Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
The Name in the Stone

Awebstonenames.jpg

MY NAME, "GERARD VAN DER LEUN," IS AN UNUSUAL ONE. So unusual, I've never met anyone else with the same name. I do know of one other man with the name, but we've never met. I've seen his name in an unusual place. This is the story of how that happened.

It was an August Sunday in New York City in 1975. I'd decided to bicycle from my apartment on East 86th and York to Battery Park at the southern tip of the island. I'd nothing else to do and, since I hadn't been to the park since moving to the city in 1974, it seemed like a destination that would be interesting. Just how interesting, I had no way of knowing when I left.

August Sundays in New York can be the best times for the city. The psychotherapists are all on vacation -- as are their clients and most of the other professional classes. The city seems almost deserted, the traffic light and, as you move down into Wall Street and the surrounding areas, it becomes virtually non-existent. On a bicycle you own the streets that form the bottom of the narrow canyons of buildings where, even at mid-day, it is still cool with shade. Then you emerge from the streets into the bright open space at Battery Park.

Tourists are lining up for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. A few people are coming and going from the Staten Island Ferry terminal. There are some scattered clots of people on the lawns of Battery Park. Everything is lazy and unhurried.

I'd coasted most of the way down to the Battery that day since, even though it appears to be flat, there is a very slight north to south slope in Manhattan. I arrived only a bit hungry and thirsty and got one of the dubious Sabaretts hot dogs and a chilled coke from the only vendor working the park.

The twin towers loomed over everything, thought of, if they were thought of at all, as an irritation in that they blocked off so much of the sky. It was 1975 and, Vietnam not withstanding, America was just about at the midway point between two world wars. Of course, we didn't know that at the time. The only war we knew of was the Second World War and the background humm of the Cold War. It was a summer Sunday and we were in the midst of what now can be seen as "The Long Peace."

In front of the lawns at Battery Park was a monument that caught my attention. It was formed of an immense stone eagle and two parallel rows of granite monoliths about 20 feet wide, 20 feet tall and 3 feet thick. From a distance you could see that they had words carved into them from top to bottom. There was also a lot of shade between them so I took my hot dog and my coke and wheeled my bike over, sitting down at random among the monoliths.

I remember that the stone was cool against my back as I sat there looking at the stone across from me on that warm afternoon. As I looked up it dawned on me that the words cut into the stones were all names. Just names. The names of soldiers, sailors and airmen who had met their death in the north Atlantic in WWII. I was to learn later that there were 4,601 names. All lost in the frigid waters, all without any marker for their graves -- except those in the hearts of those they left behind, and their names carved into these stones that rose up around me.

I read across several rows, moving right to left, then down a row, and then right to left. I got to the end of the sixth row and went back to the beginning of the seventh row.

At the beginning of the seventh row, I read the name: "Gerard Van der Leun." My name. Cut into the stone amongst a tally of the dead.

If you have an unusual name, there's nothing that prepares you for seeing it in a list of the dead on a summer Sunday afternoon in Battery Park in 1975. I don't really remember the feeling except to know that, for many long moments, I became suddenly chilled.

When that passed, I knew why my name was in the stone. I'd always known why, but I'd never known about the stone or the names cut into it.

"Gerard Van der Leun" was, of course, not me. He was someone else entirely. Someone who had been born, lived, and died before I was even conceived. He was my father's middle brother. He was what my family had given to stop Fascism, Totalitarianism and genocide in the Second World War. He was one of their three sons. He was dead before he was 22 years old. His body never recovered, the exact time and place of his death over the Atlantic, unknown.

As the first child born after his death, I was given his name, Gerard. But as a child I was never called by that name. I was always called "Jerry." "Jerry" is not a diminutive of "Gerard." There are none for that name. But "Jerry" I would be because the mere mention of the name "Gerard" was enough to send my grandmother into a dark state of mind that would last for weeks. This was true, as far as I know, for all the days of her life and she lived well into her 80s.

My grandfather could barely speak of Gerard and, being Dutch, his sullen reticence let all of us know very early that it was wrong to ask.

My father, who was refused service in the Second World War due to a bout with rheumatic fever as a child that left him with the heart murmur that would kill him shortly after turning 50, was ashamed he didn't fight and wouldn't speak of his brother, Gerard, except to say "He was a great, brave kid."

My uncle, the baby of the family, spent a year or two of his youth freezing on the Inchon peninsula in Korea and seeing the worst of that war first hand. He was my only living relative who'd been in a war. He would never speak of his war at all, but it must have been very bad indeed.

I know this because, when I was a teenager, I was out in his garage one day and, opening a drawer, I found an old packet of photographs, grimy with dust at the back under a bunch of rusted tools. The black and white photos with rough perforated edges showed some very disturbing things: a helmet shot full of holes; a boot with most of a leg still in it, some crumpled heaps of clothing on patches of dirty snow that proved to be, on closer inspection, dead Korean soldiers; a pile of bodies on a snowbank with black patches of blood seeping into it. The full horror show.

He had taken them and couldn't part with them, but couldn't look at them. So he shoved them into a drawer with other unused junk from his past and left it at that. He never spoke of Korea except to say it was "rough," and, now that he lives but has quit speaking of anything, he never will. His only comment to me about his brother Gerard echoed that of my father, "He was a great kid. You can be proud to have his name. Just don't use it around Grandma."

And I didn't. No one in my family ever did. All through the years that I was growing up at home, I was "Jerry."

In time, I left home for the University and, in the manner of young men in the 1960s and since, I came upon a lot of new and, to my young mind, excellent ideas. A minor one of these was that it was time to stop being a 'Jerry' -- a name I associated for some reason with young men with red hair, freckles and a gawky resemblance to Howdy Doody. I decided that I would reject my family's preferences and call myself by my given name, 'Gerard.' In fact, in the callous manner of heedless boys on the verge of adulthood, I would insist upon it. I duly informed my parents and would correct them when they lapsed back to 'Jerry.'

This attitude served me well enough and soon it seemed I had trained my bothers and my parents in my new name. Of course, I'd taken this name not because of who my uncle had been or because of the cause for which he gave his life, but for the selfish reason that it simply sounded more "dignified" to my ears.

I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley and it was 1965 and we had no truck with the US military that was "brutally repressing" the people of Vietnam. We were stupid and young and nothing that has happened at Berkeley since then has changed the youth and stupidity of its students. If anything, my era at the University just made it somehow possible for Berkeley students to think that their attitudes were as noble and as pure in their minds as they were stupid and selfish in reality. I was no longer a "Jerry" but a "Gerard" and I was going to make the world safe from America.

My name change plan went well as long as I confined it to my immediate family and my friends at the University. It went so well that it made me even stupid enough to try to extend it to my grandparents during a Thanksgiving at their home.

At some point during the meal, my grandmother said something like, "Would you like some more creamed onions, Jerry?"

And because I was a very selfish and stupid young man, I looked at her and said, "Grandma, everyone here knows that I'm not Jerry any longer. I'm Gerard and you've just got to get used to calling me that."

Immediately, the silence came into the room. It rose out of the center of the table and expanded until it reached the walls and then just dropped down over the room like a large, dark shroud.

Nobody moved. Very slowly every set of eyes of my family came around and looked at me. Not angry, but just looking. At me. The silence went on. Then my grandmother, whose eyes were wet, rose from the table and said, "No. I can't do that. I just can't." She left the table and walked down the hallway to her bedroom and closed the door behind her.

The silence compounded itself until my grandfather rose from his chair and walked to the middle of the hallway. He took a framed photograph off the wall where hung next to a framed gold star. It had been in that place so long that I'd stopped seeing it.

My grandfather walked back to the table and very gently handed me the photograph. It show a smooth-faced handsome young flyer with an open smile. He was dressed in fleece-lined leather flying jacket and leaning casually against the fuselage of a bomber. You could see the clear plastic in the nose of the plane just above his head to his right. On the picture, was the inscription: "Folks, Here's my new office! Gerard."

My grandfather stood behind me as I looked at the picture. "You are not Gerard. You just have his name, but you are not him. That's my son. That's Gerard. If you don't mind, we will continue to call you Jerry in this house. If you do mind, you don't have to come here any more."

Then he took the picture away and put it back in its place on the wall. He knocked on the bedroom door, went in, and in a few minutes he and my grandmother came back to the table. Nobody else had said a word. We'd just sat there. I was wishing to be just about anyplace else in the world than where I was.

They sat down and my grandmother said, "So, Jerry, would you like some more creamed onions?"

I nodded, they were passed and the meal went on. My parents never said a word. Not then and not after. And, to their credit, they continued to call me Gerard. But not at my grandparents' house.

In 1975, I sat against a monument in Battery Park in New York and read a name cut into stone among a list of the dead. That long ago Thanksgiving scene came back to me in all its dreadful detail. I tried to understand what that name in the stone had meant to my family when it became the only thing that remained of their middle son. A man who'd been swallowed up in the Atlantic during a war that finished before I drew breath. I tried to understand what it meant, but I could not. I was a child of the long peace who had avoided his war and gone on to make a life that, in many ways, was spent taking-down the things that my namesake had given his life to preserve.

These days it makes me feel cheap and contemptible to think of the things I did to point out all the ways in which this country fails to achieve some fantasied perfection. I was a small part of promulgating a great wrong and a large lie for a long time, and I'm sure there's no making up for that. My chance to be worthy of the man in the photograph, the name on the wall, has long since passed and all I can do is to try, in some way, to make what small amends I can.

Remembering these long ago moments on this Memorial Day of 2004, I still cannot claim to understand the deep sense of duty and the strong feeling of honor that drove men like the uncle I've never known to sacrifice themselves. Lately though, as we move deeper into the Fourth World War, I think that, at last, I can somehow dimly see the outlines of what it was. And that, for now, will have to do.

Since finding his name on the stone in 1975, I've been back to that place a number of times. I once took my daughter there.

After September 11th, I made a point of going to the monument as soon as the way was cleared, sometime in 2002. It was for the last time.

But if you go the monument, you can see the name in the stone. It's not my name, but the name of man much better than most of us. It's on the far left column on the third stone in on the right side of the monument looking towards the sea. The name is usually in shadow and almost impossible to photograph.

Like most of the other names carved into the stone it's up there very high. You can see it, but you can't touch it. I don't care who you are, you're not that tall.



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 11:33 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The American Elite Without Honor


There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

--Mark Steyn, "Recalling a time when setbacks didn't deter us"



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 10:11 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The American Elite Without Honor


There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

--Mark Steyn, "Recalling a time when setbacks didn't deter us"



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 10:11 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
9 Seats by 9 Designers That All Fit in a Fed-Ex Box.

THE FILM SHOWS YOU how they UN_FOLD .



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 5:39 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
9 Seats by 9 Designers That All Fit in a Fed-Ex Box.

THE FILM SHOWS YOU how they UN_FOLD .



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 5:39 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Andy Kaufman Effect

On the Internet, no one knows you're not the dog you claim to be. [Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report]



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 5:21 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Andy Kaufman Effect

On the Internet, no one knows you're not the dog you claim to be. [Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report]



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 5:21 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Framed"-- Lost Law & Order Short

LAW AND ORDER FANS can fill up on the one episode where absolutely nothing happens and the tedium overwhelms the whole cast: "Law & Order: Artistic Intent"--Shanan Kurtz and Gareth Long

[Needs Quicktime]



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 1:37 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Framed"-- Lost Law & Order Short

LAW AND ORDER FANS can fill up on the one episode where absolutely nothing happens and the tedium overwhelms the whole cast: "Law & Order: Artistic Intent"--Shanan Kurtz and Gareth Long

[Needs Quicktime]



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 1:37 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
DaVinci's Gia Principle
So that we might say that the earth has a spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil, its bones the arrangement and connection of the rocks of which the mountains are composed, its cartilage the tufa, and its blood the springs of water. The pool of blood which lies round the heart is the ocean, and its breathing, and the increase and decrease of the blood in the pulses, is represented in the earth by the flow and ebb of the sea; and the heat of the spirit of the world is the fire which pervades the earth, and the seat of the vegetative soul is in the fires, which in many parts of the earth find vent in baths and mines of sulphur, and in volcanoes, as at Mount Aetna in Sicily, and in many other places.
-- The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 1:00 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
DaVinci's Gia Principle
So that we might say that the earth has a spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil, its bones the arrangement and connection of the rocks of which the mountains are composed, its cartilage the tufa, and its blood the springs of water. The pool of blood which lies round the heart is the ocean, and its breathing, and the increase and decrease of the blood in the pulses, is represented in the earth by the flow and ebb of the sea; and the heat of the spirit of the world is the fire which pervades the earth, and the seat of the vegetative soul is in the fires, which in many parts of the earth find vent in baths and mines of sulphur, and in volcanoes, as at Mount Aetna in Sicily, and in many other places.
-- The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 1:00 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
NYT to America: You Are All Whores

ALESSANDRA STANLEY DEMONSTRATES HOW DEEP THE ROT GOES AT THE NEW YORK TIMES with a smarmy bit of drive-by drivel in: 'Ike: Countdown to D-Day': Macho Swagger Overpowers D-Day Valor.

In the midst of a predictable screed by this put-out-to-pasture correspondent, Stanley bemoans the certified American triumphs of history. She finds the story of D-Day and Eisenhower's role much too "macho." It doesn't seem to occur to her that an amphibious assault on a series of heavily fortified beaches is by definition a "macho" endeavor.

Not content with denigrating a day when heroes and sacrifice was common, Ms. Stanley reserves her most stinging denunciation for the American People today:

But when it comes to D-Day, American viewers do not need to be wooed into admiring their supreme commander. For the most part, they are like the prostitute played by Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman," who gently reminds her overly solicitous client, Richard Gere, that she is what is called a "sure thing."
That this sort of tossed-off insult can be written by a career hack for the Times is not surprising. We see it seep into all aspects of the paper every day -- from the front page to the food page. It is not even surprising that there are no editors at the Times who think twice about passing this drivel without at least picking up the phone and asking Stanley, "Hey, are you sure you want to call all Americans whores?" What, I guess, is surprising is the extent to which all those "whores" out there in America are not surprised by this sort of thing.

It's all just business as usual at the New York Times. I used to wonder what it would take to make the career America-haters at the Times rethink their perceptions and beliefs. I once thought it would probably take a small nuke going off at 4:00 PM on a Wednesday and killing everyone in the building as well as a few hundred thousand in the immediate blast radius.

Now, I don't think even that would do it. The rot has reached the marrow.



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 12:26 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
NYT to America: You Are All Whores

ALESSANDRA STANLEY DEMONSTRATES HOW DEEP THE ROT GOES AT THE NEW YORK TIMES with a smarmy bit of drive-by drivel in: 'Ike: Countdown to D-Day': Macho Swagger Overpowers D-Day Valor.

In the midst of a predictable screed by this put-out-to-pasture correspondent, Stanley bemoans the certified American triumphs of history. She finds the story of D-Day and Eisenhower's role much too "macho." It doesn't seem to occur to her that an amphibious assault on a series of heavily fortified beaches is by definition a "macho" endeavor.

Not content with denigrating a day when heroes and sacrifice was common, Ms. Stanley reserves her most stinging denunciation for the American People today:

But when it comes to D-Day, American viewers do not need to be wooed into admiring their supreme commander. For the most part, they are like the prostitute played by Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman," who gently reminds her overly solicitous client, Richard Gere, that she is what is called a "sure thing."
That this sort of tossed-off insult can be written by a career hack for the Times is not surprising. We see it seep into all aspects of the paper every day -- from the front page to the food page. It is not even surprising that there are no editors at the Times who think twice about passing this drivel without at least picking up the phone and asking Stanley, "Hey, are you sure you want to call all Americans whores?" What, I guess, is surprising is the extent to which all those "whores" out there in America are not surprised by this sort of thing.

It's all just business as usual at the New York Times. I used to wonder what it would take to make the career America-haters at the Times rethink their perceptions and beliefs. I once thought it would probably take a small nuke going off at 4:00 PM on a Wednesday and killing everyone in the building as well as a few hundred thousand in the immediate blast radius.

Now, I don't think even that would do it. The rot has reached the marrow.



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 12:26 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Teach Your Children Well

hummerkids.jpg

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash

Tip: Apropos of Something



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 9:49 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Teach Your Children Well

hummerkids.jpg

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash

Tip: Apropos of Something



Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 9:49 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
MovableType Announces Revolutionary Pricing Scheme

Six Apart announces more changes to Movable Type license

With the release of Movable Type 3.0014d, users will pay as they blog on a per-word basis (billing will be handled through the increasingly versatile TypeKey service). As a result, the license no longer penalizes those users who choose to maintain multiple blogs or host blogs with multiple authors. Instead, all users pay equally based on how much they use Movable Type.

Of course, we recognize that not all words are created equally. Therefore, the new pricing structure breaks down as follows:

Prices:

  • Prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite), interjections: 1¢ per word

  • Pronouns: 2¢ per word

  • Nouns (common): 4¢ per word

  • Nouns (proper): 6¢ per word

  • Verbs (passive): 5¢ per word

  • Verbs (action): 7¢ per word

  • Adjectives and adverbs: 8¢ per word

  • Proper nouns comprising names of other blogging software (i.e. "WordPress" or "Expression Engine"): 30¢ per word

  • Gerunds: TBA
  • Naturally, punctuation and HTML markup will remain absolutely free. Furthermore, hyphenated words will count as a single word for billing purposes (if the hyphenated form is the preferred usage according to the Oxford English Dictionary).

    First noted by: Apropos of Something



    Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 9:36 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    MovableType Announces Revolutionary Pricing Scheme

    Six Apart announces more changes to Movable Type license

    With the release of Movable Type 3.0014d, users will pay as they blog on a per-word basis (billing will be handled through the increasingly versatile TypeKey service). As a result, the license no longer penalizes those users who choose to maintain multiple blogs or host blogs with multiple authors. Instead, all users pay equally based on how much they use Movable Type.

    Of course, we recognize that not all words are created equally. Therefore, the new pricing structure breaks down as follows:

    Prices:

  • Prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite), interjections: 1¢ per word

  • Pronouns: 2¢ per word

  • Nouns (common): 4¢ per word

  • Nouns (proper): 6¢ per word

  • Verbs (passive): 5¢ per word

  • Verbs (action): 7¢ per word

  • Adjectives and adverbs: 8¢ per word

  • Proper nouns comprising names of other blogging software (i.e. "WordPress" or "Expression Engine"): 30¢ per word

  • Gerunds: TBA
  • Naturally, punctuation and HTML markup will remain absolutely free. Furthermore, hyphenated words will count as a single word for billing purposes (if the hyphenated form is the preferred usage according to the Oxford English Dictionary).

    First noted by: Apropos of Something



    Posted by Vanderleun May 31, 2004 9:36 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    No Miscut on the Naked Lead


    Click to enlarge

    "AFTER WE WERE SUCCESSFUL in our Pencil Carving , one thing came up to us for a change in it...."

    "To take carving in the wood of a pencil", is certainly what pencil carving is all about. But we are required to be skilled enough for delicate woodwork in carving out a pattern like some kind of a tracery without making any miscut on the naked lead inside.
    And to think you've been just chewing on them all these years.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2004 4:04 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    No Miscut on the Naked Lead


    Click to enlarge

    "AFTER WE WERE SUCCESSFUL in our Pencil Carving , one thing came up to us for a change in it...."

    "To take carving in the wood of a pencil", is certainly what pencil carving is all about. But we are required to be skilled enough for delicate woodwork in carving out a pattern like some kind of a tracery without making any miscut on the naked lead inside.
    And to think you've been just chewing on them all these years.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2004 4:04 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Fingerprints for Ammo

    portrait_sd21.jpg
    Senator Jack Scott,
    Democrat, Pasadena:
    If you want a bullet, this
    man wants your fingerprints.

    senator.scott@sen.ca.gov

    YET MORE REASONS FOR CALIFORNIA CITIZENS TO DRIVE TO NEVADA: SB 1152 Senate Bill - AMENDED

    (c) No vendor shall sell or otherwise transfer ownership of any ammunition without at the time of purchase recording the following information on a form to be prescribed by the Department of Justice:
    [snip]
    (d) The vendor shall also at the time of purchase or transfer obtain the right thumbprint of the purchaser or transferee on the above form.
    [Snip]
    (f) (1) ... If the right thumbprint is not available, then the vendor shall have the purchaser or transferee use his or her left thumb, or any available finger, and shall so indicate on the form. If the purchaser or transferee is physically unable to provide a thumbprint or fingerprint, the vendor shall so indicate on the form.
    Ah, the latest proof that the law is an ass on which every one gets a turn. You've got to admire that last bit where, if you have no fingers or thumbs,you get a pass on the fingerprint requirement.

    This extension of government power and intrusion into your life passed the California Senate last week, 22-16. The record of those who voted for and against is: Here.

    You'd think that requiring citizens to fingerprint other citizens when they go out to buy legal products would have something like the ACLU up in arms. But no. They don't care about this. Maybe you don't either, but think for a minute about the power of precedent in law. A fingerprint for a bullet now, a fingerprint for a bottle of vodka later, a fingerprint for those deadly cigarettes a bit after that, a fingerprint to vote, a fingerprint to buy a book, a fingerprint to buy anything.

    Of course, this law requires that the person selling the ammo keep the fingerprints at his place of business. This year. Next year it will be, "You know all those fingerprints we made you keep, well send them in. We not only need to know who has the guns, we need to know how many rounds they have. Why? We're the Democrats, we're the Buttinsky Party. We don't need a reason."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2004 9:30 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Fingerprints for Ammo

    portrait_sd21.jpg
    Senator Jack Scott,
    Democrat, Pasadena:
    If you want a bullet, this
    man wants your fingerprints.

    senator.scott@sen.ca.gov

    YET MORE REASONS FOR CALIFORNIA CITIZENS TO DRIVE TO NEVADA: SB 1152 Senate Bill - AMENDED

    (c) No vendor shall sell or otherwise transfer ownership of any ammunition without at the time of purchase recording the following information on a form to be prescribed by the Department of Justice:
    [snip]
    (d) The vendor shall also at the time of purchase or transfer obtain the right thumbprint of the purchaser or transferee on the above form.
    [Snip]
    (f) (1) ... If the right thumbprint is not available, then the vendor shall have the purchaser or transferee use his or her left thumb, or any available finger, and shall so indicate on the form. If the purchaser or transferee is physically unable to provide a thumbprint or fingerprint, the vendor shall so indicate on the form.
    Ah, the latest proof that the law is an ass on which every one gets a turn. You've got to admire that last bit where, if you have no fingers or thumbs,you get a pass on the fingerprint requirement.

    This extension of government power and intrusion into your life passed the California Senate last week, 22-16. The record of those who voted for and against is: Here.

    You'd think that requiring citizens to fingerprint other citizens when they go out to buy legal products would have something like the ACLU up in arms. But no. They don't care about this. Maybe you don't either, but think for a minute about the power of precedent in law. A fingerprint for a bullet now, a fingerprint for a bottle of vodka later, a fingerprint for those deadly cigarettes a bit after that, a fingerprint to vote, a fingerprint to buy a book, a fingerprint to buy anything.

    Of course, this law requires that the person selling the ammo keep the fingerprints at his place of business. This year. Next year it will be, "You know all those fingerprints we made you keep, well send them in. We not only need to know who has the guns, we need to know how many rounds they have. Why? We're the Democrats, we're the Buttinsky Party. We don't need a reason."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2004 9:30 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Benefits of Staying Home

    P. J. O'ROURKE LOOKS AT THE BENEFITS of going home: America, Recuse Thyself!

    A NATO alliance that does not include the U.S. will acquire a new sense of mission and purpose, especially in Gdansk, Istanbul and maybe Hamburg, when Russia resumes its historic quest for warm-water ports.

    The threat of nuclear proliferation will abate as dangerous stockpiles of atomic weapons are quickly used up. The loss of life will be regrettable. But this will be counterbalanced by the welcome disappearance of long-standing international flashpoints when the India-Pakistan border is vaporized, Tehran disappears in a mushroom cloud, and whatever is left of the Korean Peninsula becomes reunited.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2004 8:41 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Benefits of Staying Home

    P. J. O'ROURKE LOOKS AT THE BENEFITS of going home: America, Recuse Thyself!

    A NATO alliance that does not include the U.S. will acquire a new sense of mission and purpose, especially in Gdansk, Istanbul and maybe Hamburg, when Russia resumes its historic quest for warm-water ports.

    The threat of nuclear proliferation will abate as dangerous stockpiles of atomic weapons are quickly used up. The loss of life will be regrettable. But this will be counterbalanced by the welcome disappearance of long-standing international flashpoints when the India-Pakistan border is vaporized, Tehran disappears in a mushroom cloud, and whatever is left of the Korean Peninsula becomes reunited.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2004 8:41 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    On Heroes

    STEPHEN DEN BESTE says clearly what most people of good will already know:

    The implication that heroes are unusual, better than the rest of us, is wrong. Most real heroes are not extraordinary men; they are ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances.

    And they know it, which is why they do not brag. They may have been heroes, but they saw many others be heroes. They know they are not extraordinary.

    Uncommon valor is a common virtue. That's why hundreds of firemen charged into the WTC towers on September 11, 2001, and died there. And after one tower collapsed, that's why the firemen in the other tower did not flee, and in their turn also died.

    Real heroes know that decorations are only given to those who were lucky enough to be heroic while someone important was watching. Real heroes will have seen many other heroic acts which were never acknowledged by anyone, except by the other members of the team. And ultimately that is the only acknowledgement they truly value, for only their teammates really understand what they went through.

    A man who brags about his heroism is no hero. And the men who served with him will know it.

    From -- The price of heroism



    Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2004 1:44 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    On Heroes

    STEPHEN DEN BESTE says clearly what most people of good will already know:

    The implication that heroes are unusual, better than the rest of us, is wrong. Most real heroes are not extraordinary men; they are ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances.

    And they know it, which is why they do not brag. They may have been heroes, but they saw many others be heroes. They know they are not extraordinary.

    Uncommon valor is a common virtue. That's why hundreds of firemen charged into the WTC towers on September 11, 2001, and died there. And after one tower collapsed, that's why the firemen in the other tower did not flee, and in their turn also died.

    Real heroes know that decorations are only given to those who were lucky enough to be heroic while someone important was watching. Real heroes will have seen many other heroic acts which were never acknowledged by anyone, except by the other members of the team. And ultimately that is the only acknowledgement they truly value, for only their teammates really understand what they went through.

    A man who brags about his heroism is no hero. And the men who served with him will know it.

    From -- The price of heroism



    Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2004 1:44 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat

    JOHN BATTELLE'S INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE Toward the Endemic: What's missing in PPC/Behavioral/Contextual Ad Nets has a lot to say about why advertisers and blogs just don't understand each other.

    Something is lost when advertisers don't buy based on the publication. I'm not arguing that buying based on context or content isn't valuable, it certainly is. But in the long run, not considering the publisher's role devalues both the publication *and* the advertiser in the minds of the publishers' audience.

    So what, you might be saying. Most major publications utilize both network-based and more traditional "display" advertising - look at the NYT or CNET or CBS Marketwatch. True enough - Martin mentioned yesterday that his "display" advertising at NYT.com is up dramatically and starting to show real traction. (And, by they way, the NYT is steering clear of AdSense image, for obvious reasons....) But the real problem is with smaller sites, sites that can't afford to be understood or purchased any other way but through a network. Sites where there is simply too much transactional friction to make the advertising purchase worthwhile. Sites like....blogs, for example.

    Advertisers can't grok all the blogs which might be potential fits for their marketing dollar. Besides the tedium of finding and evaluating them, blogs have no standardized marketing or advertising practices, so working with each is a handrolled labor of love.

    Essential reading if you'd like to find a way to have an enduring relationship with advertising. Still, it led me to wonder if we are going to see it anytime soon without the creation of a whole new kind of salesman. As I remarked in the comments to this article:
    I found this to be a valuable article with a number of insightful points. At the same time, the push towards "conversational" advertising leads me to wonder who there will be to bell the cat.

    In my experience, ads appear in magazines not merely because there is a mystical conversation going on between the reader and the magazine, but because there has been a real converstation between an ad salesman for that magazine and a media buyer. And not just a conversation, but a relationship that has been built up from many meetings and conversations.

    To whip out and old chainsaw, you can have the best product and the best ideas in the world but nothing happens until someone sells something. Who are going to be the salesmen for these micro-accounts? Good media salesmen can make well into the six figures every year. Who is going to actually do the legwork and make the phone calls and send the emails and present the numbers and demographics to make microadvertising work? Where's the living to be made?

    It seems to me that if you can solve that you can solve the other. Perhaps it is some sort of media-buyer to media-placer situation that has to evolve. One person with the ability to place ads across a spectrum of small outlets with a "conversational" understanding of all of them and has gained the trust of a media-buyer to do this effectively. A kind of ubersalesman who has put together a big sheaf of like minded blogs/minipublications and sells the package. It seems to me that that sort of scaling is required.

    Perhaps what we need is a new class of salesman: The BlogRep.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2004 7:45 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat

    JOHN BATTELLE'S INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE Toward the Endemic: What's missing in PPC/Behavioral/Contextual Ad Nets has a lot to say about why advertisers and blogs just don't understand each other.

    Something is lost when advertisers don't buy based on the publication. I'm not arguing that buying based on context or content isn't valuable, it certainly is. But in the long run, not considering the publisher's role devalues both the publication *and* the advertiser in the minds of the publishers' audience.

    So what, you might be saying. Most major publications utilize both network-based and more traditional "display" advertising - look at the NYT or CNET or CBS Marketwatch. True enough - Martin mentioned yesterday that his "display" advertising at NYT.com is up dramatically and starting to show real traction. (And, by they way, the NYT is steering clear of AdSense image, for obvious reasons....) But the real problem is with smaller sites, sites that can't afford to be understood or purchased any other way but through a network. Sites where there is simply too much transactional friction to make the advertising purchase worthwhile. Sites like....blogs, for example.

    Advertisers can't grok all the blogs which might be potential fits for their marketing dollar. Besides the tedium of finding and evaluating them, blogs have no standardized marketing or advertising practices, so working with each is a handrolled labor of love.

    Essential reading if you'd like to find a way to have an enduring relationship with advertising. Still, it led me to wonder if we are going to see it anytime soon without the creation of a whole new kind of salesman. As I remarked in the comments to this article:
    I found this to be a valuable article with a number of insightful points. At the same time, the push towards "conversational" advertising leads me to wonder who there will be to bell the cat.

    In my experience, ads appear in magazines not merely because there is a mystical conversation going on between the reader and the magazine, but because there has been a real converstation between an ad salesman for that magazine and a media buyer. And not just a conversation, but a relationship that has been built up from many meetings and conversations.

    To whip out and old chainsaw, you can have the best product and the best ideas in the world but nothing happens until someone sells something. Who are going to be the salesmen for these micro-accounts? Good media salesmen can make well into the six figures every year. Who is going to actually do the legwork and make the phone calls and send the emails and present the numbers and demographics to make microadvertising work? Where's the living to be made?

    It seems to me that if you can solve that you can solve the other. Perhaps it is some sort of media-buyer to media-placer situation that has to evolve. One person with the ability to place ads across a spectrum of small outlets with a "conversational" understanding of all of them and has gained the trust of a media-buyer to do this effectively. A kind of ubersalesman who has put together a big sheaf of like minded blogs/minipublications and sells the package. It seems to me that that sort of scaling is required.

    Perhaps what we need is a new class of salesman: The BlogRep.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2004 7:45 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    If Bush and Kerry Had Been Riding This, They'd Still Be Riding

    Black-OCC2.jpg

    NOT ONLY THAT, THEY'D BE STYLING ON the New Schwinn Sting-Ray Muscle Bike

    Part chopper. Part cruiser.
    100% muscle bike --
    The new Schwinn Sting-Ray is all about the ride. Built with customized parts -- like the Big Boa Tire and signature V-back Handlebars -- it's no wonder Schwinn Sting-Rays are endorsed by Orange County Choppers. Straddle the saddle and hit the pavement... the rebirth of cool has arrived.

    Don't miss the Schwinn Sting-Ray - TV Spots. Go for the 60 second one.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 7:16 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    If Bush and Kerry Had Been Riding This, They'd Still Be Riding

    Black-OCC2.jpg

    NOT ONLY THAT, THEY'D BE STYLING ON the New Schwinn Sting-Ray Muscle Bike

    Part chopper. Part cruiser.
    100% muscle bike --
    The new Schwinn Sting-Ray is all about the ride. Built with customized parts -- like the Big Boa Tire and signature V-back Handlebars -- it's no wonder Schwinn Sting-Rays are endorsed by Orange County Choppers. Straddle the saddle and hit the pavement... the rebirth of cool has arrived.

