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Desperado

The blog incarnation of the Desperado mailing list, the voice of the apocryphalypse since 1978.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

CIPA and COPA and other vices 



I didn't even know that there was not only a Children's Online Protection Act (COPA), but also a Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). But Vicesquad knows all. Vicesquad is a good source of information on drug laws, prostitution, pornography, and all those other crimes that make us better.

posted by Tom  # 6/30/2004 06:38:00 PM
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The Swiss speak four languages, but they still don't like doubletalk 



From one of the many private mailing lists I'm on, the Redoubtable Pete hands in the following "From a Zurich newspaper Monday (my translation)":

Little Sympathy For The Americans

In Switzerland sympathy for the Americans is a thing of the past. Only
six percent of Swiss "definitely" support the Yanks.

The American people enjoy no sympathy among 68 percent of the Swiss
population -- not even in connection with the attacks of September 11.
A Sontag Neue Zurcher Zeitung study shows it. According to the man
who carried out the study, "The USA has utterly gambled away the store
of sympathy". This is a direct result of the policies of the American
administration under President Bush, rejected by 84 percent of the
Swiss. The study's author, Dieter Ruloff, adds that the study was
carried out last February before the photographs of torture at the
Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib came to light.

Neue Zurcher Zeitung is the city's (and probably Switzerland's) most serious paper.

Pete


posted by Tom  # 6/30/2004 01:01:00 PM
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World's nicest billionairess/welfare mom Flashes up her site 



Fans of Harry Potter and fans of Flash (I can take or leave either one of 'em) have cause to celebrate in the opening of J.K. Rowling's refurbished web site.

It is really quite beautifully done, and, it appears, enterprising and energetic 13-year-olds will be able to find the title of the sixth Harry Potter book by poking around in the easter-egg zone and thinking a bit about what they already know.


posted by Tom  # 6/30/2004 12:46:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

If they won't vote right in a case called Ashcroft v. ACLU, whatever are we going to do with them? 



Further reflecting the severe Kool-Aid shortage, in its final ruling of the Constitutional season, the Supreme Court ruled that, while potentially selling pornography to children is bad, actually messing around with the First Amendment is worse.

This is the third time the court has bounced the case.


posted by Tom  # 6/29/2004 10:04:00 PM
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Cheney drops the C-bomb 



Cheney can go Cheney himself. He's been Cheneying us long enough. What a Cheyneyup he is anyway. If we keep his administration in power, we're Cheneyed. It is in-Cheneying-credible that he has defenders.

It isn't as though we don't all tell people to Cheney off, it happens every day, but most of us understand the difference between telling some companion in the schoolyard to Cheney off and being the presiding officer of the upper legislative chamber of the country and telling a member to Cheney off.

This administration is such Cheneybrained bunch of Cheneyboys, a clusterCheney of Cheneywads, in fact, who have so thoroughly Cheneyed the dog and created a SNACUBAR (Situation Normal All Cheneyed Up Beyond All Recognition) that we must rid ourselves of these Cheneyfaces before public discourse and public order and public probity and public responsibility are totally Cheneyed, not to mention the Cheneying country.

On the other hand, this incredible mindCheney has given us a new euphemism to go along with that rather duller euphemism from the last unconstitutional Republican administration, [Expletive deleted], which we can now read as [Cheney deleted]. And, don't forget, bush is a euphemism too, just like dick.

Golly gosh, I feel all better now.


posted by Tom  # 6/29/2004 06:10:00 PM
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Supreme Court upholds anti-terrorist propaganda 



Since it has become America's role to flood the world with violent entertainment, it is delightful that we will not have to edit out the "You have the right to remain silent" that immediately follows an arrest from the thousands of cop fiction shows, cop reality shows, and cop movies that we send out every year.

Keeping that phrase in there will help immensely in the Global War on Terror.


posted by Tom  # 6/29/2004 05:39:00 PM
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Dam those anagrams 



Dr. Bob observes:

On the "let freedom reign" note: My first thought when I saw it this morning was, you know Bush had to ask Condi how to spell "reign".

Or they're both so tineared they don't even know that every American from Samuel L. Smith (1808-1895), author of "My Country 'Tis of Thee", to Martin Luther King (1929-1968), author of "I have a dream", knows that the phrase is "Let freedom ring!"

Or . . .

They don't know what freedom means. They think it means rule.


posted by Tom  # 6/29/2004 05:22:00 PM
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The Republic still stands 



The Supreme Court has ruled that contrary to the would-be emperor's twisted beliefs, the president cannot arrest anyone he wants, lock them up forever, charge them with nothing, and keep them away from all lawyers who might seek to change that.

Furthermore, the police cannot arrest people, bully them into coerced confessions and then tell them they have the right to remain silent.

These rights do not belong to criminals and terrorists, as the president apparently believes (along with several members of the Supreme Court). The theme to Cops asks, "Bad boy, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?", but this is all about what they are gonna do when they come for you.

As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote:

"For if this nation is to remain true to the ideals symbolized by its flag, it must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by the forces of tyranny."

And, as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said:

"A state of war is not a blank check when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

If the Supreme Court ducked the Padilla and "under God" decisions so they could come out strong in these other cases, and even let Cheney off the hook (and we all know what happened at those secret conferences anyway), maybe the price was worth it.

For analysis somewhat more profound, see Discourse.net

For less profound analysis, we cannot let this guy appoint any Supreme Court members. Defeat him.


posted by Tom  # 6/29/2004 12:32:00 PM
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Monday, June 28, 2004

Auto engines are better than they were but times are worse 



I heard a truck backfire this morning and thought it was shots.

In the good old days, when we didn't think so much about such things and valves weren't so highly developed, people heard shots and thought it was backfires.




posted by Tom  # 6/28/2004 12:16:00 PM
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Cheney on Stern to explain the anatomical impossibility 



Vice President Dick "Dick" Cheney will attempt to neutralize the Howard Stern effect by joining the dirty-talking deejay for a discussion of the joys of manly cussing.

