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June 30, 2004

foul taste in your mouth yet?

Salon's Joe Conason on Nader's "illegal" backers:

According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington -- whose name sounds as if Nader could once have been its founder -- the Nader presidential campaign received illicit assistance for its petition drive in Oregon last weekend from two local conservative organizations, which were "encouraged" by President Bush's campaign committee.

Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, plans to file a complaint on Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission, charging that Nader and his conservative enablers in Oregon violated the federal statute prohibiting corporate contributions to presidential candidates. (...)

Whatever the eventual outcome of Sloan's legal action, her complaint points to a troubling aspect of Nader's 2004 crusade. Following his rebuff last Sunday by the Green Party at its national convention in Milwaukee, which rejected his candidacy in favor of a little-known party activist, he could now face a difficult challenge achieving ballot access in dozens of states. The temptation will be great to accept financial and organizational help from conservative Republicans who want him to divert progressive votes from Kerry. Indeed, he has accepted help from Republicans not only this year, when they have contributed thousands of dollars to his war chest, but in 2000, when the Republican Leadership Council sponsored television ads on his behalf in Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon.

Yet Nader still insists that he will draw more votes from Bush than from Kerry. He often makes that dubious claim while campaigning in New Hampshire, where four years ago he almost certainly played a role in delivering the state to Bush. No matter what Nader may say to exculpate himself, it's becoming difficult to believe that he truly wants anything except attention for himself -- and another four years of Republican rule.

Once again: johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.com

June 28, 2004

a great first mushroom

Morels appear throughout the continent in spring. Trees are just beginning to bud, so relatively unfiltered sunlight warms the earth directly. This triggers the appearance of a number of wildflowers: trillium, phlox, trout lily, Dutchmen's breeches, violets, wild strawberries and many more. Along with the temperatures, these flowers are indicators of when to look for morels.

The "where" isn't quite as simple. Where the spores fall, cross-pollinate and germinate is where morels will grow-after a five-year cycle of nutrient-gathering and storage. Black morels (which appear first) tend to be more exclusively in hardwood forests, but not around any particular type of tree. Finding them is often like a connect-the-dots game. When you find one, be still, and look nearby. When the spores that created the morel you just picked were jettisoned years ago, there likely was a wind pattern that blew the spores in a particular path. There may have been a nutrient source or environment (soil type, moisture, pH, etc.) that was conducive for growth. Look for the patterns.

Mother Earth News: Morel Mushrooms. randomWalks says don't eat unidentified mushrooms.

storing beans

Watch Your Garden Grow - Beans

Fresh pole beans and bush beans can be stored, unwashed in plastic bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not wash them before storing. Wet beans will develop black spots and decay quickly. Wash beans just before preparation.

Green beans can be frozen, dried or canned. Immature beans retain more color and undergo less texture and flavor loss during freezing. All vegetables must be blanched before freezing. Unblanched vegetables quickly become tough and suffer huge nutrient and color loss. Vegetables naturally contain an active enzyme that causes deterioration of plant cells, even during freezing. Blanching before freezing retards the enzyme activity.

Freezing does not improve the quality of any vegetable. Freezing actually can magnify undesirable characteristics. For instance, woodiness in stalks become more noticeable upon thawing. Select vegetables grown under favorable conditions and prepare for freezing as soon after picking as possible. Vegetables at peak quality for eating will produce best results in the freezer.

Tiger Server runs blojsom

Apple - Mac OS X - Mac OS X Server v10.4 Tiger Preview

A new Weblog server in Tiger Server makes it easy to publish, distribute and syndicate web-based content. The Weblog server provides users with calendar-based navigation and customizable themes, is fully compatible with Safari RSS and enables posting entries using built-in web-based functionality or with weblog clients that support XML-RPC or the ATOM API. The Weblog Server, based on the popular open source project "Blojsom," works with Open Directory for user accounts and authentication.

we all lose if cops have all the power

We All Lose if Cops Have All the Power, says Larry Dudley Hiibel.

