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Saturday, August 12, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Whatever process Yahoo news uses to match photos with stories often create some odd pairings. Today’s story about a bust of Hillary Clinton that has been put on display at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan which apparently displays Senator Clinton’s cleavage.

The story is accompanied by a picture of two males-one a Senator, looking on approvingly and Senator Nelson appearing to be in awe. An odd combo, shall we say (amusing, anyway):

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I finally had a little time to start going through my photos from Peru. Here’s the first in an ongoing series…

These are from the Parque del Amor in the Miraflores section of Lima.

I guess they needed to be hosed down.

I find this image amusing.

The view of the Pacific from the park.

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Monday, August 7, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I am back, safe and sound (although weary) from my trip to Peru. I am currently recovering from the three-ish hours of sleep I had during flight overnight from Lima to Atlanta (we left Iquitos at 6:30pm and then Lima at 12:30am to arrive in Montgomery at 10:30ish am). I had a nap, but am still a bit out of it (and afraid to type too much for fear of spouting utter gibberish).

At any rate, whilst sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta I read the following ‘toon in the AJC and thought it amusing, given what is likely to be a theme for the next week here at PoliBlog:

Many thanks to the Team for filling in my absence.

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Saturday, August 5, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Yes, I have been to the selva and returned to tell the tale.

Here is a picture from this morning of myself, a colleague and the Bora people who live down a tributary of the Nanay, a river that intersects the Amazon at Iquitos, Peru.

More pictures when I return (although given that I fly all night Sunday, and don’t hit Montgomery until almost mid-day, expect no blogging from me on Monday!)

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Friday, August 4, 2006
By Brett Marston (guestblogger)

This post by Chris Capel is a detailed exposition of rules for civil debate. I especially like Chris’s list of guidelines, starting with what he calls the Golden Rule:

Treat the person’s position as if it were your own.

and “you make mistakes“:

You make mistakes. You make many more mistakes than you realize. Mistakes are not your enemy. They do not help your opponent, because debates cannot be won. There are no points to score.

Chris’s guidelines are excellent. It is important to put them in context, however, and here I’m not sure that he gets things entirely right. Chris defends his attempt to provide these rules with a kind of criticism of ideologically-charged debate, and he contends that a failure to follow rules of civility is productive of social evil:

People who don’t strive to follow the principles of sound, rational debate are complicit in the intellectual chaos that characterizes open societies and effectively cripples mankind. I wouldn’t be surprised if this chaos were a necessary (but not sufficient) cause of the phenomenon of fundamentalism.

I think that a more subtle analysis is probably required. Attempting to engage others is a good thing. People can share good arguments in ways that they cannot share, say, land. But I would turn Chris’s description around: the intellectual chaos of open societies is an effect of the conditions of democratic debate, in which the criteria of success is not full persuasion but persuasion enough to convince someone to vote (or supply campaign dollars). For structual reaons, it’s probably true that full and open communication is not a public action, or not reliably a public action. Some level of comfort with that fact is a requirement of functioning in liberal democratic societies.

Link via Unfogged.

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Thursday, August 3, 2006
By The Permanent Guest Blogger: Steven L.

IMDb says so, at least provisionally.

Since this project is categorized as being in production, the data is subject to change; some data could be removed completely.

Interesting, at least. I see this news has been floating around a while, so apologies if you’ve seen it, but Poliblogger is the Star Trek geek-fest, after all — Steven T. or no Steven T.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2006
By Brett Marston (guestblogger)

Hello there, Poliblog fans.

So, according to Roll Call, some Hill staffer named David Kish, from Richard Pombo’s (R-CA) office, said this about the fine state that gave me life and nurtured me when I was young:

“Connecticut should have its statehood taken away from it. The foolishness of its pampered residents should be demonstrated to others by a government program to bulldoze the entire state, salt the land and construct a windfarm to supply NYC with electricity. And its residents should be relocated to Guantanamo Bay where they can take a number behind the 3 who hung themselves this weekend, since they seem so intent on suicide.”

Source is here.

I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but there is a great line in John Keegan’s The Mask of Command where he describes democracy as a system of government that allows the public to evict leaders whose arrogance in the use of power becomes insufferable.

Too bad staffers aren’t elected. Good thing that their bosses are.

At any rate, it’s good to know that small government conservatism survives on the Hill, along with a healthy respect for federalism, a decent regard for the lives of one’s fellow citizens, and the fine sense to know when what seems like a mere bon-mot crosses the line into eliminationism.

Let’s treat Connecticut like the Romans treated Carthage, their enemy in a protracted and devastating war, and then send the residents to Guantanamo! I’m sure you’ll pardon me if I don’t see any humor in that statement.

PS: In order to see what “salt[ing] the land” would do in Connecticut, you might be interested in the Connecticut Department of Agriculture page, here. If you’d like to do some pick-your-own fruit and vegetable outings in Connecticut during August, you will find places that grow blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, nectarines, plums, tomatoes and peppers, among other things. Check out this press release on the new “Pick-Your-Own Farm Brochure” available from the CT DOA, here. Crop losses this summer due to torrential rains and cold weather were severe enough for the governor to request federal emergency funding (see here), but if you call ahead (see this list of pick-your-own farms, with contact info), you should be able to plan a nice outing with your family.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

This is a brief post to confirm that yes, I’m alive and all is well and to take the opportunity, brief though it may be, to say that I blogged something from Iquitos Peru.

We are soon to head down the Amazon, where the internet connections are, shall we say, scarce.

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By The Permanent Guest Blogger: Steven L.

Border agents let fake IDs go through

Undercover investigators entered the United States using fake documents repeatedly this year — including some cases in which Homeland Security Department agents didn’t ask for identification.

At nine border crossings on the Mexico and Canadian borders, agents “never questioned the authenticity of the counterfeit documents,” according to
Government Accountability Office testimony to be released Wednesday.

I have no comment. I just cannot bring myself to say anything at the moment.

“This vulnerability potentially allows terrorists or others involved in criminal activity to pass freely into the United States from Canada or Mexico with little or no chance of being detected,” concluded the GAO.

Gee. Ya THINK?!

From Yahoo News.

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By The Permanent Guest Blogger: Steven L.

Doctors offer to maim beggars in TV sting

Reuters has the story from India.

Three Indian doctors caught on camera apparently agreeing to amputate the healthy limbs of beggars are to be questioned by the Indian Medical Council, an official said Tuesday.

* * *

The doctor, from Ghaziabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and a satellite town of the capital, New Delhi, explains how he can stitch up blood vessels in a healthy limb, causing it to blacken with gangrene over a few days.

A prospective beggar can be booked into the doctor’s claiming to have had an accident, and then have the amputation carried out without raising eyebrows, he explains.

“Believe me if there are two beggars in front of you and one of them is lame, you will give the money to the lame beggar,” the station recorded him as saying in Hindi.

Yech. It is hard to believe that level of callousness.

I doubt this will make it into Steven T.’s “Friday Fun Meme.”

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