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August 02, 2002


By Jove, I Think He's Got It
Old friend and sometime poet Tim Jarrett just coined a line that sums up the business-über-alles obsession of the people who run the White House: the Harken-Halliburton presidency.
He couldn't be righter.

Greg G. @ 3:23 PM | # |


Being Cynthia McKinney . . .
. . . the Democratic 10-year congresswoman, must be hard, especially with polling numbers turning against her, Republican activists piling onto her, and angry pro-Israel groups giving cash to her opponent. But then you remember that it couldn't happen to a more deserving woman, and suddenly, you don't feel so bad.

I cannot wait to wave goodbye to that woman. Time until the Georgia primary: 18 days and counting.

Update: Eyebrows are arching all over the web today because a blogger who fiddled with Open Secrets, a campaign finance info web site, found out McKinney raised scads of cash -- her third-highest take of the whole campaign, in fact -- on . . . September 11, 2001. And the more people look into this, the harder it gets to explain away.

Remember when McKinney said Bush tried to profit from Sept. 11? Well, now methinks she doth protest too much.

Greg G. @ 12:31 PM | # |


I Believe She Can Fly
Boo-yah! The Los Angeles Sparks' Lisa Leslie slammed in the WNBA's first dunk Tuesday night. I've dissed women's hoops for being boring for years, so let me be the be the first to step up and apologize -- 'cause yeah, yeah, yeah, they playin' basketball. Sorry I ever doubted.
Darn, now I can't get this song out of my head. =,

Greg G. @ 11:53 AM | # |


Where Are They Now: The Recount Edition
Katherine Harris, Florida’s secretary of state, might know a thing or two about election law, but apparently she never got around to learning one wee little detail. The girl just doesn’t know when to quit, does she? =,

Greg G. @ 10:54 AM | # |


Shatterproof Glassman
Say you wrote a book. A book called Dow 36,000 -- a book that, with a little hindsight, looks absolutely nuts.

What do you do -- can you salvage your reputation? Should you hide under a rock? Look sheepish? Turn in your economist's license and change your name to Basil Exposition?

Not if you're Jimmy Glassman -- because for you, your China-sized chutzpah means never having to say you're sorry. Especially when you can blame your critics instead.

Ex-Clintonite economist Brad DeLong gets this just about right:
There are two different Dow 36000 books that they could have written. The first would say four things:
  • It looks like stocks held for a very long periods -- 30 years or more -- are no riskier than bonds.
  • If you valued stocks on the same cash-flow principles as you valued bonds, the Dow would be valued at 36000. . . .
The second book would say:
Which book did they write? Look at the full title and subtitle: DOW 36,000 : The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market. The point made in the subtitle is not that over the long run cash flows paid to stockholders give them a superior return over bonds . . . [but] that stock prices are going to rise. Read their Atlantic Monthly article summarizing their book if you are skeptical.

Which book are they now pretending that they wrote? I leave that as an exercise to the reader.
Mr. Glassman? Nice try at rehabbing your reputation in order to look more like an scholar and less like a hack. But we're onto you. Your colleagues are onto you. And unlike your friends in the conservative press, we're not letting you off so easy. So here's my advice: the next time The Wall Street Journal calls you, here's what you should say:

"Hello, this is Basil Exposition with British intelligence!"

Update: The Rittenhouse Review went straight for the glass jaw:

Do they mean that if an investor buys the Dow 30 now and then holds these stocks for some unspecified period of time he will be handsomely rewarded because the index will eventually reach 36000?

No kidding! Really? Amazing! . . .

All Glassman and Hassett are saying is the same thing every two-bit broker says over a few cocktails: “In the long run, stocks always go up.” Every element of that seemingly profound statement is true. Pick almost any “long run” -- 10-, 20-, and certainly 30-year period -- and you will find that the major stock indexes (i.e., “stocks” as a group, rather than a particular stock) appreciated, usually substantially.

That’s our view and we’re giving it to you for free.
BTW: Does this mean I don't get to write for Tech Central Station? Waaaah!

