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November 30, 2003

"wallowing in pedophilia"

New York Times: Frank Rich: America Tunes In for the Money Shot

People are turned on by the Jackson story because it's about sex, specifically pedophilia, at a time when the sexual fetishization of children is not limited to whatever may or may not have happened at Mr. Jackson's ranch. If a mass audience can fixate on whether or not Britney Spears, a singer first marketed as a devoutly Baptist schoolgirl, has lost her virginity, it is no wonder that the Jackson sideshow would move to the center ring and become a main event.

So if anything of value is to come from this circus, let's drop the pretense that it is about something as lofty as the American system of justice or even the lure of fame. The public, while purporting to be outraged by the crime of child abuse, is hypocritically slobbering over every last speculative pornographic detail used to fill in the supposed contours of that abuse; cable news ratings immediately shot up by double digits. And those who are now taking to the public stage to intone gravely about pedophilia in the Jackson show are often trading in titillation themselves; you haven't lived until you've heard Larry King bandy about the word "penetration."

November 29, 2003

am i the victim or the crime?

Grooming an ELF: How Tre Arrow turned Jake Sherman into an "eco-terrorist" by Carlton Smith.

originally posted by xowie

Finally recognition

It's always nice to see preconcieved notions dashed by experience.

It reminds of what one antiwar protestor said in the 1960s, "Oh my god. Everything they told me was a lie!"

OK, we saved some windows, but at what cost? I don't mean just the ridiculous amount of police overtime -- which will run into millions of dollars -- I mean the cost to us as a people. The intimidation, the fear, the contempt shown to the Constitution. Where do we send that bill?

First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly, and Fourth Amendment
protections against unreasonable search and seizure, did not exist last week in Miami.

People were stopped and searched and arrested without cause. No one wants
to believe the police would do such things. It is more comforting to believe that in every case where the police used force or arrested a person, the protesters must have done something to deserve it. The alternative, after all, is too scary to imagine.

But it happened. We've heard story after story. Not isolated incidents, but repeated tales of misconduct.

The Miami Herald realizes that maybe the cops aren't always on the right side after repeated stories of misconduct come out.

originally posted by zagg

November 27, 2003

Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought.

Smart big awards and prize money
Is killing off black poetry
It's not censors or dictators that are cutting up our art.
The lure of meeting royalty
And touching high society
Is damping creativity and eating at our heart.
Benjamin Zephaniah tells Blair and the Queen where to stick their offer of an OBE (Order of the British Empire): 'Zephaniah breaks with the convention that those rejecting honours should do so privately when he openly dismissed the award as a legacy of colonialism' (see the write-up).

November 26, 2003

i'm just saying

What's up with Trader Joe's selling (what appears beyond doubt to be) re-branded Amy's frozen pizzas? And then marking the box "sold and distributed exclusively by..."? I've been telling anyone who will listen that I suspect TJ's just rebrands generic packaged foods. I'm sure it's tasty and I'm glad it's cheap -- I just wonder why people who turn their noses up at Sun Glory brand canned corn are thrilled to give Trader Joe's the same .59 for the same can.

you'd better watch out

Is Santa gay?

originally posted by xowie

fear masquerading as justice

The jurors would have been more convincing had they just come out and said they were seeking revenge on behalf of all who wanted it, people such as Marion Lewis, father of Lori Lewis Rivera, who was killed Oct. 3, 2002.

"I think I'd like 10 minutes alone with [Muhammad]," he said. "They wouldn't have to worry about an execution."

But we all know that it would be wrong to let him do that. Why, then, is it right for the state to do it not just on his behalf, but for the "public good"?

