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October 31, 2003



0100101110101101.ORG have been pretty busy of late. Nike buys streets and squares, renames them after itself, takes over public space, and plants a whacking great big "swoosh" logo in city centres. Guerrilla marketing or collective hallucination? Thanks to Placebo Domingo for the link!

Rise of Iraqi Labor

I think there's a very big admission those of us in the U.S. need to make really quick: We don't really know jack shit about the true nature of the Iraqi resistance to U.S. occupation.

originally posted by zagg

What we do know is this: There are a lot of angry Iraqis. There are at least 40 different resistance groups. Their politics run the gamut. But they are united by one idea: They really, really want the U.S. troops out. Now. On the Left, particularly, the idea that Iraq will fall into "chaos" if we leave is hindering the development of a strong anti-occupation movement within the U.S. Continued calls for more humanitarian occupution or a U.N.-led occupation have meant that groups that mobilized for big protests before the war are not sure about building demonstrations now. But I believe firmly that the occupation is the cause of chaos, not something that's preventing anything. There may well be Saddam loyalists or al Qaeda forces running around in Iraq responsible for parts of the more than 20 attacks a day on U.S. soldiers. There are Islamic fundamentalist groups. But there are a whole lot of other currents that we're not hearing anything about. Take, for example, the burgeoning Iraqi labor movement, which the mainstream media has ignored entirely. A contingent of U.S. labor activists from U.S. Labor Against War recently went over to Iraq and met with Iraqi workers and brought back some startling reports. I think the U.S.'s reaction to the little organizing that has happened speaks volumes about our government's commitment to "democracy."
When it comes to unions, though, the occupation authorities "found a law passed by Saddam Hussein that they like," (David) Bacon said, "a law passed in 1987 where anyone working for a state enterprise is considered a civil servant." That means that workers in Iraq’s oil industry, for example, are legally forbidden from organizing a union--under a Saddam-era law that U.S. officials refuse to reconsider. "And to back it up," said Bacon, "in June, Bremer issued another regulation about ‘prohibited activity.’ Item B under prohibited activities is encouraging anybody to organize any kind of strike or disruption in a factory or any kind of economically important enterprise. And the punishment for this is being arrested by the occupation authority and being treated as a prisoner of war." As (ILWU's) Clarence Thomas put it, "The Bush administration is creating this fictionalized picture that goes like this: If we pull out, there’s going to be Islamic fundamentalism, ethnic strife and all kinds of chaos. And what they really are afraid of is democracy. They don’t want to see Iraqi workers organize and have power--have union rights."
This is from "Rise of Iraq's New Labor Movement" with the quotes coming from a public meeting that the U.S. activists held upon returning from Iraq. Is this the chaos that so many people are afraid of in Iraq if the U.S. leaves? Workers organizing themselves? Hell, we could use more of that here. And then there's this:
In a recent report, Ewa Jasiewicz described the struggle of workers at a brick factory that is part of a major industrial complex 30 miles east of Baghdad. After enduring terrible conditions--and a wage of 3,000 dinars a day, the equivalent of $1.50, for a 14-hour shift--three quarters of the workforce walked off the job in October. They marched on the management’s office and demanded a wage increase, a formal contract, on-site medical facilities and retirement payments. "The owner had no idea that a union had been formed and told them, ‘Fine, strike go, I will dismiss you, others will come to take your place,’" Jasiewicz wrote. "The workers responded by going to their homes, bringing out their guns and spontaneously forming an armed picket line. "Manned with machine guns and Kalishnikovs, workers guarded the factory and defended their strike from demolition by scab labor. The owner, overpowered, ended up granting the workers a raise of 500 dinars--25 cents--and agreed to enter into negotiations regarding social and health benefits. The strike was regarded all around as a massive success."
There's more out there, if you hunt for it. David Bacon spoke with Democracy Now! about the developments. He also wrote an article for Counterpunch in late August and has a piece in the works for The Progressive. Jasiewicz also has several articles published online. One piece chronicles a protest by the Union of the Unemployed in Iraq and is available at Occupation Watch right here. And here's the full story (which I recommend highly) about the armed workers winning their wage increase. Hell, the labor movement in the U.S. could use a healthy dose of this kind of fight back.

iNTj, what about you, dude?