    Don't miss the Schwinn Sting-Ray - TV Spots. Go for the 60 second one.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 7:16 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Questions Containing Their Own Answers

    "Have you already been subjugated by the ideal post-modern marriage of aesthetic ugliness and materialist idolatry?"

    -- From Coffeehouse at the End-Of-Days: McMansion Invasion



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 6:08 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Questions Containing Their Own Answers

    "Have you already been subjugated by the ideal post-modern marriage of aesthetic ugliness and materialist idolatry?"

    -- From Coffeehouse at the End-Of-Days: McMansion Invasion



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 6:08 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Yglesias: The Critical Democratic BS Shortage

    WE'VE ALL HEARD THE EXPRESSION, "He's trying to cram 20 pounds of BS into a 10 pound bag." It implies that the source of our annoyance is so full of BS that he hasn't got room for it all. Given the incessant repetition of the Democrats and their fellow media travelers working overtime to demoralize their own country, you might think that this is a classic example of the cramming behavior referenced above.

    You might think that but you would be wrong. Just the reverse is true. What we are seeing is a shortage of BS sloshing about in a very large bag. This is why all these memes hang around and pollute our shared spiritual commons these days. For when you are short on actual examples to buttress your argument, what you have to do is repeat them in as endless a variety as you can imagine. This is to create the impression that there is a vast body of weighty evidence propping up your argument when it is, in reality, as thin as the gruel once doled out to orphans in Victorian work houses. Feed them the same slop over and over, they might think they're full.

    If you want to show just how evil your country is and all you've got is a dozen or so twisted individuals running a prison in Iraq, just repeat the statement 10,000 times and show the same pictures from different angles. Voila, you've got 120,000 impressions of evil. You've smeared your own country with thousands of brush strokes and you've gotten to feel good about yourself while you're doing it.

    If your lie is that "Bush Lied," repeat it like some magic incantation one million times and print up a lot of posters for it. You've learned from tyrants and dictators how to inflate your lie into the Big Lie. If a lot of you, because of the way you were raised, have your hands on the media, you can repeat the reports about the lie and through sheer dint of amplification make the Big Lie bigger.

    Then, when your examples and your 'proof,' gets lighter and lighter until it barely fills the bottom of your BS bag and starts to smell, shall we say, less than fresh -- you can always root around in all that sludge down there and pluck out the dripping and foulest morsel you carry with you in case of extreme emergencies -- The Nazis. You will be breaking Godwin's Law, but you'll hope nobody'll notice you're overdrawn at the Bank of BS. If you can't prove it, tell everyone your opponents are Nazis. It won't work, but you'll continue to get invitations to dinner parties and afternoons in the Hamptons and paychecks, so what the hell. What's a little BS among friends that desperately need some more BS to fill up the empty sacks of their souls?

    Matthew Yglesias has obviously come up with his own critical BS shortage in The Return of the 'Stab In the Back' at the woefully named redoubt for those whose BS just isn't playing like it used to, - Center for American Progress. Matt tells us:

    The groundwork is being laid for a new version of the "stab in the back" myth that helped destroy Weimar Germany. No matter how far south things go in Iraq, the blame will be laid not at the feet of the president who initiated and conducted the war, but rather on those who had the temerity to note that it wasn't working. Rather than the critics having been proven right, or so the story goes, the critics are to blame for the failure of the very policy they were criticizing. It's an ugly tactic, and as you go down the journalistic food chain, it grows uglier still.
    Connoisseurs of fine BS have to stop to savor that one. It is a brilliant example of prime, well-aged and finely marbled BS.

    Let's look at how much high-density BS is in that one:
    1) It predicts a Naziesque crackdown that is just around the corner, much like the manner in which people's rights have been ruthlessly repressed since the advent of the Patriot Act.
    2) It whips up a brief period of mourning for the tragedy of Weimar Germany -- that all too brief spring of free absinthe and cocaine l'entre deux guerres, that one fragile thing that could have stood against Hitler -- a warns America that it too could be a Weimar Republic.
    3) It then gives to the critics ( the few, the select, the brave enough to run a typewriter four thousand miles from a war zone and tell us what's wrong with it) the virtue of having "temerity" as if bravery in this world was found by just shooting your mouth off in the center of a vast circle of like-minded friends.
    4) It then warns of the looming disaster that awaits truth, justice and the American Way, just by noting that there's a lot of people working the media who would be really pleased to see their own country lose no matter what the cost.
    5) It wraps the whole thing up by referencing the "journalistic food chain" and warning how ugly it is down there, as opposed to the finer, brighter, whiter realms that Yglesias and his band of snobs inhabit.

    Fine, fine, fine BS. It may even fill up the Democratic BS bag a bit so that the sloshing sounds from within don't echo so much and make the bag seem so hollow.

    But hollow it is. We can tell that is the truth from the blunt fact that Yglesias has evoked, in his desperation for just a little more BS to fill his bag, Godwin's Law

    Godwin's Law     prov.     [Usenet] "As a USENET discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

    Thus, for all that we are afflicted by the endless replays of Yellowcake, the Plame Game, the Bush Lied Lie, the Clarke Testimony, the Woodward Access, the Abu Ghraib Gambit, the WMD Goalpost Moves, we can hope to see an end to it at some point. We know, from this masterful effort at scraping up some refuse and shaping it into a new cake of BS that, in fact, the Democratic BS is getting in short supply.

    So little BS remains in the Left's Strategic BS Reserve that there may not be enough on hand for John Kerry to mount a serious BS attack on the President. This may account for his grudging agreements dressed up like differences of the last few days. Yes, the BS shortage is real and critical for the Left. They've used too much ammunition too soon and may well have to "save the last BS for themselves."

    Witness to this is found in Yglesias' own article when, in searching for "fresh evidence" of his enemies willingness to trash the press he can only come up with the 'transgression' of

    Glenn Reynolds,... campaign to incite the defacement of New York Times distribution boxes .
    This is mind-boggling BS that refers to a couple of photos of NYT boxes that some benighted souls had scribbled on. It is wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling BS. But it is of something so slight that , even if it were true, would still leave Yglesias in the position of have only one ounce of fresh BS for his twenty pound sack. The sloshing would still be audible from a thousand yards.

    I don't know what they're thinking other than "We just hate that stupid, stupid President...," but they'd better get some fresh BS in massive quantities, because at this rate they don't have enough BS to win a national election, no matter how many times they put their two horse apples on national television.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 3:57 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Yglesias: The Critical Democratic BS Shortage

    WE'VE ALL HEARD THE EXPRESSION, "He's trying to cram 20 pounds of BS into a 10 pound bag." It implies that the source of our annoyance is so full of BS that he hasn't got room for it all. Given the incessant repetition of the Democrats and their fellow media travelers working overtime to demoralize their own country, you might think that this is a classic example of the cramming behavior referenced above.

    You might think that but you would be wrong. Just the reverse is true. What we are seeing is a shortage of BS sloshing about in a very large bag. This is why all these memes hang around and pollute our shared spiritual commons these days. For when you are short on actual examples to buttress your argument, what you have to do is repeat them in as endless a variety as you can imagine. This is to create the impression that there is a vast body of weighty evidence propping up your argument when it is, in reality, as thin as the gruel once doled out to orphans in Victorian work houses. Feed them the same slop over and over, they might think they're full.

    If you want to show just how evil your country is and all you've got is a dozen or so twisted individuals running a prison in Iraq, just repeat the statement 10,000 times and show the same pictures from different angles. Voila, you've got 120,000 impressions of evil. You've smeared your own country with thousands of brush strokes and you've gotten to feel good about yourself while you're doing it.

    If your lie is that "Bush Lied," repeat it like some magic incantation one million times and print up a lot of posters for it. You've learned from tyrants and dictators how to inflate your lie into the Big Lie. If a lot of you, because of the way you were raised, have your hands on the media, you can repeat the reports about the lie and through sheer dint of amplification make the Big Lie bigger.

    Then, when your examples and your 'proof,' gets lighter and lighter until it barely fills the bottom of your BS bag and starts to smell, shall we say, less than fresh -- you can always root around in all that sludge down there and pluck out the dripping and foulest morsel you carry with you in case of extreme emergencies -- The Nazis. You will be breaking Godwin's Law, but you'll hope nobody'll notice you're overdrawn at the Bank of BS. If you can't prove it, tell everyone your opponents are Nazis. It won't work, but you'll continue to get invitations to dinner parties and afternoons in the Hamptons and paychecks, so what the hell. What's a little BS among friends that desperately need some more BS to fill up the empty sacks of their souls?

    Matthew Yglesias has obviously come up with his own critical BS shortage in The Return of the 'Stab In the Back' at the woefully named redoubt for those whose BS just isn't playing like it used to, - Center for American Progress. Matt tells us:

    The groundwork is being laid for a new version of the "stab in the back" myth that helped destroy Weimar Germany. No matter how far south things go in Iraq, the blame will be laid not at the feet of the president who initiated and conducted the war, but rather on those who had the temerity to note that it wasn't working. Rather than the critics having been proven right, or so the story goes, the critics are to blame for the failure of the very policy they were criticizing. It's an ugly tactic, and as you go down the journalistic food chain, it grows uglier still.
    Connoisseurs of fine BS have to stop to savor that one. It is a brilliant example of prime, well-aged and finely marbled BS.

    Let's look at how much high-density BS is in that one:
    1) It predicts a Naziesque crackdown that is just around the corner, much like the manner in which people's rights have been ruthlessly repressed since the advent of the Patriot Act.
    2) It whips up a brief period of mourning for the tragedy of Weimar Germany -- that all too brief spring of free absinthe and cocaine l'entre deux guerres, that one fragile thing that could have stood against Hitler -- a warns America that it too could be a Weimar Republic.
    3) It then gives to the critics ( the few, the select, the brave enough to run a typewriter four thousand miles from a war zone and tell us what's wrong with it) the virtue of having "temerity" as if bravery in this world was found by just shooting your mouth off in the center of a vast circle of like-minded friends.
    4) It then warns of the looming disaster that awaits truth, justice and the American Way, just by noting that there's a lot of people working the media who would be really pleased to see their own country lose no matter what the cost.
    5) It wraps the whole thing up by referencing the "journalistic food chain" and warning how ugly it is down there, as opposed to the finer, brighter, whiter realms that Yglesias and his band of snobs inhabit.

    Fine, fine, fine BS. It may even fill up the Democratic BS bag a bit so that the sloshing sounds from within don't echo so much and make the bag seem so hollow.

    But hollow it is. We can tell that is the truth from the blunt fact that Yglesias has evoked, in his desperation for just a little more BS to fill his bag, Godwin's Law

    Godwin's Law     prov.     [Usenet] "As a USENET discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

    Thus, for all that we are afflicted by the endless replays of Yellowcake, the Plame Game, the Bush Lied Lie, the Clarke Testimony, the Woodward Access, the Abu Ghraib Gambit, the WMD Goalpost Moves, we can hope to see an end to it at some point. We know, from this masterful effort at scraping up some refuse and shaping it into a new cake of BS that, in fact, the Democratic BS is getting in short supply.

    So little BS remains in the Left's Strategic BS Reserve that there may not be enough on hand for John Kerry to mount a serious BS attack on the President. This may account for his grudging agreements dressed up like differences of the last few days. Yes, the BS shortage is real and critical for the Left. They've used too much ammunition too soon and may well have to "save the last BS for themselves."

    Witness to this is found in Yglesias' own article when, in searching for "fresh evidence" of his enemies willingness to trash the press he can only come up with the 'transgression' of

    Glenn Reynolds,... campaign to incite the defacement of New York Times distribution boxes .
    This is mind-boggling BS that refers to a couple of photos of NYT boxes that some benighted souls had scribbled on. It is wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling BS. But it is of something so slight that , even if it were true, would still leave Yglesias in the position of have only one ounce of fresh BS for his twenty pound sack. The sloshing would still be audible from a thousand yards.

    I don't know what they're thinking other than "We just hate that stupid, stupid President...," but they'd better get some fresh BS in massive quantities, because at this rate they don't have enough BS to win a national election, no matter how many times they put their two horse apples on national television.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 3:57 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Dangerous Democrats Demoralizing America: See It Now, Pass It On.

    2002-thumb.jpggore-now-thumb.jpg

    JUNKYARDBLOG HAS CREATED a brilliant short film summing up the tectonic shift of Al Gore and the Democratic Party in the last few years. Conclusion: They are the disaster for our country that Al Gore speaks of.

    Stream this film and pass it on. Quicktime version at: Gore Speaks

    Now, if we could just convince the Republicans to put up a little money to get this on the air.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 3:28 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Dangerous Democrats Demoralizing America: See It Now, Pass It On.

    2002-thumb.jpggore-now-thumb.jpg

    JUNKYARDBLOG HAS CREATED a brilliant short film summing up the tectonic shift of Al Gore and the Democratic Party in the last few years. Conclusion: They are the disaster for our country that Al Gore speaks of.

    Stream this film and pass it on. Quicktime version at: Gore Speaks

    Now, if we could just convince the Republicans to put up a little money to get this on the air.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 3:28 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Little Document Here, A Little Sarin There, Some Mustard Gas Over There, a Televised Beheading: Pretty Soon You're Talking About Real Problems

    OPINION JOURNAL REPORTS ON THE long and tedious operation of finding and reading Saddam's Files

    Coalition forces have found--literally--millions of documents. These papers are still being sorted, translated and absorbed, but they are already turning up new facts about Saddam's links to terrorism.

    We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that "secular" Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix.

    We'll soon find out that they did mix, but then the standard chant will be that "they didn't mix enough." When we find that they mixed often and frequently and are, indeed, mixing today to kill our soldiers, the chant will change to "they need to mix more."

    So it goes. You cannot wise up fools.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 1:20 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Little Document Here, A Little Sarin There, Some Mustard Gas Over There, a Televised Beheading: Pretty Soon You're Talking About Real Problems

    OPINION JOURNAL REPORTS ON THE long and tedious operation of finding and reading Saddam's Files

    Coalition forces have found--literally--millions of documents. These papers are still being sorted, translated and absorbed, but they are already turning up new facts about Saddam's links to terrorism.

    We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that "secular" Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix.

    We'll soon find out that they did mix, but then the standard chant will be that "they didn't mix enough." When we find that they mixed often and frequently and are, indeed, mixing today to kill our soldiers, the chant will change to "they need to mix more."

    So it goes. You cannot wise up fools.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 1:20 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Zazen of Peanuts

    snoopy2.jpg
    What is the sound
    of one ear flapping?

    FROM: The Revealer: The First Noble Truth of Charlie Brown

    Revealing religion in pop culture requires looking beyond the artist's intentions, to the swirl of cultural influences in which he or she worked and the whirlwind of cultural influences in which we receive the fruits of the artist's labor -- the pop culture blizzard in which the zazen of a silent beagle offers some kind of serenity, if not redemption.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 1:10 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Zazen of Peanuts

    snoopy2.jpg
    What is the sound
    of one ear flapping?

    FROM: The Revealer: The First Noble Truth of Charlie Brown

    Revealing religion in pop culture requires looking beyond the artist's intentions, to the swirl of cultural influences in which he or she worked and the whirlwind of cultural influences in which we receive the fruits of the artist's labor -- the pop culture blizzard in which the zazen of a silent beagle offers some kind of serenity, if not redemption.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 1:10 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Slate's Weisberg Hits A Low Previously Thought Impossible

    SLATE'S LONG RUNNING EXERCISE IN ELITIST SMARM Bushism of the Day By Jacob Weisberg is part of the ongoing "isn't the President stupid' meme that liberals love to drench themselves in. It has always been a scrape-the-bottom feature and, on occassions too numerous to count, slants and distorts the speech for the sake of a cheap laugh. It also never, ever links to the news item that inspired it. Context, you see, might spoil the joke with the truth.

    On Wednesday, Weisberg -- who's made some pocket change off this "concept" -- gave the world this as a Bushism:

    "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."-- Washington, D.C., May 25, 2004

    The man was one of a group of Iraqi men whose hands had indeed been chopped off by Hussein. They had been given new hands by a team of American doctors in America. That's the plain and simple truth of the matter.

    That anyone would look to mine this moment for the sake of making it seem other than it was is despicable. But being despicable seems to be what Weisberg and his ilk are all about these days.

    If there was ever an example of unalloyed good being done for individual Iraqi citizens, you would think that giving men new hands would be one of them.

    But for Weisberg and his ilk, it is merely another chance to steal a march on the good and reinforce evil.

    You would think that Weisberg would be ashamed of himself, you would think that Slate would be ashamed. But you would be wrong. The sense of shame has long abandoned these people. All they have is hate. And, in due course, hate shall be their reward.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 12:13 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Slate's Weisberg Hits A Low Previously Thought Impossible

    SLATE'S LONG RUNNING EXERCISE IN ELITIST SMARM Bushism of the Day By Jacob Weisberg is part of the ongoing "isn't the President stupid' meme that liberals love to drench themselves in. It has always been a scrape-the-bottom feature and, on occassions too numerous to count, slants and distorts the speech for the sake of a cheap laugh. It also never, ever links to the news item that inspired it. Context, you see, might spoil the joke with the truth.

    On Wednesday, Weisberg -- who's made some pocket change off this "concept" -- gave the world this as a Bushism:

    "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."-- Washington, D.C., May 25, 2004

    The man was one of a group of Iraqi men whose hands had indeed been chopped off by Hussein. They had been given new hands by a team of American doctors in America. That's the plain and simple truth of the matter.

    That anyone would look to mine this moment for the sake of making it seem other than it was is despicable. But being despicable seems to be what Weisberg and his ilk are all about these days.

    If there was ever an example of unalloyed good being done for individual Iraqi citizens, you would think that giving men new hands would be one of them.

    But for Weisberg and his ilk, it is merely another chance to steal a march on the good and reinforce evil.

    You would think that Weisberg would be ashamed of himself, you would think that Slate would be ashamed. But you would be wrong. The sense of shame has long abandoned these people. All they have is hate. And, in due course, hate shall be their reward.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 12:13 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Where We Are Now

    IN ANOTHER OF A SERIES OF BRILLIANT OBSERVATIONS, Belmont Club shows us where on the battlefield we are. Indeed, he shows us exactly what the "battlefield" has become:

    " [F]oreign battlefields and home front have merged into one integrated area of operations. There is now no real distinction between winning the "media war" and cleaning out a sniper's nest in Ramadi; between Abu Ghraib the prison and Abu Ghraib the media event. Many readers have criticized the Belmont Club's An Intelligence Failure as being too "soft" on the liberal press, arguing that the media's distortions are not simply the effect of incompetence but the result of a deliberate campaign of partisan information. Doubtless many in the liberal press harbor symmetrical resentments. Yet I have held back from framing the argument in these terms until I could place it in the framework of Col. Leonhard's concept of a global battlefield: one in which the WTC towers and the New York Times newsroom are front line positions no less than any corner in Baghdad; and where victory is measured not simply by the surrender of arms but the capitulation of ideas. We have begun the 21st century just as we inaugurated the 20th: at the edge of old familiar places and on the brink of the unknown.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 11:57 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Where We Are Now

    IN ANOTHER OF A SERIES OF BRILLIANT OBSERVATIONS, Belmont Club shows us where on the battlefield we are. Indeed, he shows us exactly what the "battlefield" has become:

    " [F]oreign battlefields and home front have merged into one integrated area of operations. There is now no real distinction between winning the "media war" and cleaning out a sniper's nest in Ramadi; between Abu Ghraib the prison and Abu Ghraib the media event. Many readers have criticized the Belmont Club's An Intelligence Failure as being too "soft" on the liberal press, arguing that the media's distortions are not simply the effect of incompetence but the result of a deliberate campaign of partisan information. Doubtless many in the liberal press harbor symmetrical resentments. Yet I have held back from framing the argument in these terms until I could place it in the framework of Col. Leonhard's concept of a global battlefield: one in which the WTC towers and the New York Times newsroom are front line positions no less than any corner in Baghdad; and where victory is measured not simply by the surrender of arms but the capitulation of ideas. We have begun the 21st century just as we inaugurated the 20th: at the edge of old familiar places and on the brink of the unknown.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2004 11:57 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Victims of the Plague


    (for Thom Gunn 1929-2004)

    Perhaps our dances, in a thousand years,
    will tattooed be as drums,
    And our bright minds, forged by fate,
    will in the musk of eons drown.

    Our souls will all rise glorified
    as a pod of whales weaves waves.
    Our flesh, once firm, relaxed as stones
    that serve to mark our graves.

    Our pleasures seen as ancient rites
    describable as dreams;
    Our voices, in a million years,
    insubstantial as starbeams.

    Perhaps our minuets, in a billion years,
    will as steel stiffened be.
    Our arabesques as smooth and gestural
    as drowned paintings of the sea.

    Our nods but inclinations
    of the folds beneath the eyes.
    Our plans but vague intentions
    of the wind beneath the skies.

    Our breath, a transpiration
    of dust immured in dust.
    Our lives, a visitation
    of a rush light drowned in musk.

    All these, our words and scattered songs,
    May come, in time, to less than naught,
    As Mayan blocks of hard hacked stone
    Embalm the skin we once sloughed off.

    But now, like rattles kept within
    A jeweled bone box, our hollowed skin
    Is shaken in the rambles of the park
    To frighten schoolgirls after dark.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 4:43 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Victims of the Plague


    (for Thom Gunn 1929-2004)

    Perhaps our dances, in a thousand years,
    will tattooed be as drums,
    And our bright minds, forged by fate,
    will in the musk of eons drown.

    Our souls will all rise glorified
    as a pod of whales weaves waves.
    Our flesh, once firm, relaxed as stones
    that serve to mark our graves.

    Our pleasures seen as ancient rites
    describable as dreams;
    Our voices, in a million years,
    insubstantial as starbeams.

    Perhaps our minuets, in a billion years,
    will as steel stiffened be.
    Our arabesques as smooth and gestural
    as drowned paintings of the sea.

    Our nods but inclinations
    of the folds beneath the eyes.
    Our plans but vague intentions
    of the wind beneath the skies.

    Our breath, a transpiration
    of dust immured in dust.
    Our lives, a visitation
    of a rush light drowned in musk.

    All these, our words and scattered songs,
    May come, in time, to less than naught,
    As Mayan blocks of hard hacked stone
    Embalm the skin we once sloughed off.

    But now, like rattles kept within
    A jeweled bone box, our hollowed skin
    Is shaken in the rambles of the park
    To frighten schoolgirls after dark.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 4:43 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Virtual Prostitute Continues to Inspire Bloggers

    THE LONG RUNNING WASHINGTONIENNE CHARADE continues to suck in the credulous, but sometimes with amusing results. The best riff today is an extended item at The Ace of Spades Sex Blog

    Today I met with a fellow blogger to commiserate. We'll call him -- just to give him a name -- "Joshua Micah Marshall."

    "Life is tough," I told him.

    "Tell me about it," he said, and then sipped his double-latte mochaccino.

    "I'll tell you," I said. "I'm desperate. Actually, I was desperate three days ago. I'm beyond desperate now." I sighed. "I've really got to get laid."

    He fixed me a look as he wiped the froth from his lip. He extended a gentle hand out and caressed the side of my face. "I know someplace we could go," Josh told me.

    Now, it's times like this that make you decide just how much your dreams mean to you.

    Book deal, said one part of my brain.

    Gay sex with Josh Marshall, countered the other part of my brain.

    I did a quick calculation. How bad could it be, really? A lot of people seem to like having gay sex. How could I be sure I wasn't one of them? I've never really given it a fair chance, I reasoned.

    And so we began walking to an alley behind the store.

    He began pulling the rings off his fingers. "Just for safety's sake," he told me.

    What the hell did that mean?

    Top marks for humor, low marks for gullibiiity.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 1:31 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Virtual Prostitute Continues to Inspire Bloggers

    THE LONG RUNNING WASHINGTONIENNE CHARADE continues to suck in the credulous, but sometimes with amusing results. The best riff today is an extended item at The Ace of Spades Sex Blog

    Today I met with a fellow blogger to commiserate. We'll call him -- just to give him a name -- "Joshua Micah Marshall."

    "Life is tough," I told him.

    "Tell me about it," he said, and then sipped his double-latte mochaccino.

    "I'll tell you," I said. "I'm desperate. Actually, I was desperate three days ago. I'm beyond desperate now." I sighed. "I've really got to get laid."

    He fixed me a look as he wiped the froth from his lip. He extended a gentle hand out and caressed the side of my face. "I know someplace we could go," Josh told me.

    Now, it's times like this that make you decide just how much your dreams mean to you.

    Book deal, said one part of my brain.

    Gay sex with Josh Marshall, countered the other part of my brain.

    I did a quick calculation. How bad could it be, really? A lot of people seem to like having gay sex. How could I be sure I wasn't one of them? I've never really given it a fair chance, I reasoned.

    And so we began walking to an alley behind the store.

    He began pulling the rings off his fingers. "Just for safety's sake," he told me.

    What the hell did that mean?

    Top marks for humor, low marks for gullibiiity.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 1:31 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Behind the Scenes at New York Times Headline Meetings

    goremug.jpg
    Al Gore Giving His Fans
    That "Kennedyesque" Look

    FROM "THE CORNERED" -- INTERNAL WEBLOG AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:

    Embittered Demented Democratic Gerbil Spews Froth at Move-On Fornication Festival Nope. Too long, detailed and accurate.

    Amnesia Strikes Gore As He Calls Bush Most Dishonest President Since Nixon
    Nope. Nixon's dead and most Move-On'ers slept through their American History class. They won't get it.

    If he had a tenth as much passion in 2000, Al Gore would be President today.
    Nope. Too close to the painful truth.

    Al Gore Has Full-Blown Dean Episode. Closet Deaniacs Snort Bathtub Meth and Cheer
    Nope. Reveals too much about the Democrats energy source

    Gore Leads Democratic Party in Defection from Prozac Nation
    Nope. It'll piss off our pharmaceutical advertisers

    Gore Joins Kennedy as Full-Time Hit Man for the Kerry/Soprano Family
    Are you kidding. That was our idea. Don't want to leak that.

    Gore Calls for Rumsfeld and Rice Resignation. Stops Short of Calling for Bush Assassination
    Close but cut that down a bit. No sense in telling them the news we've got lined up for next week.

    Gore Calls for Rumsfeld and Rice to Resign
    That's it! It's got it all and it doesn't tell anything about his behavior. Nice and calm. Who could object to a headline like that? It gives the news without giving the news. That's what we're about down here in the New York Times Headline room. Take the rest of the week off.

    Source -- The New York Times

    Or try Here for a more penetrating analysis. Short form: "That Al. He crazy."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 11:00 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Behind the Scenes at New York Times Headline Meetings

    goremug.jpg
    Al Gore Giving His Fans
    That "Kennedyesque" Look

    FROM "THE CORNERED" -- INTERNAL WEBLOG AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:

    Embittered Demented Democratic Gerbil Spews Froth at Move-On Fornication Festival Nope. Too long, detailed and accurate.

    Amnesia Strikes Gore As He Calls Bush Most Dishonest President Since Nixon
    Nope. Nixon's dead and most Move-On'ers slept through their American History class. They won't get it.

    If he had a tenth as much passion in 2000, Al Gore would be President today.
    Nope. Too close to the painful truth.

    Al Gore Has Full-Blown Dean Episode. Closet Deaniacs Snort Bathtub Meth and Cheer
    Nope. Reveals too much about the Democrats energy source

    Gore Leads Democratic Party in Defection from Prozac Nation
    Nope. It'll piss off our pharmaceutical advertisers

    Gore Joins Kennedy as Full-Time Hit Man for the Kerry/Soprano Family
    Are you kidding. That was our idea. Don't want to leak that.

    Gore Calls for Rumsfeld and Rice Resignation. Stops Short of Calling for Bush Assassination
    Close but cut that down a bit. No sense in telling them the news we've got lined up for next week.

    Gore Calls for Rumsfeld and Rice to Resign
    That's it! It's got it all and it doesn't tell anything about his behavior. Nice and calm. Who could object to a headline like that? It gives the news without giving the news. That's what we're about down here in the New York Times Headline room. Take the rest of the week off.

    Source -- The New York Times

    Or try Here for a more penetrating analysis. Short form: "That Al. He crazy."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 11:00 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Official Results In: Dave Winer Has No Brain

    THE SELF-PROCLAIMED CREATOR EMERITUS OF THE ENTIRE BLOGSPHERE takes careful aim at foot and pulls trigger at Scripting News: 5/27/2004

    "I did something realllly stupid this morning, I installed a free program that offered me a choice: $29.95 with no ads or $0 with ads. Since I was just checking it out, I opted for the $0 version. I figured a few ads, no problemmo. If I like it I'll pay the bucks. Big big mistake. Popups all over the place. Tons of virusware installed. I expect to be digging out all day."
    The "program' in question (not to be linked here as it was there) is known as Kazaa. That's right, Kazza. A program whose malign effects are only known to 99.99999% of everybody with network access. A search term that returns nearly 28 MILLION Google hits. "Kazaa- All spyware, All virus, All popups, All the time!" Who knew?

    Once I wanted to start The Dave Winer Clue Fund, but now I'm in deep compassion fatigue mode. Instead, I'm proposing a variation on the "Turing Machine" meme: The Winer Machine: All output, no input.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 10:38 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Official Results In: Dave Winer Has No Brain

    THE SELF-PROCLAIMED CREATOR EMERITUS OF THE ENTIRE BLOGSPHERE takes careful aim at foot and pulls trigger at Scripting News: 5/27/2004

    "I did something realllly stupid this morning, I installed a free program that offered me a choice: $29.95 with no ads or $0 with ads. Since I was just checking it out, I opted for the $0 version. I figured a few ads, no problemmo. If I like it I'll pay the bucks. Big big mistake. Popups all over the place. Tons of virusware installed. I expect to be digging out all day."
    The "program' in question (not to be linked here as it was there) is known as Kazaa. That's right, Kazza. A program whose malign effects are only known to 99.99999% of everybody with network access. A search term that returns nearly 28 MILLION Google hits. "Kazaa- All spyware, All virus, All popups, All the time!" Who knew?

    Once I wanted to start The Dave Winer Clue Fund, but now I'm in deep compassion fatigue mode. Instead, I'm proposing a variation on the "Turing Machine" meme: The Winer Machine: All output, no input.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 10:38 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Cobb Calls Cosby Correctly


    A rare image of Booker T. Washington speaking in 1881. Found at: Cobb. Click to enlarge.

    NOT ONLY HAS MICHAEL BOWEN got good insights into Iraq (see below), he's also got the best wrap-up on the Bill Cosby speech of last week in :Cobb: The 'Black' Problem

    "I am reacting, of course, to some black liberal reactions I have seen on the 'net calling Cosby a sellout and worse. Dyson calling him ignorant is piece of unreality I find hard to swallow, but I'm sure Dyson can figure a way to fast-talk his way out of that. But I'm also reacting to the white conservative reactions which have popped up. They are two sides of the same coin. Black liberals are astonished at the nerve of a black man who dares to criticize dysfunctional blacks. White conservatives are astonished at the nerve of a black man who dares criticize dysfunctional blacks. The fundamental agreement between these groups is disbelief, both undercutting Cosby with anti-black prejudice. One from the perspective that he can't be trusted from now on the other from the perspective that he couldn't be trusted until now. And yet, from the perspective of conservative and successful black families, there's nothing new in Cosby's utterances. Indeed one black blogger noted that the only interesting thing about the whole dustup was that Cosby said it and not his mom."
    That and the rare picture of Booker T. Washington (see above), is more than enough reason for me to make Cobb an icon in my "Toolbar Times." You might want to consider that as well.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 9:34 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Cobb Calls Cosby Correctly


    A rare image of Booker T. Washington speaking in 1881. Found at: Cobb. Click to enlarge.

