Tuesday, November 30, 2004

test your pop-trivia knowledge

Via lindsayism - Comedy Central's 2004 "last laughs" quiz. I was 9/10.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Vote count conspiracy debunked, again

Two Miami Herald reporters counted more than 17,000 votes in three Democrat-rich Florida counties over three days.

The conclusion: No conspiracy.

The newspaper's count of optical scan ballots in Suwannee, Lafayette and Union counties showed Bush whipping Sen. John Kerry in a swath of Florida where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-1.

The newspaper found minor differences with the official results in each county, most involving a smattering of ballots that had been discarded as unreadable by optical scan machines but in which reporters felt the voter intent was clear.

I wonder if Keith Olbermann will have the reporters on...

Saturday, November 27, 2004

no opportunity wasted

18 miles in Central Park this afternoon... soon after I got out there, I found I was under-dressed and developed a stitch in my side. But any thoughts of dogging or abandoning it were dismissed once I saw the people competing in the Knickerbocker 60K, a 37.3 mile run through the park. This is the anti-New York marathon, with about 100 competitors and a dozen or so spectators. They were running in the opposite direction as I was, so I tried to cheer them on as we crossed paths.
"Keep with it." "Stay strong." "Looking good. Think about your form."
Most seemed to appreciate it -- and seeing them struggling on inspired me as well.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I love the Bronx

So last week a thief broke a window in my '89 Mitsubishi Montero and stole my radio ... the fourth time this has happened since I moved to New York four years ago. This time, it was the small triangular "vent" window on the passenger's side door, not the main roll-down window. I take it to this auto glass place on 10th Avenue near work; they give me an estimate of $120 (!) and say I'll have to leave it for an hour or so while the warehouse delivers the glass.
So today I drove to Hunt's Point Avenue in the Bronx, where I know a lot of glass places are located. As soon as I get off the highway, there's this guy who spots my car, yells for me at the intersection and tell me to follow him. It seems a bit sketchy, but he does hand me a card. And via cell-phone, he confirms the place has my vent-window in stock. They're able to fix it in half an hour - for $40!
I'm going to try to replace my car stereo with an XM radio, so we'll see how that works out.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Just watched "Kinsey," and it had to be the best picture I've seen all year. Liam Neeson was excellent. One man up against the system. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I gotta admit - I'm in a foul mood. Patrick Healy, the Boston Globe's Kerry reporter, just took a job at the Times. I had remembered his byline from the campaign, but his name had always been weirdly familiar to me as well. Well, it turns out his career trajectory was pretty much the same as mine - got started at Foster's Daily Democrat, did well enough there to get hired at the Union Leader, covering UNH. Exactly what I did (but was he a year ahead of me?? I can't remember ever meeting him, but his name is very very familiar). Only from the UL he went to the Chronicle of Higher Education & worked for five years there, before getting hired by the Boston Globe to cover higher education. (there he discovered this Harvard grade-inflation scandal & went on to report on Afghanistan & Iraq).

I, on the other hand, stayed at the UL long enough to get the job here -- it never really occured to me to work at a paper like the Chronicle. But I wonder if I've hurt my career by sticking as a general assignment reporter, and not developing a speciality...

Anyway - welcome to New York, Patrick ... drop me a line if you self-google and find this - I'll take you out for a beer and we can reminisce about Mary Pat & Rod, Charlie & Buzz...


UPDATE: Okay, after reading this clip from Healy, I don't know what I'm complaining about. I've never written anything nearly as good.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Can you believe this?

Two interracial Long Island couples awoke yesterday to a horrible sight straight out of the vilest chapters in U.S. history books - a burning cross on their front lawn.

"The whole bedroom was flickering from the light of the flames," said Richard Eggert, who lives with his fiancée in a two-family home in Lake Grove.

race to deliver

26:47 net for the four-mile Race to Deliver in the park Sunday morning - my first P.R. since my knee operation in August 2002! (except for a 15K, which doesn't really count, as I run that distance so rarely). The 6:41 pace was good for 181 out of 2,197 men -- 195 overall out of 4,554 (more women ran than men, interesting enough). My decision to not run a fall marathon and concentrate on getting faster may have been a good one...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Reports from Fallujah

Dexter Filkins has written some incredible stories out of Fallujah for the Times ... I thought this one was particularly good.

Friday, November 19, 2004

google at it again!

Keyhole is the coolest thing ever -- well, at least for the week, anyway. Does anyone remember the Earth program from Neal Stephenson's book Snow Crash? This is what this is like, almost. It's satellite imagery, but really well done. I was able to plot out my normal Union City running route on a block-by-block basis (pointing and clicking on their sat map) and determine it was 4.9 miles, for example. Anyway, check it out - they're offering free one-week trials, no credit card required.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

mea culpa

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20 in retrospect ...

