Weblog Archives




  Saturday   December 14   2002

individuality — r.i.p.

Variety chain Chubby & Tubby slipping into history?

After more than five decades as one of Seattle's quirkiest retailers, Chubby & Tubby is for sale.

The legendary three-store general- merchandise chain, which peddles everything from wrench sets to kitschy toys to cheap Christmas trees, began liquidation sales yesterday. Employees told customers that all sales are final, saying the company is trying to sell its stores and might close them if it can't find a buyer.


My dad would drive over from the East Side to buy Chubby & Tubby $5 Christmas trees when I was a kid. I bought all my Chuck Taylors there. I know that the owners that started this, and kept it going, are dead and that their families don't have their hearts in the store, but it still makes me want to cry. Maybe it isn't just the loss of Chubby & Tubby, but the loss of all those stores that were owned by people that put something unique into what they did. People that built stores that weren't all the same. Stores that weren't designed by a fucking market survey. I'm going to miss it.

 03:26 PM - link

the democrats and health care (which is really about the democrats)

Mark Desrosiers, over at Cheek, linked to an eye opening article by Steve Perry and an even more eye opening letter (and reply) in response to the article. Both are a must read.

Spank the Donkey

However you parse the polls, there was never any popular mandate for the Democrats' right turn. If there had been, we would not see so many defections from an increasingly conservative Democratic party; we would not hear so much half-hearted apologia from beleaguered Democrats waiting vainly for the day when the party veers the other way again; and there would not be such a gigantic mass of people reduced to thinking of Democrats as the perennial "lesser evil"--that is to say, not what we the people want or need, but a little better than nothing. I am going to argue that the Democrats are not really a lesser evil, that their turn to Republican Lite in the past generation has been as cynical as it is deliberate. But for the moment let's take the lesser evil argument at face value and suppose that the courts and the human services bureaucracies do fare a little better (that is, erode more slowly) under Democrats. Is that "democracy" in any sense? Do you really think so little of your country and your citizenship as to accept that?

Letter from Italy
When the politically obvious isn't obvious at all: An exchange

The basic difference between Europe (and Canada) and the States is, at a mass level, the lack of universal health care (at a moral level, capital punishment). Now my question is: Has America ever held a poll to check if every single American knows that every European/Canadian citizen has health care? How is it possible that a politician pushing for national health care on the Canadian model or the model of, say, France or Germany, doesn't win elections automatically? I mean any American politician might prove, with indisputable data in his own hands, that the Canadian/European models are the only ones truly providing health care for everybody (the Italian constitution itself says that every citizen has a right to health care), and that the only way to truly have universal health care is to have a strong government role and to mandate by law that every citizen must have health coverage.

So why is it that left-liberal politicians (however few they may be) don't bombard every American with the notion that in Europe and Canada, health care for everybody is just taken for granted? Why don't they bombard them with the fact that both the right and the left support it (Michael Moore did it in Bowling for Columbine, but it's such a rare voice), that it's a politically non-controversial point, just an obvious thing for civilized people! The only political differences may vary on how much citizens should receive from the health care system, but no one could dispute the fact that every single citizen should receive all basic medical needs and that such a fact must be recognized by law. Americans should be bombarded with facts like this: Even Margaret Thatcher (so close to Reagan) never dared touch the British national health service! Any European politician, even the conservative Berlusconi, would be politically dead if he pushed for the dreaded American profit-based system!

Craig, at BookNotes, turned me on to these two links. Please pass them on.

 03:13 PM - link




  thanks to reading & writing

 02:24 PM - link


This is a must read. It's about real democracy.

Deepening Democracy

Our system of food security is being destroyed in the name of economic growth and economic liberalization, and people don't have enough food to eat. Our farmers are being ravished by seed companies, being pushed into debt, and committing suicide. This system is going to cost lives even in the US, where people don't know how they'll pay for their health or retirement.

The way out of this violent cycle is to deepen democracy – to bring decisions that directly affect people's lives as close as possible to where people are and to where they can take responsibility. If a river is flowing through some communities, those communities should have the power and the responsibility to decide how the water is used and whether it is to be polluted. The state has no business giving to Coca-Cola the groundwater of a valley in Kerala, resulting in rich farmland going totally dry. Communities need to take back sovereignty and delegate trusteeship to the state only as appropriate.

What we have now is a regime of absolute rights in the hands of corporations with zero responsibility for the environmental and social devastation and the political instabilities they are creating. If we want to reactivate and rejuvenate democracy, we have to bring back the economic content.

Another must read on how democracy is being reduced to a sophisticated marketing campaign.