    NOT ONLY HAS MICHAEL BOWEN got good insights into Iraq (see below), he's also got the best wrap-up on the Bill Cosby speech of last week in :Cobb: The 'Black' Problem

    "I am reacting, of course, to some black liberal reactions I have seen on the 'net calling Cosby a sellout and worse. Dyson calling him ignorant is piece of unreality I find hard to swallow, but I'm sure Dyson can figure a way to fast-talk his way out of that. But I'm also reacting to the white conservative reactions which have popped up. They are two sides of the same coin. Black liberals are astonished at the nerve of a black man who dares to criticize dysfunctional blacks. White conservatives are astonished at the nerve of a black man who dares criticize dysfunctional blacks. The fundamental agreement between these groups is disbelief, both undercutting Cosby with anti-black prejudice. One from the perspective that he can't be trusted from now on the other from the perspective that he couldn't be trusted until now. And yet, from the perspective of conservative and successful black families, there's nothing new in Cosby's utterances. Indeed one black blogger noted that the only interesting thing about the whole dustup was that Cosby said it and not his mom."
    That and the rare picture of Booker T. Washington (see above), is more than enough reason for me to make Cobb an icon in my "Toolbar Times." You might want to consider that as well.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 9:34 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Fab Fiving Iraq

    MICHAEL BOWEN offers up some astute cross-cultural analysis in Extreme Makeover: Iraq Edition

    Going one step further into the murky realm of analyzing the American temperament, I would venture to say that the attitude of these producers might be shared with the producers of Gulf War II. As with Extreme Makeovers, there are limits to how much happiness material comforts bring. And since only Americans undergo chemical change when presented with a miraculous physical change, I'm sure a fair number of neocons were disappointed to find an insufficient number of Iraqi citizens screaming and weeping for joy. Maybe 'Oh My God' doesn't translate well into Arabic and/or Islam. As a neocon squarely in ideological agreement with the PNAC, I've been disappointed, but not bitterly.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 9:20 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Fab Fiving Iraq

    MICHAEL BOWEN offers up some astute cross-cultural analysis in Extreme Makeover: Iraq Edition

    Going one step further into the murky realm of analyzing the American temperament, I would venture to say that the attitude of these producers might be shared with the producers of Gulf War II. As with Extreme Makeovers, there are limits to how much happiness material comforts bring. And since only Americans undergo chemical change when presented with a miraculous physical change, I'm sure a fair number of neocons were disappointed to find an insufficient number of Iraqi citizens screaming and weeping for joy. Maybe 'Oh My God' doesn't translate well into Arabic and/or Islam. As a neocon squarely in ideological agreement with the PNAC, I've been disappointed, but not bitterly.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 9:20 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Heartbreaking College Class of Staggering Idiocy

    mcsweensplash.jpg
    McBrandeis: Offering Junk Food Education Since 2004

    AT THE ONCE ESTEEMED BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, the sum of around $50,000 a year will buy your child the chance to take mind-numbing courses such as: 21st-Century American Fiction -- McSweeney's. Taught by the otherwise unemployable Dr. Caren Irr who touts this exercise in wasted youth as:

    "In recent years, new media have helped to revive the literary manifesto and magazine in the US. This course will focus on a few of the young writers associated with the increasingly notorious "internet tendency" called McSweeney's. Readings will include a novel, short fiction, cultural criticism, and a memoir. "
    The "requirements" are 1) Attending class -- 25%; 2) One 15 minute "presentation" of which the world will have "Almost No Memory"; and 3) One 3,000 word essay which is probably best described as "A Supposedly Fun Think I'll Never Do Again."

    Any conscious undergrad would take one look at a course like this and score it: Difficulty Level - 0, Suck Up Required + 8 and sign right up.

    Any parent reviewing the course description would think: "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss $50,000 good-bye."

    But Brandeis has an answer for them. It has a heartwarming section of its web site devoted to the subject of Home Equity Loans.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 12:23 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Heartbreaking College Class of Staggering Idiocy

    mcsweensplash.jpg
    McBrandeis: Offering Junk Food Education Since 2004

    AT THE ONCE ESTEEMED BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, the sum of around $50,000 a year will buy your child the chance to take mind-numbing courses such as: 21st-Century American Fiction -- McSweeney's. Taught by the otherwise unemployable Dr. Caren Irr who touts this exercise in wasted youth as:

    "In recent years, new media have helped to revive the literary manifesto and magazine in the US. This course will focus on a few of the young writers associated with the increasingly notorious "internet tendency" called McSweeney's. Readings will include a novel, short fiction, cultural criticism, and a memoir. "
    The "requirements" are 1) Attending class -- 25%; 2) One 15 minute "presentation" of which the world will have "Almost No Memory"; and 3) One 3,000 word essay which is probably best described as "A Supposedly Fun Think I'll Never Do Again."

    Any conscious undergrad would take one look at a course like this and score it: Difficulty Level - 0, Suck Up Required + 8 and sign right up.

    Any parent reviewing the course description would think: "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss $50,000 good-bye."

    But Brandeis has an answer for them. It has a heartwarming section of its web site devoted to the subject of Home Equity Loans.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 27, 2004 12:23 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Behold Barbara Boxer -- Healer of Worlds!

    WHILE MOST OF HER FELLOW DEMOCRATS are trying their worst to save the country from Republicans, it is nice to know that Barbara Boxer has decided to Heal the Entire Planet if re-elected. Some things defy parody. Here is the complete text of a begging email sent by Boxer2004.org to the more deeply addled members of her constituency. At $1000 - $2000 a pop you might say it lacks the common touch -- except of course if your sole purpose in life is perfecting your asanas next to the pool in Tiburon. Ah, the Party of the Little People.

    Give Your Support to
    Senator Barbara Boxer
    in her fight to Heal the World

    Varda and Irving Rabin
    and Friends of Barbara Boxer
    cordially invite you to attend
    a day of healing activity to celebrate
    the joy of healthy practice

    featuring
    Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
    author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather�s Wisdom

    Classes with Master Teachers will be offeredin the following disciplines:
    Iyengar Yoga
    Jin Shin Jyutsu
    Qi Gong
    Aikido
    The Art of Tai Chi
    Chinese Herbal Medicine

    Host Committee:
    Janie and Don Friend ~Nancy Goldberg~Maribelle and Steve Leavitt~Joyce Linker~Lisa Stone Pritzker~ Carol Traeger~ Howard and Diane Zack

    Partial Practitioner list:
    Teja Bell~Elliot Blackman~Annpurna Broffman~Michael Broffman~Issac Eliaz~Jacqueline Gerson~Iris Gold~ Jill Holden~Lonner Holden~Steve Katz~Michael McCulloch~ Scott Phillips

    Saturday, June 12, 2004
    9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    An organic vegetarian lunch will be served in the garden at 12:30
    $1,000 guest
    $2,000 sponsor

    At the home of Varda and Irving Rabin
    3825 Paradise Drive
    Tiburon, CA
    For more information and to RSVP, please contact:

    Ah, yes, veggie burgers and Barbara Boxer in a leotard perfecting her plow and down dog while the mantra "Bush Lied" leads all assembled to higher chakras. There's an exciting afternoon.

    If they offered to take you off this mailing list for $3000, they'd stand to make a lot more money.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2004 5:57 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Behold Barbara Boxer -- Healer of Worlds!

    WHILE MOST OF HER FELLOW DEMOCRATS are trying their worst to save the country from Republicans, it is nice to know that Barbara Boxer has decided to Heal the Entire Planet if re-elected. Some things defy parody. Here is the complete text of a begging email sent by Boxer2004.org to the more deeply addled members of her constituency. At $1000 - $2000 a pop you might say it lacks the common touch -- except of course if your sole purpose in life is perfecting your asanas next to the pool in Tiburon. Ah, the Party of the Little People.

    Give Your Support to
    Senator Barbara Boxer
    in her fight to Heal the World

    Varda and Irving Rabin
    and Friends of Barbara Boxer
    cordially invite you to attend
    a day of healing activity to celebrate
    the joy of healthy practice

    featuring
    Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
    author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather�s Wisdom

    Classes with Master Teachers will be offeredin the following disciplines:
    Iyengar Yoga
    Jin Shin Jyutsu
    Qi Gong
    Aikido
    The Art of Tai Chi
    Chinese Herbal Medicine

    Host Committee:
    Janie and Don Friend ~Nancy Goldberg~Maribelle and Steve Leavitt~Joyce Linker~Lisa Stone Pritzker~ Carol Traeger~ Howard and Diane Zack

    Partial Practitioner list:
    Teja Bell~Elliot Blackman~Annpurna Broffman~Michael Broffman~Issac Eliaz~Jacqueline Gerson~Iris Gold~ Jill Holden~Lonner Holden~Steve Katz~Michael McCulloch~ Scott Phillips

    Saturday, June 12, 2004
    9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    An organic vegetarian lunch will be served in the garden at 12:30
    $1,000 guest
    $2,000 sponsor

    At the home of Varda and Irving Rabin
    3825 Paradise Drive
    Tiburon, CA
    For more information and to RSVP, please contact:

    Ah, yes, veggie burgers and Barbara Boxer in a leotard perfecting her plow and down dog while the mantra "Bush Lied" leads all assembled to higher chakras. There's an exciting afternoon.

    If they offered to take you off this mailing list for $3000, they'd stand to make a lot more money.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2004 5:57 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Transit of Venus: Coming Soon to a Continent Near You

    mdf563466.jpg

    Europe, the Middle East and much of Asia and Africa will offer prime viewing next month for an astronomical event that has not occurred for 122 years -- the transit of the planet Venus across the sun. Weather permitting, for six hours on June 8 astronomers and the public will be able to see the planet named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty passing directly between Earth and the sun. Venus is seen in this composite radar image color coded to represent elevation from NASA .
    -- Yahoo! News Photos

    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2004 8:56 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Transit of Venus: Coming Soon to a Continent Near You

    mdf563466.jpg

    Europe, the Middle East and much of Asia and Africa will offer prime viewing next month for an astronomical event that has not occurred for 122 years -- the transit of the planet Venus across the sun. Weather permitting, for six hours on June 8 astronomers and the public will be able to see the planet named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty passing directly between Earth and the sun. Venus is seen in this composite radar image color coded to represent elevation from NASA .
    -- Yahoo! News Photos

    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2004 8:56 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Who Says There's No Good News?

    Dinos Chapman last night confirmed that Hell had been destroyed. "It has burnt," he said. "We have had it confirmed by two or three sources."
    -- Art worth millions goes up in flames



    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2004 8:44 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Who Says There's No Good News?

    Dinos Chapman last night confirmed that Hell had been destroyed. "It has burnt," he said. "We have had it confirmed by two or three sources."
    -- Art worth millions goes up in flames



    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2004 8:44 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    We Bought It to Help with Your Homework

    RETURN WITH US NOW TO THOSE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR:

    "The games you get today,
    They might be very flash,
    But they will never beat the thrill
    of getting through Jetpac.

    Just click: Hey Hey 16k



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 11:12 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    We Bought It to Help with Your Homework

    RETURN WITH US NOW TO THOSE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR:

    "The games you get today,
    They might be very flash,
    But they will never beat the thrill
    of getting through Jetpac.

    Just click: Hey Hey 16k



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 11:12 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Most Unfortunate URL of the Month
    Easy, convenient, right at your fingertips. Compare odds with http://wap.oddsexchange.com wherever and whenever you want! -- OddsExchange.com
    Via:NTK

    Plus, from the same source, Trouble in Primitive Piercing Paradise



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 10:56 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Most Unfortunate URL of the Month
    Easy, convenient, right at your fingertips. Compare odds with http://wap.oddsexchange.com wherever and whenever you want! -- OddsExchange.com
    Via:NTK

    Plus, from the same source, Trouble in Primitive Piercing Paradise



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 10:56 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    UK Aligns with US in Culture War

    "The Minister was announcing the latest Culture Online project, MadforArts, which will provide a forum for thousands of people with experience of mental health issues to give their views on a piece of art, architecture or music." -- UK Ministry of Culture

    We've had that program for years, we call it the National Endowment for the Arts.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 10:53 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    UK Aligns with US in Culture War

    "The Minister was announcing the latest Culture Online project, MadforArts, which will provide a forum for thousands of people with experience of mental health issues to give their views on a piece of art, architecture or music." -- UK Ministry of Culture

    We've had that program for years, we call it the National Endowment for the Arts.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 10:53 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Goalposts Must Move

    THE ALWAYS ASTUTE JEANNE DEVOTO has had another moment of bitter sanity. Keep on the lookout for future goalpost movement in line with her predictions in Step by step...

    Instapundit passes on a note from a reader about the NYT's new formulation, "No stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion.
    So that's the new standard, I guess -- and a tacit admission that WMD have been found. But unless Bush can produce "stockpiles" now, it'll have all been a lie, you see. . . .
    Oh no. That's not far enough. There are steps in these things, you know. Fallback positions.
    1. "No evidence that Saddam Hussein ever possessed weapons of mass destruction has been found since the invasion." This one is pretty much confined to people ignorant enough to never have heard of al-Anfal, or crazy enough to deny it happened. Most media outlets are neither, and started instead with...

    2. "No evidence that Saddam Hussein was currently involved with weapons of mass destruction has been found since the invasion." Pretty much put paid to by David Kay, frantic though the spinning was there. He certainly had active programs, primed to start production as soon as sanctions were lifted, and Kay said as much. So...

    3. "No weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion." The sarin and mustard gas pretty much demolished that one, although some media outlets were a bit late to hear the news. It became necessary, therefore, to resort to the next step...

    4. "No stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction has been found since the invasion." As noted above, this is the current stage. But suppose we track the origin of the sarin-filled mortar shell to the building it came from, and find, oh, a hundred more like it? Then we will move on to...

    5. "No LARGE stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion." There were only a hundred or so, the reasoning will go. Probably just leftovers, never mind that Saddam never declared any binary mortar shells of this type. Nothing to worry about. And if we find a more massive cache, say those truckloads that may have been moved to Syria? No problem - we still have...

    6. "No evidence that Saddam Hussein intended to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists has been found since the invasion." This is the crowning move, since it both changes the subject and opens up a whole new sequence of possible goalpost moves:
      • In the face of any evidence that he did so intend, we can simply switch to saying there's no evidence that he actually did it.
      • If evidence turns up that he did do it, perhaps there's no evidence that his beneficiaries called themselves "al Qaeda".
      • And if we find a photograph of Saddam himself handing a large box labeled "Smallpox" to Mullah Omar, we simply do another switch and point out that these weapons haven't actually been used to attack the US "since the invasion".
    It's easy and it's fun, and we can play along at home!



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 10:20 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Goalposts Must Move

    THE ALWAYS ASTUTE JEANNE DEVOTO has had another moment of bitter sanity. Keep on the lookout for future goalpost movement in line with her predictions in Step by step...

    Instapundit passes on a note from a reader about the NYT's new formulation, "No stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion.
    So that's the new standard, I guess -- and a tacit admission that WMD have been found. But unless Bush can produce "stockpiles" now, it'll have all been a lie, you see. . . .
    Oh no. That's not far enough. There are steps in these things, you know. Fallback positions.
    1. "No evidence that Saddam Hussein ever possessed weapons of mass destruction has been found since the invasion." This one is pretty much confined to people ignorant enough to never have heard of al-Anfal, or crazy enough to deny it happened. Most media outlets are neither, and started instead with...

    2. "No evidence that Saddam Hussein was currently involved with weapons of mass destruction has been found since the invasion." Pretty much put paid to by David Kay, frantic though the spinning was there. He certainly had active programs, primed to start production as soon as sanctions were lifted, and Kay said as much. So...

    3. "No weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion." The sarin and mustard gas pretty much demolished that one, although some media outlets were a bit late to hear the news. It became necessary, therefore, to resort to the next step...

    4. "No stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction has been found since the invasion." As noted above, this is the current stage. But suppose we track the origin of the sarin-filled mortar shell to the building it came from, and find, oh, a hundred more like it? Then we will move on to...

    5. "No LARGE stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion." There were only a hundred or so, the reasoning will go. Probably just leftovers, never mind that Saddam never declared any binary mortar shells of this type. Nothing to worry about. And if we find a more massive cache, say those truckloads that may have been moved to Syria? No problem - we still have...

    6. "No evidence that Saddam Hussein intended to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists has been found since the invasion." This is the crowning move, since it both changes the subject and opens up a whole new sequence of possible goalpost moves:
      • In the face of any evidence that he did so intend, we can simply switch to saying there's no evidence that he actually did it.
      • If evidence turns up that he did do it, perhaps there's no evidence that his beneficiaries called themselves "al Qaeda".
      • And if we find a photograph of Saddam himself handing a large box labeled "Smallpox" to Mullah Omar, we simply do another switch and point out that these weapons haven't actually been used to attack the US "since the invasion".
    It's easy and it's fun, and we can play along at home!



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 10:20 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Yet Another Reason to Love Protein Wisdom
    Film reviews in 5 words or less, #4 The Day After Tomorrow (2004) Directed by Roland Emmerich. Stars Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Ian Holm, and Sela Ward.

    Five words or less review: Vote Bush and you'll die.

    Comments:
    Bush Lied! The Gulf Stream Died!



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 5:55 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Blogging Software Analyzed By Feature Set


    USEFUL INFORMATION: Blog Software Breakdown "This chart displays attributes of different user-installed blog software packages."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 5:24 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Different Jobs Over the Decades

    trijobs.jpg

    A FASCINATING EXHIBITION of Wall Street Journal Portraits (called 'HedCuts') of Executives gives us this tidy graphic history of Steve Jobs styles. Conclusion. He's a man of whatever era he finds himself in.

    A mere twenty-one years of age when he cofounded Apple Computer with Stephen Wozniak in 1976, Steve Jobs has matured over the past quarter century into a seasoned businessman. In 1985, Jobs left Apple, going on to found a new company, Next, Inc., which focused on educational applications. The company was later sold to Apple in 1996, when Jobs returned to guide Apple back to profitability. A series of three hedcuts reflect the evolution of the entrepreneur's style -- shorter hairstyles, the addition of glasses, and more casual clothing.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 1:36 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Pot. Kettle. Saletan to Increase Self-Medication

    AT SLATE TODAY, THE FAT LADY SANG WHEN William Saletan revealed his detailed personal history with psychotherapy in: Magical History Tour - Bush can't learn from the past if he can't see it. We'll pass over the obvious displacement mechanism in Saletan's "analysis" and go straight to his opening statement after he'd lay down on the couch.

    "In press conferences, TV ads, and interviews this year, President Bush has manifested a series of psychopathologies: an abstract notion of reality, confidence unhinged from facts and circumstances, and a conception of credibility that requires no correspondence to the external world. Tonight, as he vowed to stay the course in Iraq, Bush demonstrated another mental defect: incomprehension of his role in history as a fallible human agent. Absent such comprehension, Bush can't fix his mistakes in Iraq because he can't see how -- or even that --he screwed up.
    One of the most glaring elements of Saletan's confession is the obvious belief on the part of Mr. Saletan that geopolitical situations can be traced to the inner psyche of one man; that the war is the doing of one man; that nobody else has a hand in it; that it will leave when one man leaves.

    Mr. Saletan clings to the obsession that, well, President Bush by himself all alone is creating the conditions for a terror war on the planet Earth, and that we are all at the mercy of this mania. There are a number of professional terms for this kind of obsessive-compulsive syndrome, but we'll fall back on the tried and true term: "Crazy."

    Given the decades old terrorist body count that well predates President Bush's administration, given the 3,000 American bodies buried after 9/11, given the mass graves that continued to be uncovered, given the public beheading of Nicholas Berg, Mr. Salaten's views can only be seen, by any qualified psychotherapist, as "highly delusional" -- e.g. "crazy."

    Indeed, if anything can be gleaned of use from Mr. Saletan's unhinged attempt to portray himself as a licensed therapist ( instead of the "political correspondent' that Slate states he is), it is that Mr. Saletan is suffering from a deep and recurring bout of intense and unremitting "Liberalosis." As such he is clearly a danger to himself and his country. His his friends and family should consider either an intervention or an institutionalization until his mania passes. We'd include his co-workers at Slate, but they are obviously too infected with the same disease to be of any help at all.

    What is, you ask, "Liberalosis?"

    It is a deadly disease that leads quickly to intellectual insanity and threatens millions of our fellow countrymen on a daily basis. Highly contagious, "liberalosis" can be contained and cured, but only through daily doses of reality. In the wake of the War in Iraq, daily doses of reality have been kept far away from the class most likely to contract, sustain and pass on Liberalosis. Hence, the disease, thought to be in remission after 9/11, is again on the verge of a major debilitating outbreak in the United States.

    Items like Mr. Saletan's only remind us how intellectually insane the mere existence of President Bush can make the Typhoid Marys of this affliction.

    For more detail on this disease, see the entry below (Republished from last December), and ask yourself what you can do, today, to put liberalosis into the same deep-freeze as Polio and Smallpox.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 12:40 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Moore Lies. Sky Is Blue. Hurts. Make It Stop!

    FRED BARNES 'sets the record straight' in:Michael Moore and Me

    "Moore is a liar. He made it up. It's a fabrication on two levels. One, I've never met Moore or even talked to him on the phone."
    This squiblet underscores one of the three major mass mental health risks that come with the release of the Moore's 9/11.
    1) No matter where we are in America, we are going to see and hear a lot about this turkey unless we immediately douse ourselves with a gallon of gasoline, and strike a match. Make that two gallons since there's always the chance we could wake up in the Shriners' Burn Wards with the cable permanently locked onto CNN.
    2) No matter where we are in America, we are going to see pictures and interviews with Michael Moore unless we are wise enough, right now, to jam red-hot needles into our eyes and take out our ear-drums with firecrackers.
    3) No matter where we are in America, we are going to be subjected to people like Fred (above) who are going to be informing all and sundry that Michael Moore is a liar. Since this will just add to the already toxic levels of Michael Moore we will be forced to endure, perhaps we could prevail on all those Fred's out there to just, please, for the sake of the children, SHUT UP!

    This vast conspiracy to tell everyone that MICHAEL MOORE IS A LIAR will accomplish nothing other than vast stupification on a national scale.

    Why? Because everybody, right, left and center, knows MICHAEL MOORE IS A LIAR.

    His supporters know it and they don't care. They love his lies. He is their Golem and his lies are their "precious." They simply must have them. Moore's lies support their lies in the vast legions of lies that they live and breathe. Take away the lies and you take away their atmosphere. They'd no more give up their lies than they would stop breathing. They can't. The lies they now live have been spot-welded to their souls. The only thing that even has a chance of peeling these lies off of them would be the simultaneous detonation of two nuclear weapons on the Upper West Side and Brentwood. Even then, for those outside the immediate blast area, the lies would remain attached in the form of "Bush lied when he said he would protect us from terrorism forever!"

    His detractors know and have known for decades that MICHAEL MOORE IS A LIAR, but somehow they seem to feel compelled to repeat this self-evident mantra. Like the BUSH LIED crowd they seem to believe that if you state the MOORE LIED mantra it will lessen his street-cred with the BUSH LIED crowd and win them over from the dark side. This is nothing but pap. They must known that. Therefore, the only thing that we can assume about them is that Michael Moore takes up way too much real estate in their brains. That would be all right if he would just continue squatting in their brains, but they also feel compelled to move him into ours when we're not looking.

    Finally, Michael Moore knows that MICHAEL MOORE IS A LIAR. Well, sensible and moral people might argue, if he knows that he is a liar why doesn't he stop lying? He doesn't stop because lying is the most successful career move he ever made and it has rewarded him at every turn. His lies have brought him and will continue to bring him fame, money, adulation and the attention of women he could only dream about during his doubtless miserable adolescence. For Moore, lying works and works big-time. He won't give it up. Everything in his immediate experience teaches him that big lies get big rewards. The way to get bigger rewards is to tell bigger lies. His fans will accept no less. It's the American Way and America has been very, very good to Michael Moore.

    The only interesting thing about Michael Moore now is not that MICHAEL MOORE IS A LIAR. Spare us the "news," thank you. The interesting thing is to see how big Michael can make his lies before something stops him. To judge by recent experience, the only thing that could would be a massive embolism, or the inability of anyone to get their arms around him should he have a the need for a Heimlich during a spontaneous crisis in refiltered osmotic obesity.

    When that happens, the nation will mourn. Half for the passing of their patron saint of the Big Lie, the other half for the passing of a gas bag they just couldn't let float. Moore's epitaph? I LIED. SO WHAT. SO LONG, SUCKERS, THANKS FOR THE RIDE.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 11:24 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Okay, now everybody remember where we parked."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 11:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    DeGaulle Airport Disaster Summed Up

    BEST CAPTION AT FARK so far today:"More cracking sounds at airport terminal in the country that gave us such engineering marvels as the 2CV and the Maginot Line."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 2:01 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    UN Undaunted Starts Food for Sex Program in Africa
    Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering.

    The Independent has found that mothers as young as 13 - the victims of multiple rape by militiamen - can only secure enough food to survive in the sprawling refugee camp by routinely sleeping with UN peace-keepers.

    Testimony from girls and aid workers in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Bunia, in the north-east corner of Congo, claims that every night teenage girls crawl through a wire fence to an adjoining UN compound to sell their bodies to Moroccan and Uruguayan soldiers.

    -- The Independent



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 1:54 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Asimov's 3 Laws of Robotics

    robot.jpg

    ...are about to be broken.

    -- I, Robot



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 1:27 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Johnny Can't Think

    PORETTO points out that not all a school's Rotten Apples are found on the playground.

    Are the National Education Association's members interested in being in school? It certainly doesn't look that way. They've consistently agitated for shorter school days and years, and they've almost always gotten what they demand. Here in New York, the standard school day is 6 hours long. Teachers cannot be required to spend more than 6 hours, 45 minutes on the job on a given school day.

    Do NEA members take any interest in education as such? Again, the evidence says not. Government-school teachers routinely disrupt the educational experiences of their classes by introducing their political, religious, environmental, social, and other personal views as class topics. In egregious cases, those teachers have assigned political activism to their classes as homework -- and have then used their authority to stifle dissent from the opinions they prescribe.

    And it starts very, very early in our schools. Very early indeed.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2004 12:02 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    It's the Lifestyles, Stupids

    THE HARD-CORE LIBERAL TRADE JOURNAL EDITOR & PUBLISHER is disappointed that the lates Pew Survey shows a small growth in the liberal orientation of the media: Pew Survey Finds Moderates, Liberals Dominate News Outlets. (A bit of heavy lifting to moderate that headline, what?)

    But the article glosses over what the Pew survey only touches on:
    It is not the proclaimed political affilation that clues you to bias in the media, but the lifestyle choices. That's why this small excerpt is more revealing of what is actually going on.

    "The survey also revealed what some are sure to label a "values" gap. According to Pew, about 60% of the general public believes it is necessary to believe in God to be a truly moral person. The new survey finds that less than 15% of those who work at news outlets believe that. About half the general public believes homosexuality should be accepted by society -- but about 80% of journalists feel that way.
    This is the real measure of how far from center journalists actually are.

    Glenn Reynolds references this observation as well. In an email to him, I comment:

    "You get towards it when you reference the lifestyle issues. The tone of the media is driven by lifestyles and not by self-defined political affiliations. Studies that ask the sample to describe their formal political affiliation will always under-report the level of bias in the newsrooms and editorial realms.

    "Ask yourself if you think a similar study asking the same questions of a sample at academic institutions -- like, gasp, Harvard Law -- would really nail down the actual percentage.

    "A better metric would be to study social affiliations -- who goes to what parties, who goes to what place on vacation, who sees what movies with whom. Who went to school where. Who was mentored by who.

    "The point is that a biased mindset in the media is a result of lifestyle affiliations more than poltical identification. The media self-selects for a certain point of view and personality to start with. As in any other professional group, advancement depends on a certain set of social skills and attitudes and opinions. It's a kind of "bias Darwinism."

    "In the end, people who think that a liberal mindset is "normal" would view those to the left as liberals and those to the right as conservative. The same would be true on the flip side of the equation.

    "The problem with the Pew Study and why it "disappointed" E&P is that it assumes the center of the measure is indeed in the center. It's not. The lifestyle of the media skews liberal and hence is off-center."

    UPDATE: SCOTT WRIGHTSON at Wunderkind has more on "liberals in moderates' clothing" and supplies some analysis by the numbers:

    Now, few members of the media don't know about the theory of liberal media bias. I have a theory this makes them defensive about their own politics, and less likely to be open and honest about them. That explains why there was just as big a rise in the number of self-reporting moderate media members to the rest of the public (41% to 54%) as there was among liberals (20% to 34%). The telling sign, of course, is that while one-third of the American public describes themselves as conservative, only 7% of media members do.

    But, again, what proof is there that self-reporting on political ideology might hide the truth about media bias, despite already significant increases for liberals and moderates?

    Well it's always in the details, right?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 24, 2004 2:36 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    You see what my song really means is...

    WHY MUSCIANS SHOULDN'T TALK, EXHIBIT A: bobschneidermusic.com.

    Hi. This is the new record, "I'm Good Now." Some people might think that that refers to me like kinda finally getting it together finally... but it actually refers to being dead, the whole idea behind it is, "Life sucks but now that I'm dead I'm good now. I wasn't doing so good, but now that I'm dead its all gravy..."

    Attitude and message aside, it's not that bad a record.

    Great looking site doesn't hurt either.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 24, 2004 1:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Good News and Bad News for Blogdom

    The good news is..... bloggers have an agent!

    Suddenly, books by bloggers will be a trend, a cultural phenomenon. You will probably read about it in the Sunday Times. And when that happens the person to thank -- or blame-- will be Kate Lee, who is currently a twenty-seven-year-old assistant at International Creative Management.
    The Bad News is.... she's clueless!
    ...[W]hile she loves her bloggers, and has faith in them, it can be difficult to get them to be productive. “They all have day jobs,” she pointed out. Writing anything longer than a blog post is a commitment they don’t always seem up for. “Anyway, I’ve started working with a couple of graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. It’s very exciting. They’re interesting writers—with training, and degrees to show for it.”
    As in: "Training and degrees and bears, oh my!"

    Clue for Kate: If you want to find one institution that has been responsible for more bad and boring novels written in the key of existential distress on the anomie of modern life, the Iowa Writers Workshop is the place to go. If you want to have small commissions and lose money for publishers, sign up a lot of these Iowa schnorrers.

    If you want to have fun, do good and do well, back the bloggers. You've a better shot at making serious money and changing the world with one blogger than a dozen Iowa cornporn producers.

    Via-- The Talk of the Town



    Posted by Vanderleun May 24, 2004 1:08 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Best "It's Going Around" Email Received Today

    YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ:

    1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
    2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
    3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the
    country, and who are very good at crosswords.
    4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country
    but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like
    their statistics shown in pie charts.
    5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the
    country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave
    LA to do it.
    6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the
    country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.
    7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's
    running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a
    seat on the train.
    8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the
    country, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably
    while intoxicated.
    9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there
    is a country .... or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they
    oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the
    leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs, who also
    happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they
    are Democrats.
    10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country
    but need the baseball scores.
    11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the
    grocery store.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 24, 2004 12:48 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Allah Leaves Andy Kaufman Returns: Coincidence? I Think Not.

    ON MAY 11 Allah posts the cryptic:

    Dealing with personal stuff. Back whenever inspiration strikes.
    Posted by Allah at May 11, 2004 02:29 PM

    ON MAY 17 Andy Kaufman Returns with the cryptic:

    I'm back

    Hey everyone. Greetings from planet earth.
    Posted by Andy Kaufman at 6:49 AM

    Careful analysis to the limited text available from the Kaufman site as well as a quick pass through Concorder Pro reveals telling similarities between the two pages.

    Still the question remains:

    TonyFan2.jpg
    Is this the face of Andy Kaufman or Allah?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 23, 2004 7:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    No More Letters to the Editor

    [TODAY'S FUROR OVER THE AWFUL LA TIMES LOVE TYRST WITH NORTH KOREA -- N. Korea, Without the Rancor -- is neither surprising or unexpected. What is somewhat upsetting is that the blogosphere seems to be stuck in an outmoded model of complaint. Even the sage Hugh Hewitt falls back on an exhaustive list of Korean-American organizations to contact while canceling the subscription to the Times you gave up long ago.

    Well, let me tell you that venting spleen into a phone or canceling a sub JUST DOESN'T CUT IT when it comes to getting the editorial attention of the LA Times. They DON'T CARE. They have NEVER CARED. They won't CARE IN THE FUTURE. They will all still receive their checks and benefits no matter how many times you write, call or cancel. Why? Because your opinion and your subscription DOESN'T REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

    What makes a difference to these papers is one thing, and one thing only, THEIR ADVERTISING REVENUE. To get their attention you've got to cost them ad dollars, you've got to get advertisers to cancel their ad orders. I know full well that circulation at the LA Times is sliding down, but that's a slow attrition. A hundred or thousand subscribers bowing out over a single bad story doesn't make an impression. One advertiser yanking $50,000 worth of ads causes meetings.