I hadn't been argumentative; I wasn't picking a fight. Basically, when Deputy Dove demanded my papers — and he didn't ask for them, he demanded them — I didn't say, "Hey cop, I'm not going to give you nothing." I just asked why he wanted them. "What have I done?" I asked. If he'd explained what he was doing there, perhaps it could have been settled on the spot. But his position was that he wanted the papers first.

Here's why this was so important to me: I don't believe that the authorities in the United States of America are supposed to walk up to you and ask for your papers. I thought that wasn't lawful. Apparently I was wrong, but I thought that that was part of what we were guaranteed under the Constitution. We're supposed to be free men, able to walk freely in our own country — not hampered, not stopped at checkpoints. That's part of what makes this country different from other places. That's what I was taught.

June 27, 2004

what is this hippie shit? I don't get it.

I was at a party in Richmond, Virginia, trying to figure out how to get drunk when this guy (who wouldn't touch liquor because it upset his stomach) took me aside and started describing a book he was reading by the guy who wrote Brave New World as I would recall for the next 8 years during which I occasionally attempted a futile Google. At Powell's on my honeymoon I discovered over a dozen books I'd never known Aldous Huxley had written, but nothing about a world in which certain souls are fingered like Jedi to spend their lives studying the most peculiar game you've ever tried to describe.

Of course Huxley never wrote such a book; the book was Herman Hesse's Magister Ludi and the game was the Glass Bead Game. Have you read it?

U: Don't know why that link is dead, but the same article is posted here.

A rebel AND a poet

New York Daily News - News & Views - Daily News Exclusive: Valedictorian who ripped school denied diploma

The valedictorian of a Brooklyn high school was escorted out of the building and denied her diploma yesterday because she trashed the school in a scorching graduation speech.

The school says it won't give Tiffany Schley her sheepskin until she says she's sorry - but the 17-year-old is unrepentant.

"I was speaking for my peers," Tiffany told the Daily News. "We've been living with this for four years."

June 23, 2004

Waiting for Bill

Who waits in line at the Clinton book signing in midtown Manhattan? Salon answers the question. (Free day pass, blah blah blah.) By far, the best person profiled is the precocious 10-year-old who came all the way from Westport, Conn.:

And then there was Matt Lloyd-Thomas, who said he was 13, though he was really 10, because the lady at the door had said that the age limit for kids to get signatures was 12. His younger sister, Sophia, who was really 7 and a half, was posing as 12.
"We've just been passing the time, reading," said Lloyd-Thomas, whose skin was brown with suntan and a couple of freckles. "My sister's been bugging me the past few hours. Once the rain started there wasn't much we could do because it was really quite wet and you couldn't sit down." They'd had to wake up at 4, which Matt admitted was hard. But the whole trip had been his idea. "I was listening to NPR one afternoon and they said that President Clinton would be signing books in midtown Manhattan, so I said that's pretty close, why don't we go in?" So Matt, Sophia and their mother, Beth -- all from Westport, Conn. -- came to New York last night and stayed at an uncle's place. "I think it's pretty cool to have a book signed by a former president," said Matt of his reason for marshaling his family into action.

But then, Matt is also a kid who a year ago persuaded his whole third-grade class -- some of them Republicans -- to send letters to President Bush asking him not to send troops into Iraq. His mother said that lately he's taken to giving PowerPoint presentations on the benefits of voting for Kerry over Bush. "You know, his father and I are both Democrats but not that involved," she said, shaking her head slightly. "Matt is very much his own thinker."

What did he think of the president he was about to meet -- a man who was first elected before he was even born? "Well," began Matt thoughtfully, "not in his personal decisions but politically, I think Clinton was a very good president, especially since he was interested in what was going on in this country more than in foreign affairs." But what about those pesky personal decisions? "Well, I was only 6 at the time, and I didn't really enjoy politics," he said. "But I think that lying about a personal affair is one thing. Lying about weapons of mass destruction or lying about connections between Iraq and al-Qaida -- which affects a lot more people -- is a lot worse."