Inventing "W, The Presidential Brand"
The Rise of QVC Politics

Postmodern consumer culture only insists upon the [commodity] form through which meanings must be channeled to have [perceived] value. It is quite sincere in its incitements to consume as a cultural producer. [This] form [is now] the preeminent site through which people experience and express the social world [including their politics].

The designers of the Bush store clearly recognize this. And, they raise the ante by closely mimicking, not the disorganized Kmart-like selection of goods found at the Democratic National Committee Web site (www.dnc.org), but the branded and stylized shopping experience of a Macy's or a Dillard's. Comparing the DNC site with the www.georgewbushstore.com site is akin to comparing the presentation and quality of goods at an open-air urban flea market with those available on QVC. With its friendly and chatty patina, careful selection of quality branded goods, combined with good customer service and frequent electronic and interactive audience testimonials, QVC is a prototype of "relationship marketing." It is also the prototype for Ted Jackson's version of political life under a Republican market society. The way to win "brand loyalty," for the long-term, with carefully targeted populations, is to practice politics the QVC way, and fuse the identity of the organization (the Republican party) and icons of its leader ("W") with that of its appropriately chosen and high quality commodities. It's a building block to "stage six," where the high-quality branded commodity (and the services connected to that commodity) are a synecdoche for the Republican Party, and ultimately, for the government of the United States. This is what I believe that Ted Jackson meant by titling his article for PPB Online, "Riding the Coattails of Brand Loyalty."

Of course, this is not a vision of democracy. It is a form of consumer-based fascism, or, as Douglas Rushkoff trenchantly put it, "market fascism." Walter Benjamin's comments that Fascism is about the introduction of aesthetics into political life finds an early 21st Century echo in the www.georgewbushstore.com e-commerce site.

Benjamin warns us that all versions of fascism set the table for war. The rise of QVC politics is a somber harbinger of that looming possibility.


<  thanks to wood s lot

 02:13 PM - link


Shinzo Fukuhara und Roso Fukuhara Fotosammlung


  thanks to consumptive.org

 01:26 PM - link

europe grows

Historic deal gives Europe 75 million new citizens

Europe sealed its historic enlargement to 25 nations and 450 million people last night. The deal followed frantic horsetrading over the subsidies to be offered to the mainly ex- Communist countries. (...)

Thirteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, yesterday's summit was designed to celebrate the reunification of Europe with the admission of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta. Between them, they will bring 75 million citizens into the EU.

 01:14 PM - link

they're watching!

Agencies see homeland security role for surveillance drones

An increasing number of federal agencies are pursuing plans to use pilotless surveillance aircraft to help patrol the Mexican and Canadian borders, protect the nation’s major oil and gas pipelines and aid in other homeland security missions.

  thanks to Drudge Report

 01:08 PM - link

mark morford

Mr. Winkle, Cuteness Demon
The world's most frighteningly sweet calendar-ready dog, or sure sign of the apocalypse?

It's one of those things that dances on the outskirts of your pop-culture periphery, maybe some odd item you happened to glance at in the bookstore, or a link someone sent you once that you looked at for a brief moment before you felt this weird pain behind your eyeballs and had to click away.

I have seen the face of doom. I have seen the face of nirvana. I have looked square upon the tragic visage of ultra-saccharine terror and cuteness on hyperdrive. I have gasped and winced and shrugged and smiled and said the same thing as you, which is, What the f***?

It is, of course, the very bizarre Mr. Winkle phenomenon, or mini-phenomenon, or international sensation, or pop-cultural circus sideshow or whatever you want to call it -- just don't call it this season's must-have toy. Because Mr. Winkle is all too real.

Mark Morford, a columnist for the SFGate, has become one of the bright spots of my week. Check out his archives.

Mark also sends out a newsletter three times a week called the SF Gate Morning Fix where he does commentary on articles in SFGate. You can sign up for the SF Gate Morning Fix. Here are a couple of pieces available only in this newsletter.

== As The Earth Goes Ptew Ptew, Groan ==
The Shrub administration approved a very modest and actually rather insultingly miniscule increase Thursday in fuel economy for SUVs and small trucks, beginning with 2005. The Transportation Department will require fuel economy for SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans to increase by about 1.5 miles per gallon, gosh wow yawn whatever, over three years. Spokesweasels for the automakers actually had the gall to say a 1.5 mpg increase was "a significant increase" and a "daunting" challenge, snicker snicker, yeah right, as they all chuckled and snorted and patted each other on the back and toasted their gin and tonics as clusters of automaker execs sang drunken sea shanties in praise of oily Dick and squinty Bush in the background. "It's a minuscule number compared to what's needed and what's technically achievable," sighed environmentalists, though no one was listening to any loser progressives who actually care about the planet due to all the cheering at the drunken oil orgy going on at Lynne Cheney's fetish bunker. "Now we get to point to this insipid little legislation and say we actually did something for the envirun--, envuro--, envuron--, for the trees and stuff," squinted Dubya, bouncing up and down on Dickie's knee and then scampering off to go snort some more lime Jell-O mix off Ashcroft's thighs.


