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March 31, 2004

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NYT: Reason to Run? Nader Argues He Has Plenty:

Mr. Nader's argument that he can draw more support from Mr. Bush than from Mr. Kerry has yet to be proved. A New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this month found that when voters were asked to choose between Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, 46 percent chose the president and 43 percent Mr. Kerry. When Mr. Nader was added to the mix, Mr. Bush's support stayed at 46 percent, Mr. Kerry's dropped to 38 percent and Mr. Nader drew 7 percent. More than half of Nader supporters preferred Mr. Kerry in a two-way race.
"Conservatives for Nader," the comic Jon Stewart mused recently. "Not a large group. About the same size as 'Retarded Death Row Texans for Bush.' "

50 most loathsome new yorkers

New York Press: 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers (via Romenesko):

Strand Staffers
SLAVING AT A used bookshop may be a nobler vocation than trading pork bellies, but is it too much to ask that someone make eye contact through his or her Elvis Costello glasses? Is it unreasonable to expect the occasional acknowledgement of a customer's presence? Do new employees take classes to learn how to display utter contempt? Screw the Strand and its narrow aisles and indecipherable shelving practices and overpriced used books and staff of petulant clerks. They can ram all eight miles of books up their mopey asses. Next to them, the people at Barnes & Noble are downright motherly.

March 26, 2004

it's a grown-up kind of love

From the New York Times' recent 10 Questions For... Al Franken:

Q. 9. Why do liberals like you, Al Franken, hate America?

A. Liberals like me love America. We just love America in a different way. You love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world. That's why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well. We also want it to do good.

Franken's radio show debuts soon on Air America.

March 25, 2004

it's not, mind you, that I cannot abide change

The firing of the mellifluous Edwards, my morning companion through all these years, portends bad things. The telling sign was not just that he was axed as the program's host but that no one can tell you why.

Richard Cohen: Empty Talk at NPR (washingtonpost.com).

March 24, 2004

gay divorce

What's David Bernstein on about? After a decent criticism of a sloppy (and ugly) anti-gay marriage piece by Maggie Gallagher, he throws out this teaser, which I can't follow:

I'll blog more about this some other time, but how come no one seems to have written about the fact that the legal accouterments of divorce--a unilateral breakup leads to alimony, equal division of assets, etc., don't seem to be at all appropriate for a typical gay male couple?

What exactly about the potential for alimony and the equal division of assets isn't appropriate for any couple who gets married? The thrust seems to be that gay men are somehow so far out of line with proper American culture that the old rules of divorce are just inapplicable to them. But I can't imagine why or how that is. And any other interpretation I can come up with makes even less sense. Hopefully he will clarify soon, but whatever it is can't be something I would agree with.

originally posted by daveadams

Where is the sense of Caucasian solidarity, milky brother?

Poynter Online - "USA Today Scandal A Threat To White Privilege, Mediocrity" in which Dr. Ink asks will Jack Kelley's sins be visited upon other white journalists?

March 23, 2004

"As a soldier, I had signed up to defend the Constitution, not to invade another country."

After spending his day off at Fort Bragg fine-tuning two rifles his superior officers planned to take with them to Iraq later in the month, Army Specialist Jeremy Hinzman crossed the border into Canada with his wife and young son to seek asylum:

In August 2002, Hinzman applied for conscientious objector status. He was not interested in getting out of the Army, but in performing some noncombat role. In fact, he said, he enjoyed Army life.

"I've never felt as close to a group of people as I did when I was in the Army," he said.

When his unit, the 2nd Battalion of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, received orders for Afghanistan several months later, Hinzman said he had no problem going.

"I just didn't want to go in a combat role," he said.

He was required to carry an M-4 rifle wherever he went, and admitted to his superiors that he would use it if his unit or the camp came under attack. In his mind there was a significant difference between offensive actions and defending his home and friends.

"It's premeditated murder as opposed to having your house broken into," he said.

But that admission, he believes, led to the denial of his conscientious objector application. When his unit returned to Fort Bragg after eight months in Afghanistan, he knew it was only a matter of time before it would be sent to Iraq.

Those orders came on Dec. 20, 2003, and by Jan. 1 he had made up his mind to go to Canada.

He said he has no doubts now, and no regrets. He is not encouraging others to join him, but said of his decision: "I'm confident what I've done is the right thing for me."

You can read more about his story at his official site, JeremyHinzman.net. His wife Nga Nguyen was recently interviewed by HipMama.

March 21, 2004

you could run a really efficient society

In the 21st century, having leaders who don't really think the Earth is warming is a little like having leaders who don't really think the Earth is round.

The Seattle Times: Opinion: Americans have yet to learn the hard political lessons of the Arab oil embargo.