"My sister thinks I'm a news junkie," confided Matt, who said he skims the Times but mostly relies on NPR's "Morning Edition" for his news. Sophia, in a Nantucket lifeguarding sweatshirt and looking very, very, very bored, nodded silently.

"We're going to the American Girl Cafe after this," said their mother. "So that they both get something they like out of this trip."

hello, Anna Lappé

David has a guest author at hello, typepad this week. Anna Lappé is all about food, health and politics. She's pretty awesome.

Ryan Matthews is home.

Ryan Matthews, an innocent man on death row who I posted about here and here, is home for the first time in five years and hopefully is on his way to being exonerated completely.

originally posted by zagg

June 22, 2004

Silicon Valley is back?

Silicon Valley (Version 2.0) Has Hopes Up says the New York Times.

Among the optimists is a member of a startup company producing products for the "Web log" market:

"It feels like we're 12 months, 18 months away from the equivalent of the Netscape I.P.O.," said Andrew Anker, a former venture capitalist who this month became executive vice president at Six Apart, a start-up based in Silicon Valley that aims to help businesses publish Web logs, or blogs.

The article is curiously focused on secondary indicators such as traffic:

In 2000, according to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, 55 percent of the region's major freeway miles were snarled in traffic during commuting hours, compared to less than 40 percent in 2002, the latest year with data available.

and fancy restaurants:

"The bleeding has stopped," said Alex Resnik, a part-owner of Spago Palo Alto. No longer do "three youngsters in their late 20's spend $3,000 on dinner," he said with a frown, but the restaurant is starting to do a brisk business again in wines that sell for $60 a bottle.

The press would like nothing better than another chance to churn out 1998 style fluff pieces on the wild and crazy spending of the young geniuses of the New Economy. After all, the end of the millenium wasn't just a boom for the tech industry. The media had a pretty good ride as well.

and then I shut my eyes

The main thing I realised was the unbearable lightness of addiction. The ball and chain had floated off, light as a feather. It was as simple as the flick of a switch. You just put 'No' where 'Yes' used to be.

The Observer | Magazine | Trip of a lifetime — an account of an addict's ibogaine experience. That's about what quitting smoking was like for me.

I'm a space crank

I love space as much as the next monkey, but I have no idea why this private ascent into space is such a big deal. To me, it heralds an age of unaccountable space polluters, shitty space meal service, and, quite likely, low earth orbit space ads. Will my daughter remember a time before the giant Pepsi logo in the sky eclipses the sun twice a year at sunset?

June 21, 2004

God bless America

What's to limit this policy in the future? If a school district reverts to racially segregated classrooms, does a divorced black mother have no standing because the father prefers that policy? If — in direct violation of Supreme Court precedent — a public school district starts teaching the biblical account of Creation, is a scientist prohibited from challenging that practice because the other parent is a fundamentalist Christian?

And what if a mother agrees with her daughter's teacher that it's proper to start off every school day by having the class stand up and say that it's fine to treat atheists (like the girl's father) as second-class citizens? Wait a minute: that's precisely the case that, after tens of thousands of hours invested over six years, the Supreme Court simply dismissed last week.

The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor: Pledging Allegiance to My Daughter — Michael Newdow was the plaintiff in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.

June 20, 2004

thomas lee goldstein

Over the many long years in prison, Thomas Lee Goldstein's sense of disbelief, his bitterness at the judicial system, even his revenge fantasies slowly faded, leaving only a feeling of numbness and a grim patience.

He screamed his innocence to an unhearing world until finally one judge, then another, then another - five federal judges in all - agreed that he had been wrongly convicted of murder in 1980 and ordered him set free late last year. Even then, local authorities kept him locked up for four more months before turning him loose on April 2, more than 24 years after he was first picked up for a murder that it now seems clear he did not commit.

..

