« March 2003 | Main | May 2003 »

April 30, 2003

music and art

Psychic Doppelgängers: A Tale of Two Deans by Judith Lewis.

(Referring to this Dean, btw.)

originally posted by xowie

B2I: Epilogue

Back-to-Iraq takes stock of his journey and what the war all means with a hefty post with some great links. (I love especially the part where he catches Thomas Friedman changing his tune after the fact, something Friedman has become quite adept at.)

Also, check out photo galleries one and two.
(There's also a nice photo of my neighborhood on the front page.)

originally posted by zagg

junk heap

"I never would have believed it in my wildest dreams," said Jerry Green, a union leader who worked for 27 years in the plant here as a cement-gun sprayer. "I thought Bethlehem was a giant and steel was king."
PI: Bethlehem Steel's long fall ends today in corporate death.

originally posted by xowie


Two things I read in the newspapers today:

The number of black Americans under 18 years old who live in extreme poverty has risen sharply since 2000 and is now at its highest level since the government began collecting such figures in 1980, according to a study by the Children's Defense Fund, a child welfare advocacy group.

In 2001, the last year for which government figures are available, nearly one million black children were living in families with after-tax incomes that were less than half the amount used to define poverty, said the new study, which was based on Census Bureau statistics and is to be released publicly today.


Like many tech companies, PeopleSoft skidded through 2002.

The Pleasanton software firm's shares plummeted 53 percent. It earned $182. 6 million, down 5 percent from 2001. And sales tumbled 8 percent.

But Chief Executive Officer Craig Conway won a raise. Including options, PeopleSoft estimated his total package soared to $188 million, quintuple his 2001 compensation, according to the company's proxy statement filed earlier this week.

To me items like these illustrate the barbarism at the heart of capitalism, a system designed to benefit the few at the expense of the vast majority, a system that enables CEOs of failing companies to amass bounties while millions in America (and billions worldwide), especially communities of color, live and die in abject misery.

It is a system that rationalizes the heaping of billions more dollars into the destruction of another country, Iraq, so the oil wealth there can be plundered and used to "fund" the rebuilding of that same country. This is nothing more than theft. The U.S. has destroyed Iraq and has taken the oil fields. Now it will sell the oil and will use the profits to continue to pay U.S. corporations to rebuild what the U.S. government just spent billions destroying.

We don't need to defeat capitalism to stop a war, but we do need to defeat capitalism to stop all wars.

originally posted by zagg


"There's lots of interesting video to watch on the web, BUT most video on the web is not particularly good or interesting to any one person and it is usually hidden behind clunky interfaces. A lot of the best content on the web is produced by independents that are hungry to have their stuff watched but can't buy ad space on Yahoo or don't aren't backed by a movie studio marketing campaign. Unfortunately its scattered across many sites making it very hard to find. Hopefully, this site will give indies' work more exposure and make it easier for netizens to find the great stuff they produce by allowing them to collaboratively pick what interests them."

randomWalks digs demand media.

Richard Fariña

Woods Lot remembers Richard Fariña today.

April 29, 2003

Seven new films from OneWorld.Net

Here are seven new movies from OneWorld.net, which offers a platform for people around the world to stream their short movies online. On-line community members can use their tools to re-edit and refashion these same films to tell their own stories. Cluster Bombs: Theory vs Reality by Hadi Ghaemi
Abdul Samad, an Afghan living in Herat lost his brother in a cluster bomb attack on a densely populated residential area. He is now taking care of his brother's wife and 5 children in addition to his own family. Abdul Samad provides a direct, personal and sober account of the human toll of "collateral damage".

Appointed to be a spy - the case of Grigory Pasko, by Amnesty International
Grigory Pasko is a journalist imprisoned for exposing the Russian military for dumping radioactive material in the Sea of Japan.

Afghan Poppies, by Rajesh Paul Thind
'Afghan Poppies' is a film about the part that friendship plays in helping us to survive and grow even when our world is being torn apart. The film focusses on the unexpected friendship between Nima Argandabi, a 39 year old Afghan refugee living in London with his three teenage children, and Annie Mills, a twentysomething Oxford-educated English woman.

40 years later - still refugees, by Jandarshan Productions
1964 witnessed a huge influx of refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to India. Most of them were sent to Mana Camp, near Raipur in Madhyapradesh. Mana camp was originally constructed for the Indian army during World War II. Listen to the stories of these refugees who still live in Mana camp today.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, by Loud Minority
A group of young Kosovan Albanians tell the story of how they fled war in their homeland and came to Britain to start new lives. They talk about their experiences of life in London, and reflect on what they left behind. The youth group is called Bashkimi Rinor ("United Youth") and they meet at Beacon Youth Centre in Barking & Dagenham, East London. The video was made by the council's digital arts project called Digitise.

Unintended Consequences of war in Iraq
Politicians, writers, NGOs and policy makers discuss the humanitarian impact on ordinary Iraqis and the regional implications of the war in Iraq.

Stepney Green against the war
We are students at Stepney Green school and we recently joined many others to protest against the war with Iraq. It was the first public protest for most of us. We have filmed video clips to show why we're against the war, what it means for Muslim communities in Britain and our message for President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

follow link and understanding will dawn

"Last week, there was a sign there that said 'Peace Is Patriotic'."

alma mater

"You've got these kids running around breathing in air, exercising," he said. "The stupidity of Beverly Hills High School baffles me."
A personal note: from 1983 to 1990 I lived across the street from an oil well. This oil well.

originally posted by xowie

PhoneCam Early Adopter Survey

Some friends of mine at Stanford are doing a camera phone user survey:
Are you an PhoneCam early adopter? Do you live in Silicon Valley? If so, we are interested in hearing from you!

We are a group of Stanford students working on a class project whose purpose is to understand how people between the ages of 18 and 25 use PhoneCams. (A PhoneCam is either a cell phone with a built-in digital camera or a cell phone with a camera add-on.)

If you have a PhoneCam and are interested in participating in a paid interview ($25 for an hour of your time!), please email us at marinaek@stanford.edu.

In your email please include the following information:
Phone number (optional):
What kind of cell phone do you have?
How long have you owned your cell phone?

Please respond by May 1, 2003.

April 28, 2003

iTunes 4

Streaming iTunes over Rendezvous is like breathing again. No more NFS mounted MP3 servers, no more weird iTunes library shortcuts, no more throwing burned CDs of MP3s across the office, or hacked modules that barely worked. It is perfect and seamless - I'm ecstatic.

As for the music store, what's really exciting is the delivery engine, not necessarily the music itself. It uses Safari's XHTML/Web Core display engine - in less than a month, someone will have hacked a way to plug a new store front into any install of iTunes. Sniff the packets to figure out the XML protocols, implement it and then an HTTP redirect should do the trick. Even though it's far from trivial, Apple should anticipate this and allow people to list their own works easily.

Users who register for Creative Commons licenses should be able to have their music distributed automatically, for free. What about a special store front for music.metafilter.com? Will this work for filmmakers as well as musicians? What about software?

However, some people think that the Apple service is too expensive, though songs are 99 cents each. "If you make a really cool playlist of 200 songs on Rhapsody, you pay only $9.95 a month," RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser tells Fortune. "If you use Apple, it's $200. Maybe guys like Steve and me can afford that, but I'm trying to run a service for everyone else too."

Rob Glaser is wrong, 10$ a month is too much. If I use this four times a month this year ($24), that's probably $12 in Apple's pocket, and a great value for me. There is a chance I could use it much more. Next time an Eric B & Rakim song is in my head but not in my iTunes, it's always a buck away. This is extremely dangerous.

pretty white girls get the attention first

"Laci and Scott Peterson are attractive white people, and the media jump all over that," said Sgt. Jeff Ferguson, a homicide detective with the Oakland Police Department. "Luci wasn't particularly attractive, and neither was her husband," said Ferguson, who aided in the homicide investigation.
Luci or Laci? by Chip Johnson.

originally posted by xowie

April 27, 2003

wtf is dope

in a vain attempt to stop P2P users swapping songs from Madonna's 'American Life' album, the lady herself released a series of 'dummy' files onto KaZaA. these are full length files but only the first few seconds contain sound, a recording of Madonna saying 'What the fuck do you think you're doing?'. presumably this was supposed to inspire guilt and repentant hearts in the sinful 'thieves'... but instead it seems to have been counterproductive... such a perfect sample is just crying out to be remixed!
the madonna remix project.

originally posted by xowie

Bad Physics


The rules of a science-fair typically require that students follow THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, or in other words, hypothesis-testing. The students must propose a hypothesis, test it by experiment, then reach conclusions. This supposedly is "The Scientific Method" used by all scientists.

