March's Happy Totals
I won 20 and lost 7. That put me 8.27 wagers to the good for the month, a nice comeback from last month's frivolity.
"You are who you think you ain't."
I won 20 and lost 7. That put me 8.27 wagers to the good for the month, a nice comeback from last month's frivolity.
I saw Patrick Marber’s Dealer’s Choice at the Shattered Globe Theater last night. The play is about a poker game that takes place after hours in a London restaurant. The real game, however, is how each of the players deal with their gambling addictions. Excellent performances by the Shattered Globe ensemble make this a riveting “all-in” story as it builds to its emotional climax.
I don’t get to TPM Café much. This is the first piece I found when I went there this afternoon. Nathan Newman writes about how Trade Talks Put State Powers on Chopping Block.
Every state and local official should be paying more attention to the global trade talks at the World Trade Organization, since local power to regulate services such as health care, mass transit and a range of other public services are on the chopping block.Some international agreements are binding; others aren't.
New proposals in a part of global trade law known as the General Agreement on Trade in Services could give global corporations the right under international law to challenge a host of state and local regulations …
Here is an idea for a new treatise on economics.
Michael J. Thompson writes about the conflict between early nineteenth century American democratic republican ideals and capitalism. From What’s the Matter with Capitalism? in the Logos Journal, which I found via the ever eclectic and fascinating wood s lot.
The early nineteenth-century saw the emergence of a robust critical account of capitalist economic relations. What these critics saw was the incongruence between the emerging relations of market capitalism and the supposed promises of America’s “republican civilization.” What they saw was that the new forms of economic life that were emerging were creating relations of dependence and servitude that would, in time, erode America’s democratic republic. What was central to their concern was the erosion of democratic life, the emergence of inequality, and the demolition of public life in favor of private interests. This has been a concern of western political thought since the days of classical Greece, and the concern for republicanism was always premised on the notion that political power should be in balance and not fall into the hands of the minority who would, in time, exploit the public for their own ends.
This concern gave an insurgent flavor to western political ideas, from Aristotle through Machiavelli, Locke, Kant, Jefferson, and Marx—and early nineteenth-century social critics saw the emerging capitalism for what it was. Reflecting on the emergence of wealthy industrialists and their newly found political power, John Vethake noted in the New York Evening Post in 1835 that “relatively considered, it is now precisely as if all things were in a state of nature; the strong tyrannize over the weak; live, as it were, in a continual victory, and glut themselves on incessant plunder.”5 Theodore Sedgwick, writing in the same year in his book What Is a Monopoly? was resolute in his analysis: “It must necessarily follow, to every person whose mind is cast in that republican mold, the die of which is not yet, thanks God, broken, that the principle of corporate grants is wholly adverse to the genius of our institutions; that it originates in that arrogant and interfering temper on the part of the Government which seeks to meddle with, direct, and control private exertions. . . Every corporate grant is directly in the teeth of the doctrine of equal rights, for it gives to one set of men the exercise of privileges which the main body can never enjoy.”6
President Bush does not want interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari as permanent Prime Minister. Quite frankly, if I was an Iraqi politician who had been openly currying President Bush’s favor, I’d skedaddle to a safer place rather than ride the whirlwind of his approval.
Former Liberian dictator Charles G. Taylor was found trying to cross the Nigerian border into Cameroon. He is now on his way to Liberia to be prosecuted for war crimes.
Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World, despite its grandiose title, fascinatingly blends politics, culture, religion, race, crime, and history. It definitely works as a travelogue too.
Not just pundits buried in the C Section of the paper, but people with actual power believe that soccer represents a genuine threat to the American way of life. The former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp, one of the most influential conservatives of the 1980’s, a man once mentioned in the same breath as the presidency, holds this view. In 1986, he took to the floor of the United States Congress to orate against a resolution in support of the American bid to host the World Cup. Kemp intoned, “I think it is important for all these young out there, who someday hope to play real football, where you throw it and kick it and run with it and put it in your hands, a distinction should be made that football is democratic, capitalism, whereas soccer is a European socialism [sport].”
Writing something and publishing it for public scrutiny offers the chance to display the consistency of one’s beliefs and thoughts. People who publish much and remain consistent deserve admiration.
President Bush signed the new and improved(?) Patriot Act into law. Later, President Bush immediately issued a signing statement ordering the Justice Department not to obey the Patriot Act’s new Congressional oversight provisions.
