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October 29, 2004

An Open Letter to U.S. Greens, from Ten Global Greens

Greens For Impact:

Kerry supports the Kyoto Protocol and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and will renew conversations with the International Criminal Court. He has pledged to reverse the Global Gag Rule (which withholds needed funding for family planning assistance from pro-choice groups), supports more stringent workers rights and environmental requirements in international trade agreements, and sees fighting AIDS and other pandemics as important foreign policy matters. Bush has reinvigorated worldwide hostility and arms races, and made international terrorism a global concern. Kerry is an internationalist who acknowledges the widespread ramifications of his actions, and believes in working with other countries around the world and through international alliances like the United Nations. Bush has not acted with concern for the well-being of the global community, and will not.

October 28, 2004

Most important election

This is the most important election of our lifetime.

originally posted by zagg

October 26, 2004

john peel is dead

John Peel is dead.

Now I feel like I can write something about this. Massive respect to John Peel. A dude. He could pronounce Llwybr Llaethog. He sobbed on air the day after Hillsborough (football stadium disaster in which 96 Liverpool FC fans died), the most honest thing I have ever heard on radio. He ran the Festive 50 every year, jotting up all the votes in a big ledger. I'm blown away by the tributes people have paid him on MetaFilter and at Radio 1, my God, he changed so many people's lives. He played records at the wrong speed. He dedicated requests to schoolkids, myself among them. Time to get the old tapes out - Peel seems to go hand in hand with cassettes, and vinyl - and play the John Peel Sweet Eating Game.

October 22, 2004

Celebrating hope in randomness

Celebrating hope in randomness is fine for monks and physicists, but it seems much less empowering in the service of someone holding a scratchoff card and a "lucky bear."


October 21, 2004

pine ridge

[S]kepticism of campaign pledges runs deep in Indian country, given the government's history of broken promises. The federal government has acknowledged that it has grossly mishandled money it began collecting in the late 1880s, when it leased reservation land to oil, mining and timber interests and held the proceeds in trust for Indians.

The government owes Native Americans billions, but a class-action lawsuit filed eight years ago on behalf of nearly 500,000 Indians is still unresolved.

Meanwhile, on Pine Ridge, three and four families live in single-family houses, eight to nine out of 10 people are out of work, and more than half the population, helpless against disconnect notices, has no phone in any given month.

Washington Post: On Pine Ridge, a String of Broken Promises.

October 20, 2004

seven up

Michael Apted's Seven Up documentary series, which has followed 14 British men and women from youth to adulthood, has been released in full on DVD. Apted is preparing to shoot 49 Up next year.

October 19, 2004

christmas shopping idea #1

"It fills you with naughty laughter to know you did this and other people have no idea what happened," Burke said. People around him noticed that the screens had turned off, but no one raised a fuss.

Responding to the accusation that it sounded like unaccountable power, Burke said, "You've heard about the battle for eyeballs. They're your eyeballs. You should not have your consciousness constantly invaded. Television people are getting better and better at finding ways of roping us into TV where we can't get away."

Inventor Mitch Altman has created TV-B-Gone, a one-button universal remote that you can use to turn off television sets in public places. He also discussed his invention on NPR.

October 16, 2004

randomwalks hearts you, craig murray

From Confessions of a British diplomat by Paul Reynolds:

Should an ambassador speak out over human rights even if this upsets his or her own government?

The question has been posed by the dismissal from his post as British ambassador to Uzbekistan of Craig Murray, whose disagreements with his own government about how to handle human rights abuses by his host government have become very public. (...)

The last straw for his bosses came when a memo he wrote to London complaining about its attitude was printed in the Financial Times.

He denies having leaked it himself, but he has confirmed that what was said in the telegram is indeed his view. (...)

For his part, Mr Murray is unapologetic.

He has seen appalling evidence of torture and murder and feels that the war on terror declared by President Bush has led to a blind eye being turned in Uzbekistan where the authoritarian President Islam Karimov has clamped down not only on Islamic dissent but on all dissent.

One of his most searing memories is that of being told that, six hours after he met a professor of literature from Samarkand who had complained about the torture of dissidents, a body was dumped on the man's doorstep. It was his grandson. One arm appeared to have been boiled until the skin fell off.

"I wrestle with my conscience greatly over whether I caused that boy's horrible death," Mr Murray said later.

His view now is that the Foreign Office is being "politicised" and that his dismissal is indeed for political reasons, because he blew the whistle on the practice of accepting intelligence from the Uzbeks which they got from torture.

Would that more public servants -- not just in the UK -- were as brave as Mr Murray.

[ via die puny humans ]

October 15, 2004

Hello, Johnny!

Hello, Johnny!
Originally uploaded by finn.

The Red Sox are going to win.

Red Sox in 6

Stingy Kids: Who's Your Daddy? Dominance. Sex. Fathers. Sons...Eureka!