Unfortunately this is wrong, and there is no single Scientific Method as such. Most scientists don't follow The Scientific Method in their daily work. "The Scientific Method" is a myth spread by school books. It is an extremely widespread myth, but this doesn't make it any more real. "The Scientific Method" is part of school and school books, and is not part of real science. Real scientists use a large variety of methods (perhaps call them "The Methods of Science" rather than "The Scientific Method.") Hypothesis-testing is one of these, but it certainly is not the only one, and it would be a mistake to elevate it above all others. We shouldn't force children to memorize it, and we shouldn't use it to exclude certain types of projects from science fairs.

There are many parts of science that cannot easily be forced into the "hypothesis/experiment/conclusion" mold. Astronomy is not an experimental science, and Paleontologists don't perform Paleontology experiments... so studying dinosaurs or stars must not be science? Or, if a scientist has a good idea for designing a new kind of measurment instrument (e.g. telescope), that certainly is "doing science", but where is The Hypothesis? Where is The Experiment? The Atomic Force Microscope (STM/AFM) revolutionized science. Yet wouldn't building such a device be rejected from many science fairs? It's not an experiment. The creators of the STM weren't doing science when they came up with that device? The Nobel prize committee disagrees.

Forcing kids to follow a caricature of scientific research distorts science, and it really isn't necessary in the first place.


"it really means the world to us"

It took me a few hours at the convention before I realized that, of the thousands of members I had seen there, I couldn't recall any being black.
Palm Beach Post: NRA bids a loving farewell to Heston. "Heston bent down and kissed her. And they were led offstage. Someone else had to carry the rifle. Heston stopped when he got to the edge of the curtain. He turned and waved, and then he was gone."

p2p art

The top result of a google image search on 'p2p art':

p2p art image search

even more democracy, wow

On 25 April 2003, the newspaper Dagbladet (Norway) published photos of armed US soldiers forcing Iraqi men to walk naked through a park. On the chests of the men had been scrawled an Arabic phrase that translates as "Ali Baba - Thief." A military officer states that the men are thieves, and that this technique will be used again. No word yet from the newly liberated Iraqi people about some of them being summarily found guilty of theft, forced at gunpoint to strip, having a racist phrase written on their bodies, and then made to walk naked in public. No doubt the Arab/Muslim world is impressed by this display of "democracy," "freedom," "due process," and "no cruel or unusual punishment."

We wonder if the soldiers will be using this technique on their comrades who stole $13.1 million in Iraq. Or the journalists who looted Iraq's art.
The Memory Hole. Meanwhile, the case for war was horseshit, The Independent on Sunday can reveal, and p.s., nobody's pretending otherwise.

originally posted by xowie

April 26, 2003

Who invented DNA?

The more I read of Rosalind Franklin, the more convinced I am that ambition and generosity go hand-in-hand in academic life. It may seem paradoxical that in a profession that relies (and survives) on originality of ideas, there are scholars who willingly share what they know, at any stage of their own research. Collaboration can lead to discovery, as American and Canadian scientists have discovered in their mutual effort to decode SARS.

Over at Stingy Kids, Adriana reveals the history of Rosalind Franklin, who should be remembered as the co-discoverer of DNA, but isn't.

welcome to mosul - ouch!

"It's frustrating. They're like little gnats that you can't get away," said Captain James McGahey, a company commander of the 101st Airborne Division who says almost every one of the patrols he sends out in the northern city of Mosul gets stoned.
Bad choice of words; what the Captain surely meant to say is U.S. troops in Iraq are being tormented by stone-throwing children.

originally posted by xowie

for anzac day

The old men march slowly, all bones stiff and sore
they're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
and the young people ask
'What are they marching for?'
and I ask meself the same question,
but the band plays Waltzing Matilda.

- Eric Bogle.

originally posted by xowie

he'd been telling the truth all those years

DNA Gothic by Sean Flynn.

originally posted by xowie

sars still terrifying

HONG KONG: When Dr. Yu Cheuk-man, an associate professor of cardiology, tested the clinical skills of a group of medical students in a hospital ward here on March 6, he paid little attention to the 26-year-old pneumonia patient in a nearby bed. But unbeknownst to Dr. Yu or anyone else in the hospital, the patient was not a typical pneumonia case. He was infected with a disease that would be named a week later: SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome. Because the patient had been treated with a device to help him cough up the fluid in his lungs, he was spraying tiny virus-laden droplets into the air...
NYT: Hong Kong Doctor's Ordeal as SARS Patient.

Also, the death rate from SARS is now believed to be nearing 15%, this via a (reasonably) thoughtful Mefi thread.

originally posted by xowie

iraq was worth £20m to reuters

There is something deeply corrupt consuming this craft of mine. It is not a recent phenomenon; look back on the "coverage" of the First World War by journalists who were subsequently knighted for their services to the concealment of the truth of that great slaughter. What makes the difference today is the technology that produces an avalanche of repetitive information, which in the United States has been the source of arguably the most vociferous brainwashing in that country's history.
Journalism? by John Pilger.

originally posted by xowie

release and redemption

At first glance, the Northern Nevada Restitution Center looks less than inviting. Small, squat buildings are surrounded by high cyclone fences topped with rolls of barbed wire. Inside, heavy doors date back to the buildings' use as a high-security prison. But on a recent weekday morning, the gates were open and inmates walked freely around the complex, doing laundry, watching TV, making themselves a bologna and cheese sandwich at lunchtime or using one of the facility's two computers to look for work and create resumes.
LV CityLife on Nevada's re-entry system.

originally posted by xowie

the only truly pragmatic act is the moral act

The primitive tribalism of boys at football games -- ''We're number one!'' -- has been transformed into an axiom of strategy. Military force has replaced democratic idealism as the main source of US influence.
A nation lost by James Carroll.

originally posted by xowie

out of the dungeon

They talked about violence and the tools of violence the way Americans talk about sports teams -- with a touch of unknowing knowingness. When the subject turned to killing, I asked how many had seen an actual human being killed. More than half of them raised their hands, and those who didn't stared down at the floor.
The Flight of the Fluttering Swallows by Michael Paterniti.

originally posted by xowie

April 25, 2003

life in the bronx

Atlantic interview: Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.

originally posted by xowie

April 24, 2003

the Enkoder Form will protect your email address from spam robots

"The Enkoder Form will encrypt your Email address and convert the result to a self evaluating JavaScript, hiding it from Email-harvesting robots which crawl the web looking for exposed addresses. Your address will be displayed correctly by web-browsers, but will be virtually indecipherable to Email harvesting robots." [dive into mark]

'The multi-tasking cabinet she used so efficiently'

It might be hard to believe, but at the turn of the last century, a simple kitchen cabinet featured more convenience than virtually anything offered today. A cook could stand at a pull-out worktop and have everything handy to sift, stir and knead a loaf of bread, and not take a step until she put it in the oven. In the same spot, she could store that good bread in a mouse-proof drawer, slice and chop the dinner vegetables, be confident that ants would stay out of the sugar and that dust would not get into the pots and pans.
Washingtonpost.com: The Humble Hoosier. See also The Rescue and Restoration of a Seller's Kitchen Cabinet.

The University of California Press eScholarship Editions

The University of California Press makes about 400 titles available online for free.

NASA Satellite Measures Earth's Carbon Metabolism

We are literally watching the global garden grow. We now have a regular, consistent, calibrated and near-real-time measure of a major component of the global carbon cycle for the first time. This measure can also be the basis for monitoring the expansion of deserts, the effects of droughts, and any impacts climate change may have on vegetation growth, health, and seasonality.
"This false-color map represents the Earth's carbon 'metabolism'—the rate at which plants absorbed carbon out of the atmosphere. The map shows the global, annual average of the net productivity of vegetation on land and in the ocean during 2002." It reminds me of another picture of the global garden I linked to a while back: 'the Breathing Earth'.

iraq body count

Dammit, why does that Iraq civilian casualty count keep going up?

April 23, 2003

goodbye, teddy bear

Theodore Marcus "Teddy" Edwards, 1924-2003.

originally posted by xowie

Teddy Edwards was a friend of mine. He was a jazz legend and a brilliant, dapper, sweet man.

Teddy's All Music Guide and Lycos entries

Gallery 41 clips

Timeline (c/o Saskia Laroo)

Teddy's "official" site

Liner notes to Teddy's Ready

Jazz Weekly interview

Teddy and Sweets Edison

* * *

L.A. Times obituary by Lynell George

Remembering Teddy Edwards by Len Dobbin.