This is the first anniversary of the controversy over the death of Terri Schiavo on March 31, 2005. I did not have much to say about the controversy while it raged across the nation, for it struck a very deep and sensitive emotional nerve. Even though I had a strong opinion about it, I could not write much that was not emotionally laden. After one year, I will venture an opinion about the event if only to discover whether my emotions have subsided.
First, I admit to proselytizing for an idea about religion as I have done in the past. I am not proselytizing for any particular religion nor atheism. However, I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state. Today as yesterday, the struggle continues all over the world to reach this ideal. With that preliminary out of the way, permit me to proselytize a little and argue a point.
Taking all this into account, it would seem that the "sleep of reason" interpretation of religion is less than compelling. It is quite clear that explicit religious belief requires a suspension of the sound rules according to which most scientists evaluate evidence. But so does most ordinary thinking, of the kind that sustains our commonsense intuitions about the surrounding environment. More surprising, religious notions are not at all a separate realm of cognitive activity. They are firmly rooted in the deepest principles of cognitive functioning. First, religious concepts would not be salient if they did not violate some of our most entrenched intuitions (e.g., that agents have a position in space, that live beings grow old and die, etc.). Second, religious concepts would not subsist if they did not confirm many intuitive principles. Third, most religious norms and emotions are parasitic upon systems that create very similar norms (e.g., moral intuitions) and emotions (e.g., a fear of invisible contaminants) in non-religious contexts.
In this sense, religion is vastly more "natural" than the "sleep of reason" argument would suggest. People do not adhere to concepts of invisible ghosts or ancestors or spirits because they suspend ordinary cognitive resources, but rather because they use these cognitive resources in a context for which they were not designed in the first place. However, the "tweaking" of ordinary cognition that is required to sustain religious thought is so small that one should not be surprised if religious concepts are so widespread and so resistant to argument. To some extent, the situation is similar to domains where science has clearly demonstrated the limits or falsity of our common intuitions. We now know that solid objects are largely made up of empty space, that our minds are only billions of neurons firing in ordered ways, that some physical processes can go backwards in time, that species do not have an eternal essence, that gravitation is a curvature of space-time. Yet even scientists go through their daily lives with an intuitive commitment to solid objects being full of matter, to people having non-physical minds, to time being irreversible, to cats being essentially different from dogs, and to objects falling down because they are heavy.
In a sense, the cognitive study of religion ends up justifying a common intuition, best expressed by Jonathan Swift's dictum that "you do not reason a man out of something he was not reasoned into." The point of studying this scientifically is to show to what extent we can expect religious notions to be stable and salient in human cultures, not just now but for a long time to come.
Two wins and a postponement in today's Premiership. Since beginning my new strategy for picking winners, I am absolutely smoking.
One Christmas, several years ago, a girlfriend gave me a tall stainless steel thermal coffee mug—the kind you can sip from while driving to work. I have tried to drink my morning coffee from cups and other mugs since then. But the coffee tastes better and stays warmer in the mug she gave me.
Friday night. This time I play it sneaky--just for a goof. I get to the local bar about two hours after all the other folks who drink there regularly. I plop my geezer ass amongst them. In a magnanimous gesture, I buy everyone a round. After that, everybody buys me rounds—including the bartenders. This goes on all night, so I save a lot of money.
Afghan citizen and former Muslim Abdul Rahman has converted to Christianity. He could be sentenced to death under Shariah law provisions contained in the Afghan constitution. The Afghan constitution is built on an uneasy alliance between secular freedoms and religious laws. Shariah law mitigates against Rahman in this case.
I finished reading Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, a book about his life long obsession with the Arsenal football team. Now, it’s on to Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World: an unlikely theory of globalization.
I won 3 and lost 1 in the FA Cup this week. I picked the 0-0 draw between Charlton vs. Boro today, which made all the difference.
I didn’t play fantasy baseball last year even though I have won my fantasy league in years past. Blogging took its place by replacing one fantasy with another.
I was talking to a guy last night who from the beginning of the Iraq War until now has been a vocal critic of it. He surprised me by saying we should not immediately withdraw from Iraq.
This is not what I want to write about, but it's midnight, and I am tired. This seems the easiest thing.