There's no word yet on whether Cheney will be returning the $1.75 million Stern was fined for saying on the radio some of the same things Cheney said on the Senate floor.


posted by Tom  # 6/28/2004 02:15:00 AM
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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Spam o' th' day 


This site salls pajn reljevers for very cheep.

posted by Tom  # 6/27/2004 05:12:00 PM
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Discourse.net and Inteldump for measured outrage 



The very best sources I've found on the government's taste for torture:

Neither one gets carried away by the obvious passion they feel for the subject. Both are reliable sources on the intersection of law, government, and society, which is a virtual identity to those who can see it.


posted by Tom  # 6/27/2004 04:49:00 PM
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The temperature at which freedom burns and the day it happened 



First, a dazzling putdown of Ray Bradbury's snit about Michael Moore's title, from SciFi.com (slightly snipped):

Bradbury's Anger Nears Hypocrisy

But, on top of that, I was stunned to hear Ray Bradbury reportedly upset over Moore's allusion to Bradbury's book since Bradbury himself is a master of just such allusions. What would Bradbury say in his own defense over his own titles such as "When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" (paraphrased from Walt Whitman); "The Golden Apples of the Sun" (quoted from Yeats, I think); "There Will Come Soft Rains" (a line from Sara Teasdale); "And the Moon be still as Bright" (Lord Byron); or "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (Shakespeare).

No reason he should say anything in his defense since there is nothing wrong with Bradbury's appropriations as there is nothing wrong with Michael Moore's. I am merely stunned to hear that a writer as fine as Bradbury who has made such effective use of literary allusion, quotation, pastiche and has had among others George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Wolfe and Hemingway as characters in his own stories could have had any problem with Michael Moore's making an allusion to Fahrenheit 451 which is, after all, a brilliant work about, among other things, thought control and political oppression.

Stephen Svecz
gumby(at)onecom.com

The part I snipped graciously assumed the report of Bradbury's ire was in error. Alas, no.

=*=

I saw the movie on opening day. Since it has been widely reviewed, to say the least, I'll just post a few notes:

=*=

To be clear, you cannot copyright a title, but you can trademark the title of a movie.


posted by Tom  # 6/27/2004 02:15:00 PM
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Making the web worth the surfing 



Arun Sharma (accredited geek) has invented a most interesting tool for reader rating of web pages.

Shy Sharma doesn't know quite how to push his idea. (Maybe he should put in a lot of votes for the web page it is on.) Anyway, it works with Mozilla Firefox (and some other browser) and it really seems interesting. You add a button to your toolbar and every time you're on a web page you like, you click the button and your vote is sent off to reader-rating central.

Do have a look:

From the latter:

If you find this interesting, you're welcome to download this small piece of open source software and try it out. The more users there are, the more useful this tool will be. The mozilla firefox extension requires you to customize the toolbar and manually add the new button to the toolbar. It takes about 5 mins for a new submission to show up on the results page.

I'll post about my experience with it later. This will tip me over to trying Firefox. I've been sticking with Mozilla and Safari up to now.

posted by Tom  # 6/27/2004 01:45:00 PM
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The weird thing about Dracula 



I happened across the entry on Bram Stoker's Dracula in the Cambridge Companion to Literature. After a brief summary of the epistolary novel comes the assessment:

There are effective passages describing Dracula's midnight landing at Whitby and his mastery over the zoophagous lunatic in Seward's private asylum, but in general the English scenes do not compare in power with the those set in Transylvania. The episode where Harker sees Dracula crawling face downwards, like a giant bat, along the stone wall of his castle is particularly memorable.

What struck me was the measured tone assessing Dracula's place in English literature. I had grown so accustomed to thinking of Dracula as a progenitor of movies and horror novels and comics, and, more to the point, as a progenitor of a whole vein of literary fantasy. I had forgotten that the novel itself was not pulp, that, unlike most science fiction and fantasy, Dracula was out there taking its lumps with all of English literature, between Margaret Drabble and dramatic irony.

While we have the Companion here, you may not have known that Stoker's first publication was The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, that he was a drama critic who became the manager of the actor Sir Henry Irving, and that he wrote 14 other novels not further mentioned in the 1000 pages of the Companion.

posted by Tom  # 6/27/2004 02:07:00 AM
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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Law inspired by fear of the NRA fuels fight to silence Michael Moore 



The McCain-Feingold law, restricting freedom of speech if, quelle horreur, it might actually affect the outcome of an election, is going to be used in a suit by a bunch of wild-eyed extremists attempting to halt advertising for Fahrenheit 9/11.

To their credit and to the discredit of the liberals and whatevers who sponsored the law, the right wing hated the damn thing back then, but now rightwingers are providing a perfect example of how pernicious it is.

My view:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

posted by Tom  # 6/26/2004 06:48:00 PM
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Bush links self with Nazis 



The Democrats are all bent out of shape about the "Coalition of the Wild-eyed" ad I blogged about the other day. They have a petition to ban the thing because they're angry at being linked with Nazis in the ad.

Actually, it's not that simple. The Bush ad includes a clip from an ad rejected by moveon.org that linked Bush with the Nazis, which probably bent him out of shape. It was his grandfather, not him, with the Nazi ties.

And anyway, the overall impact of the ad is so negative that it would behoove the Democrats to run it themselves.


posted by Tom  # 6/26/2004 06:17:00 PM
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It isn't funny, you know 



If you think torture and abuse of prisoners is abominable, now would be a good time to stop making those jokes about prison rape, "This is Leroy, your cellmate, he'll be showing you the ropes (and all the rest of his gear)."


posted by Tom  # 6/26/2004 12:49:00 PM
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Is that a rocket in your pocket?  



The Bush administration is putting the screws on the innocuous hobby of model rocketry. Too bad they don't have an amendment. Of course, if the Fifth amendment doesn't protect the innocent anymore, it is hard for me to believe that the Second amendment will continue to protect the gun owner after Bush is reelected and the clampdown begins.

If they are going after model rockets and trolley riders, they will certainly go after gun enthusiasts.

It's not that they are utter hypocrites, which, of course, they are, but that they are always having to suck up liberal ideas to get votes, which their own ideas do not bring them. So, just as in the case of Medicare and education, they will be forced to make some sort of gesture about guns. If I were a terrorist, I'd much rather have a .357 Magnum than a toy rocket or a briefcase on the subway.




posted by Tom  # 6/26/2004 11:44:00 AM
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Friday, June 25, 2004

Edmund Burke Condemns Bush  



I don't suppose President Bush has ever even heard of him, but real conservatives dote on Edmund Burke. In a column for the Los Angeles Times, Burke scholar David Bromwich puts it right between those beady eyes. I've added emphasis here and there, just to catch the eye. This eighteenth century stuff will be shockingly familiar.