The Washington Post's Courtland Milloy, on the sentencing of John Muhammad.

ripped jeans and other unacceptable attire

And then it came. "Before we begin, I want to remind everyone of the dress code. It has come to my attention that there are those here tonight with ripped jeans and other unacceptable attire and I want to remind everyone that as Conservatives we want to make sure we look our best when we’re around others. And without further ado, here’s Rich Lowry…" I stopped with sandwich in mid-delivery as my attorney turned beet red. The only people in the room who didn’t turn to look at me were Rich Lowry, who was already facing in my direction and couldn’t see over the stack of his own books piled in front of the podium, and the woman who had just castigated me for wearing dungarees to this, her monthly junior-high sock-hop fix. My attorney looked at my pants and pulled them this way and that. "What are you doing?" I asked, trying not to spill my beer. "I’m looking for rips." "There is not one iota of a rip in these jeans. In fact, they have less hanging threads than 80 percent of the suits in this room."
Hanging with the Fabiani Society.

originally posted by zagg

November 25, 2003


Historically, Somalia has always been more a collection of widely scattered settlements and clans than a unified country. During the 19th century, the British took one chunk and the Italians another. Upon independence in 1960, Somalia became one, at least on the map. In 1969, after years of instability, an autocratic army general named Mohamed Siad Barre seized power and kept Somalia together from 1969 to 1991, until the cold war ended.

Today, the clannishness is back in force with at least five different men claiming to be president of various portions of the country and scores of warlords who have divvied up virtually every city block and remote village for themselves. American attention is now focused elsewhere, but the problems that haunted Somalia a decade ago have festered.

One of the supposed presidents is Abdinur Ahmed Darman, a businessman who staged a large rally in Mogadishu in July 2003, during which he declared himself Somalia's head of state. Mr. Darman's business activities are diverse, including the printing of fake Somali shillings, according to the United Nations report.

Before Mr. Darman held his presidential rally, he took care of some key details: he hired a group of militiamen to protect him, a prerequisite for any leadership position in Somalia, and he opened an e-mail account with the address somalipresidency@yahoo.com.

New York Times: The Lesson of Somalia.

Holy crap.

But that was not enough. The police then attacked the dispersing crowd, chasing about 30 people into a corner. They shoved them to the ground and beat them. They gassed them at close range. My colleague from Democracy Now!, Ana Nogueira, and I got separated in the mayhem. I was lucky to end up on the "safe" side of the street. Ana was in the melee. As she did her job - videotaping the action - Ana was wearing her press credentials in plain sight. As the police began handcuffing people, Ana told them she was a journalist. One of the officers said, "She's not with us, she's not with us," meaning that although Ana was clearly a journalist, she was not the friendly type. She was not embedded with the police and therefore had to be arrested.

In police custody, the authorities made Ana remove her clothes because they were soaked with pepper spray. The police forced her to strip naked in front of male officers. Despite calls from Democracy Now!, the ACLU, lawyers and others protesting Ana's arrest and detention, she was held in a cockroach-filled jail cell until 3:30 am. She was only released after I posted a $500 bond. Other independent journalists remained locked up for much longer and face serious charges, some of them felonies. In the end, Ana was charged with "failure to disperse."

The real crime seems to be "failure to embed."

Jeremy Scahill on the "Miami Model" via American Samizdat.

originally posted by zagg

November 24, 2003

Meleagris gallopavo

Once slaughtered, the turkeys have to suffer one more indignity before arriving in your grocer's meat case. Because of their monotonous diet, their flesh is so bland that processors inject them with saline solution and vegetable oils, improving "mouthfeel" while at the same time increasing shelf life and adding weight.

The New York Times Op-Ed: About a Turkey. The author wants to persuade you to seek out a turkey which didn't suffer the indignities of a factory farm for your Thanksgiving meal, if only because it may actually taste like turkey. Regardless of your intent, the accompanying graphic alone is worth your click.

November 22, 2003


Hello A's Fans

I did not speak up

They came for the Muslims, and I did not speak up.

November 21, 2003

my grandfather happened to remove my grandmother's appendix

Sam's most recent profile is directed toward men and women both and states that she's interested only in friendship. ''My intention was to meet girls -- because I know basically no women in New York at all,'' she said. She received only two responses from women, one of whom, Katherine, she met. ''Katherine proceeded to buy me far more drinks than was sensible and then insisted that I come and hang out at her apartment,'' Sam recalled. ''So the one time I went on an Internet date and was drunkenly taken advantage of, it was by a woman.''

