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April 30, 2004

Erowid, they joke, is fueled by Mountain Dew

Inside the psychedelic, rave and harm-reduction communities, Earth and Fire are considered leaders, even heroes. But they insist they’re just a pair of librarians — archivists and "Internet dorks" who believe that better access to better information just makes for better decisions in the long run. "Basically, we act as if there isn’t prohibition," says Earth. "We are trying to publish this information as if the world were already making rational choices around this complicated area."

The LA Weekly explores the Vaults of Erowid in Don’t Get High Without It by Erik Davis.

April 29, 2004

not Rambo

"It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable," Gonzalez writes. "What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his 'service' was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in."

ESPN: He's 'Rambo,' not a hero. (I actually think the first Rambo is a masterpiece).

google, google? google!

Google Search: google

Creating Learning Communities

Creating Learning Communities

April 28, 2004

iTunes 4.5 best features are unannounced

The Slashdot: Apple Releases Major iTunes Update discussion includes the following gems (unattributed, because I'm lazy):

Lastly, and this is a feature of the entire music library, not just playlists or Party Shuffle, the same "arrow" icons that show up in the iTMS when you search for a song are present in iTunes. This means you can click an arrow for a song name, album, or artist and it will launch a search on iTMS. But say you don't like that feature? Well you can of course turn it off in preferences, but you may also hodl down "option" and click it. The result? it searches only YOUR library, not the iTMS.

You can now use other playlists as criteria for a Smart Playlist. Create one playlist that is a combination of several other playlists.

April 27, 2004

Clearing the Murky Waters of High School History

HoustonChronicle.com - Casey: TAKS' attack on U.S. history

Here's one way to teach U.S. history.

It comes from a typed TAKS review sheet found sitting on a classroom teacher's desk recently by a substitute teacher in a Houston-area school.

Teachers throughout Texas are drilling their students in desperate hopes that this week they will score well on the TAKS, the only test by which teachers and principals are officially measured.

Here's how the review sheet begins:

"1. If it is a question about a person from the Revolutionary Era, the answer is George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

"2. If it is a question about a women's rights leader, the answer has to be Susan B. Anthony.

"3. If it is a question about a civil rights leader, the answer will likely be Martin Luther King."

It goes on for two single-spaced pages, drilling dates and definitions, presenting a reflecting pool of U.S. history a centimeter deep and 200 years wide, filled with murky water.

Another way of teaching history is that promoted by Will Fitzhugh [...]

We Will Not Be Pacified

Baby Bloc: the Activist Family Handbook Website

This site is about taking kids to demonstrations, rallies, protests, civil disobedience actions, parades, marches, and places like that. It's about parents and others raising and protecting children safely, while shaking up the unjust foundations of our society.

For 17 years, they have nibbled together on tree roots.

Question: I was pulling the onion grass out of one of my beds and decided to pull up the weed barrier (the black meshy sheet that we laid under our mulch last year to stifle the weeds) and sure enough there were about 25 large, somewhat hibernating cicadas. I guess my question is, we laid that weed barrier all around our beds. Will the cicadas be trapped under there? Is that a bad thing?

Adrian Higgins: The cicadas will be trapped under your barrier. They have waited 17 years for this moment, and you are preventing them from attaining their destiny. For 17 years, they have nibbled together on tree roots, enduring the hardships with the knowledge that one day, they would smell the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on their bodies, experience the thrill of flight, and of true love. If you leave the weed block down, these cicadas will never live their dream. But you be the judge.

get ready

Bear with me, it's a good story: heraldsun.com: The buzz: Cicadas get ready to emerge

The Brood X bugs, red-eyed cousins of the larger annual black-eyed late-summer "Dog Day" green cicadas, will begin emerging from their underground holes in western North Carolina later this month. They don't devour vegetation the way locusts do, and they don't bite or sting. But they sure do sing.