Look to 1777 and Learn, Mr. Bush

Edmund Burke, the greatest British political writer of the 18th century, was a principled opponent of wars and revolutions. Hatred of violence and love of liberty were the central motives of his work, and sudden political change, whether imposed from above or below, from within a country or by an external force, inevitably produced an increase of violence and a loss of liberty. Above all, Burke opposed wars that were entered into from choice and not necessity.

The pertinence of Burke's thinking to the crisis in Iraq, as the United States seeks to impose a good revolution by force of arms on a large portion of the Arab world, requires little comment in view of the startling aptness of his words.

A "Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol," from which all of the passages below are taken, was composed in early 1777 when Burke was a member of Parliament from Bristol. England then appeared to be winning the war with America, yet Burke was alarmed by the means his country employed (for example, its reliance on mercenaries) and deeply skeptical regarding the announced purpose of the war: the projection of British power into America in order to subdue the resistance of the colonists. Burke recognized that King George III's prime minister, Lord North, had consistently underestimated the number of troops that would be required. North and his administration, the "king's men," had persuaded themselves that America was full of friends who would welcome the stabilizing authority of British arms as soon as a determined show of force was offered.

This was not the first mistake of North and his administration. Burke believed that their preference for force over diplomacy had been the cause of the war. Why did they do it?

"Let them but once get us into a war, and then their power is safe, and an act of oblivion passed for all their misconduct."

"Has any of these gentlemen, who are so eager to govern all mankind, shown himself possessed of the first qualification towards government, some knowledge of the object, and of the difficulties which occur in the task they have undertaken?"

"They promise their private fortunes, and they mortgage their country. They have all the merit of volunteers, without the risk of person or charge of contribution."

"They are continually boasting of unanimity, or calling for it. But before this unanimity can be matter either of wish or congratulation, we ought to be pretty sure that we are engaged in a rational pursuit."

By a recent act of Parliament, England had suspended the protection of habeas corpus. Persons accused of treason in America could now be transported to England and jailed without a chance to confront the charges against them:

"To try a man under that act is, in effect, to condemn him unheard. A person is brought hither in the dungeon of a ship's hold; thence he is vomited into a dungeon on land; loaded with irons, unfurnished with money, unsupported by friends, three thousand miles from all means of calling upon or confronting evidence, where no one local circumstance that tends to detect perjury, can possibly be judged of; — such a person may be executed according to form, but he can never be tried according to justice."

Burke saw a connection between the continuous violence of the war in America and the contempt shown for civil liberties at home:

"Power in whatever hands is rarely guilty of too strict limitations on itself."

"Not one unattacked village which was originally adverse throughout that vast continent, has yet submitted from love or terror. You have the ground you encamp on; and you have no more. The cantonments of your troops and your dominions are exactly of the same extent. You spread devastation, but you do not enlarge the sphere of authority."

Having failed to anticipate the difficulties of the war, the administration blamed the chaotic result on militias organized by the enemies of the empire. Burke, on the contrary, believed that the resistance was largely spontaneous, that it was becoming more virulent because of the presence of an occupying army and that its cause lay in human nature:

"General rebellions and revolts of an whole people never were encouraged, now or at any time. They are always provoked."

"If any ask me what a free government is, I answer that, for any practical purpose, it is what the people think so; and that they, and not I, are the natural, lawful, and competent judges of this matter."

Not only the outlines but many details of Burke's analysis show an uncanny resemblance to what critics of the Bush administration have said; so it may be asked what deeper continuity of political life accounts for the strength of the parallel. A tentative answer seems possible. When imperial conquest is grafted onto the normal structures of constitutional government, the change will produce grotesque distortions of thinking that undermine judgment and common sense.



posted by Tom  # 6/25/2004 10:12:00 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Mystic Knights of the Sea joins with Raccoon Lodge to defeat Circus of Crime 



"The Coalition of the Wild-eyed" is the most exciting anti-Bush commercial yet. Most amusingly, it was produced by the Bush campaign.

Except for the typical cheat of using a bit of one of those Nazi-baiting commercials rejected by moveon.org, the commercial consists of Democrats saying mean, rude accurate things about Bush and his policies, then switches over to sickly sweet and sappy music to urge us to make nice and not be upset and just vote for Bush.

The Coalition of the Wild-eyed
may join with the Phantoms of Lost Liberty in American political lore, imaginary organizations that brought Bush down.

The commercial begins with Al Gore asking the good and pertinent question: "How dare they drag the good name of the United States through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison?" It ends with "This is not a time for passion and rage." If this is what the President wants me to think about, okay, I'm thinking about it. One more mission accomplished.


posted by Tom  # 6/24/2004 07:43:00 PM
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Although non-pictorial, contains mental images that may be risible 


For the Rude File: Objection sustained.

Name included, for those all-important Google hits: Sapulpa District Judge Donald Thompson told authorities it was a gag gift from a friend.


posted by Tom  # 6/24/2004 05:29:00 PM
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Which is the Frying Pan and which is the Fire?  



Someone said that President Bush could not explain the difference between a Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite or between Medicare and Medicaid. My neighbor, the medical anatomist, added, "Or ass and elbow."


posted by Tom  # 6/24/2004 11:59:00 AM
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Regarding Bubba 



A few days ago, I posted Après le W, le X, le Y et le Z, a horrified contemplation of the effects of a second Bush term.

In one small diversion, I argued that Second amendment enthusisasts were being played for suckers and that their amendment was in as much danger as the rest of the Bill of Rights. Immediate mention was made in the comments of the Bubba.

Regarding the Bubba, and keep in mind that I was born and bred in the South Georgia brier patch and I know my Bubbas, the point is not that they are going to charge the barricades with their shotguns and assault rifles.

For the Bubbas, the point is that their gun ownership is the best expression they know of their freedom. They aren't any more likely to take up arms against the government than anyone else, but they cherish the idea that they could.

Besides, your Bubba loves hunting. (City dwellers who love butcher shops vex Bubba.)

I don't believe the Second amendment, as presently interpreted, can possibly stand up to a real clampdown. I don't believe it will be possible to justify spot searches on the MBTA and at the same time allow the Bubbas their armories.