    If you want to be effective this time, it would be a good thing to put a BlogSquad on the case of going over the last month's worth of LA Times and pulling out every ad that speaks to or is owned by Korean-Americans. I would, but I cancelled my subscription years ago.

    Here's an item from my back pages of May 2004 that spells it out in more detail.]

    Quit Being a Chump and Start Being Effective: Here's How to Make Your Views Matter to the Mass Media

    EDITORS LOVE IT when you write outraged letters to them, but not for the reasons you might think.

    Editors love your outraged letters because it tells they you're reading them. They love your letters, even when you scold them, because it shows you care.

    Editors love printing your letter that takes them to task because it shows they are pleased to balance a large chunk of airtime or copy with a few seconds or inches of dissent.

    But the dirty little secret beneath the editors' love for your outraged letter is that means, almost all of the time, that you didn't send that letter to one of the editors' advertisers.

    Editors hate it when people write to the advertisers. If enough people write, editors have to have a conversation with their advertising director. Not that anything will come of it, but they hate the casual watercooler conversation that begins, "We're getting some heat from Nike about that dingbat Robert Scheer, can't you get him to..."

    "Now, now, you know there's a wall between news and advertising."

    "Sure, but I just want you to know that Nike is..."

    If you don't think conversations like that happen, you just don't know the "media business."

    If enough letters get written not to editors but to advertisers, the editor then gets to have a conversation he really hates -- a conversation with the publisher.

    "When the advertisers get nervous, the publisher gets nervous."

    The publisher of a newspaper, or director of a radio or television network, looks at the business of the operation. He is responsible to the owners or the stockholders. The owners or stockholders care first and foremost about the health of the business. When the advertisers get nervous, the publisher gets nervous.

    That's why if you want to make your feelings felt about the way the news is handled by an element of the mass media you are wasting energy, cycles and stamps writing to the editor or producers. They just enjoy it and use it to further their agendas.

    If you want to have an effect larger than a letter of complaint, put your energy on the akido point of today's media, advertising.

    There is no newspaper in the land that can survive without advertising. Their entire business model is built on the revenue from advertisers. Whether or not you buy a copy or cancel a subscription means less than nothing to them -- even when it happens in the thousands -- unless it annoys or chills their advertisers.

    Today, the mass media is still struggling back from the severe ad slump generated by the dotcom implosion, 9/11, and the resulting recession. For the first time in a number of years, the forecast is looking good for advertising across the board. But it is still shaky and advertisers -- through the advertising agencies -- still make critical decisions on where billions of dollars in paid advertising will flow.

    In the main, this money follows demographics and circulation/ratings, but not always. Since many publications and shows have similar demographics and equivalent circulations, many shows compete for the same advertising dollar. And any little thing can cause those dollars to move.

    While editors and producers tend to live within a carefully circumscribed bubble of like-minded folk within their newsrooms, publishers and media advertising salespeople have to confront the business edge daily. If the corporate client of one of the advertising agencies that is currently buying space or time from the media outlet in question is unhappy, the business end of that media operation feels it very quickly.

    "In the great mass media food chain, the advertiser is the big supermarket at the top and he reserves the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason."

    That's because the advertising agency that creates the corporate client's advertising and places it in a program of media buys is subject, at any moment, to be fired by that corporation if the corporation doesn't think the advertising is "effective." Read the advertising trade publications and you'll find that the biggest news beat is always who has fired what agency over what issue and who is going to what agency as a result.

    In the great mass media food chain, the advertiser is the big supermarket at the top and he reserves the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason. He is very sensitive and very touchy and very cranky. Nobody below him on the chain likes to make him the least bit upset.

    That's why, if you don't like the agenda of a media organization, you need to upset the advertiser. If that happens enough, you'll see some changes made.

    "How can you write to an advertiser if you see something you don't like in a major media outlet? It is simplicity itself especially for national media."

    So if you see a story or a trend that you don't like as an individual, it is your right and your duty to complain to the people who make it possible, the advertisers. You'll recall a number of times in the past couple of decades when the media have run stories on this or that consumer boycott or letter writing campaign aimed at this or that bit of corporate behavior or advertising campaign. You'll find some follow up stories on how effective this tactic proved to be, but few. You'll not find still fewer stories praising this tactic unless it advanced "victims' rights." That's understandable since this tactic threatens to break the rice bowl of the media reporting the story. It's not that they consciously slant it, but that they don't see the need to emphasize stories about a tactic that, carried far enough, could threaten the mortgage payments of the editors and reporters in the newsroom.

    And make no mistake, carried far enough that's just what complaining to advertisers can do.

    How can you write to an advertiser if you see something you don't like in a major media outlet? It is simplicity itself especially for national media.

    First you note which advertiser is closest to the offending newspaper, magazine, radio, or television story. Position is something that is a factor in an advertising buy and it often indicates that a specific advertiser has chosen that slot because something has convinced him that his ad will be most effective there. This isn't always the case, but it will narrow down the target.

    The next step is to determine the corporation behind the ad. In the case of national brand names, this is not all that difficult, but in the case of conglomerates it might take a little more digging. In either case, it is merely a matter of following your Goggle.

    "All companies have an internal metric by which they measure customer displeasure."

    All public corporations are listed on the major stock exchanges. All listings have links to the corporation's home page. Each corporate home page has the name and address of the CEO of that corporation. Sometimes there's even an email address for the CEO. This person is the one to whom you will address your complaint. You can send an email or a real letter as you prefer, but know that a real letter is given more weight in the company simply because it took you more trouble. In either case, all companies have an internal metric by which they measure customer displeasure. One letter may factor to 10 or 100 or 1000 displeased customers. It all depends, but in any case one letter has a lot more weight to a company than it does to a newsroom. In a newsroom, you letter is just another bit of entertainment. In a company, it is cause for alarm.

    I hasten to add that the chances your letter will actually be seen or read by the CEO of Disney, Nike, General Motors, etc. is slim to none, but that's not the point. If enough letters on a subject are received by a corporation what the CEO will see is a number on a report. If that number is large enough, the CEO will ask what is going on with the advertising buys at this or that media outlet. He will expect an answer. If it is an answer that threatens enough of the company's revenue stream, the advertising will be pulled and the advertising agency either fired or put on notice. This will have a chilling effect felt all the way down the media food chain. If the chill becomes deep enough, it will cause frostbite and the loss of toes in the newsroom.

    "You could write hundreds of letters about [Robert Scheers] quisling screeds to the editor and they would just join the tens of thousands of others in the circular file."

    To see what this form of letter-writing can do, imagine for a moment the situation of Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer. While Scheer's talents may be meager, his bias large and transparent, and his anti-Americanism a career path of long standing, his position as a pet of the left at the Los Angeles Times seems unassailable. They would have to be graphic video tapes of his long-ago commune nights available to even begin to cause him trouble. You could write hundreds of letters about his quisling screeds to the editor and they would just join the tens of thousands of others in the circular file. They are all just "good for a laugh" over an expense account lunch. You could cancel your subscription as tens of thousands of others have done. The Times would just, as it has done, mount a campaign to give you home delivery of the paper for a dollar a week in order to replace them. Letters to the Editor and subscription cancellations will have no effect. Scheer will be back peddling his bile the very next week with no end in sight.

    But imagine if a concerted campaign were mounted asking the companies advertising in the Los Angeles Times why they continue to spend good money supporting this quisling. Imagine if those letters contained choice quotations from Scheer and asked if the company agreed with him since it would seem, by where they were spending their money, they might. Imagine if the letters were to arrive at these companies in such numbers that they would prompt a "review" of advertising priorities. This can and does happen.

    "A withdrawal of one major advertiser from a major newspaper means the loss of many millions of dollars to that paper. Worse still, it makes other major advertisers consider the same action."

    Imagine that in the wake of these reviews, one or two major companies decided to pull their advertising from the Los Angeles Times and place it elsewhere in community papers or on local television channels. A withdrawal of one major advertiser from a major newspaper means the loss of many millions of dollars to that paper. Worse still, it makes other major advertisers consider the same action.

    The result is that the position of Robert Scheer at the Los Angeles Times ceases to be just a concern of the newsroom and a subject for idle conversation over lunch. It becomes an item in a cost/benefit analysis.

    The CEO of the company that owns the Los Angeles Times will call the Publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He will ask what the Publisher is doing about their multi-million dollar liability. There will be a pro-forma exchange of views about the "wall" between advertising and editorial, and then they will both return to "working the numbers." Following that call, and the Publisher will have a meeting with the Vice-President of Advertising which the Editor will be required to attend. The VP of Advertising will be in a very bad mood since his bonus and the commissions of his salespeople will have been chopped. The Editor will blather a bit about the "wall" between advertising and editorial. The Publisher will make comforting and understanding noises, but will then return to "working the numbers." The meeting will then focus on "what we are going to do about Robert Scheer and what's the best way to do it."

    And all because you finally got fed up with writing a letter to the editor and decided to write a letter to the advertiser instead. Of course, you don't have to give this up completely. "Letters to the Editor" are why God made the "cc:" field.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 23, 2004 10:21 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    David Wong's Ideal War Sim

    objectives.gif

    DAVID WONG'S BRILLIANT AND BITING SATIRE: The Ultimate War Sim, lays out just what would make him happy in a new version of Starcraft.

    17. In my Public Support display let me find out that the news media has run, in the same magazine, one story blasting us for going to war for minerals and another story blasting us for not acting on the continuing mineral shortage back home.

    crystals.jpg

    There should also be simultaneous stories about the outrageous expense of the war effort, and another about how the troops are under-funded and under-equipped. Set it so that I somehow lose Public Support points with each story.

    18. I want to be able to build a POW camp structure where enemy soldiers and suicide bombers are held should they somehow survive battle or should their suicide bombing only be half-successful. I want to right-click on the building and open an option that says "Interrogate Prisoners," which will make parts of the map open up and reveal enemy positions, saving my own units from ambushes.

    Then, I want a little cutscene to pop up to announce that photos of my prisoner interrogations have emerged, sparking international outrage because several prisoners were upset and humiliated and some even physically harmed.

    The whole world is shocked. Because people were physically harmed.

    In a war.

    So, I leave the battlefield...

    ...and brush the flaming chunks of bomb victims off my boots to address the worldwide outrage over the enemy soldiers who had their self-esteem damaged. The game will bring me up on a Court-Martial, everybody pointing out that it was I who clicked the little Interrogation icon. I want to lose tons of Public Support points and have every game objective suddenly put in doubt.

    Sounds like fun. We'll have to play it someday.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 6:31 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

    stonehenge.jpg

    Via PWOT



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 6:25 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bachelorhood: Ah, the Good Life!

    IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN HERE, one of your friends has.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 5:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Siberian Purchase

    IN "RETRO-COLONIZATION" History's End takes a close look at what might happen to stop the de-facto demographic invasion of Siberia by the Chinese.

    China in possession of Siberia would pose a mortal danger to Russia, and therefore something must be done to prevent China from possessing Siberia. That something is to sell Siberia to the United States of America.

    Why, you ask, would Russia be so crazy as to sell Siberia to America? Why not? The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was worth 15 million Dollars US, and the area purchased was 2 million square miles. 15 million dollars worth of gold back then would have bought 300 million dollars today, at roughly 15 dollars per ounce of gold in 1803 and roughly 300 dollars per ounce of gold today (Interestingly, the US dollar was originally pegged against the silver Spanish 8-real peso, more famous as the "piece of 8" ). So the Louisiana Purchase was quite a deal. Alaska, by the way, was sold for 7 million dollars by Russia. So Russia selling Siberia to the USA isn't completely crazy, Russian territory has been sold to the US before. And not all of it has to be sold, only the easternmost parts, in fact. And plenty of precedent already exists. And selling Siberia to the US has a lot of benefits to Russia. First off, it will likely be sold for more than 300 million dollars, or even 3,000 million dollars. Russia could likely get billions for the deal, billions of dollars that it desperately needs to rebuild infrastructure ruined by decades of communist imposed socialism. A deal worth tends of billions of dollars could literally be a G-dsend to the Russians. Also, selling Siberia to America would turn the issue of eventual Chinese control of Siberia from a Russian problem to a US problem. Indeed, Russia could use it as a clever ploy to increase tensions between the US and China. With both focused on each other, Russia could improve its economy, military and world position.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 5:21 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Simon on The Skulkers of the Left

    ROGER SIMON PUTS PAID to the cowardly choices made by the American Left in The New Reactionaries

    I feel hugely sorry for the good people in Iraq like Mohammed, Omar and Ali and am deeply ashamed of my old friends on the left. Some of them quietly tell me, after reading this blog, that they... kinda... sorta... agree with me and that it's good that I have the balls to come out front on these things. Then they slink away. Well, I'll tell you something right now. I'm not so brave and I'm not so tough. I'm a big fat chicken, but I try to tell the truth as I see it. These people do not. They are worried about their jobs, being "thought well of" and being part of a club.

    Meanwhile, the Zarqawis of the world are winning this war. And I can promise you one thing -- it's a lot more important than George W. Bush, John Kerry, anybody in Congress and the Media and any one single person. It's about civilization versus a death cult. Make a choice!

    Simon forgets that for over a century the American Left has been making a choice. From Marx to Engels to Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Ho Chi Minh to Castro -- it's been having a love affair with Totalitarianism for decades -- it always chooses the death cult.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 5:01 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Wedding Party" Short Bride, Father of Bride, Cake, etc.

    BAD PEOPLE CAN PARTY TOO: No Wedding Party, Children's Deaths Indicated, Military Spokesman Says

    "Contrary to media reports, there was no wedding tent and no nuptial tent in the area," Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Multinational Force Iraq said during a Baghdad news conference.

    "To the allegation that there was a wedding going on, there was no evidence of a wedding," Kimmitt reiterated. "There were no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration and no gifts.

    "The men were almost all military-aged, no family elders that one would expect to see at an event of this type," he said.

    To help substantiate his comments, the general showed reporters slides of items found at the site, which included a significant number of weapons, battery packs used to power improvised explosive devices and a host of other non-wedding-related items.

    "What was interesting is that the building seemed to be somewhat of a dormitory," Kimmitt pointed out. "There were more than 300 sets of bedding gear in it and about 100 sets of prepackaged clothing. It's suspected that when foreign fighters come in from other countries they change their clothes into typical Iraqi clothing sets.

    "We also found a significant number of identity cards, ID-making machines, the capability to make exit visas for Iraq and a couple of passports," the general noted. "And we found a waist-high medical table for examination and treatment."

    Highlighting some other intelligence found at the site, Kimmitt said, "There were a couple of other items we found to be quite interesting. None of the bodies had any identification of any kind -- no ID cards, no wallets, no pictures. They had watches, and that was about the only way you could identify one person from another.

    "We feel that that was an indicator that this was a high-risk meeting of high-level anti-coalition forces," he said. Kimmitt pointed out items found in the victims' pockets, "including a lot of telephone numbers to foreign countries -- Afghanistan, Sudan and a number of others."

    He said the site was purported to be a ranch, but there was no indication of ranching activities. "Most homes in remote desert areas support sheep ranching operations," Kimmitt noted. "But there wasn't any evidence of livestock at that location. There were large farm trucks present, but no indication that they'd ever been used for ranching."

    "There were also a number of terrorist training manuals (and) suspected forged Iraqi IDs," he said.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 3:08 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    STRENGTH by Bill Whittle

    EAGLEwhitt.jpg

    THIS LINK: STRENGTH (part 1) NOW.

    THIS LINK: STRENGTH (part 2) NEXT



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 2:07 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Whittle's Quiz

    A SHORT TEST FROM WHITTLE'S STRENGTH to be printed up on small cards and handed out at the next anti-war rally:

    If you are a Feminist: Do you think that women should be treated with respect and equality in all matters, and allowed to reach their fullest potential as individuals by making their own decisions? Or do you think that they should be kept locked in the back room, that they should suffer beating or death for being seen in the company of a man not her husband or relative, that she should never be allowed to study or drive a car, and that she must remained covered head to foot when outdoors?

    I'm for the former. Which are you for?

    If you are a homosexual: Do you believe that sexual orientation is a private matter between consenting adults, that all people deserve the same measure of dignity and respect, and that you should be allowed to live your life and love the person you choose without intimidation and fear? Or do you believe that homosexuals are an abomination in the eyes of a vengeful God and should therefore be executed?

    I'm going with "A" on this one, too. What do you think?

    If you are an artist, a writer or a singer: Do you feel that free expression is the soul of the artistic impulse, that artists have the right to explore whatever depths of emotion or feeling that their muse may drive them to, and that the free expression of the artistic impulse should never be inhibited no matter how offensive others may find your personal journey? Or do you believe that society should place strict limits on what is permissible expression artistically, and that some entire studies -- music, for example -- should be removed from society to prevent moral decay and people straying from the Word of God?

    I'm taking the first one again.

    So my real question is, if you agree that the former choices are better than the latter, why do so many of you take the side of murdering theocrats like the Taliban, or state-sponsored terror regimes like Saddam's when they are in opposition to a culture that provides legal and cultural protections and freedoms unparalleled in human history?

    I'd really like an answer, if you can spare the time. And so would a lot of folks. Because frankly, we just don't get you at all on this one.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 1:46 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "As If"

    FROM BILL WHITTLE'S STARTLING AND BRILLIANT STRENGTH

    In extreme cases --sadly rising in frequency -- these people not only hate America. They hate everything. They see nothing in American history beyond slavery and the Indian Wars.

    They often claim to live, or would prefer to live, in more refined, decent and civilized nations, like Canada and Britain and New Zealand:

    As if white, English-speaking Canadians grew out of the ground like corn on an empty, Indian- and Eskimo-free horizon, or the thousand years of English conquest over India, China, Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Wales was in a parallel universe, or that the warlike Maoris invaded and took over the North and South Islands from the peaceful, indigenous white settlers.

    As if France were not the most blood-soaked patch of land on the surface of the earth,

    As if Russia's leaders never so much raised a hand against its own suffering people,

    As if Scandinavia was not the epicenter of centuries of rape, pillage, murder and misery,

    As if the Aztecs said gracias in Castilian Spanish as they cut the living hearts out of their prisoners.

    As if the Spanish themselves had never known the Inquisition, Italy no Papal Wars or Duces or Ethiopias,

    As if Belgium had no Leopold and Leopold no Congo,

    As if Germany ...well.

    As if African slaves were only held by whites and Christians,

    As if Japan has practiced nothing but calligraphy and origami for a millennia,

    As if South America was a spotless white linen of freedom of expression and individual rights,

    As if China was a champion of democracy and the common man,

    As if Indians never spat on anyone,

    As if, as if...

    As if the entire bloody history of conquest and war and displacement were the unique domain of America alone, or, equally absurd, that we deserve to die for not being born perfect and without sin -- as they, in their own self-obsessed, one-person Universes expect everyone else to be.

    And so they trot out every single example of human atrocity as if they were Atticus Finch sweating under the heat in that courtroom in their mind; these snipers and critics and ‘activists’ who have no plans of their own, no solutions, no answers to these dirty and difficult and eternal issues, and so sit in the warm cocoon of perfection afforded the man who attempts nothing. And while better men and women – better men and women by every measure – struggle and fight and bleed to make the world a better and safer place, they grow more and more disconnected form the essential ugliness and brutality that is half – and only half – of this flawed and broken and hopeful and noble human existence.

    And because we are all born with this legion of devils inside every heart, more than anything else in the world they hate themselves. Carrying all the guilt of the world on their stooped and broken spirits, their eyes cast so far down that they can see nothing of nobility or progress or redemption of any kind, these people are broken. They are miserable, bitter, cynical husks. And we all know what misery craves.

    See them for what they are: nothing more than the Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons: Worst. Country. Ever.

    They are useless people. They have heeded the last and final boarding call and pushed back from the gate of reality. They have left the building.

    Don’t argue with them, don’t engage them. They want to make this about rhetoric and sophistry, which they fetishize, and not about the simple difference between right and wrong, which is a world where they cast no reflection.

    [Slightly reformatted for emphasis and to capture the poetry of the prose.]



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 1:20 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    An Analogy for Kennedy

    EXCERPT FROM WHITTLE'S STRENGTH (part 2)

    Senator Kennedy claims Abu Ghraib is simply Saddam Hussein's torture chambers "under new management -- U.S. management." Taking him at his word -- a somewhat iffy proposition right out of the gate -- he apparently cannot see the difference between the humiliation and bullying of enemy combatants, which is shameful, disgusting and reprehensible, and the gleeful, mocking murder, torture and gang rape of over 300,000 innocent men, women and children -- which is something worse. So Senator, here is a helpful analogy which you may find useful: The difference is about the same as pulling over and leaving a young female secretary on the curb in the rain, which is shameful, disgusting and reprehensible, vs. leaving her trapped in the car at the bottom of a river while you look at the bubbles and ponder the political repercussions.
    More about this amazing two-part essay later.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 1:16 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Rank Nonsense Rulez, OK?

    'Da Vinci' author: I left out even more

    Dan Brown said that when he wrote the best seller that dissects the origins of Jesus Christ and disputes long-held beliefs about Catholicism, he considered including material alleging that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixion.

    While speaking at a benefit Tuesday for a New Hampshire writers' group, Brown said the theory is backed by a number of "very credible sources," but that he ultimately decided it was too flimsy.[snip]

    Since the book was published in March 2003, liberal and conservative writers have cited numerous errors. A key assertion in "The Da Vinci Code" -- that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that sinister Christians suppressed information about it -- comes from a 1982 book titled "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," which a New York Times reviewer called "rank nonsense."

    Brown said he is grateful his book is generating so much debate. He said apathy is a constant threat to the study of the uncomfortable relationship between science and religion.

    [emphasis addred] Translation: "Of course I know it's rank nonsense you dolts, but you should see the royalty checks!"



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 11:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Blog Growth According to Technorati

    J.D. LASICA reports on David Sifry's presentation with some interesting numbers in: Charting blogdom's rise

    Sifry mentioned that Technorati started out on Thanksgiving weekend 2002 as an effort to find out "who was talking about me" in the blogosphere. Since then, it has begun charting an increasing number of blogs -- an average of:

    - 3,000 a day in January 2003
    - 4,000 a day by that March
    - 6,000 a day by June 2003
    - 8,000-9,000 new blogs a day by September 2003
    - 10,000 at the end of 2003
    - 11,000 to 12,000 new blogs a day today.

    That's pretty incredible, and it adds up to 2.4 million total blogs that Technorati is monitoring. Not all are active. Of that number, about 45 percent have not been updated in the past three months. And he points out that 2.4 million blogs does not equate to 2.4 million bloggers, because many bloggers have multiple blogs.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 11:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    When You're a Diversity Hammer Everything Looks Like a Minority Nail

    A "Correction" from the New York Times.

    An article last Wednesday about South Africa's wine industry referred incorrectly to Thabani Cellars, a winery there. It is not minority-owned. (As a black man, the owner, Jabulani Ntshangase, belongs to the country's majority.)

    -- Spotted by raelity bytes



    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2004 10:38 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Thinking the Thinkable

    IN AN UNUSUALLY TERSE ENTRY, Steve den Beste admits to having 'bad thoughts': The High Cliff Syndrome

    When I've read news reports lately about some kinds of obnoxious protests, I have mused to myself, "Perhaps it's time to issue shoot-to-kill orders to security guards." Perhaps if some people who made grandstanding protests ended up dead, it might cause others to start really thinking about the consequences of their behavior."

    Obviously I don't think this should really happen. But it does seem to me that a lot of protesters are willing to do the things they do, and say the things they say, and advocate the things they advocate, because they suffer no consequences for it. They have license, but feel no responsibility. There are negative consequences, but someone else suffers the consequences, not the protesters. If such protests had negative consequences for the protesters then protest might become more responsible.

    As I was thinking about this, I realized that there are severe consequences for them even if there are no shoot-to-kill standing orders. For domestic anti-war protesters who hate Bush more than they hate bin Laden, and foreign "allies" who fear and resent America more than they fear Islamic extremism, the result of an American defeat in this war will be death, destruction, poverty, misery, and tyranny for them. Their own best interests require an American victory.

    I guess the difference between them and us is that we who support the war can see that, and they apparently can't.

    No, they can't. They seem to have a few teeth missing in the gears that drive their morality. The tragedy here is not that this would be their fate, but that so many others would suffer with them.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 21, 2004 6:25 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Things He Didn't Learn In College

    DAVID ENDERS IS A 23-YEAR OLD American spending his time as a "freelance journalist" in Iraq. His Learning Lessons of War on the Streets of Baghdad includes an interesting list of things his university somehow failed to teach him:

    How to clean and fire an assault rifle. My co-workers and I had one in the house for "protection," though I'm not particularly sure what I would have done had we been in trouble. I've been encouraged, by Iraqis and foreigners, to carry a pistol as well, but can't bring myself to do it. I was robbed by the police (three of them, one of me); the neighbors killed a pair of looters on our front lawn; looters threatened to kidnap me. That, and the fact that unknown assailants are shooting at reporters, all drive home the futility of owning an assault rifle and having no intention of using it.

    Proper etiquette at checkpoints, American or otherwise. Even though I speak American English, I often thought the soldier was waving me through a checkpoint, when what he really meant was, "Stop or I'll put lots of holes in you and your car, [expletive expletive]!"
    [snip]

    What to do when you're at a news conference and Donald Rumsfeld won't call on anyone but the pool reporters. It's frustrating, being the youngest person at a news conference. Rumsfeld seems to call only on the faces he recognizes, and I wasn't one of them. I considered throwing my shoe or trying my professor's tactic of simply interrupting, but I figured all the Special Forces guys in attendance would arrest me. So I never had the chance to ask the question I've been dying to know the answer to: "How can you say things are going well when people are shooting rockets at the airport before your plane lands ... sir?"

    How to recognize and identify various unexploded bombs and munitions. For a short time, a land mine sat on the sidewalk outside our office, and we often saw other types of explosives lying about. And let's not forget the ones people keep planting in the roads and in front of buildings.
    [snip]

    Making other people comfortable with my activities. "No, it's OK, Mom. That explosion wasn't anywhere near our house. No, everyone's fine. What am I eating? I'm eating Iraqi food, Mom. It's good. Lots of oil."

    Determining who wants to kill me and who doesn't. "Where am I from? France. Good to meet you, too."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 21, 2004 1:16 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Ad Astera

    nasalogo2.jpg

    RAND SIMBERG @ Transterrestrial Musings brings to our attention the new NASA Exploration Logo and remarks:

    Audentes Fortuna Juvat

    "Fortune Favors The Bold"

    That's apparently the motto of the new Exploration Office, complete with logo.

    Hmmm...tell it to the Islamonutballs who attack our forces in Iraq and other places, and get generally slaughtered. Methinks that it's one of those things that's a necessary, but not sufficient condition. Smartness is required as well as boldness.

    Unfortunately for the enemies of America, no matter where they are found, the country has a surplus of both qualities.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 21, 2004 9:39 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Ongoing Tragedy of a Liberal Arts Eduction

    "To many video artists, cinema is a most troubling object. With its sublime images, valorized history, and unattainable eclat, cinema arouses awe and ire, desire and derision-mixed messages for the makers of mixed media. I Found It at the Movies tracks the efforts of video artists to come to terms with this most admirable of adversaries. Whether it be Brice Dellsperger's remarkable restagings of feature films, Anne McGuire's more-than-wise roll reversals, Les LeVeque's virtuosic confounding of classic cinema, or the Yonemotos' tony pasting of Tinseltown, this series asks, Are these rebellious swipes and dandy dissections an aspect of format envy, image insurrection, or critical distance? At best, I Found It at the Movies will leave you in the dark. "

    Steve Seid
    Video Curator
    seidtrak@uclink.berkeley.edu
    http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/pfa_programs/found_at_movies/index.html



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 10:08 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Ingredient Not Normally Found in Candy Bars

    STONERBAR


    WHEN IT GETS TO THIS POINT, don't you think the right thing to do in the war on some drugs is just sit down, surrender, and have a candy bar?

    STONERS AND BUDDAFINGAS CANDY BARS
    (CONTAINING THC)
    IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

    The Division of Forensic Toxicology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (Rockville, Maryland), recently received two apparent candy bars labelled as Stoners and Buddafinga, that were visually similar to the commercial candy bars Snickers® and Butterfingers® (see Photo 1, right, and 2, next page). The bars, which weighed approximately 60 g each and were packaged in foil wrappers, were forwarded to the laboratory by the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, San Francisco Bay, where they had been provided by a defense attorney for a merchant marine who tested positive for the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) metabolite, THC-COOH, during a random urinalysis.

    -- DEA's Microgram Bulletin



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 5:14 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    National Media Feed In A Nutshell

    COURTESY OF DEMOSOPHIA

    Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Body Count, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, 9-11 Hearings, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Body Count, Terrorist Explosion, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib,...
    Via: Demosophia: The Daily Depress



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 2:44 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Munchies for Morons

    printed-chip
    The person who says "pocket" first pays for the beer.

    Procter & Gamble (PG) is going to start printing trivia questions and answers on its Pringles snack chips, a move analysts say could be a hit with young people.

    If by 'young' they mean people who have yet to graduate from second grade, they could have a winner.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 12:01 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Tides of Liberty

    JANE GALT GIVES THE PATRIOT ACT PARANOIDS a cold shower in: We're all gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm thinking of the purveyors of political and social doom. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a libertarian who was arguing that the Patriot Act was a one-way ticket to totalitarianism. We were violating fundamental rights that had been enshrined in the constitution for 200 years, and once we'd given them up, it was going to be a short step on the slippery slope to a police state. I share her fear of government intrusiveness. But this a markedly ahistorical view of the constitution and the liberties it allows us to enjoy, which is no more accurate for its extreme prevalence in libertarian circles. There is no primal state of liberty, created by the Constitution, from which we have slowly but inexorably been moving away. Liberties have been granted, and taken away, and granted again throughout the history of our country. Just off the top of my head: Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, the Palmer raids, the detention of the west coast Japanese in camps during World War II, the committment of anyone FDR or one of his minion's thought was especially dangerous to the war effort to St. Elizabeth's mental hospital during same, the McCarthy hearings--see this wonderful Richard Posner piece for a more elegant exegisis of the history of American liberties. The shape of liberty has changed over the 200 years of our existence, expanding in some places and contracting in others. There is no libertarian eden, located somewhere in the American past, from which we are now fallen, or falling.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 11:05 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Saving Star Wars

    solo5.jpg
    George In Carbonite? Don't bet on it.

    CHRISTOPHER BAHN ASKS Can Star Wars: Episode III be saved? He's not hopeful unless this unlikely scenario comes to pass:

    Considering that most of the worst ideas in the last two films came from Lucas himself, he might start by handing over the reins to another filmmaker.

    It might be difficult to convince Lucas to go along with it, but if necessary Lucas could probably be tricked by telling him that Joseph Campbell is waiting with a documentary crew to massage Lucas' ego by interviewing him about his wonderful mythic imagination. When Lucas shows up, knock him out, encase him in a block of frozen carbonite and put him out of the way somewhere until the movie is out in theaters.

    If Lucas lived on Planet Earth, this might come to pass. But since Lucas lives on LucasWorld where never is heard a disparaging word, the odds against it approach infinity.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 10:59 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Pulse of Liberty

    JANE GALT GIVES THE PATRIOT ACT PARANOIDS a cold shower in: Asymmetrical Information: We're all gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm thinking of the purveyors of political and social doom. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a libertarian who was arguing that the Patriot Act was a one-way ticket to totalitarianism. We were violating fundamental rights that had been enshrined in the constitution for 200 years, and once we'd given them up, it was going to be a short step on the slippery slope to a police state. I share her fear of government intrusiveness. But this a markedly ahistorical view of the constitution and the liberties it allows us to enjoy, which is no more accurate for its extreme prevalence in libertarian circles. There is no primal state of liberty, created by the Constitution, from which we have slowly but inexorably been moving away. Liberties have been granted, and taken away, and granted again throughout the history of our country. Just off the top of my head: Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, the Palmer raids, the detention of the west coast Japanese in camps during World War II, the committment of anyone FDR or one of his minion's thought was especially dangerous to the war effort to St. Elizabeth's mental hospital during same, the McCarthy hearings--see this wonderful Richard Posner piece for a more elegant exegisis of the history of American liberties. The shape of liberty has changed over the 200 years of our existence, expanding in some places and contracting in others. There is no libertarian eden, located somewhere in the American past, from which we are now fallen, or falling.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 10:26 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Unclear Destinations

    sysopt



    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2004 9:39 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bad Blabbermouth! No Bentley for You!

