Frank sez, “Curious as to how much $350 million in promised US aid for tsunami victims equals in expenditures on the war in Iraq? I did the math so you don’t have to. $350 million equals 42.27 hours of the cost of the war in Iraq. (And yes, the decimal point is in the right place.)”
PeopleSoft agrees to Oracle’s US$10 billion takeover bid
The long and drawn-out soap opera between Oracle and PeopleSoft is finally over. Instead of heading to court today for a hearing on PeopleSoft’s anti-takeover defense, it was announced that PeopleSoft’s board of directors have agreed to a US$10.3 billion deal with Oracle. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of January.
(Note: Taken verbatim from the sticker designed by the Cobb County School District in Georgia.) This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
This book was anonymously donated to your school library to discreetly promote religious alternatives to the theory of evolution. When you are finished with it, please refile the book in the fiction section.
Juan Cole: Informed Comment
The Bush administration is full of revolutionaries. They are shaking up the world by military force. They are playing a role familiar in modern history, pioneered by Napoleon Bonaparte, of using overwhelming military superiority to establish new forms of hegemony by appealing to desires for change among neighboring publics. Bonaparte promised the Italians liberty on the French model, but in fact reduced the Italians to a series of French puppet regimes and then he looted the country. So far Bush’s Iraq looks increasingly like Bonaparte’s Italy in these regards.
At a time of increased radicalization in the global South, at a time when mass terrorism has been made possible by new technologies, the last thing the US should be risking is destabilizing Asia by provoking a series of revolutions.
Kerry is not a revolutionary, unlike Bush. He recognizes that al-Qaeda is a real threat and needs to be the main focus of US security thinking. Kerry will capture or kill Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri because he will put the resources into that endeavor that Bush instead wasted in Iraq.
Yesterday I found myself listening, on my car radio, to someone from Nader’s campaign. This person was attempting to refute the various criticisms we’ve all heard so many times. It made me feel as though someone was trying to work their well-chewed gum ever deeper into my ears, and reminded me all too thoroughly of why I think of myself as centrist.
The idea that Kerry and Bush are merely two sides of the same bad coin is both ludicrous and all too potentially tragic.
At the risk of making him permanently self-conscious, I’m going to quote Bravus again, because he put this, yesterday, so much more tidily than I’ve yet been able to put it:
“I think I’ve said before that usually I have a fair bit of sympathy for the ‘they’re all as bad as each other, there’s no real difference’ argument. I really, honestly think that’s crap, this time around. Bush is heading for an undemocratic combination theocracy/oligarchy in unprecedented ways. The Republican party has been hijacked by extremists. Mainstream Republicans and mainstream Democrats might not have a lot of characteristics that are different, but these guys (Bush/Cheney/Rove) differ from both groups in their radicalism. A vote for them – or even a vote that’s not against them – is qualitatively different, I would argue, than any vote cast in the US in recent memory.”
This isn’t the election in which to make the quixotic but satisfying point that you’d really rather vote Green, or the quixotic but satisfying point that you’d really rather not have to vote for any more white men in tight blue suits at al
…excerpt from: William Gibson’s blog
Rocky Mountain News: Columnists
In one truly bizarre finding, the research found that 57 percent of Bush supporters assume that the majority of the world favors his re-election. According to recent international research in 10 countries, reported in the British newspaper The Guardian on Oct. 15, the world has “made up its mind, backing (Kerry) by a margin of 2 to 1.” A recent survey by leading newspapers in 10 countries concluded that “a majority of voters share a rejection of the Iraq invasion, contempt for the Bush administration, a growing hostility to the U.S. and a none-too-strong endorsement of Mr. Kerry.”
Yahoo! News – Marijuana measures on 3 states’ ballots
Alaska will become the first state to make marijuana legal if voters approve a measure on Tuesday’s ballot that has drawn criticism from the Bush administration.
Not a huge surprise given how the last three games have gone; but, it was surprising the Sox pulled off a 10-3 win. I guess the Yankees were tired after all. Fine by me; they’ve certainly had more than their share of winning, especially against Boston. Hope the Sox win the Series, too; like everyone else, I’m sick of hearing the whining about the Curse(tm). :)
“Make no mistake. These aren’t just a few errant, later-regretted remarks, the kind that people tend to blurt out in the heat of campaigns. As this article shows (free reg req), it’s a calculated and scurrilous effort to suggest that anyone who questions the Iraq debacle is unpatriotic.”
