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November 30, 2004

Interrobang Robot

Interrobang Robot
Originally uploaded by finn.

November 26, 2004

everything seems to be up in the air at this time

At a truck stop outside of Boise, Lenny (our soundman) incorrectly identified a poisonous mushroom as the mildly psychedelic Liberty Cap. The entire road crew and half of The Whitespots (our opening band) are in the hospital tonight having their stomachs pumped. The only person left to run our sound was Les, and he kept turning us down (or even off) so he could talk to the waitresses.

63 Days on the Road: A Band's Own Story by Camper Van Beethoven's David Lowery.

November 24, 2004

Apple student blog

Dave Morin is Apple's first public weblogger. They launched a "student weblog" on their education site yesterday, "for students to hear from other students about their observations and Mac-related stuff." (That's the sharp focus and clarity of purpose I like to see in a new weblog.) Lacking any external links or the ability to accept comments, the most interesting thing about the blog so far may be the disclaimer: "Any information in the blogs is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Apple. Apple is not responsible for the content." I hope Dave does something interesting with the site so it doesn't remain the token brand-positioning corporate weblog it appears to be.

November 22, 2004

Jesse James Garrett's Hidden Agenda

Jesse James Garrett: jjg.net

Well, I think five years away is long enough, don't you?

Too damn long, if you ask me.

November 21, 2004

hip hop in the holy land

"He's an MC, I'm MC. We're all doing music. If we're Arabs - if we're Jews - that doesn't matter."
Hip Hop in the Holy Land.

pincus and the pig

Listening to the Something Jewish programme this afternoon on the best radio station in the galaxy, Resonance FM, I heard a snippet of the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra performing together with Maurice Sendak in a reworking of Sergei Prokofiev's work for children, Peter and the Wolf, now called Pincus and the Pig. Wonderful entertainment for all children everywhere under the age of 95, as one of the presenters pointed out. There's a slideshow here, so listen, darlings, and enjoy.

November 20, 2004

squared circle cactus

squared circle cactus
Originally uploaded by Alaina B..

November 19, 2004

taliban photos

Thomas Dworzak's photos of the fall of the Taliban regime in 2002.


Originally uploaded by yi.

November 18, 2004

Wil's map of Middle Earth

Wil's map of Middle Earth
Originally uploaded by Sean Meade.

For sudama...

My favourite strip

This is my favourite strip on randomWalks. It has the water tower (which I consider the unofficial icon of rW), the building where go vegan and I used to work on (the one with the radio towers), the World Trade Center (in shadow) and my old basil plant, a gift from my friend Sarah.

November 15, 2004

heart-shaped cuteness

heart-shaped cuteness
Originally uploaded by Alaina B..

What is this plant?

alice munro

Reading Munro puts me in that state of quiet reflection in which I think about my own life: about the decisions I've made, the things I've done and haven't done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death. She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion. For as long as I'm immersed in a Munro story, I am according to an entirely make-believe character the kind of solemn respect and quiet rooting interest that I accord myself in my better moments as a human being.

Jonathan Franzen writes a fun review of Alice Munro's latest book, Runaway. Playfully meta, avoids getting heavy and overdone.

November 8, 2004

Great Moblogging by Lia

Originally uploaded by lia.

November 5, 2004

"I once was blind -- and still can't see"

It seems that the Democrats are insensitive to "moral values." This puzzles me because I think that opposing a war, or working for economic justice, or making health care more available in America all derive from a moral vision. Apparently, it is not the moral vision -- the set of faith and family values -- that helped re-elect George W. Bush.

I am now taking seriously the theory that we mainstream journalists are different from mainstream America. "Different" is too pale a word. We are alienated. We may live in the same country, but we treat each other like aliens. Maybe it's worse than that because we usually see and suspect the alien in our midst. The churched people who embrace Bush, in spite of a bumbling war and a stumbling economy, are more than alien to me. They are invisible.

"Confessions of an Alienated Journalist" by the Poynter Institute's Roy Peter Clark. Clark, a journalist, is writing for journalists here, but others might relate.

