Friday, July 28, 2006

Maybe This is Why the Media Hasn't Talked about Iraqi Schools

Because a CF is a CF?
The United States is dropping Bechtel, the American construction giant, from a project to build a high-tech children’s hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Basra after the project fell nearly a year behind schedule and exceeded its expected cost by as much as 150 percent....

Now it becomes the latest in a series of American taxpayer-financed health projects in Iraq to face overruns, delays and cancellations. Earlier this year, the Army Corps of Engineers canceled more than $300 million in contracts held by Parsons, another American contractor, to build and refurbish hospitals and clinics across Iraq.

(Cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Credit Where Due

Tom Maguire--hardly alone--was quick to make much of Floyd Landis's Stage 17 win that placed him back in contention for (and as the favorite to win) the maillot jaune.

He is just as quick to note today's confirmation of yesterday's rumour that it was Landis who has tentatively tested positive (with the second sample to be tested to confirm).

This may make moot my contention that it was a tactical mistake by Sastre's team not to start an earnest pursuit until the yellow jersey was "lost on the road."

Either way, it's a black eye on what remains my favorite sport.

(Cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Do the New York Shuffle, Babe

The highlight of the Landis Sage so far:
Or maybe, the Tour de France winning rider speculated, it was the Jack Daniel's he drank the night before his historic Stage 17, though that would seem a more likely excuse from George Jones than a world-class athlete.

This is not the first time Jack, neat, has been the drink of choice for professional athletes:
Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar told Fox Sports that the team took shots of Jack Daniel's whiskey before Game 6 of the American League Championship Series and before all four World Series games.

There has to be a tie-in advert here...

(Cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Piling On -- but do need to?

Brad DeLong has been fairly (imnvho, both senses of the word apply) pilloried for this post, in which his response to Juan Cole's summary:
The Israelis warn the small town Shiites of the south to flee their own homes and go hundreds of miles away (and live on what? in what?). But then they intensely bombing them, making it impossible for them to flee. The Lebanese have awoken to find themselves cockroaches. I repeat, this is nothing less than an ethnic cleansing of the Shiites of southern Lebanon... what Saddam Hussein did to the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, and the Israelis are doing it for exactly the same sorts of reasons that Saddam did.

The death toll was much, much, much higher in Saddam Hussein's ethnic cleansing of the marsh Arabs.

which is a matter of degree, not kind.

Should this be taken to mean DeLong is denouncing the actions of Israel's government? The title of the post implies that he is, as Michelle Maises at notes:
The rules of jus in bello aim to confine the destructiveness of war, rule out certain kinds of weapons, protect civilians, and limit the area and range of fighting.

So maybe we all ignored the subtext, and DeLong agrees that the tactics Israel is using cannot be justified. Certainly, we can hope such, as he has remained silent on the matter since.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Chesse Steak without the negative waves

There may be Geno's, which is more famous, but the best place for cheesesteaks in Philadelphia has always been Pat's.

Rest in peace, Harry. Those of us who will die sooner because of the work you and Pat did have no regrets.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Scary Thing to See

No, not the article about how RNC fundraising claims bear no resemblance to reality. Look at the ad on the right, in the #1 position.

Horror of horrors; it's an ad against an incumbent Democrat. On KOS. Clearly, the blogofascists who run the site advertised have no sense whatsoever of the proper political process of deferring to the incumbent in all cases.

Oh, wait, it's not against Lieberman, so it's probably all right.

(cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


La Plage Records

Does anyone else think that might have something to do with this blog?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

SS, DD, Rumsfeld-style

File Under: We Broke It, You Buy It
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has urged Europe to provide a "master overall plan" to fight Afghanistan's huge drugs trade, which has seen heroin flood Europe and Russia....More than 90 percent of the world's opium and heroin supply comes from Afghanistan via Iran and Pakistan, according to The Associated Press.