Like many human adolescents, periodical cicadas spend umpteen years in their dirty rooms, indulging in sweet stuff and oblivious to much of the world outside themselves. Then, suddenly, as if a hormone switch were flipped, they emerge with a single-minded commitment to find favor with whatever peer they deem sexually appealing.

The bug nymphs live all that time on tender hardwood tree roots until they finally get the hots. Well, it's more like the "warms," because their signal to go forth and mate is a rise in the soil temperature to 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once in heat, millions of them push their way to the surface and climb onto new branch growth on nearby trees and shrubs, according to entomologist Stephen Bambara, who works with the N.C. State Cooperative Extension Service in Raleigh.

The males get together in choruses and harmonize in a unique doo-wop that strikes humans as a decidedly un-sexy metallic screeching. But cicada females respond to it with abandon, making clicking sounds and wing flips -- their version of an air kiss and a toss of the hair.

After 13 or 17 years of underground obscurity, periodical cicadas emerge to a multi-week Mardi Gras, a party thrown by nature solely to ensure that what goes around comes around, generation after generation. Like most such reveries, it's noisy, it's not pretty, and many participants meet violent fates from predators. But in this case, it gets the job done, according to Bambara, because the weird life cycle itself offers a form of protection for the species.

"Cicadas go 13 or 17 years between life cycles because it's to their advantage," said Bambara. "It throws possible predators off track. Seventeen years is a long time to wait between meals if that were your prey. So I think that's where they got their niche. A lot of them are consumed and die when they come out. But their sheer numbers also help ensure their survival. Even if a lot of them get eaten, a lot of others are still left to reproduce."

Birds are periodical cicadas' main predators, he said, plus other omnivorous ground-dwelling animals such as opossums, skunks, raccoons and foxes. Fish, too, eat cicadas that fall into the water.

April 26, 2004

magicicada

Cicata Field Guide:

Cicada ("Si-Kay-Duh")

Common Name: Periodical Cicada Scientific Name: Magicicada

Aliases: 13 or 17 Year Cicada; 13 or 17 Year Locust; Satan's Parakeets

April 25, 2004

get your war on | page thirty-four

You think just because the words are garbled in his mouth, they're garbled in his mind?

stingy kids updates

Stingy Kids: A Poet for Queens.

what Apple engineering and Apple design can really do

With roots both in Silicon Valley's digital culture and the 1960's counterculture, Mr. Jobs has long been an arbiter of what is cool in technology, much like a real-world version of a trend-spotting character from "Pattern Recognition," one of the cyberpunk novels by William Gibson.

AND, helped by his growing prominence in Hollywood through his second company, Pixar Animation Studios, Mr. Jobs has attained a level of influence over how life is lived in the digital age that is unmatched by even his most powerful computer industry rivals. "He is the Henry J. Kaiser or Walt Disney of this era," said Kevin Starr, a culture historian and the California state librarian.

The New York Times > Never underestimate Steve Jobs.

hello, Google

The New York Times > Technology > Rich to Get Richer if Google Goes Public

The current prediction is that Google, if it decides to sell shares to investors this year, would probably end up with a market value of $20 billion to $25 billion by the end of its first day as a publicly traded company.

A $25 billion market value would instantly make Google worth more than Lockheed Martin, the big military contractor; Federal Express, the package delivery service; or Nike, the sports clothing maker.

April 24, 2004

experience the old-school games

"The Atari Paddle TV Games controller looks, feels, and plays just like the original Atari paddle. Games featured in the device include: Breakout, Canyon Bomber, Casino, Circus Atari,Demons to Diamonds, Night Driver, Steeplechase, Street Racer, Super Breakout, Warlords, Warlords Arcade, Video Olympics, Arcade Pong and Pong. There will be two types of Atari Paddle TV Games units released this summer: single player and two player. The Atari Paddle TV Games will ship for approximately $20 this summer."

Too bad there's not a four player version. Four player Warlords was the most fun four kids hopped up on pizza and coca-cola taking a break from Dungeons & Dragons should know how to have.