Goodbye Teddy Edwards by Greg Burk

* * *

Teddy Edwards: Dextrous saxophonist by Steve Voce

Jazz star had roots in Detroit by Mark Stryker

April 22, 2003

You may dig on the Rolling Stones, but they could never, ever rock like Nina Simone

AllAboutGeorge, Uffish Thoughts and Woods Lot remember Nina Simone.

it's like getting hannibal lecter to babysit

No matter our feelings about the war, all of us hope for a better future for the people of Iraq. A future where Iraqis can make their own destiny and be free from war, terror and political oppression.

Yet currently the task of overseeing the transition to democracy in Iraq will fall on the shoulders of a man who was chosen by the Bush Administration in secret. Without a confirmation hearing or even a press interview.

His name is Jay Garner. And he's the wrong guy for the job.

'you should never miss a George W. Bush news conference because they are as rare as comet sightings'

"Mr. President, you're asking for $76 billion to pay for this war, and you'll probably go back to Congress to ask for more. Given the fact that there'll be severe deficits for as long as you are President, why not let your tax cut slide?"

"You offered an attractive bribe to Turkey in exchange for permission to use Turkey as a base from which to invade Northern Iraq. Was the vote of the Turkish parliament to refuse the offer an example of the democracy you're trying to establish in the Middle East?"

"How did you expect to win international approval for your plan to invade Iraq when you have repeatedly told the rest of the world that the United States is ready to act alone in virtually every field, as witnessed by your withdrawal from international treaties and agreements having to do with the environment, war crimes and other matters that the rest of the world considers important?"

"Mr. President, at your news conference last month, you mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks no fewer than eight times, even though no one asked you about Sept. 11 -- they were asking you about the invasion of Iraq. The Sept. 11 attacks were carried out by al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. Will you please elaborate on the connection, if any, between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, who, if his videotapes are to be believed, has about as much affinity for Saddam Hussein as you do?"

"Mr. President, you have spent billions of dollars on homeland security to see the nation's capital paralyzed by a North Carolina tobacco farmer driving his tractor onto the Mall. Did [Homeland Security] Secretary [Tom] Ridge miss a memo or two?"

"Does pre-emptive military action without provocation set a bad example for other countries who can claim actual provocation? India and Pakistan over Kashmir, for example. Greece and Turkey over Cyprus. South Korea, provoked almost daily by North Korea."

"And speaking of North Korea, Mr. President, who is the worse dictator -- Saddam Hussein or Kim Il Jong?"

"Kim is weeks away from turning North Korea into a nuclear power if he hasn't already done so. Saddam only dreams of becoming a nuclear power, so why is he a bigger priority than Kim? And why don't you send your so-called precision bombers to take out the one plant in North Korea that you know to be a potential source of nuclear weapons?"

"When I interviewed your wife, Mr. President, she said the best byproduct of ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan was the liberation of Afghan women. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told me the same thing when I asked him what the U.S. achieved in its war in Afghanistan. If the liberation of Arab women is so important to your administration, then why is the United States not invading Saudi Arabia?"

"Sir, would you say your policy of non-involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is working out? If so, for whom?"

"Is it possible that the war in Iraq will result in regime change in Great Britain?"
Just a few of the questions NPR's Morning Edition host Bob Edwards would like to ask George W. Bush.

galloway in crisis

Uh... There's a little thing in the news today about MP George Galloway.

originally posted by xowie

April 21, 2003

it's a war out here every day

"I'm still struggling to pay my rent," said Archie Thomas, 48, who scrapes by with a patchwork of odd jobs, friends, family and charity. He lost his regular job as a hotel dishwasher after 9/11 took its toll on the hospitality industry. Been scrambling to make it ever since. "In general, of course, war is bad. But I'm concerned about my own economics."
Keenly observed WP story about war as seen by residents of Washington, D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood.

CSS is hard

Dave Winer's recent trolling about CSS has caused some controversy.

At MediaRights, we've been slowly introducing CSS layouts on all of our redesigned pages and new projects, and it's been much more of a headache than advertised. Yes, table-based layouts are kludgy, slow to load, and impossible to revisit later, but they do work immediately and totally. Like I said at SxSW, the designers may not be the best evangelists for the cause. There was a laughable moment during their presentation in Austin when Meyer, Tantek & Zeldman were extolling the simplicity of CSS, while the overhead project behind them had hundreds of lines of unreadable code and weird hacks. (#!/>/ ?)

Jeffrey Zeldman likes to frame the debate in terms of "Future compatibility vs. Backwards compatibility" but the real issue is what works right now, especially in the Non-Profit world where money is tight and we have four developers doing the work of 16. A little honesty is in order from both sides of the aisle — clearly XHTML and CSS are the future of web design, but it's not easy to learn, and it's not easy to update old pages to new standards.

tv death

A statement that the killed soldier has given up his or her life as an "ultimate sacrifice for our freedom" implies the notion of death as a form of endowment. Death in the form of sacrifice becomes a gift to 'us,' to Americans, as a collective body of individuals that transcends the transience of life. It becomes a special form of ritual enactment that allows the deceased soldier to participate in the immortality of a transcendent entity, namely, the nation. But, more importantly, the sacrifice of a killed soldier is something that can be identified, shared and, as some anthropologists would term, "internalized" by audiences watching the program on television. This is crucial since it is at this moment, the moment in which the audiences identify themselves with the glorified act of sacrifice, that death becomes a matter of victory for the nation in the form of a collective body of individuals as Americans. What remains significant in this victory is the element of memory. "We shall not forget!" CNN, CBS or ABC display the phrase in a colorfully designed and glorifying show of words following pictures of killed soldiers, regardless of the loss suffered at the hands of friendly forces. Thus, once again, a moment of rebirth occurs, a new shining nativity of a new soul, not as a physical entity vulnerable to decomposition, but a living memory to the immortal and indestructible nation. The sacrificed solider is not eliminated but resurrected in form of memorial on the television screen.
Babak Rahimi: Social Death and War: US Media Representations of Sacrifice in the Iraq War over at the Bad Subjects issue on Iraq war culture.

Jack Kerouac's Haiku

"Kerouac reminds us how hard this form really is. Only a couple of dozen of the hundreds of haiku in this collection really work." Jack Kerouac's Haiku.

April 20, 2003

skull bolt: 'The chemicals are working!'

It is like trying to figure out the origin of water—I mean FIRST WATER—I mean the first time hydrogen and oxygen ever fucked! Skull Bolt.

universal smoke day

Today is 4/20.

originally posted by xowie

How do you spell PTSD?

A nationwide, long-term study of Vietnam veterans -- now entering its third phase -- concluded that one-third of combat soldiers returned emotionally wounded. After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, about 10 percent of the troops suffered distress from a conflict that was much briefer and less intense.

Given the confusing, urban ambush-style fighting in this Iraq campaign, experts predict trauma levels closer to Vietnam's.

The Toll Killing Takes on US Soldiers

April 19, 2003

barbaric as a medieval siege

When the invasion began, the British public was called upon to "support'' troops sent illegally and undemocratically to kill people with whom we had no quarrel. "The ultimate test of our professionalism'' is how Commander McKendrick describes an unprovoked attack on a nation with no submarines, no navy and no air force, and now with no clean water and no electricity and, in many hospitals, no anaesthetic with which to amputate small limbs shredded by shrapnel. I have seen elsewhere how this is done, with a gag in the patient's mouth.
John Pilger, The unthinkable is becoming normal.

originally posted by xowie

this was a man with a lot of books

"Books, books, always books!" August Kubizek once wrote. "I just can't imagine Adolf without books. He had them piled up around him at home. He always had a book with him wherever he went."
Hitler's Forgotten Library.

originally posted by xowie

dead right

It's important to remember that the Arab world has seen a very different war than we have. They are seeing babies with limbs blown off, children wailing beside their dead mothers, Arab journalists killed by American tanks and bombers, holy men hacked to death and dragged through the streets. They are seeing American forces leaving behind a wake of destruction, looting, hunger, humiliation, and chaos.
Arinna Huffington, Why The Anti-War Movement Was Right.

originally posted by xowie

being a non-citizen soldier may put you faster into the line of fire.