Mr. Goldstein says he does not harbor dreams of revenge, but rather of holding the system that so betrayed him accountable. He spends his days as a paralegal at the small Pasadena law firm of Hadsell & Stormer and working with Mr. Kaye on a damage claim against the authorities who took his freedom.

Mr. Kaye said he had not yet decided how large that claim would be.

"How do you really evaluate in financial terms what 24 years of life are worth?" Mr. Kaye said. "He was locked up from age 30 to 55. He didn't have a chance to find a wife, have children, build a career. He is a talented legal researcher, a talented draftsman. I ask you, is $25 million enough? Is $50 million enough?"

Stories like Thomas Lee Goldstein's are what make it impossible for me to support the death penalty. Bad enough that he's lost 24 years of his life -- almost as long as I've been alive! -- but at least he's still around. What of all the people who've been executed or are on death row still convicted on evidence even flimsier and more suspect than that in his case?

June 17, 2004

Did you mean King Cruisin?

Erudite Mac community members lament the shortcomings of the iTunes Music Stores France, Germany, and UK.

June 16, 2004

New MT licensing, again.

Six Log: Announcing Pricing & Licensing Changes to Movable Type. $100 for unlimited personal edition.

June 15, 2004

Nader's Crash

Nader sold his soul to the devil, or at least to Pat Buchanan.

originally posted by zagg

ethiopiques

On NPR, Banning Eyre reviews Volumes 17 and 18 of Buda Musique's Ethiopiques series, a fantastic collection of Ethiopian music from the '60s to the present.

June 14, 2004

bloomsday

. . . and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

The Bloomsday centenary is Wednesday, and the Washington Post offers Michael Dirda, eloquent as always, on the legacy of Ulysses, as well as a guide to cracking the damn thing.

bugmenot, your friend and mine

Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. says sites will be pushing for even more invasive disclosures as demographic data becomes muddied by peeved users who practice "self-defense" by registering themselves as 110-year-old surgeons from Bulgaria named Mickey Mouse.

"The marketing is becoming less effective, so the marketers are pushing for more invasive registrations," he said. "They know specifically what articles I'm reading, they know all about me, and I know very little about them. It's a complete imbalance of power."

AP: Online news registration may not deliver.

wilco book

Jeff Tweedy's struggle with music, the music business, his bandmates, his family and himself -- but mostly with music -- was the subject of a fine documentary by Sam Jones, ''I Am Trying to Break Your Heart'' (2002), and now it is the subject of Greg Kot's brisk and entertaining biography. Rarely has so much attention been paid to a musician who has never quite succeeded commercially, or in his own mind, or in the minds of his oft-perplexed fans. But Tweedy is worth it, for his failures as much as his successes, for the cloudy clarity of his work.

Joe Klein reviews Greg Kot's book about Wilco.

June 13, 2004

turning trash into soil

If Life Hands You Lemons, Make Compost (washingtonpost.com)

He declares himself still a hippie, but then modifies the description to a "guerrilla capitalist." Like the compost itself, he has mellowed with time. He has, after all, come a long way from difficult beginnings. He dropped out of high school, worked as a racetrack blacksmith and descended into drugs and alcohol. When he picked himself up, sober, he bought a chain saw at a yard sale and went door to door looking for tree work. This later blossomed into a bona fide tree company that continues today, along with the nursery in Olney. He operates under a number of enterprises, including Pogo Organic Tree Products (www.pogoscompost.com).

Guantanamo Bay

General Granted Latitude At Prison (washingtonpost.com)

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior U.S. military officer in Iraq, borrowed heavily from a list of high-pressure interrogation tactics used at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and approved letting senior officials at a Baghdad jail use military dogs, temperature extremes, reversed sleep patterns, sensory deprivation, and diets of bread and water on detainees whenever they wished, according to newly obtained documents.

June 11, 2004

Calling all Film Geeks

What do we know about Romance & Cigarettes? Thanks.