April 23, 2004

Strip Search, Maggie Gyllenhaaaaall

Check out Anna Lappé's "Strip Search" review. I saw it too, but I have more mixed feelings about it. it's worth watching or Tivoing it on Tuesday nonetheless, because there's a dearth of intelligent media in opposition to the Patriot Act.

Link to Guerrilla News Network

April 22, 2004

egg on your face, big disgrace

Then-presidential candidate Ralph Nader on abortion in 2000:

"Here’s what happened on that," he said wearily. "The scare tactic is that would end choice in America and I just said that’s not true, but I should have been astute enough not to mention that." He said he did not in any case believe for a moment that Bush would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. "The first back alley death, and the Republican Party is in deep trouble and they know it," he said. He described the party’s opposition to abortion as just for show, "just for Pat Robertson."

Of course, had it really been just for show, there would be no need for April 25's March for Women's Lives! in Washington.

No difference between Republicans and Democrats, my ass. Thanks again, Ralph!

bringing earth day home

Bringing Earth Day Home (washingtonpost.com): "Although it is unlikely many of us will spend the day saving a rain forest or preventing the drift of coal-fired power plant emissions, we can make a positive contribution closer to home." The Washington Post offers 10 "simple" actions to reduce your home's environmental impact. More info is available from the EPA. (It's a great concept, but I'm not sure that number 2, "Eliminate lead-based paint," qualifies as simple.)

Mary McGrory, 21 April 2004

Mary McGrory, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post and, before that, The Washington Star, died April 21, 2004. She was 85.

normal, hungry people addicted to food

CNN.com - Study: Chocolate, BBQ addiction may be real - Apr 21, 2004

A brain scan study of normal, hungry people showed their brains lit up when they saw and smelled their favorite foods in much the same way as the brains of cocaine addicts when they think about their next snort.

Einstein Gravity Probe B

Among the most exotic of Einstein’s predictions was that massive bodies — planets, stars or black holes —actually twist time and space around as they spin, much like the winds of a tornado. Other tenets of general relativity have been tested, such as the warping of time and space by massive bodies, but the twisting effect, known as frame dragging, has never been put to the test, scientists said. If Einstein is right, scientists say, the satellite should detect that small bits of time and space are actually missing from each orbit, something indiscernible to orbiting astronauts but measurable nonetheless.

Nasa launches Einstein Gravity Probe B - The Times of India

I have two mommies

In a First for Mammals, Mice Are Created Without Fathers (washingtonpost.com)

Lacking any paternal genes, all the mice born this way were females. But they are not clones, because each is a genetically unique animal developed from its own egg.

The feat does not suggest that men will soon become irrelevant for human reproduction. The extreme genetic manipulations used by the team are for now, at least, technically and ethically infeasible in humans.

The experiments produced far more dead and defective baby mice than normal ones.

Vanunu

As a defiant Mordechai Vanunu headed out of prison on Wednesday after 18 years, flashing the victory sign and declaring he was proud of what he had done. Mr. Vanunu, 49, appears to be as widely reviled today as he was in 1986, when he was kidnapped by Israel's intelligence service in Rome after giving a detailed interview on Israel's clandestine nuclear program to The Sunday Times of London.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Vanunu, Disdaining Israel, Is Freed to Chants vs. Cheers

supreme court hears guantanamo case (npr audio)

NPR : Justices Hear Arguments in Guantanamo Detainees Case

The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The detainees have requested a ruling on whether U.S. courts can review challenges to their incarceration. The Bush administration argues foreign prisoners picked up on the battlefield and held outside U.S. borders do not have the right to access the courts. NPR's Nina Totenberg reports.

April 21, 2004

animals like to get high

FT Reviews: Animals & Psychedelics

If even an ant can tell the difference between being straight and high, in this instance by sucking secretions from the abdomen of a lomechusa beetle, what does this tell us about the consciousness of something like a mandrill, which munches the intensely potent iboga root, then waits up to two hours for the effects to kick in before engaging in territorial battle with another mandrill? Equally fascinating is the fact that many animals appear to use psychedelics recreationally — and that not all individuals of a particular species will indulge, just as some humans are more partial to tripping out than others. One in the eye for the stark behaviourists, it would seem.