President Bush has made it official. The next President and the 2009 Congress will have to see to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
When I woke this morning, I admitted to myself I would be watching the Birmingham City vs. Liverpool FA Cup game this afternoon. After all, I wagered on Liverpool. So, here I am eating a late lunch in front of the television.
I have been having a devil of a time publishing on Blogger the past several days. My blog disappears after I publish a posting. When I attempt to republish the whole blog, I get a write/out of space error message. When I hit the republish index only button, things seem to return to order. It appears I am doomed to a multi-step process if I want to publish anything.
I found these headlines on the NYT home page this morning: Iraqi Insurgents Storm Police Station, Killing 18 officers, and New Business Blooms in Iraq: Terror Insurance.
I ventured to the local bar yesterday to try and discover whether St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Chicago was finally over. The bar was mostly empty. Only one regular was there, and he left shortly after I arrived. Then the rest of the folks left, and I was left completely alone to drink a couple of beers and watch the basketball tournament with no obstructions and distractions.
Writing has become damned difficult lately.
Fulham 1 - 0 Chelsea. Thus, I finish with 5 wins and 1 loss in Premier League play this weekend. I made last minute bets on Tottenham yesterday and Liverpool today, both at good odds, and both winners. Things turned out way better than planned.
Sunday morning, and Chelsea is a frustrating goal down versus Fulham. A potential Chelsea loss stands between my perfect 6 wins and no losses in Premier League football this weekend. Come on guys, get it together in the second half.
After attending an anti-war rally last night, conveniently located outside my door, I was wrenched back into reality.
A very nice rally was held protesting the war a block from where I live, so I joined the proceedings for awhile. Several thousand people seemed to be there. I was going to post a picture, but Blogger is all messed up right now.
Chicago held its St. Patrick's Day parades last Saturday. And of course, everyone went out drinking after that was all over. Yesterday was the official drinking celebration. And now today, people who missed the first couple of rounds, or didn't get enough, are out in force.
The Everton vs. Aston Villa game is over, the Warburg vs. Hamburg match now plays on TV, and the Birmingham vs. Tottenham match is coming up on TV in a few minutes; three ESPN Gamecast computer screens are open to the Arsenal vs. Charlton, West Brom vs. Man. U., and Bolton vs. Sunderland matches—all of which I have wagered on and apparently won; the NCAA Wrestling Tournament plays on another computer screen; the NCAA basketball tournament is starting, and the college wrestling finals will be played later on TV; my sport radio is dialed into Saturday morning flashback on WXRT (year 1971) with Bob Dylan playing my favorite of his: Watching the River Flow; I am in heaven.
I am in the top 12,000 with one of my ESPN basketball brackets. That's pretty good, at least for me. Danger lurks in the future. One of my Final Four teams was Kansas, who lost yesterday. Thus, as the tournament advances, I'll be falling out of the top 12,000, and become one of the several million who entered the tournament--consigned to oblivion if you will.
I have always enjoyed following sports—some more than others. The National Collegiate wrestling championships are being contested in Oklahoma City this weekend. The past two nights, I have sat in front of the computer and watched the real time results of all the matches.
As I mentioned in a comment to a previous post, I was going to buy a condo in Kauai and treat all my favorite bloggers to a trip out there should I win the $10 million in the NCAA basketball pool I entered.
Because sports wagering has significantly increased at State Street, we will only be updating results at the end of each month in order to save time and space. (Don't everybody cheer at once.)
The history of soccer is a sad voyage from beauty to duty. When the sport became an industry, the beauty that blossoms from the joy of play got torn out by its very roots. In this fin-de-siecle world, professional soccer condemns all that is useless, and useless means all that is not profitable. Nobody earns a thing from that crazy feeling that for a moment turns a man into a child playing with a balloon, like a cat with a ball of yarn; a ballet dancer who romps with a ball as light as a balloon or a ball of yarn, playing without even knowing he's playing, with no purpose or clock or referee.
From Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
Last night I retired to the local bar with my NCAA basketball tournament bracket sheet and a mound of statistics, rankings, and ratings for all the teams. Each year, I enter one of those Internet promotional mega-pools, the kind with a kazillion entries. This year's promotion is $10 million if you pick every game correctly.
I was looking at the odds on the 2008 Presidential election. Hillary Clinton is the favorite at 3-1. George Allen Jr. is 7-1 and John McCain is 8-1
I get my draw to make up the one I missed earlier today. Now, if my beloved Hawkeyes would only cover the spread, I'd be golden this Sunday--or at least silver anyway.