It boggles my mind how anyone can think that opposing the Iraq war, or at least the stated reasons for going there, is unpatriotic. To swipe a line from Princess Bride:
Sane People: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
If you haven’t heard, Red Hat’s Michael Tiemann has responded to Sun exec Jonathan Schwartz’s blog entries that more or less talk trash toward Red Hat in a big way. It’s all pretty amusing, particularly because a response such as Tiemann’s likely plays right into Schwartz’s hands, and makes Red Hat look pretty childish, too. Schwartz is a smart guy; I’m guessing nothing goes into his blog without prior careful consideration. El Reg has an article/tribute/review of the whole thing here. Oh, and how the heck did we get on the topic of Java when JS’s original, er, flame was about Open Source vs. Open Standards?
Chris Acheson writes, “John Taylor Gatto is a former New York City school teacher. During his 30-year career, he has taught at 5 different public schools, has had his teaching license suspended twice for insubordination, and was once covertly terminated while on medical leave. He has also won the New York City Teacher of the Year award three times and the New York State Teacher of the Year award once during the final year of his career. The whole time he has been an outspoken critic of the school system. Nine years after leaving his career, he published The Underground History of American Education (full text available here), in which he puts forth his insider’s vision of what is wrong with American schooling. His verdict is not what you’d expect: the school system cannot be fixed, Gatto asserts, because it has been designed not to educate. Skeptical? So was I.” Read on for the rest of Acheson’s review.
I was flying from Denver to Oakland, CA last June. In the post-takeoff announcement, we were told by the flight attendant:
“For security reasons, passengers must use the lavatories in their section of the aircraft. First class has two lavatories at the front of the cabin; coach has two lavatories in the rear of the plane. Thank you for your cooperation.”
For security reasons!? The lavatory? Like the “bombs” dropped in first class are somehow more secure than those in coach class. We have executive poop now? Chief Pooping Officer? Vice Poopident? Ahem, sorry. The fumes… got to me.
Where’s Bruce Schneier when you need him. Sheesh.
Scare quotes, oh my!
Scare quotes are the quotation marks found around phrases like “gangsta rap,” “shame spiral,” or “security zone”: coinages that may be lingo, that may be jargon, that may even be slang but are more likely excuses where a little distance is in order. The subject of the story may say it’s “the truth,” but we say it’s spinach and â€” ya know what? â€” to hell with it. Scare quotes throw a net around the ideas and assertions media culture hasn’t absorbed yet, stuff journalism’s jobholders may even be a little afraid of.
National Punctuation Day is Aug 22
You know who you are. You’re reading the SubQ and you have to take deep breaths because some submitter doesn’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s.” Or you shudder as someone thinks the plural of banana is “banana’s.” Or you find yourself unintentionally bemused by someone’s misuse of “scare quotes.”
The good news is that you are not alone, if sales of the surprise best-seller Eats, Shoots and Leaves: A Zero-Tolerance Approach To Punctuation by Lynne Truss is any indication. The unlikely smash has topped best-seller lists in the U.S. and Britain, and is among Amazon’s top worldwide sellers.
How did this happen? How did an fussy editor airing her pet peeves about punctuation become an international sensation? Truss herself isn’t sure, and views the whole thing as a “complete fluke.” She hardly expected its success, but takes comfort in knowing there are other sticklers out there. “I wrote Eats, Shoots & Leaves because I’d become very animated about illiteracy,” Truss explained. “I had no idea so many people shared my concern. It’s very heartening. Because I’m not myself a parent, I underestimated the extent to which ordinary, decent folk are worried about the kind of education their children are receiving.”
The book is probably not for everyone, as people who aren’t writers, editors or at least mildly word-obsessed may find it a bore. Others may be taken aback by her obsession, which included a regrettable episode of shredding a childhood pen pal for a perceived lack of literacy. She admits that sticklers like her can be “an annoying bunch of people.” But the book has received a boost from the expected friendly journalists, as well as those gearing up to salute National Punctuation Day on Aug. 22. If nothing else, it yields such bits of trivia as learning that 15th-century printer Aldus Manutius the Elder invented both the italic typeface and the semicolon. And she tries to make the process fun, offering up a punctuation game on her Web site, as well as the guilty pleasure of a punctuation hall of shame (where you can even submit your own photos chronicling abuse of the English language).
For all her humor, Truss sees slumping writing standards as a serious problem. She winces at discovering during televised quizzes “that most British people truly do not know their apostrophe from their elbow” and since learning that the United States “is not immune to similar levels of public illiteracy.” She notes the unfortunate timing of it all, as ignorance of the written word comes while written communication has become “the ascendant medium” because of the Internet, which “happens to be the most immediate, universal and democratic written medium that has ever existed.”