Media and the War

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE IMPACT WOULD BE IF THE MAJOR NETWORKS BROADCAST THE SORT OF IRAQ REPORTS DN! HAS AIRED, LIKE AARON GLANTZ'S RECENT STUFF OUT OF FALLUJAH?

I think if the media broadcast the true images of war, if the media showed us the sheared-off limbs of Iraqi children, of U.S. soldiers, of women and innocent civilians killed in Iraq, I think we would eradicate war.

ALL WAR?

All war.

New York Press interviews Amy Goodman

originally posted by zagg

a sea change in the constitutional life of this country

On April 28, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in two cases that New York Times reporter David Stout noted are likely to result in rulings of "profound importance, drawing the lines between the powers of courts and the administration and, perhaps, affecting the civil liberties of Americans in ways not yet imagined."

The justices will hear the cases of two American citizens, Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla, who have been held as "enemy combatants" in Defense Department prisons on American soil indefinitely, incommunicado, without charges, and without the continual Sixth Amendment guarantee of access to a lawyer.

The Village Voice: The Hidden Supreme Court by Nat Hentoff: How many of you can recognize the nine most powerful Americans?

Four Decades

It appears that Major League Baseball has lost its last two four-decade players: Jesse Orosco retired in January and nobody will hire Ricky Henderson.

April 20, 2004

magazine reader: high times

If you're a little high and you just want to look at pretty pictures, you can get fixated on the centerfold and you take out a magnifying glass and look at all those snowy flakes -- that's the resin, that's what gets you stoned. People like to look at that.

High Times At 30, Getting Its Head Together (washingtonpost.com).

April 19, 2004

How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office

WT: How do you view the partnership with youth?

AMB: I would say crucial. Anyone who isn't paying attention, who doesn't have youth on her radar, is basically a fool at this point. Who picks up the work, who is the legacy, who lives in the world we create? Really youth are always the central population in any body of people anywhere in the world. If the young people are disengaged or disempowered or ignored -- in other words, not brought to the table -- then you are dealing with a crisis.

Anyone who isn't paying attention, who doesn't have youth on her radar, is basically a fool at this point.

WT: Why should youth trust a youth movement organized by adults?

AMB: I don't think they should. I think youth should trust a movement that spans from young people through adults. I think youth should trust adults who place youth in decision-making roles. Our span within the organization right now is 16-35 I think, interns to director.

Over at Wiretap, Arturo Perez interviews Adrienne Maree Brown from the The League of Pissed Off Voters. Wiretap's also got a book: Storming the Polls and an election blog.

April 17, 2004

gardner's almanac

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange April/May 2004: April is so exciting in the garden.

April 16, 2004

Wilco: A Ghost Is Born

I'm beginning to think it's a movie that exists only in Francis's head

A pause that discourages in the development of the On the Road movie.

April 15, 2004

Free Ryan!

Ryan Matthews, an innocent man on Louisiana's death row who I posted about in August, yesterday won a new trial based on DNA evidence that shows he did not commit the crime.

Coverage from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

originally posted by zagg

Religion in Movies

Matt Zoller Seitz takes a look at a recent run of movies and how they deal with themes of revenge and redemption:

Just as Cash's song was inspired by a dream, the new Dawn is one of many recent movies that seems to have been dreamed up by the industry. Recent history has seeped into movies, and manifested itself in powerful, if mostly oblique, ways. With some overlap, the movies tend to fit into one of two categories: revenge dramas and religious pictures.