Jung/MBTI test. Another.

originally posted by xowie

invisible college

Unbelievable Moroccan Trance this week at Coco's thing.

originally posted by xowie

October 30, 2003

all of my systems are down, down down down

MacSlash and Rael Dornfest offer notes from the O'Reilly OS X Conference on a digital home session.

we decide, you don't

The fact is, daily life at FNC [Fox News Channel] is all about management politics. I say this having served six years there -- as producer of the media criticism show, News Watch, as a writer/producer of specials and (for the last year of my stay) as a newsroom copy editor. Not once in the 20+ years I had worked in broadcast journalism prior to Fox -- including lengthy stays at The Associated Press, CBS Radio and ABC/Good Morning America -- did I feel any pressure to toe a management line. But at Fox, if my boss wasn't warning me to "be careful" how I handled the writing of a special about Ronald Reagan ("You know how Roger [Fox News Chairman Ailes] feels about him."), he was telling me how the environmental special I was to produce should lean ("You can give both sides, but make sure the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word.")
From a revealing letter to Romenesko.

October 29, 2003

e-stories Project

The Enoch Pratt Free Library has put together some Real Player videos of storytellers doing their thing for kids. The e-stories Project includes tales in the African, Celtic, Chinese, Iranian, Native American, and Jewish traditions. Storytime all the time. Cool.

October 28, 2003

sitting dirty white and lonely

Remotion by Stuart Cormie.

I recount that last part to her -- Delicate and clean, she sits sipping coffee from a chintzy cup -- After an age, the hand holding it starts to shake and I watch tears form at the corners of her brown alive eyes -- "How the hell did you find out?" Ma whispers and before I even start to try to explain she tells me that it is true I am indeed Kerouac's son (she being 'Kathleen' but in reality Catherine) and that (to complete the tale) as soon as Jack discovers she is with-child he disappears never (by her) to be seen again -- And Ma is left alone to raise me eventually meeting Karl whom I always assumed was my real dad but who clearly isn't (and he's no longer around either).

I wonder then what Jack would have made of a son like me -- a boy so ... straight -- and the man he became, so responsible (until now that is) -- his very antithesis -- Shamed, probably, by my lack of resolve.

I am trying not to drown. I am trying to bloom.

"Please Don't Kill The Freshman: A Memoir," by Zoe Trope excerpted at Salon.com.

Camped out in front of my locker like a homeless person. Waiting for a security guard to yell at me. They pass by numerous times and do not even look at me. I should be in class. Instead, I open Bukowski's "Tales of Ordinary Madness" and read with a look of confusion on my face. I find this beautiful. No. one. notices ... Cherry Bitch lets me wear her cat-eyed glasses. I feel silly and vain and I like it. I walk home and eventually kiss the Wonka Boy (supposed to be gay). He shoves his tongue in my mouth anxiously, awkwardly. Too much like a child ripping open a shiny Christmas present only to be disappointed. Curry wore a candy necklace today and I tried to bite off some candy and ended up making his neck bleed. What a tragedy. My hands are cold. My feet hurt. Career week only gets worse, I think. Tomorrow we have to write notes to the presenters we saw today (like the woman from State Farm who tried to convince us that selling insurance was a fun, interesting career field ... LYING WHORE). That could take at least two hours ... Vivarin. I believe this calls for Vivarin.

it is a war

SF Gate satellite image of California fires.

October 27, 2003

women make history

misbehaving.net "is a weblog about women and technology. It's a celebration of women's contributions to computing; a place to spotlight women's contributions as well point out new opportunities and challenges for women in the computing field."

October 25, 2003


Earlier this week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it will defend the right of Online Privacy Group, the Internet service provider for San Francisco Indymedia, to host links to the controversial memos. Going one step further, Why War? and SCDC members are the first to publicly refuse to comply with Diebold's cease and desist order by continually providing access to the documents.

The documents, from Diebold Elections Systems, a company in charge of the electronic voting machines in 37 states, prove that the company knowingly produced an electronic election system that contained absolutely no security against voter fraud. In fact, the lead engineer from Diebold wrote over two years ago that anyone could change votes without leaving a trail: "Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the audit log." GEMS stands for Global Election Management System and is the central computer in each county on which the votes are stored after the election.