June 10, 2004

open source; closed fruition

~stevenf on Airport Express

It's not bothering any consumers really at the moment, but Apple is tying more and more things into iTunes, and they should be careful not to become an island again, like the Apple of yesteryear. If Microsoft released a wireless-to-stereo adapter that only talked to Windows Media Player on XP, and played only from an encrypted WMA stream, everyone would have cried "monopoly". Just sayin'.

chipotle

History of Chipotle. Also, ChipotleLovers.com, where I learned that a Wendy's subsidiary owns Baja Fresh. This is making me realize it's been months since I last ate at Chipotle.

June 9, 2004

Soldiers Speak Out

The first U.S. soldier to go public with his refusal to fight Bush’s war in Iraq was convicted of desertion on May 21. Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia was sentenced to a bad conduct discharge and one year of hard labor.

One of the reasons Mejia cited for not wanting to go back was that he witnessed the same type of abuse documented at Abu Ghraib where he was stationed, at Al Asad.

(W)here he witnessed the abuse and sleep deprivation of detainees in May 2003. The detention center was controlled by three interrogators, who were in civilian clothes and operated with pseudonyms. One of them called himself "Rabbit," and one called himself "Whitey."

They were in charge and telling the troops which detainees "to soften up," which meant 24 to 48 hours of sleep deprivation. They would take unloaded pistols and pull the trigger with the gun on the detainee’s temples. They would pound the walls with sledge hammers, and they would constantly wake them and make them walk around.

The one-year sentence handed down to Mejia is the same as that handed out to the "bad apples" convicted for the Abu Ghraib abuse. So Mejia was given the same punishment for refusing to dish out the same kind of abuse that resulted in one-year sentences for other soldiers.

I think that speaks volumes about how much the U.S. government really cares about the torture and how systemic it really was. They're scapegoating individual soldiers, but it's clear that in some ways they were faced with no choice at all. Either lose your soul and do what you know to be wrong or face punishment for not following orders.

That seems to be the message of the Mejia case.

Anyway, Mejia is not the only soldier to have spoken out. His case is only the most pressing because he is being imprisoned now. There's information here not only about him, but about Stephen Funk, who has been freed, and about Ghanim Khalil, who refused to be deployed when the war began.

Camilo Meija info.
More
Another story.
And another.
Citizen Soldier is a resource for soldiers looking for ways out of the military.
Ghanim Khalil
Stephen Funk page
More on Funk

originally posted by zagg

June 8, 2004

Greatest. Mayor. Ever.

Bloomberg Seeks to Toughen Code for Noise in City

The legislation contains 45 pages of painstaking detail about sound and its resulting fury, with many areas singled out for enforcement, including these:

Barking dogs would have 5 minutes to cease yapping at night, and 10 minutes during the day. (Currently there is no time limit.)

Roaring air conditioning units, now mostly exempt from noise laws when in clusters, would be subject to stricter standards.

Construction projects would most likely be curtailed on weekends and at night, and the industry would be asked to use equipment to reduce sound, like noise jackets for jackhammers.

Ice cream trucks, accustomed to inching down city streets bleating out-of-tune childhood ditties, would have to lose their soundtracks by 2006, replacing them with the little bells of yore. (Taco trucks would meet the same fate.)

news blogging

Steve Outing discusses a blogger's attempt to get his news from blogs, and only blogs, for a week. Outing writes:

What, if anything, can we take away from Rubel's blog-only diet experiment? Probably that blogs remain in their infancy, despite the wave of press they've received in the last year. They provide a reasonable, but far from perfect, entry point into the news space, better at offering commentary and starting conversations than serving a current-events-indicator role.

Blogs are in their infancy? Perhaps as a conduit for the latest news--but that's not what blogs are for. This is like saying phones are in their infancy because we can't use them to boil water.

Also at Poynter.org: "Labor Pains" by Chip Scanlan.

