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by Craig Reynolds

Oops, I forgot Paul was away this week. I hope I am not abusing my "keys to dad's car" by posting this stand-alone Technobriefs.

Post Segway, Kamen does water and power: Dean Kamen, perhaps best known for the Segway has been working on incredible technology aimed at the developing world, tools to purify water and produce electricity. I know this because I follow all the really important scientific journals: Colbert and Kamen Solve the World's Water Problems. More from the press: Segway inventor drinks his own pee (really) and The Segway creator's next entrepreneurial spin.

Wireless: after Google "won by losing" the 700MHz auction, they now are going after the spaces in between: Google unveils white space airwaves plans and Google outlines proposal for 'Wi-Fi on steroids'. This topic has been in the air since last summer: White-space spectrum debate rages but count on the Forces of Darkness to propose walled gardens over free use: CTIA urges FCC to license -- and auction -- TV white spaces. Sounds like a new iPhone with a faster channel is on the way: Gartner Clarifies 3G iPhone Reports. Often mentioned as an alternative to hardwired connections, a long range wi-fi is getting mixed reviews: WiMax Gets Less-Than-Max Grades in Australia.

Photoshop as free webapp: Photoshop the venerable image processing tool, so ubiquitous its name has become a verb, has been moving downmarket. Originally a professional tool, then a hobbyist version and now a free webapp called Adobe Photoshop Express. Reaction in the press: Adobe opens shop on Web-based Photoshop Express, Adobe's Free Photo Editor and Adobe unveils Photoshop Express online service.

Copyrights and media: what with all this piracy those poor folks in Hollywood can't make a buck: Hollywood's Record Year Shows MPAA's Piracy Folly. Its only stubbornness that keeps big media from embracing file sharing, the financial solution is well known: Monetizing File-Sharing: Collective Licensing Good, ISP Tax Bad. Pushing back the dawn of recording media: In Your Face, Edison: New Oldest Recording Found and Here’s the first sound ever recorded, circa 1860.

Comcast ties white ribbon around its black hat: after trying to throttle (disrupt) the BitTorrent protocol (TB Mar 2) and being beaten in the marketplace (TB Mar 16) have they seen the error of their ways?: Comcast Adjusts Way It Manages Internet Traffic. Those wild-eyed net anarchists at BusinessWeek say Comcast's P2P Conversion: I'll Believe It When I See Results (N.B. the comment by Robb Topolski).

Technobits: Study sees Microsoft brand in sharp decline --- Gone in 2 minutes: Mac gets hacked first in contest (late breaking: Flash flaw leads to Vista laptop's fall and Linux Unhackable At TippingPoint Contest) --- Carbon could enable fastest chips and Foldable, Stretchable Circuits --- Printing displays screen promise --- The Story of the Microrobotic Fly --- Dive Into Saturn Moon's Jets Shows Ingredients for Life --- Cloning treats mouse Parkinson's --- 'Naughty Auties' battle autism with virtual interaction --- Freed Baby Shark Heads for the Border and Released great white shark heads past Baja --- Giant Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapses --- 10 Best Science Fiction Movies Ever – Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Films --- in Japanese advertising: URL's Are Totally Out --- very comprehensive survey comparing packaged food and its packaging: Advertising vs Reality - A Product Comparison Project --- lightcycle recreation using stopmotion/pixilation animation: Cardboard TRON.

Early Spring Break--a week off

Spring Break comes early this year--but not at Easter time I know, I went to church on Easter for the first time in decades. No more Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. Just that old time religion. Well, ok, it's Episcopal, so it's not that old time. Anyway, in our district, March 28 is a half day, and we're off. And just in time too. We're all starting to fray each others' nerves, I think.

I will be in Oregon for a week. The last time I tried filing using my portable from Oregon it was a technical disaster. So, this time, I'm just going to admit defeat and not file until I get back. That makes Monday April 7 my next column--assuming I can get through a week's worth of mail quickly. Otherwise, it's April 14. If Craig and/or Neal wants to soldier on, I'll post their stuff while it is still fresh.

Hagee; News You Should Know, Ralph "Blind Pig" Nader finds truffles; President Could Pardon Himself; Public Servants At Work: Bear Stearns; The Truth Will Set You Free (Maybe)

Hagee News of the Week

As new outrageous statement's by McCain supporter Hagee continue to be uncovered, and McCain continues to refuse to repudiate them, I'm going to keep up the drumbeat here. You think Wright is bad? Check out Hagee.