The revenge dramas generally suggest one of two opposed conclusions: revenge is troubling but necessary (A Man Apart, Walking Tall, Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2) or a life-altering mistake (21 Grams, Mystic River). The religious movies aren't religious in the sense that they advocate a particular religious point of view or dramatize a religious story (though The Passion of the Christ does both). They're religious in the sense that they presuppose and invite a religious view of life. They assume there's a higher power and perhaps a hell. They assume that good and evil are not rhetorical abstractions, but words to describe real cosmic forces at war in the universe and inside each person.

Like dreams, these movies are coded, half-involuntary responses to a post-9/11 world, and the fears of war, religious unrest, mass death and spiritual reckoning the event hatched. The movies are not precise or even outwardly purposeful, and none deals specifically with politics. But they are still movie dreams that work through real anxieties.


originally posted by zagg

April 14, 2004

the slack album

The Slack Album is a mostly tongue-in-cheek project fusing Jay-Z's The Black Album to Pavement's classic lo-fi album Slanted and Enchanted, combining the songs track-by-track in order of the original album sequences. Some of the resultant music is hip-hop-ish; some is not.

April 13, 2004

13 questions for Bush

What do you say to the families of victims of 9/11 who wonder why not a single official has been fired or publicly reprimanded for any failures regarding 9/11?

What did you think of Richard Clarke's apology at the outset of his testimony to the 9/11 Commission?

Have you read Richard Clarke's book or do you plan to do so?

Do you agree with your national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, that the Aug. 6 PDB, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within the U.S.," is merely a 'historical' document?

Why did you not make the Aug. 6 PDB available to Attorney General John Ashcroft? Do you believe, in retrospect, that this was a mistake?

Editor and Publisher: 13 Questions for Bush on the day of one of the President's rare formal press conferences (via Romenesko). Of course, it's unlikely anything but softballs will be thrown, both because Bush will play favorites and because vain reporters too often like to hear their own chatter.

April 12, 2004

my 23:5

"Laid on the anvils of the storysmiths, they shatter like glass at the first tap of the hammer."

The book is Bill Blundell's The Art and Craft of Feature Writing. It's essential reading for any journalist, established or would-be. In this sentence Blundell is referring to poorly thought-out story ideas that reporters often pursue only to find that they cannot be inflated into satisfying articles. I fear I am about to experience this phenomenon firsthand.

What about the funnies?

The New Yorker Profiles Aaron McGruder

There is, at first, something disappointing in this vision of America’s most radical cartoonist at work: slouched on the sofa, armed with a remote and TiVo, not a pencil or a drawing board—or even a snarl—in sight. McGruder is not yet thirty, and already he is jaded, content to settle for the kind of perfectly passable work he so often eviscerates others for. Or maybe this is the point: he is not yet thirty. He has aspirations to raise hell for a whole new audience, in a whole different way, and he is afraid of blowing the opportunity on a stupid youthful mistake.

With that in mind, he has decided to lay off Condoleezza Rice—seemingly a prime target these days, in the wake of Richard Clarke’s allegations—for the near future. ‘Having that show on the air just opens up a whole new realm in terms of power and influence,’ he said. ‘I want to say the things no one else can say, but it’s a tightrope walk. Up till now it has always paid off for me. I’m waiting for the moment when it will not pay off.’

[book] 23:5

Via leuschke.org:

  1. Grab the nearest book
  2. Open the book to page 23
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence [on your website] along with these instructions

From Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? by Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D.:

When patients are kept on ventilators despite being dead, their hearts stop within hours to days.

the lgf quiz

From LittleGreenFootballs or late German Fascists?:

I was inspired to build this quiz when I noticed that comments on Littlegreenfootballs.com (a popular warblog) tended to be indistinguishable in tone and content from the writings of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and the other architects of the "final solution."

Always indistinguishable? Well, maybe not - but close enough and often enough to be pretty disturbing. Yes, the quotes I've used here are all "cherry-picked" - from LGF and the Nazis both - but since the webmaster patrols LGF pretty thoroughly it's fair to say that his site is as defined by what he allows (e.g., calls to "sterilize" the "subhuman" Palestinians) as it is by what he doesn't (e.g., criticisms of Israel or George W).