Not content to leave well enough alone, I wagered on Iowa +2.5 to win vs. Ohio St. in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament Final.
I couldn't resist. I bet the draw at 2.85 between Juventus at home versus AC Milan.
I lose my draw.
This is why those of us whom have refrained from using the word Fascist for the tactics of the Bush Administration often wind up looking like fools. Read Deputies' Questions Unsettle University in the LA Times. The story is causing a stir, as well it should. Of course, those who don't care about their freedom should go to Whitehouse.gov for a completely fictitious account of what is happening in America.
A Pomona College professor of Latin American history said Friday that he was questioned about his Venezuela connections by two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies working for a federal task force and called the quizzing an intrusion on his academic freedom.
The college's president weighed in as well, saying he feared the "chilling effect" such visits could have on academia.
Professor Miguel Tinker-Salas said the deputies entered his office without an appointment Tuesday during hours normally set aside for student conferences. He said the deputies were there for about 25 minutes and asked him about the Venezuelan community and his relationship with it. They also told him he was not the subject of an investigation (a patent lie--my words). . .
Tinker-Salas figured in a Christian Science Monitor story last month dealing with whether Iran and Venezuela could forge a political counterweight to U.S. power. He said the detectives questioned him on subjects that easily could have been answered elsewhere.
Tinker-Salas said the deputies also questioned waiting students about him and examined cartoons on his office door.
"They asked them about my classes," he said. "My students were intimidated."
You know I gotta hunch, fat man. I gotta hunch
it's me from here on in ... One ball, corner
(shot goes in)
I mean, that ever happen to you? When all of a
sudden you feel like you can't miss? I dreamed
about this game, fat man. I dreamed about this
game every night on the road ... five ball ...
(shot goes in)
You know, this is my table, man. I own it.
Fast Eddie Felson, The Huslter
The Hustler is showing on Turner Classic Movies right now. I'll be watching that until it's over.
A honey of a day; blue sky; walking around outside without wearing a winter coat; and the sliding glass door to the balcony wide open to let in some air.
There are people who think they find the key to their destinies in heredity, others in horoscopes, others again in education. For my part, I believe that I should gain numerous insights into my later life from my collection of picture postcards, if I were able to leaf through it again today.
Edie at Annotated Life has gotten me interested again in historicism and prediction via her recent articles titled A Scientific Historical Perspective.
The season ending episode of Battlestar Galactica was tonight. It won't be back until October. Now what do I do on Friday night?
I have Chelsea 1.48 to win at home versus Totenham on Saturday. I bet the draw at 3.18 in the Arsenal (home) versus Liverpool match on Sunday.
It is actually a pretty good day: partly cloudy sky, and the air hints of Spring.
Now that the smoke has cleared the ideological battlefield, the Iraq War shows itself to be a grand experiment in social engineering. The war’s primary goal was to create a secular society embracing the Neoliberal economic model friendly to U. S. interests. Some cynically call it modernization. Supporting that economic model would be a democratically elected government of those who fully embrace the Neoliberal economic model. Reconstruction in these terms means spending enough money to assure friendly candidates get elected and stay elected. The result would be an outpost and beacon to other countries within the region to embrace global capitalism as a newly found religion, and relegating Islam to a subsidiary role in their cultures.
OK, now we are losing in baseball to a bunch of guys from Canada who aren't good enough to play hockey? This is too much. Whatever happened to US hegemony? The only thing that is keeping me from throwing myself from my 11th floor balcony is the hope the Cubs will win the World Series this year.
I found this article, Discovering Karl Popper, by Peter Singer, who reviews a couple of books about Karl Popper for the The New York Review of Books back in May 2, 1974. Here's some stuff about Popper versus Marx, but the article is worth reading for an overview of Popper and his critics.
Popper's Marx is a rigid determinist who thought he had discovered the inexorable laws that control our destiny, laws in the face of which we are "mere puppets, irresistibly pulled by economic wires." Using this discovery, Marx, like a good historicist, is supposed to have considered himself in a position to prophesy the allegedly inevitable outcome of all human history.
