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Saturday, November 29, 2003
Don't say I didn't warn you

*WARNING* Tedious discussion of Ivy League sports. *WARNING*

Cornell hockey is one of those things that is either your whole life or a pair of words that you didn't even know form an important phrase. It is my life. And last year, when Cornell had its best season since the early 70's, life was good.

Big Red hockey is the single greatest sporting experience in the world, and I say that without reservation or fear of contradiction. Lynah Rink is to hockey what Cameron Indoor Stadium is to basketball: smart, passionate, obnoxious fans. But better, because we aren't mugging for the ESPN cameras. We are devoted in relative obscurity. Lynah is consistently praised as among the toughest places to play, and visiting teams always give props to the Lynah Faithful on their way out of town. Even better, the Faithful travel. All Cornell road games are an occassion to try and shout down the home crowd, and we often do. Harvard changed its ticket sales policy to prevent their home game against Cornell this season from becoming "Lynah East" again. And now Cornell is having all of their home games broadcast over the internet by i2sports, so I will be able to see them more this year than any since I finished grad school in '93.

The streaming broadcast is a huge improvement over just a few years ago when I had a dial-up connection and couldn't even listen to the audio broadcasts without constant rebuffering. . On the other hand, those old audio broadcasts were free. And there was briefly a free video webcast of the home games. Now there is no free anything through Cornell. The radio broadcasts are part of an omnibus college sports service that just isn't worth the price (most opponents stream their own audio feeds for free). But at only $60/season or (what I do) $5/game, the webcasts are really a bargain. In theory.

Last year was so transcendent, this year was bound to be a letdown. Still... we played Mercyhurst tonight, and didn't win. After last season, that is just inconceivable. The final score was 3-3. After Cornell gave up the game-tying goal with 5 seconds left. That kind of thing hurts. Especially because in the vaunted Lynah Rink, Cornell is now 0-2-3 for the year, and we haven't played a particularly difficult schedule. Cornell's freshman goalie is (to my eyes) struggling and the Cornell O gets plenty of chances, but isn't able to bury the puck. *Sigh*

I am confident this will change. And it better change soon, because next weekend Brown (having a surprisingly great start) and the hated Harvard (playing well below their ability) come to Ithaca. I really wish I could be there. At least this year I get to watch from home.

I didn't put up anything for Thanksgiving, so here it is: Thanks, i2sports.

Friday, November 28, 2003
Seamless communication

Jacob Weisberg and William Saletan discuss the latest campaign ad from the Bush campaign over at Slate. They hit on everything that is disgusting about the ad, but miss something that really seems obvious: There is no way that the tape of Bush speaking is the original unedited footage.

Bush can speak a few words in a row without trouble on occassion, but he doesn't do well with full thoughts. Even scripted full thoughts. The footage was almost certainly cut together to give the speech a continuity that it didn't have live. I am not referring to the snippets in the commercial that were from different parts of the speech, but to other parts which were made to seem like whole spoken sentences by putting up a graphics card to cover the audio splice. Please watch the ad and let me know if I am the crazy one. (Brother of Ugarte pointed me to the ad, so thanks to him.)

Let the Eagle Soar

Just a little holiday reminder of who's running the Justice Department.

Ashcroft Sings.

As horrifying as that is, I still want him to quit his day job.

Thursday, November 27, 2003
Blog King Update

Apparently, I had an outdated link to Random Fate, which led me to deduct points for site design. Having been provided with the correct link, which leads to a much snazzier weblog, I hereby adjust Random Fate's Site Design score to 6.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
I am a Geek Liaison

You are 44% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

Thanks to Random Fate for the link.

Rick's Ruling

One of my newer and more enjoyable roles is as a Permanent Judge for Patriot Paradox's King of Blogs Tournament. Below are my ratings for each of the six entries in the three prescribed categories. After all judges' votes are tallied, three of the six will move on to next week's final round. The winner of that round will be the defending champion until he or she is de-throned. Here's how I scored them:

Site Design (15%): Most of the entries were pretty standard. I awarded 5 points for a basic template, and you could win or lose points for departures from the template, depending on whether I thought it added or detracted from your site.