Thus, since the Bubbas believe in the Second amendment with the same passion We Happy Few believe in the First amendment, and I expect both of us believe in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, "and the rest", that makes us natural allies. In fact, a good many of your hip types own guns and a good many of your Wal-Mart XXL's believe in freedom of conscience and live and let live.

That said, the point of the original post was to say that in tampering with fundamental freedoms, the Bush administration is playing with fire. If they make enough people mad, they're out, and it just might be that Americans, Bubba and beatnik alike, will reach a point at which they'd rather have the freedom than the security.



posted by Tom  # 6/24/2004 01:48:00 AM
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No Way to Win the War on Terror? 



John Robb can either give up or retire on his laurels. His other blog, Global Guerrilla, is devoted to giving intense consideration to all manner of western strategic weaknesses and their vulnerability to terrorist attack. In an entry earlier this month, he found what he called "A quote that sums it up".


Nicholas Blanford
at the Christian Science Monitor was able to get the classic quote that epitomizes global guerrilla warfare:

"It would take the whole Chinese Army to protect all of our pipelines," says an Iraqi oil official, who asked not to be named.


posted by Tom  # 6/24/2004 01:07:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

From the cookie file 



JO reports:

I got my first certifiably communist Chinese fortune cookie last night
at a place in Newton:

You can depend on the trust of the collective.

Yow, Mao!!!!

posted by Tom  # 6/22/2004 07:04:00 PM
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Monday, June 21, 2004

Après le W, le X, le Y et le Z 



One of the most consistently successful business plans is the bust-out operation. It's simple. You open a business, buy everything on credit, sell it all for cash, and disappear before the bills come due. In its more elaborate forms, such as by paying creditors something and stringing them along, disputing with the taxman, and other delaying tactics, the bust-out can run for several years. The profits are enormous.

The Bush administration is a de facto bust-out operation, a familiar tactic for the Bush family, but taken much further than anyone has ever taken it before.

And that's all just in the first term, and off the top of my head. If he gets a second term, we can look forward to three possibilities:

  1. Continued radical decline.
  2. A civil war.
  3. A revolution.

Or, of course, all three, in rapid succession.

And, lest you think this is all a remote, paranoid possibility, what faith do you have that the Bush administration, defeated in early November, will peacefully hand over power to Kerry in late January? I have a little faith, all of it regarding the American people's likely response to the second half of the Bush coup d'etat.

Regardless, if I live to be 100 (35 years from now), and nothing but good things happen in the meantime, we may have recovered from the worst of the messes that Bush has dealt us.

PS -- And, for anyone who noticed that the Second amendment didn't appear on the list of amendment bust-outs, if the clampdown comes after a second Bush election, it is sheer fantasy to think that an all-encompassing war on terror won't result in a bust-out of the Second amendment too. More on this in a later post.


posted by Tom  # 6/21/2004 04:12:00 PM
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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Virtual Tivo Replay: Clearing Brush for Fun 



Hit the replay button. Say that again, Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press:

Like Kerry, President Bush is a Yale graduate who has benefited from his wealth and family connections. But Bush spends his down time as more of an everyman, preferring to spend vacations at his Texas ranch clearing brush.

They're both in the midst of money they didn't make themselves, that's for sure, but I rewound for that second sentence.

But Bush spends his down time as more of an everyman, preferring to spend vacations at his Texas ranch clearing brush.

Everyman, who makes his bread and bacon clearing brush, does not clear brush on his vacation. Likely he doesn't get a vacation. I have cleared brush on vacation. It's middle-class people with benefits and sugar-tit babies like Bush who clear brush for fun, not Everyman. People who clear brush for fun get blisters when we do it. Everyman has hard hands. If Everyman voted in the same percentages as people who clear brush for fun and with the same attention to his interests, we'd have a different country. Everyman is not impressed by people who clear brush for fun.


posted by Tom  # 6/20/2004 11:49:00 PM
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I'd rather be named Nedra Pickler than Assia Weevil, but not by much 



Sylvia Plath's successor as succubus and suicide, Assia Weevil, had the most miserable name of all western women, but Nedra Pickler is miserable enough.

Nedra is a bitter pill who has the Kerry beat at the AP. Snide insinuation is her speciality. Naturally, the corrupt and Kerry-hating Boston Globe is happy when Nedra squeezes her Pickler and comes up with another dose of sour juice:

Like Kerry, President Bush is a Yale graduate who has benefited from his wealth and family connections. But Bush spends his down time as more of an everyman, preferring to spend vacations at his Texas ranch clearing brush.

"Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine," he said at the ranch two years ago.

The headline, Pickler filtered through Globe:

Kerry interrupts campaign for the less fortunate with Nantucket weekend

When Kerry is President, it will be amusing to see the Globe left sucking wind. Attentive readers will know that the Globe just loves the Kennedys. Too bad the next in-town president will not be loving the Globe.



posted by Tom  # 6/20/2004 08:59:00 PM
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Friday, June 18, 2004

July 3 is Free Comic Book Day 



July 3 is Free Comic Book Day. How does it work?

  1. Go to comic-book store.
  2. Select free comic book.


Link courtesy of Librarian Net.



posted by Tom  # 6/18/2004 10:08:00 PM
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Simon Nathan tribute in BONG Bulletin 



I'm a proud member, or ember as we sometimes call ourselves, of the Burnt Out Newscreatures Guild, from whose BONG Bulletin I lifted the following tribute:

SO LONG, SIMON, THE WORLD'S THE GRIMMER FOR YOUR PASSING. A longtime BONG contributor and even greater contributor to the world of photography, Simon Nathan, died in New Jersey on May 19. He was 82.
Simon wrote books and columns for photo magazines and was famous for his homemade large-format camera. He never lent or rented the camera, always getting hired with it. Among his shots was the entire cockpit of a 747 jet for a corporate annual report cover, and the U.N. building for a postage stamp.
To understand the challenge of taking undistorted photos of big things, take two side-by-side pictures of a tennis court or something with a standard camera. Butt the prints together and see how parallax hurt you, squeezing the image at the edges. Simon, whose nickname was Simonwide, fixed that.
He told us once that a Japanese camera maker invited him all the way to Japan to critique their new wide-format model. A company exec brought their camera to Simon's hotel room. He picked it up, sniffed, and asked, "Well, could you possibly make it any heavier?"
Simon got 404 words by Art Lavietes in the May 31 New York Times.

