Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Man, it's hot (>90 in San Francisco). And San Francisco doesn't deal well with heat. My condo, for instance, has southeast facing windows, so it basically bakes all day. When I return home it's an oven.

In contrast, my office is cold. Always. We have lots of servers in one room and that room must be kept cool. But to keep that room cool, we must crank the air conditioning. Essentially I spend my days lowering my core body temperature in preparation for raising it all night.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

So W insists that we're going to turn over "sovereignty" in Iraq on June 30 no matter what. Am I alone in asking what, exactly, that means?

There will undoubtedly be many US troops on the ground there. Surely they will be under a US general. So if a civil disturbance starts, who will make the call on whether the US military intervenes? Will it be the "sovereign" Iraqi government? What if the Iraqi government, as sovereign, tells us to leave? What if the Kurds revolt and the Iraqi government orders us to go in and shoot them? What if Turkey then attacks? Will the sovereign Iraqi government order us to preserve Iraq's territorial integrity by shooting the Turks? (The threat of a Kurdish revolt followed by a Turkish/Iranian invasion has long been my single biggest fear about governing Iraq. I'm happy that it hasn't happened. Yet.)

Is the press going to ask these questions? Has the administration even thought about it?

Saturday, April 17, 2004

How sure is the president that Iraq isn't turning into another Vietnam? Does he wake up at night wondering? I sure hope so. Because when it started, Vietnam wasn't Vietnam either...

Monday, April 12, 2004

Bat Barry Second

I know this is going to be an extremely controversial post, but I just can't seem to shy away from volatile topics.

The issue is the Giants batting order, specifically Barry Bonds. Bonds is obviously the most dangerous hitter in the game these days. Bonds is batting cleanup. I think this is a mistake. I'd bat him second, behind Ray Durham. Here's why.

Basically, if I was the Felipe Alou [sidenote: when I was in high school I forgot Felipe Alou's name in response to a question at the national quiz bowl championship (I remembered Matty and Jesus, but forgot Felipe)] I'd want to get Bonds as many at bats as possible. The leadoff guy is going to be the last out of a game, oh, about 1/9 of the time. Same with everyone else. By moving Bonds up two spots in the order, he'd get an extra at bat in about 2/9 of the games, in the ninth inning. So in maybe 1/4 of the Giants games, Bonds is going to get an extra at bat if he bats second. And one additional at bat for him, especially coming in the ninth inning, would be huge.
Additionally, Ray Durham would hit about .340 in the leadoff spot--I mean the guy would see nothing but fastballs every first inning. The Giants would have a great chance at scoring in the first inning every game.
This wouldn't work for every team, but here it works because (a) Bonds is so dangerous and (b) the rest of the lineup stinks. When there's one guy who's so much better than everyone else, I think you need him standing at the plate as frequently as possible!

I've been saying this for years but the Giants *still* haven't done anything. Peter Magowan, are you listening?

Sunday, April 11, 2004

So I've now read the August 6, 2001 memo that the White House tried so hard to keep secret. A couple of points.

First, it's clear why they wanted to keep it secret. It isn't a map of what the terrorists were going to do, but it sure as hell had some good clues. But by all credible accounts they just weren't very interested. But thank goodness they were so focused on national missile defense (protecting against a threat that doesn't exist) instead of these terrorists!

Second, there was no reason to keep it secret for so long. It was trivial for them to redact the sources of the information. Once that was done, there was nothing sensitive in it. Makes one wonder what other non-sensitive documents are being withheld on bogus claims of secrecy (as a litigator, I'm well familiar with attorneys concocting preposterous reasons to keep documents secret--it happens all the time).

Stepping away from this specific document, has anyone else noticed what a terrible job Bush have done to combat terrorism, especially in comparison with Clinton? There was a plot to blow up LAX at New Years of 2000 (full disclosure: I flew out of LAX on Jan. 1, 2000, so I have a significant interest in the fact that it wasn't blown up). Clinton's cabinet had heard the same sort of vague rumors that something was afoot, and Clinton had daily meetings with the cabinet level secretaries to interrogate them about what they'd done to thwart this threat. When put under the gun, these people were forced to do things. In the end (and I'm not sure we know all the details, but the end is what matters), the plot didn't happen. In contrast, there were all sorts of rumors around in the summer of 2001 about a terrorist attack but no one did anything because W never had a meeting, much less daily meetings. It's a shame that 3000 people had to die to get his attention.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Iraq is a problem. Truthfully, though, I think that no one here can get good idea of the real situation there. One day I read about enterprise sprouting, see pictures of goods being sold in Baghdad, etc., and it's good. The next day there are our guys being burned. And now we have some sort of insurrection, but from here it's extraordinarily difficult to figure out what's really going on. It seems we are-right now!-going into Fallujah. To get the people who mutilated the Americans? If not, to do what?

And then this Sadr guy is stirring up all sorts of trouble. According to the Times, his private militias have taken over a whole city while the US forces say things like "We'll get him when we decide to." Do we want to? And is the Times right? What's really going on?

As a sidenote, wouldn't this be a swell time for Bremer to send in troops contributed from our close allies the Saudis? Surely the Saudis would be happy to help, seeing as we equip their air force, train their army, and saved them from Saddam, who was launching missiles at them. Surely they'd be happy to step in and keep thousands of Moslems certain death from fighting against us, right? Wait, huh? What? The Saudis aren't helping us in our hour of need? Shocking!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

I am angry about Iraq.

I am angry about what happened to those Americans. I am also very angry at our government. Why are we using these guys? Don't we have soldiers to do this? Why were they driving a Mitsubishi SUV and not an armored hummer? Oh, that's because the administration doesn't have enough armored hummers, and this page:
has a picture of GI's attaching a big BOX OF SAND to the back of one for "armor". I'm not making this up. WHY THE HELL ARE OUR SOLDIERS USING SAND FOR ARMOR? THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE BULLSHIT!

I'm angry that Donald Rumsfeld decided that we could rule Iraq with fewer soldiers than the Army wanted. We flat-out don't have enough soldiers there. Instead of admitting a mistake, the administration is now employing this Blackwater outfit. I'm sure they're very capable--the men who died are apparently either ex-special forces types. But we have to hire these mercenaries because we don't have enough soldiers there. And what other mercenary outfits are we hiring? I'm angry that we're not using soldiers, who must be better armed and at least are within some sort of command structure so they can more quickly call for help. We need more soldiers in Iraq.

I'm livid that this happened, because it's not surprising. We've managed to kill a hefty number of civilians in Fallujah. It doesn't matter how. Their fault, our fault, it doesn't matter. An elementary observation from Israel's nightmare is that killing people, even accidentally, makes things worse. Much worse.

I remember being physically ill when I saw the pictures from Mogadishu. And I'm angry because I'm not physically ill this time. I angry that I've apparently built a tolerance to seeing Americans burned and dragged through the street though cheering crowds. I hope this is the last time I see it, but I'm not optimistic. And that make me angriest of all.