Host's Challenge (25%): This week's Challenge was: "Why should you be the first King of the Blog?". The answers were pretty similar here, with most people opting to make humorous appeals to bribery (in terms of hits or dollars) or patriotism. None of the entries here really stood out, but all were well-written and at least somewhat clever. Anger Management did not submit an entry in this category.

Main Entry (60%): I thought all of the entries were above average for the blogosphere. Because each entry was completely different, it was much harder to compare in this category, and this is obviously the most subjective area. I try to explain what I liked (or didn't) about each piece below.

Adrian Warnock: Stuck in the Middle

Site Design: 4 (lots of blank space at the top, and generally too text heavy)
Host's Challenge: 6
Main Entry: 7 (Thoughtful, heavily linked -- in a good way -- and provides an interesting perspective)

Anger Management: Finally, I'm Funny

Site Design: 6 (great title graphic)
Host's Challenge: None
Main Entry: 6 (Not as funny as it was long and rambling, but some moments of levity)

Clarified: Express Delivery

Site Design: 5
Host's Challenge: 6
Main Entry: 8 (clever premise well executed)

eTALKINGHEAD: Conservatives Debate Medicare

Site Design: 7 (the most sophisticated-looking site; bit too much blank space on the right, at least in IE6)
Host's Challenge: 6
Main Entry: 7 (measured tone and solid writing on a complex and important issue had me looking for a concrete proposal/position, which I did not find)

Evangelical Outpost: How to Handle a Divorce

Site Design: 5
Host's Challenge: 7 (extra points for being the only entry to refer to content as a reason for deserving the Crown)
Main Entry: 10 (Deals with a serious topic in a hilarious yet helpful way. Brilliant.)

Random Fate: It's Our Government, Let's Take it Back

Site Design: 4 (some broken links and clutter on the right hand side, color-changing scheme is cute, but some schemes make the page hard to read)
Host's Challenge: 7 (points for honesty, and for amusing use of testimonials)
Main Entry: 7 (A good, thoughtful piece, well-written)

Special recognition (but no extra points) goes to Adrian Warnock, whose campaign of self-promotion bordered on spamming.


Is it just me, or is The Onion recycling old stories? I distinctly remember seeing this one a while back, although I couldn't find it in the archives today.

I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers (including some on the staff at Rick's) who would be happy to contribute if The Onion finds itself short on quality pieces.

She's Back -- Across the River

A Marine's Girl is back online, and she's not alone! Rejoin her, along with some friends, at Across the River -- now with comments!

Welcome back, Girl!

After years of practicing his craft, he has become a Master

They were giving out free packets of Chock full o'Nuts [capitalization scheme in original] coffee grounds outside of my brother's office today, so he took a packet and brought it home. I thank him for pointing out to me the self-promotion on the back of the packet. The message from "Your friends at Chock full o'Nuts" says:

"Our blendmaster has selected 100% Arabica coffee beans and roasted them to perfection to give you the full-flavored taste you want without the bitterness you don't."

If he really does deliver full-flavored taste without the awful bitterness that he rightfully guesses that I don't want, I salute him. And because he does it by roasting the beans, I raise my glass to the roastmaster. But he is using only one kind of bean. It may be the greatest bean ever grown. It is, as you now know, full-flavored without being bitter. (Incidentally, it is also the bean of choice at coffee mecca McDonald's.)

But if the man is only using one bean, isn't "blendmaster" a touch exaggerated?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Sometimes getting a reminder is worthwhile

I have always run in rather liberal circles, but as the circles I run in get more liberal I feel more conservative. While some of this is because on some issues I am more conservative (most environmental policy, notably) mostly it is because (I like to think) that I am uncomfortable with many of the shibboleths of the 2003 liberal.

Racism, for example, is something that I abhor, but something that I see a lot less of around me than many of me peers. For instance, if we gloss over everything Rush Limbaugh said before he got a job at ESPN, I don't think that there was anything particularly racist about what he said. I know that I, for one, root for black quarterbacks - both consciously and subconsciously - because I know, with every fiber of my being, that there is no reason that African-Americans are any less able to play quarterback than white folks. (I don't know that I can say the same for my fellow lansmen with much confidence, but it is nice to have some examples.) And while Gregg Easterbrook said something quite stupid, I think his apology was honest and sincere, and I am glad he is back to writing about football.