News You Should Be Reading/Hearing

The McClatchy newspaper Washington Bureau is amazing; you should visit it every day if you really want to know what is going on. Whatever will we do when there are no more newspapers? Until then, Cheney cites 'phenomenal' Iraqi security progress as bombing kills 40. At the Associated Press and United Press International, they told us to strictly avoid causality; something didn't happen "after" something else or "because" of something else, unless it was obscenely obvious. The general construction was "meanwhile," or "elsewhere" or "at the same time" or "later that day." Fortunately, McClatchy is under no such restriction.

I know about McClatchy because they are quoted frequently--almost weekly by Harry Shearer. Why yes, that Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap, The Simpsons). The podcast ( of his weekly KCRW program Le Show features some of the best political commentary available anywhere, delivered in an entertaining format. This week, the podcast features "Dick Cheney Confidential," which includes the line, "It is tough to talk to people about how the Enterprise Society creates winners and losers when most of the people you're talking to are losers." Alas, if it were only that simple.


Even Ralph "Blind Pig" Nader finds truffles

Let's be clear. I love Ralph Nader when he is doing good. I think Unsafe At Any Speed, along with Silent Spring, The Jungle and Uncle Tom's Cabin was one of the most important books ever written in this country. Most of what he's done for the last 45 years has been important and useful. His presidential campaigns have harmed America in deep and abiding ways--the Iraq War is Ralph Nader's fault. All of which doesn't mean he can't be right now and then. Even a blind pig can find truffles.

Ralph Nader: George Bush a 'recidivist war criminal'
Quote: In the piece entitled "Country of Laws," Nader blasts Bush for fictionalizing his Iraq war actions and for saying that he'll leave office with no regrets. While Spitzer resigned within days of his admission to indiscretions, "Bush remains," writes Nader, "disgracing his office for longtime repeated violations of the Constitution, federal laws and international treaties to which the U.S. is a solemn signatory." Unquote


Your Public Servants At Work: Bear Stearns

Food for thought. JPM paid (or is trying to pay if they ever close the deal) $2 per share ($236M) for Bear Stearns and is getting a building worth $1B and a bundle of other assets. The Federal Reserve has given a guarantee worth $254 per share ($30B) to convince JPM to do the deal. The Fed is getting nothing tangible in return with the possible exception of some paper that once upon a time had a face value of $30B. The Fed gets no equity in Bear Stearns.

What is going on here? Another blot on the record of GWBush and Dick Cheney. Between them, the presidents who failed to support policies which would have prevented the Fed from being in the position of choosing between putting up a guarantee worth $254 per share to a private corporation or setting off a major markets (plural) meltdown.


The Truth Will Set You Free (Eventually)

The New York Times:Fateful Choice on Iraq Army Bypassed Washington Debate, by Michael R. Gordon

a. Too bad Michael Gordon failed to get this story from Doug Feith until Feith needed publicity for Feith's new book. (By the way of a non sequitur in a wholly unrelated matter, don't buy books by crooks.)

b. If this article is to be believed the Iraqi Army was disbanded by special envoy L. Paul Bremer III with the knowledge and acquiescence of George W. Bush. This came a few months after George W. Bush gave his full support to a plan to use the Iraqi Army to secure post-invasion Iraq.

Who was involved? The chain may have started with an unnamed and probably forever unknown member of the staff of then Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan (U.S. Army) (senior American military commander in Iraq at the time). This person reportedly lied to Col. Greg Gardner (U.S. Army - retired), a member of the staff of Walter Slocombe. Slocombe, in turn, was an aide to special envoy Bremer. Either that or Col. Gardner lied to Slocombe who then repeated the lie to Bremer.


You read it here first Department:: How A President Could Pardon Himself

Suppose there is a hypothetical almost two-term President of the United States. Suppose her complicit and mendacious Vice President happens to hold the view that the President is almost (or should be) all-powerful and subject to essentially no control by any other branch of government. The VP believes that any control (for example by the Constitution) on the President which happens to exist should not exist because it is bad for the country. There are many other government officials appointed by the President (some subject to Senate confirmation and some not subject to Senate confirmation) facing substantial criminal and civil liability for things they did (or did not do) while in office. How would the President minimize her liability?