--Charlie Hough, Chief Copyboy


EXTRA! Here is an example of Simon Nathan's journalism, the story of how a New York Times photographer took a panoramic photo of ground zero, the obstacles put in his way by officialdom, the technologies, the camera, an interview, and the picture itself.


posted by Tom  # 6/18/2004 11:41:00 AM
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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ever click on Google's similar pages? Me neither.  



Although I am a great aficionado of Google's Feeling Lucky?, I had never clicked on Google's Similar Pages until this evening, when I came across a search that felt so lucky it put this very blog at the top of the list.

Naturally, I could hardly resist, so I clicked on

www.google.com/search?=related:desperado-list.blogspot.com/
.
I'm sure that Page Moved Permanently and a bunch of other fading Java news, combined with some old articles about outsourcing, have something in common with my messy farrago of Patti and Alexandra and the hot-o-meter and war crimes and Ray Charles. Of course, the messier catalog is a natural match. Number One Son used to work with one of the Frankston boys, and we'll always have the New Mexico legislature. Subtle algorithms produce subtle results.

Added later, upon edit: Apparently the token in the URL is related, but the representation in the UI is similar. Ah, well, I said I never used it.


posted by Tom  # 6/17/2004 08:35:00 PM
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Surprised, but not surprised to be getting surprised 



I read the Iraq/Washington news today, oh boy, and then I switched to sports, and Rick Fox was talking about being a Laker, and, gee, I don't know, it felt like I slipped a cog or something:

"It's never-ending. Every time you think the circus is leaving town, we'd lose a game and someone would go off and say something crazy. It was like that all season. It's been a very unusual year for many reasons, but most of it has stemmed from the fact it was supposed to be a cakewalk.

"I would say I'm always surprised, but I'm not surprised to be getting surprised. In other words, you never know what's going to come next. Regardless of what state we think we may have settled into -- a positive state, or whatever -- something new arises."

posted by Tom  # 6/17/2004 02:41:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I had my fingers crossed, so torture isn't a war crime  



William Pfaff in the International Herald Tribune cuts loose:

Documents recently obtained by the press reveal White House anxiety about how to protect President George W. Bush and members of his cabinet from going to prison for ordering, authorizing or deliberately permitting systematic torture of persons in their control, but technically outside formal American legal jurisdiction. The question put to lawyers was how the president and the others could commit war crimes and get away with it.

You really should read the whole thing.

Brother Dave
has the conclusion: Impeach, Indict, Imprison



posted by Tom  # 6/15/2004 08:22:00 PM
|

Monday, June 14, 2004

I see by your outfit that you are my baby 



There's an amazing story here. Apparently, a song from London 1790 called "The Unfortunate Rake" travelled all over the western world turning into a local folk song wherever it went.

Most amazingly, "The Unfortunate Rake" seems to have fissed into, not only "St. James Infirmary", but also "Streets of Laredo". Both have the body wrapped in white linen, for instance.

Idiosyncratic to the last, both of these songs have always seemed to me to have been marked by the dead hand of Tin Pan Alley, so, whoops, wrong again! I was probably distracted by the minor key.

The article -- discursive, but sound -- also has some good stuff about Irving Mills, who rarely wrote a note, but got his name on a ton of Duke Ellington songs, and also prepended his pseudonym (Joe Primrose) to "St. James Infirmary".


posted by Tom  # 6/14/2004 03:00:00 PM
|

Sunday, June 13, 2004

99 rooms of gloom 



Sometimes when you're sunk in existential despair, along comes a bracing dose of someone else's existential despair to cheer you up. That's my reaction to 99rooms.com.

Number two son
called it Zork, but it's reverse Zork, with images and not a single word.

Although 99 Rooms is insistently linear -- You must go from Room 1 to Room 100 (the credits) -- the journey itself is distinctly nonlinear, disturbing, entertaining, and genuinely new.

It's just you and your monitor, your speakers, and your mouse. Each room is shown in a Flashed-up photograph of a crapped-out factory with tiny hot spots and moody wall paintings, all set to spooky musical noodling and sounds. Your mission is to escape from room to room, sanity intact.

It will take you about two hours to understand what I am saying here. Not that there is anything to understand. There is absolutely no point to it. Is there?

The cheat is to press TAB or SPACE, but I strongly urge you to resist. Keep mousing and clicking and you'll begin to grasp the method.

Don't neglect to read the comments (Click on YOU), but leave them to the end, if you can.




posted by Tom  # 6/13/2004 09:55:00 PM
|

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Whenever you in town and looking for a thrill, if Reagan can't get it, Ray Charles sure will 



Over at the Daily Kos, they're proposing that Ray Charles's picture go on the sawbuck.

As all who were fanatical rhythm and blues lovers in 1953 will recall, Ray Charles has already had his say about the power of the pictures on the money, in his song "Greenbacks":


As I was walking down the street last night
A pretty little girl came into sight
I bowed and smiled and asked her name
She said, "Hold it bud, I don't play that game"
I reached in my pocket, and to her big surprise
There was Lincoln staring her dead in the eyes.

On a greenback, greenback dollar bill
Just a little piece of paper, coated with chlorophyll

She looked at me with that familiar desire
Her eyes lit up like they were on fire
She said, "My name's Flo, and you're on the right track,
But look here, daddy, I wear furs on my back,
So if you want to have fun in this man's land,
Let Lincoln and Jackson start shaking hands."

On a greenback, greenback dollar bill
Just a little piece of paper, coated with chlorophyll

I didn't know what I was getting into
But I popped Lincoln and Jackson, too
I didn't mind seeing them fade out of sight,
I just knew I'd have some fun last night
Whenever you in town and looking for a thrill
If Lincoln can't get it, Jackson sure will

On a greenback, greenback dollar bill
Just a little piece of paper, coated with chlorophyll

(Chorus, with David "Fathead" Newman wailing on tenor, and Hank Crawford booting it out on baritone, the legendary Ray Charles band of the 50s never sounding better)

We went to a nightspot where the lights were low
Dined and danced, and I was ready to go
I got out of my seat, and when Flo arose,
She said, "Hold on daddy, while I powder my nose"
I sat back down with a smiling face,
While she went down to the powder place

With my greenback, greenback dollar bill
Just a little piece of paper, coated with chlorophyll

The music stopped and the lights came on,
I looked around and saw I was all alone
I didn't know how long Flo had been gone
But a nose powder sure didn't take that long
I left the place with tears in my eyes
As I waved Lincoln and Jackson a last goodbye

On a greenback, greenback dollar bill
Just a little piece of paper, coated with chlorophyll

Lyrics via ThePeaches.com.

