Easy call

by Ted on September 1, 2004

The non-political Vietnam Veterans of America have condemned the Purple Hearts band-aids worn as jokes by some Republican delegates.

Vietnam Veterans of America has received reports of delegates at the Republican National Convention disseminating and wearing “Purple Heart” band-aids in mockery of one of nation’s most distinctive honors, the Purple Heart medal…

The spirit of the award recognizes the personal sacrifice of our troops without regard to the severity or nature of the wound. It is the wounding itself that merits the honor. To demean the decoration and the sacrifice it symbolizes demeans all veterans and the patriots who honor them.

With our nation’s sons and daughters at war to protect global freedom, demeaning military service in this way is especially hurtful. Vietnam Veterans of America urges all Americans to decry this type of outrageous, disrespectful, and infantile behavior.

(Bitter rant with links to Bush-supporters who thought this was funny deleted)


Via Oliver Willis

Hastert and the franking rules

by Harry on September 1, 2004

As a fellow prohibitionist I decided to send an email to Mr Hastert asking him either to assure me that he has turned over the evidence he has of Mr. Soros’s wrongdoings to the relevant authorities or, if there is no evidence, to withdraw his accusations as prominently as possible. I got this very odd message after I send my email:

bq. Due to Congressional franking rules I cannot send a personal response to people outside the 14th District of Illinois. Your opinion is still important to me though and will be registered.

What on earth does this mean? The Speaker of the House is not allowed to correspond with people outside his district? Can this be right? I am not asking this frivolously, or to make a partisan point against the Speaker, since my experience of US electoral and campaigning laws is sufficient to know that it is labyinthine and bizarre in the extreme; incredible as it is I’m entirely willing to believe it. I ask so that some of the experts out there can explain what it means.

Link roundup

by Ted on September 1, 2004

Fred Clark has two excellent posts (here and here) about the Republican vision of the “ownership society.” I can’t help but quote this:

Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., began his speech Tuesday at the Republican National Convention by talking about his father. “My dad, a family doctor in Tennessee for 50 years,” he said.

That would be Thomas Frist Sr., the founder of Columbia/HCA — a giant chain of more than 500 for-profit hospitals, outpatient centers and home health care agencies. HCA is worth about $20 billion.

So your basic Tennessee country doctor then.

Or this:

… The Republicans’ agenda … potentially involves a historic restructuring of the American system of government. Roughly two-thirds of taxable income is paid to workers in the form of wages and benefits. The other third goes to reward capital, or accumulated savings, in the form of corporate profits, dividends and interest payments. If Bush’s economic agenda was fully enacted, the vast bulk of these payments wouldn’t be taxed at all, and labor would end up shouldering practically the entire burden of financing the federal government.

In a new book, “Neoconomy: George Bush’s Revolutionary Gamble with America’s Future,” Daniel Altman, a former economics reporter for the Times and The Economist, describes what such a system might look like. “The fortunate and growing minority who managed to receive all their income from stocks, bonds and other securities would pay nothing — not a dime — for America’s cancer research, its international diplomacy, its military deterrent, the maintenance of the interstate highway system, the space program or almost anything else the federal government did. … Broadly speaking, that fortunate minority would be free-riders.”

That is President Bush’s goal and agenda for the next four years. Sound good to you?

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Soft drinks and hard evidence

by Daniel on September 1, 2004

This probably doesn’t mount to all that much, but it’s been irritating me slightly for the last couple of days …

We all know that the second most dispiriting phrase in the English language is “Steve Milloy has a devastating critique …” (the first most dispiriting phrase is “My new column is up at Tech Central Station”.) The original reason why the Volokh post linked above irritated me was that it came the day after a post on Tim Lambert’s marvellous spot on the radians/degrees error in that global warming error. It rather irked me that Tim Lambert should get referenced with caveats (“Of course, that’s the claim; if there’s a rebuttal somewhere, please point me to it”) while Steven Milloy got three paragraphs of direct quotation with no caveats at all. Anyone wh knows even a little bit about the two chaps knows that Tim has always been tirelessly and scrupulously accurate, while Steven Milloy, proprietor of “junkscience.com”, is a bit of a hack, who got his start with a bit part towards the end of the single largest and most impressive work of intellectual dishonesty of the previous century[1], the effort to discredit the scientific work on the link between tobacco and lung cancer.

So I decided to take a look at the “devastating critique” to see whether it was really all that.

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