The hypothetical President could still face criminal liability and an unresolved question as to whether a President of the United States may issue a pardon to herself. So how could a President solve this problem of potential criminal liability?

The President would instruct her Secretary of State to be at the White House in the Oval Office at 8:45 a.m. on the morning of the January 20th when the President was scheduled to leave office. The President's chief of staff would ask a friendly federal judge to drop in at about 8:45 a.m. at the White House for a late breakfast. Then, the first order of business would be for the outgoing President to issue a full, complete, and absolute pardon for any and all offenses against the United States to many, many people. He could start with the Vice President and continue with the Secretary of State and the entire Cabinet. He could pardon down to the level of the lowest level technicians at the telecommunications companies, companies supplying private military contractors, various intelligence agencies, and military departments.

All this would take place at about 9:00 a.m. on January 20th. Then she would resign and deliver her resignation letter personally to the Secretary of State. That would complete the resignation process. The Vice President would be sworn into office as President about 9:15 a.m. on January 20 by the federal judge. The new President would then issue a full, complete, and absolute pardon for any and all offenses against the United States to the now former President at 9:30 a.m. Then the new President (with or without the now former President) could welcome the incoming President-elect to the White House for the traditional pre-Inaugural cup of coffee at 10 a.m. Then the new President and the incoming President-elect could ride to the Inaugural ceremony in the Presidential limousine. The now former President could ride in the limousine reserved for the ex-Vice President (who is now President for about 3 hours). Everyone can appear at the Inaugural ceremony. The White House press office can release news of the resignation and the pardons at about 11:30 the new President and the incoming President-elect leave the White House for Capitol Hill. One wonders how the press corps (in particular the network anchors, correspondents, and producers planning on following a carefully timed script all day long) would deal with two Presidential Inaugurations inside of three hours. One also wonders which of the ex-Presidents will be allowed the use of Air Force One (by the person inaugurated for a full term at noon) for the ride out of town.

These pardons would be in full compliance with the U.S. Constitution

Some may wonder if such pardons would provide sufficient motivation to amend the Constitution. The idea would be to remove the pardon power from any President from roughly the last October 1st of the term through the end of the term. A re-elected President would regain the power when inaugurated for the second term. A President seeking re-election or leaving office after two terms would thus be placed in the position of letting his employers know before the election about any pardons they might wish to consider in determining who would receive their vote for President). While there might be some definitional problems, the Congress might also think about ending the pardon power for anyone who has announced (but not yet completed) their resignation from the Presidency.




by Craig Reynolds

Distribution tech: several threads relating to how information will be transmitted in the future. Starting with more DRM hubris; heralded as secure just last summer: Blu-ray BD+ Cracked. Winners were announced in the FCC's auction of the 700 MHz spectrum to be vacated by analog TV transmission: Spectrum Auction: Verizon Big Winner, Google 'Happy Loser'. I think "Apple saved us when Google would not" misses the point, as reported here in February: Google Wins Wireless Spectrum Auction by Losing. Talk of a premium priced iPod with unlimited downloads for the life of the device: Why is Universal Music cozying up to Apple? whereas Gizmodo paraphrases BusinessWeek as saying Apple Doesn't Give a Flying F$#! About All-You-Can-Eat iTunes.

eVote: this was pretty exciting! Voting machines in New Jersey were caught misreporting election results, election officials wanted to bring in a recognized academic authority to investigate, manufacturer threatens legal action: After threats, NJ clerks call for e-voting investigation, Sequoia warns Princeton professors over e-voting analysis, E-Voting Firm Threatens Ed Felten If He Reviews Its E-Voting Machine, see the actual nastygram: Interesting Email from Sequoia.

Natural philosophy: a busy week in astronomy: Methane Detected on Distant Planet for First Time, Saturn moon may have hidden ocean and Images: Ocean on Titan, and salt on Mars. A cool plan for a high tech, low cost tracking system for wild wolves: A Bid to Lure Wolves With a Digital Call of the Wild. An amazing find: Workers Uncovering Mummified Dinosaur.

Spam news: 'King of spam' pleads guilty, faces 26 years in prison and 40% of all spam comes from just one source.

RIP Arthur C Clarke: the inventor of the communication satellite and the space elevator, author of the story that became 2001: A Space Odyssey: Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90, E. "Doc" Smith writes: The Final Odyssey of Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008.