That said, it is more than a little annoying to begin telling a story about a crime, or anything bad really, to be interrupted with "Black?" Now this might appear to undermine my claim to run in liberal circles, but I make no claims about the politics of acquaintances or distant relations or the friends of relations, all of whom also end up crossing my path. Which brings me to what happened today at work. (That was certainly a lot of throat-clearing.)

I was riding the elevator when someone expressed shock and disappointment over what happened to Alonzo Mourning, without being specific. After a woman on the elevator asked who Mourning was, and I told her, her face got all scrunched up and she asked "What now?" It is certainly possible that she was reacting to the generic athlete-as-criminal, and perhaps I am just projecting racist thoughts. And perhaps it is because I subconsciously also believe that basketball player = black = likely criminal, but I don't think so. There is still work to be done.

Anyway, the next part doesn't revolve around racism, just callousness.

When she found out that he needs a kidney transplant, rather than revising her revulsion to sympathy or pity or any of a range of emotions, she chose dismissal. "Oh, that's not such a big deal." Amazing. I guess now that those kidney farmers are pumping out kidneys for all blood types and all body types (I suspect that 6' 9" is a complicating factor in finding a match) he shouldn't worry at all.

In any event, the whole elevator ride ended rather strangely. She then said "What about Kobe Bryant?" This led to an exchange in which a man on the elevator kept saying "stupid" and she kept replying "set up". And then the man explained why it was stupid. As the elevator doors closed behind me, he was telling her that with all of Kobe's money, he should have flown in a hooker.

Smoke Weed. Make Babies.

From NPR News:

"Researchers discover that marijuana-like compounds produced by the body can help regulate the growth of mouse embryos. Scientists believe the findings could have implications for fertility research in humans."

Dr. Sudhansu K. Dey discovered this phenomenon this week after a period of "off and on" research even after friends of the scientist dismissed it as "another one of Sudy's crazy ideas". Excited by his success Dr. Dey has announced he also plans on researching the effects of Pink Floyd, and ordering from Dominoes, on mouse fertility. Mr. Dey is particularly excited about a new avenue of mouse research he plans on pursuing, but so far has been fairly quiet about the details. Dr. Dey has told the press, however, that this new project will not be ready for research until at least December 17 to coincide with the "9 hour triple screening of Lord of the Rings".

Dr. Dey's previous research projects have included:

"Why we sound better in the shower" and "The effects of expensive meals on my stomach"

A Marine's Girl Update

After her blog mysteriously "disappeared" this weekend (blogspot denies having taken it down, but the Girl herself didn't do it either), the Girl is taking a short hiatus from blogging before coming back with whole new site. Details and links to follow.

Why Dubya wasn't lying

Before you get all upset by the latest news showing that Bush continues to lie to the American people and to the world, please consider why some of his recent statements were not, as they now appear to be, lies:

What he said: "I've noticed that the tradition of free speech -- exercised with enthusiasm -- (laughter) -- is alive and well here in London. We have that at home, too. They now have that right in Baghdad, as well." (Bush, at Whitehall Palace in London on November 19, 2003).

Why it isn't a lie: The television network the Iraqi Governing Council just shut down in Iraq is headquartered in the city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.


What he said: "I think we have over 130,000 now, Iraqis, in one kind of uniform or another" (Bush, in an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat on November 21, 2003)

Why it isn't a lie: Well, there's enough equivocation in that one that it almost has to be true in one form or another. And, although "the Iraqi police and guards who make up most of the nation's forces have little to no training, only light weapons, virtually no communications or heavy military equipment, and no demonstrated expertise or will to take on the insurgents", and many "sympathize with the insurgents fighting to rid Iraq of U.S. troops", they are, in fact, wearing uniforms. Of one kind or another.


What he said: "As part of our coalition's efforts to build a stable and secure Iraq, we are working to rebuild Iraq's schools, to get the teachers back to work and to make sure Iraqi children have the supplies they need." (Bush, during a radio address on October 13, 2003)

Why it isn't a lie: The 28,000 Iraqi teachers Paul Bremer just fired were . . . um . . . evil.