If you are not discouraged about your writing on a regular basis, you may not be trying hard enough. Any challenging pursuit will encounter frequent patches of frustration. Writing is nothing if not challenging.

dig the animated gifs

Venus Transit: Cycles of the Heart

We are about to experience the first Venus Passage in this millenium. The Venus Passage presently upon us comes in a pair, with each transit in the pair spaced eight years apart. There will be one transit on June 8, 2004 and one on June 6, 2012.

This article explores the eight-year pentagonal cycle of Venus; how the retrogrades of Venus are created; the 243-year Venus Passage cycle; why the transits in this cycle come in pairs for a while and why they then become singular; the drift of this cycle through the zodiak; the star alignments of the 2004/2012 transits in the sidereal zodiak; the psychophysiology (mental-emotional-physical facets) of Venus in our lives; and the astrophysical resonances of Venus in light (color), sound, and brain wave frequencies.

synchronicity

Washingtonpost.com: Book Your Seat for Venus Transit.

Even more infrequent than the transit of Venus is a simultaneous visit by Brood X (17-year) cicadas. The last time these cicadas emerged concurrently with a Venus transit was May 22, 797, and the time before that was May 23, 921 BC.

June 7, 2004

steve lacy

Steve Lacy, who hipped John Coltrane to the soprano sax and fused the music of Thelonious Monk with Dixieland, passed away Friday. He recently cut an album with trumpeter Dave Douglas that I'd like to pick up. I just learned about him a few weeks ago and I'm shocked to learn that he's already gone.

brandon mayfield spent two weeks in jail, falsely accused because of sloppy investigative work. does that make you feel safe?

From Spain and U.S. at Odds on Mistaken Terror Arrest:

The bizarre tale began days after the attack, when the F.B.I., after receiving several fingerprint images from Spain, said it had found a match to the digital image of a print from the blue bag, which held seven copper detonators like those used on the train bombs. Mr. Mayfield's prints were in the F.B.I.'s central database of more than 44 million prints because they had been taken when he joined the military, where he served for eight years before being honorably discharged as a second lieutenant.

The F.B.I. officials concluded around March 20 that it was a "100 percent match," to Mr. Mayfield, according to court records and prosecutors in Portland. They informed their Spanish counterparts on April 2 and included Mr. Mayfield's prints in a letter to them.

But after conducting their own tests, Spanish law enforcement officials said they reported back to the F.B.I. in an April 13 memo that the match was "conclusively negative." Yet for for five weeks, F.B.I. officials insisted their analysis was correct.

...

A Senate aide who also attended a Congressional briefing said there was great concern about the impact the Mayfield mistake would have. "This is going to kill prosecutors for years every time they introduce a fingerprint ID by the F.B.I.," the aide said. "The defense will be saying `is this a 100 percent match like the Mayfield case?' "

June 3, 2004

dickens

For nearly three months, I kept reading. Sometimes daily life intervened and I would fall behind, but most often I'd be ready for my next Dickens fix long before it showed up. I took to downloading the installments each week rather than waiting for the printed copies because, as third-class mail, their delivery dates were erratic. One night I came close to just grabbing a copy of the book and reading it straight through.

I didn't, though. I liked the idea of inhabiting Dickens's world for longer than such a binge would have allowed.

The Washington Post profiles Stanford University's Discovering Dickens project, which is turning the great novelist's epics back into serialized works, as they were originally published.

June 1, 2004

countless dejected pregnant women and young children

We recommend that humans, especially pregnant women and young children, limit the amount of cicadas they eat as a result of these preliminary findings. We do not believe that eating a small number of these insects will result in irreparable harm, but mercury exposure may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system.

UC Engineering Researchers Find Mercury In Cicadas

it's only rock and roll

It no longer makes commercial sense for oldies stations to play more than an occasional, token record from the 1950s because no one in radio's target audience remembers those songs from his or her youth. Increasingly, audience surveys show that those who listen to oldies stations don't want to hear much from the early '60s, either.

Marc Fisher explains why I no longer hear Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly on my local oldies station (which is owned by Clear Channel).