Greg G. @ 1:03 AM | # |

August 01, 2002


Political Roundup
Lots of news today. Wanna get started?
  • I thought about blogging this article about the presidential wannabes at the Democratic Leadership Council convention the other day, but every contender there except John Kerry bores me out of my skull. I'd rather blog Lavalife.
  • Vermont governor Howard Dean -- the presidential candidate who's an ostensible longshot -- swung through Atlanta city hall the other day, and laid out an even better position on guns than I'd expected. Here's how he said it: he's got no time for gun control, but that's because he's from Vermont, where there is no homicide problem. If he signed a law taking away a rifle handed down by someone's grandfather, he'd be toast. But -- but -- who's to tell Atlantans what do about guns when they've got a big homicide problem? Not Vermont. The best policy, then, is to let state and local governments, handle gun control on a case-by-case basis -- a policy that allows for the fact that states' and cities' needs are pretty wildly divergent.

    Once again, the advantage here goes to Dean. Watch out for this fella -- if he gets money, he could be dangerous.
  • And the award for dorkiest campaign web address of 2002 goes to . . . Greg Hecht (pronounced 'heck') of!
  • Wait, Governor-for-Life Roy Barnes (D-Ga.) is running for president? Who knew? (And why in sam hell is Al Gore -- isn't he running for president, too? -- running ads on Google when Barnes gets searched?)
  • Surprise, surprise -- two of the largest contributors to the Bush-Cheney 2000 recount machine were Halliburton and Enron. Who'd have thunk it.
  • Keeping up the Cheney chase:, who keeps tabs on our elusive vice president so we don't have to. He was in Des Moines on Tuesday raising cash for the Iowa GOP, which kept him way too busy to answer questions about Halliburton.
  • Tom Tomorrow is on a roll. He found a sweet quote from Robert Byrd about who we shouldn't take lessons from on social policy, and on top of that he linked to what has to be one of the most brilliant political cartoons I've ever seen. (Image courtesy of uComics.)

  • As this NPR poll shows, the outlook for Republicans in the fall election keeps getting worse and worse. Read the whole thing. (I might go into more depth about this later in the day.)

Greg G. @ 11:52 PM | # |


Opening Web Politics to All of the People
Campaigns & Elections magazine wrote once that candidates never make web sites that are usable by the deaf and blind. Well, I say bulls--- to that, because I'm working with a designer on my nonprofit's anti-sprawl initiative who built an accessible campaign website herself. Her name's LuAnn, and what's poetic is who the site is for: Sen. Max Cleland, who lost both of his legs and an arm in Vietnam, and knows more about the obstacles faced by the disabled than almost anyone else in Congress.

Kudos to Sen. Cleland and LuAnn for treating access to the site as more than an afterthought -- and kudos to candidates who follow suit.

Note: For more on making web sites more accessible, click here. Of course, you could always just hire LuAnn.

Greg G. @ 1:21 AM | # |


Misunderstanding the Point
Query: what's the point of making one of the most forbidding places on Earth a cinch to get to? Don't ask me, but you might want to put that question to the folks who plan to expand the runway at Nepal's Shyangboche Airport -- located 12,204 feet above sea level, just a stone's throw from Mt. Everest.

Would it boost tourism? Well, maybe. But the arrogance of hauling more tourists to a trash-plagued mountain that can kill a dozen in an afternoon's turn of weather boggles my mind. Everest is a formidable and dangerous place -- one that would get all the more dangerous if developers make it a novice climber's Himalayan playground.

The whole purpose of a trip to Everest is adventure, I've always thought. The world would lose that if the mountain were just a plane-change away on Singapore Airlines. Let's think about something greater than convenience here -- let's respect the mountain and leave the airport alone.

On a side note: did any of you know there's a Women's Tour de France? Or that it's starting this week? Sweet!

Greg G. @ 12:42 AM | # |

July 31, 2002


Sad Mac Update, Day Four
Trusty DiskWarrior went whacking away at my hard disk for 70 hours, sniffing for glitches and snooping for problems wherever it could see. Considering how much faster the program seemed to be rolling along, I was starting to feel downright heady.

Then Mother Nature tossed a thunderstorm our way just long enough to knock the power out. Now I'm back to square one. And it looks like DiskWarrior might need a couple of days to get its groove back. [If, that is, it was working at all.]

Curse you, Red Baron!