== Me And My Racist Toupee, Part II ==
Trent Lott led the fight to restore Jefferson Davis' U.S. citizenship and once suggested the Confederate leader would support the Republican Party if alive today. He voted against expanding the Civil Rights Act, and opposed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, saying there were other heroes "more deserving." He supported segregation -- which he now repudiates -- when as a college student he watched armed U.S. marshals escort the first black student to the University of Mississippi. He also advocated keeping blacks out of his fraternity. But he swears he's not a racist and can point to a handful of black issues he's championed in the Senate, mostly to avoid having his nuts chopped off and fed to hungry demonic squirrels by the increasingly furious gods of justice and human goddamn decency. "I am really really sorry about the Thurmond thing, or whatever" Lott muttered for the third time, slurring into a microphone as his toupee lunged sideways and something hideous and hairy and clot-like passed through his stomach and lodged in his small intestine and began gnawing. "Unless I'm not. The South will rise again! I'm dreaming of a white Christmas! Heh heh. Snort."


I must admit that I didn't find Mr. Morford on my own. I was directed to him by j p at DUMBMONKEY.

 12:56 PM - link

total information awareness — in their dreams

The all-seeing database?

Total Information Awareness (TIA) is the Bushies plans plan to monitor everything we buy, what books we check out at the library, our credit cards, medical history, etc, so they can (ostensibly) be on the lookout for terrorists.

Well, of course it's a noxious, Orwellian, probably unconstitutional plan and should be fought as hard as possible.

It also can't work.

I wondered about the data conversion issue. I've only been around databases a little bit but I was involved with data conversion isues with Computer Aided Design (CAD). Data conversion is a bitch.

 12:19 PM - link


Risk of recession, says World Bank as recovery falters

There is a "significant risk" the global economy will slide into recession in the coming months, jeopardising attempts to relieve poverty in the developing world, the World Bank warned yesterday.

Ersatz Advisers
The president's new money men are odd picks, to say the least.

George W. Bush's economic-team replacements are looking stranger and stranger. For starters, this was the rare case where the Bush team dropped the ball politically. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill got dumped before there was a new man in place. O'Neill had irritated the Bushies because he is a plainspoken fellow rather than a loyalist. One of the things he had spoken plainly about was his skepticism on the need for a big new tax cut. In addition, O'Neill, former CEO of Alcoa, was seen as a liability because he never really gained the confidence of Wall Street in a year when financial markets were tumbling.

Jobless Recovery
by Mark Fiore


 12:04 PM - link


Country Joe McDonald: No ordinary Joe
Country Joe McDonald infamously led 500,000 people in the 'Fish Cheer' at the Woodstock Festival. But his fondest Sixties memories belong to more intimate times in the hippie idyll of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, he tells Robert Sandall

Play it again

Adam Abeshouse, a Grammy-winning classical-record producer and helpless hyper-enthusiast, has taken several concrete measures to address what he regards as an urgent imperative: to rescue Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, and that crowd from a specific sort of oblivion. In October, during a concert at Carnegie Hall, Abeshouse formally launched the Classical Recording Foundation, an entity devoted to the proposition that posterity is despoiled when artists are denied the chance to record their own interpretations of certain repertoire. For a long while, it's been evident that the executives behind the major classical-recording labels (Sony, Phillips, EMI, etc.) are far more aroused by the hypothetical bottom-line appeal of, say, Dolly Parton singing the Bach "Wedding Cantata" or Bon Jovi conducting the "1812 Overture" than they are by the prospect of investing in Gilbert Kalish and Joel Krosnick's rendition of Brahms's cello sonatas, or the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio's complete cycle of Beethoven trios, or the St. Luke Chamber Ensemble's "Brandenburg Concertos."

 11:38 AM - link

  Friday   December 13   2002

It's off to the mainland (we call it the United States of America here on Whidbey Island) today. Zoe and I are delivering my son Robby down to Tacoma so that he can watch his niece and nephew while his sisters are in Germany. We will drop Katie and Jenny off at the airport on the way back to the island. They will be back on the 22nd. They will be seeing Jenny's soon to be husband William (he's in the army) and will be seeing the sights in Amsterdam, Germany, and the Czech Republic. William arrives back in the states on the 24th and the wedding will be Jan 1. A busy couple of weeks coming up. I will return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

 01:21 AM - link

  Thursday   December 12   2002


Santa's Got A Brand New Jag
The worst ad on TV, and what to give every rich yuppie Bush-ite on your gift list
By Mark Morford

It is a time of great national need. It is a time when the country is demanding you step up and do your part to help prevent terror and prevent independent thought and prevent boys from becoming priests and also please buy lots and lots of crap because, well, we've got two false wars and a tanking economy to pay for.