.S. Marine Jesus Alberto Suarez, from Tijuana, Baja California, will become a posthumous citizen despite his father Fernando's strong feelings about it, and for the same reason many other immigrants have become citizens in the past: the fear of losing rights. It was reported recently by La Opinion newspaper that Jesus Suarez's widow, Seane Suarez, accepted the benefit for the security of their 15-month-old son Erik. "She decided to apply for posthumous citizenship because you never know about immigration laws, and she's afraid that their son might lose some rights for being an immigrant's son," Fernando Suarez said.
"Much less publicized was the angry reaction by Fernando Suarez del Solar, from Escondido, Calif., who rejected the idea of applying for citizenship for his son Jesus, who died March 27 in combat. Suarez has a big problem with this war and the contradictions involved in sending into battle young men and women who can't vote or hold military jobs that require security clearance."

something tragic happened at the bridge

One by one, civilians were killed. Several hundred yards from the forward marine positions, a blue minivan was fired on; three people were killed. An old man, walking with a cane on the side of the road, was shot and killed. It is unclear what he was doing there; perhaps he was confused and scared and just trying to get away from the city. Several other vehicles were fired on; over a stretch of about 600 yards nearly a half dozen vehicles were stopped by gunfire. When the firing stopped, there were nearly a dozen corpses, all but two of which had no apparent military clothing or weapons...A squad leader, after the shooting stopped, shouted: ''My men showed no mercy. Outstanding.''
Good Kills by Peter Maass.

originally posted by xowie

Alex Grey

Metaphorically, the path of the wounded healer, or the journey of the shaman has very important implications for the future of spirituality. No other metaphor sufficiently deals with the journey of humanity. We are wounded, and whether we're going to be the wounded victim, or the wounded healer is our choice. We have wounded the planet. We have wounded our genes. We've wounded the coming generations. Whether we make some remediation to the environment, and to our psyches, is something that only time will tell.
Interview with Alex Grey
The next day people in like radioactive suits came out with tongs to pick up the poor thing. They put it in a big metal canister and took it away. Sure enough, it was rabid, and I had to go through all these shots in the fleshy parts of the stomach area, and in my back. The antitoxin that they injected me with contained dead dried duck embryo and it would leave a lump under my skin. It was very painful. I think that stopped me from picking up dead animals for awhile. (...)

It was a medical school morgue, so we prepared the bodies for dissection. When a new body came in, if no one else was there, I would do a simplified Tibetan Book of the Dead ritual, calling their name, and encouraging them to go toward the light.(...)

I experienced a vision where I was in a courtroom being judged. I couldn't see the face of the judge, but I knew the accuser was a woman's body who I had violated in the morgue work. She was accusing me of this sin. I said "It was for art's sake." This excuse didn't hold up under scrutiny for the judge. I was put on lifetime probation and not forgiven. The content of my work and my orientation would be watched from that point on. It made me consider the ethical intentions of my art. The motivation that moves us to creative work is critical. (...)

I hope that death will be like a cosmic orgasm, where I'm released into convergence with the infinite one. Certain tantric traditions have sexual rituals to be performed in charnel grounds, and there are some pretty intense paintings of Kali astride corpse Shiva. (...)

Even young children know the fear. (...)

It was prior to my name change that I went to the North Magnetic Pole, and I shaved half my head of hair, in alignment with the rational and intuitive hemispheres of the brain. (...)

The painting acts a portal to the mystical dimension. (...)

That was an extraordinary trip that really convinced me of the reality of the transpersonal dimensions. We experienced the same transpersonal space at the same time. That space of connectedness with all beings and things through love energy seemed more real to both of us, than the phenomenal world. (...)

It seems to me the universe is like a self-awareness machine. I think the world was created for each individual to manifest the boundless experiences of identity with the entire universe, and with the pregnant void that gives birth to the phenomenal universe. That's the Logos. That's the point of a universe, to increase complexity and self-awareness. The evolution of consciousness is the counter-force to the entropic laws of thermodynamics that end in stasis, heat death, and the loss of order. The evolution of consciousness appears to gain complexity, mastery, and wisdom.

Lessons are learned over a lifetime-- maybe many lifetimes. And the soul grows and hopefully attains a state of spiritual awakenedness. Buddha was the "Awakened One". To be able to access all the simultaneous parallel dimensions, and come from a ground of love and infinite compassion like the awakenedness of the Buddha, is a good goal for the evolution of consciousness. The spiritual "fruit" in many spiritual paths is compassion and wisdom.

(Alex Grey)

How the Ambient Light Sensor Works

PowerBook G4 (17-inch): How the Ambient Light Sensor Works.

April 18, 2003

Queen Dick

The Smoking Gun is hosting copies of obituaries inadvertantly posted by CNN this week. Learn about Fidel Castro & Dick Cheney's lives as "consorts to the Queen of the UK."

"God is not willing that Muslims, the descendants of Ishmael, should be without an adequate witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

I was just thinking to myself that the only thing keeping the U.S. occupation of Iraq from being out-and-out old style colonialism was the lack of evangelists roaming the countryside looking to convert the "unwashed masses."

Well, turns out the missionaires are already there.

originally posted by zagg

Dick Cheney: Looter

The Americans have, though, put hundreds of troops inside two Iraqi ministries that remain untouched — and untouchable — because tanks and armoured personnel carriers and Humvees have been placed inside and outside both institutions. And which ministries proved to be so important for the Americans? Why, the Ministry of Interior, of course — with its vast wealth of intelligence information on Iraq — and the Ministry of Oil. The archives and files of Iraq's most valuable asset — its oilfields and, even more important, its massive reserves — are safe and sound, sealed off from the mobs and looters, and safe to be shared, as Washington almost certainly intends, with American oil companies.
It amazes me 1) how nakedly the U.S. does this sort of thing especially when we are told again and agin how the war is about "liberation" and definitely, definitely not about oil, and 2) that the U.S. media has yet to make a single mention of this in reams of copy it has produced about the looting. And for all the text they've devoted to people who've been devastated for a decade going out and trying to get anything they can that they might be able to sell for food or water, the real looters have gone about their business blissfully unnoticed.

originally posted by zagg

a missile dropped in Iraq means a school vanished here

They see them on the television, night and day, a nation's treasure exploding into the sky, glowing, white smoke against a night sky, shooting from an aircraft carrier at sea and then, soon, here are the explosions in Iraq, Baghdad mostly, lighting up the night sky. A million-dollar show. School teachers fly in the explosion. Single mothers who learned how to operate a computer. Clerks in a welfare center.

This Jimmy Breslin piece is 10 days old, but still worth a read, if only because he so concretely ties together the war at home with the war abroad.

originally posted by zagg

damn liberal scum

Damn liberals and their incessant "big picture" crapola. Do they not see the heartwarming photos? That amazing and poignant (staged) bogus PR shot of the giant Saddam statue being (staged) pulled down by a tiny crowd of (staged) cheering Iraqis, with -- what an amazing coincidence! -- the actual U.S. flag that flew at the Pentagon on 9/11 being (staged) draped around it? How can those pacifist freaks not be moved by that? Clearly, God loves America more than anyone.
The Warmongers Were Right! by Mark Morford.

originally posted by xowie

Occupation is not liberation

In the neighbouring city of Nasiriyah, Shiite groups sought to exploit the broad and growing anger over the US occupation by organising a protest. Variously estimated at between 2,000 and 20,000, the demonstrators marched through the streets chanting ‘No No Saddam, No No United States’ and ‘Yes, Yes for Freedom, Yes, Yes for Islam’. Placards read: ‘No one represents us in the conference’.

The World Socialist Website provides an excellent overview of the the U.S's sham democracy and growing Iraqi resistance the occupation.

originally posted by zagg

April 17, 2003

did you follow this link? yes/no

Making a flowchart.

now is the time for us to exercise some control over our cravings for chinese food

Amid it all, some people are also trying to figure out emerging social protocols. Is it rude to cross the street when someone nearby coughs? Can you disinvite a dinner guest who comes down with a cold? Even friendly conversation is under review. Aimee Gerry — one side of her family is of Japanese descent — says she often jokes with her white friends about SARS. She said that if someone coughed, "people will point to the person and say, `SARS!' " But that kind of kidding is not well received among her Asian-American friends.
NYT on fear of SARS.

originally posted by xowie

raging gracefully

Activities director Priscilla Yablon points out that there is no bingo at Sunset Hall, for that would be regarded as an activity far too frivolous for people still occupied with the unfinished business of saving the world. You will never see sports or soap operas on the television in the common living room. It broadcasts only news programs.
Great story about Sunset Hall, an assisted-care facility for L.A.'s elderly radicals. Also in the Weekly: Judith Lewis on folk radio host Jimmy Kay, your new anti-rave law, and stuff.

originally posted by xowie

April 16, 2003

'victory is the ultimate viagra'

Oil and empire notwithstanding, this war is also about the American libido. Since 9-11 it's been fragile and recessed. Defensive gestures like rallying 'round the flag don't address this deficit of lust. What's needed is a spectacular conquest. A massive military strike against a blustering but bluffing foe was inevitable once we were attacked. It doesn't matter whether the enemy actually poses a threat to us. Subjugating Iraq is a way to stoke the national stiffie.
Village Voice: War Horny by Richard Goldstein.

