Monthly Archives: October 2004

More of Bush’s failures

Holy Zarqawi – Why Bush let Iraq’s top terrorist walk. By Daniel Benjamin

This article details yet another Bush failure in Iraq.

Specifically, the Bush administration justified its invasion of Iraq in part on the fact that a terrorist with likely ties to Bin Ladin was operating on Iraqi soil (though in territorry the Kurd’s controlled with the help of US airpower), but it made no plans to deal with him. In fact, it repeatedly ignored plans put forward by the CIA to neutralize him

That terrorist was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the same terrorist claiming responsibility for attacks within Iraq ranging from the execution of 49 police recruits this last week, to scores of truck and car bombings, to the execution of multiple hostages.

Bush’s failure to dispatch al-Zarqawi, like his failure to deal with the tons and tons of high explosives that have gone missing since the invasion, are two more reasons why things are going so badly in Iraq.

The root cause is clear right now: Bush and his team are fuck-ups. Do not wait until after the election to figure that out. It’s time for some accountability. It’s time to throw Bush out.

One of the lies Bush supporters tell us is that Bush’s flip flopping on “no nation building” by invading Afghanistan and Iraq is actually a virtue, representing his willingness to respond to the new realities posed by 9/11.

This is a lie, because the record makes it clear that the administration started plotting an invasion of Iraq shortly after taking office. In fact, it is two lies, because pushing forward with the invasion of Iraq, and diverting resources from Afghanistan and hunting Bin Ladin, represents an unwillingness to respond to to the new realities posed by 9/11.

I’m not sure if they actually believe these lies themselves, but you shouldn’t believe them when they repeat it.



adj : characteristic of someone who employs terrorism (especially as a political weapon); “terrorist activity”; “terrorist state” n : a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; usually organizes with other terrorists in small cells; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities

New York Daily News – Home – Analysis: See tape as boost for Prez

“We want people to think ‘terrorism’ for the last four days,” said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. “And anything that raises the issue in people’s minds is good for us.”

A senior GOP strategist added, “anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush.”

He called it “a little gift,” saying it helps the President but doesn’t guarantee his reelection.

Think about it.

Bush: either lying or ignorant, if not both.

EXCLUSIVE: 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq

Bush’s defense against the recent news that tons of high explosives weren’t secured during the invasion of Iraq and have fallen into enemy hands has been that they may have been missing before our troops got to them, then he turns around and blasts Kerry, saying that if Kerry had his way, Saddam might still be in power, and may have given terrorists explosives.

Now, never mind the fact that whatever may have happened, insurgents using terrorists tactics definitely have high explosives now thanks to Bush’s pigheaded incompetence.

Instead, consider Bush’s statement and ask yourself, how is it that a Minneapolis TV station knows that the explosives were almost certainly right where we should have been looking for them when US troops got there, while the President of the US, in a fight for his political life and with the whole US intelligence apparatus of the US at his disposal, does not know. It seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

More likely, Bush was lying, and he was lying because he knew this was bad news, and he thought that no one would call him on it. Or maybe he’s just ignorant and out of the loop, like he was about torture at Abu Gharib, and the absence of WMDs, or ties to Al Queda. Or maybe he was lying about those too.

Using GPS technology and talking with members of the 101st Airborne Division, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has determined the crew embedded with the troops may have been on the southern edge of the Al Qaqaa installation, where the ammunition disappeared. The news crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa, and drove two or three miles north of there with soldiers on April 18, 2003.


I stumbled upon the following while looking for discussion on the iPod photo on technorati:

Most agree Apple passed on crushing online music competition and devastating WMA by not announcing/implementing AAC Plus, but there is reason we did not see AAC Plus today…


What is this AAC Plus of which he speaks? Why didn’t Apple deploy it to forcefully crush all comers?

Um, maybe because its pretty irrelevant on the iPod. Following the links in the post, I learn that AAC Plus improves compression by about 30% over standard AAC at the same quality level. That’s pretty cool, but then I considered that I’m already having trouble filling my old 10GB iPod — i’m not sure more efficient encoding is that important to me, and from Apple’s point of view, they are already running into challenges about how to motivate people to upgrade as the storage capacity on iPods starts to outstrip more and more People’s music collections. Besides, I’d guess that the people with the largest collections have downloaded most of it, and those downloads are already compressed in MP3 format, so reencoding is going to be completely undesirable.

More importantly, looking at the quality graphs, it looks like the perceived quality of AAC Plus vs Regular AAC probably convergest somewhere between 48kbps and the 128kbps default used by iTunes, so its not even clear there would be any clear advantage over AAC either space or quality-wise in the domain most iPod users exist.

AAC Plus seems to be targeted at the mobile wireless music market, where bit-efficiency is important from a bandwidth rather than a storage perspective. The iPod doesn’t connect to cellular networks, end of story.

The mystery is, why make a big deal about the lact of AAC Plus support in the new iPod? And why am I even bothering to ask that question?

iPod Photo & the idea of a video iPod

The new photo iPod is interesting.

40GB is more than I’d need for my music collection, so new features to make use of the storage would certainly be welcome.

I even like the idea of being able to easily carry and display my collection of digital photos anywhere I take my iPod. As it is in the past week, I’ve pulled out my camera to show two different people two different sets of photos I still have on it. I’ve also pulled out my camera once or twice in the past week to kill a few minutes while waiting (in line, on elevator, in traffic) by looking at the photos I’ve taken lately.

That said, the pricing on this thing sucks. It’s $100 more than an ordinary 40GB iPod, which is itself $100 more than the 20GB model which has pretty much all the storage I can imagine wanting for at least the next couple of years.

By my estimate, as $/GB for small hard disks continues dropping, adding features that leverage that cheaper storage are going to be necessary to keep people buying and upgrading at the existing pricepoints. Expecting people to buy in at a higher pricepoint seems foolish.

Which brings me to the idea of a Video iPod. I thought the idea was stupid — audio is pervasive, people have radios on all day. Sure, some people have the TV on all day, but most of the time, they are using it like a a radio tuned to a talk station. I doubt they are going to bother loading a bunch of video onto a portable player whose battery life suffers dramatically when playing video and listen to it with headphones just to watch the few minutes of video that catches their interest. Steve Jobs said the same thing, and so of course, I felt validated.

I’m not so sure any more. Russell Beattie thinks that Jobs is being myopic because of his association with the movie industry. He also notes that people are thrilled to see the low quality video of Finding Nemo he has on his smartphone, and that crummy expensive mobile video is drawing interest and some revenue in the mobile phone business.

I’m not sure the 150,000 people paying sprint $10/month extra for their video service really counts as the beginnings of a mass market. I think the novelty factor has to be pretty high and is going to pass. On the other hand, I think their is a market for novelty with respect to video. Think about all the vid clips you see linked from blogs. They are the sort of thing someone might want to look at to amuse themselves while waiting in line somewhere, and they are the sort of thing you might want to pull out and show a friend over coffee or a colleage at the water cooler.

My gut feeling is that this could be a bigger deal than podcasting. I see a lot more links to interesting video than to interesting audio.

The real question is what is a reasonable price for video capability. As I said above, I think in the long run, video is just going to be a way to sell higher storage capacities and drive upgrades. In the short run, it can command a premium, but Apple would be wise to set that premium low enough that it can leverage its dominant audio marketshare into dominant video marketshare. Pricing photo support at a level near where competitors are offering video support seems completely foolish.