For these reasons and more, it is also, apparently, a perfect time to express both "I love you" and "I hate those swarthy terrorists" by snapping up a $50,000 luxury car and giving it to your happy picture-perfect S.O. for Christmas, and calling it patriotic.

This is the message du jour. This is the latest car-ad campaign you can't ignore because it makes you all guilty and greedy and sort of sad, but in a sweet holiday sort of way.

 02:24 AM - link


The Global Accounting Scam

Several months ago a professor at the University of North Carolina published findings that turned beliefs about the economy upside down. Health improves, he said, as the economy goes down. When the economy declines, to a point at least, deaths, smoking, obesity, heavy drinking, heart disease and some kinds of back problems all decline as well.

"Sounds unlikely," said the New York Times. And indeed it is, by the standard reckonings at least. We all know that an expanding economy makes us better off – or do we? Another study, this one in England, found that shopping, which is the drive train of the entire economy, and which is supposed to make people feel good, actually can make them depressed. "For significant numbers, dissatisfaction is now part of the shopping process," one of the authors said. (As though we needed a study to tell us that.)

What's going on here? How could we feel better when the experts say we should feel worse, and worse when they say we should feel better? Could it be that economists don't know up from down to begin with?

An excellent primer on basic economics — a must read:


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post bemoaning the fact that most people don't know what Keynesian economics actually is. All very well, but I sort of cheated by just leaving it there, didn't I? Shouldn't I have gone on to provide a little more detail?

Fine. Here it is. A cheap and cheerful explanation of Keynesian economics for people who don't really want to know much about it. Warning: all real economists are invited to move along and find something else to do. This is not for you.

Right then. So here is Keynesian Economics in Three Simple Steps™:

  thanks to reading & writing

In the Bush Administration, Loyalty Is a One-Way Street Only

There is a story I have now heard three times about Larry Lindsey's first day in the White House in January 2001. At one point he met with the now- headless Council of Economic Advisers staff--no CEA council members had yet been named. "Well," he began. "You should all be happy: the people who understand economics are now back in charge."

Today such a claim sounds totally ridiculous--mendacious, or simply mad.

 02:17 AM - link

new meaning to the term a fast computer


Basically, it's a fully functioning coffee maker integrated into a computer case. You pour the water into the funnel at the top, it goes down the tube into a book-shaped water tank where it sits until you hit the power switch, at which point the heating coil boils the water, sending it back up another tube and into the coffee grounds basket. The switch can also be controlled using an RF keychain remote. Other mods include: custom-cut window which was then hand-etched to a coffee cup motif, custom-build LED arrays to provide exactly the right shade of red light, stereo VU meter in the front panel indicator section, additional hot plate on top for two pots of coffee at once, and the white, kitchen appliance paint job.

  thanks to boingboing

How To Customize Your PC Case & Achieve Professional Results

Whether you subscribe to the belief that customizing your case is an art or that it is a science there is no denying that PC "Case Modding" has become increasingly popular over the last year, while the demand for customized PC cases continues to grow. In my previous THG article, How To Select The Right Case we touched on the topic of case modification, and based on the number of questions we received, it was obvious that this was a topic about which our readers wanted to know more. According to Michael Chang of Directron, "Case modification's growth and popularity has exploded over the last fourteen months, and the number, as well as the types of customizations, continues to increase at a torrid pace."


Products for PC Case Modifications

Case mods and PC mods have become more than a hobby for some PC users. They are a passion and an art for many. If you are one of them, Directron.com is right here supporting you. We now have more than 400 products for modders - more than anyone else. More products will be added with time.

 02:06 AM - link

the shitstorm cometh

U.S. signals willingness to use nuclear weapons

A Bush administration strategy announced yesterday calls for the use of pre-emptive military and covert force before an enemy unleashes weapons of mass destruction. It also underscores U.S. willingness to retaliate with nuclear weapons for chemical or biological attacks on U.S. soil or against U.S. troops overseas.

 01:54 AM - link

inspect this!

I Want a List
By Geov Parrish

I want a list.

I want a full accounting of every weapon in the country. Not Iraq; I don't give a fig about Iraq. It's halfway around the world, it has no means of threatening the United States from its territory, its economy is decimated, it has been disarmed more effectively than any other country in the history of the world, its every move is closely monitored by any number of other agencies and countries, and it knows that any move to threaten any other country would be instantly suicidal. There are plenty of threats to the safety of Americans. Iraq is not one of them. Among all the American-trained dictators plaguing the planet, he's the least of our problems.