Also check out the accompanying LGF Quiz Blog.

April 11, 2004

''I don't understand how a gay organization can continue to support a party that constantly demeans them. Please explain.''

From Michael Sokolove's "Can This Marriage Be Saved?":

For many years, the Log Cabin Republicans have known the particular torment of being aligned with a cause easily lampooned as ridiculous. You are a what? they are asked in various ways. A gay Republican? A gay conservative? What does that even mean? And by the way, don't you know that your so-called allies actually despise you? ''You're attacked in social settings,'' Patrick Guerriero, Log Cabin's executive director, told me. ''You lose dates. It's not easy.'' What is even more difficult, though, is to have your loyalty thrown back in your face by the very people with whom you have united -- and to arrive at that moment of truth when you must acknowledge that those who have confronted you, or snickered behind your back, may, in fact, have a point.

April 9, 2004

the unknown sandwich mogul

Whilst strolling down Hawthorne Blvd. recently, we noticed a rope with a basket tied onto it had been hung out of someone's second story apartment window, coming down just shy of street level. There was a sign attached: "PB & J Sandwiches - $1".

If you put your dollar in the basket, rang a bell attached to a second rope, the basket would go up, and come back down with, presumably, a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich inside.

~stevenf: The Entrepreneurial Spirit

CREAKY.TYPEPAD.COM IS UPDATING AGAIN

creak, creak, we're down south: 34 in 04: movie review catch-up

(restmyeyes alpha site)

April 8, 2004

brainsss

What is the fascination that many bloggers seem to have with zombie flicks?

iPalimpsest: The Blogger Zombie connection

I see dead people

Aljazeera.Net - Falluja siege in pictures (warning: photos of children killed by US)

Ecstasy Rising newsdoc

MAPS A/V archive: Ecstasy Rising

Peter Jennings Reporting: 'Ecstasy Rising' takes viewers through the seminal events in this story and introduces all the major players -- from Alexander Shulgin, the famous chemist who was the first person to report the effects of Ecstasy, to Michael Clegg, the Dallas businessman who gave Ecstasy its name and turned it into a recreational drug, to the drug enforcement officer who led the fight to make Ecstasy illegal, to the DJ who brought Rave to America.

Download time varies according to the speed of your internet connection.

April 7, 2004

weaponizing the ipod

Leif's friend, Alex Payne, said the mugger was lucky Leif wasn't armed with the 40-Gbyte iPod, which is a lot bulkier than the mini.

"Phil's the last guy in the world I'd imagine getting into a fight, but it figures that it would involve a slickly-designed gadget in some way," said Payne.

Weapon of Choice: iPod Mini. This wasn't posted April 1.

blood and popcorn

P-Man's amusing, stop & smell the rose-colored glasses attitude is definitely contagious. Don't you remember when the simple triumphs and surprises of life gave you a kick? Aren't there things happening right now that give you a little pleasant satisfaction? Say, this Taco Bell seven-layer burrito is really good. Wow, it sure is nice to have a watch that's just right for me, and actually keeps pretty good time. Hey, I missed the bus, but the weather's fine, and I can smell the donuts baking in the shop across the street.

BLOOD & POPCORN doesn't just capture a time, but an attitude as well. It takes you back to those days when burning ambition wasn't too hot to handle, and the color of the grass on your side of the fence was coming along just fine.

This reviewer appreciated Perri Pagonis' Blood and Popcorn for many of the same reasons that Adam and I do. It concerns little more than a suburban nobody working a crappy retail job in a Northern Virginia mall and getting a girlfriend, but it will remind you how fun everyday life can be. Only the best works of Daniel Manus Pinkwater are as powerful.

LVX23

LVX23 reminds me what can be so great about weblogs — it's like he's blogging just for me.

titles are for geeks

I just think it transcends what you normally get to do on TV. It's funny, sad, heartbreaking … I love the heartbreaking stuff, which is another reason we probably got canceled.