Love in the Time of No Time by Jennifer Egan.

originally posted by xowie

November 20, 2003

TiVo or not TiVo

A life where TiVo has always existed

She gets quite confused when we are watching a non-TiVo TV, and she asks to watch ''a kids show'', and we have to explain that this TV won't do what ours at home does. We've sometimes shortened this explanation to ''This TV is broken'', which she seems to accept, and will wait until we get home to watch our ''fixed'' TV.

My son, too, expects every TV he sees to be able to deliver him a choice of episodes of Dora, Little Bill, or Blue's Clues on his command.

neither of us had words for what really happened

What part of No do ya still not understand? Date rape in the time of Kobe, roofies and Girls Gone Wild by Judith Lewis, with bonus 'toon by Ellen Forney.

originally posted by xowie

November 18, 2003

no more prisons is returning soon

Memo to Arnold: Educate, don't Incarcerate!
"Education is my passion," California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger says, and one of the 10 steps by which he proposes to turn California around is to "send more money to the classroom." At the same time, he is determined to spend less. To reach these goals, he should adopt the mantra, "Educate, don't incarcerate!"

For three years, Governor Davis has met the budget crisis by proposing deep cuts in education and increases in corrections. Spending this year for K-12 education is down by $180 per pupil, and higher education by almost $1 billion; at the same time college students pay 30 percent more in fees. Davis has also cut academic and vocational training for prisoners while increasing guards' salaries. Davis continued building the controversial Delano prison and nearly 1,000 new death row cells.
Any time these outside politicians get elected (and with the Internet, hopefully there will be more of them) there is the potential, however unlikely, for a shake-up.

same as it ever was

David Byrne, interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition.

November 16, 2003

nan goldin

In one series, a couple and their son roll around on the bed, the parents alternating between attention to the child and each other. In another, Ms. Goldin shoots a woman on one bed, a man on another; he's tenderly touching their child's head. A sequence of the couple making love follows, with their child out of the picture. Ms. Goldin's mothers are sexual beings, never just maternal. A nursing mother's breast will also be an object in her husband's mouth.

All children wonder about their parents' devotion to each other and to themselves, and compete for their love. Freud said that it was the primal scene children longed to see, that sexual curiosity was the source for the desire to know. Everyone's Garden of Eden. Any photographer is outside the scene, watching. But wanting to get inside the familial embrace, or, like a child, into its parents' bed, Ms. Goldin is necessarily pitched outside the family's frame, and as a result the collection carries a startling melancholy.

NYT: A New Chapter of Nan Goldin's Diary (w/slideshow).


The book had been published in Britain in October with the title The Whale; Melville's decision to change the title didn't get there in time. The American version of the book had crowded pages and ugly binding, but the English version was done in three beautiful volumes with bright blue and white covers. It also had gold stamps of whales, but they were the wrong kind: they were shaped like Greenland whales--humpbacks or gray whales--instead of sperm whales. The British publisher accidentally left out the ending of the book, the epilogue. This confused a lot of British readers, because without the epilogue there was no explanation of how the narrator lived to tell the tale. It seemed like he died in the end with everyone else on the ship. The reviews from Britain were harsh, and costly to Melville. At the time, Americans deferred to British critical opinion, and a lot of American newspaper editors reprinted reviews from Britain without actually reading the American version with the proper ending. Melville had just bought a farm in Massachusetts, his debts were piling up, he was hiding them from his wife, and he was counting on Moby-Dick to bring in enough money to pay off his creditors. The book flopped, partly because of those British reviews. Melville never fully recovered from the disappointment.

From the Writer's Almanac, Nov. 14.

November 13, 2003

pine woodland ecosystems and forest fires

Forest fires and the fire threat of conifers killed by beetles have been in the news. Earlier this year, when Colorado had a number of forest fires, a newscast said that of all the thousands of acres Colorado has lost to fires this year, 10 times as many have been lost to bark beetles, for which there is no control. What are bark beetles, should we care, and are they a problem here?