Diebold has filed cease and desist orders against anyone who has attempted to share these memos with the public. They have taken down hosts all over the world, including the personal website of the very journalist who broke this story, Bev Harris. Why War? and SCDC refuse to comply. We cannot allow the suppression of evidence that proves a Diebold machine registered 16,022 negative votes for Al Gore in Precinct 216 in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. We cannot comply with a company whose CEO has given $9,965 to Bush and the Republican National State Elections Committee since 2001, while declaring that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year."

kuro5hin.org || Diebold Met with 'Electronic Civil Disobedience'


Handbook for Acoustic Ecology. Sample entry: "Moozak: Generative noun to apply to all kinds of SCHIZOPHONIC musical drool in public places, often designed to serve as a background to profit. Not to be confused with the brand product Muzak." Then, listen to a sample of Muzak recorded in a shopping mall.

behold the metallophones

"Welcome to GONGCAST, an ongoing broadcast of all forms of gamelan, Indonesian music, and related sounds from around the world."
More about gamelan: "Gamelan music, or gamelan, is part of a culture where there is no such thing as art for art, activity set apart from the others. Here, sculpture, music, painting are like a kind of talent of everyone and an embellishment that impregnates with each activity. Music is inseparable from the social organization, from the religion and from the other arts. It is especially close to dance and other performing arts. There is no separation between amateur and professional, classical and new, ritual and entertaining."

October 24, 2003


The Extreme Slow Walk is a teaching of Pauline Oliveros and a practice of Deep Listening. The walker moves in the slowest possible way — one foot moving through each point, shifting weight almost imperceptibly into the ground, transferring balance from one leg to the other, "knowing always that no matter how slow you are walking you can always go much slower...The purpose of the exercise is to challenge your normal pattern or rhythm of walking so that you can learn to reconnect with very subtle energies in the body as the weight shifts from side to side in an extremely slow walk." (Pauline Oliveros, from her forthcoming book on Deep Listening).
The first annual, worldwide Extreme Slow Soundwalk is Nov. 1.

October 23, 2003

Fat Politics

The discussion began here:

Everyday as an average sized person ...

I can be sure that people aren't embarrassed to be seen with me because of the size of my body.

If I pick up a magazine or watch T.V. I will see bodies that look like mine that aren't being lampooned, desexualized, or used to signify laziness, ignorance, or lack of self-control.

When I talk about the size of my body I can be certain that few other people will hope they are never the same size.

I do not have to be afraid that when I talk to my friends or family they will mention the size of my body in a critical manner, or suggest unsolicited diet products and exercise programs.

I will not be accused of being emotionally troubled or in psychological denial because of the size of my body.

I can go home from meetings, classes, and conversations and not feel excluded, fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped, or feared because of the size of my body.

and it has continued
here and here.

Read it.

Because I said so.

workers of the world, relax

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME DAY IS NOT ANTI-WORK. Useful and creative work is essential to happiness. But American life has gotten way out of balance. Producing and consuming more have become the single-minded obsession of the American economy, while other values -- strong families and communities, good health and a clean environment, active citizenship and social justice, time for nature and the soul -- are increasingly neglected.
Tomorrow is National Take Back Your Time Day. I'd play if I hadn't already taken Monday off. Perhaps I'll weasel out early to get into the spirit. If you're lacking for ways to use your spare time, you could always read "The Abolition of Work."

October 21, 2003

taking responsibility for the health of your family

Parents, children, and other humans should check out Dru Blood's fantastic posts on breastfeeding and vaccinations.

I was listening to the groove, too.

We'll be driving along, and all of a sudden, I'll say: ''Did you hear that? That was a funny lyric.'' And he'll say: ''No, I didn't hear that. I was listening to the groove.''

The New York Times Magazine: Doing It Her Way, questions for Edie Brickell.

October 20, 2003

Which Tofutti Cutie are you?