Interview with creator Paul Feig (but not writer/producer Judd Apatow) on the occasion of the release of the Freaks and Geeks DVD set.

April 6, 2004

afro asiatic allegories

Ms. Brown has mixed feelings about the ganguro phenomenon. "Being African-American, I'm flattered that our music and style is so influential," she said. "But I have to say that I find the ganguro obsession with blackness pretty weird, and a little offensive. My paintings come out of trying to make sense of this appropriation."

Ms. Brown's paintings do a little cultural sampling of their own. She takes 17th- and 18th-century Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints of geishas, bathhouse girls, samurai and Kabuki theater actors and gives them a radical makeover. The results are zany hybrids, from kimono-clad M.C.'s and gun-wielding gangsta rappers to sassy courtesans with darkened faces, dreadlocks and long painted nails. She calls them "Afro Asiatic allegories."

The New York Times on Iona Rozeal Brown, who revises Japanese woodblock prints to include hip-hop iconography.

let america laugh

WireTap's Dan Hoyle did a great interview with comedian David Cross in January, here's my favorite part:

WT: About a third of eligible youth voted in the 2000 election. Why do you think that is? People are lazy, ignorant, alienated from the process?

DC: Yes, I think it's all three of those things. You become ignorant because you're alienated and you don't think out the information and you allow yourself to purposefully get lazy so things don't bother you, so you use that as an excuse not to vote. It's pretty galling that I know people will wait in line for a weekend to see a f*ckin' movie that's gonna be there for three months, but won't wait in line for 12 minutes to vote. If not for yourself, then for everyone else, it's truly one of the most selfish things you can do. Just the fact that you won't educate yourself on the issues. It's truly one of the most selfish things you can do. Especially because so many people have suffered to obtain that right, or obtain the idea of that right.

More David Cross (and Bob Odenkirk, and others) at bobanddavid.com.

I wanted to be Maggie Cheung

Click to take the quiz!
click here to find out which asian action superstar you are!

You are Russell Wong. you like to act tough and be bad, but you are often sensitive to the needs of others as well as the needs of your peers. ur the dainty, delictable, and sensitive type. u like to be pampered and treated like the queen that u are!

April 5, 2004

happy birthday dj

hello, 28!

April 1, 2004

Mercenaries are not civilians

While the US is promising an "overwhelming" response to the
"bestial" act, a Reuters article confirms that the civilians killed in Iraq were employees of a North Carolina-based mercenary company, Blackwater USA.

Blackwater Security Consulting, a part of Blackwater USA, issued a statement confirming the four were its personnel

...

The Moyock, North Carolina firm's Web site, which features a man in a black mask and reflective goggles and others in combat gear pointing weapons, says it staff are "renowned for dealing with high-risk situations and complex operations."

The site advertises courses in sharpshooting, has an aerial photograph of what it called "the most comprehensive private tactical training facility in the United States" and boasts of providing "training and tactical solutions" around the world.

The Guardian earlier this month did a lovely piece on Blackwater USA's tactics, which included recruiting Pinochet-era Chilean commandos.

"We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system," he said.

Chile was the only Latin American country where his firm had hired commandos for Iraq. He estimated that "about 95%" of his work came from government contracts and said his business was booming.

"We have grown 300% over each of the past three years and we are small compared to the big ones.

...


In an interview with the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, a former
Chilean army officer, Carlos Wamgnet, 30, who was going to
Iraq, said: "We are calm. This mission is nothing new for us. "

Mercenaries are not civilians folks.

The act itself was ugly, but we're not talking about "contractors" here, we're talking about soldiers for hire.

This piece by Robert Fisk gives more background on the use of mercenaries throughout Iraq, which includes this little gem of a line:

Casualties among the mercenaries are not included in the regular body count put out by the occupation authorities, which may account for the persistent suspicion among Iraqis that the US is underestimating its figures of military dead and wounded.

Still think the occupation is about "stabilizing" Iraq?

originally posted by zagg