What America Says Does Not Go

This is also the first time since the end of the Cold War that many other governments, including Security Council members France and Russia, are challenging US hegemony -- another hopeful sign in an otherwise overwhelmingly dark horizon. France's strong words of opposition to the US, along with those of major religious authorities like the Pope should encourage smaller, weaker countries to stand their ground and resist US hegemony. We must peacefully fight for an immediate stop to the attacks on Iraq, followed by an immediate end to the economic sanctions, followed by the trying of the US and UK Governments, in a world court, for repeatedly violating human rights.

It is important not to interpret this war as a war on Islam. To do so is to play straight into the hands of Bush. The more Muslim militants there are, the more he can say to his people, 'Look, I told you they're out there. I told you we're not safe. I told you we have to disarm them, and liberate them.' No doubt Blair and Aznar will happily join in the chorus. The culprits are the US and UK Governments, not ordinary Americans, not ordinary British. Not Christians, Hindus, or Jews. The US was at war with Latin America for decades, and its people are Christian. It was not a war against Christianity. Nor was it a war against Buddhism when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. Militancy is one of two outcomes of interpreting this as a religious 'crusade.' Another is just the opposite: passivity. It is to grow more fatalistic, and more smug in the knowledge that the afterlife will be better than this one. We have to make this one worth living for.

"At the start of Gulf War 1, George H. Bush was known to have said, 'Whatever we say goes.'"

April 15, 2003

says here your country's next!

War (of Words) with Syria "is a narrow-focus warblog. In fact, it's a blog of a war that is only verbal, so far. The content consists primarily of pronouncements by various government officials in the US, Syria and around the world, as well as analysis and commentary from media outlets." [wood s lot]

Bush Vetoes Syria War Plan

The Bush administration is nevertheless determined to use its military ascendancy in the region to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on Damascus and resolve what Washington sees as longstanding problems, including the threat to Israel posed by Damascus-backed Islamic extremists, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Syria's chemical weapons.

Mr Rumsfeld repeated accusations yesterday that Syria had tested chemical weapons in the last 12 to 15 months. However, Syria is not a signatory to the chemical weapons convention and would not be breaking international law if it did possess, nor is it suspected of selling chemical weapons to others.

One US administration official conceded: "They've not taken any actions that we can see so far that would justify military action."

We'll have to hold off until after the elections, Rummy.

help us make a difference

On May 4th, my dog Jarvis and I will be waking up extra early to participate in Dogswalk Against Cancer here in New York. If you have a few bucks to spare, please consider sponsoring us!

Using OmniGraffle as MySQL browser

I would like a script that could transform a MySQL table dump as an OmniGraffle chart. Red Stapler has made a set of templates available (and there are many others.) The RSS reader application for OmniGraffle could be a useful template, but I think the parsing of a MYSQL dump would be a little more difficult. It would be great if it works both ways, but the table display is what would be most useful immediately. Eventually, of course, we need something as powerful as TOAD for Oracle, but open source.

living it up with uday

His personal zoo has lions, cheetahs and a bear. His storehouse has fine wines, liquor and heroin. His house has Cuban cigars, cases of champagne and downloaded pictures of prostitutes. The walls of a gym are plastered with photographs of women downloaded from the Internet -- "the biggest collection of naked women I'd ever seen," said Army Capt. Ed Ballanco of Montville, N.J. "It looked like something at the Playboy Mansion."

Among the photos were those of Jenna and Barbara Bush, President Bush's 21-year-old daughters, "dressed up very nice in evening clothes," Ballanco said, adding that soldiers took them "to protect the president."

Inside Uday Hussein's pleasure palace.

bessie was more than just a friend of mine

It's Bessie Smith's birthday. via wood s lot.

originally posted by xowie

Eleven O'Clock Alchemy

Don’t drown, waiting for the Coast Guard to bail you out. There’s a cup right there--bail yourself out. Or at least go down kicking and screaming. And if you're lucky enough to escape, go throw a tantrum, because the boat that got sold to you was screwed up long before it came your way.

Screaming Babies, Angry Protestors at yomama

April 14, 2003

ashes of history

Amid the ashes of Iraqi history, I found a file blowing in the wind outside: pages of handwritten letters between the court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the Ottoman rulers of Baghdad. And the Americans did nothing. All over the filthy yard they blew, letters of recommendation to the courts of Arabia, demands for ammunition for troops, reports on the theft of camels and attacks on pilgrims, all in delicate hand-written Arabic script. I was holding in my hands the last Baghdad vestiges of Iraq's written history.
Robert Fisk, Library books, letters and priceless documents are set ablaze in final chapter of the sacking of Baghdad.

originally posted by xowie


Matriot (ma' - tri - at) noun 1: One who loves his or her country. 2: One who loves and protects the people of his or her country. 3: One who perceives national defense as health, education, and shelter of all people in his or her country. (Orig. FPA, 1991)
An excellent political art exhibit.

Guns vs. Butter

For about $80 billion--the cost of the 200 planes that make up the U.S.?s long-range bomber fleet--the basic human needs of every human being on earth could be met, according to Unicef.
How do you judge a system that has the capacity to end suffering and starvation and instead devotes its resources to slaughter?

originally posted by zagg

I TOTALLY have a crush on Howard Zinn.

As a patriot, contemplating the dead GI's, should I comfort myself (as, understandably, their families do) with the thought: "They died for their country?" But I would be lying to myself. Those who die in this war will not die for their country. They will die for their government.

The distinction between dying for our country and dying for your government is crucial in understanding what I believe to be the definition of patriotism in a democracy. According to the Declaration of Independence - the fundamental document of democracy - governments are artificial creations, established by the people, "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed", and charged by the people to ensure the equal right of all to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Furthermore, as the Declaration says, "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it."

A Kinder, Gentler Patriotism

April 13, 2003

Fuck. There goes that angle.

Lt. Gen. Amir Saadi, one of 55 people on the U.S. Central Command's list of most-wanted Iraqi government officials, arranged his surrender with the help of Germany's ZDF television network. It filmed him leaving his Baghdad villa with his German wife, Helga, and presenting himself to a U.S. Army warrant officer, who escorted him away. Saadi, who worked in the Iraqi chemical weapons program in the 1980s and 1990s under Hussein's son-in-law and last year became the main liaison with U.N. weapons inspectors, told the German network that Iraq no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction -- a position he maintained before the war in his contacts with the U.N. inspections teams. "He would know Iraq's chemical weapons program, since he lived with it," said Hans Blix, the chief U.N. inspector, in a telephone interview yesterday. As late as March 19, the day before the war against Iraq started, Blix said, he received a letter from Saadi saying Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons. "I was telling the truth, always telling the truth, never told anything but the truth, and time will bear me out, you will see," Saadi told ZDF. "There will be no difference after this war."
I really hope the Iraqi people remain free and sovereign. Otherwise, we really DID just kill a fuck of a lot of people for absolutely no reason.

hey kids!

Anti-war Personality Identification Playing Cards at downloadpeace.com.

see also: Mefi.

originally posted by xowie

April 12, 2003

Who is Kenneth Joseph?

"[Rev. Joseph] said that his talks with Iraqis convinced him that Saddam is "a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. . . Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so [the torture masters] could hear the screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."[11] Similar stories, juxtaposing tales of Saddam's torture with an indictment of peace activists, spread like wildfire. Other conservative columnists, such as William F. Buckley's National Review, ran the story, which suddenly appeared in right wing media throughout the globe. [12] [...]A glaring ommission from these articles is how Kenneth Joseph obtained State Department clearance, which he seems to have circumvented as a result of his "invitation as a religious person and family connections'", and which spared having a government "minder" tail him 24 hours a day. [14] None of the peace organizations or human shield groups whom I contacted had ever heard of Kenneth Joseph, nor is his name found on any human shield-related websites. [15]
Wag the Kennel? The Kenneth Joseph Story (hint: it only gets more incriminating from there.)

April 11, 2003

Where are the geeks @ 11:16 on a Friday night?

I've discovered my new cell phone can make a ringtone from any midi file. Holy fucking shit!

yay! the gorilla has crushed the mouse

Quick show of hands: Who remembers the alleged reason we had to stomp Saddam in the first place? Wasn't it nukes? Chemical warfare? WMDs? Skanky mustache? Because, of course, we have found exactly nada. If he had any, and he was as vile as insane as we all seem to think, don't you think he would've used them by now? Go figure.
The lie of liberation by Mark Morford.

originally posted by xowie

OX NEWS: We allege, We retract

waxy.org reports:
Recently, I noticed that several webloggers that discussed the suspected chemical weapons plant found in southern Iraq on March 24 weren't mentioning those claims turned out to be false, even after the story was retracted revised on USA Today, New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo's front page yesterday. ... In brief, here are my findings. 112 weblogs linked to the original story, but didn't follow up with another entry or correct their existing entry in any way. 28 weblogs linked to the original story, and later posted a correction or other addendum. 8 weblogs only linked to the story after it proved to be false, but didn't link to it when the news originally broke.
When you're done with that, head over to the Ox News Channel and start reloading.