Tofutti Cuties Peanut Butter box
Peanut Butter Cutie - This flavor is a perfect
ending to a Amy's frozen tv dinner. Best if
eaten while watching your favorite animal
planet show and relaxing on the leather free

What flavor of Tofutti Cutie is best for you?
brought to you by Quizilla

October 19, 2003

get up, i want to get higher/get up, you motherfucking liar

Zebrahead—all original members intact—are about to release their third album, MFZB (it stands for Motherfucking Zebrahead, they tell us), and it’s their best one yet, which is just unfucking believable, but no less unfucking believable than the fact they’re still on a major label. This band is invincible! I think they’re stalking you!
Piss and Vinegar by Alison M. Rosen.

originally posted by xowie

inappropriate trophies of war

"The Bells of Balangiga have as much significance to the Filipino people as the Liberty Bell does to the American people," said Rodel Rodis, San Francisco Community College trustee and organizer of the event, to the gathering of about 50 in the church.
The bells are a souvenir of the 1901 scorching of Samar province by the U.S. Army, which left 50,000 (?) Filipinos dead.

originally posted by xowie

October 18, 2003

eubank: military occupation causes terrorism

Sorry, I forgot to post this earlier on in the week when it happened. Chris Eubank, World MiddleWeight Champion of 1990, record-holder for the most unbeaten World Title wins in British boxing history and Best Dressed Man of 1991 and 1993, was arrested on Tuesday after parking his truck, bearing the slogan 'Tony Blair: Military Occupation causes Terrorism', outside Downing Street and sounding the horn for one minute. He was later arrested for criminal damage after reversing into a delivery van, having returned to Downing Street following a 30-minute drive around Parliament Square. Go Chris!

'a conscious decision ... to not be white'

I have always believed that what is now widely considered one of slavery's worst legacies — the Southern "one-drop" rule that indicted anyone with black blood as a nigger and cleaved American society into black and white with a single stroke — was also slavery's only upside. Of course I deplore the motive behind the law, which was rooted not only in white paranoia about miscegenation, but in a more practical need to maintain social order by keeping privilege and property in the hands of whites. But by forcing blacks of all complexions and blood percentages into the same boat, the law ironically laid a foundation of black unity that remains in place today. It's a foundation that allows us to talk abstractly about a "black community" as concretely as we talk about a black community in Harlem or Chicago or South-Central (a liberty that's often abused or lazily applied in modern discussions of race). And it gives the lightest-skinned among us the assurance of identity that everybody needs to feel grounded and psychologically whole — even whites, whose public non-ethnicity is really ethnicity writ so large and influential it needs no name.

LA Weekly: Columns: CakeWalk: Black Like I Thought I Was

October 17, 2003

Cross Platform DRM

Tristan Louis says yesterday's big news is about Apple's cross-platform DRM and some logical progressions.

As predicted, Apple introduced a version of Itunes for windows today. A lot will be written about how this solidifies Apple's lead in the digital music player market but what many may be overlooking is how Apple is pushing its own version of Digital Rights Management into a wider market. I suspect this is a strategy similar to the one they used in the early 1990s to make quicktime a strong contender for digital video.

While companies from Intel to Microsoft are talking about how they plan to implement digital rights in the future and are taking tentative steps in that direction, Apple is working on a strategy that covers multiple platforms beginning today. The ITunes music store may be an interesting story in terms of the consumer market but it seems to me that there is also an interesting play at hand for a business to business model. If Apple succeeds in its implementation of the music store (and there is little doubt that they will), they could turn around and start offering a set of products and services to organizations dealing in digital goods. (...)

changing the world one pop at a time

I am Looking for the code numbers in the yellow cap game that were to be postmarked by Dec. 31,2003. Where do I obtain a list of numbers? Can you E-mail me a list of winning codes. Thank you Jay Heath Here is the full article, keen and insightful, for your convenience:

One afternoon in March 1983, Steve Jobs, the brash 28-year-old founder of Apple Computer, stood on a Manhattan rooftop terrace overlooking the Hudson River. He faced John Sculley, the 44-year-old president of Pepsi, whom he very much wanted to recruit and uttered a line that's become a Silicon Valley legend:

"Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?" Sculley later recalled in his autobiography.

Twenty years later, it turns out changing the world occasionally includes selling sugar water.

The very same Steve Jobs, now somewhat older and grayer, proudly announced a huge marketing deal with Pepsi on Thursday to promote Apple's newly expanded iTunes Music Store.

The irony is hard to miss.

Jobs is famously vegetarian, reportedly subsisting on a diet largely confined to fruits and nuts. He's never seen drinking anything other than bottled water during his press events -- including Thursday's rock-star-studded show at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco.

I can't say for sure, but I'd bet Jobs' personal consumption of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist -- the three soft drinks covered in the agreement with Pepsi-Cola North America -- is zero.