About This Post: What's the Sad Mac? Well, if you're an Apple owner and your Mac feels hunky-dory, you'll see a smiling icon in the shape of one of the original Macs. When your Mac swallows something bad, though -- a fried circuit, or a seriously rancid system folder -- your computer lets you know at startup by ditching the smiley face for a Mac that looks like it needs a trip to poison control. That's the Sad Mac (see left) -- and it can ruin your day faster than just about any non-fatal illness known to man.

Greg G. @ 11:41 PM | # |


Wyeth in the White Hizz-ouse
You know you've hit the political blogging big time when you're getting hits from the Executive Office of the President. [It's just too bad that had to happen under this president. =, ]

Greg G. @ 11:30 PM | # |


Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey . . .
. . . goodbye to the Ford Excursion, the SUV brute that burns 12 miles per gallon to push its 3½-ton self around. Considering how much they dwarfed other cars on the road, it was tough for many drivers to feel safe around them. And considering how out of control our air pollution problems are, the Excursion only made matters worse.

I don't expect everyone to get religion and drive gas-sipping hybrid cars from now on. Still, I'd call dumping the Excursion a good start.

Greg G. @ 11:35 AM | # |


Failing Your Way to Success
Take a look at this morning's Financial Times; an investigative report in today's edition tracks down executives from the 25 largest corporations to go bankrupt over the last 18 months, and documents that they walked away with a total of $3.3 billion. [Here's the teaser.] "Of the 208 executives and directors included in the survey," the paper reports, "52 individuals grossed more than $10m, 31 more than $25m, 16 more than $50m, and eight more than $100m."

Ahhh, that sounds to me like the free market at work -- right, Mr. Glassman?

Note: Not to worry, Sen. Lieberman -- I'll stay lighthearted about this. After all, we wouldn't want to sound too anti-business, eh?

Greg G. @ 12:38 AM | # |


Just a Harmless Little Plug
Ever say to yourself, "gosh dang, if only that Greg Greene peckerhead would give us folks out here some way to buy him knick-knacks and whiz-bang gadgets?" Well, today's your lucky day: now you can. Supplies are limited, though, so shop today!

Greg G. @ 12:08 AM | # |

July 30, 2002


Promises Made, Promises Kept
Printed in The Onion, January 18, 2001:

Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over'

What's frightening is how much the article reads like fact. ["Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an 18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply, losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell."] When life's like an Onion article, you know you're in trouble.

Just one more time, God -- what did we do to deserve this?! =,

Greg G. @ 11:46 PM | # |


Democrats: Hot or Not?
The Daily Kos buys into the prospect of an emerging Democratic majority, but -- as people who follow this guy might have guessed -- Patrick Ruffini says not so fast.

He doesn't convince me -- as one commenter says, the "facts on the ground" in the last few elections make the case for Democratic dominance by themselves. Still, it's a worthwhile post.

On another note, I withhold any and all comment on this. Tim, Tim, Tim . . .

Greg G. @ 11:11 PM | # |


Sad Mac Update: Day 3
Still no relief. DiskWarrior has had the drive whirring away for 48 hours and counting. There's a dialog on the screen that tells me I can cancel if I'd like -- after this long? fat chance -- but that's pretty much it. The progress bar seems to be speeding up, though.

Maybe this'll turn out okay, and I'll be spared the trouble of taking her to a clinic or shipping her out to Cupertino. I'm starting to wonder, though, whether the upgrade to an iBook might need to happen sooner than I'd planned. <--sigh-->

Greg G. @ 10:46 PM | # |


One More Reason to Hug Bud Selig
Sportswriter Frank Deford, in an in-depth bio piece on America's accidental commissioner from the All-Star break issue of Sports Illustrated, sneaked in a great anecdote about how President Bush, if Selig hadn't been so bent on running Major League Baseball himself, might have gone for that job and never bothered with running for Governor of Texas.

Guys, is it too late for a switch-up?

Over at the Daily Kos, meanwhile, they've come up a stroke of genius: cure baseball's ills by contracting the Yankees. I'm 100 percent down with that -- and no, I would never just say that out of self interest . . .