The ravages of these insects in the West are a problem of our own creation. Fire is a constant in the ecosystems of these pine woodlands, and for decades fires have been suppressed. Before fire suppression, Western forests were naturally very thin stands of trees that were widely spaced. The trees in them represented a great variety of age categories because they were really the few survivors of one or more fires.

Fire suppression changed all that. Now many of the forests are dominated by trees of a very narrow age range. They grow much closer together. They compete with each other for water.

When drought is a factor, as it has been for the past several years, trees are stressed beyond their limits. Enter the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae. It attacks many species of pine under stress but is particularly fond of ponderosa pine, which happens to be the most widespread and adaptable pine in the West. The result is widespread death of huge areas of pine forest.

Horticulturist Scott Aker answers your gardening questions.


Seven boys were found to have the name Del Monte - after the food company - and no less than 49 boys were called Canon, after the camera.

Designer firms and types of clothing were also well represented, with almost 300 girls recorded with the name Armani, six boys called Timberland and seven boys called Denim.

BBC News: US babies get global brand names.

must be the kilgore trout connection

From vonnegut.com:

Mr. Vonnegut has participated in a project in which one hundred established graphic and fine artists were approached to create the definitive album cover of their favorite recording artist. Mr. Vonnegut chose to create an album cover for Phish, entitled "Hook, Line and Sinker." . . . For a limited time, Mr. Vonnegut is offering a small number of prints of the art he created for this project.

Somehow, that's a match I didn't picture.

beating a dead state

With Arnold's election, the California v. New York wars ended decisively in the Empire State's favor. Lia, however, will not let our poor burrito eating cousins rest in peace. Did you know Arnold promised "fantastic jobs" for every Californian? I recommend he start with the less ambitious task of developing a thai restaraunt to evhead application layer.

Goonies 2

"The new group is called the Groonies, because they happen to live in a town where [Data], the Chinese kid, lives ... and he's got an electronics repair shop and all the kids hang out at his shop. He has this Chinese accent and he calls the Goonies the Groonies, and so the new kids call themselves the Groonies, until they get into a situation where the old Goonies have to save the new Groonies, or vice versa."

The 'Goonies' sequel is certainly off on the wrong foot.

November 12, 2003

ira glass

IG: I was watching Buffy until it went off the air, and now, thanks to my girlfriend, I'm watching Angel. Do you watch Angel?

O: No. All my friends love it, and I'm sure I'd love it, but I'm not sure I'm ready to make the emotional and time commitment necessary to be a new fan.

IG: What you're describing was my feeling about going to Israel when I was a kid. I grew up in a Jewishy area of Baltimore County. Everyone I knew at one point went to Israel and got really, really into it. I never wanted to do it, because I just felt that I couldn't let myself be taken over by that. I felt like I had such a tenuous grip on my personality that I didn't want to go and have that become my personality, which seemed to happen to everyone around me.

Wide-ranging interview with Ira Glass of This American Life, in the Onion's A.V. Club. More from Ira: "Before I started watching reality television, I'd never believed that nice-looking people are stupider than the rest of us."

i got rid of my bush, now get rid of yours!

Fed up with Tony Blair for always waxing lyrical about war, a group calling themselves the Opposition Society decided to put their words into action and on Tuesday called for women to wax for peace on National Get Rid of That Bush Day. Posters around Brighton called for other women to join them in protest and to "Wax 'em off, put 'em in an envelope and send 'em to Tony Blair with a message stating 'I got rid of my Bush now you get rid of yours!'"
Preparations to Wax off (scroll down) are under way.

November 11, 2003

hunting knife

Chilling new Haruki Murakami story in the New Yorker, via wood s lot.

veteran's day

All this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilization and our hopes, has been brought about because a set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, and all without imagination or heart, have chosen that it should occur rather than that any one of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his country's pride.
Bertrand Russell, regarding World War I.

November 10, 2003

oh frabjous joy

I just noticed that the poetry site Plagiarist.com is back in gear.

