It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.

These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.

Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.

Bush Administration Hides Truth about Health Care
Saturday, February 07, 2004
A headline lost in last month's news, worthy of note:

United Press International reports that the Bush Administration converted an important study into a piece of propaganda when it edited a report on disparities in the American health care system to eliminate portions that were incompatible with Republican policies to limit health care reform. A group of Congressional Representatives, led by Henry Waxman of California, uncovered the following changes to the report:

  • The final version of the report contained none of the scientists' conclusions that were present the original draft that described social differences in healthcare treatment as "national problems" that were "pervasive" in the system.
  • The draft summary defined "disparity" as "the condition or fact of being unequal, as in age, rank or degree" but the definition was deleted from the final summary.
  • The word "disparity" was used more than 30 times in the key findings section of the draft, but 28 of these instances of the word disparity were deleted by the Bush Administration
  • The final version crafted by the Bush Administration deleted draft language about social costs of disparities but replaces that section of a listing of "successes" achieved in eliminating disparities.

Representative Henry Waxman has commented: "The distortion of science in the HHS report is a huge setback for efforts to address health disparities. HHS should be listening to what its own experts are saying and taking actions to address this serious national problem, not misleading the public about the basic facts."

It's shameful for a bunch of filthy rich Republicans try to minimize the problems of average Americans who are unable to get adequate health care. For leading this effort to hide the truth, George W. Bush deserves to be given a permanent political vacation in 2004.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 9:34 AM. # (permalink)

Getting to the Town of Decent: Adam Neiman and the No Sweat Sneaker
Friday, February 06, 2004
Two non-sweatshop sneakers, identical in appearance, taking pre-orders for distribution in the spring of 2004? What's going on here?

Alongside the ever-impending Blackspot Sneaker from Adbusters comes the new No Sweat Sneaker from the people at No Sweat Apparel. Read our interview with No Sweat CEO Adam Neiman on the intertwined history of the two sneakers, and on moving from grand ideas to the nitty-gritty of actually making an ethical shoe.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 2:58 PM. # (permalink)

Bush's AWOL Record: Will He Finally Come Clean?
Thursday, February 05, 2004
"Eric Boehlert of reports today: In 1972, George W. Bush simply walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas Air National Guard. He skipped required weekend drill sessions for many months, probably for more than a year, and did not take a mandatory annual physical exam, which resulted in his being grounded. Nonetheless, Bush, the son of a well-connected Texas congressman, received an honorable discharge.

If an Air National guardsman today vanished for a year, military attorneys say that guardsman would be transferred to active duty or, more likely, kicked out of the service, probably with a less-than-honorable discharge. They suggest the penalty would be especially swift if the absent-without-leave guardsman were a fully trained pilot, as Bush was.

Bush's National Guard record, long ignored by the media, has surfaced with a vengeance. If the topic continues to rage, and if the media presses him, Bush may finally be forced to release his full military records, which could reveal the truth. By refusing to make all those records public, Bush has until now broken with a long-standing tradition of U.S. presidential candidates." on...

Posted by Matthew Cook at 2:31 PM# (permalink)

Bush Shits On Veterans
One of the casualties of Bush's budget is veterans' programs. The issue comes up with every budget cycle, under every president, but the protesting is particularly noisy this year. Groups like the VFW are using language I haven't heard them use in a long time. In this article the VFW's Commander-In-Chief is quoted as calling the current budget package "a disgrace and a sham," as it falls $2.6 billion short of what's needed.

$87 billion for Iraq. Can you believe it?

Posted by Bob S-K at 10:40 AM# (permalink)

Help: How to Print Bumper Stickers Professionally and On Demand?
I need your help. Currently, we offer more than 1,400 progressive bumper stickers on the elections, religious freedom, peace, environmentalism and liberty. The folks at CafePress print and ship single stickers for us as people request them, which means that neither they nor we have to keep a big ol' stock of more than 1,400 kinds of stickers at the ready. But printing on demand and using a middleman raises the price of the stickers quite a bit. I'd like to lower the prices, but how?

One solution to that problem is to print large amounts of our most popular stickers using another service. We've done that for our five most popular stickers, and are happy to offer them at deep discounts from the CafePress price if people want to buy them in significant quantities.

Another solution is to continue printing on demand, but to get rid of the middleman and do it ourselves. To do this, we'd need to get a ourselves a contraption that prints professional-quality bumper stickers. The result has to be high-resolution, smudgeless, waterproof and UV-resistant. Screen printing won't do because you have to print large bunches.

Can you name a printer that will do?

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:48 AM. # (permalink)

Bush Can't Handle Accountability
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
George W. Bush has insisted that when he finally gets around to picking members for his handpicked commission to investigate his administration's untruthful declarations to the American people, the commission must delay issuing a report until after November 2004.

The problem is that elections are the tool by which people can hold their leaders accountable. If we do not know how and why the Bush administration misled Americans into supporting a war until after the November election, how can the elections serve their designated purpose? George W. Bush does not want to be held accountable. George W. Bush cannot handle accountability. George W. Bush is running pell-mell from accountability. And that is all the more reason to hold him to account in the elections this year. (Source: New York Times February 2, 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 3:45 PM. # (permalink)

Graceless Joe Lieberman
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Well, Joe Lieberman can't even leave the presidential race with grace. He had to say that his among others was the "mainstream candidacy." Does he really mean to say that John Edwards and John Kerry are not in the American mainstream? What planet is Lieberman living on? Well, thank goodness, it no longer matters.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:23 PM# (permalink)

President Moonbeam
See Conservatives for Kerry, the Digital Media Tree, Earth to George Bush, and Irregular Goods for signs of the emergence of "President Moonbeam" as a moniker for George W. Bush.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:30 AM. # (permalink)

Priorities, People!
Monday, February 02, 2004
While millions of Americans go without jobs, while millions more try to make it without health insurance, while American soldiers are getting picked off in Iraq, the White House has promised that its administration will pursue policy remedies to prevent Janet Jackson's boob from falling out of her shirt again on television.

Priorities, people! (Source: White House Press Briefing February 2, 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 7:28 PM. # (permalink)

Bumper Sticker Sales to Candidates: An Update
Sunday, February 01, 2004
We keep track of bumper sticker sales to candidates over at Irregular Tracking because putting a bumper sticker for a candidate on your car is a stronger commitment than expressing a preference in a public opinion poll: not only do you pay for a sticker, but it actually sticks to your car, and you're making a very public statement.

Since the New Hampshire Primary, then, you might be interested to know that:

* John Kerry stickers are outselling Howard Dean stickers by a ratio of five to one;
* We've sold a good number of "Dated Dean, Married Kerry" stickers, but no "Dated Kerry, Married Dean" stickers
* We've only sold one John Edwards sticker, and only two Wesley Clark Stickers.

Go ahead: throw off the curve.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:05 AM. # (permalink)

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