The song is done in the best hip-hop style, with Brother Ray knocking out his insidious and cynical rhyming on the verse in a hip "city" tone and then breaking out into full Ray-Charles splendor on the chorus. So, it's Ray Charles on the twenty for me.



posted by Tom  # 6/12/2004 05:49:00 PM
|

Keep your religion to yourself; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof 



Ronald Reagan Jr. let off another salvo at the president in his eulogy for his father:

Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.

=*=

In a red-letter Bible, all of Jesus's words are printed in red. The entire sixth chapter of Matthew is printed in red.

In this chapter, Jesus tells Christians how to pray. The Lord's Prayer is presented in this chapter, given as an example of how to pray. Most of the chapter is devoted to abjuring Christians to pray in private and not to make a public display of their religion. As Jesus put it:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6 also presents Jesus's advice for the rich:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And, furthermore:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

That is to say:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

All my quotes are from the King James Bible. That's what I was raised on, and, as the old-timers used to say, "If the King James was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me." The Matthew 6 link here and above is to a red-letter King James published by some real Bible-pounders. If you prefer something more modern, alas, without the red letters, see the English Standard Version. And finally, for some observations on Jesus's views and his consistent choice of private prayer for himself, see this from a huge web site on religious tolerance.


posted by Tom  # 6/12/2004 12:39:00 PM
|

Friday, June 11, 2004

Another Frenchman insults the president 



La Rochefoucauld
’s famous maxim:

"Hypocrisie est un hommage que la vice rend à la vertu."

"Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue"

posted by Tom  # 6/11/2004 02:56:00 PM
|

Torture them, signed George W. Bush 



We haven't seen it yet, but there is an official document signed by the President authorizing the use of torture. Every resource available to the administration, weasel words, body language, misdirection, simulated patriotism, is shouting out at full volume that this document exists. I am confident that we will see it, perhaps soon. Certainly, if we can bear to watch, we will soon be seeing videos of men, women, and children being tortured.

If the lines are sufficiently far apart, it is easy to read the message between the lines:

The Bush Administration condones torture and practices torture.



posted by Tom  # 6/11/2004 02:41:00 PM
|

Moses parted the Red Sea, Jesus walked on water, Reagan traded arms for terrorist hostages 



From my invaluable Blogspot brother, Atrios:

God, Does it Ever End?


Russert last night on Larry King:

RUSSERT: One other political point: The Republicans achieved control of the United States Congress for the first time in 70 years, of both houses, under Ronald Reagan.


Look, I'm fine with the Peggy Noonan footworshipping. I'm fine with all the "Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union singlehandedly" nonsense. I'm fine with all of these types of things because they're opinions. Some are silly opinions, and there should be some balance to them, but they are still opinions.

What I'm not fine with is all the factual errors that creep into the coverage by supposedly "unbiased" reporters.

The House and Senate did not both come under Republican rule during Reagan's time.
The Berlin Wall did not come down when Reagan was in office.
Reagan is not the president who left office with the highest approval rating in modern times.
Reagan was not "the most popular president ever."
Reagan did not preside over the longest economic expansion in history.
Reagan did not shrink the size of government.
Reagan did preside over what was at the time the "biggest tax cut in history" but it was almost instantly followed up by the "biggest tax increase in history."
Reagan was not "beloved by all." He was loved by some, liked by some, and hated by some with good reason.




posted by Tom  # 6/11/2004 02:26:00 PM
|

Ray Charles 2 



Ray Charles was so great that his old record company, Atlantic, and his new record company, ABC Paramount, released a greatest hits album together. This had never happened before, and hasn't happened since.

=*=

Strange foreshadowing, Ray's mother's name was Aretha.

=*=

Two cats from Georgia. Thomas A. Dorsey abandoned a career in alley-music as Georgia Tom to transfer the feeling of blues and jazz into religious music when he invented gospel music. Ray Charles brought the fervor and commitment of gospel music back into blues and jazz.

This kind of intermixing bothers religious people much less than you would think. It bothered Mahalia Jackson, but she got her push from Bessie Smith. It bothered Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Solomon Burke, Sam Cooke and legions of others not at all.

If you make a joyful noise, you make it unto the Lord.


posted by Tom  # 6/11/2004 08:55:00 AM
|

Ray Charles 1 


America, America, God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea

posted by Tom  # 6/11/2004 01:23:00 AM
|

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Fooglin' 



JO views with alarm the recent immortality extended to Little Russ the Toy Bulldog:

The cheeky arriviste Russert must go! The one and true host of the show was, is, and will always be Laurence Spivak. Ditto the insufferable young pup Bob Barker (Mr. Cullen is the Only Host of TPIR) and the wet-behind-the-ears pretender to Art Fleming's throne, Alex Trebek.

Promoted from a comment, it might happen to you.





posted by Tom  # 6/09/2004 10:30:00 PM
|

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Reagan Obituary for George W. Bush 



Just as all the Ronald Reagan obituaries have been in the can since 1991, Ronald Reagan Jr. writes a political obituary in advance for George W. Bush.

Sample:

Reagan took a swipe at Bush during the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia, which featured a tribute to his father, telling the Washington Post's Lloyd Grove, "The big elephant sitting in the corner is that George W. Bush is simply unqualified for the job... What's his accomplishment? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?" Since then he's been quiet about the current occupant of the White House -- until now.


Warning: vulgar language, very expressive vulgar language.


posted by Tom  # 6/08/2004 09:48:00 PM
|

Monday, June 07, 2004

About that ketchup/vegetable thing 



Ronald Reagan didn't "think ketchup was a vegetable" because he was some kind of goony uninformed actor, his administration classified ketchup as a vegetable so as to cut school-lunch funds by classifying a hot dog with ketchup and relish as a meal of meat and two vegetables.