King of Blogs tournament: First Round Entries

The following noble and worthy warriors have entered the first-ever round of the King of Blogs Tournament. Only three will advance to the next round in one week's time. Only one will be named King of Blogs.

Adrian Warnock: Stuck in the Middle

Anger Management: Finally, I'm Funny

Clarified: Express Delivery

eTALKINGHEAD: Conservatives Debate Medicare

Evangelical Outpost: How to Handle a Divorce

Random Fate: It's Our Government, Let's Take it Back

"Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics"

David Brooks has a new column today entitled "Refuting the Cynics", in which he throws a lot of unsupported "facts" and "statistics" at his readers in an apparent attempt to support his call for "optimism" and "gratitude". I'm all for optimism and gratitude, but Brooks hardly makes the case for either. A large part of his argument seems to be our country's "vitality" (whatever that means), which he "proves" by comparing the U.S. and Europe, without citing his sources for the numbers he uses:
Economically, the comparisons [between the U.S. and Europe] are trickier, but here too there is divergence. The gap between American and European G.D.P. per capita has widened over the past two decades, and at the moment American productivity rates are surging roughly 5 percent a year.
The biggest difference is that over the past two decades the United States has absorbed roughly 20 million immigrants. This influx of people has led, in the short term, to widening inequality and higher welfare costs as the immigrants are absorbed, but it also means that the U.S. will be, through our lifetimes, young, ambitious and energetic.
Actually, the most significant indicator of why many like myself are neither terribly optimistic nor grateful to our leaders of the past two decades is the ever-increasing disparity of wealth within our own country:

  • In 1998, the bottom 40% of the U.S. population had only 0.2% of the wealth, while the top 1% had 38.1% of the wealth and over 70% of our nation's wealth was concentrated in the top 20% of the population.
  • The change in average household net worth between 1983 and 1998 shows that the bottom 40% saw a 76.3% decrease in net worth, while the top 1% saw a 42.2% increase.
  • Between 1979 and 2001, family income increased an average of 7% for the bottom 40%, and 81% for the top 5%. Do those numbers after taxes, and you see an 11% increase in the bottom 40%, and a 201% increase in the top 1%.
  • In 1999, the average CEO in the U.S. made 475 times what the average worker made. Compare that with 42 times as much in 1980.

  • As these data show, the rich have gotten progressively richer at the expense of the poor since the early 1980's. Brooks calls this period the "Great Rejuvenation", and claims that the "evidence" (whatever it may be -- Brooks certainly doesn't offer any) "rebukes those gloomy liberals who for two decades have been predicting that the center-right governance of Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush would lead to disaster." I suppose it depends on your definition of disaster -- and your income bracket.

    Then, Brooks cites a projection that " in the year 2050 the median age in the United States will be 35. The median age in Europe will be 52. The implications of that are enormous." They sure are. Given that over 70% of householders under 35 and over 30% of householders between 35 and 44 have a net worth of less than $10,000, this means a hell of a lot of poor young folk. Poor but, perhaps, "vital".

    I don't have time right now to do Brooks' work for him by trying to find the other "statistics" he uses (without references) and figure out whether they, too, are misleading, but I want to take issue with one more thing. Without any explanation or support whatsoever, Brooks claims that "The air is cleaner. The water is cleaner and we are using less of it." Really? I don't know if that is true or not (I highly doubt it, and Brooks's statement is too vague to analyze or refute), but if it is true, the current administration is doing it's damndest to change that (see, e.g., here and here).

    Brooks doesn't identify the "cynics" he is refuting, nor does he offer a single source for any of his conveniently vague assertions. If others are comforted by his unsupported claims and insistence that we should all feel grateful to the Great Right Fathers, well, good for you. I guess I'm just one of those "gloomy liberals" who "have a horribly distorted view of the state of this nation", but I prefer to base my cynicism, my horribly distorted views, and my refutations, on facts.

    Theft of Cobalt in Iraq Prompts Security Inquiry

    The New York Times reports that "American experts say cobalt could be used in the making of "dirty bombs" — cheap, improvised nuclear devices."