Well, as Apple said in its ads, sometimes you have to think different.

Pepsi will sell 300 million special bottles in February and March with distinctive yellow caps. Underneath one in three caps will be a code number winners can use to download a free song from iTunes that would otherwise cost 99 cents.

The offer doesn't include the modest 12-ounce cans of Pepsi or Sierra Mist, with a mere 150 calories and 41 grams of sugar. You have to buy either a 20-ounce bottle with 250 calories and 68 grams of sugar, or a one-liter bottle with 425 calories and 115 grams of sugar.

Soft drinks are heavily advertised to children and teenagers, also a target market for the music industry, and are a significant factor in a nationwide obesity epidemic. Diet Pepsi, of course, doesn't have sugar, but does contain caffeine and steers children away from healthier drinks such as milk and fruit juice.

The iTunes Music Store, launched in April for users of Apple's own Macintosh, is already very successful and could reshape the future of the recording industry now that it's available on Windows. It's just too bad the values of Steve Jobs in 2003 have moved so far from those of Steve Jobs in 1983.

polymath extraordinaire

I actually had people developing hardware to work with the Lisa. We knew that the Z8000 chip was coming out which was a 16-bit chip from Zylog. We wanted to be ahead of everybody. I had this guy who made a 16-bit compiler inside of the Apple II which is 8-bit. We got the configuration from Zylog ahead of time. So then it got released, but it got released to the Navy and they didn't have any chips to spare us. We were actually able to complete the job by getting some chips that were rejects. They worked enough for us to finish for development.

applematters interviews Herbie Hancock.

"power walking", get it?

Stride and Seek: Four walks in Washington.

'Hey, the Army was here -- the Army is cool!'

Salon.com Life | The Army be thuggin' it

"When I saw the Source was teaming up with the Army, I was outraged," says Bakari Kitwana, former executive editor of the Source and author of "The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture." "It's a betrayal of their readership. The military has historically used African-Americans, while the country has not done justice to African-Americans."

October 16, 2003

oh, the games we can play

It's Saturday night in front of the Regal Cinema and the high school girls are working it... A ninth-grader in a denim miniskirt exchanges conversational barbs with a boy leaning against a post, then fakes a little scream as the young man steps toward her and pulls up her skirt, putting her panties on display.
Modern Flirting? And that's just the first thing wrong with this Washington Post article. Let us all get nostalgic for a time when women knew the "slow, subtle art of flirtation". Our dismissal of these antiquated ways being the cause for the upsurge in sexual harassment and abuse, of course. Oh yeah, and the reason why it's so hard to find a man who will take us seriously.

blessed be saint dubya

Liberal media? What liberal media?

affirmative action for all

Ask Auntie Pinko

Your parents ask "If there is a minority scholarship, why isn't there a Caucasian scholarship?" and there is a simple answer: there are hundreds (heck, thousands!) of them. They are sponsored by Chambers of Commerce in majority white communities, American Legion and VFW Posts with mostly white membership, fraternal organizations comprised of white people, churches in denominations that are almost exclusively white (the neighborhood churches on Sunday morning are among the most segregated institutions in America!) and many other organizations. Their scholarships are aimed at residents of white communities, the children of overwhelmingly white memberships, high achievers in schools that are almost entirely white, etc. In addition, most American colleges and universities have a special affirmative action program that benefits white people highly disproportionately - it's called the 'legacy preference.'