Voting Machines

Warning for 2006 Is Seen in Failures at Polls in the City:
Tens of thousands of voters stood for hours at polls, where they frequently found befuddled workers who could not locate basic paperwork and gave incomprehensible directives, including, in one case, telling voters to segregate themselves by party affiliation. Antiquated mechanical voting machines at times broke down, and there were not enough mechanics on hand to fix them.
This issue is going to come home hard for the mayoral election. Imagine if Ferrer gets robbed again. And is Sharpton still a wildcard?

Will no one speak of this? (Part 2)

Piggybacking off my earlier post, there is more evidence of some real fucked up things going on.

Dr. Menlo has a bunch of links on this site, including a graph exhibiting bias in the electronic voting towards Bush. There's also a follow up from Greg Palast arguing that Kerry actually won. Unsurprisingly, the media has passed on the story. Lastly, there's more cataloguing of voter irregularties.

(Most of these stories have lots of other links launching to more stories with more evidence of spoilage and/or electronic voting discrepancies.)

originally posted by zagg

The question that must be asked is: Why would the Democrats nor the media say anything?

Hypothesis A: Maybe this is all just wishful thinking and/or grasping at straws on the part of people who desperately didn't want to see another Bush presidency.

Hypothesis B: The Democrats are so invested in the system that they'd rather lose an election than see its legitimacy stressed again. One of the great tools in keeping the populace sated in the U.S. is pushing the idea that the U.S. is this great beacon of democracy despite all evidence to the contrary.


November 3, 2004

Marathon Course Map

Marathon Course Map
Originally uploaded by david.

Alaina, Meg and I are going to run through New York City this Sunday. New Yorkers, we need your support! It's going to be awesome. Please leave a flickR note on the spot where you're intending to cheer and watch.


When I was 15 [I] had mono and had to stay home for a month. It was this singular period of time when the only song on, ever, was "Tainted Love." So I started calling to request songs, and there was this one guy who I ended up talking to for a few days in a row. He had this really great voice, and he was really flirty, and it was exciting. Then he said that there was this B-52's concert he had tickets to.

So I got all dressed up and snuck out--I got a ride from a friend. I met this KROQ guy at the Palladium, and it was really shocking: He had this big belly, and he smelled really, really awful. During the concert I walked out, and he followed me. He kind of cornered me against this car, and I bolted and started running down Sunset as fast as I could. I caught a cab home. It was so exciting.

"KROQ: An Oral History" by Kate Sullivan.

Will no one speak of this?

Greg Palast's An election spoiled rotten.

The total number of votes siphoned out of America's voting booths is so large, you won't find the issue reported in our self-glorifying news media. The one million missing black, brown and red votes spoiled, plus the hundreds of thousands flushed from voter registries, is our nation's dark secret: an apartheid democracy in which wealthy white votes almost always count, but minorities are often purged or challenged or simply not recorded. In effect, Kerry is down by a million votes before one lever is pulled, card punched or touch-screen touched.

Update: There's a few more pieces on disenfranchisement.

Indymedia's election coverage details a lot of irregularities, including in New Orleans, LA; St. Petersburg, FL; Toledo, OH; Columbus, OH; Beloit, WI; and Milwuakee, WI. Other reported voting problems posted to IMCs include Felton, CA; Nashville, TN; Michigan and Ohio; Portland, OR; Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Florida and Pennsylvania; St. Louis, MO; Tulsa, OK; Manhattan, NY; Urbana, IL; Brooklyn, NY; and elsewhere.

originally posted by zagg

Here's one summary:

The following is a list of voting irregularities reported this morning to The League of Pissed Off Voters:

New Orleans, LA: There have been over 80 complaints of voting problems in New Orleans so far (10:30 AM). Shana from New Orleans Election Protection and the League of Pissed Off Voters reported that there have been machine malfunctions and in some places there are no backup ballots available. Election Protection says that New Orleans is one of the top sites of voting irregularities nationwide.