    Thank goodness we got rid of that regime under which deadly weapons could fall into the wrong hands!

    U.S. Acquiesces to Allies on New Iran Nuclear Resolution

    I'm glad to see that -- for now -- cooler heads seem to be prevailing at the White House with respect to Iran. In many ways, the Iran situation closely parallels the Iraq situation pre-invasion. This time, however, America seems more willing to explore options short of full-scale war. Whether this is because the administration has learned from its failures in Iraq, because we haven't got the military resources to do this in three countries at once, or because the administration is waiting to play the cowboy card until closer to the election, I cannot say. But I am hopeful that Iran may serve as an example of a better way to deal with "rogue nations", and a sign that the administration is learning from past mistakes.

    I think he's tapped into something here

    Found a new blog today while reminiscing in the "Insignificant Microbes" section of the Ecosystem: Big Boobs and Fire, a blog apparently dedicated to road-rage haiku. It's a niche market, for sure, but I rather liked this one:
    Freeway Haiku
    Learn to alternate
    You don't have to fucking stop
    It's just an on-ramp
    I'm still not sure what all this has to do with big boobs and fire, but I'm willing to be patient.


    Look over there. To the right. The other right. Yeah. Cool, huh? Go ahead, vote. Just once. Thanks.

    Monday, November 24, 2003
    Wankel me, baby.

    With the holidays just around the corner, here's what Rick wants:

    Whew. If their throats had been cut, it might have indicated that we weren't being welcomed with open arms.

    Casualties: Revising Report, Army Denies Throats of 2 G.I.’s Were Cut

    Am I allowed to laugh at this? I did, you know.

    How do you assess the brain damage in a case like this one?

    It is tempting to think that the rest of the participants are going to miss the court hearing to attend the funeral following this tragic death.

    Now more than ever

    If you question the administration, you are with Saddam.

    Credit to Kausfiles, who gave credit to Taranto.

    Gun Fun for Everyone

    In a desperate offensive from a failing organization, the NRA has switched tactics and are now test-piloting a new, more aggressive distortion of the second amendment. As of today, by a city ordinance passed 3-2 by the city council of Geuda Springs, Kansas, residents are required to keep at least one gun in the house-hold. Noncomplying residents would be fined 10 dollars.

    Currently being reviewed by the council is a requirement to paint the gun "friendly green", always store it at knee level, and cover the stock in delicious chocolate.

    Good Morning, Say Goodbye to your Freedom.

    Having failed to strip us of any remaining vestiges of freedom, when the proposed Patriot II act met with a public uproar earlier this year, Ashcroft is at it again, but this time he's learned his lesson, and plans to pass the bill without telling us. Ashcroft has insidiously placed the most controversial items in the proposed Patriot II act into an Intelligence Spending Bill. Incidentally "Intelligence spending bills are considered sensitive, so they are usually drafted in secret and approved without debate or public comment."

    Time for you to choose your own adventure:

    For those of you who want to face the reality of diminished freedoms go to page 39.

    If instead you want to live in imagined safety behind the warm cloak of Bush propaganda go to page 54.

    General Douchebaggery is in the House.

    See where the Alliance get their marching orders.

    Dubya Rides Lies Again

    Shock and Awe comments on the return of Shock and Awe.

    Sunday, November 23, 2003
    A Marine's Girl

    In the meantime, here are links to her archives, which are still accessible:

  • 10/12/2003 - 10/18/2003
  • 10/19/2003 - 10/25/2003
  • 10/26/2003 - 11/01/2003
  • 11/02/2003 - 11/08/2003
  • 11/09/2003 - 11/15/2003
  • 11/16/2003 - 11/22/2003

    Where did she go?

    I was checking the links in my posts today when I discovered that A Marine's Girl seems to have disappeared from BlogSpot. Those of you familiar with her wonderful site know that A Marine's Girl (whose blog is/was subtitled "Insight on being the girl friend of a Marine in Iraq. Opinions of news items of the day, politics, and relationships") happened not to share the exact same view as our current administration. This recently got her into trouble with someone claiming to be a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, and it looked for a while like she might be forced to take down her site. Then, the mysterious and noble "Captain Frank" came to the rescue, saying that he would engage in an investigation of "Gunney"'s threats, and that the Corps was not out to get A Marine's Girl.

