strange inflections, and that's supposed to aid the development of pitch sense...

Then again, I have perfect pitch but barely spoke Korean as a child. Maybe it's not the languages. Who knows.

Baseball's slowest runners 

My housemate Allan periodically complains about the lack of speed that many baseball players exhibit.

John Kruk lists his picks for baseball's slowest runners. Oh, irony of ironies.

And in a slightly related note, this afternoon I saw a Stanford chick get forced out at home in the bottom of the 10th inning against UCLA in the Women's College World Series with the score tied 1-1. For some reason she slid into home feet-first instead of either running through or diving arms-first. Sigh.

Oldest problem in number theory solved? 

That is the claim of this preprint.

I'll have to look at it closely, but if it uses only classical methods of analytic number theory (zeta functions, Mellin transforms, etc.) there's an excellent chance it's legit.

5.28.2004

Once the sun burns out, our planet is doomed anyway 

The Day After Tomorrow had previously been panned by critics from the libertatian-conservative Cato Institute, but now CNN weighs in with similar sentiments. The movie features some rather outlandish scenarios -- tidal waves that destroy New York, giant hailstones crushing Tokyo, and so forth.

In response to claims that these scenarios are fantastic, the producers say "the movie is fiction, and we'd like to keep it that way". How's that for talking out of both sides of one's mouth?

As with any scientific endeavor, it's important to interpret data correctly. Yes, it's true that eleven of the warmest years on record have occurred after 1990, but also keep in mind that this particular record of temperatures only goes back about a hundred years.

Harvard astrophysicist Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas published an article over a year ago claiming that the 20th century was not the warmest century of the last two millennia. They study tree rings, corals, glacier movements, and other interesting things to infer their temperature measurements. I haven't seen a scientific critique of this claim anywhere.

The greenhouse warming theory posits that greenhouse gases will cause increases in atmospheric temperatures, not just surface temperatures, but NASA data does not support the former prediction.

There are other plausible causes of the last half-century's increase in surface temperatures; among them are sunspots and the infamous brown cloud of pollution that hangs over Asia.

I think that if I were an environmental crusader, I'd focus less on dubious scientific claims and outlandish doomsday scenarios and more on the other reasons why we should conserve energy -- pollution, Middle Eastern geopolitics, and just plain common sense.

5.26.2004

Confirmation 

Former UN weapons inspector and erstwhile pedophile Scott Ritter is now claiming that Ahmad Chalabi told him he had close links with Iranian intelligence seven years ago.

5.25.2004

Ignominious MIT alumni 

So it turns out that suspected Iranian spy and embezzler and self-declared champion of Iraqi democracy Ahmad Chalabi has a B.S. in mathematics from MIT and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago. I'd have more to say about this, but Noah beat me to it.

Also, the increasingly clueless Kofi Annan has a master's degree in management from MIT.

I couldn't be prouder of my alma mater.

UPDATE: Sweet merciful crap, Aafia Siddiqui '95 is a suspected al-Qaeda aide.

Hofstra commencement speaker nearly booed off stage 

Giving a vitriolic political address at commencement is just a bad, bad idea.

The Hofstra president attempted to calm things down. "We value open discussion and debate," he said. "For the sake of your graduates, please let him finish." All well and good, but a commencement speech isn't a form for open discussion and debate; it's one guy delivering a message, and there's no room for the audience to discuss or debate anything -- the only way they can respond is to cheer or boo. In this case, the audience's response was entirely predictable.

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy.)

5.24.2004

Tayshaun Prince is my hero 

Just thought you might like to know.


Pointless 

By now everyone knows that it's possible to harvest email addresses from a wide variety of sources and send out viruses in emails using those return addresses as a cover.

So why do many ISPs and email programs insist on sending return emails saying "the email you just sent contains a virus"? It's pointless and wastes bandwidth.

5.23.2004

If you believe they put a man on the moon 

Here's a little agit for the never-believers.

And here's some more.

5.21.2004

Isn't technology wonderful 

This device is not quite as amazing as a baby translator, but still pretty darn cool and quite useful.

(Link via Tacitus.)

That gigantic eyesore on Vassar Street 

Here's what some architecture critics have to say about the new Stata Center at MIT, designed by Frank Gehry:

James Lileks: "[Dr.] Seuss meets Duchamp's `Nude Descending a Staircase.'"

