Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


I want to hear music permeate the air, preferably music I like (which means either I program it, or someone with adventurous tastes does). If Donna would allow it, I'd program my iPod to play through the stereo during the work day. We have compromised, and I play music on the back office/server 24/7, and on the stereo on the weekends.

With this long winded, self-centered prologue, I come to my point: I don't have enough time in a week where I can actually focus on the music that is present. Even right now, as I type this sentence, music is playing (a great series of compilations from Ethiopia, purchased from Aquarius records, I believe at least 12 discs worth, of which I own maybe 6), but I am also watching the Kings lose another game, and typing this observation, and drinking a Guinness, and reading my email. Not focusing on nuance.

I note this idle thought because this evening, trying to fend off the 'funk' of a lingering winter, among other frustrations, I sat with my iPod, and a bushmills on ice, and just listened intently to several songs in (randomized) sequence. Some were slightly familiar, some were extremely well worn, but regardless, I listened to the interplay of bass and drum, and the poetry (or lack of) of the lyrics. Such a pleasure, and even though music is a permanent texture, woven in the woof of my daily life, I wish I could devote more time to the study and appreciation of it.

crossposted for some reason here

Now playing: Kelkeyelgn, from the album Golden Years of Modern Ethiopian Music 1969-1975 by Tèfèri Fèllèqè (Army Band) (released 1975)

Frists of impotent FuryGood takedown of Frist, by John Nicols of the Nation

Poor Bill Frist, he can't be proud of what he has become. He ran for the Senate with a simple mission: prevent health care reforms that might pose a threat to his family's $800-million stake in Columbia/HCA, the nation's leading owner of hospitals. There was never going to be anything honorable about his service, but nothing all that embarrassing in a Washington that welcomes self-serving senators with open arms.

Frist was a comfortably forgettable legislator -- good hair, good suit, bad politics -- until former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, went all segregationist at States Rights Party presidential candidate Strom Thurmond's going-away party. The Bush administration needed another prissy southerner to ride herd on the Senate. Frist fit the bill, moved into the nice office and became a comfortably forgettable Senate Majority Leader.

With the Republican-controlled Congress rendered irrelevant by its complete subservience to the Bush administration's political agenda, Frist quietly went back to the business of protecting the family business.

Then the Bush administration got in trouble. The ex-Secretary of the Treasury, the former Senior Director for Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff and, now, the former counterterrorism chief in the Bush and Clinton White Houses had all come forward to suggest that the Bush administration really had missed the point of the war of terrorism -- badly. Suddenly, Americans were waking up to the fact that the rest of the world already knew: Iraq was not tied to al-Qaeda, had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no serious threat to the United States or its neighbors.

The administration had few credible defenders left. They couldn't send Bush out in his "Mission Accomplished" flight suit. Vice President Dick Cheney was still trying to explain that Halliburton really hadn't set new standards for war profiteering. And National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was having a very hard time explaining that she really, really, really did know what al-Qaeda was before counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke explained it to her.

The administration needed a Spiro Agnew to go out and start calling people names. And Bill Frist was ready to mumble.

Last week, Frist took to the floor of the Senate to denounce Clarke. "Mr. Clarke makes the outrageous charge that the Bush Administration, in its first seven months in office, failed to adequately address the threat posed by Osama bin Laden," Frist began. "I am troubled by these charges. I am equally troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their former service as a government insider with access to our nation's most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001."

That was rich, considering the fact that Frist's Senate service has been all about profiting from the suffering of the nation. By blocking needed health care reforms, pushing for tort reforms that would limit malpractice payouts and supporting moves to privatize Medicare, Frist has pumped up his family's fortunes at the expense of Americans who are lack access to health care. As Mother Jones explained some years ago, "Some companies hire lobbyists to work Congress. Some have their executives lobby directly. But Tennessee's Frist family, the founders of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., the nation's largest hospital conglomerate, has taken it a step further: They sent an heir to the Senate. And there, with disturbingly little controversy, Republican Sen. Bill Frist has co-sponsored bills that may allow his family's company to profit from the ongoing privatization of Medicare."

Frist has delivered well for his family. That $800-million stake in HCA that his father, and brother had at the time Frist was elected in 1994 shot up in value over the decade that followed. Frist's brother, Thomas, has moved up steadily on the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest people in recent years. In 2003, Forbes estimated that Thomas Frist Jr. was worth $1.5 billion. According to Forbes: "source: health care."

So Bill Frist certainly knows a thing or two about profiteering from human misery.