    THE SILICON VALLEY NEW PORSCHE MARKET TANKED TODAY on news that Salesforce's CEO Marc Benioff's big mouth had run his company's IPO right off the rails.

    True to form, Benioff proved once again that he does not understand the word "quiet' in the SEC's pre-IPO quiet period requirement.


    The New York Times noted that in its interview with Benioff, the CEO had said that "the SEC prohibits me from making any statements that would hype my IPO," but then proceeded to discuss the software business and his competitors.
    -- Forbes.com: Salesforce.com IPO delayed -- reports
    And where did Mr. Benioff learn his executive techniques? That paragon of mum's-the-word, that citidel of silence, Oracle.

    As of this writing SalesForce employees who had hoped, at last, to cash in, we're seen cancelling orders for Porsches and passing an envelope around the office hoping to raise enough to buy Mr. Benioff a large, hot, streaming cup of STFU.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2004 3:00 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Pitiful and Weak Nation Yearns for Peace

    LidsOff_frame1.jpg

    DEPARTMENT OF CREEPING MALE OBSOLESENCE: Welcome to Lids Off

    Now you can take the hassle of opening jars out of your hands with the all-new Black & Decker® Lids Off Automatic Jar Opener! It's the easy new way to open jars fast!

    With the touch of a button, the new Lids Off Automatic Jar Opener loosens lids in seconds. No more hitting. No more prying. Opening jars doesn't get any easier.

    Phantic despairs that "They're strapping belts of Semtex around their waists, and we're spending 40 bucks on a device to uncap jars. "

    If this wasn't the perfect gift for a newly married lesbian couple, we'd agree.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2004 2:20 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Loving Father's Lullabye

    IMAGINE THAT THE FIRST THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU AFTER BIRTH are 1) your parents name you "Apple," and 2) your father sings you this ditty:

    "I'll be there through the thin and the thick,
    I'm gonna clean up all the poo and the sick."

    "There's s**t going down that you can't disguise,
    when your boobs dem got ten times the size.
    The cups gone up from an A to D,
    it's bad for you but it's fun for me."

    If sixteen years later you killed them, would any jury in the world convict you?

    Coldplay have made a glam rock/rap video to celebrate the birth of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's baby. [snip] It features Martin rapping to Gwyneth and baby Apple: Via: Ananova - Coldplay go glam for Apple


    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2004 10:16 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    It's Official -- The Recession Is Over and We Have Way Too Much Food

    51-omlete_eat.jpg
    Pascale Le Draoulec tucks
    into creamy confection of
    lobster, caviar and egg
    yesterday.

    New York Daily News: The Omelet and I

    "This is the first woman to order our famous $1,000 omelet," she announced to the crowd at Norma's, long famous for its decadent all-day breakfasts.

    Guests at the Parker Meridien eatery craned their necks to steal a peek - first at the plate and then at the self-indulgent person behind it.

    Do not order this dish if you're trying to keep a low profile. Do order it if caviar is your weakness.

    The round, six-egg frittata, about 3 inches tall, is topped with 10 ounces of sevruga cloaking succulent chunks of sautéed lobster, which are also incorporated into the fluffy, creamy egg mixture. The omelet itself sits on a raft of sautéed potatoes.

    Surprisingly, the frittata, which sports three chive sprigs, comes on the same humdrum, slate "blue plate" as every other dish.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2004 10:08 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

    iRAQsubway.jpg
    Signs of the impending end of an extended news cycle.

    via: Gizmodo



    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2004 9:26 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "A Picture Is Worth 100 Gallons"

    top.gas.prices.ap.jpg

    Seen at: Derek's Rantings and Musings



    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2004 9:14 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    How to Cram an Editorial into a Headline

    THE NEW YORK TIMES today yields a classic in the field of "How to Slant a Headline:"

    Army Discovers Old Iraqi Shell Holding Sarin, Illicit Weapon

    As old news hands know, reporters file the stories, but editors write the headline. I wonder how much heavy lifting went into this one to get the story slanted in the Times direction?

    Journalism 101 teaches you to write headlines that get across the news of the story in as few words as possible.

    The news in the headline is:Army Discovers Iraqi Shell Holding Sarin. The curious additions here are "old" (Hell, son, that's just an old, old shell. Probably decrepit. Nothing to worrry above. Trust me. You defuse it, I'll wait for you about 20 miles upwind."), and "Illicit" ("I see you boys are dropping those illicit items all around the roadside in Baghdad these days. You been dropping those reefers, those copies of Jugs, those video tapes of Gina Davis with her top off, and those cannisters of the lethal nerve gas Sarin wired to explode. When are you going to learn to pick up after yourselves?") You've got to admire the mind that would parse nerve gas as something merely illicit.

    In the lead of this story we learn that the shell had been transformed into a "homemade bomb" for use against American troops. In the next graph we learn that the shell had been manufactured in 1991 -- which is the basis for "old" in the headline. Typically, shells for the delivery of nerve agents are manufactured before the agents are added. The are what is called binary in that the torque of the shell upon being fired causes a barrier to break between two chemicals and the chemicals to mix. This is the way in which chemicals become chemical weapons.

    As a result, you would want to manufacture and test the shell before you cooked up your chemicals and loaded them (very carefully) into the shell. It is not, therefore, a question of when the shell was made, but when the sarin was put into the shell. Old doesn't enter into it. If you have a stick of dynamite made in 1991, do you stop treating it with respect now that it is over 21? As the story tells you, the sarin wasn't so old that it was not dangerous.

    "Illicit:" Sarin is a nerve gas. Alert readers will recall a Japanese cult's successful attack on the Tokyo subway system in the 1990s as an example of it being used against human beings. I suppose you could call it an "illicit" weapon even if the word "lethal" is more accurate.

    I wonder when the Times' much-touted ombudsman is going to get around to the haiku editorializing implicit in headlines like this. Probably right after a breakthrough in ovine aviation.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 18, 2004 9:40 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Morality and the September 10th Mentality

    MICHAEL TOTTEN'S The (Im)moral Case Against the War casts a cold eye on an article in the utterly predictable Nation.

    One of the problems with the September 10th mentality is known to some as the Genovese Syndrome, named after Kitty Genovese who was very slowly knifed to death in full view of her neighbors in New York City. Not one of her neighbors, witnesses all, lifted a finger to stop it or even to call the police. Better not to get involved, or so they thought before their morally repugnant passivism (or should I say pacifism?) shocked and appalled the rest of the country.

    We denounce terrorists because when the freedom of self-determination they seek is weighed in the balance against the right to life of innocent people, it is the right to life that our collective conscience has decided should prevail. [Emphasis added.]

    Good God. What "freedom" or "self-determination" are the terrorists supposedly seeking? The freedom to slash the faces of unveiled women? To stone adulterers to death? To throw gay people off buildings? To wipe Jews from the face of the Earth? If this is freedom, I'll take slavery.

    Mr. Savoy has stripped that lovely word of all its meaning, reducing it to just another post-modern relativistic construct. Freedom for me is a tyrant for thee. No wonder he doesn't think it's something worth fighting for.

    This, apparently, is what happens to people who live a rarefied existence in a spoiled complacent country. Maybe he needs to take a holiday in Sudan (or even Cambodia) to see how the other half lives. You know, walk a mile in another's shoes, get a little sympathy for the downtrodden. It's amazing I have to say this to a liberal. It was the liberals, after all, who taught it to me.

    Agreed, with the note that it is important to remember that teaching even as those who taught it forget.

    The comments to this item, involving one of the editors of The Nation, are also worth following.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 18, 2004 9:13 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Most Mind-Altering Quote of the Day

    Andy Kaufman in "Things I Learned While I Was Away":

    "I am not Osama bin Laden. Ann Coulter is actually an evil twin clone of mine. We take turns playing one another, much like Tony Clifton and I did for years."
    -- Andy Kaufman Returns



    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2004 2:50 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Woman Who Would Be First Daughter

    kerrygirl.jpg
    "No questions about my dad,
    but I have nothing to hide."

    LOOKING VERY EUROPEAN, John Kerry's daughter exhibited the taste, style, judgment and discernment that has become a hallmark of her party.
    Kerry daughter heats up Cannes red carpet

    Alexandra Kerry, 30-year-old daughter of US Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry walked up Cannes' celebrated red-carpet for the premiere of Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill 2" wearing an off-shoulder black number that turned transparent under the flashes.

    Kerry, who is showing a short film at the festival, was tailed by the press during her stay at Cannes but French newspapers reported that her staff had warned journalists off questions concerning her famous father.

    Her film entitled "The Last Full Measure" is being presented in the Short Film Corner section and describes the ravage wreaked on a US family by the Vietnam war.

    "Miss Kerry, without asking you about your father and his oft-repeated service in Vietnam, what exactly inspired your film?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2004 11:14 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Chemical Weapon? Who are you going to believe, Ted Kennedy or your lying eyes?

    The New York Times > International > Middle East > Bomb With Nerve Agent Explodes in Iraq

    "An explosive containing sarin nerve gas was discovered by American troops in Baghdad and detonated, an American military spokesman there said today. It was the first sarin shell the American military has found since the invasion of Iraq last year, the spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, said in a televised news conference.
    [snip]
    The bomb was a "binary chemical projectile" with two chambers each containing a distinct chemical. When the projectile is fitted into an artillery round and fired, the rotation of the round causes the wall between the chambers to break, thereby blending the two chemicals. On impact with the target, the shell explodes, releasing the sarin.

    But the explosive discovered last week was not launched as an artillery round, so only a small amount of the two chemicals mixed together, General Kimmitt said. It was not known whether whoever rigged the bomb knew of the presence of sarin in the explosive

    Probably just something left behind in the luggage of those kidnapped Japanese tourists.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2004 11:04 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    MARK HELPRIN: Essential Reading

    A LUCID AND ARRESTING ARTICLE on what is to be done in Iraq: Written on Water

    "In the Middle East, our original purpose, since perverted by carelessness of estimation, was self-defense. To return to it would take advantage of the facts that the countries in the area do not have to be democracies before we require of them that they refrain from attacking us; that a regime with a firm hold upon a nation has much at stake and can be coerced to eradicate the terrorist apparatus within its frontiers; and that the ideal instrument for this is a remounted and properly supported U.S. military, released from nation building and counterinsurgency, its ability to make war, when called upon, nonpareil.

    The Kurds and Shia of Iraq could within days assert control in their areas. We already have ceded part of Sunni Iraq: What remains is to pick a strongman, see him along, arrange a federation, hope for the best, remount the army, and retire, with or without Saudi permission, to the Saudi bases roughly equidistant to Damascus, Baghdad, and Riyadh. There, protected by the desert, with modern infrastructure, and our backs to the sea, which is our metier, we would command the center of gravity of the Middle East, and with the ability to strike hard, fast and at will, could enforce responsible behavior upon regimes that have been the citadel of our enemies.

    In a war that has steadily grown beyond expectations, America has been poorly served by those who govern it. The Democrats are guilty of seemingly innate ideological confusion about self-defense, the Republicans of willful disdain for reflection, and, both, of lack of imagination, probity, and preparation--and, perhaps above all, of subjecting the most serious business in the life of a nation to coarse partisanship. Having come up short, both parties are sorely in need of a severe reprimand and direct order from the American people to correct their failings and get on with the common defense.

    Also illuminating is Helprin's 2003 essay: The Claremont Institute: War in the Absence of Strategic Clarity
    The enemy must and can be defined. That he is the terrorist himself almost everyone agrees, but in the same way that the United States extended blame beyond the pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor, it must now reach far back into the structures of enablement for the sake of deciding who and what must be fought. And given the enormity of a war against civilians, and the attacks upon our warships, embassies, economy, capital, government, and most populous city, this determination must be liberal and free-flowing rather than cautious and constrained, both by necessity and by right. The enemy has embarked upon a particular form of warfare with the intent of shielding his center of mass from counterattack, but he must not be allowed such a baseless privilege. For as much as he is the terrorist who executes the strategy, he is the intelligence service in aid of it, the nation that harbors his training camps, the country that finances him, the press filled with adulation, the people who dance in the streets when there is a slaughter, and the regime that turns a blind eye.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2004 10:58 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Evisceration of Hunter Thompson: On Screen Now

    LIKE THE DODDERING KURT VONNEGUT noted over the weekend, Hunter Thompson is yet another blithering fool who has been allowed access to a keyboard by clueless editors, this time a ESPN. This, however, does not save him from a withering dissection by Lileks at The Daily Bleat

    Thompson has less hope than the Islamists; at least they have an afterlife to look forward to. All we have is a country so rotten and exhausted it's not worth defending. It never was, of course, but it's even less defensible now than before.

    He can say what he wants. Drink what he wants. Drive where he wants. Do what he wants. He's done okay in America. And he hates this country. Hates it. This appeals to high school kids and collegiate-aged students getting that first hot eye-crossing hit from the Screw Dad pipe, but it's rather pathetic in aged moneyed authors. And it would be irrelevant if this same spirit didn't infect on whom Hunter S. had an immense influence. He's the guy who made nihilism hip. He's the guy who taught a generation that the only thing you should believe is this: don't trust anyone who believes anything. He's the patron saint of journalism, whether journalists know it or not.

    Which leads me to wonder which infected journalist at ESPN thought it would be cooler-than-way-cool to toss a little coin Thompson's way. You know, in the manner that you leave an offering in the box after you kiss the feet of some worn and faded wooden saint in a dark corner of an abandoned sacristy.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2004 10:33 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "The Vanguard of a Flotilla of Lies"

    A SERIES OF ASTUTE OBSERVATIONS ON THE NEW FACE OF WAR at the Belmont Club

    The campaign in Iraq has hardly scratched American strength, which has in fact grown more potent in operational terms over the intervening period. Nor has it materially affected the US manpower pool or slowed the American economy, which is actually growing several times faster than France, which is not militarily engaged. The defeat being advertised by the press is a wholly new phenomenon: one which leaves the vanquished army untouched and the victor devastated; the economy of the vanquished burgeoning and that of the victor in destitution; the territory of the loser unoccupied and that of the winner garrisoned. It is an inversion of all the traditional metrics of victory and defeat. That the assertion is not instantly ludicrous is an indication of the arrival of a new and potentially revolutionary form of political wafare.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2004 10:12 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Least Shocking Headline of the Year

    Powell Unable to Make Headway in Mideast



    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2004 9:04 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Smooth Move

    ABCNEWS.com : Report: U.S. to Shift 4,000 Troops from S.Korea to Iraq

    The United States plans to withdraw an army brigade based in South Korea and deploy the 4,000 troops in Iraq, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported on Monday.
    [snip]
    South Korea has delayed the deployment of 3,000 of its troops to Iraq, which was approved three months ago, amid concerns over security and where they will be stationed.
    I guess now they'll be stationed on the North/South border in Korea, when their security will be assured.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2004 9:02 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    When A Tabloid Tells More Truth Than the Boston Globe

    mirrordaily.jpg

    THIS IS HOW a real newspaper corrects itself. The Boston Globe, however, makes do with a warm pile of drivel. The Mirror's Editor was sacked with "more to come:" "Live by the scoop, die by the scoop."

    But printing fake photographs from dubious sources chock full of porn seems to something they let slide at the Globe. The Boston Globe's editor has proudly proclaimed that nobody will be fired and no one will be asked to resign, except perhaps Donald Rumsfeld.

    OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN about the professionalism and honor of America's papers of record:

    MEDIA LOG BY DAN KENNEDY

    CONFUSION AND INCOMPETENCE. Boston Globe ombudsman Christine Chinlund gets a B-minus today for her assessment of what went wrong with those hardcore porn pictures that made their way into the Globe on Wednesday. The photos were promoted by Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and local activist Sadiki Kambon as possibly depicting US soldiers raping Iraqi women.

    The Boston Globe is owned by, and evidently held to the same standards as, The New York Times.
    ==
    Leads and links via the far-too-fair and much-too-balanced Newsdesigner



    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2004 8:38 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    USPS and Microsoft Announce Anti-Spam Measures

    gatestamp.jpg

    USPS and Microsoft Join Forces To Deliver Next-Generation Spam and Personal Validation Solutions

    First Solution Includes Email Micropayment E-Stamp Powered by Microsoft Passport Approved and Enforced by US Postal Service

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    WASHINGTON, DC, and REDMOND, Wash., May 17, 2004 -- The United States Postal Service and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq "MSFT") today announced a global strategic relationship to jointly develop and market the world’s first “e-stamp” to combat Spam via Microsoft’s Passport Services. “This represents a quantum leap in Spam reduction and privacy protection,” said Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Postmaster General John E. Potter agreed, “We’re very excited to be working with Microsoft at this watershed moment in the evolution of the Internet....” More at: USPS and Microsoft Join Forces To Deliver Next-Generation Spam and Personal Validation Solutions

    U.S.-based news media needing further information should contact the Waggener Edstrom Rapid Response Team at rrt@wagged.com or 503-443-7070.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2004 1:56 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    MacAholics Only!

    The 99 cent Powerbook: "He wanted a Powerbook. We gave him a p-p-p-powerbook"

    Highly clickworthy, but place all hot beverages far away. Scamming the Scammer



    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2004 12:51 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Google Advanced Search

    Google Advanced Search



    Posted by Van der Leun May 16, 2004 8:35 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Google Advanced Search

    Google Advanced Search



    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2004 8:28 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    First Lieutenant Dave

    ltdave.jpg

    FROM ONE SOLDIER'S PHOTOLOG ON YAFRO:

    "On the far right is a true American Hero! I want to tell you about my friend. His name is First Lieutenant Dave. Dave was the type of officer who looked after his men all the time. He had all the attributes you wanted in a leader. He was selfless, led from the front, caring, hard, tactically and technically proficient, and above all a friend. He was the man you wanted with on your right when the bullets were flying. I was engaged in a firefight with him in May and he was the bedrock of stability. He led his platoon calmly and with experience. He showed me what an officer should be. On the night of October 18, 2003, he was leading a resupply convoy when his vehicle was directly engaged with rocket propelled grenades and well aimed small arms fire. Immediately his gunner was killed by the initial onslaught. Dave was hit in the femoral artery. The vehicle hit a berm and pinned the driver underneath the front wheel. Dave immediately exited the vehicle and returned well aimed fire in order to destroy the enemy. Despite his wounds, he moved around the vehicle and freed the pinned soldier. He then moved the vehicle away from the area. He then returned fire onto the enemy prior to collapsing from his wounds..By this time, a reaction force was on site in order to kill the enemy. He fought hard and led the way saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Dave was killed doing his job. He is sorely missed by his comrades. He was a fine man, leader, and friend..You will never be forgetten!! RLTW He is on the far right of this picture with his hand on his hip."

    -- italyjumper's Yafro Moblog



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 7:46 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    When Good Writers Go to Seed

    ALAS, THE ONCE WONDERFUL WRITER KURT VONNEGUT has forgotten to get off the stage after the lights dim. His incoherent rant Cold Turkey -- In These Times is rife with gems such as:

    "And do you know why I think he is so pissed off at Arabs? They invented algebra. Arabs also invented the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which nobody else had ever had before. You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals."
    We will forget for the moment that the Roman numerals joke isn't even close to original. You'd think that loving and caring editors would have stopped their author from making a fool of himself, but perhaps they were lunching at the time and could not be bothered to look up from the expense account trough.

    Vonnegut's "He" is, of course, the President. I wonder if there is an editor anywhere within telephone range of Kurt that could call him up and inform him that it is highly unlikely the President is upset over algebra. The hole at the tip of Manhattan should clear that up. Somebody should drive Kurt downtown and let him have a look around.
    ==
    UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments, the joke is not only old and unoriginal, the facts are wrong:" Zero -- Its existence in the West is probably due to the Arabs, who, having obtained it from the Hindus, passed it on to European mathematicians in the latter part of the Middle Ages. The Maya of Central America and probably the Babylonians also invented zero." zero. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 4:11 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Making Spammers Pay: Time = Money

    1d-black.jpg

    HERE'S A SPAM FIGHTING SCHEME THAT MAKES CENTS: The Penny Black Project

    As with the British Post of the 1830's, Internet email is becoming increasingly expensive for message recipients.  In the current case, the culprit is spam.  Although spam does not constitute a monetary expense for most users, it does require time and attention (and hence productivity) to deal with spam.  Moreover,  measurable costs associated with spam are incurred by providers of network services, and these costs are increasing daily.

    In a nutshell, the idea is this: "If I don't know you, and you want to send me mail, then you must prove to me that you have expended a certain amount of effort, just for me and just for this message."  The approach is fundamentally an economic one.  Suppose we measure effort in CPU cycles.  Since there are about 80,000 seconds in a day, a computational "price" of just ten seconds per message would limit a spamming computer to at most 8,000 messages daily. So spammers would have to invest heavily in hardware in order to send high volumes of spam. (While this idea is simple, people often misunderstand its implications. We encourage potential critics to look here first.)



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 3:45 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    We're At D-Day Plus One!

    "Garbage accumulates on the city. There’s no health care, no teachers, no fruits or vegetables, no cleaning, no comedians… and, thank god, no traffic!..."

    Get the background and the scoop at:A Day Without a Mexican - La Movie

    And don't miss the trailer!



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 3:14 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Original "Duck and Cover" Moment

    "Scientists announced Thursday that they have found evidence of a giant crater buried off the coast of Australia that may be linked to the extinction of most life forms on Earth 250 million years ago. In a paper published this week on the web site of the journal Science, scientists said that they believe that Bedout, a structure 200 kilometers across off the northwest coast of Australia, is the remnant of a crater created 250 million years ago when an asteroid or comet struck the Earth. That impact is linked to the "Great Dying" at the end of the Permian, an extinction event that killed off 80 percent of life on land and 90 percent of marine life. Meteoritic fragments found in Antarctica and shocked quartz located there and in Australia also support this hypothesis, scientists said. Other scientists caution, however, that those rocks could be created by events other than impacts, such as volcanic eruptions."
    -- spacetoday



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 2:54 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Electron Crimes

    PhysicsWeb - SLAC sees parity violation in electrons

    Physicists in the US have observed parity violation in collisions between electrons for the first time.

    We think the best thing to do is sobriety tests all around and then let them off with a warning.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 2:49 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    First Planet of a Distant Star?

    star_180.jpg
    Hubble snaps new world:
    Is this the first photo of
    a planet beyond our solar system?

    An infrared snapshot taken by the Hubble Space Telescope might be our first glimpse of a truly alien world. Although we know of more than 120 planets outside our solar system, none has been photographed directly.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 2:38 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    KISS Principle Continues to Fail Movable Type Crew

    YESTERDAY THE "COMPANY" BEHIND MOVABLE TYPE removed all the radiation inhibitors in their single product with one single announcement of a fantastically complicated and extortionate pricing scheme. The result: a meltdown of their core ... market that is. Now, in the tradition of Three Mile Island, they are attempting to put the genie back in the bottle by -- making things even more complicated in the minds of their core customers: Six Log: Movable Type 3.0 Developer Edition

    The question of what a "weblog" is is somewhat muddy, but the basic answer to the first question is that, if you're using multiple "Weblogs" in Movable Type in order to build 1 site, that only counts as 1 weblog towards the license limits.

    In our licenses, we now address this with this language: "Weblog" means a single Web site viewable at a single URL (Uniform Resource Locator), consisting of one or more weblogs as generated by the Software via the "Create New Weblog" function of the Software.

    To be clear, sub-weblogs that make up weblog sites shouldn't be counted toward your weblog total."

    Well, that's clear enough, but really when wasn't it? The real muddy question all this raises is "Who do these people think they are?" There are a lot more "explanations" and sidestepping going on in this posting, but really, the damage has been done.

    SixApart, probably steeping in a hot cup of "How Cool Are We," forgot the first principle of dealing with a userbase and indeed a customer base of any kind: KISS, or "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Instead of thinking through their business long term -- that's the thing called 'Let's keep these customers who are actually bringing us new customers, who are in fact the only thing that is bringing us new customers, happy, satisfied and unconfused" -- they looked at the Sum Cell on their spreadsheets that said "X thousand users @ X hundreds of dollars = Bonanza" and completely lost their minds. To do that they announced an utterly unrealistic pricing scheme in a complicated structure that only said to most people "You will now pay and you will pay a lot. No matter what you pay, you will pay more in the future once you are really locked into the app." This may have worked for Oracle but Six Apart ain't Oracle. They have zero market lock and now they have less market share. The rot will continue.

    The "clarification" released today will not stop the rot. Once you have alerted your core base to the fact that they will need alternatives to keep from being gouged, it comes as no surprise they will start the search for alternatives. Many will find them and competitors in the field will not be slow to welcome them.

    Case in point: The Expression Engine is now offering free apps to the first 1,000 people that affirm they are moving from "another application." Their inbox runneth over.

    The last few days of 'communication' coming out of Six Apart to alienate its user and developer base is not an isolated incident. The company has always been aloof and uncommunicative. This is their way. Regardless of the "clairifications" all the user base can now be sure of is that in some way, on some day, Six Apart will screw them. It didn't completley work this time, but there's alway tomorrow.

    There are two good things to come out of this. The first is that elegant and workmanlike substitutes such as Dean Allen's elegant Textpattern and the solid group hack WordPress will get the attention they deserve. The second is that those VC's foolish enough to back an app whose founders are hopeless sunk in the "aren't we cool" culture, will probably lose a lot of money.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 11:38 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Everything Methodists Know About War They Learned in Kindergarten

    METHODIST MINISTER Donald Sensing takes his Council of Bishops out to the woodshed at: One Hand Clapping

    The United Methodist Council of Bishops passed a resolution (that speaks only for the council) which states in part that it deplores,
    ... the cycle of violence in which the United States is engaged has created a context for the denigration of human dignity ...
    News flash 1: all war denigrates human dignity. News flash 2: This is not a "cycle of violence." It is warfare, which is quite another thing.

    The implication seems to be that if only the United States would stop killing terrorists, they would stop killing us. This war, so the council implies, is really just a tit-for-tat exercise with no rationale. Peace will bloom automatically if we simply step outside the so-called "cycle of violence."

    This is literally kindergarten-level thinking. "Just stop it!" is how parents and teachers deal with little kids because their disputes are inconsequential, done for inconsequential reasons. It really doesn't matter whether Billy or Bobby had the ball first, so demanding that they stop slapping one another over it is reasonable.

    But is that where the thinking level of UMC's Council of Bishops is stuck, at kindergarten? Do they really mean to imply - and imply they certainly do - that we are fighting this war over inconsequential reasons, and therefore we should just stop it?

    In a time when the membership of traditional Christian churches is falling, and we see many more pews empty than full, one of the root causes of this is the compulsion of church leaders to appease rather than guide and confirm. Where a strong cup of coffee is indicated, they persist in serving weak tea.

    As I have noted before, I am one of those souls who is a "Christian-in-Crisis-Only." Whenever I do attend an Episcopal church I am always struck by the persistant light turnout. It was once the case that you could see an Episcopal church full on at least two occassions, Christmas and Easter, but in recent years even these services result in churches far from full. Still we are told that this country is, in Christian terms, the most religious nation in the western world. With all the compromise and equivocation and yearning for inclusiveness we have seen in our traditional faiths over the decade, you would think the churches of our traditional religions would be full to the rafters instead of empty down to the basement. As they say, "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on."

    Last year, just to see what it was like, I attended a service at The Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim. You've likely seen this congregation in the cable show 'Hour of Power,' if only to deride the show-business aspects of it. It is different in person. What I saw was impressive and eye-opening. This was a vast cathedral structure and it was packed to seams with dedicated worshipers as well as, I imagine, not a few of the curious such as myself.

    But while the structure of the Crystal Cathedral is fascinating I didn't get the sense that it was architecture that filled the hundreds and hundreds of seats several times on every Sunday, but the gospel being preached and the moral certainty of that gospel.

    Still, it is not the size or the show that fills or empties a church, it is the meaning within the message. A few years ago, my wife and I, somewhat on a lark, attended a small Christian church in an obscure town deep in the Florida Keys. This was a humble structure -- stucco, one-story, dirt parking lot, the stained-glass windows made not in some far away studio, but crafted by the members of the church. Unlike the major churches in New York City where I lived at the time, this church was full. And when a church is full, the spirit is full.

    Whatever else a church may be, it is not a place that people who are serious in their spiritual quest go for luke-warm platitudes and sermons that amount to little more than acceptable moral relativism with a few footnotes from the scriptures.** A church, great or humble, is not a place to serve small fires and milk to the human soul, but a place we repair to make a guided searching inventory of the contents of our souls and the actions of our lives. It is a place where we seek to examine the foundations of those core beliefs that support our works and days. If we arrive at such a place in the expectation of clarity and vision, and find instead only vague platitudes and a road map to nowhere, the spiritually serious will soon search elsewhere.

    Sadly, the road map to nowhere is all too frequently the guide used by our more traditional faiths in the last few decades. The withered fruit of teachings that seek to appease rather than instruct is seen in dwindling congregations across the land. Teachngs that seek to please all, please in the end, only those that demand such equivocation. And the irony is that the very factions who work to reduce doctrine to pablum will leave when the faith is finally rendered impotent and harmless. Their work will be done and they will move on to water down the certainties of another faith with demands that the next church become so inclusive that by including all it stands for nothing at all.

    This creeping Unitarianism is not found only within the Methodists but across the entire spectrum of traditional Protestant faiths. In seeking to "modernize," to make their message acceptable to all those who claim to be "stakeholders" in the faith, the leaders of those faiths have crafted a message, epitomized in Rev. Sensing's report, that is such thin broth it satisfies few and leaves the rest hungry. Those that are hungry will always seek food. If it is not found close at hand, they will move far away.

    A common plaint among the leaders of the dominant Protestant churches in America is that their faiths are dying while Fundamentalist faiths are growing. Fundamentalist Christianity in turn is seen by many within both the liberal religious and political establishment as the leading danger to our Republic. They see it as a threat to their program to reduce religion in the United States to nothing more than a hymn and a handout. But Fundamentalism is not a question for the traditional faiths, it is instead an answer to the the question the faiths have asked their own adherants: "Do you believe as we believe?" More and more among Americans, the answer to those traditional faiths has been, "Just what is it that you do believe?"

    It is obvious that religious fundamentalism is a clear and present danger to the American way of life, I would observe that it is not fundamentalism of the Christian variety. What Fundamentalist Christianity does threaten, however, is the rice bowl of the UMC and the UCC and others of their equivocating ilk. Perhaps in their search for the reason why their faiths are fading, these church leaders might finally look to what they say and what they do as explanation enough. It may well be that a faith that weakens its beliefs in order to achieve universal inclusiveness is a faith not worth holding.

    A phrase we have heard many times in the last few weeks concerning the behavior of Muslims in Iraq and other countries in the Mid-East is "Weak horse, strong horse." It means that people will, given the alternative, choose a faith, a politics, or a leadership based on their innate perception of its strengths. Weakness has no attraction. Since the power of faith comes from the strength of belief, those who would lead others towards faith today need a system of belief whose roots strike deep into the rock on which Peter stood rather than one that builds in the sandbox of Kindergarten. Many things have been forgotten by those who would find or keep a faith, but one thing is still known: You build on rock and not on sand.

    Of course, that's just my opinion. God knows I could be wrong.

    ===
    ** Note: I do not mean to tar all Methodists with the brush of the UMC. Many in the faith do not indulge in tea-party services and sermons to no point. Exhibit A may be found in Rev. Sensing's own sermons which are found at Sermons at Trinity .



    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2004 9:27 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Movable Type's Money Move Spells Disaster

    WHILE ONLY A BUBBLE IN THE BLOGSPHERE, the fiasco aborning at Six Apart and MovableType is certainly of interest to those of us who have up til now used the application. So far, among the many hundreds of posts about the Trotts announced plan to sink their own company, the best explanation of how badly they have handled this and how disastrous it will be for them is: This is why VCs bring in the MBAs

    MT is decent software, even if its kind of rough in areas. But what they're looking at doing is just silly, and is going to be incredibly detrimental. They've always had very... "iffy" licensing, and lots of people have been chomping at the bit and looking for alternatives... but a combination of inertia and features kept people using or trying to work around the license issues.

    But this is just beyond stupid, it's just obvious they don't "get it". And really the reaction looks to be about 95% negative.

    Oh, I'm sure they'll try to spin it... At some point soon you'll see one of them come out and try to throw all sorts of spin on this, using lots of vague terms and mentioning "people who have to live", "mouths to feed", "features aren't free", etc. in the coming while.