The New York Times: "A toybox at dawn!" "A Disney animation!"

The Tech: "Where's the front door?"

I can't help thinking that I saw this building somewhere in Super Mario Bros. 3.

Inner-city education 

Here are a couple articles. This one is about black flight from failing inner-city public schools. This one is about a former Yale Ultimate Frisbee player's experiences at such a school.

Mark Cuban slams the media 

Yes, that Mark Cuban.

No really, this piece is surprisingly eloquent.

5.20.2004

What the heck? 

Take a look at this satellite photo of North Korea.

Ultimate Frisbee at the Olympiad 

Heh.

5.19.2004

Rock is dead 

WBOS 92.9 is my favorite out of a rather unimpressive lot of radio stations in Boston, since they play classic rock and modern tracks. However, the only "rock" singles of the last two years that I ever hear are from the following set:



U2 needs to get that new album out pronto.

Oh, and do you think your city's radio stations suck harder than Boston's? You're probably right.

I swear it was THIS big 

So the US military found a 155 mm artillery shell in Iraq that contained sarin gas. It exploded before it could be defused, but either the amount of sarin in the shell was small or the guys caught in the blast were standing far away, since they only suffered minor exposure to the nerve agent.

I'm no expert on ammunition, but I'd guess that 155 mm refers to the diameter of the shell. 155 mm is about 6 inches. That a pretty large meatball.

Hans Blix claims that was probably a relic from the first Gulf War, but this guy begs to differ.

I don't know if this will lead to something bigger, but stay tuned.

5.18.2004

Listmania: Most tortured sports cities, continued 

ESPN's Page 2 is up to #6. Counting down from #15, we have Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Washington DC, Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, Seattle, and now Minneapolis.

Is there any possible way Cleveland will not be #1? Earnest Byner fumbles, Michael Jordan, Elway's 98-yard drive, Michael Jordan, the curse of Rocky Colavito, Michael Jordan, Browns leave town, Michael Jordan, Steve Olin and Tim Crews get killed in a boating accident, Michael Jordan...you get the idea.

Sky high 

Gasoline prices have hit a record high -- that is, if you don't adjust for inflation.

From 1986 on, the average price of a gallon of gas in Texas was about $.60 in 1979 dollars. Right now it's maybe $.68 in 1979 dollars -- a 13% increase.

Of course I'm all for conserving natural resources and minimizing pollution and not putting cash into the coffers of corrupt Saudi rulers, but let's not get carried away.

More on torture 

As awful as treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was, it can't possibly compare to forced exposure to Metallica, Sesame Street and Barney. I kid you not.

(Hat tip: Jason van Steenwyk.)

Oh, Seymour Hersh claims he has evidence that the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib goes all the way up to Donald Rumsfeld. I'll eventually get around to reading his articles and commenting on them.

Gay marriage 

Yesterday gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts.

Enforcing gay marriage by constitutional and judicial fiat is, I think, a terrible way to settle the issue. I have a hard time believing that the original authors of the Massachusetts state constitution would have wanted the equal rights provisions to be applied to an issue that is so divisive on moral grounds.

For the record, I do support gay marriage, since my opinion is that it may very well be morally permissible. (Let's just say that I have a hard time walking up to a gay person and saying "God loves you so much that he wants you to remain lonely and horny for the rest of your life.") But if the state is going to sanction a controversial institution -- well, the state (i.e. the people) should sanction a controversial institution by voting on it.

For people who are morally opposed to gay marriage, will gay marriage lead society down the moral plughole? Only if they let it. If parents don't want their children to think that homosexuality is normal, it's up to them to communicate that message. Society is full of messages that are controversial. But if one of their kids declares his or her homosexuality, they'd best come up with a way of dealing with it.

Fortunately, the legalization of gay marriage will do nothing to stop the Simpsons and South Park from lampooning gay culture (even if "gay culture" is representative of only a fraction of gay people).

UPDATE: I fell out my chair laughing when I read this piece. It involves gay epithets and North Korea.

The new sports cliche 

After news of Pat Tillman's death hit the United States, pro athletes have taken to saying things like this:


Wallace played in two Game 7s with the Blazers — in the first round vs. Dallas last year and the Western Conference Finals vs. Lakers in 2000 — leading the team in scoring and, in the end, losing both.

But don’t think he’s putting any additional pressure on himself to get the team over that hump.