St. Petersburg, FL:A voter registered in St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, FL reported to the League of Pissed Off Voters that he had been told he was not registered to vote (10:45AM). He registered in and received voting information from Pinellas County, and then moved to Hillsborough. When he went to vote this morning at the Robinson Recreation Center at 1248 50th St. in Precinct 166 of Pinellas, he was told that he was not registered to vote there and was directed instead to the Hillsborough County Center at 601 East Kennedy St. In Hillsborough he was told that he was not registered there either and that a provisional ballot would not count.

Toledo, OH:Polls opened one half-hour late today at Glenwood Elementary in Toledo, OH, because the ballot boxes were locked in the principal's office and no one had the key, said Evan of the League of Pissed Off Voters. During the wait from 6:30 to 7AM, people left the polls without having voted. An hour and a half after the polling site opened, they ran out of pencils, bringing voting to a halt. Voting could not continue until 11AM, by which time 50 to 100 more people had walked away.

Columbus, OH:The polling site at Sathwick-Good Funeral Home, 3100 North High St. in Precinct 19H in Columbus, OH has announced that a funeral is happening from 10AM to 1PM. During these hours, they said, no groups may distribute literature or talk to voters outside.

Beloit, WI:This morning in Beloit, WI a lawyer for the Republicans was challenging Beloit college students saying that they could not register same day with their Beloit student ID’s. In response, the Beloit college president came down to the polls with a notorized list of the students and lawyers to fight for the students' right to vote. Now students are witnessing registrations, the lines are out the door as they have been since 8 am this morning, and the majority of those in line are college students.

Milwuakee, WI:In wards 72, 314, and 297 in Milwuakee, voting machines are broken. All three wards are predominantly African-American. Luckily, in some of the target wards in Milwuakee, voting turnout has already reached 50% of registered voters at 1PM.

November 2, 2004

Let's all agree on this at least, OK?

peter jaques: our broken political system

The Presidency of the United States is an obsolete office. It perhaps made sense when we were a country of 13 states and a few million people, with little global power. Even then, that was a lot of power in one man’s hands. But now, the power that rests with the US President is downright imperial. One man is in direct control of the deadliest military in history. He also has enormous power over the richest economy in the world (I think it’s the richest, right?), a covert action apparatus in the CIA which has historically destroyed several foreign governments, and a diplomatic corps that determines profound global alliances. No one person should have that power. No one should be able to wield the US military according solely to his personal discretion.

"ready, willing and able"

Many thanks to F.B. DuBois for giving me permission to print this here:

The Guardian (a UK newspaper) recently gave their readers an opportunity to have a say in the American election by writing to undecided voters in the swing state of Ohio. The responses that the Guardian chose to publish may or may not have been a representative sample; and I would have liked to have seen the letters that were sent to Clark County that occasioned such vitriol. However the contrast and the tone of the responses were familiar. The U.S. really has become two nations. My colleague hit the nail on the head when he described one of them as " narrowminded, insular, xenophobic...", but he did miss one adjective, "hateful".

Prominent in the negative responses is an personal attack on the messenger, often accompanied by a threat of violence -- but no mention of the issues raised. These are not people who believe in entertaining another point of view, then arriving at a decision after careful reflection. These are people who are bent on uncontested compliance with the Powers That Be. If you don't agree with us, we'll beat you up -- or worse.

I believe there are two kinds of Bush supporters. There are those who know what he's really up to (the wealthy, the corporations) and are squealing with delight to have someone so tractable in the Oval Office.

OTOH there those that don't have a clue as to his real agenda. Dubya's evangelical base worships him -- because he's perceived as a down-home, God-fearing man of the people. He is their "crusader" who defending this Christian nation against the incursions of the liberals, the queers, the feminists, the minorities and the poor and other "special interests" whose agenda threatens 'the American Way of Life'.