"This is the best of times."

Michael Albert on what comes next.

More, the tone and tenor of this upsurge is diversifying. People are seeing the necessity to not only oppose this war, but to oppose all imperial war. People are seeing the need to not only seek peace now, but to seek pervasive and lasting peace, and not just peace but also justice. People are seeing the need to not only reject the barbaric, the colonial, and the domineering, but to propose and advocate positive alternatives to capitalism, patriarchy, and racism.

originally posted by zagg

bang ... bang ... bang ... bang

Without a word, Mellor walked out of the bar, climbed into his gray 1989 Cadillac, and drove to the nearby house on J Street where he lived alone. He laid the gun, which still had a bullet in the chamber and eight more in the 18-round magazine, on his television set and calmly called 911. He told the dispatcher that he'd just killed a man "over the war," according to police reports.
War Crime by Bob Norman.

originally posted by xowie

babatunde olatunji passes

With a heavy heart I must let you know that Babatunde Olatunji passed away Sunday in his room at Esalen with his family by his side. Let us sing and drum for him in his journey to the next world. With our thoughts and prayers he will find a safe passage, and he will come to a place of peace and joy...We love you, Baba! Thank you for the joy and happiness that you have brought to the world through your music, your words and your actions. And so be it.
Bay View, NYT.

originally posted by xowie

April 10, 2003

letter from the youth of america

>>help save us. we're completely fucked.

Brother Jim,

I believe in you and your fellow citizens. I have met them and spoken with them and they are, like yourself, good people. Sure, you feel completely fucked right now but ask yourself this: how will they sell the invasion of North Korea or Syria or Iran to the American people after this? The Bush Administration has shot its bolt. My guess is that in two or three weeks time, Rumsfeld will be gone and a new set of priorities will emerge from a chastened White House.

I can understand how you would feel powerless in the face of the war party. The tide is flowing in their direction right now. Soon though, this will change. Reach over their heads to the people of the world - find a way to manifest that barn-raising tradition. Creative carterism is what we need now from the American people, to counter the belligerence of Bush and Blair. Don't give up your country to those people.

Brother Bill
A recent e-mail from Billy Bragg to pop music critic Jim Walsh. (Thanks, judlew!)

originally posted by xowie

Whose Blood? Whose Hands?

"It's just not fair that the people that we ask to fight our wars are people who join the military because of economic conditions, because they have fewer options," says Representative Charles B. Rangel, whose African-American constituents bear a disproportionate burden of military service. While I oppose bringing back the draft, there is a fundamental issue of fairness involved when so many working-class Americans are putting their lives on the line while a lot of rich white men who have never spent a day in boot camp stand to make fortunes on the profits of war.
Veterans for Common Sense - Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Blood

let's get this party started!!!

Page 23.

originally posted by xowie

A Peace Agenda

A global prohibition against all weapons of mass destruction is the best protection against the danger of terrorists' acquiring and using them. In effect, the disarmament obligations being imposed on Iraq must be applied to the entire world. All nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles should be banned everywhere, by all nations. This is the path to a safer and more secure future.
I don't agree with everything here, but it's a start.

oil? for us? how thoughtful!

Wartime ABCs by Mikhaela B. Reid.

originally posted by xowie

April 9, 2003

A new way to keep track of war photojournalism online

I can't get "Desert Road":http://www.desertroad.net/ ("a hypergallery of war images from mainstream U.S. media sources including Yahoo! News, The New York Times, and CNN.") to work in Safari, but it sure sounds interesting.

Foxa Americana

Ha'aretz on Fox News:
According to what is shown on Fox, the Iraqi people are the only oppressed people in the world. The network doesn't call on the government to free the subjects of the regimes of China, North Korea, Syria and Burma, nor does it express amazement about that contradiction in American foreign policy. There are no contradictions. Operation Iraqi Freedom is a gift granted by America, even at the price of its own soldiers, to the Iraqi people, as a gesture of goodwill. The world according to Fox: America always helps oppressed people wherever they are, to free them of their shackles. America has no economic interests; no cynical, instrumentalist realpolitik guides it. America is good and only has moral interests. The Iraqi soldier is called "the bad guy" on Fox. It's that simple.
(via The Agonist)

originally posted by zagg

another morning stoner

4) "You can just call them 'Trail of Dead,'" says our friend, disdainfully, when we, (apparently lamely), say "?And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead," one too many times. Is it our fault they gave themselves such an unwieldy name?
Greetings from SXSW by Alison M. Rosen. (more)

originally posted by xowie

April 8, 2003

they thought we wouldn't shoot kids, but we showed them

Although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he'd rather it wasn't a child he killed. "I did what I had to do. I don't have a big problem with it but anyone who shoots a little kid has to feel something," he said.
U.S. troops face children in battle. [mefi]

originally posted by daiichi

a president of painfully limited wisdom and compassion

In my fourth-grade geography class under a superb teacher, Miss Wagner, I was first introduced to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the palm trees and dates, the kayaks plying the rivers, camel caravans and desert oases, the Arabian Nights, Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (my first movie), the ancient city of Baghdad, Mesopotamia, the Fertile Crescent. This was the first class in elementary school that fired my imagination. Those wondrous images have stayed with me for more than seventy years. And it now troubles me to hear of America's bombs, missiles and military machines ravishing the cradle of civilization.
George McGovern, The Reason Why.

originally posted by xowie

librarians with teeth

Ms. Turner, the library director here, said librarians did not want to help terrorists, but she said other values were at stake as well. "I am more terrified of having my First Amendment rights to information and free speech infringed than I am by the kind of terrorist acts that have come down so far," Ms. Turner said.
Librarians Use Shredder to Show Opposition to New F.B.I. Powers (via slashdot).

originally posted by xowie

when you shake this thing up and drink it down, it tastes like you're not here for 15 minutes

Any MRE that has a pack of Skittles or M&Ms is considered a good one, he said. Field studies have shown that young soldiers take comfort in name brands and commercial packaging, so some MREs feature morale-boosting snacks like M&Ms, Lorna Doone cookies, Skittles and Jolly Ranchers, which have become popular currency in poker games.
SFG: A lot of cooks in the MRE kitchen: men in lab coats and hair nets whet GIs' frontline appetite.

originally posted by xowie

MLK: African-American or Anti-American?

Fark: What if Fox News were around during other historical events?

naguib mahfouz

From an old essay by Edward Said on Naguib Mahfouz:
Before he won the Nobel Prize in 1988, Naguib Mahfouz was known outside the Arab world to students of Arab or Middle Eastern studies largely as the author of picturesque stories about lower-middle-class Cairo life. In 1980 I tried to interest a New York publisher, who was then looking for "Third World" books to publish, in putting out several of the great writer's works in first-rate translations, but after a little reflection the idea was turned down. When I inquired why, I was told (with no detectable irony) that Arabic was a controversial language. [...]

Mahfouz is now ninety years old, nearly blind, and, after he was physically assaulted by religious fanatics in 1994, is said to be a recluse. What is both remarkable and poignant about him is how, given the largeness of his vision and his work, he still seems to guard his nineteenth-century liberal belief in a decent, humane society for Egypt even though the evidence he keeps dredging up and writing about in contemporary life and in history continues to refute that belief.
All the more reason to read him now, then.

u can bomb the world to pieces, but u can't bomb it into peace

"She'd spoken in an interview about her daughter who has been deployed in the Gulf, and her son who is in this band Spearhead," says Spearhead frontman Michael Franti. "They showed her a picture of her son wearing a t-shirt that said 'Unfuck the world' on the front, and 'Dethrone the Bushes' on the back. They told her that was an un-American statement. She said, 'That's free speech,' and they said, 'Well, things are changing these days.'"
Army Questions Spearhead Mom, via Unknown News.

originally posted by xowie

or how i learned to stop worrying and love maxim magazine

CIA-friendly Radio Tikrit, complete with astrology forecasts (?!), Information Radio and lots more at the Radio Netherlands Iraq media dossier. A snippet from Radio Tikrit, via Clandestine Radio Watch:
"Those who used you are planning to flee leaving you to face the consequences of your crimes with bloodstained hands. You would be fools not to realize the extent of the popular wrath that awaits you if you do not leave this gang and flee. Each will be witness to reveal the crimes of the others. You are aware of the size of the crimes that Saddam and his gang committed against innocent people. Leave this gang, leave the guards before it is too late."
I heard Iraqis being interviewed yesterday on the World Service, having been given copies of Maxim magazine by US Marines. They said they thought the magazine was 'disgusting'. Fancy that!