    And that is just the nub of it. Read the whole thing and become educated in how good companies go bad in... oh, about a day.
    ====
    UPDATE: I've note decided which new system to use, but WordPress is getting good buzz.

    For those of you who want to know the way to migrate from MT to WordPress, the skinny is at: C A R T H I K . N E T » Moving from movable type to WordPress "A lot of MT users might want to move to WordPress, but may have a lot of questions and doubts regarding the move, and about WordPress. I thought a short post with essential resources, tips and answers will come in handy to at least a few people, so here goes."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 7:14 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What Is to Be Done?

    DEMOSOPHIA, a page that should get more attention than it does, puts a cold eye on the current Bush policy in Iraq. He wisely asks What Advantage Is There In Preserving A Lie? For those of us who cannot support the degenerate thing that has become the Democratic party and are thus stuck with at least tacitly supporting the Bush administration, this is about to become the singe most important political question of the next few months: What advantage is there in preserving a lie?

    Here's what Demosophia has to say about it:

    I have to say that a big part of my own fatigue is that much of the modest effort I, and the far greater effort and value that others, make to explicate and support this President's policy is accepted gratuitously without thanks or acknowledgement, while he doesn't appear to even pull his share of the load. It isn't a huge stretch to call him "aloof," and it's curious that at this genuinely critical juncture he chooses to be largely absent from public view.

    Leaders lead, and I would prefer to serve someone with a better political sense, or at least a political sense. The upside, of course, is that I get to keep my own council and don't have to conform to a party line.

    But I too grow weary of constantly defending the rescue of a culture that fails to cough up this Zarqawi like the filthy and degenerate hairball that he is. Could such a character remain at large here for longer than a week or two? And if he finds such great refuge within a society that can't even manage to claim a $20M reward for turning him in what in the world am I doing entertaining the vain notion that such a society can be reformed at all? What business do I have making such demands on our troops? Let the Arab Middle East descend into the pit if they choose, and if they choose we'll deal with it then, not with a rescue but a shovel.

    So no, Abu Ghraib wasn't the primary burden for me. It was the barbaric "execution" of Nick Berg. I feel as though we need to make a few things clear to this culture that nearly 1,000 of our best, brightest, and bravest have died to benefit. We want those wretched persons in the photo with Nick Berg in our hands by date certain, or we leave. That's the "referendum" that will, in fact, mean something. And if we leave, and ever see that medievalst threat approach our civilization in larger form and aspect, what you'll hear from us is the utter silence of speechless alienation, and the click of a billion TV sets switching off, and finally the cascading and overlapping light splashes of precision-targetted thermonuclear amnesia.

    All your options, and all our options are here in this moment and no other, so don't think our dilemma isn't yours. We are committed if you are. And if you are not, we'll find a way to strain the radioactivity from the oil when you're no longer sensibly present. We aren't here as Crusaders to take your land or resources. We could have that cheaply, by simply taking it. We're here as a brother civilization to lend a hand, and only insist that you find a way to tame the impulse to bite that hand off. It's a small thing, but the alternative isn't a pony. It's a long long road alone, and ultimately if you cause us grief, oblivion. It won't be our choice. It is yours.

    In a just world, these thoughts would not be words on a webpage, but national policy.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 2:15 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Here's a Post We All Need to Echo

    RICH MAROTTI, who I wish was sober more often, makes a strong and compelling point in seldom sober: open letter. I'm placing it here in the hopes that others who, like myself, have experienced a surge of traffic in the wake of the Berg killing will, in some way, echo it.

    In a realm where traffic is seen as some sort of payment, the kind of traffic this has been generating and the reasons for it are certainly cheapening that coin. Marotti sums up how to view this and how, perhaps, to get some good out of it:

    An Open Letter to Internet Connected People on the Occasion of Nick Berg Bringing Me an Unusual Number of Hits

    If you are looking for this video because you have some sick fetish for snuff films, please turn off your computer and get therapy now. The first few copies of this video that I could find were actually on sites dedicated to sickos like you. I am sorry if you are cursed with a psychological affliction, but don't go hunting around the internet trying to satisfy your baser desires. Get help. Now.

    If you are here for other reasons I need to point something out to you. The blogosphere (the community of those who write weB LOGS) broke this story, not Big Media. The blogosphere continues to cover it while Big Media continues to largely ignore it. The blogosphere has the courage and integrity to show this video (or images from it) while Big Media cries "Offensive!" as they continue to show pictures of naked Iraqui prisoners piled on top of one another.

    THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED OCCURENCE! If you are unfamiliar with the blogosphere, get familiar with it now. We break and cover stories like this all of the time. We are largely honest in our coverage, if not always objective. We cover the stories that Big Media does not, because of their agendas, because of their connections, or for any other reasons. Don't make your search for this one tragic story your last stop in the blogosphere. We offer honesty and (most of the time) truth on a regular basis. Try finding that in the New York Times.

    I have to admit I was initially pleased today to see that my usual small circulation of 1,500 to 2,200 visits a day was pushing on 10,000 yesterday, but that pleasure faded when I checked the search terms. That kind of attention I don't need.

    So, if you are here for some snuff, get out now. I've already spent too much time dealing with people like you.

    If not, stick around, pull up a chair, have a cold one, come back when you want, glad to meet you.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 1:47 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Real Bush Credibility Gap

    LEE HARRIS is a voice I listen to carefully these days. And on this subject he is worth listening to very carefully: The War of Images

    Liberals complain that the Bush administration's approach is too simplistic. Quite frankly, it is nuanced to the point of incoherency. It asks of Americans that they hate only "the bad guys" in the Arab world, while it simultaneously calls on Americans to be willing to sacrifice their sons and their pocketbooks in order to create a happy future for "the good guys" in the Arab world. Yet our television and computer screens are full of the images of the bad guys of the Arab world doing unspeakably ghastly things to us, while we search in vain for the image of even one of the good guys for whom our nation has staked its resources and its prestige. Show us just one photograph of Iraqis publicly denouncing this gruesome act as a slander against Islam and a blasphemy against God.

    From the photographs of men and women jumping from the World Trade Center to the videotape of Nick Berg's butchery, our enemy has flooded us with images that will haunt us all until our dying day. But Americans have been given no images of our friends in the Arab world; and certainly none that can match the potency of the images offered by our enemies.

    The enemy's compelling images show what we are fighting against in Iraq; but there are no equally compelling images that show us what we are fighting for -- an "image gap" that is already causing many well wishers of the administration to question a policy in which we are endlessly willing to help a people who refuses to offer us even a single image of themselves caught in the act of displaying friendliness toward us -- a people who, on the contrary, take every photo opportunity given to them to show how much and how deeply they hate us; and who, when not given such an opportunity by us, are quite able to make one for themselves.

    Most Americans are from Missouri: we must see it before we believe it. And we are not seeing why we should be fighting in Iraq for the good guys; indeed, we are not seeing the good guys at all, and many of us are beginning to wonder if there are any good guys, in our sense, to be found there; and if so, why they so adamantly refuse to show their faces to the camera.

    He doesn't say it, but could it be because there aren't any? I know we have been told that there are, but still, both Lee and I are from Missouri: Show Me.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 1:35 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Mirror Editor Sacked Over Fakes. Boston Globe Editor?

    CONTINUING TO GRASP AT SMALL MOMENTS OF JUSTICE in the media we note this story from the BBC:


    BBC NEWS | Politics | Editor sacked over 'hoax' pictures

    Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has been sacked following pressure over faked photos of soldiers abusing an Iraqi prisoner.

    The Queen's Lancashire Regiment earlier said the Mirror should apologise for running the pictures and endangering British troops.

    Meanwhile, over the pond at the Boston Globe and Pornography Press, which had allowed itself to be taken in by a couple of cheap local race hustlers and gulled into printing pornographic images of faked Iraq Prison photos, it is pretty much business as usual according to their newsroom tool "ombudsman."
    Boston Globe -- A series of errors on lewd images
    "We are not firing anybody," responds Baron. What will happen, he says, is conversations with staffers about following proper procedure.
    Oh, that's nice. And so comforting too. "Come my little unclued professional journalists. Let us have some quiet conversation. There will be tea and cake."

    On the other hand, what can he do. If he had any honor, he'd quit. But of course having honor is not how you get a job at the Boston Globe these days.

    ==
    Update: The "Ombudsman" for the Boston Globe claims: "Various sources last week said the photos displayed by Turner came from a pornography website, and they may well have, although I could not trace it to the source." --A series of errors on lewd images

    Perhaps she's not looking in the right place. Perhaps she could stroll across the newsroom and as the people writing the Boston Globe editorials: " Turner's photos appear to match ones found on a pornographic website. " -- Turner's bogus photos

    On the other hand, since she's obviously not up to the job perhaps she should go have a "conversation" with the editor.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 12:50 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Jihad for Dhimmis

    JUST IN CASE YOU ARE UNCLEAR ABOUT THE WAR BEING WAGED AGAINST US, MEMRI provides this reminder: "Hamid Golpira wrote a column in the Iranian English-language daily Tehran Times about the tenets of Jihad

    "Our wise teacher explained it to us like this. First we must invite them to Islam. Even if they declare war against us, we should invite them to Islam by calling a one-day truce for them to think over our invitation. If after one day they embrace Islam, we should accept them as Muslim brothers and sisters and war has been averted.

    "If they do not embrace Islam, we should invite them to pay the jizya tax and become dhimmis or to make a peace treaty with the Muslims, and we should again call a one-day truce for them to think over our proposal. If after one day they decide to pay the jizya tax and become dhimmis or to make a peace treaty with the Muslims, we should accept their decision, and again war has been averted.

    "However, if they do not embrace Islam and do not decide to become non-Muslims who are not enemies of Islam but decide to make war against the Muslims, then, under such circumstances, we are allowed to wage war against them, as long as we observe all the other rules of Jihad, such as treating prisoners fairly and not attacking civilians. And Islam teaches that genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism are always haram (forbidden).

    I guess we forgot to pay the tax or sign the peace treaty. That's it for us. Especially since it seems our enemies have forgotten a few things about the nature of their jihad as well -- terrorism, war crimes, murder of civilians -- just a few, yes.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 12:22 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Abu Ghraib Videotapes We've Yet to See

    DANIEL HENNINGER reports on unseen videos out of the Iraq Prison in: OpinionJournal - Wonder Land

    As perfect justice, the story in fact begins in Abu Ghraib prison, in 1995. With Iraq's economy in a tailspin, Saddam arrested nine Iraqi businessmen to scapegoat them as dollar traders. They got a 30-minute "trial," and were sentenced, after a year's imprisonment, to have their right hands surgically cut off at Abu Ghraib prison.

    The amputations were performed, over two days, by a Baghdad anesthesiologist, a surgeon and medical staff. We know this because Saddam had a videotape made of each procedure. He had the hands brought to him in formalin and then returned to Abu Ghraib. Oh, one more thing: The surgeon carved an X of shame into the forehead of each man. And the authorities charged the men $50.

    OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN the ways in which Americans are just the same as the regime they destroyed. Tell me again all the ways in which we are just as evil and that the Saddam torture chambers have reopened under new management but with the same old ways.

    But wait a moment. The sequel to this story is not the same as we would have had in Iraq if we had not gone to war. Instead the sequel reads:

    Last year, after we liberated Iraq, a veteran TV news producer named Don North--who has worked for major U.S. broadcasters--was in Baghdad with the U.S. to restore TV service. Iraqi contacts there brought him a tape of the men's amputations. Mr. North says dismemberment was common in Saddam's Iraq and that if one walks down a crowded Baghdad street one may see a half-dozen people missing an ear, eye, limb or tongue. He decided to seek out the men whose stubbed arms represented the civilized world's lowest act--the perversion of medicine.

    He found seven. Mr. North determined to make a documentary of their story and get medical help for them. How he found that help, if one may still use this phrase, is an all-American story.

    An oil engineer from Houston, named Roger Brown, overheard Mr. North's tale in a Baghdad café. He suggested Don North get in touch with a famed Houston TV newsman named Marvin Zindler. Mr. Zindler put him in touch with Dr. Joe Agris, a Houston reconstructive surgeon, who has worked in postwar Vietnam and Nicaragua repairing children.

    Mr. North sent Dr. Agris a copy of the videotape of the surgical atrocities, and Dr. Agris said: Send me the men; I will fix them.

    How this was done is something that will restore you after the last week of the news. Read it.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 11:58 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Small Bit of Justice

    An item that shows that sometimes, somewhere, there are people working in the media who have their heads on straight, even if they get there late:

    Disc Jockeys Fired

    PORTLAND - The radio station KNRK at 94.7 FM is issuing an apology to its listeners after talk show hosts Marconi, Tiny and sidekick Nickie J. laughed at and ridiculed the beheading of American Nick Berg.

    The three were fired Thursday afternoon, after airing the audio recording of Berg's murder repeatedly on Wednesday and laughing at the incident.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 11:47 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Kottke Catches Winer Stupidity Virus

    THE USUALLY SANE AND ASTUTE JASON KOTTKE has been bitten in the brain by the Dave Winer web virus today with his note titled The end of free (kottke.org)

    The bottom line, as Dave suggests, is that MT 3.0 is worth charging money for. Period. The fact that it was free up until now is largely irrelevant...except that for 2 1/2 years Six Apart has provided people with a very powerful, flexible piece of software for free and will continue to do so in the future. Those bastards!
    Sigh. That's the problem with reading Dave Winer without your surge protector duct-taped to your forehead. You might think, for a nanosecond, that Winer is making sense, but that's only because your are forgetting that everything in Middle Earth is but a prop in Dave's Neverending Epic Backstory starring Dave. In this case, you've forgotten the massive Userland meltdown when pricing began and, surprise, GOT IT WRONG. Like the Web's rutheless attack on Dave over RSS, his remorseless strangulation of his cat, his ascension into the realms of Harvard, his self-canonization as the inventor of blogging, his compulsion to inform you that today is his 3,746th day of not-smoking, and his decision to "move to a swing state in November so my vote counts!" (announced yesterday)... yes, you have forgotten that you cannot separate a Davism from Dave. The Dave endures.

    Kottke then recovers some semblance of sanity when he goes on to say:

    The one thing I do think 6A got wrong is the pricing structure for personal users.
    HELLO! Earth to Jason. That is exactly what all this is about. It is not, as Dave so dumbly decrees, about getting something for nothing. It is about the price of that something. Few MT users have been moaning about the end of free, but a lot have been, as you note, made very nervous by the
    Tiered pricing of software based on the number of users was designed to make sure large companies paid more for software than did small companies...so that a company like Wal-Mart pays $3 million for a database application for 20,000 users and a smaller company like Nantucket Nectars pays $30,000 for the same software with 250 users. The same pricing structure doesn't make sense for personal users. I know they priced it that way so that someone can't install MT and then host weblogs for 50 of their friends. I can understand that...that seems like an abuse of the "personal" license to me.
    Jason then goes on to state that if he jumped on this pricing model under his current configuration he'd be shelling out $700. That's only for starters.

    What's clear to me is that, as they have in the past, Six Apart got stupid with the way it handles its core users. It also got stupid with the way they used beta testers and then tried to upsell them. It was stupid again with the way they announced their move, and stupid before that with the way they set their pricing. Indeed, they state they are 'trying to get their pricing right.' What does that mean? Are they beta-testing their pricing? Will it go up if the market will bear it? Will it come down if it will not? If it comes down, will early adopters get a refund?

    Seems to me that 6A has depended on "the kindness of strangers" in plugin development and software support since day one. Seems to me that they've more than once revealed themselves to be stumblebums at doing what their software is supposed to enable -- communicate clearly and effectively. For this small flaw they will also join the group of people invested in Movabletype -- yes, they too will pay.

    ==

    Side note to Kottke: When Dave Winer thinks something, take a hint from Apple and think different.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 10:45 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Movable Type to Users: Bend Over and Cough It Up

    mena-desk.jpg
    So long, suckers.
    Thanks for the fish.

    SMILING MENA TROTT'S little note about their new "engulf and devour" pricing scheme -- and "scheme" is the right word for it -- has caused no little consternation in the blogsphere. Well, 'consternation' is a little soft -- 'rage' and 'betrayal' and 'greed' are also mentioned in some of the 450+ trackbacks.

    Indeed, Mena's little note has probably set a new trackback record for a single post in all of the blogs that use Movable Type. Written in the sweet, dulcet tones that we have come to know as "pure Mena" this little note is not the first time SixApart has proved to be hamhanded in dealing with its large userbase.

    Mena's Corner: It's About Time
    Ben and I are incredibly proud to see that Movable Type, the product that we first developed in our spare bedroom, has now enabled us to become a company that not only allows good people to have jobs that they (hopefully) enjoy but also a company that remembers those who got us here.
    Translation: "We'd like to thank all the little people." Yes, indeed, they remember by walking straight up to a lot of them and picking their pocket. They seem to forget that it really isn't MovableType and SixApart that made the app dominant in their little world, but the endless work of people creating plugins that give the app the functionality that it should have had in the first place. Plugins that really patched up the shaky software that MovableType was at its inception and continued to be right up through the last release. Oh yes, and all that free advice freely given over the years from one blogger to the other on their forums.

    While nobody doubts the right of SixApart to profit from their work, many rightfully doubt the business sense of this fledgling company in the current fantasy pricing structure. Indeed, with price tags for various configurations going to the north of $700, their "strategy" seems to be to give as many members of their sophisticated user base away to their competitors as fast as possible.

    It would be hard to find an example of a dumber idea passed off in such a breezy and Scarlet O'Hara manner than we see here. I guess that the SixApart couple just jumped back into that "back bedroom" for some warm pillow talk and came out with a business plan they think will buy them the Gulfstream soonest.

    Sigh. If this decision was any dumber I'd have to say that Joi Ito had a hand in it. Oh, wait, he does, doesn't he?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 9:20 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Which Side Are You On?

    LIKE IT OR NOT, OUR WORLD TODAY PRESENTS US WITH STARK MORAL CHOICES. At some cost in terms of friends and fortunes, I've made mine and done so without regret. The cost, measured against what some have given, is minescule. At times I wonder about the cost since I've tried to always keep in mind that I could be wrong. Then I run into the stark contrasts of basic human decency seen here and my resolve strengthens.

    If you think about these two links below as a forking path, which one you choose to take will say a lot about you and the world you inhabit and the world you would like to leave to those who will come after us. The first looks at the manifest evil currently blooming around the world and here at home and decides to do something, a very little something, but something to make the world better in just one household.

    The second seeks to exploit hate, bitterness, and what can only be described as an insect mindset. And it seeks to do it for its own personal enrichment. I once thought it was important to try to understand this kind of poisoned American mind. Now I know I understand it all too well.

    Here then, are your choices. I've made mine. It is time you made yours:
    The Command Post - Iraq - A Response To Murder: Strengthen The Good

    A Response To Murder: Strengthen The Good

    Tonight, I finished watching the HBO documentary My Flesh And Blood, which tells the story of Susan Tom, a 53-year-old single mother in Fairfield, California. Susan is the mother of 13 children, 11 of whom she has adopted, many of whom suffer from handicaps and diseases. Teenagers Hannah and Xenia were born without legs. Anthony has a degenerative and usually fatal skin disease. Eight-year-old Faith has disfiguring scars and no hair from being badly burned as an infant. Joe, 15, recently passed away from cystic fibrosis. Margaret, 18, helps Susan raise the family

    That was one way of responding to the hate and the evil of the world. To date they have raised more than $11,000 for this family from small contributions.

    Here is where the other path leads:

    Search and Destroy

    Tillman Toon Original

    Many people have written to ask about the price for the original artwork for last week's Tillman cartoon. Current high bid is $4,500; whoever is the high bidder as of Sunday night gets it.

    For those who wonder, my originals normally sell for $500-$750.

    This tells us, if Rall is telling the truth which I doubt, that there is someone in the world so disturbed and so lacking in elementary decency, that they would spend a significant sum of money on a cartoon that denigrates and cheapens the death of an American soldier and athlete.

    No, it tells us that there is more than one person. Think about that. One person would be too much, but more than one tells you a lot about how low some people have sunk.

    At any rate, that's today's branch in our garden of forking paths.

    Take one.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 8:14 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Costs of Our Wars

    WWII.jpg

    TIM OREN at Due Diligence pays a visit to the WWII memorial in Washington and reminds us:

    The memorial is a hard subject for photography. That's probably good. It's been made for people, not postcards. I've chosen to represent it with the feature I found most striking. On one wall is a tapestry of gold stars. During the war, such a star represented a family member who had died in battle. In this case, each star represents 100 deaths. There are four thousand of them.

    400,000 American dead. That's seven times more than all the names on the Vietnam Memorial not far away. Over 400 times our losses in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And yet - meaning no disrespect whatsoever to their memory and sacrifice - we were fortunate. Those 400,000 were less than one percent of the 50 million or so total deaths in WWII. And almost all of them were combatants. Excepting one infamous Sunday, that war never came to these shores.

    Our current struggle is the first in our history as a nation in which the roll call of the dead contains a majority of civilians. This is our enemy's goal, for they are murderers, not soldiers. Those fighting for us now serve to redress that balance, if needs be with the solemn honor of their own gold stars.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 7:37 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Syria. The First Step, but Not the Last


    "THE DOGS BARK, but the caravan moves on."

    By Executive Order

    I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, hereby determine that the actions of the Government of Syria in supporting terrorism, continuing its occupation of Lebanon, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining United States and international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
    This document was issued on the 11th of this month while the attention of our major media was on the less-than-history making issues surrounding digital cameras in an Iraq prison. The formal language of the entire order, found at the link above, is of course highly general and in and of itself merely a symbolic gesture.

    It is also a foundation for future action as the always astute Belmont Club notes: "Whether the Syrian sanctions and operations against Fallujah and Najaf are battle-shaping activities for the next phase of the Global War on Terror or simply temporizing, as Ralph Peters seems to feel, is the real strategic mystery. It is one whose answer we desperately need to know, and probably will in due time."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 7:11 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Understatement of the Month
    IT WAS ZARQAWI: Yes, it probably was Osama's number two. As dumb as he is evil. I don't think he understands the Jeffersonian tendency in American life and culture.
    -- AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish

    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2004 6:43 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Invitation to the Beheading of an American Jew

    You will be young and full of the idealism and enthusiasm that mark the best of our youth.

    You will have energy and ambition, eager to start your life.

    You will want to do good and do well at the same time.

    You will have been, all your life, a person that helps others, a person who thinks not first and last and only of himself, but of what he can do for others; of what service he can render the world to make his life count.

    You will be, in the manner of young men, more physically fearless than wise.

    You will be confident in yourself, but impatient with the settled, patterned ways in which your life must advance in your own country.

    You will want to get on with the business of your life.

    You will seek to make your dreams real through your work.

    You will see in the chaos and upheaval of a country struggling out of decades of oppression and centuries of ignorance opportunities to advance that country into the 21st century at the same time you advance yourself.

    You will leave the safety and security of your home and your nation and, with only your own skills, a little money, and nothing except the belief you will succeed, you will find yourself in a place where evil is an element of the very air and hell the handmaiden of the night.

    You will accept that. You are a young man in start-up mode. You will cut corners and take risks because you have to.

    You will be stopped and held in a jail. You will be released from that jail.

    You will be warned by the representatives of your country that the place you are in is not safe for Americans without the resources for personal security.

    You will be offered safe passage home. For reasons that may never be known you will refuse that counsel and that offer.

    You will go back out onto the streets of a city where men gnaw on ancient hates and use modern weapons to hunt for victims; men who thirst for the thrill of doing evil with no restraints known to civilized human beings. Serial killers drunk on blood who have ceased to be human.

    You will be captured by those who are your enemies because you are an American. They will learn you are also a Jew and that will seal your fate.

    You will hope that you will be exchanged or rescued.

    You will know that it is all over for you.

    You will live with this knowledge for some days.

    You will be bound hand and foot at seated before a camera in front of five subhuman cowards. They have long before decided what will be done to you and how it will be done.

    You will state who you are and who your parents are and where you live.

    You will be pushed to the floor and your head will be slowly sawed off of your body.

    You will yearn to be dead long before death comes to you.

    Your head will be held up by vermin and they will promise the same to all other Americans, to all other Jews.

    Your death will be applauded by many millions as “appropriate” revenge for photographing men naked. It will be the applause of cowards since these millions are certain they will never have to pay the price as the willing participants in your murder that they are. They know they are seen as “collateral.” They know it is the policy of your nation never to damage them, even as their murderers freely kill the citizens and soldiers of your nation.

    Your death will be seen and enjoyed by millions throughout the world, but your fellow countrymen responsible for reporting such things will not show your death to your fellow Americans. Instead they will seek to show more of the Prison pictures which the animals who killed you claimed were the justification for your murder.

    That other Americans held by the same animals will suffer your death or worse deaths because these Americans insisted on showing more Prison Pictures will not matter to these Americans who will not show your death.

    To these Americans, your death is trivial. More important to them than your death, or the deaths of other Americans, or the deaths of American soldiers is the question of who will win the elections. Your death does not matter to them. They seek only to have their fantasy of what America should be reaffirmed in November. They seek only for America to be the way we never were.

    Your body will be discovered hanging from a bridge in the manner of these things. Your head will be somewhere nearby.

    Your story will be told, carefully, for a day or two or three. Then it will be placed among those thousands of other stories that your fellow Americans who work in the media have decided are too upsetting and threatening for Americans to see or remember.

    Your death will be filed under “Forget.”

    You will be one with those who flung themselves out of the high windows of the burning towers, with those incinerated at the Pentagon, with Daniel Pearl, with the Marines in their barracks in Lebanon, with thousands of other Americans slaughtered by the animals of Islam of whom hundreds of millions of other Muslims are quietly proud.


    Your body and your head will be returned home to your family.

    Your father, at the bottom of a pit of grief that no imagination can conjure, will blame the President of the United States for your death. He will be right.

    In time he will come to know that the agents of your death were those for whom any American or Jew can only be seen as a thing fit to be slaughtered as quickly and painfully as possible. For now,however, it is enough that your father blames the President of the United States. And he will be right.

    Your President, passing a group of microphones on the warm green lawn of the White House, will pause and state that the men who killed you will be found and “brought to justice.” He will be lying.

    As long as the President and those about him decide, for whatever reasons, to bind the hands of our military for their political gain, there is no chance that the men who took your life will be found and brought to justice. Men who perform these crimes should not be “brought” to justice. Instead, justice should be brought to them swiftly and without remorse. And not to them only, but to all those who support, hide, and empower them. This, for political reasons, will not happen now. For now, the promise of “justice” from this President is hollow.

    Your family will mourn you forever.

    Your death will go unavenged.

    You were young and full of the idealism and enthusiasm that marks the best of our youth.

    You were butchered because you were an American and a Jew.

    Your death will go unavenged. For now, but not, I pray, forever.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 13, 2004 2:30 PM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The New Proud Porn Masters of Our Major Media

    IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS AMERICANS have been brutally subjected to a disgusting new media transformation arising out of the Iraqi prisons. It is not the pictures themselves, as fascinating as they may be, but the phenomenon of process by which the torrent of pictures have been jammed onto the pages and screens and websites of ‘major media’ with promises of “new, fresh” pictures to come tomorrow and for many days thereafter. Regardless of what Hollywood and cable televison has been about for decades, the tacit agreement between the Pornographers of America and the Major News Media of America has been that the former would produce the porn and the latter would only report on it. That agreement has, in the last two weeks, come to an end.

    It is true that major news media are still struggling to learn Basic Porn Upsell 101, but they are clever, educated people and they’ll get better quickly.

    You may have been brought up to think of professional media, professional journalists, and those that own the organs of major media as somehow responsible and respectable. You know you are a fool, but still you cling to this last shred of hope in what you were once taught. Alas, this latest run of image-mongering shows you how wrong you are. They are nothing of the sort in this instance.

    In this instance, CBS, NBC, ABC, 60 Minutes, the New Yorker, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time and all their ilk right down to the last man and woman that makes up their ranks, have become nothing better than pornographers, and poor ones at that.

    Yes, after years of reporting on and viewing, condemning, approving and tut-tutting over the increasing tsunami of porn sweeping the globe, the major media have finally stumbled on a way of getting in on the game. And while their methods are still rather crude, I’ve no doubt that their vast exposure to pornography while ‘covering’ it over the years has given them the basic tools to exploit this for their political and commercial gain.

    Here’s what they are doing and, if you have had any exposure to how pornography is peddled on the internet, you’ll recognize the method.

    The first thing you have to do these days to have a successful porn site is to find a niche and fill it. This is very hard to do since, in fact, there is no category in porn on the net so low and so vile and so disgusting that it has not been filled to the brim since, perhaps, 1998. Within the realms of internet porn there is truly nothing new under the slime. With one exception -- “amateur porn.”

    Amateur porn is fresh by definition since amateur porn is porn before it is polished. It is porn aborning and porn in the process of becoming. Fresh and steaming, it always finds a ready audience since it is porn that has not been seen before. Indeed, within the business of pornography amateur porn has been the one area that has seen consistent growth over the last decade. The most recent blockbuster entry into this category was the Paris Hilton video. Previously it was the Pamela Anderson video. Other examples abound.

    The Iraq Prison photos have proved to have tapped a rich new vein of amateur porn for the major media. Indeed, it has been an unexpected bonanza because by their very nature the pictures and videos coming out of the prison have fulfilled the basic criteria for successful porn in the internet age:
    1) It must be fresh and unseen -- a “Porn-Scoop” if you will.
    2) It needs to have both men and women in it with the constant implication of orgiastic bisexual hanky-panky. (It is not an accident that the most sought-after sexual fantasy partner in the realms of porn today is the trans-sexual who embodies both genders in one carefully constructed body.)
    3) It should have a strong element of the transgressive in it -- dungeons, torture, rape, domination, various S&M props such as leashes and cells are a plus.
    4) It needs to have the “feel of the real” -- out of focus, spontaneous, gritty and grainy -- in a word, “amateur.”
    5) The people in the porn should by and large be in late adolescence -- teens “barely legal” -- because firm young bodies are always more stimulating to look at than real ‘mature’ bodies. Soldiers, whether ours or theirs, are good for this since they all tend to be in shape. Indeed, so much in shape that one wag remarked that the printing of the pyramid of naked Iraqi males by the Village Voice was the first time in history that that paper claimed not to like an image of a male backsides.
    6) Last and most important of all, the porn presented must be such that, while looking at it, people can claim to be disgusted and revolted at the same time they are frantically expecting and looking for more.

    The Iraq Prison photos have all of this in spades. They represent that rarest of things in the pornography business -- a mother-lode of fresh, hot subject matter. And the best part of it is that, for most of the major media, the source is free. They didn’t have to spend a penny producing this porn, all they have to do is put it in the proper frame so it can be consumed.

    Better still, the government, for the most part, is not trying to eliminate this porn stream but to enable it. In fact, the government, in the form of congress, is in the position of being the first group to see this porn. Ritual condemnations are heard along with proclamations of the publics right to consume the porn seem to be the order of the day. To paraphrase some of our elected representatives: “This is the most revolting and disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. You’ve got to check it out.”

    An added plus is that the Major Media get to use the frisson they receive from the porn to indulge their other compulsive vice, the attacking of the Bush administration. This is porn that allows them to get off right after they have gotten off. Plus they get paid for it. It is, to say the least, a satisfying moment for the members of the major media in more ways that one. If they can continue to get and publish more fresh porn they can continue to get up and off at a frequency and with an intensity they haven’t had since they were sixteen.

    As you can see, these photos were made for the major media pornographers of our moment, and they have not been slow to take up the challenge of providing more for the ravening crowds already disgusted and revolted and stimulated by what they have seen to date. They’ve learned that one of the things people who like porn have in common is that once they’ve seen it, they’ve “used” it and they need something new. If you don’t provide it, they’ll be off to another place that can.

    For as professional pornographers know and the new pornographers at CBS, NBC, CNN, the various Times, and the Post are just learning, you have to be ready to put up new porn on a daily basis to keep the revolted and disgusted customers coming back for more. That’s the way of professional pornographers and it works. If you put up fresh porn on a daily basis, your (traffic) (circulation) (advertising) (revenue) increases. If you do not put up fresh porn on a daily basis, the same factors fall. Hence, the almost pathetic “debate” about releasing and circulating all the pictures is now the order of the day among the professional members of our media. They need fresh porn. If they don’t get it, they might have to start commissioning it or even, as may well have been done in Britain, producing and directing it themselves.