    Well, I don't know what the story is at this moment, but it does look like A Marine's Girl has taken down (or been forced to take down) her site -- a site which provided a valuable glimpse into the life of a Marine in Iraq and his girlfriend here at home. Her site frequently informed and inspired me, and I imagine it was downright therapeutic for others who find themselves in similar situations. I hope that this is just a temporary setback, and that A Marine's Girl has not been shut down by overzealous nuts bent on silencing dissenting voices. Hers was one of the more intelligent, sensitive, helpful voices in my blogosphere, and if that voice has been silenced . . . well, I'll keep you posted on that. Let's hope those links are working soon.

    Marketplace of Ideas, Indeed

    I discovered today that Rick's Cafe Americain is being traded on BlogShares, a fantasy stock market for weblogs. Good luck and thanks to venture blogger A Marine's Girl, Rick's largest (and, currently, only) shareholder.


    I realize the title of my last post may have been unclear. What I meant to ask was "When is the War on Terror Going to focus on fighting terror." There is no question in my mind that the single most evident focus of the War on Terror so far has been to induce terror.

    When is the War on Terror going to focus on Terror?

    OK, so a little recap on the War on Terror, on which Bush is apparently basing his re-election campaign:

    Immediately after 9/11, the Bush Administration decided that maybe all that anti-terrorism, anti-bin Laden stuff the Clinton administration tried to get them to focus on was something they should start focusing on. So, in a remarkably short period of time, the Bush Administration put together and executed an efficient and effective plan -- to get bin Laden's family and other influential Saudis out of the country. Good move. It's not like it might have been helpful to have them around to ask questions about Osama, right?

    Then, while ordinary citizens rallied in the face of what may have been the most devastating attack ever on U.S. soil, pulling together to help each other in any way they could, trying to follow the Administration's advice to try to get back to normal, some cynical opportunists took advantage of the cowardice and confusion that apparently had clouded the minds of most of our congresspersons, and pushed through a hastily put-together piece of legislature known as the USA PATRIOT Act, which carved away at the very freedoms that set us apart from regimes like those of Saddam or the Taliban.

    Lest you think all our rights were trampled, however, fear not. John Ashcroft (who bullied Congress into passing the USA PATRIOT Act), took a firm stance on the Second Amendment rights of suspected 9/11 terrorists. In early December, 2001, Ashcroft's Justice Department blocked efforts by the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies to check Justice's database to determine if any of the 1,200 individuals detained after the September 11 attacks had bought guns or had sought to do so.

    The administration worked equally hard to hinder investigations of 9/11: The White House tried to stop the formation of the 9/11 commission; once the commission did get under way, the Bush administration took additional steps to hinder its progress, including limiting the amount of funds available to it; Cheney refused to disclose the records of his secret Energy Task Force; Bush redacted references to the Saudis in the comission's report.

    But maybe the Bush administration was so unwilling to allow, fund, or cooperate with the 9/11 commission because they felt they should be devoting resources to fighting terrorists -- forward-looking stuff. Right? Real effective anti-terror stuff, like invading and occupying Iraq (please don't stick your neck out to ask if I'm pro-Saddam. The answer can be found here), prosecuting arson victims, high-school debaters and grade-school children, as well as employing the same tactics we used years ago against other evildoers.

    Yes, that's right folks. Read the New York Times article and learn how the FBI has, no doubt using the wondrous tools provided by the USA PATRIOT Act, learned "how protesters have sometimes used 'training camps' to rehearse for demonstrations, the Internet to raise money and gas masks to defend against tear gas." My God, this has been going on right under our noses? But wait, there's more:
    "Activists may also make use of training camps to rehearse tactics and counter-strategies for dealing with the police and to resolve any logistical issues," the memorandum continued. It also noted that protesters may raise money to help pay for lawyers for those arrested.
    Well, there you have it. It is now only a matter of time before we have al-Qaeda -- an anti-war group known for its effective use of civil disobedience (remember how they brought down the Twin Towers with that human chain?) -- right where we want them.

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