April 6, 2003

let's put on our classics and have a little dance, shall we?

If you sit under a duvet with a microphone, the duvet just absorbs the sound and you don't get any reflections. Then when I got a bit more smart about it, I got a wardrobe and filled it with clothes and then hung a microphone in the middle of it. And it works the same. I still do that to this day. You can buy professional versions of that, but they're about four grand.
Washington Post profiles U.K. rapper Mike "The Streets" Skinner.

stephen lawrence

"We live and work in a very mixed community but I'm aware when we go out of London of being in white England, which is very unnerving. I have also faced antagonism from the Chinese community: some people regard me as a barbarian who is stealing their woman. And then there's inverse racism: it's trendy to have a Japanese girlfriend, so people assume she's Japanese, like a collectible. And we've had people assuming she's a Thai bride, and that I've paid for her."

"When we met, the church thought of foreigners, especially black ones, as people you went out to help; you had jumble sales for them. Training for the ministry was fine, but marrying a white woman was moving above your station. If I'd been married to a Nigerian, people would have done things for us. As it was, I was always being asked when I was going back. [...] When I worked in Moss Side I was much in demand by the Afro-Caribbean community, which wanted me for weddings, baptisms, funerals. But I had to tell them that if they couldn't be civil to Jill, I wouldn't deal with them. Whites were always making me an honorary white and telling racist stories in front of me. You start your relationship with the sense that colour is no big deal, but the big deal is foisted upon you.
Between two worlds, part of the Observer's special issue on the 10th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence's death.

the chick got in the way

We now glimpse the forbidden truths of the invasion of Iraq. A man cuddles the body of his in-fant daughter; her blood drenches them. A woman in black pursues a tank, her arms outstretched; all seven in her family are dead. An American Marine murders a woman because she happens to be standing next to a man in a uniform. "I'm sorry,'' he says, "but the chick got in the way.''

Covering this in a shroud of respectability has not been easy for George Bush and Tony Blair. Millions now know too much; the crime is all too evident. Tam Dalyell, Father of the House of Commons, a Labour MP for 41 years, says the Prime Minister is a war criminal and should be sent to The Hague. He is serious, because the prima facie case against Blair and Bush is beyond doubt.
John Pilger in the Independent: We see too much. We know too much. That's our best defence, via The War in Context.

right on

Steve Himmer of OnePotMeal on why marching is important:

The alternative to a march, after all, is an individual speaking on behalf of the collective, supposedly representing 'us'. If our entire complaint is that we cannot be represented by any individual voice, that approach is made impossible and dangerous. This is why I'm not a particularly enthusiastic fan of Michael Moore, for example: though I usually do agree with him, I vehemently object to his adoption of the tactics of the right as he claims to speak for 'all of us who didn't vote for Bush' and 'all Americans who oppose the war'. We may or may not agree with Moore or anyone else, but he's only ever speaking for himself.

And that's why we have to march, and chant, and sing, and scream, and act up and act out: because, to paraphrase a very wise mob of actors, 'we are all individuals; we must all speak for ourselves'. When we allow our voices to be subsumed or represented--either through voting exclusive of all other forms of protest (I am not, mind, advocating a foolish refusal to vote--voting is essential, but it is not the only tool at our disposal), we are allowing our voices and ourselves to be reduced to commodities, number traceable and trackable on charts and graphs and polls. When we march with individualized messages making up a larger, univocal whole, we are vitally--and with vitality--resisting that same commodification.

The idealism in that, the belief that peace is possible and that voices collective and individual do matter isn't the be-all end-all of tactics. But it's still important.

April 5, 2003

Let's hope their sovereignty is preserved.

I just thought the Constitution of Iraq was an interesting read. And here's some more information.

with matching certificate of authenticity

As the brave members of the U.S. military head out to defend our freedom, it's comforting to know that each one is sheltered in the loving hands of God.
Lord Bless This Defender of Freedom Figurine, $19.95 US.

originally posted by xowie

April 4, 2003

here it doesn't hurt you to get shot

"Ender's Game has had a lot of influence on our thinking," said Michael Macedonia, director of the Army's simulation technology center in Orlando, Fla., which plans to build a virtual Afghanistan that could host hundreds of thousands of networked computers. "The intent is to build a simulation that allows people to play in that world for months or years, participate in different types of roles and see consequences of their decisions."
NYT: More Than Just a Game, but How Close to Reality?

originally posted by xowie

There seems to be a tendency toward the good

Laurie Anderson and John Cage interview in Tricycle.

paraded in front of a conservative crowd

"After my bio was read, there was no question that I had 400 pairs of eyes on me," Sparks said. "There was an instant where I was uncomfortable but my position is to never be ashamed of who I am. I made it a point to make eye contact with people, on both sides of the aisle."
Theresa Sparks: Transgender San Franciscan makes history as Woman of the Year.

originally posted by xowie

via b3ta

happy birthday dj.

Back in Iraq

At least I’m alive. Now, I can get to work.
Chris is back in Iraq.

originally posted by zagg

Innoculated City (a musical recap)

The soldier boy for his soldiers pay
Obeys the seargent at arms whatever he says

The seargent will for his seargent's pay
Obey the general order of the battle play

The generals bow to the government
Obey the charge you must not relent

What of the neighbors and the prophets in bars?
What are they saying in the public bazaar?
We are tired of the tune
You must not relent

At every stroke of the bell in the tower there goes
Another boy from another side

The bulletins that steady come in say those
Familiar words at the top of the hour

The jamming city increases its hum
And those terrible words continue to come

Through brass music of government hear those
Guns tattoo a roll on the drums

No-one mentions the neighboring war
No one knows what they're fighting for
We are tired of the tune
You must not relent

[lyrics by the clash.]

high horse

I found this New York Times piece on the Arab media's coverage of the war to be simply stunning. It is dripping in moral outrage over the fact that the Arab media dare to "portray" the war as a killing field, as if carnage and war are concepts alien to each other. The article is also incredible in the way it implies what words like "neutral" and "moderate" mean.

For example:

Sensationalism has not gripped all media. Some mainline government-owned newspapers like the staid Al Ahram in Egypt and two of the privately owned international Arabic papers based in London, Al Hayat and Asharq Al Awsat, have reported the war in neutral language. They show bandaged victims in Iraqi hospitals but not the gory pictures of ripped bodies that fill the pages of their competitors.


The Arab media's reporting of the war may also drown out the more moderate voices that avoid brutal imagery and metaphors of endless victimization.

So showing that people die in a war in the most savage ways imaginable is "sensational," but a more "neutral" tone is to stop at showing "bandaged victims," as if dropping 2,000 bombs on cities is no more harmful than an injury sustained in a rough game of football. To be "moderate" means to simply ignore that hundreds upon hundreds of civilians have died in some of the most sick ways possible or else been maimed for life.

And yet the American media, supposedly neutral, churns out charming prose such as this:

On the ground, however, the work of the 2,000-pound Mark-84 JDAM bomb -- Joint Direct Attack Munition -- the new workhorse of the U.S. military, is just beginning. In nanoseconds it releases a crushing shock wave and showers jagged, white-hot metal fragments at supersonic speed, shattering concrete, shredding flesh, crushing cells, rupturing lungs, bursting sinus cavities and ripping away limbs in a maelstrom of destruction.

So it's ok to masturbate over JDAMs--"The brutal shock wave, a force that far exceeds the pressure the atmosphere normally applies to the human body, smashes into and explodes body cavities of lesser pressure -- lungs, colon, bowels, even through the sinuses into the skull."--but showing what they do is "sensational."

Ok. I'm glad the Times straightened me out on that one.

originally posted by zagg

April 3, 2003

Nude Interrogation

Nude Interrogation
Did you kill anyone over there? Angelica shifts her gaze from the Janis Joplin poster to the Jimi Hendrix, lifting the pale muslin blouse over her head. The blacklight deepens the blues when the needle drops into the first groove of "All Along the Watchtower." I don't want to look at the floor. Did you kill anyone? Did you dig a hole, crawl inside, and wait for your target? Her miniskirt drops into a rainbow at her feet. Sandalwood incense hangs a slow comet of perfume over the room. I shake my head. She unhooks her bra and flings it against a bookcase made of plywood and cinderblocks. Did you use an M-16, a hand-grenade, a bayonet, or your own two strong hands, both thumbs pressed against that little bird in the throat? She stands with her left thumb hooked into the elastic of her sky-blue panties. When she flicks off the blacklight, snowy hills rush up to the windows. Did you kill anyone over there? Are you right-handed or left-handed? Did you drop your gun afterwards? Did you kneel beside the corpse and turn it over? She's nude against the falling snow. Yes. The record spins like a bull's-eye on the far wall of Xanadu. Yes, I say. I was scared of the silence. The night was too big. And afterwards, I couldn't stop looking up at the sky.