Happy Veterans Day

History fascinates me sometimes. At least one Civil War widow and many children of Civil War veterans are still alive. Alberta Martin, widow of Private William Jasper Martin of the Confederate Army, is not even 100 years old. Gertrude Janeway, the last widow of a Union soldier, died in January. I guess I missed this metafilter discussion earlier this year. Walter W. Williams, the last Civil War veteran, died in 1959.

rice fight

We were sitting around the table, adults yapping and ignoring the kids and out of the corner of my eye I see Zoe, my 4-year-old,take a handful of hot rice from her plate and, in slow motion, throw it at her 6-year-old sister Ruby. But instead of jumping up to squash the thing, I sat there mesmerized, watching. "She's never thrown food before," I thought to myself. "This is a rite of passage, the primal launch."

Salon.com: Letting my kids go crazy

where is my mind?

November 7, 2003

thanks Jason

Okay, I get all that — but what was on that mini-disc?

November 6, 2003

what if I want to peel out at a stoplight?

The New Yorker: "What Would Jesus Test Drive?"

the Times

Recently in The New York Times

"now I'm lost"

On his second night in Iraq, one month ago, Sergeant Pogany, 32, saw an Iraqi cut in half by a machine gun. The sight disturbed him so much, he said, he threw up and shook for hours. His head pounded and his chest hurt.

"I couldn't function," Sergeant Pogany said in an interview on Tuesday in his lawyer's office in Colorado Springs, not far from Fort Carson. "I had this overwhelming sense of my own mortality. I kept looking at that body thinking that could be me two seconds from now."

When he informed his superior that he was having a panic attack and needed to see someone, Sergeant Pogany said he was given two sleeping pills and told to go away. A few days later, Sergeant Pogany was put on a plane and sent home.

Now he faces a possible court-martial. If convicted, the punishment could range from a dock in pay to death.

The New York Times: Soldier Accused as Coward Says He Is Guilty Only of Panic Attack.

My flight arrived in New York at 2 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2002. I had a few hours to wait until my connecting flight to Montreal.

This is when my nightmare began. I was pulled aside at immigration and taken to another area.

Two hours later some officials came and told me this was regular procedure -- they took my fingerprints and photographs.

Then some police came and searched my bags and copied my Canadian passport. I was getting worried, and I asked what was going on, and they would not answer.

I asked to make a phone call, and they would not let me.

Then a team of people came and told me they wanted to ask me some questions. One man was from the FBI, and another was from the New York Police Department.

I was scared and did not know what was going on.

I told them I wanted a lawyer. They told me I had no right to a lawyer, because I was not an American citizen.

They asked me where I worked and how much money I made. They swore at me, and insulted me. It was very humiliating.

They wanted me to answer every question quickly.

They were consulting a report while they were questioning me, and the information they had was so private -- I thought this must be from Canada. I told them everything I knew.

They asked me about my travel in the United States. I told them about my work permits, and my business there.

They asked about information on my computer and whether I was willing to share it. I welcomed the idea, but I don’t know if they did. They asked me about different people, some I know, and most I do not.

Statement to the media by Maher Arar, Nov. 4, 2003.

the plane's pilot used to live in my condominium complex

We want to encourage a balanced discussion of what happened in 1945 and the potential ramifications of what happened in the past for policy today. We don't want a whitewashed exhibition. That kind of display only helps to legitimize the past use of nuclear weapons and, I fear, lends support for lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons now.
Howard Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and dozens of other people say a Smithsonian display of the Enola Gay should include information about the number of Japanese people it killed.

November 5, 2003

Outkast: 4 more years!

Wes Clark says Outkast is NOT breaking up. (QT movie, via anil)

new york keeps breaking my heart

hello, typepad: Shouldn't Mo Vaughn have been on that last train?

November 4, 2003

manufactured modern

Wanna be the heppest cat in the trailer park? Get one of these swinging mobile pads!
1 2 3 4
Earthquake/tornado/hurricane survival specs not provided.

originally posted by LionIndex