Greg G. @ 10:13 PM | # |


Calloo! Callay!
From the Virginia file:
  • Former Dec editor Eileen and her hubby, Jordan, have a stork flying around with their name on it. Expect a February delivery. =,
  • Fellow Dekkie and '94 Lawnie Angela has gone a-shopping for a wedding gown. No word yet on the date.

Greg G. @ 2:08 PM | # |

July 29, 2002


What can you say? Lance wins the Tour de France for the fourth time in a row, blowing past the field woth more than seven minutes to spare and vaulting into the top echelon of all-time Tour competitors.

Boston Globe columnist Ron Borges still wonders whether cycling counts as a sport at all. "Does the ability to sit . . . [and] pump your legs like a madman make you a great athlete," he asks, "or merely a guy who does better without training wheels than most people?" Mmmmm-hmm. Tell you what, Ronnie -- let's pack you off to the Alps for a week with a sweet ride and let you unathletically pump your legs through those cute little hills to your heart's content. He ought to make it look like a breeze.

But enough about that. Congrats, Lance. Best of luck prepping to snare win #5.

Update: Jeff Cooper of Cooped Up picked our boy Ronnie apart a couple of days back.

Greg G. @ 6:26 PM | # |


The First Rule of Holes? Stop Digging
James Glassman, coauthor of the prophetic Dow 36,000, took to The Weekly Standard over the weekend to blame Congress for sabotaging the stock markets.

Yes, you read that right.

I'll let Josh Marshall take the lead here, because I'm buckled over in pain from all the laughter. Are we sure he doesn't write for The Onion?

Update: Kevin at Lean Left put Mr. Glassman through the shredder. To wit:
Further, there is no such thing as "the markets". They are not monolithic entities, but just a simple collection of human beings. Thus, they will react as human beings react - and right now, the human beings that make up the markets do not trust the accountants and the CEOs, so they are abandoning them. Over-regulation has nothing to do with it - fear of fraud does.

Greg G. @ 3:38 PM | # |


Straight to (rhymes with 'Dell')
Glenn Reynolds has been corking off about lousy service from Dell for days now, but he's hardly the only one. Consumer guru Clark Howard says the company's customer satisfaction ratings have gone into the tank, and Dell's burnt customers aren't holding back about it.

But maybe Dell could use all those clogged customer support lines for a quick reinforcement of brand identity, eh? I can hear it now: "Duuude, you're getting put on hold!" =,

Greg G. @ 2:17 PM | # |


Sad Mac Update
After running Norton Utilities and getting a scare-the-bejesus-out-of-me warning message about 2,050 crosslinked files, I lost any and all impulse I had to get out and hike the mountain like I'd planned. So I poked through the list, hoping my brain would figure out something to do.

That was a bad move. Did it just kill my Word files, as painful as that would have been? No. It napalmed Photoshop. Torched Dreamweaver. Nuked half my *.mp3s and went slaphappy through my system fold--

Wha?! System folder?!! Auuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh!

After screaming like a banshee all the way to the Lenox Square Apple Store, I stopped hyperventilating for long enough figure out that I might want to get some tech support before buying Mac OS X 10.1 and a new hard drive. I carted myself to the Genius Bar, and reeled off the whole sad story. After batting through a couple of quick questions -- nope, Norton didn't work; nope, can't reinstall the OS -- he pointed me to this little program called DiskWarrior that he swore by as the only disk utility he ever used.

Considering how that sounded a lot cheaper than a new hard disk, I went straight to the checkout counter.

I've been running DiskWarrior for 18 hours now, and it's still whirring away at what's left of all those crosslinked files. It's been a long wait through the triage, but better that than a total data loss. Wish me luck.

Greg G. @ 11:56 AM | # |


And Now, Some Momentary Self-Congratulation
You say it's your birthday!
It's my birthday too, yeah!
You say it's your birthday!
We're gonna have a good time!

Happy birthday to me/Happy birthday to me/Happy birthday to me . . .

Update: And him, too. And let's not forget this guy.

Greg G. @ 10:09 AM | # |

July 28, 2002


With Apologies to Eminem . . .
Guess what's whacked? My hard drive!
Yes it's whacked -- crispy fried . . .

Blogging may be light for the next few days. Apologies in advance.

Greg G. @ 1:54 PM | # |