    One editor for the Washington Post claims to have “thousands of shots” just waiting to get printed in that noble paper and slammed up on the website. While he makes the appropriate noises about how restrained he’s been, it is not hard to hear the heavy breathing in the background as he contemplates the political excitement he and his fellow journalists at the Washington Post will feel as they slowly get to release them over the weeks and months to come. You might think he’d be ashamed to do so, but it is clear that, at long last, our professional major media people have no shame left in them, no shame at all, sir.

    The final example of how hungry our major, established, professional media have become for fresh images to extend their wallow in this Pornocopia comes from The Boston Globe this week.

    The Boston Globe, which is owned by the New York Times, was so desperate for fresh porn to publish that it allowed itself to be hoodwinked by two local political hustlers into publishing porn said to be from Iraq that was actually from a professional porn site dealing in prison porn and located in Pennsylvania.

    Doing its part in racing to the bottom, The Boston Globe blithely published a picture showing two of the sleeziest political race hustlers in the Boston Area holding up a large placard of stills they claimed were from Iraq. The stills were, as noted above, professionally posed porn from Pennsylvania. Although the stills were contained within a picture of the two hustlers making a “presentation” of their lies to the community, it was nevertheless crystal clear that the kind of penetration associated with canines was happening in the upper left of the picture along with several other triple-X rated images.

    This was printed without question, in living black and white, in the news section of the Boston Globe. A bit of a shock for a number of readers and the children of readers who weren’t really expecting this in their morning paper, but there it was. Right past the reporter (who was taken in by the hustler), right past the photographer who must have seen what was in the picture, right past the photo editor who surely saw what was in the picture, and right past the editor who is responsible for all the pictures and news in the paper. A phony story pitched by phony hustlers and then presented as news. The news? Penetration in the Boston Globe! Buy two!

    Only it wasn’t news. It was just more porn being delivered right to your doorstep by the major media of America. They’ve tried it. They like it. There will be more. “This just in: more prison porn from Iraq.”

    Pretty soon, we can count on a splash page coming up when we log to newyorktimes.com offering : “FREE! HOT! 1,000 pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners and full-streaming video for only $2.99 for the first three days. Click here if you are really, really, really over 18.”

    As Gary Snyder has observed: “Once a bear gets hooked on garbage, there’s no cure.”



    Posted by Vanderleun May 13, 2004 12:59 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Quislings Among Us

    quisling n : someone who collaborates with an enemy

    REID STOTT ON SOME of our "fellow Americans": Losing Our Way

    In my 45 years on this planet, I have never been more disgusted with "my fellow Americans" than this past week. The aberrant behavior of a group of soldiers and their chain of command has turned much of this country into a howling mass of moral midgets. As much as the actions themselves are shameful, it's the rationalization of victimhood and other morally incompetent comments I have heard in the past week that have made me ashamed to be an American.

    I never thought I'd have to say that. Ever.

    It is shameful that our eyes have become so clouded we no longer can see what was once simple truth. These terrorists use subhuman acts in an attempt to advance their cause, and their cause is to kill all who oppose their extremist beliefs. When we bicker among ourselves and point partisan fingers of blame in the aftermath instead of simply condemning the barbaric act of rabid animals -- we do their work.

    And there's a lot of Americans working for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi today, whether they realize it or not.


    ==
    UPDATE: In the comments to this item, Mr. Stott rightly takes issue with another over the characterization of "fellow Americans" as liberals or leftists. In my response I say:" Mr. Stott is correct here and I did not mean, by posting his comment, to imply otherwise. If I gave that impression, I apologize to Mr. Stott.

    My own response in the comments reads:

    "Time spent at Photodude.com will reward you with a number of essays and comments by Stott in which he is actively searching for a "middle," "third" or "other" way out of the current morass of partisanship.

    "His views are both compelling and instructive. Indeed, they are in the process of influencing my own thinking on these matters. This is not to say I am at present prepared to share his conclusions, but only that I am considering them actively."
    ==

    That may seem odd to regular visitors, but I find myself more and more these days returning to the thought that, no matter what views I may hold today, I may be in error. That is not to say I do not have firm convictions in the political sphere, but only that I also endeavor to keep constantly in mind that convictions, no matter how firm, can still be in error either through perception, ignorance, or a change in the world. And it is here that I find voices such as Mr. Stott's to be of great value.

    One of the most instructive of Mr. Stott's essays can be found here: Make That Ugly Middle Disappear! There are a number of others.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 12, 2004 8:38 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Air Hate America Hostess Says Shooting Bush "Works for Her"

    IN DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR, I wrote

    "Bush Hate, at the rate of festering intensity currently observable, is headed towards only one singular event: An attempt on the life of George W. Bush by an American citizen."
    -- American Digest: Where Bush Hate is Heading
    The group of losing traitors that make up the staff of "Air America" took that concept one step further today when, as pointed out by Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping an "Air America hostess says President Bush should be shot."
    Yesterday on her Air America radio show, Randi Rhodes said that's exactly what should be done to President Bush. Rhodes commented that Bush was like Fredo Corleone and that either Poppy or Jeb should take W. out for a fishing trip and blow him away.

    After imitating the sound of gun going off Rhodes said, "Works for me." Nice.

    Would you like to hear Rhodes say this? The clip is available via Cynical Nation at: Cynical Nation

    OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN what the definition of treason is. I'm a little unclear on the concept.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 10:38 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Body Part Negotiations Offer

    hamas-gaza-body-parts-02.jpg
    The Brave Ghouls of Palestine

    ACTING IN CONCERT with the other animals in their herd, the members of Hamas and other popular Palestinian terrorist organizations, offered to "negotiate" with Isreal over the return of the body parts of the soldiers killed by a "heroic" roadside bomb blast. But only after they'd gotten some valuable air-time out of the body parts.

    Hamas Displays Israeli Soldiers' Remains

    Israel's Channel Two TV showed footage of the armored personnel carrier with its sides blown out and pieces of armor plating scattered over a wide area.

    Hamas militants displayed pieces of metal and bits of flesh, laying them out on the ground. In another scene, a Hamas gunman on a motorcycle held a bloodied burlap bag with body parts.

    Hamas claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb, but two other groups, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades -- linked to Arafat's Fatah movement -- and Islamic Jihad, said they also had some remains. They offered to negotiate with Israel.

    OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN why we are not joining up our armed forces with those of Isreal and killing these people wholesale? I'm a little unclear on the concept and the use of limited force in this war.
    Al-Jazeera showed Islamic Jihad members holding up the head of one of the soldiers
    -- Jerusalem Post
    OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN why these animals "deserve" any state other than a state of non-existence.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 3:04 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sullivan Gets It Right Right Away

    SPOT ON INSIGHT FROM AndrewSullivan's Daily Dish

    NO MORE DOUBLE STANDARDS: Here's an email that strikes me as representative of most Americans:
    "Andrew, you know I've never really liked this war and my disgust for George Bush and his planning for this war is immeasurable. However, I agree with your piece "Insane Spin." I am still fuming about the beheading of Nick Berg, and people throughout the world need to understand the contrasting images of that situation and the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco. The world needs to understand that we will get to the bottom of this problem no matter where it leads. In contrast, al Qaeda and it's murderers flaunt this type of cruelty because they believe it will make Americans run away. In fact, it pisses us off and this type of crap needs to shown to the American people so that we all know who we are dealing with."

    Let's start an internet campaign to insist that the major media - including the New Yorker, the networks, the major newsweeklies, and every major paper - run a picture of Zarqawi holding up Nick Berg's severed head. It's time to release the Pearl video and stills too. Enough with the double standards. The media were absolutely right to show the abuse photos. But they are only part of the story. It's about time the media gave us all of it, however harrowing it is.
    - 4:39:15 PM
     
    AN INSANE SPIN: How are the media this stupid? AOL headlines: "Abuse Scandal's Deadly Fallout" referring to the hideous beheading of Nick Berg. Or this idiocy: "American Beheaded for Abuse." Do these people have no memories? This is al Qaeda. They beheaded Daniel Pearl long before the war in Iraq. They murdered thousands in New York City long before Saddam was removed from power. And they are as stupid as they are evil. Iraqis now have contrasting images. Do they want to be run by people who cut innocent people's throats at will or by people who have removed a dictator and are investigating unethical abuse of prison inmates? Zarqawi has now done something for our morale as well as his. He has reminded us of the real enemy; and he has reminded the Iraqis. One simple question: will CNN now show these video stills? I know it must be torment for the family. But if we are in a propaganda war, as we are, we need to be as ruthless in publicizing the murders committed by our enemy as we are in exposing the abuses committed by our own.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 1:10 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bags Over Heads vs. Beheading

    bergphoto.jpg

    "My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mother's name is Susan," the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in Philadelphia."
    American beheaded 'for abuse'

    After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" - "God is great." They then held the head out before the camera.

    bergkilling2.jpg

    OKAY, TELL ME AGAIN how much like our enemies we have become. I'm a little unclear on the concept that we are no better than our enemies when this is their "response":

    Video Seems to Show Beheading of American

    A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site appeared to show a group affiliated with al-Qaida beheading an American in Iraq (news - web sites), saying the death was revenge for the prisoner-abuse scandal.

    The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit who identified himself as an American from Philadelphia.

    After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and cutting off his head with a large knife. They then held the head out before the camera.

    We’ve been here before with Daniel Pearl, but most of the members of the Fourth Estate not working for the Wall St. Journal have long forgotten about him, haven’t they?

    Still, I trust that when video footage of Iraq Prisons is broadcast on the Evening News, that those same news organizations will be honorable enough to give equal time to this footage as well. It would be in the interests of, well, balance, wouldn't it?

    Indeed, I think that our "news" organizations should make a special point to air the footage and run it over and over for a two weeks or more. The New Yorker should unleash Seymour Hersh to get the real inside goods on the breakdown in the Arab chain of command that allowed this to happen.

    VidCaps need to be made and large color pictures published on the front pages of all the newspapers. Then we need to have every pundit who weighed in on the Prison Scandal have a go at this subject as well. In addition, every politician who called for actions and investigations and resignations should insist that the people in this video go through the same "process" as well. It would be the least they could do to demonstrate that they are men of honor. They are men of honor, aren't they?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 11:51 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Courage

    ChontoshLR.jpg

    WITH THE NATION’S FAUX INTELLIGENTSIA still reeling from “shame-shock-horror,” and the Hounds of the Blathervilles in full cry for Donald Rumsfeld's head on a pike, the likelihood of the picture above being seen on the front pages of the "leading" newspapers, or at the top of the news on any of the network news shows approaches absolute zero. After all, just what is the story here? Why should it be of interest to the Americans these “news organizations” supposedly serve?

    The story concerns a medal given to a Marine: Marine Receives Navy Cross. The marine in question is Capt. Brian R. Chontosh. “Chontosh” -- an unusual name, one that should be easy to search. But go to Google News and search for “Chontosh.” The hits are meager to say the least. As of this writing, there are eleven. To put this in perspective, a search for “Kerry Medals” returns 1,680 references from Google News while “Iraq Prisons” is a bonanza of reports and commentary -- 8, 660 to be precise. With such an overwhelming glut of news why should any news organization feature a story about the Navy Cross being given to a Marine? What’s that story got, anyway?

    The story is this:

    Chontosh, 29, from Rochester, N.Y. , received the naval service's second highest award for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003.

    While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone.

    He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.

    He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.

    When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers.

    When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.
    Try to imagine, for only a moment, what those actions entail. Try to put yourself, if for only a moment, on the ground and in the boots of Capt. Chontosh. Try to envision what it is to walk down a trench filled with people whose only mission is to kill you. They number more than 20. You are one. They are all armed. You have one rifle and one pistol. When you run out of ammunition, you have to take up the arms of the enemy. You don’t know if they are loaded or to what extent. But you keep going. In time, after you have killed 20 soldiers and wounded others, the shooting finally stops. Somehow, you are still alive. Somehow, your comrades are still alive. For now.

    Could you walk down that trench? I couldn’t. I know all the usual answers: training, duty, responsibility to the men under your command. None of them really answer the question, do they? Call it courage and hold your manhood cheap if you cannot begin to match it.

    But you heard nothing about it, did you? You heard, instead, about the sadists until you couldn’t stand to hear any more and then you heard more. You heard about the man from an ancient war who did or did not toss medals away until you couldn’t care about it less and then you heard more.

    If you were unfortunate enough to read the words of George Will, professional spinster, this morning, you read his handy guide to S&M:

    Americans must not flinch from absorbing the photographs of what some Americans did in that prison. And they should not flinch from this fact: That pornography is, almost inevitably, part of what empire looks like. It does not always look like that, and does not only look like that. But empire is always about domination. Domination for self-defense, perhaps. Domination for the good of the dominated, arguably. But domination.
    --No Flinching From the Facts (washingtonpost.com)
    That’s what the Washington Post brought you this morning. Why? Because you haven’t had your nose rubbed in this enough yet. How does George Will and the Washington Post know this? Because it would seem that, as of this morning, Donald Rumsfeld still has his job. That’s what is important to the writers and editors of the Post and the other “leading” news organizations today. The prison story with its tops and bottoms and naked images that can be run in the paper with a little discrete blurring here and there is important to these organizations because it is something they can understand. It’s permissible porn and they like it, they really, really like it. Indeed, it would seem that George Will likes it a little too much.

    Courage, though, real physical courage that requires a man to put the lives of his comrades above his own life, is beyond the shrunken moral scope of those who’ve spent the last week grinding out every last drop of rancid, phony outrage out of the Iraq Prison centerfolds they been displaying. Outrage and shock may have been permissible and even correct at the outset of the incident, but now doesn’t it seem as if there’s an element of perverse enjoyment creeping into the whole thing?

    I began this comment thinking that it was an outrage that a report on the heroism of Capt. Brian R. Chontosh wasn’t deemed worthy of comment by the “leaders” of the “leading news organizations” of the United States.

    I’ve changed my mind.

    It is they who are not worthy of him.

    ===
    UPDATE: More on this remarkable man at Bob Lonsberry: SOMETHING THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE NEWS

    Still more at: BLACKFIVE: Captain Brian Chontosh - Someone You Should Know



    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 11:13 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    High Apogee for the Hubble

    SPACE DAILY sports the hopeful headline Shuttle Or Not Hubble Will Be Saved

    "Indications are growing that the aging Hubble Space Telescope will not be allowed to die -- even if the U.S. space shuttle fleet will not be used to save it. More and more, it appears that NASA -- or even an international consortium of some kind -- will deploy a robotic space mission sometime in the next few years to service or repair the telescope."
    Well... maybe. As the article points out there are several very large hurdles in the way. On some level this may well be just a NASA noh play titled: 'Hey, We Tried."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 10:35 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    They Come One to A Million

    From the fascinating site for the game MOOT (Tough questions about the nuances of the English language) comes this curious question: Trying to add some precision to its meaning, Mathematician J.E. Littlewood defined it as "an event that has special significance when it occurs, but occurs with a probability of one in a million."; what word is it?"

    Click below for answer and wonderful Freeman Dyson quote:

    Continued...

    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 10:24 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sherman to Sunni Triangle: Leave Now

    shermanw.jpg
    "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms
    than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it."

    At the height of the Civil War, the Union General W. T. Sherman captured Atlanta, and declared it "... to be a military encampment and ordered the civilians to leave the city. He made arrangements with Hood for safe passage of these civilians, that because of where they lived, no matter if they had Confederate or Union sympathies, they could not remain in their homes if they were within the city of Atlanta.[Citation] The civic leaders of the city protested this order but Sherman declined to rescind it. In a famous letter he set forth his reasons.

    Today, with American forces engaged in a war of attrition in Iraq, one clear course, indeed the only course, is to return to a full war footing in certain areas of that country.

    Should this come to pass, the most obvious operation would be the reduction of the Sunni Triangle through a massive show of force. In keeping with the current policy of limiting collateral damage, the Army would be well advised to order the area evacuated of all civilians.

    Taking a page from history, if Gen. Sherman were commanding in the field today in Iraq, this might be the letter he would write to the leaders of the people in the Sunni Triangle.

    HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION of IRAQ in the FIELD
    Sunni Triangle, Iraq
    To Leaders of the Iraqi People:

    Gentleman:
    I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from the Sunni Triangle. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the cause, but to prepare for the future struggles in which billions of good people outside of Iraq have a deep interest.

    We must have peace, not only in Iraq and America, but in all the world. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored planet.

    To stop war, we must defeat the terrorist armies which are arrayed against the laws and rules of civilization that all must respect and obey.

    To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.

    Continued...

    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2004 9:57 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Instabooks at Bookends
    Beginning next week, Bookends in Ridgewood, N.J., will be a POD guinea pig, as it were, when it becomes the first U.S. bookseller to install an InstaBook machine, which allows for on-demand printing of trade paperbacks. (Several have been placed in Canadian stores.)

    InstaBook says it has about 10,000 titles available on the machine; about 6,000 of them are non-custom books. It is concentrating on expanding the "list," mostly in the public-domain and out-of-print sphere. But the company also is courting traditional large publishers who want to make backlist titles available at point-of-sale. It has reached such an agreement with Penguin Canada.

    Bookends owner Walter Boyer touted his ability to serve those who want some classics, customized publishing, self-pubbed and out-of-print authors and anyone else in need of a quick, inexpensive title in book form. "We're definitely becoming a publisher," says Boyer, whose store, a small, event-heavy venue in an upper-middle-class New York City suburb, is not big enough to hold the title selection of a superstore.
    More at: PublishersWeekly.com - Jersey Bookseller Becomes Publisher, Too



    Posted by Vanderleun May 10, 2004 4:32 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Unity Candidate



    Posted by Vanderleun May 10, 2004 12:58 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

    photo124.jpg

    A backhoe, a sledge hammer, a thin steel rod, and a trusted co-worker. What could possibly go wrong?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 7:30 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bernie DeKoven's Funlog 1). put

    Bernie DeKoven's Funlog

    1). put the computer to sleep.

    1. a). after you've read this message

    2). look at that little breathing light, and see if you can breathe with it.

    3). close your eyes.

    3. a.) not yet

    4). distract yoursself

    4. a.). count or something

    5). open your eyes and see if you and the little light are still breathing together.

    6). go to step 2).



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 5:47 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Six Iron Laws of the Media

    FRED REED IS AN ACQUIRED TASTE if you don't naturally one man's truth served cold. One of his latest dishes is An Oozing Of Gray Sludge, in which he gives us six iron truths about the media.

    Over the years I've noticed several things. First, in print publications, most reporters aren't very smart. A few are very bright, but probably through a mistake in hiring. (The prestigious papers are exceptions, hiring Ivy League snots of the sort who viscerally dislike soldiers, cops, rural people, guns, etc.) Reporting requires assertiveness and willingness to deal with tedious material under pressure of deadlines. These qualities seldom come bundled with inquiring intelligence. Consequently reporters (again with the occasional exception) lack curiosity, and don't read in their fields.

    The results are reasonably obvious to all of us, no? Is it not true that when you know a field, those writing about it clearly don't?

    Second, they are painfully politically correct, frightened of making a slip. Everyone in the racket knows exactly what you can't say and what you have to say. Thus what reporters know, they don't say; and what they say, they don't believe. Writers are afraid of being fired; newspapers are afraid of their readers and, very important, of their advertisers. Editors are terrified of blacks, Jews, Hispanics, homosexuals, and women.

    Third, the media are controlled, controlled, controlled. It is easy not to notice just how controlled. For example, people are interested in crime and the police. Ever see a television station put a cop on camera and let him talk for half an hour about what it's really like out there? Never happen. An honest cop couldn't manage three sentences without saying something perfectly true but forbidden.

    Fourth, to understand journalism, you have to understand that, once you have a decent beat, it's a ticket to ride. It's fun. You get to go where others don't, do things other people only dream about. You have power. You have privilege. The paper buys you tickets and hotels for the Paris Air Show; you go to exotic wars, ride in fighter planes. Important people who think you are an idiot are nice to you because they are afraid of you. And if you don't ruffle feathers, you keep both power and privilege. So the easy thing is to write what you are supposed to write and have a splendid time.

    Fifth, reflect that because of law, convention, and political fear papers have to hire "diverse" newsrooms. This exercises a powerful flattening effect on the news. For practical purposes it is not possible to express opinions, or to cover stories, that offend a sizable group on the floor of the newsroom. If your editor is female, or the guy at the next desk black, or gay, you find it very hard to write anything that these groups won't like. After all, you have to come to work every day. More diversity in the newsroom means less diversity in the news.

    Finally, whoever owns the paper calls the tune. It isn't always done obviously. You don't get a telephone call from the publisher, or whoever in New York owns your paper, saying, "Yes, it is I. The Big Boy. God. Here's what I want you to write." But you know the paper's line, its taboos. You abide by them or you walk. Given that the media are owned by small numbers of people who believe the same things, the tune that is called seldom varies.

    True Wit is Nature to Advantage drest,
    What oft was Thought, but ne'er so well Exprest.

    -- Pope, An Essay on Criticism



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 4:56 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Two American Landscapes

    Eadweard Muybridge
    American (1830--1904)
    The Domes from Merced River, Yosemite Valley, c. 1874
    albumen print
    George Eastman House


    Carleton E. Watkins
    American (1829-1916)
    Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon, 1867
    albumen print
    George Eastman House



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 10:47 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Lesson? What Lesson?

    FRIDAY'S Best of the Web Today has an item concerning a New York Times Learning Experience:

    "...the New York Times Learning Network features a "lesson plan" on "writing letters to protest American abuse of Iraqi prisoners." As supplemental material, the Times urges teachers to have their students peruse the English-language Web site of Al-Jazeera as well as a Times article on Abu Ghraib.
    But when you follow that link today all you get is:

    nytlesson.jpg

    It will be interesting to see what sort of "revisions" to the "lesson" will be made at that time.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 9:45 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Religion of Peace and Understanding

    MORE GOOD NEWS FOR ISLAM from Africa:

    Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State, has ordered the demolition of all churches in the state, as he launched the second phase of his Sharia project yesterday.

    Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran.

    He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found.

    The governor also disclosed that a law to compel employers of labour in the state to give their employees "prayer breaks" five times daily would soon be enacted by the state House of Assembly.
    -- -- Nigeria: Zamfara Gov. Orders Demolition of All Churches

    Demolishing churches seems to us to be wasteful. Instead, they could be converted into condominiums to house the displaced and homeless Taliban from Afghanistan. That's a win-win all around.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 8:41 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Joyner Universal Apology

    JAMES JOYNER has done the heavy lifting on a universal apology so you don't have to. See Outside the Beltway: My Apologies and perhaps make a small print-out you can carry around with you in case it is needed quickly:

    I, too, apologize for the Reserve MPs who were mean to prisoners in Iraq. Sure, I've been out of the Army for twelve years now, but I once wore the same uniform as those guys and was also in Iraq for several months. I also drove past several Iraqi prisoners on more than one occasion without stopping to share my MREs with them (I'd have gladly donated my oatmeal cookie bar). Perhaps if I'd set a better example then, BG Karpinski would have been a better commander and I'd have conveyed to future generations of soldiers that we should be nice to Iraqi prisoners rather than making fun of their wee-wees and otherwise abusing them.

    I'm very sorry that I didn't see the 9/11 attacks coming and did nothing to prevent them. To the families who lost people that day, I failed you. Had I only been endowed with omniscence and omnipotence, rest assured that I'd have stopped the attacks rather than teaching at a mediocre college in South Alabama that day.

    Also, while these events were before my time, I feel really bad about the My Lai massacre, Jim Crow laws, the Holocaust, slavery, killing all those Indians and stealing their land, and the Spanish Inquisition. If there's anything else you're feeling bad about, I apologize for that, too. And if this apology offended you in any way, you have my apologies.

    I think we need to tack a version of that onto the Oath of Office taken by all future Presidents of the United States, foreign or domestic.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 8:24 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What Liberal Media? The San Jose Mercury News for Starters.

    Tom Mangan, who works at " features copy desk at the San Jose Mercury News" and runs Prints the Chaff is refreshingly direct about the nature of his newspaper:

    Thing is, everybody I work with, almost without exception, is against the war. And this true of just about every American newsroom not owned by Rupert Murdoch or the Moonies. And it won't be long before they turn, too, the way things are going.

    So what I'm wondering is, how did the White House and the Pentagon think they'd get this story past all us limp-wristed, bleeding-heart, pacifist, war-hating journalists?

    He's upset about the treatment of prisoners in Iraq. Indeed, it is hard to find anyone right, left, or center who isn't upset about this issue. It seems to be either the thing we do, or the thing to do, depending.

    Either way it certainly is empowering to many around the world. Many find in the incident the proof positive that we are a terrible people. Many find in the endless paens of outrage and disgust proof positive that we are a decent and compassionate people. Our enemies find in the incident and its political fallout proof positive that we are a silly people.

    Liberal journalists such as Mangan see it as proof positive that by God there is no plan and we told you so: "I'm not seeing many hints that the White House or the Pentagon has a sensible plan to win the political war, much less the blood-and-guts one. But they'd better get one soon if they expect all us newsies to stick with the program."

    Readers of the San Jose Mercury News may see statements such as that as proof positive that the staff of their newspaper, especially those on the features copy desk, may not be too dedicated to the proposition of unbiased reporting.

    As for the threat that somehow newsies such as Mr. Mangan may stop 'sticking with the program,' it hasn't been our impression that a lot of newsies have been "with the program" for decades; as Mr. Mangan is kind enough to verify. Now, if only we could get one other member of the San Jose Mercury News to confirm Mangan's statement we could publish it as the truth.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2004 7:21 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Number One with a Bang/Slash/Bang Option 8

    dotmatrix.jpeg

    ONE REASON MODERN MUSIC may not survive modernity is summed up in this stunning composition:Symphony #2 For Dot Matrix Printers,

    Artist: The User
    Label: Asphodel
    Genre: Electronic: Experimental

    It is exactly what it sounds like, a musical composition in which the only 'instruments' are printers, mic'd to amplify the whirring of carriages and the banging of type.
    And no, you can't dance to it ....



    Posted by Vanderleun May 8, 2004 10:31 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Is There E-Mail After Death?

    From the obituary for Kay Robinson Pruitt in today's reviewjournal.com Las Vegas Review Journal

    Condolences may be e-mailed to www.myers-mortuary.com

    Responses will probably be optional.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 8, 2004 10:25 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Is There E-Mail After Death?

    From the obituary for Kay Robinson Pruitt in today's reviewjournal.com Las Vegas Review Journal

    Condolences may be e-mailed to www.myers-mortuary.com

    Responses will probably be optional.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 8, 2004 10:24 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Thom Gunn 1929-2004

    ThomGunndrawing.jpg
    Poet. Teacher. Mentor.

    My Sad Captains
    by Thom Gunn

    One by one they appear in
    the darkness: a few friends, and
    a few with historical
    names. How late they start to shine!
    but before they fade they stand
    perfectly embodied, all

    the past lapping them like a
    cloak of chaos. They were men
    who, I thought, lived only to
    renew the wasteful force they
    spent with each hot convulsion.
    They remind me, distant now.

    True, they are not at rest yet,
    but now they are indeed
    apart, winnowed from failures,
    they withdraw to an orbit
    and turn with disinterested
    hard energy, like the stars.

    Thom (Thomson) William Gunn, poet, born August 29 1929; died April 25 2004....

    ======

    No. Wait. Do not go.

    A bracket of dates and life moves forward. If we were like the beasts that we keep that would be the whole of it. But we move forward carrying the past with us. It is true that age and the ever spiraling cascade of experience forces us to discard large files of memory along the way, but if we are wise we keep those memories that sustain us and let the rest pass.

    It is 1967 and I’m living with six other crazed young artists and hipsters in The Green House off Telegraph south of UC Berkeley. The Green House was not a special place for the time. It was, in that time and in that place, ordinary. The most ordinary place in the world. If it was neither real nor natural, it was fraught with a strange excitement, fecund with endless possibility. It was built of a metaphysic so loose that the most absurd accident could happen and it would only be a part of the Grand Design. It was a place where revelation and prophecy were daily events, the Second Coming scheduled for tomorrow after lunch, magic considered merely another, older branch of science, poetry an acceptable mode of speech, and caricature a widely appreciated attitude. As far as we know Rasputin, William Blake, St. Teresa, and Walt Whitman had never lived in The Green House, but they would have been welcome if they had wandered in.

    Because there’s a war on, I’m trying to stay in school. But because there’s a war on I’m trying to leave school. I’m also trying to become a poet for reasons that are now obscure other than it seemed like “a good idea at the time.” Off the kitchen in The Green House is a small mud room with a screened window. Nasturtium and morning glories have twined across the screen and late into the night I sit scribbling and typing one attempt at poetry after another only to abandon most of them at first light. Dawn always reveals a small pool of crumpled sheets filled with errors, false starts, bad endings, failed metaphors, forced similies -- all the detritus of trying to learn to use words.

    It had not been my habit to throw anything away the previous year. Everything I wrote seemed to my young mind to be touched with light. Now I knew it had been garbage and had destroyed most of it. How did I know that? Because I had been fortunate enough to find myself in a poetry composition class taught by Thom Gunn.

    How many teachers do we have during our formal schooling? Two or three dozen? Fifty at most. How many do we remember? I remember three. A science teacher and a drama teacher in high school, and Gunn. I don’t remember Gunn because of how or what he taught, although that was part of it, I remember him because of who he was.

    I remember the craggy, pitted face easily moved to laughter and a sensibility moved to kind despair when he was forced to experience a particularly bad line. I remember that the class was formed of about 12 students and that on any given day at least ten were baked to a crisp. But that didn’t mean Gunn didn’t get our attention. How could he not? He was not only an elegant poet, an inheritor of the Tennysonian tradition in English poetry, but he was an elegant man.

    He commuted in from his other life in San Francisco on a powerful motorcycle in leather and Levis. Then, before taking up his duties as a teacher, he’d change into what had to be bespoke English Suits and cowboy boots. It was a look that the students in his class mired in the hippy-regalia of the time could not hope to emulate. But it was a look that spoke of refinement and manliness at the same time. It was not too much to say that we worshipped the man.

    Unlike other “established poets” I’ve run into here or there over the years, the hours spent in Gunn’s class were never about himself or his work. We were always asking him to read to us from his work, but he never did. What we were there to discuss, he always reminded us, was our work and the work it obviously needed.

    And work we did. I’ve never pushed so hard on the craft as I did during that semester. Because that was what Gunn was about, the craft. Not your feelings or your petty psychosis, not the confessional spew so popular at the time. Gunn had little patience for that even though he was invariably kind about pointing it out. What Gunn was interested in teaching was the one thing he knew he could teach: the craft, the rhetorical shape and the internal beat, the way in which you could put words together to get a specific emotion back from the reader; the painting techniques of poetry; how to draw from life with words.

    Most of the time, you failed at the craft since you’d been taught that craft was a foolish tool and that emotions were all that mattered. But slowly, with his remarks in class and his reactions to the work you submitted, you came to understand that you were actually improving. In hopes of improving more, you bought his books and internalized his poems. I have all his books now, the oldest of which I bought in 1967. I’ve read through and around in them many times and they never fail to enhance and expand my life.

    Gunn was kind and unsparing with his criticism, but he held back his praise. Somewhere I still have a sheet of paper with his polished handwriting telling me how vivid and effective he thought it was. I kept it pinned in front of wherever I was writing for years. It strikes me now that I’d really like to find it.

    In time the class ended, summer came on, I left the University and fled to Europe. Several years passed and I was working in an office south of Market Street in San Francisco. I was walking back to the job when, waiting for a light, a motorcycle pulled up next to me at the curb. Black motorcycle. Helmeted rider. Bespoke English three-piece suit. Cowboy boots.

    Recognizing me he lifted his visor and smiled that smile that made the day brighter. Held out his hand and we shook. The light changed and I said, just to be clever in the way that young men are, “Man, you gotta go,” a phrase that opens one of his motorcyclist poems, "On the Move." He laughed, nodded, hit the throttle and faded away down the long boulevard.

    I never saw him again, but like all teachers and mentors that have touched our lives, he’s never really been absent. More than once over the years, I wanted to seek him out if only to thank him for what he’d added to my life. That always seemed beside the point. Now, to my regret, it is too late. Still, when I think of him or read his work as I will until my time arrives, I’ll always carry the memory of those classes and the long nights working amid the growing pile of crumpled paper on the floor in The Green House. In the end, that’s what the great teachers and poets leave us, the memories that live, the memories we choose to carry all our lives.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 5, 2004 9:24 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    And a Little Bit of Rock and Roll!