“Pressure?” he said, spitting the question back. “This isn’t pressure and this is not pain. Afghanistan, Iraq and that other place, Croatia and Bosnia — now, that is pressure.

“This ain’t nothing but a little hoops.”


But then Kevin Garnett has to blow it with this sound bite:


It's Game 7, man. That's it. It's for all the marbles," Garnett said. "Sitting in the house, I'm loadin' up the pump. I'm loadin' up the Uzi. I got a couple M-16s, a couple 9s. I got a couple joints with some silencers on them. I'm just loading clips, a couple grenades. I got a missile launcher with a couple of missiles. I'm ready for war."



5.17.2004

One observer's opinion of U2's next album 

Here's what Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, has to say:


Just before we left Dublin to come home, we had the opportunity to visit with Bono again.

The conversation was mostly about Aids and how we can all do more to rid the world of this savage disease. But this time we met at his recording studio on a shipping canal in a remote part of Dublin. They played us several cuts from their upcoming CD…could be a very cool record, but then what do I know about rock and roll? It was touching however to have the whole group request a time of prayer for them, their families and the CD project. They made a verbal commitment to visit us at Willow when they do Chicago on their upcoming tour. That should be fun. I doubt that they would draw like Randy Travis, but for a second time I ask, "What do I know?"

5.16.2004

Fashion 

Can somebody tell me why wearing dark socks with shorts is considered a fashion faux pas? In my not-so-humble opinion, white socks look awful unless one is engaged in exercise. Even then, I prefer dark socks because white socks quickly start to look dirty.

More on Iraq from the WaPo 

Here is an article by John McCain and Joe Lieberman on the future of Iraq. Money shot:



The June 30 handover must mean more than the transfer of policymaking power from Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters to the new U.S. Embassy. It must also mean something more than handing power -- whether over government ministries or military forces -- back to the Baathists from whom we rightly wrested it a year ago. The handover should represent a short-term transfer of sovereignty to a caretaker government that will quickly pave the way for elections. No Iraqi government can derive legitimacy simply through selection by the United Nations or the United States. Real legitimacy is derived only from the free choice of the Iraqi people.



Here's an article Christian missionairies in Iraq. As the article notes, it's really important for Christian missionairies to avoid being perceived as Western cultural imperialists.

It's interesting to note that there were churches in Saddam's Iraq. Saddam's regime was a secular tyranny, though he did often adopt the rhetoric of an Islamic leader in order to reinforce his authority. Saddam didn't care if there were Christian churches, as long as they didn't threaten the regime.

Although Western forces toppled Saddam, some Iraqis still remain suspicious of the US's intentions in Iraq, so Western missionairies need to make it known that they're acting on their own and not as agents of the US, UK or other countries. (I don't know where that bit about Christian missionairies being Israeli agents came from. Well, actually I do.)

I'm shocked. Utterly, utterly shocked. 

Today's WaPo features a story on Bush's campaign-financing machine. Apparently generous donors sometimes received government jobs or were able to influence business policy. Gee, who'd a thunk it?

Of course, if ordinary people could do their own thinking about politics and political candidates instead of being so easily influenced by advertising and canned speeches, campaign finance would be much less of an issue...

5.15.2004

Hey baby, can I take a bite out of you? 

As if Chris Martin wasn't unhip enough (though he writes great music), he and Gwyneth Paltrow have named their daughter Apple.

Why anyone would subject their child to years of abuse by giving him or her a stupid name, I have no idea.

5.14.2004

Bizarre 

The horrific saga of Nick Berg contains some really strange details:

Apparently the FBI had investigated Berg because Berg gave his computer password to Zacarias Moussaoui while they were at the University of Oklahoma. The FBI eventually concluded that there was nothing to it, though.

Jonah Goldberg claims that Berg's parents are both members of ANSWER, the notorious facade for the Workers' World Party and conjectures that Berg was a leftist peacenik who wanted to see the sights for himself.

When US authorities detained Berg in Iraq, he had in his possession a copy of the Koran and some texts that were described as "anti-Semitic". I can't really make too much of this, though -- it's not as if the authorities caught him handing out copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to people at a protest. Maybe he was just trying to understand Islam and why Arabs hate Jews so much.

Berg's father says that "I am sure that he only saw the good in his captors until the last second of his life. They did not know what they were doing. They killed their best friend." Now I know it's not nice to kick a guy when he's down, but Mr. Berg has gone completely loopy if he believes that al-Qaeda has Iraq's best interests at heart.