For some bizarre reason, this group -- which constitutes a significant plurality of the American public -- believes that far from being a member of the elite, the leader of the free world should embody the same qualities as their bartender. Somehow the fact that GWB was born with a silver spoon in his mouth is overlooked. He is seen as a self-made man, when the truth is the ONLY reason he has had a heretofore successful political career (after failing at everything else) is because of his family ties. Well he may be as dumb as a sack of hammers, but one thing he is NOT is 'just plain folks'.

It doesn't matter that his CV and character barely qualify him to be a used car salesman. It doesn't matter that he is widely considered to be "incurious" -- i.e., that he doesn't have an inquiring mind (to put it delicately). More plainly, in Paul O'Neill's telling phrase, "he's a blind man in a room full of deaf people."

He is the "war president" who avoided serving in Viet Nam by joining the National Guard -- and then went AWOL and failed to fulfill his commitment. Yet he has the chutzpah to attack the service record of John Kerry, who was a decorated combat officer.

He is the "education president" who doesn't read, and has but scant knowledge of the world. ("There are blacks in Brazil?" "Sweden doesn't have an army, they're neutral").

He is the "compassionate conservative" who has slashed programs for the poor and veterans while emptying the Treasury -- and then some -- to dole out tax breaks for corporations and the rich, and providing _incentives_ to companies that send American jobs overseas.

But somehow half of the country has come to believe that he is their last, best hope.

John Kerry is no Bill Clinton, and he's no JFK. However he does impress me as a thoughtful, intelligent man, which for members of the "Know Nothing" party is anathema. Despite their protestations to the contrary, there is a huge segment of the American electorate who want to be ruled by a [prom] king. They want certainty and simple answers -- black hats and white hats -- in a world that is increasingly complex. They want reassurance that "We're No. 1!" even as the age of the superpower passes, undermined by interests of non-state actors (be they terrorists or multi-national corporations).

I'm voting for Kerry because Bush has left undone those things which he ought to have done, and he has done those things which he ought not to have done, and there is no health within him. By any objective measure, his tenure has been a disaster for the nation and the American people as a whole, save for a very, very, very, very small constituency of the very, very, very, very rich.

And even some of them are appalled.

Kerry seems to understand the questions, and he is ready, willing and able to meet those challenges. I don't see anyone else on the ballot who even comes close.


November 1, 2004

And Don't Even ASK What Lia Thinks About You...

Ralph’s own party, the Green Party, would not endorse his run this year. That’s because those of us who want to build a third party in this country know that the only way to do this is to build bridges with those who believe in the issues Nader believes in. But not one of those people will sacrifice the chance to remove George W. Bush from the White House on Tuesday. The choice here is clear: do we join with our friends, or do we piss on them?

After the debacle of 2000, the Democrats got smart and abandoned the conservative wing of their party. That’s why 8 of the 9 Democrats in the primaries this year were from the liberal wing. Ralph should take credit for that and declare victory. It’s so sad that he doesn’t realize the good he’s accomplished. But for reasons only known to him, he’s more angry at the Democrats than he is at Bush. He has lost his compass. I worry he has lost his mind. But he still gives a great speech!

And Lila Lipscomb, the mother from Flint who lost her son in Iraq, she still grieves -- as do the mothers of 1,120 others (not to mention the mothers of the 100,000 Iraqis who have died because of Bush’s war). That’s what this election is about. Not Ralph proving some point. Almost none of us on his 2000 advisory group are supporting him this year. His total lack of respect for his best friends should tell all of you something about what he really thinks of you, too.

Mike's Message on the eve of the election is right on. We watched Farenheit 9/11 again this weekend - I really love this movie. We need more movies where people put their political beliefs on display, warts and all.


Many people have told me that if [insert name of candidate] wins or there is a draft, they are going to leave the country. If you really mean it and are interested in getting a Masters degree in Computer Systems, you might consider a Masters program I am running. It focuses on operating systems, networks, distributed computing, parallel computing, grids, multiagent systems and other systems areas. Knowledgeable observers consider my group to be one of the top three systems groups in Europe.

Andrew Tanenbaum is the man behind the nerve-wracking electoral-vote.com.