Richard Clarke on 60 Minutes: the truth starts to emerge

After rumors and accusations, a former counterterrorist official in George W. Bush’s administration (and Reagan’s, and George H. W. Bush’s, and Clinton’s) is out in print and on 60 Minutes, laying out how the administration’s criminal neglect of its duties in 2001 laid the groundwork for 9/11. Commentary by Oliver Willis and Talking Points Memo/Joshua Micah Mitchell.

Other pointers: the relevant chapter from Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them; the first rumblings of Republican smears against Clarke, with attendant debunking

Arrivederci, Veterans Stadium: Like porno for pyros

I just watched the implosion of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia about three times on network TV. Say what you like about network television, there is no better medium for high fidelity replays of vast deployments of explosive devices.

I love the quotes from Philadelphia residents in the San Jose Mercury News: “I’ve lived here 12 years, and it was a pain in the rear end.”

Bonus link: history of the Phillies’ stadiums at their official site. Bonus link #2 (mature audiences): Lyrics to Perry Farrell’s song “Porno for Pyros,” in which he shares similar feelings about the LA riots.


Not much posting this week. I’ve been fighting both health issues (a cough that migrated upwards into my sinuses; I could hardly hear anything at all last night during choir practice) and computer issues (my work laptop melted down) for several days now. Hope to clear the logjam shortly and get back to the rhythm of things.

In the meantime, a quick pointer to fellow Microsoft blogger and MSCOM teammate Peter Svensk, who was once an blogger like me.

MIT and Cambridge (the other Cambridge)

Good article in the Times today about MIT’s program to bring the culture of entrepreneurship to the UK via a partnership with Cambridge University. They focus on the biotech context; I know that in general the Entrepreneurship Center has been active in this effort regardless of discipline.

It is kind of funny to see an article about entrepreneurship at MIT without hearing about the Sloan School. The PR agent must be slipping. (For the record, my management track at Sloan was in New Product and Venture Development.)

Lies and lying liars?

I’ve tried to tone down a bit of my rhetoric against the administration recently, mostly because I now know there are people out there who do a far better job of calling them on their fouls than I do. I even winced a little when I saw the title of Al Franken’s book again recently. Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them is, shall we say, a little inflammatory.

Then I was strengthened in my resolve by two ads:

  1. As pointed out by Greg Greene, someone who says that his opponent wants to hurt individual soldiers, but who himself sends reservists to Iraq in inadequate body armor, floats the prospect of cutting the pay of soldiers in live combat, and interferes with the health care benefits of veterans, active duty troops, National Guardsmen, and reservists, can hardly be called anything but a liar. Unless it’s two faced hypocrite.
  2. The recent understated ad at that lets Donald Rumsfeld hang himself with his own words. In a discussion on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rumsfeld claimed that no one in the administration had ever called Iraq an “imminent threat,” that someone in the press had made up the phrase and was floating it to aggravate the WMD issue. Being hoist on a petard made of your own statements before and during the war about the imminentness of the Iraqi threat: priceless. (thanks Josh)

One is tempted to ask, with I.F. Stone, “is it necessary to repeat after 2,000 years all the things you people learned in Sunday school?! How — how absent-minded — how forgetful!”

Raised on radio

Who says local radio is dead? KEXP is now in Arbitron’s Internet broadcast ratings list, ranking in a solid #7 in the list of the top internet broadcasters and sales networks (and the top ranked individual station on the list). Among Internet radio stations, the station ranks #12 (some of the top six properties in the other list operate multiple channels with more listeners than KEXP). Interesting too that the other local public station, the jazz channel KPLU, is close behind KEXP on the list.

Which makes one wonder. I am a firm believer that the content on both stations, particularly KEXP, is superior to just about anything else out there. That said, does the ascendancy of both stations have more to do with geography? Surely the demand from their local listenership, who would likely be early adopters with a strong interest in technology, would be a factor in getting both stations on line to begin with. So why aren’t there any radio stations from Silicon Valley on the list? Or is it just that this is the only ornery corner of the country left where the “local station” isn’t run by a drone at Clear Channel?

When the cigareets and wild women have gone

New York Times: Whiskey’s Kingdom (Pop. 361). Following on the heels of the MeFi discussion of bourbon, the NYT article does a pretty good job of hitting the bases of native American styles of whisk(e)y, including a great discussion of commercially available rye whiskeys. (Who knew there was a Potomac or Maryland style of rye whiskey?)

(Incidentally, it’s whisky if it comes from Scotland, Canada or Japan; whiskey anywhere else.)

Incidentally2, Lisa and I visited Lynchburg, Tennessee on our post-wedding trip (not our honeymoon; that happened six months after the wedding and was to Rome and Florence) (along with other Tennessee destinations). What they say in the article about not being able to sample the product on the premises is true; Lynchburg is indeed a dry county. However, one can buy “souvenir” bottles there thanks to a special waiver from the state.

Incidentally3, the title of this post alludes to a classic folk revival song that I first heard performed by Peter Sellers on the Muppets. I kid you not.

Quick links, head cold edition

I spoke too soon yesterday; my cold has now migrated back up into my sinuses with a vengeance. Bear that in mind as you read this sad abbreviated list of links with minimal commentary and have mercy.

That’s no planetoid. It’s a battle station.

completed diorama of the death star in legos

Am I the only one who thought about this line from the first Star Wars movie when the announcement came out about the tenth planet (or planetoid, as the case may be)?

Of course, I also can’t pass up a chance to point out other battle stations, in this case made of Legos. Here’s the second Death Star as a full size sculpture, and over seventy pictures of an incredibly detailed minifig-scale multi-level diorama of all the scenes that took place in the first Death Star. All I can say is, I thought I was obsessive, but I was wrong.

The RSS feed of everything imaginable

The Shifted Librarian points to RSS feeds from Probably best known as the home of the Wayback Machine, which lets you see web sites as they were during selected points in time in the past, the Archive also houses lots of amazing content, including digital versions of the Prelinger archive, old software, and lots and lots of music.

The RSS feed of their master collection is fascinating. Live performances by Soul Coughing, Gary Jules, Howie Day, From Good Homes, and others are listed right now, and I’m guessing there’s some fascinating other stuff if you dig deeper below the last fifty items.

Coming up

I’ve been a bit under the weather for the last four or five days; a weird kind of cold that started in the throat, with totally clear sinuses, but which has in the last day migrated up into my face. At least I’m on familiar territory.

Our guys have completely recovered from their “tutoring” and are once again making pests of themselves in the garden. We haven’t yet succeeded in training them to only uproot weeds. Maybe with time.

Thanks to my cold, I’m feeling a bit basso profundo. Thankfully I have another two weeks before my first solo at church—if eight notes total are considered a solo. After that, it’s not a full week until our performance of the Brahms Requiem (also known as the German Requiem, but it feels silly calling it that when you’re going to perform it in English).