March 20, 2004

The choices shouldn't be this or that. It should be this, that, other.

"I'm interested in how the everyday mundane practices of life get played out in cities, the unheralded patterns that take place without celebration. There's a structure to cities, a 4/4 beat. Designing is like improvisation, finding a sound for each place."

That's architect Walter Hood in Patricia Leigh Brown's He Measures Oakland's Beat, and Parks Bloom"

March 19, 2004

what kind of movie do I like?

Boing Boing: Send-up of "Respect Copyright" PSAs

I don't know why anyone would ever steal a movie. Unless of course it's to avoid this commercial which we now play in front of every single movie you could possibly go to, telling you you're bad for stealing even though you just spent $11 to see some movie and instead you have to sit there and listen to me whine at you and accuse you of being a thief.

Fantastic. These moralizing ads just enrage me every time I go to the movie theater these days.

March 18, 2004


Whether you make a commitment to eating strictly vegetarian or not, cutting back your dependence on meat is something most people acknowledge they know they should do.

Flexitarians--near-vegetarians who eat some meat--are changing the market for veggie foods and recipes, says this AP article. I knew the girl in the lead of the story in college. Also, I love Mollie Katzen's cookbooks, but where are these "happy" but edible chickens?

March 17, 2004



I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth
and go on out
   over the sea marshes and the brant in bays
and over the hills of tall hickory
and over the crater lakes and canyons
and on up through the spheres of diminishing air
past the blackset noctilucent clouds
           where one wants to stop and look
way past all the light diffusions and bombardments
up farther than the loss of sight
   into the unseasonal undifferentiated empty stark

And I know if I find you I will have to stay with the earth
inspecting with thin tools and ground eyes
trusting the microvilli sporangia and simplest
and praying for a nerve cell
with all the soul of my chemical reactions
and going right on down where the eye sees only traces

You are everywhere partial and entire
You are on the inside of everything and on the outside

I walk down the path down the hill where the sweetgum
has begun to ooze spring sap at the cut
and I see how the bark cracks and winds like no other bark
chasmal to my ant-soul running up and down
and if I find you I must go out deep into your
   far resolutions
and if I find you I must stay here with the separate leaves

--A. R. Ammons

March 15, 2004

brood x

This spring, 17-year cicadas will emerge from beneath the Washington, D.C., area and other parts of the eastern United States in "biblical proportions," according to bug experts. This particular consort of periodical cicadas is known as "Brood X," which gives them the swaggering air of genetically engineered minions of evil. The last time Brood X surfaced, their tymbals generated a remarkable collective whir, and my dog gobbled their shed skins as if they were popcorn. UPDATE: Unfortunately, it turns out that the "X" is the Roman numeral, not the letter. Thus the breed is "Brood Ten." Which is not as cool as "Brood X."

spain withdraws from iraq?

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, whose socialist party yesterday won the Spanish general election, has today promised to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq. From the BBC:

'José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said: "The war in Iraq was a disaster, the occupation of Iraq is a disaster."

Also at The Guardian.

March 14, 2004

rocks in the garden

Rocks Can Help Create a Natural, Low-Maintenance Garden (washingtonpost.com)

This is the perfect time to design and place landscape stones. Plants are just breaking out of dormancy, so you can see the bones of the landscape. Early bulbs are just appearing, so you can arrange rocks around them.

March 12, 2004

Everything you ever wanted to know about offshoring

originally posted by zagg

i believe in the beeb

Click here to find out why.

I've long wanted one of these on randomWalks, but didn't know where to put it. Here it is.

March 11, 2004

beautiful mushroom art

The main focus of my art is currently the exploration of the infinite ever-changing worlds contained within the subconscious mind. In Heaven and Hell Aldous Huxley wrote:
"Like the giraffe and the duckbilled platypus, the creatures inhabiting [the] remoter regions of the mind are exceedingly improbable. Nevertheless they exist, they are facts of observation; and as such, they cannot be ignored by anyone trying to understand the world in which he lives."
The worlds inside the mind are just as real as the world outside, but describing and documenting the inner worlds can only be done by using similes and symbols from the outside world. I see my work as symbolic representations of subconscious landscapes, creatures or events. Each work is a piece of an infinite puzzle representing my subconscious mind.

Visit psilocybin visions.

best documentary playing in DC

The Fog of War is currently playing at AMC Courthouse; AMC Hoffman Center; Bethesda Row Cinema; Visions Bar Noir.

very pro-sharing

As far as I'm concerned, music is not a commodity. It's something that people have earned by being human. They have a right to hear it, and a right to share it, as they always have in churches and parties. That's how music happens.