Of course, Frist wasn't really concerned about September 11 suffering. He was simply looking for any way to discredit Clark. The problem was that Clarke has already made a commitment to donate substantial portions of the earnings from his book, "Against All Enemies," to the families of the 9/11 dead and to the widows and orphans of Special Forces troops who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Frist didn't just come off as a hypocrite, he looked like a fool. But he looked like an even bigger fool when, in an attempt to claim Clarke had lied to Congress, Frist demanded that transcripts of Clarke' 2002 congressional testimony to be declassified. Clarke's response? "I would welcome it being declassified But not just a little line here and there -- let's declassify all six hours of my testimony." Then, Clarke added, "Let's declassify that memo I sent on January 25. And let's declassify the national security directive that Dr. Rice's committee approved nine months later, on September 4. And let's see if there's any difference between those two, because there isn't. Let's go further. The White House is now selectively finding my e-mails, which I would have assumed are covered by some privacy regulations, and selectively leaking them to the press. Let's take all of my e-mails and memos that I sent to the national security adviser and her deputy from January 20 to September 11, and let's declassify all of it."

Suitably shot down, Frist then took to defending Condoleezza Rice's refusal to testify in public and under oath before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United State -- only to have the administration decide to have her testify.

Before last week, there was talk that Frist might replace Dick Cheney if the Bush political team decided to force the vice president off the 2004 ticket -- an admittedly dubious prospect, as Cheney remains firmly in charge both of the policy and political operations at the White House. After last week, however, even Republican loyalists had to be wondering whether Frist is good for anything other than taking care of the family business.

CIA Torture

apparently, outsourced

so as to keep the CIA's fingers blood-free

Canadian inquiry may reveal CIA secrets on outsourcing torture

Canadian inquiry may reveal CIA secrets on outsourcing torture

As the 9-11 Commission continues its focus on why more wasn't done to prevent the terror attacks, a public inquiry set to begin in the next few weeks in Canada may reveal long-hidden secrets about the abuses of America's war on terror. Headed by a judge, it will investigate why Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was flying home to Montreal in 2002, was detained by the U.S. authorities at JFK Airport, and then escorted through Jordan to Syria, where he said he was tortured and kept in a grave-like cell for 10 months. Arar was finally cleared by a Syrian court and sent back to Canada, where he hasn't been charged with any crime.

[The Agonist]

From the Village Voice, we read this excerpt.
While the nation focused on Richard Clarke's allegations last week, CIA director George Tenet let slip other revelations in his testimony to the 9-11 Commission, admissions that sharpen the contours of the shadowy intelligence practice called "extraordinary rendition."

The policy, codified in the late 1980s to allow U.S. law enforcement to apprehend wanted men in lawless states like Lebanon during its civil war, has emerged in recent years as one of America's key counterterrorism tools, and has now expanded in scope to include the transfer of terrorism suspects by U.S. intelligence agents to foreign countries for interrogation—and, say some insiders, torture prohibited inside this nation's borders.

Tenet testified that in an unspecified period before September 11, the U.S. had undertaken over 70 such renditions, adding that the Counterterrorist Center at the CIA had "racked up many successes, including the rendition of many dozens of terrorists prior to September 11, 2001." Tenet's testimony marked a rare occasion when the CIA, which doesn't comment publicly on the practice, provided any details about rendition.

As the 9-11 Commission continues its focus on why more wasn't done to prevent the terror attacks, a public inquiry set to begin in the next few weeks in Canada may reveal long-hidden secrets about the abuses of America's war on terror. Headed by a judge, it will investigate why Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was flying home to Montreal in 2002, was detained by the U.S. authorities at JFK Airport, and then escorted through Jordan to Syria, where he said he was tortured and kept in a grave-like cell for 10 months. Arar was finally cleared by a Syrian court and sent back to Canada, where he hasn't been charged with any crime.

Arar's advocates say his case calls into question not only what kind of men the U.S. is apprehending, but where these detainees are being sent, and with what consequences. The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents Arar in the U.S., filed a lawsuit on his behalf in late January that they have said is the first to challenge the legality of rendition.

"[F]ederal officials removed Mr. Arar to Syria under the Government's 'extraordinary renditions' program precisely because Syria could use methods of interrogation to obtain information from Mr. Arar that would not be legally or morally acceptable in this country or in other democracies," the group charged.

Now playing: We Love Ourselves, from the album Trouble Down South by Horsies (released 1993)

DickPhilip K. Dick
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Quotes of the Day]

Gotta love that PKD. Would he have a blog? probably...

DylanologyWine to carry name of Bob Dylan
Just Drinks

An Italian, Bob Dylan wine will hit the shelves later this year, according to press reports. The Guardian reports today that a blend of Montepulciano and Merlot in a bottle signed by the singer/songwriter will bear the name of Dylan’s 1974 album Planet Waves.