October 14, 2003

Creating enemies

Other farmers said that US troops had told them, over a loudspeaker in Arabic, that the fruit groves were being bulldozed to punish the farmers for not informing on the resistance which is very active in this Sunni Muslim district. "They made a sort of joke against us by playing jazz music while they were cutting down the trees," said one man. Ambushes of US troops have taken place around Dhuluaya. But Sheikh Hussein Ali Saleh al-Jabouri, a member of a delegation that went to the nearby US base to ask for compensation for the loss of the fruit trees, said American officers described what had happened as "a punishment of local people because 'you know who is in the resistance and do not tell us'." What the Israelis had done by way of collective punishment of Palestinians was now happening in Iraq, Sheikh Hussein added.
But for Khalil and his neighbors, the destruction of more than 25,000 square meters (30, 000 sq. yards) of palm groves and fruit trees by U.S. forces which farmers said were feeding around 500 people is inexcusable. "They came in last week without prior notice, cut off the main road and worked for three days and three nights to destroy our plantations with their bulldozers," recalled farmer Fida' Shehab. "Some women and children tried going into the fields to pick and salvage some of the fruit from destruction, but the American troops fired into the air to scare them off," he said. Mubarak Saleh, another farmer from the area, explained that a delegation of farmers and municipality officials held meetings with the top U.S. officer in town in a bid to settle the spiraling dispute. "We tried to make them stop destroying our fields or at least ask for compensation," he said. "But all they said was: 'When the resistance will stop, we will stop destroying the fields,'" said Saleh. "We are not responsible for the Americans' failure to stop attacks, and killing trees will not stop them," he added. Khalil, a 35 -year-old father of seven children, said: "I just lost 15 million dinars (7, 500 dollars) in dates and eight million dinars (4, 000 dollars) in oranges. "This is a fortune here in Iraq and my only way of living," he said. A tall man standing behind the crowd suddenly raises a warning finger and says: "Some people who lost their fields are begging, others are stealing cars, but now that we have nothing to do, maybe we will join the resistance. "Is this what the Americans want?"
With U.S. troops being ordered to do stuff like this and Iraqis feeling humiliated and angry, doesn't the Bush administration's continued explanation of the 22 attacks a day on U.S. troops as coming from Saddam or Saddam loyalists ring hollow?

originally posted by zagg

October 13, 2003

this is a possible solution

Jay Allen has just released MT-Blacklist, a Movable Type anti-spam plugin.

tofu rock

Fast food isn't an option for this (mostly) vegetarian trio. "There are so many ways to gain weight in this country," says Jason, who gave up carbs two months ago. Thus, the Trachtenburgs have taken matters into their own hands, preparing a high-protein breakfast of spicy scrambled tofu on a hot plate in their hotel room every day before hitting the road. "As long as the day gets off to a good start, we're happy," Jason says. Adds Tina: "We used to travel with a juicer, too. I brought 25 pounds of carrots on our first tour."
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players share their tofu scramble recipe with the Washington Post. This Friday they appear at my favorite museum.

Apple: Hip Hop

Apple: Hip Hop

In conjunction with the release of the third generation of the iPod, Apple and TBWA/Chiat/Day/Los Angeles have unveiled an eye-popping new campaign for the iconic MP3 player. In both print and television executions, the effort shows figures silhouetted against brightly colored backgrounds, getting their grooves on with the help of what -- even in three colors -- is obviously the Apple iPod.

For the television campaign, Chiat/Day turned to @radical.media director Dave Meyers, who is fresh off winning the Video of the Year award at this year's MTV Video Music Awards for his clip for Missy Elliott's "Work It." Meyers previously worked with Chiat/Day on the production number "Jimmy & Jenny" for former client Kmart. In the new iPod spot, titled "Hip Hop," the shadowy dancers shake it to the track "Hey Mama" by The Black Eyed Peas.

Racism on Staten Island

New York Times: Many Speakers at Meeting Cite Racism on S.I.

"White racism is the order of the day here," said the Rev. John Johnson, pastor of a church in the Clifton section and a longtime community activist who warned that "a riot is coming to this island."

"Open society has never existed on Staten Island," he told the audience of about 50 people. "We need a federal prosecutor to come in here. Civil rights are being violated."

October 11, 2003

Amy's Robot

Amy's Robot doesn't get the attention of The Gothamist, Gawker or The Kicker, but it's every bit as good. (Which is pretty damn good.)

One Problem With This Article

But I focus here instead on the fact that homeschooling families tend to be politically active by margins that should scare the daylights out of anyone whom those homeschoolers might want to take on.

For example, just 29 percent of all 18- to 24-year-olds voted in national and state elections over the last five years. But among former homeschoolers who are now in that age bracket, a whopping 74 percent went to the polls. In the next age bracket up (25- to 29-year-olds) the margin is even bigger: In the population at large, 40 percent voted, but among folks with homeschooling backgrounds, 93 percent went to the polls.

The author of this article is assuming the majority of homeschoolers are "conservative Republicans."