Kristin Hersh to Judith Lewis.

police coverup alleged after mass arrests

Police in Washington, D.C., mishandled a 2002 anti-globalization protest by not telling participants to disperse and then arresting them for disobeying the nonexistent order, according to a D.C. Council report. The report also faults D.C. police for its dealings with protesters as far back as 2000, says the Washington Post. Police chief Charles Ramsey calls the findings "bullshit."

they got a pepper bar

Many of you are repulsed by the spongmonkeys, can't fathom how they would make you desire a sub, and worry that these ratlike creatures suggest an unsanitary sandwich-prep environment.

Those Quiznos beasts really are horrid.

OS X date display bug

Why do both WeatherPop and iPhoto display dates in the form "9:30 AMAM"?

March 9, 2004

graphic witness

Each grim image is printed on thin paper rather than on a stiffer board that would better withstand a trip through the postal system. The image appears on the wrapper, and is simply titled 'Horthy'; an aged victim of extensive torture hangs from the descending Y; the artist's signature springs from the foot of this dead or dying man.

While searching for PhD-related information, I chanced upon Mihály Bíró's White Terror series over at Graphic Witness, an extraordinary archive of visual arts and social commentary, which includes Hugo Gellert's Marx's Kapital in lithograph, and many other gems.

March 8, 2004

international women's day

Happy International Women's Day, randomWalks readers. Also on the day of the signing of the new Iraqi constitution, "In defense of secularism" at the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq.

keillor and bellow

... [T]he primary reason I am a Democrat is that they take the idea of justice seriously and justice is the sine qua non of our society. The simple idea of a social compact is required for civilised life. If you are in serious need I'll rally to your side, and you will do the same for me. That is the assumption that enables us to travel around the world and get outside our tribe: without it all life is brutal. And looking around, it is a tragedy that life is indeed brutal for a great many people in America today.

Garrison Keillor, in a lengthy profile in the Guardian. Also from the Guardian, Martin Amis on Saul Bellow, whose Henderson the Rain King I have just begun as my first book of Bellow's. I like this passage from the book:

...[C]ome to think of it, some of the very best [times] occurred during her pregnancy, when it was far advanced. Before we went to sleep, I would rub her belly with baby oil to counteract the stretch marks. Her nipples had turned from pink to glowing brown, and the children moved inside her belly and changed the round shape.

I rubbed lightly and with greatest care lest my big thick fingers do the slightest harm. And then before I put out the light I wiped my fingers on my hair and Lily and I kissed good night, and in the scent of the baby oil we went to sleep.

I don't know why, but I love "changed the round shape."

March 6, 2004

lies about the miners, 20 years on

Two decades after the 1984-85 miners' strike, Britain has yet to come to terms with its greatest social confrontation of the postwar era. The year-long dispute was, after all, not only a watershed in modern British history, but has had no real parallel - in size, duration and impact - anywhere in the world. It pitted the country's most powerful and politicised group of workers against a Tory administration bent on class revenge, and prepared to lay waste to our industrial heartlands and energy sector in the process, regardless of cost. It convulsed Britain, turned the mining areas into occupied territory, and came far closer than was understood at the time to breaking the Thatcher government's onslaught on organised labour.

This week was the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the UK miners' strike. Following a couple of low-key documentaries on this turning point in British history, and scant/clichéd/minority media coverage, Seamus Milne in the Guardian puts it much better than anyone else so far.

March 5, 2004

Act Blue, if even if you don't feel or think blue

ActBlue - Home

Welcome to ActBlue! We hope this site will make it a little easier for you to get involved with Democratic campaigns and causes, and to get your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to do the same. Please suggest updates and additions to our lists, contact us with your ideas, and let us know if you'd like to help. Thanks for joining us! And stay tuned—there's a lot more on the way.

The first of many election web sites that will be driven by social software.

March 4, 2004

Kerouac in Florida

Chicago Tribune | Jack Kerouac in Orlando

I want people, especially young people, to embrace the idea of history in the suburbs. I call it suburban archaeology. This idea of Kerouac as the precursor of the hippies — he was Catholic, he was conservative, and he lived with his mother in the suburbs.

So says Bob Kealing, a reporter for WESH-TV and the author of a new book, Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends. Read an excerpt in Orlando Magazine.

novelty strikes

Cancer Anxiety Study - Easing the Anxiety of Death: "The Research & Education Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is conducting a study designed to measure the effectiveness of the novel psychoactive medication psilocybin on the reduction of anxiety, depression, and physical pain."

March 3, 2004

MDMA study to proceed

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies: "This is the first study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy ever approved in the 18 1/2 years since MDMA was criminalized."

mars wiggles

Mars wiggles!

March 2, 2004

it went here

Fans of Ween's "Where'd the Cheese Go?" should know that the band has released Live By Request, an album that includes a six-minute version of "WTCG?"