Popper is not the first to have misinterpreted Marx in this way. Indeed, this is one of those fortunate instances in which the author lived long enough to rebut the misinterpretation. In a letter written in reply to Mikhailovsky, a contemporary critic, Marx denies that he has given "a historico-philosophic theory of the general path that every people is fated to tread." Mikhailovsky, he protests, "is both honouring and shaming me too much.". It was in reply to this sort of dogmatic, rigidly deterministic interpretation of his ideas that Marx, late in life, used to say that he was not a Marxist.
Admittedly, Marx was being a little disingenuous. As Engels wrote in a letter to Bloch, he and Marx were partly to blame for the misunderstanding, having felt the need to stress the economic side in opposition to those who denied it any role at all in history. Still, as Engels goes on to say, one has only to look at Marx's own historical writings, especially The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, to find that Marx is well aware that, as the first page of that work says, "men make their own history," though under circumstances handed down from the past. The same point is also to be found in quite theoretical, non-historical texts—the "Theses on Feuerbach" is the classic example.
This is not to say that Popper's attack on Marx misses its mark entirely. Marx sometimes, and Engels more frequently, wrote as if Marxism were a body of scientific knowledge that included general laws governing all historical development. Because this conception of Marxism is relatively easy to grasp, and attractive to a period impressed with the achievements of science in other areas, it has proved popular with later Marxists. Since most of the predictions that can be culled from the original general laws have turned out to be false, one would have to be extraordinarily biased to hold this view today. This is the only possible interpretation of Marxism that Popper could be said to have refuted.
It is not, in any case, a tenable interpretation. We have seen that late in life Marx and Engels rejected the idea of general laws determining all history. In his early years too, when Marx transformed what he thought sound in Hegel's philosophy into the ideas that we now associate with his name, he made no claims to scientific certainty. Moreover, Marx continued to think in the categories and terminology of Hegelian philosophy even while planning his most "scientific" works, as the recently translated rough draft of Capital shows. In the light of these texts—which Popper admits he had not read when he wrote The Open Society—Marx appears less the Newton of the social sciences, more the philosopher struggling to apply to the real world the insights gained from his Hegelian education.
The fact remains that these insights do prove illuminating. A proper appreciation of Marxism would grant its philosophical orientation and would see it as suggestive of ways of looking at man and society that are scientifically fruitful, although it is not itself a full-blown science. We may disregard Marx's sometimes excessive claims to certainty and his mistaken predictions, and yet agree that he has pointed out a path along which the social sciences may progress. Before Marx it was common to treat man and his ideas as if their history and development were independent of the fulfilling of more mundane needs; since Marx the idea that man's ideological, political, social, and economic activities are bound up together and cannot be understood fully in isolation has become generally accepted. For this reason Marx could justly claim that his insights have made a science of society possible.
I cannot see why Popper should want to deny any of this. It fits well with his view of the role metaphysics can play in science, as a source of hypotheses for the scientist to test; and it fits too with his own admission that his treatment of Plato and Hegel in The Open Society was influenced by Marx, and that a return to pre-Marxian social science is inconceivable. To say that, today, no rational man can fail to be a Marxist would be an exaggeration—but no worse an exaggeration than Magee's remark that after reading Popper no rational man can remain a Marxist.
I have Liverpool 1.48 to win at home over Benfica in today's Champions League match.
I win on a goal at 87'. Whew!
Hard to believe, but the second leg of the round of 16 in the Champions League begins tomorrow.
I see where Crash has won the Academy Award for best picture. That is the only movie of the bunch I saw this past year, and that only because the DVD was given to me as a Christmas present. I liked it. Stories with all kinds of people bumping into each other capture my imagination.
Not knowing what to do with myself in the wee hours last night, I began rereading Scanning the Century, a poetry anthology, that documents, roughly in chronological sequence, the Twentieth Century. I am hooked as I was the first time.
Sometimes there comes--I have a premonition--
A deathstorm out of the distant north.
Everywhere the stink of corpses
The great murder begins.
The heart of heaven darkens,
The storm lifts its deadly claws:
The base are hurled to the ground
Actors explode, girls go bezerk.
With a crash a stable falls
Not even a fly can save itself.
Beautiful homosexual men
tumble out of their beds.
Walls of all the houses crack.
Fish are rotting in the streams.
Everything comes to its own sticky end.
Screeching buses are overturned.
Translated from the German by
Peter Forbes and P. D. Royce.
Why is our century worse than any other?
Why is our century worse than any other?