One side effect of the brief change in classification, Del Monte, which had gloried in its alternate spelling of catsup, found itself excluded from government sales by this ketchup regulation and were according to "A History of Ketchup" forced to change to the more conventional spelling to keep the business and haven't gone back.

From my still-to-be-published book, Wandering Words:

Ketchup is a Malay/Chinese word meaning “sauce” or “taste”, usually transliterated as kachap, indicating that the ketchup spelling favored by Heinz is a tad more authentic than the pseudo-English catchup or the ineffable catsup (from the twice-transliterated Chinese ketsiap). There are many kinds of ketchup, made from nuts and berries and other fruits, but tomato ketchup is the queen.


posted by Tom  # 6/07/2004 11:05:00 PM
|

"Reagan was George W. Bush, but with a personality." 



Number two son (as quoted in the headline) was upset that I was so nice in my brief discussion of Ronald Reagan. I was just trying to think of what I liked about him. I was always a little more involved in the Cold War than most people I agree with. And, he was much better at impersonation of a decent person than the Resident President, to quote myself from that item:

Reagan looked much more convincing clearing brush. And he wasn't afraid of horses. No bicycles on his ranch.

At any rate, here are some harsher, but non-hysterical, assessments of the entire Reagan oeurve:




posted by Tom  # 6/07/2004 08:26:00 PM
|

Okay, so Lynndie England gets Bruce Tinsley hot 



It's too bad Mallard Fillmore doesn't have a Sunday page. Then we could have seven days a week of hilarious torture jokes.




posted by Tom  # 6/07/2004 09:14:00 AM
|

Sunday, June 06, 2004

If no one is ever supposed to reveal how a magic trick is done, how do magicians learn them? 



Magicians are gesturing hypnotically and talking backwards because a museum in Houdini's home town reveals that the trick in which a magician puts a pretty girl in a trunk, stands on it, disappears in a puff of smoke and turns into the pretty girl, meanwhile ending up inside the trunk himself, involves a false side to the trunk! False side . . . not . . . magic? . . . Oh.

Penn Jilette
(Penn & Teller) says magicians shouldn't reveal their tricks because they are boring, but I'd still like to know how the tiger crawls out of a hole in the chest of a woman clamped in a vise.

Or the trick I saw on Broadway. An easel with a placard wrapped in brown paper sits in the middle of the stage, no one goes near it. The magician tosses a beachball over his shoulder. "What's your hometown?", he askes the person who catches it, from Nyack. He pulls a dove out of the air, which flies out into the audience and lands in front of someone who says they drive a Pontiac. Various other people chosen similarly report their favorite color is red, their favorite sport is lacrosse, and their favorite ice cream is coffee. A pretty girl rips the brown paper off the placard, which reads, "I went to Nyack in my red Pontiac after the lacrosse game to get some coffee ice cream."

Bore me. Knowing how magic tricks are done is like knowing jokes. It doesn't make you a comedian or a magician just to know the routine. I can "do" the Chinese linking rings, but I can't do them. One of the rings has a gap in it, others are permanently linked and everybody knows it, but there are magicians who can draw a crowd of magicians simply by doing the linking rings. And yet there are six videos on how to do the trick on the first Google page.

Could it be that the whole magicians-never-reveal-their-tricks thing is just misdirection?

PS -- Houdini, by the way, used to escape from a strait jacket behind a curtain, leaving the audience to watch it flapping and billowing for ten minutes. He found that it was a better show to let them see the whole thing. Houdini was able to dislocate both shoulders, which helped him wriggle out.

Houdini's brother Hardeen toured doing Houdini's entire show, including the strait-jacket escape, but he could only dislocate one shoulder, so it took him a bit longer.




posted by Tom  # 6/06/2004 10:53:00 PM
|

R.I.P., R.R. 



I have to say, I like the covert wars of yesteryear better than I like the one we have now, and that goes for the respective presidents, too.

=*=

Reagan was the beneficiary of 40 years of containment of Soviet Russia and its colonies, conquests, satrapys, and satellites. He knew they were weak because containment had weakened them -- but the CIA didn't have a clue -- and he knew to back Gorbachev after Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter had used containment to force the Soviet leadership to this pass -- and his Republican backers didn't have a clue.

=*=

I like Nancy Reagan much better now. Standing up for stem-cell research and the Roosevelt dime in the face of really stupid people shows both courage and common sense.

=*=

Reagan looked much more convincing clearing brush. And he wasn't afraid of horses. No bicycles on his ranch.


posted by Tom  # 6/06/2004 01:36:00 AM
|

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Lizard of Oz 



One of my oldest and dearest friends is an ex-pat American, a fellow Georgian, now living in Australia by way of England. I sent her a note about The Road to Surfdom, a Washington web site with a good deal of Australian content:

Lots of smart-ass remarks (we say snarky now) about the Australian prime minister.

Her restrained and ladylike reply:

Well, I will tell you that that obsequious, ass-kissing, hubristic pinnocchio-nosed, smarmy suckhole deserves to have his hands chained behind his back and then tied up to W's ankles forever after. We HATE him and what we hate most of all is seeing him suck up to the Americans.

I'm so proud to have had her as matron of honor in my wedding.

posted by Tom  # 6/05/2004 12:22:00 PM
|

First thing we do, let's hire all the lawyers 



The Vice President (pun intended) has retained an outside attorney to represent him in case he is ever caught for revealing the name of an American espionage agent for political reasons. Cheney hired his own lawyer the minute he heard that the Resident President had hired one in the same noble cause.

No word yet on whether the co-leaders plan to testify together before the grand jury.


posted by Tom  # 6/05/2004 12:12:00 PM
|

Friday, June 04, 2004

Devil's Book of Quotations, Again 



Casting my net for more Google hits:

Precision
There is nothing so satisfactory to the mind of the reader as precise numbers; and nothing so little deserving of his confidence.--William H. Prescott, The Conquest of Peru, a footnote about a source stating, of an earthquake, "500 houses were lost".