October 14, 2004

I once did a Winter Term project on this

From Slashdot: 'Tit for Tat' Defeated In Prisoner's Dilemma Challenge. I think about the Prisoner's Dilemma a few times every week. I'd like to see some liberal and conservative think tanks generate a paper with the following thesis: In a national version of the Prisoner's Dilemma, the two party political system encourages political outliers, on both sides, to be defectors.

October 13, 2004

my fellow non-americans

You would be forgiven, though, for feeling increasingly helpless as you hear the "most important election" mantra repeated daily: unless you happen to be a voter in a handful of swing states, there's little you can do about the final result. If you're not American, the situation is more acute. [...] And yet, though the US Declaration of Independence speaks of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind", you don't, of course, have a vote.
Your 'democracy' is about to be subverted/assisted (?) by hordes of Guardian readers. Decent respect to the opinions of mankind my arse, it's time to get scribbling to a voter in Clark County, Ohio.

October 10, 2004

early kerouac

Despite the reputation for self-indulgence that continues to cling to him, Kerouac was a reflective, vigilant artist who constantly, and consciously, strove to overcome his limitations -- the chief one being, as he saw it, his own self-critical temperament. ''I'm going to discover a way,'' he wrote, casting forward to ''On the Road'' while he was completing ''The Town and the City,'' ''of preserving the big rushing tremendousness in me and in all poets.'' One could call the effect he was after ''willed spontaneity.'' Verbal diarrhea it was not.

The journals show him evolving toward his ideal almost by the month. Released from his monastic labors in his mother's kitchen, the ascetic, introverted Kerouac took an abrasive dust bath in the real world and emerged a broader, stronger artist, who combined a mind for the transcendental with a feeling for the particular. ''But at the fireworks at Denver U. Stadium great crowds had been waiting since twilight, sleepy children and all; yet no sooner did the shots begin in the sky than these unhappy people trailed home before the show ended, as though they were too unhappy to see what they had waited for.'' This piercing sketch and others like it -- of a sandlot neighborhood baseball game, of a day spent riding horses in Colorado -- are the work of a soul that has settled into a body after floating free in the cosmos for too long.

NYT review of Windblown World, a new collection of Jack Kerouac's early journals.

and neither is stubbornness.

Jerry Rubin is Making a Personal Protest:

"I mean this not as a personal attack against Mr. Nader, but just in general: Stupidity is not a progressive value," Rubin said. "And I feel we will be going in the wrong direction if George Bush is allowed to occupy the White House for four more years."

neither liberty nor justice nor safety

I love the fact that all the students took off their shoes before climbing on it, says UC Berkeley philosophy professor John Searle, who, as a young faculty member, joined the movement 40 years ago. That's so American. Americans respect cars. They don't respect the police, but they do respect cars. I like that.


The notion that the Free Speech Movement was a victory of the left is a time-honored misconception. At the beginning of the school year in 1964 when, at the height of the civil rights era, the university banned political advocacy of off-campus social issues on school property, both liberal and conservative student groups joined forces, calling themselves the United Front.

After the Revolution, The Commemoration (washingtonpost.com)

The dean refused to see the other students, who, in turn, refused to budge from the building. The standoff continued into the next morning. A police officer arrested a mathematics grad student named Jack Weinberg for not identifying himself. But before the police car could take him away, students and their supporters surrounded the car, the roof and hood of which became the impromptu podium, sans shoes, for the day's rally of nearly 5,000 people.


I'll tell you a secret about democratic societies, Searle concludes. If a movement is successful, it has to be symbolically absorbed into the mainstream. I think that's what happened to the FSM. The FSM is not a threat to anyone if it's a coffee shop -- a cafe, for God's sake. If a police car can be something that former presidential candidates can climb on, it's no longer a revolutionary act. And I think that's terrific. It's a sign of a healthy democracy.

Healthy or ill as democracy may be, there is at least one lesson unlearned from this movement. Nevada rancher Larry D. Hiibel was arrested in May of 2000, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, only because he thought his name was none of the [arresting] officer's business.

October 8, 2004

Ask MetaFilter | Community Weblog

Ask MetaFilter | Community Weblog Please help answer my question about finding information on voting districts!

October 7, 2004

and odd beauty

. . . [O]n the menu in the Café Imperial today is a $72 dish called Saturnin's Bowl, which consists of nothing but five dozen day-old jelly doughnuts -- doughnuts which the purchaser of Saturnin's Bowl is free to throw at his or her fellow café patrons.

Studio 360's Kurt Andersen muses about "beautiful oddness".

October 2, 2004

red alert

NYT: Scientists monitoring Mount St. Helens, which erupted with a minor explosion for the first time in 18 years on Friday, said on Saturday that they were expecting a more powerful and possibly life-threatening explosion within a day or so.

in painted cars

The scene shows fewer tumbrils
but more maimed citizens
in painted cars
and they have strange license plates
and engines
that devour America

from In Goya's greatest scenes we seem to see, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


"Rush Limbaugh is perpetuating the stereotype that conservatives are uptight losers who hate sex. We think that’s just wrong."
Votergasm's press release on how Rush Limbaugh tried to shut them down.