Technobits: Mark Pilgrim goes after a Microsoft apologist: Translation From MS-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Joel Spolsky’s “Martian Headsets” (NB this sharp comment by Mark) --- Sony Won't Charge $50 To Remove PC Bloatware (gee, thanks! yet another reason to buy a Mac) --- Tesla Motors gets rolling with Roadster production --- Free Recycling Through the Mail --- and finally two videos involving both robotics and dogs: Boston Dynamics Big Dog and Jerry needs no help playing with his ball.

Teacher's Salary

This is an oldie but goodie:

Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! t's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do…baby-sit!

We can get that for less than minimum wage. That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time.

That would be $19.50 a day (7:00 AM to 3:30 (or so) PM with just 25 min. off for lunch).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.


How many do they teach in a class, 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! We're not going to pay them for any vacations.


That's $585 x 180= $105,300 per year.

What about those special teachers and the ones with master's degrees?

Well, we could pay them minimum wage, and just to be fair, round it off to $7.00 an hour. That would be $7 x 6 1/2 hours x 30 children x 180 days…$245,700 per year.

Wait a minute--there's something wrong here!

Average teacher salary $50,000/180 days = $277/per day/30 students $9.23/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student. A very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even try - with your help - to EDUCATE your kids!


And the parents don't even have to buy us pizza!

Make a teacher smile; send this to someone else who appreciates teachers...


Married Life

3 stars out of 5.

They say it is a comedy and a drama. Pierce Brosnan has both kinds of chops. I am not so sure about Chris Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Patricia Clarkson. I enjoyed this film in large part because it was a lovingly rendered period piece featuring east-coast-suburban America circa 1947. Cooper gave a wonderful dramatic performance as the cheating husband. Brosnan, of coruse, could mail it in and still be entertaining. The clothes! The interiors! The cars! And, of course, narration. Hollywood "expert" Bo Goldman says narration is death, yet good films use it all the time, including this one. The only way the narration could be cooler would be if the narrator were dead.

Dan Grobstein File

  • Relative Value:
    The NY Yankees paid more for A-Rod than JPM paid for Bear Stearns
    or as Babe Ruth said when he asked for more money than Herbert Hoover's salary "why not, I had a better year than he did."
  • I have to admit that the only movie of his that i've seen is The Talented Mr. Ripley. His commentary on the DVD was excellent. Most commentary is pretty lame as in "oh yeah, that was funny."

    MOVIES | March 19, 2008
    Obituaries: Anthony Minghella, 54, Director, Dies
    Mr. Minghella was the British filmmaker who won an Academy Award for his direction of "The English Patient."

  • Harper's Magazine: The Assault on Public Integrity Continues
    Indeed, that message compares prominently with the recent highly played sting action involving Eliot Spitzer. That was run by the public integrity unit in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office. The whole matter opened and was developed in a matter of weeks and involved an immense deployment of resources, all with the strong approbation of Washington.
    How do we reconcile the attitude taken in Manhattan with the one in the nation’s second largest metropolis, Los Angeles? You just have to look at the party affiliation of the targets, and all questions are answered. This is the Bush Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, after all.
  • Commentary from Dan about commentary:

    a good point.

    ...More to the point of the past week, the Good Friday liturgy was a carnival of anti-Semitism, an extended exercise in Jew-bashing so egregious that even the Vatican came to notice it several centuries on. Now, I know I sat through this. I know Russert, and Matthews, and Maureen Dowd, and Pat Buchanan -- and JFK and John Kerry, as well -- also did. This wasn't the improvised rhetoric of one pastor in one church. This was the formalized celebration of Christ's Passion, performed in exactly the same way in front of millions of people in thousands of churches all over the world. So here's the thing, Mo and Tim and Chris. (I leave out Buchanan because, hell, he probably thinks the liturgy was too diverse.) Did sitting through this make you anti-Semitic? And to what degree? And have you ever rejected and renounced 2,000 years of popes -- to say nothing of the church over which they presided -- because they authorized this dangerous thooleramawnery? if you haven't, you should probably lay off Barack Obama and his minister, is all's I'm saying.

    I used to go to mass every week with an ex-girlfriend. They even asked me to join Knights of Columbus.

