“the only question is whether we can find a president smart enough never to make a mistake like that again”

Roman descendants found in China?

Residents of a remote Chinese village are hoping that DNA tests will prove one of history’s most unlikely legends — that they are descended from Roman legionaries lost in antiquity.

Scientists have taken blood samples from 93 people living in and around Liqian, a settlement in north-western China on the fringes of the Gobi desert, more than 200 miles from the nearest city.

They are seeking an explanation for the unusual number of local people with western characteristics — green eyes, big noses, and even blonde hair — mixed with traditional Chinese features.

Just looking at the map and the extent of the Roman Empire it seems unlikely. Still it would be interesting to know why so many people in that area of China have such distinctive features. Perhaps some other invaders/explorers other then the Romans settled there and mixed in with the local residents over time.

I meant to mention Molly Ivins the other day and time just got awat from me, Funny Woman: What I learned from Molly Ivins. 

Ivins’ bag of comedic tricks included the perfect metaphor: “Being Canadian” was “like living next door to the Simpsons”; being “attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air” was like “being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.” She also nailed the genius turn of phrase: “Iraq is clearly hubris carried to the point of insanity—it’s damn hard to convince people you’re killing them for their own good.” (Ivins famously ended her career with the New York Times when she referred to a “community chicken-killing festival” in a small town as a “gang-pluck.”)

But her greatest gift as a humorist was her ability to put into words something everyone vaguely sensed but hadn’t yet named. She brilliantly dubbed George W. Bush “Shrub.” She relentlessly debunked the stupidism that “we can make ourselves safer if we just make ourselves less free.” And she could vanquish a widely held misconception with a well-placed “poot” or “piffle.” Of those who urged that “anyone speaking up for civil liberties is on the side of the terrorists,” she wrote, “that’s the kind of thinking that has earned syllogism the reputation it enjoys today.” Of the lingering outrage aimed at Hillary Clinton: “Most people have a very hard time forgiving those whom they have deeply wronged.”

I have something of a distrust for that term “populism”. Bush was advertised as a “compassionate conservative” and a “populists”, yet one of the the multitude of times that the phrase has been hijacked by a partisan zealot to cover their fringe ideologies. Still if Ivins was the standard by which we measured populism then we could use more of it.

Business should be run like a business and government should be run like a government. Conservatives keep trying to create a monstrous mix of the two and it has not been to the benefit of the average taxpayer, In Washington, Contractors Take on Biggest Role Ever   

¶Competition, intended to produce savings, appears to have sharply eroded. An analysis by The New York Times shows that fewer than half of all “contract actions” — new contracts and payments against existing contracts — are now subject to full and open competition. Just 48 percent were competitive in 2005, down from 79 percent in 2001.

¶The most secret and politically delicate government jobs, like intelligence collection and budget preparation, are increasingly contracted out, despite regulations forbidding the outsourcing of “inherently governmental” work. Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, said allowing CACI workers to review other contractors captured in microcosm “a government that’s run by corporations.”

¶Agencies are crippled in their ability to seek low prices, supervise contractors and intervene when work goes off course because the number of government workers overseeing contracts has remained level as spending has shot up. One federal contractor explained candidly in a conference call with industry analysts last May that “one of the side benefits of the contracting officers being so overwhelmed” was that existing contracts were extended rather than put up for new competitive bidding.

Conservatives are just organized crime that use a spread sheet instead of a gun.

“….the only question is whether we can find a president smart enough never to make a mistake like that again.” – Molly Ivins