Posts from January 15, 2004

Top 20 reasons why George Bush wants to put a man on Mars

Top 20 reasons why George Bush wants to put a man on Mars
: Here are David Letterman’s reasons.

10. Dick Cheney needs a new undisclosed location

9. It’s part of his “No Planet Left Behind” initiative

8. Great deal on the off-season airfare right now at

7. Maybe we’ll find some weapons of mass destruction there

6. We’ve run out of places on Earth to drill for oil

5. Hoping to get Mork’s autograph

4. We cannot back down until the people of Mars hold free elections

3. Dude, free Mars bars

2. Why not? It’s not like we have an enormous debt or failing economy

1. Pete Rose bet him we wouldn’t do it

And here are Jack Balkin’s:

10. American troops sure to be greeted as liberators.

9. Barren Martian landscape resembles top of Dick Cheney’s head.

8. Secret campaign contributions by Mars Candy Company.

7. Martian officials have repeatedly refused to respond when Bush accused them of possessing weapons of mass destruction.

6. Paul Wolfowitz theorizes that bringing democracy to Mars will have domino effect throughout Solar System!

5. President thinks it would be really cool to dress up in space suit and shout “Mission Accomplished!”

4. No space contracts for Frenchies!

3. Ashcroft suggests Mars is great place to hold enemy combatants.

2. Large desert spaces with no water or intelligent life remind Bush of his Crawford ranch.

1. New Martian territories guaranteed to be Red states.

I saved the best for last.

Transit toasters

Transit toasters
:’s transit blog mentions the space heaters PATH offers in its open-air train stations. I stand under one and I’m tall enough that I sometimes fear I’m going to smell smoke and discover it’s my head on fire. Damn, it feels good on days like these.

Just don’t let it happen again

Just don’t let it happen again
: NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin issues an impressive apology for dismissing blogs:

Finally, an apology: In an e-mail to a listener, I dismissed those people who criticize NPR based on information they get from blogs. That e-mail to Professor Ann Little (to whom I apologized) was posted on one of those blogs, The response from people who read this and other blogs was pretty impressive.

While the tone from some who wrote was rough, I get the point.

Blogs are, as I now appreciate, as legitimate a method of communicating information and opinion as traditional media. I was wrong to suggest that much of political blogging is “astroturfing” … Indeed, a recent Pew poll points out that an increasing number of Americans are getting their information from non-traditional sources. That fact has now been made abundantly clear to me.

You were right. I was wrong.

In future, I will pay closer attention to those who feel inclined to contact me, regardless of where they get their information. Political life in the United States is changing and so, it seems, should be how and where political journalism chooses its information.

Here are the letters that changed his mind.

[via Terry Heaton]


: At the end of yesterday’s The Week Opinion Awards, I was going to say goodbye to Josh Marshall but I heard him just start to explain to three people what a blog is and I said, whoa, that’s going to take an hour, I’ll just leave. Well, here’s what was really happening: He was trying to explain blogging to renowned historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Old law in new Iraq

Old law in new Iraq
: Riverbend and Zeyad are both having proper fits over an Iraqi Governing Council decision to include Sharia law in family matters.

: Meanwhile, Zeyad is working in frightening circumstances:

More bad news. A fellow dentist who will be working with me in Basrah dropped by today and informed me that another dentist who used to work at the same clinic we were assigned to was murdered this week in Basrah. He was a Christian. My friend who will be assigned with me is also Christian.

My parents are going crazy, they want me to give up the residency and stay in Baghdad. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy. If I were to leave that assignment I would be fired and I would not be allowed ever to work as a licensed dentist in Iraq. I’m really confused. what to do? What to do?

I wish we could get him a journalism scholarship in the U.S.