I'm guessing that Berg was a really idealistic person who felt a duty to help with the reconstruction of Iraq and thought that Americans could do a much better job of trying to understand the Iraqi people. He's right on both counts, of course. Alas, al-Qaeda does not represent the Iraqi people.

5.13.2004

Dreams 

About ten months after Uday Hussein's bloodthirsty, sadistic reign over Iraq's national sports teams came to an end, Iraq's national (under-23) soccer team has qualified for the 2004 Olympics.

Thanks to David Post for the pointer.

All I Want Is You 

Sometimes I hear friends and other acquaintences talking about marriage and wanting to get married. Some of these folks aren't even dating right now. I wonder if sometimes people forget that marriage isn't just a state of being - it's a relationship with an actual person.

The following passage from Into the Heart: The Stories Behind Every U2 Song seems to capture many of my thoughts on the subject. It's from the commentary on the song "All I Want Is You".


"All I Want Is You" is a love song and Bono doesn't usually talk about these things - but on this occasion he does. "That's clearly about a younger version of myself and my relationship with Ali," he reflects. "It takes a huge generosity of spirit to be around somebody who's in the position I'm in, and who can expose you. If you're a very private person, as she is, that's something you have to be very careful about. That's why I often write about other people's experiences as well as my own, and in all of my love songs you'll find that there's a few stories.

"That's a song about commitment, really. I don't think being married to someone is so easy, really. But I'm interested in the idea of marriage. I think it's madness but it's a grand madness. If people think it's normal, they're out of their minds. I think that's why a lot of people fall apart, because they're not prepared for what it is. Once they've made that commitment, they think that's the end of it, now they can rest easy."

"I'm very restless. I am not the kind of guy who would normally settle down with a family and one person. I'm just not. I'm a tinker. I like to travel. I like to move around. The only reason I'm here is because I met someone so extraordinary that I just couldn't let that go. So a lot of the sense you get from the work is that some of the characters want to run, to get to the airport and just fly away. And other characters could never be away from this."

He looks around at his living room. "I think that's a great dynamic for songs."

Another one from the log 

If you've ever wondered what'll happen to your body after you have five abortions, all I can say is that you'll have the blood of five innocent humans on your hands.

Arab media reaction to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal and Nick Berg's decapitation 

The New York Times has a small sample of reactions to these events in the Arab media.

The Abu Ghraib torture scandal is undoubtedly a black eye for the American military, and one should hope that the military would prosecute the case in as forthright a manner as possible. Of course, everyone implicated in the scandal is trying to pass the buck up the chain of command.

There appear to be distinct methods of handling the news of Berg's execution. It seems that some Arab media outlets have paid less attention to the incident than might be expected. The stated motive is that playing down this horrific crime would avoid provoking similar behavior in other guerrilla outfits, though I'd have to say that this motive doesn't hold up very well, given that these savages have been committing atrocities like this for a while now. The other possible motive, and the one that seems to be less talked about, is that the media wants to avoid generating sympathy for the US.

But consider now the fact that some of these papers published pictures of a mutilated Israeli soldier on the front pages. Well, it's nice to know that they don't hate us as much as they hate Israel, I guess.

On the other hand, other Arab media outlets are featuring the story of Berg's execution prominently. In some instances it seems to be treated as the atrocity it is, whereas in others it seems to be treated as a predictable reaction to the events in Abu Ghraib.

The crowd at Tacitus has a much more thorough roundup of Arab media reaction to these events. Interesting enough, Hizbollah condemns the execution of Berg, even if it's only because it trumps the Abu Ghraib events.

The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent article here as well.

Over on this side of the globe, I really think some people who advocate a speedy withdrawal from Iraq should see the video of Nick Berg, just so they can see the kind of people who will have power in Iraq if we leave. (WARNING: THIS LINK IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR FOR VIEWING AT WORK.)

UPDATE: al-Jazeera goes into damage control mode by questioning the authenticity of the video. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Did the bloggers that al-Jazeera quotes see the same video I saw? (WARNING: PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.) Nick Berg is clearly alive when the terrorists start reading from their paper. They then force him to the ground, and the reason Berg doesn't resist is because he's completely tied up and pinned to the ground by four guys. They then start sawing off his neck, and you can hear him scream for 5-10 seconds. Eventually they hit his jugular, and you can see a lot of blood spilling out. Presumably he lost consciousness shortly thereafter.