I want a list of our weapons.

 01:51 AM - link

lafcadio hearn

by Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo)
from Kwaidan (1904)

In a village of Musashi Province, there lived two woodcutters: Mosaku and Minokichi. At the time of which I am speaking, Mosaku was an old man; and Minokichi, his apprentice, was a lad of eighteen years. Every day they went together to a forest situated about five miles from their village. On the way to that forest there is a wide river to cross; and there is a ferryboat. Several times a bridge was built where the ferry is; but the bridge was each time carried away by a flood. No common bridge can resist the current there when the river rises.

  thanks to consumptive.org

I was first introduced to the wonderful Japanese stories translated by Lafcadio Hearn when I lived in Japan in the late 50s. The miracle of the web makes them available to all.

Lafcadio Hearn

"Lafcadio Hearn is almost as Japanese as haiku. Both are an art form, an institution in Japan. Haiku is indigenous to the nation; Hearn became a Japanese citizen and married a Japanese, taking the name Yakumo Koizumi. His flight from Western materialism brought him to Japan in 1890. His search for beauty and tranquility, for pleasing customs and lasting values, kept him there the rest of his life, a confirmed Japanophile. He became the great interpreter of things Japanese to the West. His keen intellect, poetic imagination and wonderful clear style permitted him to penetrate to the very essence of things Japanese."

from Tuttle's "publisher's foreword" to Hearn editions

Lafcadio Hearn Books Online

K. Inadomi's Private Library

Kwaidan - Criterion Collection

 01:47 AM - link

Barak's Mistake

In early September 2000, about two months after Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat returned empty-handed from the failed summit at Camp David, a series of clandestine contacts was held in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians. Most of the meetings took place in an isolated private home in the western Jerusalem suburb of Ein Karem, and were meant to find a formula that would resolve the harsh dispute that broke out at the summit around the future of the Temple Mount.

The wrong way to fight terrorism

The army is trapped in a fossilized way of thinking as it wages an inappropriate campaign - one that has not only brought dubious achievements, but that is heading for disaster. Nothing demonstrates it more clearly than an Israel Defense Forces unit, backed by tanks, bulldozers and assault helicopters, blundering into a crowded refugee camp for the sole purpose of arresting one wanted man and destroying his family's home.

Striking with Impunity

As part of its ongoing brutal military occupation and collective punishment of the Palestinian people, Israel invaded the refugee camp al-Bureij, in the Gaza Strip, in the early morning hours of Friday, December 6. The avowed goal of the invasion, dubbed "Real Games," was to arrest or kill Aiman Shasniyeh and destroy his family's house--a brazen violation of international law and a callous act of inhumanity. Shasniyeh is accused by Israel of daring to fight for the right of his people to live in freedom. In March, he allegedly took part in an attack on an Israeli tank in which three soldiers were killed. However, even if Shasniyeh is responsible for this act, it in no way justifies Israel's disproportionate and indiscriminate response.

Gen. Election
Israel chooses between two army men—a hawk passing for a moderate and a dove on horseback.

 01:32 AM - link


US and UK admit lack of 'killer' proof
Whitehall puts onus on Saddam to show banned arms have gone

The US and Britain lack "killer" intelligence that will prove conclusively that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, according to sources in London and New York.

A welcome shift: no evidence, no war

President George Bush, having been persuaded by domestic opinion to go to the UN to seek its authority for war, cannot change the rules of the game simply because the outcome does not suit his prejudices. No evidence – no war. The world should make that clear now, before the Americans try to create any more wriggle room.

 01:29 AM - link


Some of our favorite TreeHouses


  thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!

 01:25 AM - link

the globilization of poverty

The Next Africa?

While we're all focused on distant Iraq, our neighbor South America is quietly falling apart.

Maria Amelia Miranda stood yesterday in the Iapi shantytown here in Monte Chingolo, south of Buenos Aires, and cried. Three of her seven children — girls ages 8, 7 and 3 — have intestinal worms, up to a foot long, that she must periodically pull from their bottoms. But the worming medicine costs about $1.40 per child, and she can't afford to buy both the medicine and food for the children.

 01:11 AM - link

the end of democracy

The Railroad Barons Are Back - And This Time They'll Finish the Job

Waite, however, didn't give in: he refused to rule the railroad corporations were persons in the same category as humans. Thus, the railroad barons resorted to plan B: they got human rights for corporations inserted in the Court Reporter's headnotes in the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, even though the court itself (over Field's strong objections) had chosen not to rule on the constitutionality of the railroad's corporate claims to human rights.