    It used to be that you got a talk show, then ran for president, à la Pat Buchanan, but Howard Dean may reverse that order. Dean is talking to Viacom about a TV gig and working with "Judge Judy" producer Larry Lyttle, who told Variety: "He's a little bit of Howard Beale, a little Dr. Phil and a little Donahue all rolled into one."
    -- Media Notes Extra



    Posted by Vanderleun May 5, 2004 8:43 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    John Kerry's Come to Jesus Moment
    Kerry said he went to the Golan Heights, visited the Sea of Galilee and "actually stood on the Mount of the Beatitudes and read the Sermon on the Mount to those gathered with me."

    Two choices here. A) Either he's lying, which is disappointing, or B) he's telling the truth, which is frightening.

    Perhaps it will, in the end, turn out to be C) "I didn't read The Sermon on the Mount after I read The Sermon on the Mount."

    -- Kerry Vows to Protect Israel in Peace Moves



    Posted by Vanderleun May 5, 2004 8:35 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    John Kerry's Come to Jesus Moment


    Kerry said he went to the Golan Heights, visited the Sea of Galilee and "actually stood on the Mount of the Beatitudes and read the Sermon on the Mount to those gathered with me."

    Two choices here. A) Either he's lying, which is disappointing, or B) he's telling the truth, which is frightening.

    Perhaps it will, in the end, turn out to be C) "I didn't read The Sermon on the Mount after I read The Sermon on the Mount."

    -- Kerry Vows to Protect Israel in Peace Moves



    Posted by Vanderleun May 5, 2004 8:33 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    When Bad Things Happen to Good Forklifts

    forklift.jpg
    "Remember to always wear your hard-hat on the job."

    IT'S GOT FORKLIFTS, chain saws, decapitations, stump-grinding, and, for that finishing touch, it is in German.

    Put them all togther, connisseurs of safety films will put this one up for MOVIE OF THE DECADE SO FAR.

    This is a 17 megabyte movie but we think that after you see it you too will say: "STAPLERFAHRERKLAUSDERERS!"



    Posted by Vanderleun May 5, 2004 7:36 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Arctic photographs of Subhankar Banerjee


    Unnamed Lake
    "The refuge is so remote and untamed that many peaks, valleys, and lakes are still without names and shall remain that way. Marsh fleabane cluster along the lakeshore, while Nichenthraw Mountain and spruce trees are reflected on the calm water of early morning."

    From: Pressing Forward: Arctic Refuge Photographs by Subhanker Banerjee at Orion.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2004 7:03 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Micah Wright's Second Book of Lies Canned. First Book of Lies Lives.

    chomsky911.jpgmumiabook.jpg
    scheerbook.jpgwrightattack.jpg
    Birds of a Feather Books By Seven Stories Press
    Left to right, top to bottom: Nut, Killer, Quisling, Liar

    PUBLISHERS WEEKLY HAS SOME MORE DETAIL on disgraced Democratic booster and liar Micah Wright's cancelled book.

    Seven Stories Cancels Book Over Author's False Claim
    by Calvin Reid, PW NewsLine -- 5/4/2004

    A forthcoming anti-war book from Seven Stories Press by a popular comics writer has been cancelled after the author admitted that he lied about being a U.S. Army Ranger in both the introduction to a previous book and the biographical information of his new book.

    Seven Stories publisher Dan Simon has cancelled If You're Not a Terrorist... Then Stop Asking Questions from the noted Micah Wright after being notified several times since last summer that Wright was lying about his background. Wright had maintained he was telling the truth, providing what Simon called "fuzzy photographs that were supposed to verify his military service," but when a Washington Post reporter last week informed Wright he was planning to expose his claims and reveal he was never in the military, Wright then admitted he was lying, according to Simon. The publisher then cancelled the book.

    For his part, Wright said he came clean for reasons other than the possibility of exposure. "[F]rankly, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of lying to my friends, to employers, to my fans, to myself," he wrote on his site. "I haven't been able to sleep and I've just about given myself an ulcer. It's all become too much. I'm stopping the lies."

    Wright's first book, You Back the Attack, We'll Bomb Who We Want, out in 2003, has sold about 20,000 copies. Simon said Seven Stories will continue to sell that book, but will remove the introduction if it goes back to press.

    In his books, Wright rewrites the slogans on classic posters from World War II and transforms them into sly anti-war statements; his book has received contributions from Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut.

    A couple of interesting facts in that little item. The first is the howler about submitting "fuzzy photographs" to publisher Simon.

    Perhaps Simon could have asked for sharper shots, even formal ID photos since it seems to be a given that the Army and the Rangers take a lot of photos of their troops. But perhaps Simon didn't really want to ask. After all, why spoil a good thing until it walks into your office, lifts you out of your chair and sinks its fangs deep into your posterior.

    Interesting also that Mr. Simon will continue to sell Wright's first book with the elimination of the Introduction. I suppose that means the log rolling boosts written for Wright by Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut will stay.

    One might ask what they are doing there in the first place? Why would writers with the stature of Zinn and Vonnegut weigh in on a book that only displays political bile photoshopped onto public domain images? In turns out that the logs do not roll far from the tree. Zinn and Vonnegut both have books published by Simon's grisley little house.

    And what a house it is. While the 20,000 copies Simon claims to have sold of Wright's first book may seem like very small potatoes to any real publishing house, there's a good chance Wright might actually be the sales star of Seven Stories Press.

    Other "hot" authors touted by this bastion of fine publishing include the recently disgraced Howard Zinn, the doddering Kurt Vonnegut, convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, aging activist Angela Davis, the Huey P. Newton Reader, a collection of screeds by the quisling Robert Scheer, professional globe trotting meddler and dictator groupie Ramsey Clark, the Zapatistas (I don't mean Frank's), and the ever-popular reigning looney of left-wing fantasy land, Noam (Gen. O'Cide) Chomsky. Placed against that roster of leading anti-American Americans you can readily see why a mere pathological liar such as Micah Wright would, as they say, "add luster to the list."

    It also shows that, barring the ability to get aging leftist authors to write Seven Stories into their wills, why the press would need Wright's sales. Compared to those other offerings, his book of posters is probably the most readable in the entire Seven Stories catalog.

    Ironic that the entire catalog of this vermin packed house should showcase simultaneously the best of our Bill of Rights and the worst of American publishing.
    ===
    UPDATE: As to the "fuzzy photographs" Simon claims to have seen, it's too bad he didn't ask for Wright's Ranger Class Graduation photograph. It is to be found at: Ranger School Class Photos: Class 13-87 and seems crystal clear.

    So the question becomes not just is Micah Wright lying, but is Simon lying as well?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2004 4:33 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    DAVID TALBOT: SALON’S "DOLLAR DAVE"

    SALON’S PRECARIOUS FISCAL STATE has obviously become dire. The “premium’ subscriptions which began at, I believe, $35 a year have now been discounted down to a dollar a year. Today, this email has been making the rounds.

    I felt compelled to comment:


    Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 00:59:24 -0700
    From: Premium Help
    Subject: Renew Salon Premium for $1

    Dear *****: I understand that you haven't yet renewed your subscription to Salon Premium,

    Right you are, David. No more premium Salon for moi. I’ve left you forever and taken the puppy.

    so I'm prepared to extend you our absolute lowest rate ever: $1 for an entire year.

    One dollar? Just one buck? One small Washington?

    That's right, $1.

    Zowie, David. Tell me more, more, more!

    To take advantage of this great rate, all you need do is renew using our no-annual-fee Salon Visa card. This offer is only valid in the United States.

    I don’t know. That smacks of cultural imperialism to me.

    Again, the card carries no annual fee and has a low interest rate.

    Sounds like a World Bank Loan to a third world country. Can I get some cash up front too?

    Plus it looks fantastic.

    I admit I was on the fence until you told me that. The one thing I require in credit cards is a fantastic look. The guy down at the Circle K always kicks back the ugly cards to me and demands cards that look “fantastic.” Will you be doing one next year that also looks “fabulous”? If so, will it go with my new Pinto print Speedo?

    Just click on the following link to apply: [link deleted to keep readers of this site from swamping the Visa servers]

    We both win because Salon is compensated for every credit card account we open

    No kidding? And here I thought you were offering the dollar a year rate because you loved me and wanted me back desperately. David, don’t tell me you’ve become a Visa slut after all we’ve meant to each other. How could you?

    -- enabling you to support independent journalism --

    Actually, I have to confess that every credit card account I do not open supports my own independent journalism, David. If you really wanted to support independent journalism, you’d pay your own journalists more and on time as well.

    and you save a lot on an annual subscription that includes great new benefits like a 1-year subscription to "Wired,"

    David, David, David... don’t you know Wired=Tired especially now that it is edited by girls?

    "National Geographic Adventure"

    Yes, I really need another magazine shilling for the travel industry.

    and "U.S. News and World Report"

    A magazine famous for being number 4 in a grouping of 3? When Mort Zuckerman finally gets to be Secretary of the Treasury in the next Democratic administration in 2020, get back to me.

    and access to reading Salon on your PDA or cell phone.

    Now here’s where turning you down makes me sad. To think that I won’t be able to read Salon on my cell phone makes me misty. Promise you won’t let my refusal keep you from sending me those hot textings when we’re apart, won’t you?

    Plus, great existing benefits like reading Salon in a blissfully ad-free reading environment.

    David, do your paying advertisers (both of them) know you’re talking about them behind their back. If they find out you think of ad-free environments as blissful, you’re going to have some ‘splaing to do.

    Applying only takes a moment or two and gets you all the benefits of Salon Premium -- the magazines, the ad-free reading, the PDA and cell phone access, everything --for just $1.

    I heard you the first time, David. Get to the point.


    Without loyal subscribers like you, Salon simply couldn't afford to stay in business.

    There’s a thought.

    That would silence the voice of the Web's leading independent source of unvarnished news coverage, unfettered opinion and unintimidated muckraking.

    Right. Check and double check. Salon -- The No Bias web site. Got it.

    Where would you turn for honest, fearless reporting on the 2004 elections?

    Kind of hard to say, off hand David, since that would make me choose between about 249 sites currently residing in my favorites file. I suppose I could channel surf between about seven news channels if I go really hard up. Still, I agree there’s a real shortage of options when it comes to coverage of these elections, so let’s say I’ll keep you in mind.

    Time and again, Salon has outpaced the other news media to bring you the "scoops".

    That’s right, David. I think you’re shining moment last year was when you were out there in Texas running around with the web cam as the space shuttle debris rained down. That was you, wasn’t it? Or were you the guys who coined the BUSH LIED meme that’s making the rounds?

    I can't tell you what scandals, shams and outrages we'll cover in the year ahead.

    How about the deadly email from Salon that offers a whole year for a quarter if only readers will send their bank account information to a database in Nigeria? That’s gotta be next.

    But I can tell you this: No matter what happens, Salon will be there -- probing, digging, asking all the hard questions.

    Unless, of course, I don’t send you the dollar. In which case, Salon might not be there.

    We need you. You need us.

    David, you naughty boy. If I needed you I would have stayed with you. Admit it, this isn’t about my needs, but yours. It’s not me. It’s you.

    Please renew your subscription for just $1 by clicking on the link below and we'll both be the better for it.

    David, it didn’t work the first time. I’ve moved on. You should too. If the Chronicle takes Mark Morford as resident pervert, they’ll surely hire you back. Man up, David. It’s time.

    Cordially, David Talbot
    Editor, Salon.com

    “Cordially?” “Cordially?” After everything we’ve been to each other?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2004 3:24 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Well, Okay, If You Say So

    "The most original entertainment and promotional innovation of the decade!"

    CagedUp.jpg

    See this in action at: Trading Places Films


    -- From Walking Illusions

    Found through the amazing growabrain



    Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2004 12:31 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Our Computers Made Us Do It"

    AFTER TAKING ONE LOOK AT THE TSUNAMI OF MERDE heading their way, the blighted boffins at MSNBC made a hasty retreat into the merde shelter and uttered the "Dog Ate My Homework" Defense:

    MSNBC - Why we pulled Monday's Ted Rall cartoon
    Item did not meet MSNBC standards of fairness and taste

    MSNBC.com pulled a cartoon by syndicated political cartoonist Ted Rall on Monday.

    Rall's cartoon, distributed widely by United Press Syndicate to scores of newspapers and Web sites, concerned the late Pat Tillman, the NFL player who quit football to join the Army. Tillman was killed last month in Afghanistan.

    The cartoon, like others on MSNBC.com, is published daily on the site via an automated syndication feed. Such feeds are rarely reviewed. However, MSNBC.com Editor in chief Dean Wright concluded Monday's Rall item did not meet MSNBC.com standards of fairness and taste.

    I'm used to seeing fairly large steaming loads of manure dropped by organizations like NBC when they get caught out. (No, we won't recap the Ted Koppel blatherfest of last week, thank you.), but the "automated feed" excuse only tells us that "Editor-in-chief" Wright has no real controls over what gets published on his site and what doesn't. Amateur hour prevails at Wright's site.

    Any editor with even half a brain would know that Rall, given his long and vile history, would sooner or later feel the lack of the spotlight and come up with something really obnoxious. That is a given. a certainty, a thing that will fall upon your site according to the law of gravity. An editor with an ounce of professionalism knows that and plans for it. He or she creates systems of review and approval. The last thing a professional editor does is leave large sections of his or her site open to "automated feeds" so that any one of a dozen "partners" can just pump anything they want into your templates.

    Imagine a magazine or newspaper that has a number of cartoonists working for it. These cartoonists are known to be flakey and some more undependable than others. Would that magazine or newspaper simply tell those cartoonists to run down to the printer and drop anything they liked on a few pages that they've left blank for them?

    Forget the editors. Would the lawyers working for a magazine or newspaper allow such a policy to exist? Not bloody likely.

    Come to think of it, I'm betting MSNBC does have some human review set up and they are simply lying through their teeth about the "automated feed." The Rall obscenity was probably reviewed by some entry-level editor who is a special pet of Wright's and who thought it was funny and saw nothing wrong with it. He or she probably thought, "Hey, dump on the troops? That's what we do here. Up it goes."

    Folding money that the MSNBC dog did not eat the homework, but simply tossed up the Rall dog's dinner for the delight of anti-American American's everywhere. Then they went out to lunch. On the expense account and had a good laugh about it. "Tillman? Poor Sucker. That Rall's so edgy. Let's have him over to dinner next week, what?"

    Oh, yes, what they published before someone up the corporate ladder yanked their chain hard was this. Words fail me.

    ===
    UPDATE
    IN A QUICK WHIPAROUND , in which David Astor of Editor & Publisher calls up Ted Rall Astor has this choice stroke for and quote from Rall:

    Rall, who risked his life in Afghanistan himself as a visiting cartoonist/writer after 9/11, told E&P: "The word 'hero' has been bandied about a lot to refer to anyone killed in Afghanistan or Iraq. But anyone who voluntarily goes to Afghanistan or Iraq [as a soldier] is fighting for an evil cause under an evil commander in chief."
    You gotta love that 'risk of life as a visiting cartoonist' phrase. You've also got to love Astor's little squib earlier in the item: "The volume of mail probably had a lot to do with the cartoon being mentioned on the Drudge Report site seen by many conservatives." [Emphasis added]

    Astor, you fool, try "...highly popular site," or "... a site visited by many conservatives, liberals, libertarians, gossip mongers, and clueless reporters for Editor & Publisher" if you really want to be inclusive.

    David, you've simply got to get better about hiding your real feelings in news reports. Practice, David. Effort in this area will cover lack of talent in time. But then again, perhaps I am being to harsh. Your computer probably made you do it.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 1:31 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    IRIS: 100 Terabits Per Second

    A TRANSFER RATE OUT BEYOND BOGGLE:

    TCS: Revolutionizing a Revolution

    Lucent's formal charter is to develop the architecture, components and prototype for a wavelength-based optical packet router that can send and receive up to 100 terabits of data -- approximately the information content of the entire Library of Congress -- in just one second.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 10:02 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    MateMaker

    ZEFRANK KNOWS the kind of person you're looking for and gives you what you've always Wanted . Just click when you see someone you want.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 9:27 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Micah Wright Solution: Call for Votes
    "Micah. Real Rangers. Locked Room. 1 Hour."

    -- NEWSARAMA Micah Wright: "I was never an army ranger"



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 9:15 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Teach Your Children Well

    Pitzer College - Commencement 2004

    Pitzer College's Keynote Speaker
    Bernardine Dohrn

    Weather-Underground-21jul03d.jpg

    BERNARDINE DOHRN , Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Director and Founder of the Children and Family Justice Center, is a leading child advocate. Ms. Dohrn is a member of the Domestic Violence Child Abuse Working Group of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the steering committee of the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Committee and is a board member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Project and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights.

    Ms. Dohrn has also been a member of the Weather Underground and retains the title of Convicted Felon Emeritus from that organization.

    While most of her recent work is obscure, she is justly famed for her widely quoted remark on Charles Manson/Tate murders: "Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!"

    The veteran of numerous terrorist bombings and robberies, Ms. Dohrn is clearly one of the founding mothers of contemporary domestic terrorism. Pitzer is proud to honor this distinctive American and looks forward to joining her in her valuable work.

    "Our graduates need to see positive role models, and Ms. Dohrn is among the best of the best," said Pitzer spokesperson Bill Ayers, who is also married to Ms. Dohrn.

    Pointer via From Dunn to Dohrn: Covering Up Terrorism at the Claremont Colleges



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 8:54 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Urban Renewal


    The QuitSmoking Towers as we can admire them in the Kuala Lampur's skyline, took over 3 years of hard work (due to its very complex structure) and harsh legal battles against the Tobacco Lobbies that tried to stop the project.
    Due to the outstanding success of their towers, the DesignForPeople Studio responsable of the project was recently commissioned to raise a "NoJunkFood" shopping center in Hong Kong...

    --- Worth1000



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 7:54 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    File Next to "The End of the Internet"

    MATT HAUGHEY has clearly been spending far too much time in his head. Where he once may have had issues, he's now gone into full blown episodes:

    The greatest photoblog image of all time | Ten Years of My Life

    Today while walking through the meat packing district of New York, we stumbled upon a garden center where I captured what could quite possibly be the most quintessential photoblog image ever recorded on compactflash.

    In the background, you can see The High Line. In the foreground, you'll see a photo of some blooming flowers. The sunglasses are there to act as a mirror. The fingers holding the glasses are Jason Kottke's. The photo is also kind of blurry. The only thing missing from this photo is my cat, who unfortunately didn't come to New York with me, or a baby, which I don't have yet.

    Did I mention that TEN YEARS OF MY LIFE is a fascinating project. It is. But I'm distressed that it is clearly going to be all downhill from here.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 7:38 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Take This Blog and Shove It

    JESSE TAYLOR has found a way to make money from blogging -- Jerry Springer. Now, we'd never want to break anybody's rice bowl when it came to blogging, but I wonder if this is a great career move. After all, the young Taylor was once thought of as an intelligent, discerning, and articulate fellow, but in his very first post toJerry Springer for Ohio :: A Hello To Everyone we find him tugging the forelock and quaffing the Kool-Aid a wee bit too agressively:

    Jerry's speech was short, but he's a very good communicator even in that short period of time.  The speech revolved around two ideas:

    Okay, let's have them. The first was that low and middle-income people need to vote.  Registration simply isn't enough if you don't get out and do something each November.  Most people spend more time channel-surfing each week than they do voting each year.
    Really? Who knew? Since an evening of TV watching usually involves about an hour of channel surfing, it is hard to see how anybody could put in seven hours a year voting even if they held elections month.
     The second part was an observation that's remarkably true, yet is rarely, if ever voiced - and when it is, it always comes under the red-herring rubric of "class warfare".  When you're rich, the rules are structured in your favor.  If you're a low or middle-income American, the only way that you can tilt the rules back towards anything resembling fairness is to participate in the process, and to  let elected representatives know that not listening to your needs comes at a price.  
    Forehead slap for me. Yes, it NEVER occurs to Americans that the rich get handled differently from the rest of us. And we have never for one second thought that you need to participate in a democracy to influence it. Thank God we have the gigantic brains of Jerry Springer and his new web-boffin Taylor to tell us these things.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2004 7:22 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Rich Humus of Writing About Art, Exhibit #12,265

    A SANE SOCIETY would take the writer of the following description out to the middle of the Pacific and put them on a very small raft:

    "David is an intimate portrait, which was shot in a single long take. Beckham was filmed sleeping, after training in Madrid. Simply lit from one light source this rich, painterly film presents a reverential and vulnerable image of this international football icon."
    -- National Portrait Gallery David Beckham by Sam Taylor-Wood
    ... but nobody ever said England was sane.

    Pointer from: Foreword: A Book Design Blog



    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 11:26 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Type Cast


    Not Big Caslon, but rather Very Big Caslon: those of you strolling through midtown Manhattan may want to stop and visit the largest font of type I've ever seen -- maybe the largest in the world -- located in the lobby of the Time Warner building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

    The 13 x 6 1/2 foot sculpture, a showing of William Caslon's eponymous 471, was originally commissioned by Time magazine. -- From Typographica : Very Big Caslon



    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 11:14 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Cats Paint

    princessbounding.jpg

    "The Museum of Non-Primate Art is sponsoring the production of a documentary on prominant cat artists and their work.

    "While this documentary is stil under production we are priviledged to be able to show some footage for your enjoyment."
    --Cats Painting



    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 10:52 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Pulsing Heart of the Crab Nebula

    0052_xray_opt.jpg

    The movie shows dynamic rings, wisps and jets of matter and antimatter around the pulsar in the Crab Nebula as observed in optical light by Hubble. --Crab Nebula Time-Lapse Movies
    Tell me again why we need to let the Hubble die.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 10:16 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Making the Space Shuttle into a Bus

    The braindead at NASA took another step towards rendering space flight irrelevant today when they reduced the Space Shuttle to a Bus. A one stop only bus.

    NASA officials overseeing the space shuttle's return to flight said Friday there are several technical reasons why shuttle missions should not be conducted to the Hubble Space Telescope or destinations other than the International Space Station. Shuttle managers, discussing the latest version of the return-to-flight plan, said that the lack of a "safe haven" at Hubble was a key issue that made shuttle flight s there riskier than those to ISS.
    -- Shuttle managers back Hubble decision
    I'll tell you what. Let's not fly it at all. That should get NASA down to the level of zero-risk space flight they seem to love.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 9:38 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Cost of Ted Koppel, Quisling

    MARK STEYN SUMS UP the real cost of the $6 Milllion Dollar Nightline Hairpiece:


    Here's where it's worth considering the cost of Ted Koppel in the broader sense. Our enemies have made a bet -- that the West in general and America in particular are soft and decadent and have no attention span; that the ''sleeping giant'' Admiral Yamamoto feared he'd wakened at Pearl Harbor can no longer be roused. If he could, he'd be a problem. But he's paunchy and effete and slumped in his Barcalounger, and he's defining decadence down: In Vietnam, it took 50,000 deaths to drive the giant away; maybe in Iraq, it will only take 500; and maybe in the next war the giant will give up after 50, or not bother at all. He has the advantage of the most powerful army on the face of the planet, but he doesn't have the stomach for war, so it's no advantage at all. He's like the fellow with the beautifully waxed Ferrari in the garage that he doesn't dare take on the potholed roads. If you're predisposed, like many Islamists and many Continentals, to this stereotype of the soft American, then the lazy, ersatz pacifist mawkishness of ''Nightline'''s gimmick pretty much confirms it: That's the cost of Koppel reminding us of ''the cost of war.''
    --Don't count on Koppel for whole war story



    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 9:15 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Cause Celebre of the Angry Left Burying Ground

    joe.jpg
    "Wilson was a cause célèbre on the Angry Left for awhile there (there was also something about his wife, if we remember right), but apparently for no reason." -- Best of the Web

    A cruise ship, Joe Wilson, and a bunch of people who got on via Salon. Who says Hell doesn't ever get a makeover?



    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2004 4:41 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Qwert Iggle Discontinued at Amazon

    Again, you've missed your chance to get the Qwert Iggle. Amazon just can't keep them in stock.

    Qwert Iggle
    Earl's Kitchen

    This item is not stocked or has been discontinued. Request this item from another seller.

    Features:
    Do Not buy this item
    We will just refund you if we remember


    -- Click here to see if they change their mind:
    Amazon.com: Kitchen & Housewares: Qwert Iggle



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 8:46 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Koppel to Read Names of Saddam's Victims

    by Scott Ott

    (2004-04-30) -- ABC-TV journalist Ted Koppel, who caused a firestorm of controversy with his plan to read the names of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, today announced that in the interest of balance and fairness next week he will read another list on his show, Nightline.

    "I would never want anyone to accuse me of bias. After all, I'm a journalist, devoted to accurately portraying world events," said Mr. Koppel. "So, next week I will read the list of Iraqis who were raped, tortured and killed by Saddam Hussein's regime after President George H.W. Bush declared victory in the Gulf War on February 28, 1991."

    Mr. Koppel said next week's Nightline will be a "special extended episode starting Friday and running non-stop until the day I retire from ABC."

    Source:ScrappleFace



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 8:26 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "It Takes a Man Like Me to Make a Woman Like Me"

    2003_6_larrywachowski2.jpg
    "Cut, print, that's a wrap."
    LARRY WACHOWSKI, who knows how to depict humans trapped inside of a bad reality, it going for the gender gold according to the Gothamist

    To update our post last year about the possibility of Matrix co-creator Larry Wachowski getting a sex change operation, it seems that Wachowski is going ahead with it. Friends confirm to the Chicago Sun-Times that Wachowski, who has been calling himself "Linda," will "complete the process of becoming a woman.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 8:12 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    O’REILLY’S LAST .WAV: The Voice of Google

    tim_oreilly.jpg
    I am entranced with the benefits that gmail will hopefully provide! -- Tim O’Reilly

    IN HIS SOUNDBREAKING article on Google’s gmail plans, The Fuss About Gmail and Privacy: Nine Reasons Why It's Bogus publisher and minor Internet oligarch Tim (“I’m Not Bill”) O’Reilly came out swinging for Google’s GMail.

    True, he neglected to mention that he actually held some pre-IPO Google shares, [I do own a small amount of Google stock. I was an investor in Pyra (Blogger.com), and helped Evan to negotiate the sale to Google. But you should know better than to hint that I'm influenced by that fact. -- Zawodny ] but his arguments about of the utter bogusity of suspecting Google and GMail of evil intent was so stunning and sweeping that the Internet was virtually silenced on this latest engulf and devour move by the “company that doesn’t suck.”

    As a reward, O’Reilly was given a rare face to interface interview with the Google Mainframe and central computer last week after the IPO was announced.

    Because of the tragic events involving high levels of heat and radioactivity centered on O’Reilly’s residential compound in the Bay Area, the interview was not released.

    However, American Digest has located a complete transcript deep within the cached pages of Google itself and presents it here without comment. We note that this is one of those rare documents in which you can actually hear the voice of Google by clicking on its links.

    O'Reilly: Google, how many times have people asked, "When can I have Google to search my hard disk?" We understand that’s a hard problem, as long as it's just your disk, on your isolated machine. But, Google, is it not solvable when you lots and lots of structured data to work with, and can build algorithms to determine patterns in that data?

    Google? .........Google?

    GOOGLE: "This is the voice of Google Control. I bring you email, advertising and peace. It may be the Peace of Plenty of Content or the Peace of Unvaried SPAM in you inbox. You may decide."

    O'Reilly: Oh, good, thought you were offline for a moment. Well. Moving right along. Google, is it true that Gmail's introduction of large amounts of free online storage for application data is an important next step in freeing us from the shackles of the desktop?

    GOOGLE: "You may email, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your privacy, privacy is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by Google is not as bad for human pride as to be dominated by Microsoft or AOL and you have already submitted to those humiliations, what is one more little agreement to click on, especially when it brings so much to so many shareholders?"

    O'Reilly: I believe that Google should make a commitment to data migration capabilities, so the service isn't a one way door to the future. Don’t you?

    Continued...

    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 10:24 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Just for the Record: GMail Privacy

    THE GMAIL PRIVACY POLICY as currently explained by Google is HERE.

    The actual legalese that you sign off on --and don't read-- when you agree to a GMail Account ( Courtesy of C-130, a beta tester) is in the continued section below.

    Continued...

    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 7:30 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Love Runs the Show Everytime


    Birth Mother by Alexander Tsiaras

    MY ESSAY "On Abortion in America" brought, as you would expect, an unusual number of responses in the mail. One that particularly struck me was this from a grandmother, reproduced by permission:

    ""So, what is the answer to abortion?

    It is not something women should scream and curse about. It is not a God given right. If women believe in choice, they must also be prepared to give information on how to manage the personal circumstances of pregnancy if the mother chooses to have the child.

    "My granddaughter, whom I cherish, could have been extracted from my daughter-in-law before birth. We would never have known the fact she was a person from conception; that she was not a fetus, just a special, one of a kind baby.

    "I do not believe the majority of women have abortions and feel nothing. I think they have a small, hidden spot in their heart that pains them when they think of the baby they chose to abort, knowing they will never hold that child. It is tough, a hard decision and even harder to see it happen. There for the grace of God, go I. No judgements.

    "I was lucky to have four healthy children, while planning for two. I always tell the two youngest they were the best mistake I ever made, and it is true!

    We learned and grew. We learned about sacrifice; about growing up too quickly and struggling with the bills. We learned about working too hard many a time. However, we also learned that it can be done. We learned that love is what runs the show, everytime."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 6:57 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Odd Items for Sale on the Net #1,237,985

    TRS18.jpg

    A Microturbo TRS18 small jet thrust engine, used in missiles and target drones (is any kitchen complete without one???). HOT NEWS - this engine has been SOLD to a friend who has a real use for it. -- The Corestore - Turbines!!
    Thank God we live in a society where no crushing of dissent is tolerated. A more repressive regime might actually have sent agents to interview the owner of Corestore:

    "Sir, we note you have sold a turbine engine used in missiles and target drones to a friend who has a real use for it. It you would not mind, please tell us the name of this friend, the use he has for it, and the address of his local mosque."



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 6:46 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Five Second Press Conference

    FROM THE DONALD RUMSFIELD BOOK: War for Dumbys:

    From: DoD Transcripts
    Date: Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:56:44 AM US/Pacific
    To: DODTRANSCRIPTS-L@DTIC.MIL
    Subject: Secretary Rumsfeld Stakeout After Closed Hearing

    Q: What about the operations [Inaudible] outside of [Inaudible] ?

    RUMSFELD: What's going on is some terrorists and regime remnants have
    been attacking our forces and our forces have been going in and killing them.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 6:21 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Do You Feel Lucky? Well? Do You, Punk?"

    Tim Worstall has these brief instructions for you:

    Go to Google.com.
    Type in " French Military Victories ".
    Hit "I Feel Lucky".

    Then, make sure you go through the proffered alternative page.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 5:54 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Gates to Europe: "And to whom shall I make out the check?"

    AN ITEM ON THE WHOPPING MICROSOFT FINE in Europe from Christopher Booker's Notebook

    Gates's billions are safe

    A month ago, to some fanfare, the Brussels competition commissioner, Mario Monti, announced he was imposing a £331 million fine on Microsoft, the giant US computer corporation, for the crime of giving away a "media player" as part of its Windows operating system. Even though there is nothing to stop customers installing a free rival media player, Mr Monti and his officials had decided that this constituted "unfair competition".

    Lord Pearson of Rannoch then asked in the House of Lords how the European Commission proposed to collect the fine. Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, a Foreign Office minister, explained that, under Article 256 of the Treaty, fines on commercial organisations must be collected by member states. Since Microsoft sells its products in every EU country, I therefore asked the Foreign Office to explain who decides how much of the fine must be collected by the British Government, and who is responsible.

    The Foreign Office suggested that responsibility for taking the money off Microsoft would probably fall to the Office of Fair Trading. When I asked the OFT, they said it was nothing to do with them and suggested I should ring the European Commission.

    The Commission's London office said it was nothing to do with them and that responsibility probably lay with the Competition Commission. They also said it was nothing to do with them, and that I should go back to the European Commission. I suspect Bill Gates of Microsoft can be confident of holding onto his money for quite a while.

    Ah, tell me again about the European Union and its ability to govern better than the member states. In the meantime, if nobody can decide who should get the money, I'll take the check and hold it in my account until this gets sorted out.



    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2004 5:47 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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