The video was circulated on jihadist websites, if I'm not mistaken. The terrorists most definitely had captured and killed Berg, since Berg's parents now have his corpse. What would the terrorists have to gain from shooting a fake videotape of his execution?

An eternity of fire, brimstone and torture would be too kind for these monsters.

UPDATE: The WaPo has a much better roundup of Arab media reaction to these events.

5.11.2004

Abu Ghraib 

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba is blaming the scandal on "failure in leadership from the briagde commander on down, lack of discipline, no training whatsoever, and no supervision". Apparently soldiers need to be specifically trained not to undress prisoners, tie them to leashes and then photograph them. What exactly the military's guidelines are for torturing prisoners, I have no idea, but the Times story contains these rather confusing paragraphs back to back:


Before the Senate panel, General Taguba testified that in his investigation, he never found any evidence that the abusive techniques were part of military policy.

"I think it was a matter of soldiers with their interaction with military intelligence personnel who they perceived or thought to be competent authority," the general said. Some guards have said they had been asked by intelligence officers to rough up the prisoners to help along the interrogations. General Taguba said the guards "were probably influenced by others but not necessarily directed by others."

5.07.2004

End of an era 

Thank God. The Sports Guy agrees with me that Friends had become sickeningly incestuous.

5.06.2004

How to have a cordial political discussion 

No, really. See the list here.

Teaching 

Anyone who ends up teaching partial differential equations should be familiar with how an electric guitar works, because you can give a very neat demonstration of solutions to the wave equation using the different pickups on an electric guitar.

5.05.2004

Has this thought struck anybody else yet? 

I'm sure it has, but none of these people work for the San Francisco Giants.

If Barry Bonds is being intentionally walked every time he steps to the plate, why not put him third in the lineup?

UPDATE: Apparently Felipe Alou toyed with the idea last year. Since the Giants are below .500 right now and Bonds isn't getting to bat, it might be time to take the leap.

5.03.2004

Ted Rall pisses on Pat Tillman's grave 

See here.

Heads in the sand 

The Saudi Crown Prince says that he is convinced that Zionists are responsible for the terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Remember, Ariel Sharon is the moderate voice in his government 

Members of Ariel Sharon's Likud Party have put the kibosh on his plan to leave the Gaza Strip and other settlements in the West Bank. I don't quite understand why some Israelis want to keep presenting themselves as a target by building settlements in disputed territories that are overwhelmingly populated by Palestinians and close to the borders.

Sometimes I wonder if it'd be best if Palestine were given an independent state, just so that Israel could actually declare war on somebody if the homicide bombings continue.

Tampering 

It's only May, and already Yankees players are trying to recruit Pedro Martinez to play for them next year when his Boston contract runs out.

Apparently Manny Ramirez is willing to restructure his hefty contract in order for the Sox to keep Martinez.

I'm not sure Pedro will perform like a $17-20 million pitcher over the next two years, given the condition of his arm. But if it that's what it takes to keep him away from the Yankees, it might be worth it.

5.02.2004

Tom Hamill escapes 

Article here.

Fools 

The revelations of corruption in the UN oil-for-food program are starting to provoke real anger in government officials.

Some folks argued from the outset that the UN oil-for-food program was intractable from the outset due to the high likelihood that the program would be corrupted and abused. The leftist media watchdog group FAIR pooh-poohed these concerns in an article in 2001, noting that



In fact, oil-for-food money is administered by the U.N., and disbursed directly from a U.S. bank account to foreign suppliers, so direct misappropriation of funds is impossible. Allegations about misappropriation of goods on the other end have repeatedly been denied by U.N. officials administering the program in Iraq (e.g. Denis Halliday, press release, 9/20/99), a fact that has garnered virtually no media coverage (Extra!, 3-4/00).



Of course, when you search the FAIR site nowadays for articles on the oil-for-food program, there's nary a peep to be heard about the scandal.

Chance 

The other day I was driving some college kids home from church. One freshman got around to talking about his career ambitions and his five- and ten-year plans.

At that point I really wanted to stop the car, slap the kid silly and tell him "hey kid, do you realize that in the next five years, you might be drafted, and all your plans for the future might turn to dust?". But I didn't.

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