Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Leavin' on a jet plane - I know when I'll be back again

Off to Amsterdam tomorrow. Thoroughly looking forward to visiting Die Kola Kocht while viewing the "Girl with a Pewter Earring" while strolling around the Hague. Also will be curious of the political tenor. This is our first trip to Europe since September 11th - our first trip since the invasion of Iraq. Will we experience passive anti-Americanism in Paris? Curious and a trifle anxious.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

11 down - 37 to go

Thinking over what I disliked about Bush as president, it's not only his arrogance, but his disregard for rule-of-law, his presumption of excessive executive privilege, and his cavalier attitude towards human rights. For the most recent brou-ha-ha, concerning NSA wiretaps without authorization, others have done a fine job parsing the law & the legalese response from Gonzales. Cheney mentioned that during his career, more constraints had been put on the president and his beliefs fit well with Bush. While I belief that Bush will back off despite his vows & start to obey FISA, this dust-up will suck up that much more legislative oxygen (it's been a bit odd that many right wing blogs haven't clued in that the Dems just need to run out the clock now and each brou-ha-ha helps them do just that).

Metrics? Since last month's update both Iraq and the Doha round had major events.

The only wager worth updating is troop strength. The political pressure - both here & in Iraq is strong enough that I expect our troop strength to dip below 100,000 by the end of 2006. At that point, the ability of the Iraqis to maintain security will probably be key. Still can't see troop strength going below 50,000 by the end of Bush's term.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Arty pornography

The "plot"?


Decent movie to watch to get you in the mood.

Inventions that still need inventing III

Still keep coming up with ideas that hopefully will be invented soon:

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Night Wine Blogging (low energy edition)

Black Swan Shiraz

"wasn't bad" sayeth the Ginger Haired Yank

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dear Wendy: a remarkable movie

The movie starts as a coming of age movie with increasing surreal aspects and ends in an apotheoses of violence, reminding me of a Sam Peckinpah western. The movie uses almost all movie cliches, hussles everything together and enlarges every detail (the action takes place largely around a small square although the actors pretend it to be very big and the reason for doing things are very small, however the actors pretend their actions to be of extreme importance).
Amazing absurd story, great action and extremely well done. At the titles at the end I found out that Lars von Trier wrote the story after which a lot of things fell into place.
The movie quality is very much US, however the use of all these cliches is very much how a European director looks at the US (see also Wim Wenders etc).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

pre-posting "11 down - 37 to go"

This post is a bit early, but today's WSJ had a decent interview with our trade negotiator. In hindsight, I probably set the bar too high for Bush by making approval of the Doha round one of his metrics, but not sure how I would lower the bar on trade. These two lines from the article certainly ring true:

After all, Doha was launched because underdeveloped countries, which had eased market restrictions in the preceding Uruguay round, never got their payback of market access in agriculture. Mr. Portman points out that their position "has a lot of merit."

Mr. Portman has battles on the home front, too. His own office has set bad examples, such as antidumping duties against Canadian lumber. And a protectionist Senate, including a good number of Republicans, is fighting hard to retain the Byrd Amendment--which rewards domestic protectionists with antidumping duties--even though the WTO has ruled against it and the administration says it wants it repealed.

My hopes are minimal, and at this point, it doesn't really matter how little political capital Bush has left, and how narrow the vote was for the relatively minor CAFTA, I just can't see an agreement of any substance during the Hong Kong negotiations.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Night Wine Blogging - return edition

Sanford Pinot Noir - 2001

Have missed Friday Night wine blogging these past few weeks, so happy to have a fine bottle to restart a fine custom.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Obligatory 1 year notification

Pretty standard that bloggers announce their 1 year anniversary, so here's my first blogoversary.

Thoughts after 1 year? Have enjoyed blogging, and while my passive goal of becoming the next Atrios or janegalt never came to pass, blogging remains enjoyable enough to continue indefinitely even knowing that my standard readership numbers around 5.

I have wondered whether blogs will last. Obviously the blog for a magazine will last, and obviously a blog named for an individual will end when that person truly retires, but what about group blogs? Will they endure once the founders retire? Alas, non-ecumenical ramblings will end with the end of its two current bloggers.

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