And, based on the Reporter's headnotes (and ignoring the actual ruling), subsequent Courts have expanded those human rights for corporations. These now include the First Amendment human right of free speech (including corporate "speech" to influence politics - something that was a felony in most states prior to 1886), the Fourth Amendment human right to privacy (so a chemical company has successfully sued to prevent the EPA from performing surprise inspections - while retaining the right to perform surprise inspections of its own employees' bodily fluids and phone conversations), and the 14th Amendment right to live free of discrimination (using the free-the-slaves 14th Amendment, corporations have claimed discrimination to block local community efforts to pass "bad boy laws" or keep out predatory retailers).

Interestingly, unions don't have these human rights. Neither do churches, or smaller, unincorporated businesses. Nor do partnerships or civic groups. Nor, even, do governments, be they local, state, or federal.

And, from the founding of the United States, neither did corporations. Rights were the sole province of humans.

 01:13 AM - link


The good, the bad, and the ugly

Where great differences in letter forms become evident is in the way the author/artist/designer has decided to place these points and curves in the originating software. Which minute features are included or omitted? With electronics there are no longer any rules. The same typeface (regardless of its name) may look very different from different creators.


  thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!

 01:03 AM - link

sex in the parish

Vatican planning for Law’s ouster?
Catholic dissident group joins call for removal of Boston archbishop

Pressure continued to build on Law after critics claimed Tuesday that had uncovered a “smoking gun” that showed that Law and other U.S. Catholic leaders who have been accused of covering up sex-abuse allegations were acting on the pope’s orders.

A group called the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors said it had come across the document from among thousands of personnel files the Boston archdiocese made public last week. A court hearing lawsuits against the archdiocese had ordered the release.

Joseph Gallagher, a co-founder of the group, said the document spelled out a Vatican policy of placing image ahead of child welfare.

In the document, John Paul says that a defrocked Catholic priest who had a history of molesting boys should leave the areas where his “condition” was known — or stay put as long as it caused no scandal.

“That would explain why [other] bishops have done the same thing as Cardinal Law — they’ve moved sexual offenders from parish to parish without notifying the parishioners,” Gallagher said.

  thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 12:43 AM - link

early christmas

I've been busy with actual work lately. That wasn't bad enough but I am also now distracted by a bright shiny thing. My son gave me an early Christmas present today — a DVD player. I don't watch much TV. The reception here is non-existant and I don't see the value of paying for cable to watch what passes for entertainment there. But I do love movies. I only recently got a VHS but I've been holding off on buying movies because I wanted them on DVD. Now is your chance to help me out. I've added some of my favorite movies to my Amazon wish list. You might want to sort by DVD to avoid going through all 13 pages of mostly books. Don't fail me now.

 12:34 AM - link

  Tuesday   December 10   2002

trent lott

'All These Problems'

A man from Mars — or from Europe — might expect Mississippi voters to favor progressive taxation and generous social programs. After all, the state benefits immensely from the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson: it doesn't pay a lot of federal taxes because it has the lowest per-capita income in the nation, and it does receive a lot of aid. Unlike, say, New Jersey, which pays far more into the U.S. Treasury than it gets in return, Mississippi is a major net recipient of federal funds.

But Mississippi is, in fact, the home of Trent Lott — a leader of a party determined to roll back as much as it can of the Great Society, perhaps even the New Deal. Why do Mississippi and its neighbors support politicians whose economic policies seemingly run counter to their interests?

Do I really need to answer that?

 02:23 AM - link

esquire's karl rove article

Why Are These Men Laughing?

Maybe it’s because the midterm elections went so very well. Maybe it’s because at the White House, politics is the best policy. Maybe it’s because it’s the reign of Karl Rove. An inside look at how the most powerful presidential adviser in a century does what does so well.

  thanks to Liberal Arts Mafia

 02:16 AM - link




  thanks to boingboing

 01:56 AM - link


This Modern World

 01:47 AM - link

Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US

Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today's population, that is more than $5,700 per person.

This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. For decades, his analyses of the Middle East scene have made him a frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby.

For the first time in many years, Mr. Stauffer has tallied the total cost to the US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with the Palestinians. So far, he figures, the bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War.

Israel's Demographic Obsession
Understanding the Existential Threat

When pundits and commentators declare that Israel's war against the Palestinians is existential, they are correct but not in the way they mean. The Israeli obsession with demography demonstrates that Israel ideologically conceives of the Palestinians existentially as threats--Palestinians are threats to the Zionist vision just by being alive. Such numerical concern exhibits a deep-seated fear of all Palestinians regardless of age, political persuasion, and so on.

This obsession is binary and inverse: they want more Jews and less Palestinians.