Isn't this production the Taliban had reduced?
Despite its own figures showing the Taleban had cut Afghanistan's heroin production by about 95%, the report claimed that heroin had "financed the former Taleban regime".

The UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report, released on 26 February, said that Afghanistan produced 3,400 tonnes last year, up from 185 tonnes in 2001.

That's from a 2003 report. What did we do then?
While the US report praised US-backed Afghan president Hamid Karzai for the measures he has introduced to cut heroin production, the UN report said his two executive orders had no practical impact.

and what do we do and claim now?
An international campaign costing hundreds of millions of dollars to curb drugs production in Afghanistan has been largely unsuccessful. Opium cultivation is reported to be growing, particularly in southern Taliban areas, where the militant group is believed to benefit from drugs money.

Once again, I saw this plot somewhere...oh, yeah!

Addendum: There are times when I want someone to translate Donald Rumsfeld's declarations into English. This is one of those.
He also said regional cooperation with Afghanistan's neighbors to stop Taliban and al Qaeda movements entering the country "has been helpful, but it has not reduced cross-border" activity.

How has it been helpful? If the purpose is to reduce entering the country, but cross-border entry is not reduced, what has been helped? Or did CNN just screw the pooch in its summary?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bring Me the Head of Tyler Cowen?

I spent the weekend out of town, chasing family and leveraging familial relationship to interview my betters and seeing old friends. So, except for the A1-top-right-above-the-fold headline on Saturday's Globe, I admit not having heard much about the "Stopped Plot to Destroy NYC."

From what I could tell, someone had some architectural diagrams and exchanged some bitter e-mails.
"It contained maps and bombing plans that were being prepared," Mr. Fatfat said on Saturday in a television interview in Lebanon. [emphasis mine]

Must be someone familiar with the area:
In the United States, a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing, said that Mr. Hammoud had visited the United States at least once — a trip to California six years ago.[emphasis mine]

Fortunately, the F.B.I.--with significant Lebanese help--Prevailed:
Mr. Hammoud has been in Lebanese custody since April. Two others are also in custody in the case. United States investigators said the plot had been disrupted after coordinated efforts with officials in six other countries. Five suspects are at large. [emphases mine]

But those five are without their ringleader, so they won't know what to do
The F.B.I. said the suspects had planned to attack trains under the Hudson River using suicide bombers and backpack bombs.

Wait a minute, I know this plot! Oh...yeah!

But this is completely different:
The plan, which authorities said the suspects had hoped to carry out in October or November, was to flood Lower Manhattan by attacking the PATH train tunnels.

Masterminded by a gentleman who has been to California. But surely he must have more credentials. Say, an architecture degree?
Lebanese security officials said in interviews that they had obtained important information from Mr. Hammoud's computer and CD's seized from his office at the Lebanese International University, where he taught economics.

Wingbat Synchronicity Alert: today's WSJ ($ required)declared how Hezbollah has transformed itself from a terrorist organization to being a political force in Lebanon.

Clearly, the F.B.I. (and Western Union) have been tracking the wrong people. Surely, the new algorithm should weight the likelihood of a person committing an act of treason by whether they are economics professors.

UPDATE: Reason 714 why Tom Toles is a National Treasure.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why Sportswriting all too often isn't, Part II

The causality of one paragraph from this article escapes me.
The Reds made the trade a day after blowing two leads in extra innings before losing 6-5 in the 13th at Milwaukee. After the game, Cincinnati reliever Brian Shackelford was arrested on suspicion of third-degree sexual assault.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

There is still a learning curve...

Scene: The community pool, shortly after it has opened and the family have joined those of us who played water volleyball in the hour before opening. We have decided, in honour of the holiday, to bring breakfast foods and the like and make a "picnic" of it.

Eldest Daughter: "Why do we celebrate July 4th?"
Me: "Because that's the day that one of your ancestors and several other people signed a paper saying they no longer wanted to be British citizens."

Eldest Daughter appears unconvinced. Still, she is only five.