October 10, 2003


If you dig deep enough, you may find the tale about how the community of Victoria was once known as ‘Smut-Eye.’ It is told that the husband and wife owners of the village store would not allow the men of the community to gather ‘round the proverbial ‘pot-bellied stove’ to swap yarns and bottles, fight, and play cards. Instead, the citizens regularly built a bonfire outside the store and gathered round it for their fun. Result was that much smoke and smut settled under their eyes, and ‘twas said of these men that ‘they all had smut-eyes.’ Eventually the community took that name and was so called for years.

Smut Eye is a real town in Alabama, with a fine general store by the look of it. Why not round out a visit with trips to Erect and Climax, N.C.?

a report from the gay frontier

From "The New Face of Gay Power" by John Cloud:

Guy Padgett knows what being out in Wyoming can mean. He went to school with Matthew Shepard—their little smiling faces are just pages apart in the ninth-grade yearbook—and when Padgett moved back to Casper from Yale University, Shepard was part of his circle. "We weren't that close," says Padgett, 26. "But it felt very personal when he died. It hit me very hard. If you had asked me two weeks before if someone could be killed in Wyoming for being gay, I would have said no. We are a state that respects individuality, and we are immune from that kind of violence, intolerance. Wyoming always felt like a very safe place to me. My family had never locked our doors ... But after Matt was killed, I was scared for my personal safety.

That Padgett made it to the city council is a measure of the state's devotion to the "Don't ask, don't tell" orthodoxy. After he started seeing men in Wyoming, Padgett discovered what many other lesbians and gays here already knew: if you stay out of roughneck bars like the Fireside (where Shepard met his killers), and if you avoid propositioning heterosexuals, you'll be fine, because straight Wyomingites will keep their end of the bargain—they won't ask. "Wyoming is a state of fences," says Bob Hooker, 43, a Wyoming AIDs activist who was born and raised in Laramie. "It has this whole attitude that goes back to ranching days: You don't worry about what's going on in my ranch, and I won't tell that you're beating your wife at yours."

October 9, 2003


Our president just asked for an additional $87 billion to continue his antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other "hot spots" around the globe. I'm not disputing his goals, his claims, or his motivations. Right now I don't have the energy.

I'd like this to be a treatise on how misguided President Bush's "war on terror" is. But in truth, I desperately want us all to feel safe. I'd like to rattle off with conviction that we'd be better served by solid economy-boosting measures and the generation of jobs. But right now, I'm spending all my attention, all my energy taking care of things at home. I wonder when George W., chin out, brashly taking on the world, will look back over his shoulder and do the same.

"A Euphamism for Violent Lifestyle Change" (link courtesy of madame insane, via Living on Less)

He's in bed with Kenny Lay, you idiots! It's your money!

Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear. The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act." This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

It takes real cojones to bring such a suit. Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys? Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger.

Now follow the action. One month after Cruz brings suit, Enron's Lay calls an emergency secret meeting in L.A. of his political buck-buddies, including Arnold. Their plan, to undercut Davis (according to Enron memos) and "solve" the energy crisis -- that is, make the Bustamante legal threat go away.

How can that be done? Follow the trail with me.

While Bustamante's kicking Enron butt in court, the Davis Administration is simultaneously demanding that George Bush's energy regulators order the $9 billion refund. Don't hold your breath: Bush's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is headed by a guy proposed by … Ken Lay.

But Bush's boys on the commission have a problem. The evidence against the electricity barons is rock solid: fraudulent reporting of sales transactions, megawatt "laundering," fake power delivery scheduling and straight out conspiracy (including meetings in hotel rooms).

So the Bush commissioners cook up a terrific scheme: charge the companies with conspiracy but offer them, behind closed doors, deals in which they have to pay only two cents on each dollar they filched.

Problem: the slap-on-the-wrist refunds won't sail if the Governor of California won't play along. Solution: Re-call the Governor.

Either Greg Palast is a liar or we've all been hoodwinked.

You know to me a mountain is a Buddha

Monterey County Herald: Dharma Dumb: How four guys stumbled about while trying to conquer the Matterhorn. Why this is in the Sports section I can not tell you, but I'm glad that it is.

October 7, 2003

What are your must-read magazines?

... And I thought, "Boy, this is a fucking easy job — the guy gets to read magazines and write about them. That's got to be one of the greatest jobs for somebody who loves magazines."