    I did find it strange that the people who were against Jesus were described as the Jews and the people agreeing with Jesus were described as "the people". I sort of figure that the vast majority of "the people" in the area were Jews too.

    Hagee hates Catholics, but that's okay if you're a Republican.
  • Travelling Through Time To Kill Hitler: A Funny Short Story

  • | March 22, 2008
    Paul Krugman: Hiding behind the invisible hand
    Paul Krugman
    Pretty good story on the coming fight over financial regulation. But it lets the Bushies off way too lightly, by suggesting that lack of coordination between agencies led to the awesome failure of regulators to take action against the bubble…

My Week: In-Service Day, Wedding

It has been another quiet week here, but at least it was short. That is, no students on Friday because the teachers had an in-service training day. And, in fact, it was much less of a waste of time than some have been in the past. We had a lot of time to plan and discuss as a department, which is generally more useful than school-wide meetings. We had a team building exercise that involved splitting into varying groups and talking while we took a hike. What a great idea! Fans of The West Wing will recognize this as the ubiquitous mode of discussion on this show, for which the writers coined the term pediconference-- a conference which takes place while you're walking. For them it was a means of introducing motion into a really talky television show. For us, it was a chance to get outside and really get to know our fellow teachers.

Saturday was the wedding of a friend's son, and Sunday was the post-wedding brunch. I have not been to a Palm Sunday service in 40 years, and I missed it again this year because the brunch was at 10, and Vicki would have had my guts for garters if I'd been delayed at church. Jesus will, I am sure, understand. Maybe next year. I've been to church even more than usual during Lent this year, so I don't feel as bad as I might. Besides, I'd have missed a spectacularly well-produced digital slide show with music of the life of the bride and groom.

The wedding and the reception were both held at the spectacularly beautiful and simple yet well-appointed Brazil Room in Tilden Park. The room has Great views, lots of nature, a huge fireplace, a good caterer, a great crowd, a lovely bride and a handsome groom. Vicki and I danced, which we do only rarely (usually at weddings). A good time was had by all.

To Understand Iraq, Scale It Up; Next Stop Iran?; Elliot Mess; Spitz Quits; The Report The Government Doesn't Want You To Read

To Understand Iraq, Scale It Up; Next Stop Iran?

To understand what must happen in Iraq let us consider what would happen if the Iraqis (or anyone else) were doing unto us as we have been doing unto them.

First, our population is roughly 12 times the size of the Iraqi population. There are more than 150,000 American military personnel in Iraq. There are more than 150,000 employees of private contractors working in Iraq for the United States government.

Second, imagine what would be going on in our country if 1.8 million heavily armed Iraqi soldiers had been roaming freely around the country for the last five years and were subject to essentially no control by our government. In addition about 1.8 million heavily armed Iraqi private contractors are also roaming freely around our country.

The first act of these soldiers when they invaded our country was to overthrow our ruling government. Then they disbanded our security forces and stood idly by as mobs looted just about all of our government buildings and museums. As a result, the supply of goods, services, electricity, and gasoline for cars has generally been substantially below pre-invasion levels although there are signs that recently in some areas the security situation has been stabilizing and the supply of critical goods and services has approached pre-invasion levels. (In a small portion of the mountainous northeastern part of our country (somewhat comparable to the Kurdish area of Iraq) which has effectively been under the independent control of some of our fellow citizens since about 1991, conditions have been relatively peaceful (aside from an occasional bombing or killing) and markets are functioning at an acceptable level.)

Due to the harsh conditions following the invasion in the rest of the country, it is estimated by an internationally respected university that about 12 million more of our fellow citizens have died than would be expected from pre-invasion mortality figures. This is equivalent to the death of everyone in 10 of our states and two of our big cities (Atlanta, Georgia, and Kansas City, Kansas).

The Iraqi soldiers generally do not understand, speak, or read our language. On the whole these soldiers have an understanding of our culture which ranges somewhere between basic and non-existent. The private contractors are in charge of protecting convoys of Iraqi diplomats traveling in our country. The contractors are free to violate our traffic laws, to shoot at us in our cars or as we walk on our sidewalks if an Iraqi diplomat happens to be passing in a car. They are free to set up road blocks or checkpoints as they deem necessary to protect the Iraqi diplomats, and to shoot anyone who approaches too close to a roadblock.