Politics
On a famous occasion, since enshrined in the party's mythology, the late Jimmy Maxton was asked how he reconciled his total opposition to the Labour government's policies with membership in the parliamentary Labour party. Maxton was told he could not ride two horses at once, to which he replied: "All I can say is that if you cannot ride two horses you have no right to be in the bloody circus."--The Economist

Professions
. . . war or surgery for homicides, the police or journalism for swindlers . . .--Caesare Lombroso

Politics
It's the old political trick: If you can't convince them, confuse them. -- Harry Truman, National Plowing Contest, Dexter, Iowa, 1948.

Trombone
The tone is full and dignified, very mysterious in soft passages, and thrilling in forte.--Robert Gomer Jones, Theory of Music

War

Casualty

He was a soldier in the army,
but he doesn't walk like one,
He walks like his soldiering
Days are done.

Son! . . . Son!

--Langston Hughes, Selected Poems (entire poem)

War
Hawks are supposed to have sharp eyes as well as sharp claws and beaks. The American variety, however, seems to lack clear perception of what is going on, so much so that it might be more correct biologically to call them "bats".--Adam Roberts, review of Abuse of Power by Theodore Draper.

Lawyer
My ideal of a great lawyer, is that great English attorney who accumulated a fortune of a million pounds, and left it all in his will to make a home for idiots, declaring that he wanted to give it back to the people from whom he took it. Col. Robert Ingersoll

Lawyer
The legal mind is one that could think of something that was inextricably connected to something else without thinking about what it was connected to.--Thomas Reed Powell

Poverty
From the inevitable laws of human nature some human beings will be exposed to want. These are the unhappy persons who in the great lottery of life have drawn a blank.--The Rev. Thomas Malthus, Essay on Population

Perseverance
Life has broken every bone in my body. That includes my skull. Yet it has never run over me.-- Eric Hoffer

posted by Tom  # 6/04/2004 07:18:00 PM
|

This would be more interesting if it were good 



Via number two son:

Dumb, but strangely fascinating "animated" web comic:

ASSASSIN'S NIGHT:A DEEPER DARKNESS an animated graphic novel by Lawrence Van Abbema


Editor's note:
NSFW from sound and nudity. You probably won't read it all. Mouse over the picture to see and hear all there is to see and hear.


posted by Tom  # 6/04/2004 07:10:00 PM
|

Thursday, June 03, 2004

From wrinkled faces to the Great Wall, with mixed motor scooters 



Toronto Star news photographer and writer Jimmy Wilkes has posted his China photographs at his Newsboy site.

The range is spectacular, from the Great Wall of China (which has a thrilling looking toboggan ride attached) to an entrance to a toilet in Xinghua (announced with an imposing sign). Other scenes include, the roofs of Beijing, bicycles (a ride-by streetcleaner, a bicycle "pickup"), food (a chicken purchased on the hoof and custom slaughtered and plucked, heaps of lobsters and produce), a back-alley Home Depot, even an awful beggar who is a manufactured cripple.

I've omitted direct links so you can have the pleasure of strolling through the whole thing, with Jimmy's charming commentary, and spectacular shots of National Geographic quality intermixed with family snapshots of Jimmy's son and his adorable girlfriend, who are teaching in China.

posted by Tom  # 6/03/2004 12:53:00 PM
|

Another paper-ballot petition 



Be the first one on your block to sign 'em all. Another paper-ballot petition, this one from moveon.org.



posted by Tom  # 6/03/2004 12:22:00 PM
|

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Not-so-great Googly-Moogly 



I suppose I'll get used to it, but here's the Google search of the week

agatha christie syntax emulate


This yielded the Desperado March archive as

posted by Tom  # 6/02/2004 10:15:00 PM
|

Knickerbockers, Highlanders, Yankees never had to face political assassins 



The heads of Russian politicians crudely Photoshopped onto very silly looking baseball cards here.

Here's the back of the card of a catcher with a blank spot where the face should be:

Name: Grigory Gongadze

Team: Ukrainska Pravda

Leads: Not anymore

Hair: Still growing

Jewish: No

Connections: Severed

Career: Obi Wan-esque career in which he became more powerful than his enemies could possibly imagine after death... Marginal Ukrainian editor of Ukrainska Pravda website... Ukrainian President caught on tape ordering him disposed of... Disappeared in fall 2000... Turned up headless in the woods outside Kiev, making his girlfriend famous and sparking the Ukrainian opposition to life...

posted by Tom  # 6/02/2004 09:55:00 PM
|

Electronic voting with paper ballots 



The main objection to digital electronic cybervoting is that the software that makes it possible belongs to someone with a profit motive, not to mention, in "Mr. Diebold's" case, a Republican horse in the race.

The Open Voting Consortium has a plan:

We are currently developing a reference version of free voting software to run on very inexpensive PC hardware. OVC voting systems will accommodate different languages and scoring methods, as well as voters with special needs. The system will produce voter-verifiable paper ballots, allowing every voter to confirm their choices and providing a paper record for every vote.


posted by Tom  # 6/02/2004 12:56:00 PM
|

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

BugMeNot: How to beat the password plague 



I've registered for the web sites of the New York Times, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post because I end up looking at their articles an above-average number of times, but I'll be damned if I'll register for the East Overshoe Picayune-Pantagraph just so I can read some funny article about penguins or pelicans or popovers.

Enter www.BugMeNot.com which can feed you a working user name and password for 3046 "password-protected" web sites that would otherwise ask a lot of impertinent questions before letting you in. All the ones I've already registered for are also available.

The BugMeNot FAQ.


posted by Tom  # 6/01/2004 09:20:00 PM
|

Don't let your mouth write no checks your tail can't cash, Mr. President 



A grand old piece of folk advice that apparently escaped the attention of that hard-ranchin' brush-clearin' vacation-takin' huntin' 'n' fishin' g-droppin' President of ours:

Don't get in a pissin' match with a skunk.

Let me count the skunks:

  1. The CIA
  2. The FBI
  3. Howard Stern
  4. The US Military
  5. Veterans
  6. The British, French, Germans, Spanish . . .
  7. Fiscal conservatives
  8. Robert Novak
  9. Me
  10. Space does not permit . . .

That's a lot of pissin' talent goin' against you, little feller.

posted by Tom  # 6/01/2004 08:53:00 PM
|

Petition for a Paper-Ballot Election 



Petion for a paper-ballot election. Sign here

Unless, of course, you follow "Mr. Diebold's" advice and trust him.


posted by Tom  # 6/01/2004 05:49:00 PM
|

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