Is it that in the stupor of fear and grief
It has plunged its fingers in the blackest ulcer,
Yet cannot bring relief?
Westward the sun is dropping,
And the roofs of towns are shining in the light.
Already Death is chalking doors with crosses
And calling the ravens and the ravens are in flight.
Translated from the Russian by D. M. Thomas
I bought my Coca Cola and drank it. The sugar elevated my mood, which was definitely sagging all day long. And now what? Watch the Academy Awards ceremony? No, I need something more interesting than that to latch on to.
Snow and fog reign over the city today. I need a 12 ounce Coca Cola, but I'm too lazy go to the store to buy one. Maybe, later.
To a Friend
Poetry is always about the big themes--
OK, you readers of State Street having been asking for the secret of our gambling success. Now you have it.
So, what do we look like? What are we doing?
I recall reading in a how-to-write-poetry book that a poet had to know how to write a good sentence. My first reaction was this: holy shit, that changes everything; it sounds like it is too hard.
What if I was just me--nobody else--just me?
I watched the football match after I woke: all the while feeling guilty about not writing. After the game, I ran my finger across the books on one of the bookshelves until said finger rested on The Complete Poems of Anna Ahkmatova.
I have one path:
From the window to the door and back.
Day followed day--this and that
Seemed to go on
As usual--but through it all
Loneliness was permeating.
It smelled a little of tobacco,
Of Mice, of an open chest,
And it enveloped everything in poison
Mist . . .
July 25, 1944
We won, and it looks as though we might be on the uptick. But you never know.
I think you have seen this one on State Street before. (We are too lazy to look it up, even if it is on our own blog and computer.) It's Ray Carver though, and is worth repeating.
Make use of the things around you,
This light rain
Outside the window, for one.
This cigarette between my fingers,
These feet on the couch.
The faint sound of rock-and-roll,
The red Ferrari in my head.
The woman bumping
Drunkenly around in the kitchen . . .
Put it all in,
Should you decide to write enough and expose it to public scrutiny, you will be found out as a phony, a Philistine, a fraud, more than a little inconsistent, and at turns morose and ecstatic.
On any given day, one is often torn between what one ought to write about and what one can write about. I say it is better to accept the doable, even if it is not what one should be doing. To do anything less means remaining silent, and, thereby, entirely giving up the game.
I hope I never again hear or read the expression, “9/11 changed everything.” Christ, my father grew up dirt poor during the Great Depression, and spent three years in North Africa and Europe fighting World War II. I never once heard him say an event during his life changed everything.
The workingman is too busy working to write much about the experience. It is left to the artist, who is not working, to write about working. The world divides itself into these classes too, along with other divisions useful and worthless.
I plucked Wittgenstein’s Tractatus off the bookshelf during a fit of boredom and low anxiety. The bookmark inside it is a 5 x 8 note card, which has a matrix inscribed upon it, whose entries are the numerals of certain basic passages, and can be read in different orders to achieve different and various explanations of the book’s central ideas.
Writing a blog is hard work—that is if you want it to be well written; and blogs are a form of writing despite those folks who want a free pass on writing well, yet still desire a large readership. State Street stands convicted of many egregious offenses against good writing. However, let’s not turn a rare morning of sober reflection into a maudlin lament.
Shortly after President Bush's State of the Union speech, I speculated on whether there was any clear intent to support the troops after they returned from Iraq. It appears the answer was not slow in coming. Here is a story from the AP: Veterans May Face Health Care Cuts in 2008.
WASHINGTON - At least tens of thousands of veterans with non-critical medical issues could suffer delayed or even denied care in coming years to enable President Bush to meet his promise of cutting the deficit in half — if the White House is serious about its proposed budget.
After an increase for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing by leaps and bounds, White House budget documents assume a cutback in 2008 and further cuts thereafter.
In fact, the proposed cuts are so draconian that it seems to some that the White House is simply making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better. More realistic numbers, however, would raise doubts as to whether Bush can keep his promise to wrestle the deficit under control by the time he leaves office.
At Scientific American: Drug Found to Reverse the Ravages of Alzheimer's in Mice
Juan Cole has an article at Salon, Iraq's worst week--and Bush's, assessing the perilous condition of Iraq. The one easy step the U. S. could take to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis is withdrawing its troops from the country. Some might it consider it unethical, but that is to strain the meaning of ethical beyond comprehension.