 01:48 AM - link


Ancient timber tumbles in new battle over America's wild West

But now a new feature marks the landscape - the barren 'clear- cuts', where the trees have been felled. They appear like scars, slashed across what would otherwise be the most awesome landscape in America; wastelands gouged into what were once forest but are now huge stretches of castrated tree trunks and the debris of destruction.

They are a picture of the future as the lumber industry, after years of restraint by rules and protective regulations, is unleashed by new regulations, announced last week by the administration of George Bush, giving managers of America's 155 national forests rights to approve the exploitation of the land they control - primarily logging and mining.

This is in my back yard. I made a trip a couple of years ago to the Olympic Peninsula. I hadn't been there in many years. There sure weren't as many trees as there used to be.

 01:20 AM - link

googling the alphabet

Who Owns the Alphabet?

Companies strive for brand-name recognition, and adopt common phrases ("Where do you want to go today?") and even single words ("True") as being representative of that company, and no other. However, sometimes a word or phrase can be used by two very different companies, perhaps in different product spaces, who then have to fight it out for mind-share.

This page takes that to its logical limit, and asks: in the space of human awareness, who has won the battle for the basic building blocks, the very letters that make up the words with which we express ourselves? Who does the Internet's collective consciousness associate most closely with each of our 26 alphabet atoms?

 12:54 AM - link

america's cup

The challenger's cup semi finals have started and Alinghi beat Oracle BMW while OneWorld beat Prada. Best 4 out of 7. Sort of.

First blood to Alinghi and OneWorld in semi final

Drama marked the opening races of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi final in Auckland today, with lead changes and broken equipment providing plenty of excitement as the yachts raced in south westerly breezes of 16-20 knots.

The time between the quarter and semi finals has not been without controversy. Dennis Conner tried to save Stars and Stripes' sorry ass by bringing old charges against OneWorld hoping to disqualify them. That didn't work but OneWorld does have to sail the rest of the series with penalties.

OneWorld Disappointed

The America’s Cup Arbitration Panel (ACAP) has docked the Seattle Yacht Club’s OneWorld Challenge one point in the Semi Finals and Finals of the Louis Vuitton and in the America’s Cup, if it advances that far. In addition it has been ordered to pay costs to the Panel of US$65000.

 12:28 AM - link

  Monday   December 9   2002


What was that about the best laid plans? Tonight was to have been another TestingTesting webcast from my living room but the scheduling demons won again. Not only did we not have a special guest (the one I thought we had lined up had a kid going in for oral surgery today) but half the House Band couldn't make it because of rehersals and recording sessions. So we have to cancel tonight's show. TestingTesting will be back on the Dec 23.

Until then, feel free to check out our archives, including our last show with Timothy Hull.

Timothy Hull

 11:24 AM - link

  Sunday   December 8   2002

another periodic table

Wooden Periodic Table Table

This website came about because in early 2002, as a result of a misunderstanding while reading Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks , I accidentally decided to build a Periodic Table. I won't bore you with the details here (see the Complete Pictorial History of the Wooden Periodic Table Table ), but once it was finished I felt obligated to start finding elements to go in it (because under the name of each element in my table there is a sample area).


  thanks to Coudal Partners

 01:24 PM - link

the democrats win the final one

In Louisiana, a Democrat Wins a Tough Senate Race

In a rebuff to President Bush's political power and personal prestige, Louisiana voters today rejected Suzanne Haik Terrell, his hand-picked candidate, and retained Senator Mary L. Landrieu, a freshman Democrat.

Now, are there two Republicans that will switch?

 01:00 PM - link

And Then They Came For Me
from the silence-is-not-golden dept.

Abrams Back in Capital Fray at Center of Mideast Battle

Sharon's deal for Palestine: no extra land, no army, no Arafat

Ariel Sharon: Gen. Insecurity

Jenin riddle: Why did an Israeli soldier shoot a British official in the back?

Palestinians arrest al-Qaeda 'poseurs'
  thanks to American Samizdat

Battle of the Wombs
The Future's Numbers Game

 12:56 PM - link

on a soapbox

about that chain e-mail...

  thanks to Zoe

 12:39 PM - link

another powers of 10

Powers of Ten

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.


  thanks to BookNotes

 12:35 PM - link

the shitstorm cometh

Buildup Leaves U.S. Military Nearly Set to Start Attack

The United States will soon have enough heavy tanks, warships, aircraft, bombs and troops in the Persian Gulf region to enable it to begin an attack against Iraq sometime in January, senior military officials say.

 12:26 PM - link

time to start planning a phishing trip!

Phish Is Happily Reunited to Go Against the Grain

On a Tuesday afternoon in early November, Phish didn't look like a band on a deadline. It had exactly one day to finish mixing its new album, "Round Room." Elektra Records was rushing to release the album on Dec. 10, three weeks before Phish's return to performing — after a two-year absence — with a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve.