Unfortunately, the Iraqi contractors sometimes make mistakes. For example, in a few minutes on a fine afternoon last September the Iraqi private contractors killed just over 200 Americans who happened to be driving or riding in cars near an intersection when an Iraqi diplomat was about to drive past.

As far as can be determined no American fired a weapon at any of the Iraqi contractors and no American (dead or alive) posed a threat to the Iraqi diplomat or the contractors who sprayed about 600 bullets around the intersection where 200 of our fellow citizens died. The dead included 12 American doctors on their way to work at our hospitals. The contractors and the Iraqi soldiers are not subject to our laws. That is, if either the soldiers or the private contractors happen to kill one of our citizens, they can not be tried in our courts. In another unfortunate incident involving the private contractors, on Christmas Eve one of the Iraqi contractors happened to have had a few drinks just before he encountered 12 brave and patriotic bodyguards for one of our high level officials at one of our government installations. The contractor killed all 12 bodyguards on the spot for reasons that remain unclear. When our government objected, the private company that employed the killer flew him out of our country within a day.

The soldiers are free to enter and search any of our homes or offices at any time for any reason without a search or arrest warrant. They are free to arrest any of us at any time for any reason they deem appropriate. They are free to shoot us in our homes if they feel (with only minimal understanding of our language and culture) that we pose a threat to them as they invade our homes and bedrooms. About 250,000 of our fellow citizens have been imprisoned for months or years with little or no access to a court.

If this had happened to us, do you think any American might be displeased with the Iraqis? Given the lack of court access and lack of jurisdiction over either the Iraqi soldiers or the Iraqi private contractors, do you think any American might actually have taken up arms against the Iraqis? Would we want the Iraqis to leave?

For the future, the issue is not Iraq. The issue is Iran.

Some (principally those who supported the invasion of Iraq) propose leaving all the options on the table with respect to Iran. Those options include using nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear nation (Iran). Others (more firmly grounded in reality and with a far better understanding of what is required to maintain, promote, and protect our national security) are opposed to starting a nuclear war.

The United States survived and prospered for more than 60 years while the Soviet Union and then Russia (and in the last few decades, the Peoples Republic of China) had many nuclear weapons and means to deliver them within about 30 minutes to the United States. Iran has no such capability now.

It will be years, if ever, before Iran acquires a fission weapon, let alone a fusion weapon. It will be additional years, if not decades, before Iran acquires enough domestically produced Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with the range to get these weapons to the United States. During the entire time, the United States will maintain a nuclear deterrent force sufficient to convince the Iranians that any use against us or our allies of such weapons (if they had them which they do not) would be seriously counterproductive. That is, we have the means to cause the end of Iranian society within about 15 minutes.

Perhaps there is no imminent danger of attack from Iran.

Elliot Mess; Spitz Quits

There is more here than meets the eye. A rising Democratic star killed off by federal investigators--how? Why? By a unit that investigates nearly six times as many Democrats as Republicans?

Could it be this op-ed piece that got the Justice Department to leak his name?

Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers

That's what investigate journalist Greg Palast thinks: The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked

This Spitzer Timeline from Talking Point Memo raises the questions:
a. Who did Spitzer offend?
b. Who wanted him out of office?
c. Who, of the above, had the authority to get the wiretap (authorization for which expired on Feb. 7, 2008) re-authorized on Feb. 11, 2008?
d. Why get the tap re-authorized?
e. As a supporting affidavit makes clear, the authorities had all the evidence they needed to put the ring out of business when the authorization expired on Feb. 7, 2008.
f. Was the re-authorization was for the purpose of removing Spitzer from office and ruining him?
g. Why was information embarrassing to Spitzer (about his allegedly being "difficult") but irrelevant to any issue of criminal law included in the affidavit?

The Report The Government Doesn't Want You To Read

Thank you Dan Grobstein:

A reader of Eric Alterman's column writes:

Anyone can go to the U.S. Joint Forces Command website and request a copy of the report which the Bush administration would prefer to see buried.

Ask for a copy of "Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents" and it will be sent on a CD. All you have to do is provide them with a mailing address (I gave them a P.O. Box address -- one can't be too careful nowadays). I made my request yesterday and received a confirmation e-mail today.

Perhaps if they get bombarded with requests they will reconsider their decision not to make it more readily available.

Political Briefs