New York Daily News
Sept. 10, 2002
page 9
Former colleagues of chief U.S. weapons inspector Scott Ritter were baffled yesterday over why he has become Iraq's chief defender.
Ritter, an ex-intelligence officer for the U.S. Marines, led reporters on a tour of Iraq yesterday and spoke to the country's parliament Sunday to rebut White House claims that Saddam Hussein is a threat.
But other ex-inspectors said Ritter should know better and criticized his participation in the Baghdad-sponsored tour of Iraq.
"We can be reasonably confident they had VX [nerve gas] and additional biological agents, but we never verified they were gone," said Tim McCarthy, a former deputy chief inspector and nonproliferation analyst at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
On Sunday, Ritter told the Iraqi parliament, "The truth is Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors, and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders. Military action against Iraq cannot be justified."
McCarthy disagreed. "It's very safe to assume that Iraq is coming along with its nuclear weapons program," since inspectors were barred in 1998, he told the Daily News.
Ritter has urged Saddam to submit to full inspections to counter the White House case.
Yesterday, he accompanied reporters to a camp 25 miles east of Baghdad that Iraqi dissidents say is a terror training camp. Ritter said it is used by Saddam's military to train security forces to respond to hijackings.
Former biological and chemical weapons inspector Jonathan Tucker accused Ritter of becoming "an apologist for Iraq." He said Iraq never proved it destroyed 38 tons of material that bioweapons scientists could use to culture anthrax and smallpox.
Former inspector Raymond Zilinskas, a chemical and biological weapons expert at the Monterey Institute, said Iraq might also have stores of smallpox from a 1960s outbreak.
"If his regime is going down the tubes, then the question is, in this extreme moment would they then release the smallpox," Zilinskas said.
Many scientists agreed that there was no smoking gun but said the evidence points to a robust Iraqi biological and chemical weapons program.

misc. links

This post from CitizenFrank.com is pretty touching - a soldier from Alabama recounts how his unit gets hero's welcome in Bangor, Maine, their first stop home from Iraq.

On a completely different note, lindsayism.com is completely right about the silly NYT blogger-dating story. So ... JUNIOR HIGH!!!

what i've been up to

A few recent stories:

Friday, November 12, 2004

DoD's insurgent strategy

Matt Welch links to a fascinating DoD report on how to repair America's credibility with the Muslim world.

Today we reflexively compare Muslim "masses" to those oppressed under Soviet rule. This is a strategic mistake. There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell among Muslim societies -- except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

wtc hellJust for kicks, I recently reread the some of my posts from after Sept. 11, 2001 ... funny to think how united we were back then.

This is a photo I took from the roof of a nearby residential building a few days after 9/11.


BAGHDAD, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Iraq's media regulator warned news organisations on Thursday to stick to the government line on the U.S.-led offensive in Falluja or face legal action.

"We hope you comply ... otherwise we regret we will be forced to take all the legal measures to guarantee higher national interests," the statement said, without elaborating.

revenge of the sith

The new Star Wars trailer is out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

blue ribbonA new image from the Blue Ribbon Prostate Initiative, which will "run as wild postings throughout Manhattan," according to an emailed press release I just received.

"While the statistics of breast cancer and prostate cancer are virtually the same, the financial support that each gets is worlds apart. Actually the ratio is 100 to 1, we'd like to change that," said Julie Lewit, the President and CEO of The Blue Ribbon Prostate Initiative.

"There are roughly the same number of cases of breast cancer as prostate cancer, but the money spent is way out of whack," sez Neil Drossman of Needleman Drossman & Partners, which designed the ad campaign.

A Stolen Election?

Salon and The Nation have two good pieces debunking various rumors and claims that the 2004 election was somehow rigged or "hacked." There's also an letter to the editor here from a Cornell professor rebutting some of the allegations.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

the lost frog

This is very funny and cute. A gem!

Ad Nags

Wouldn't it be funny if Adamnagourney.com was actually written in secret by Adam Nagourney??

I want to make it clear, I am no Judith Miller. I did not help this country into a war for no reason. I did not make things up. I did not push one of the biggest lies upon the US population in modern times. I did not have a 'relationship' with my only source of this false information, who also happened to be a source for a group of people in the defense department with an agenda for war, and who also happened to be a con man and a spy for Iran, who was also hoping to rape his former home for personal gain and who had promised me, as in Judith, that I would be named queen of Iraq by now. No I, Adam, did not do such things.

rhymes with yikes

Okay, so I believe in free-speech 100%, and actually consider myself a bit of an absolutist on the topic. But of course there's nothing in the First Amendment that means private companies like blogspot have to host shit like this. I won't quote from it, but I guess I'd call it a pro-Holocaust site -- I found it accidentally, while randomly pressing the "next blog" button on Blogspot blogs.