Nude Interrogation, Yusef Komunyakaa, 1998.

you might feel that you have become the bomb

With the war rolling ahead on television, you the viewer are made a part of the invading army. Even the local meteorologists participate in the illusion. They give two weather reports: sunshine in New York, sandstorms in Basra.

Meanwhile, just as the audience feels a part of the army, the army becomes part of the audience. American troops on an aircraft carrier watch CNN to see how the war is playing and progressing. Soldiers are watching other soldiers on television.

That is, there is general confusion as to who is acting and who is watching. And at the crux of the confusion are the traditional eyewitnesses to war, the journalists, "embedded" with the troops. Are the television cameras the witnesses to war, or are they part of the weaponry? Or both?
New York Times: McLuhan's Messages, Echoing in Iraq Coverage.

regime change by andrew motion

Regime Change 
Advancing down the road from Niniveh
Death paused a while and said 'Now listen here. 
You see the names of places roundabout?
They're mine now, and I've turned them inside out. 
Take Eden, further south: At dawn today
I ordered up my troops to tear away 
Its walls and gates so everyone can see
That gorgeous fruit which dangles from its tree. 
You want it, don't you? Go and eat it then,
And lick your lips, and pick the same again. 
Take Tigris and Euphrates; once they ran
Through childhood-coloured slats of sand and sun. 
Not any more they don't; I've filled them up
With countless different kinds of human crap. 
Take Babylon, the palace sprouting flowers
Which sweetened empires in their peaceful hours - 
I've found a different way to scent the air:
Already it's a by-word for despair. 
Which leaves Baghdad - the star-tipped minarets,
The marble courts and halls, the mirage-heat. 
These places, and the ancient things you know,
You won't know soon. I'm working on it now.'

originally posted by xowie

Oregon Law Would Jail War Protestors as Terrorists

An Oregon anti-terrorism bill would jail street-blocking protesters for at least 25 years in a thinly veiled effort to discourage anti-war demonstrations, critics say. Reuters.

originally posted by zagg

Operation Let's Run a Race, but First Let Me Break Your Knees.

After dropping not hundreds, but thousands of bombs on Baghdad, when a marketplace was mistakenly blown up and civilians killed - a US army spokesman implied that the Iraqis were blowing themselves up! "They're using very old stock. Their missiles go up and come down." If so, may we ask how this squares with the accusation that the Iraqi regime is a paid-up member of the Axis of Evil and a threat to world peace?
Arundhati Roy asks tough questions. I wonder if they will ever be answered.

April 2, 2003

The Hybrid Thank You Card Project

The problem with [SUV ticketing] campaigns is that they target people who have already made a multi-year commitment to a particular vehicle. Such folks are very unlikely to change their behavior based on a slip of paper put under their windshield, or a bumpersticker stuck on their wide, bloated backsides. They have made wickedness their lifestyle choice. They are a lost cause.

The hybrid owners in your area have taken a substantial risk in choosing a young, largely unproven technology in an effort to conserve the environment and cut down on foreign dependencies. These owners deserve to be showered in your love and affection.

The least you could do is leave the hybrid owners a thank you card now and then.
The Hybrid Thank You Card Project.

3 more Iraqis liberated

"I saw the heads of my two little girls come off," said Lamea Hassan, 36. "My girls—I watched their heads come off their bodies. My son is dead."
smh.au: Survivors tell of checkpoint tragedy.

as entrancing as frank o'hara

I think what you'll find, 
I think what you'll find is, 
Whatever it is we do substantively, 
There will be near-perfect clarity 
               As to what it is. 

And it will be known, 
And it will be known to the Congress, 
And it will be known to you, 
Probably before we decide it, 
               But it will be known. 

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing 
The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld. [mefi]

originally posted by xowie

the cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems

I watched so much and from such an early age, in fact, that I didn't understand what TV was for. I say this to people and they think I'm kidding, but I didn't realize that 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' was supposed to be funny I thought you just watched it. The people said things, and they moved around, and you just waited till you saw the kid—you know, you liked to see Richie.
The New Yorker: Taking Humor Seriously - George Meyer, the funniest man behind the funniest show on TV. (That would be "The Simpsons.")

this emery board is giving me a rash

I live in the center of town. It's like urban-suburban, because it's right there but it's houses and lawns and parks and you can ride your bike and there's a dog, and maybe there's a homeless person walking down the street, too, but it's a nice town. People like to live there, people seem to be happy. It's liberal, and there's recycling and yoga and things like that.
Stephen Malkmus talks with Pitchforkmedia.com. Maybe that line from "Shady Lane," "Stress surrounds/in the muddy peaceful center of this town," was inspired by his digs? Or maybe you don't care.

Madonna pulls US release of anti-war video

Madonna has pulled the US release of her new video, which contained images of transvestite soldiers, Iraqi children and a grenade being lobbed at a lookalike of US President George W Bush. Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Texas to Toss Drug Convictions Against 38 People

Texas prosecutors today agreed to throw out the convictions of 38 people, nearly all of them black, who faced drug charges based on the uncorroborated testimony of a white former undercover police officer. Washington Post

LA Times Editors Note

On Monday, March 31, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page photograph that had been altered in violation of Times policy. Editors Note, Los Angeles Times

Voices in the Wilderness

Myth 1: The sanctions have produced temporary hardship for the Iraqi people but are an effective, nonviolent method of containing Iraq.

Sanctions target the weakest and most vulnerable members of the Iraqi society—the poor, elderly, newborn, sick, and young. Many equate sanctions with violence. The sanctions, coupled with pain inflicted by US and UK military attacks, have reduced Iraq’s infrastructure to virtual rubble. Water sanitation plants and hospitals remain in dilapidated states. Surveys by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) note a marked decline in health and nutrition throughout Iraq.

While estimates vary, many independent authorities assert that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under five have died since 1990, in part as a result of the sanctions and the effects of the Gulf War. An August 1999 Unicef report found that the under-five mortality rate in Iraq has more than doubled since the imposition of sanctions.

In 1999, the United Nations observed:
In addition to the scarcity of resources, malnutrition problems also seem to stem from the massive deterioration in basic infrastructure, in particular in the water-supply and waste disposal systems. The most vulnerable groups have been the hardest hit, especially children under five years of age who are being exposed to unhygienic conditions, particularly in urban centers. The World Food Program estimates that access to potable water is currently 50 percent of the 1990 level in urban areas and only 33 percent in rural areas.

The UN sanctions committee, based in New York, continues to deny Iraq billions of dollars worth of computer equipment, spare parts, medical equipment and medicines, books and periodicals, all necessary elements to sustaining human life and society. Agricultural and environmental studies show great devastation, in many cases indicating long-term and possibly irreversible damage.

Others have argued that, from a North American perspective, sanctions are more economically sustainable than military attacks, since sanctions cost the United States less. In fact, hundreds of millions of US tax dollars are spent each year to sustain economic sanctions. Expenses include monitoring Iraqi import-export practices, patrolling the "no-fly" zones, and maintaining an active military presence in the Gulf region.

Sanctions are an insidious form of warfare, and have claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

Iraq and Sanctions: Myth and Reality from Voices in the Wilderness. (see also: War: Myth & Reality, and Background: Sanctions and War

April 1, 2003

the dress of the statue of liberty is arab

"I am an American," he says after a minute. "I stand with the pope and former President Jimmy Carter. In this country, you say what you think."
LAT: An antiwar Arab, a proud American.

originally posted by xowie

fighting fair

"The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy. ... I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him." said Corporal Ryan Dupre, March 31, 2003.

"That was the general attitude. 'The only good gook was a dead gook,' and that referred to Vietnamese, to gooks, you know. like I said, gooks were anybody, anybody with slanted eyes, they were not just VC and NVA. So, therefore, if the only good gook is a dead gook, then the only good Vietnamese is a dead Vietnamese, like if you could get away with it, you know, blow them away. Kenneth Campbell Lance-Cpl, War Crimes hearing, 1971.

"I don't like fighting infantry mixed with civilians like that. That's not the enemy we're trained to fight," American soldier, Iraq 2003.

"They did not fight us like a regular army, only like savages, behind trees and stone walls, and out of the woods and houses," - anonymous British infantryman, 1775, after the battles at Lexington and Concord.

"Them Commies never fight fair," from Phil Ochs' "Talking Vietnam".

originally posted by zagg