Mediabistro interviews Peter Carlson, who writes "The Magazine Reader" for The Washington Post.

song of my self-promotion

The first part of the series rather prominently mentions "a clerk in the attorney general's office. His age is but 52, despite his venerable beard. For the present it seems to be his fate to be neglected by publishers, insultingly slurred by critics and sundry official magnates in his own country, but welcomed with admiration and applause both as person and poet by the best authorities abroad."

A Walt Whitman scholar in Washington, D.C., has verified authorship for two Washington Evening Star articles that the poet wrote anonymously -- one of which featured a noteworthy bit of self-pity.

(that would be Chris Ott)

Dada represented everything horrible about mainstream music, predicting the laughable self-importance of helium-light R.E.M. ripoffs like Counting Crows, but it turns out there's a song on this record worth about as much as a fish taco: "Dim".

It's stupid, predictable college rock, the sort of easily hummed, whiny four-chord crap you can wake up hung-over and still have stuck in your head, but like those Dave Matthews hits you download because they remind you of high school, you just don't talk about it. If you don't know anyone at the store personally, wedge a dollar copy of Puzzle between the Matador promos your local music director sold back and enjoy this laughably catchy, Friends-esque pop song.

Whoever wrote Pitchfork's Castoffs and Cutouts: the top 50 most common used CDs (an unscientific study) has excellent taste in questionable music.

October 6, 2003

less interesting than failure

Mike Kortenhof spent about 15 minutes on the phone with the principal in what appeared to be tense and delicate negotiations. I believe Mike gave a commitment to remove the tire by the end of the day.

Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, and some buddies returned to their high school of old to, at last, pull off a long-denied prank that you might have read of in The New Yorker. (Via Romenesko.)

Buddy, spre some 'a's?

So, friend of mine is running pre-relese version of Mc OS X 10.3 ("Pnther") nd is hving some inexplicble trouble with his keybord in which he cn produce cpitl 'A' but not the lowercse version of the populr vowel. Neither he nor I hve clue how to begin troubleshooting this isse, so ny dvice would be extremely welcome. Thnk you.

October 3, 2003


Do you think they clean those Slurpee machines?

misconceptions were much more likely among backers of the war, viewers of Fox

Philly.com - Study: Wrong impressions helped support Iraq war. This is just so awesome on so many levels I can't explain it.

Oh Canada

washingtonpost.com: Canadian PM Mulls Smoking Marijuana When He Retires

Chretien, 69, said in an interview published on Friday that he might give pot a try once it is no longer a criminal offense -- presumably after he retires in February. Under the new law, pot users would only pay a fine if caught with small amounts.

"I don't know what is marijuana. Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand," he said in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press.

October 2, 2003

coz CZJ says so

"Why College Essays are Hard to Write"

"Why College Essays are hard to write", by Erica Jacobs.

a big fumble

The Washington Redskins football franchise can keep its trademark name and logo because a group of activists did not provide enough evidence that the team's moniker was disparaging to Native Americans, a judge ruled yesterday.

Evidence? (Maybe they should have checked out the original words to the team's song.)

Pro-Football Inc., the corporation that owns the Redskins, appealed the trademark panel's decision in U.S. District Court. Its attorneys said that the "difficult relations" between Anglo-Americans and Native Americans were certainly unfortunate. But, they argued, in the 21st century, the beloved hometown team has changed the connotation of the word "redskins" to one that is "powerfully positive" -- associated more with touchdowns than tomahawks.

By this token, why not just rehabilitate all racial epithets by assigning them to football teams? C'mon, let's get started!

the "stinking lily"

Garlic, the Brightest Bulb (washingtonpost.com)

Why not just break apart a head from the supermarket and plant it? Unless it is organic, it may have been treated with a growth retardant to prevent sprouting, and it may not be the best variety for your particular soil or climate. Garlic is now entering a long-overdue era of gourmet discovery, so that there are many different ones to try.

October 1, 2003

At the end of the day it's of keen interest to me to to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.

"I have the image of a guard on each side grabbing one arm and lifting both feet off the ground, and the legs are scrambling for purchase on the ground, and hence kinked like a frog's — but that's just my mental image," says Mike Agnes, editor in chief of Webster's New World Dictionaries.

Hop, Two, Three, Four: Frog-Marching Into the Lexicon (washingtonpost.com)