Anyway, I sent a message to Blogger pointing out the site and noting that their terms of service prohibits posting content that is "hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable." This was their response:

Date: 11/03/2004 14:52:31 -0800
From: "Blogger Support"
To: "Derek Rose {U 225777}"
Subject: Re: term of service violation- hate speech

Thank you for your note. Blogger is a provider of content creation tools, not a mediator of that content. We allow our users to create blogs, but we don't make any claims about the content of these pages. In cases where a contact email address is listed on the page, we recommend working directly with the author to have this information removed or changed.

-Blogger Support

I wonder - did they even look at the site?? Anyway, I forwarded the message to webmaster[at]adl.org ... other than that, I wash my hands of it.
UPDATE 12/1/04: The site has been deleted.

who are you people?

wow ... so i'm getting about 22 distinct visitors a day, according to my site meter. Very odd ... I thought hardly anyone was reading this!

Sunday, November 07, 2004


I liked elements of this column by the Washington Post's Donna Britt:

In a nation divided, demonizing the 'other' -- whether an antiabortion Republican or a war-despising Democrat -- deepens the rift. Those who automatically judge political opponents as evil, stupid or 'un-American' aren't just wrong. They're part of the problem. Those who fear strengthened Republican majorities should recognize their humanity -- and find creative, authentic ways to appeal to it. Those frustrated by the rank, often selfish fears that spurred some to vote Republican must do better at dismantling them. Confronting issues that tempt both sides' rigidity -- abortion, gay rights, the environment, the war -- we must learn to hear the 'other's' heartfelt points of view.

We must explain, then defend our views -- not to a backward 'enemy,' but to fellow citizens whose humanity we can engage.

Also this story by the WP's David Finkel was a fair-minded, sympathetic portrayal of an Ohio working-poor, white-evangelical Bush voter:

"It's really good to know our country had a decision to make, and there are so many people who feel this way," Cary says. "It's a victory for people like us."
Forty hours a week at the car-rental counter, 12 hours a week running pizzas, the pinch of gasoline at $2 a gallon, savings drained, the realization that he and Tara are "kind of the working poor" -- and still it was moral concerns, rather than economic ones, that guided both of them on Election Day.
"I don't blame President Bush for anything that's happened with my income," Cary says. Rather, he looks at Bush as someone who believes in "personal responsibility," which Cary believes in as well. Don't complain. Solve. "There are jobs out there," he says, and as tired as he might be on Saturday night as he drives the streets of northern Ohio, he can use that time to listen to worship tapes, to think, to pray and to remind himself of what the priorities of a good life should be.
"Jobs will come and go. But your character -- you have to hang on to that," he says. "It's what you're defined by."
"It's been rough. Very rough. I mean scraping by," Tara says. But "to us, the biggest things were the moral things."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

for you political junkies

Start handicapping the 2008 field! I got some kudos from the webmaster - an Army captain blogging from Iraq! - after helping correct some of his spelling.

Red vs. Blue

The NYT has a very cool graphics package on the election, looking at county-by-county breakdown. It makes it clear the divide in America is not so much red states vs. blue states, but rural vs. urban. Kerry won the big states (except some in Texas, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Phoenix & a handful of others), while Bush won nearly all the suburban and rural areas.

Even in the ultra-solid "blue" states like California and New York, once you get upstate (in New York) or away from the coast (in California), there's a lot of red. And even in many red states, you see blue cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, Denever, Las Vegas. Also a swath of blue running right down the Mississippi, where the urban areas are.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

election day

Finally! I wasn't going to make a prediction - who'd be that crazy - but there was a "mandatory" $5 office pool, so I kinda had to. I picked Kerry to lose with 259 electoral votes, and Thune to win S.D. at the tiebreaker.

I didn't vote - wasn't too enthused with any of my choices. Much more fun to watch this mess unfold as a semi-disinterested observer. And kinda I agree with the WP's Len Downie, that it's easier to be unbiased when you don't choose sides.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Audit Bureau of Circulations - Reader Profile - The Top 150 Daily Newspapers

Newspaper circulation figures are out.


Two electoral vote predictors:
Electoral-vote.com, run by a pro-Kerry person, and Election Projection, run by a pro-Bush guy. Both seem very interesting, with nonpartisan projections.