 12:24 PM - link


Margot Quan Knight



  thanks to consumptive.org

Photography at a Crossroads
In this digital era, the future of historical photos is at stake

One summer day in 1826, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce placed a metal plate inside a black box in a sunny window at Le Gras, his country estate in the south of France. After 8 hours, Niépce found that with his primitive camera, he'd achieved a goal that he'd been striving after for years: He'd produced a permanent image recorded onto a photosensitive medium. It was the first successful example of "fixing permanently the image from Nature," Niépce told members of the Royal Society when he traveled to England in 1827. However, when Niépce presented his invention, he wouldn't fully divulge his process, and the society failed to confirm his discovery.

Today, it's known that Niépce coated his plate with an asphalt called bitumen of Judea, which hardened under long exposure to the sun's rays. He then washed the unhardened material from the plate with a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum, leaving the faint image of his courtyard in relief. Nonetheless, the fine details of this process died with Niépce in 1833.

Such murkiness is rampant in the history of photography. In the almost 180 years since Niépce made the world's first photograph, inventors, artists, and photographers have used 150 or so chemical processes to create prints, says Dusan Stulik of the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles. For many of these processes, no detailed technical account is available.

  thanks to consumptive.org

 12:17 PM - link


Dog's Best Friend

A couple of years ago I dared to suggest in print that dogs were fundamentally con artists — adept manipulators who merely pretended to like us as part of a clever evolutionary scheme of survival. Honestly, I was joking. Or anyway, mostly joking. But had I paraded around in a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "I love to kick puppies," I could scarcely have done a more thorough job of infuriating a certain segment of the dog-loving public. I got a lot of irate mail about dogs' "unconditional love," whatever that means.

Now it turns out I was right. In fact, according to a number of recently released scientific studies, dogs are not merely emotional con artists: they are also intellectual con artists. They've learned not only to fake love; they've managed to convince us that they are a lot smarter than they really are. In both cases they play us for the saps we are.

  thanks to BookNotes

 11:56 AM - link

the war against the constitution — the aclu fights back

John Ashcroft Rewriting the Constitution
(Requires RealPlayer)

  thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 11:53 AM - link

now, if they could only explain Australian rules football

How To Explain the Rules of Cricket.

You know the big tent at the east end of the county fairgrounds? Next to the show barn? Imagine it’s an oval filled with 90,000 Pakistanis who love to watch pie-eating—who love pie-eating more than soccer—even though it seems to the rest of us that eating pie would be a fairly unpleasant reminder of British Colonialism.

OK. Got it.

The area where the table is, where the pie-eaters sit, is called “the pitch.” At either end of the pitch is a line marking “the crease.” Now, let’s say that inside one of these creases, your pies are cooling on top of three sticks, which are called “stumps.” This contraption is called a “wicket” and there’s a man attempting to knock the wicket over by throwing a ball at it.

Is he the other pie-eater, trying to ruin my pies?

 11:45 AM - link


The Illustrated Beowulf

Hrothgar was the king of the powerful Ring-Danes. He and his friends thought it was cool to brag about themselves.


  thanks to boingboing

 11:40 AM - link


The Headless Economy
Bush's new economic policy: Fire everyone!

The markets fell sharply this morning on the news that the U.S. economy lost another 40,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate spiked to 6 percent. Then the markets rallied on the news that Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsey, the White House's chief economic adviser, had both resigned.

The Bush administration now seems to understand what its many critics—including Moneybox—have been saying for months. Its economic program is nonexistent. In October, Moneybox tagged O'Neill, Lindsey, and Harvey Pitt as the weak links of the Bush economic team: All are now gone, with no replacements in sight. The administration seems to have decided that the cure for a nonexistent economic program is a nonexistent economic team.

 11:27 AM - link


With runners and whispers, al- Qa'ida outfoxes US forces

The Americans take them shackled and hooded on to transport aircraft to Kandahar. They live in pens of eight or 10 men. They are given cots with blankets but no privacy. They are forced to urinate and defecate publicly because the Americans want to watch their prisoners at all times.

But United States forces have not only failed to hunt down Osama bin Laden while they are preparing for war in Iraq: they are finding it almost impossible to crack the al-Qa'ida network because Bin Laden's men have resorted to primitive methods of communication that cut individual members of al-Qa'ida off from all information.

This extraordinary, grim scenario comes from an American intelligence officer just back from Afghanistan who agreed to talk to The Independent – and to supply his own photographs of prisoners – on condition of anonymity. His prognoses were chilling and totally at variance with the upbeat briefings of the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. Even in Pakistan, he says, middle-ranking Pakistani army officers are tipping off members of al-Qa'ida to avoid American-organised raids.

 11:29 AM - link