The newspaper reports that the idea came about after Antonio Terni, a Dylan fan and vineyard owner near Ancona, met Dylan’s drummer at a party late last year. Terni sent Dylan a bottle of wine he had produced, and received an email back from his manager asking if Terni could help Dylan become more involved in wine

The wine, a 2002 vintage, will sell for about $64 a bottle.

Now playing: Born Under A Bad Sign, from the album Jimi Blues by Jimi Hendrix (released 1994)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Cal Murphy

Pocket Rocket's statement

Found Here

"Please don't jump to judgment," he said during a call-in program on KILT-AM in Houston. "Give the system a chance to do its job, and then everything will come out to the light."


Murphy said Tuesday the charges were "money motivated," but declined to elaborate. When asked if the charges would go away if he wrote a check, he said, "that's not the issue right now at all. Right now it's about clearing my name."

I hope that Mr. Murphy's statement is in fact, fact, and that I can hear him doing that insane giggle during Rockets games.

Now playing: Zombie, from the album Black Man's Cry by Fela Kuti


Some March Photos
I've posted some recent snapshots taken this month. If you want a print, ask. Will probably oblige, unless you are a jerk about it (which would be unlikely now, wouldn't it?).
(Hint, you can start the slide show by clicking Start Slideshow)

Now playing: Buster Enamel, from the album Gloryhole by Ed Hall (released 1991)

Pocket Rocket

Pocket Rocket

Sad about this

The Pocket Rocket always was good entertainment. If these charges are true, will be seing serious jail time.

Ex-Rockets star Murphy charged with indecency

Allegations involve Hall of Famer's children

HOUSTON -- Former Houston Rockets guard Calvin Murphy was
released on $90,000 bond after surrendering to authorities on
charges accusing him of sexually abusing five of his daughters more than a decade ago.

Prosecutors charged Murphy on Monday with three counts of
aggravated sexual assault and three counts of indecency with a child.

According to an affidavit by Drew Carter of the Texas Rangers, five of Murphy's daughters said Murphy either fondled them, performed oral sex, or...

[ - NBA]

Saturday, March 27, 2004


He aims, he shoots

He Scores!

err, something like that. I would feel a little odd pissing in a woman's mouth, stylized or not. But then I guess I'm old fashioned.

Virgin Atlantic cans lip-shaped urinals in U.S. (Reuters)
Reuters - Virgin Atlantic Airways has scrapped plans to install bright-red urinals
shaped like women's open lips at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, saying it had
received complaints they were offensive.

...The urinal, designed by a Dutch company, was the idea of a female designer. Riordan said Virgin was surprised by the negative reaction to the plan, part of designs for the lounge, built to pamper first-class customers.

Uhh, yeah. First class.

Now playing: I See Your Face Before Me, from the album Settin' The Pace by John Coltrane (released 1958)


GOP stooly?

We all sort of suspected this to be true, even before evidence arrived, but still I'm conflicted. If Nader ends up not being on any ballots, then he is no threat to kicking the unelected fraud out of the whitehouse, and furthermore is taking money from GOOPers to boot. However, if Nader does get on the ballot, and if he gets even over 1% of the vote, from people who were otherwise planning on voting for Kerry (another if, unknowable at this stage), then this is bs.
My thought is that when it comes down to it, Nader won't be much of a problem for Kerry.

GOP donors funding Nader
We all knew this was happening...Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader... [Daily Kos]
Read comments on the Daily Kos thread for more perspectives & details....

Now playing: Trust Yourself, from the album Empire Burlesque by Dylan, Bob (released 1985)


Something to look out for

when it is translated into English, of course

Just 20, She Captures Altered Japan in a Debut Novel
Hitomi Kanehara's debut novel has become a prism of sorts for many Japanese to look, or try to, at their society. [New York Times: International]

Ms. Kanehara had never intended, she insists, to write about Japanese society; the personal, the heart, interests her. Indeed, her novel, "Hebi ni Piasu," which is available only in Japanese but may be translated into English as "Snakes and Earrings," is the intensely private story of a young woman, Rui, obsessed with altering her body by getting a large tattoo and a snakelike forked tongue.

Still, by simply depicting the world around her, Ms. Kanehara has produced a powerful portrait of this post-bubble generation and the themes that are identified with it. It is a world of "freeters," young Japanese surviving on part-time jobs and unconcerned with their future; of unsentimental sex and a profound inability to communicate verbally; a world in which a killing is viewed with amorality.

The institutions that built postwar Japan — the family, school and companies — are noticeable by their absence. In a nation known for its social cohesion, the characters have no interest in playing a role in society, but only in finding personal satisfaction among themselves. Unlike Japanese in, say, their 30's, the characters in the novel are not disillusioned at Japanese society, since they had few expectations to begin with.

"There are many people who don't expect anything from society," Ms. Kanehara says. "That's precisely why they are looking inward or to the people closest to them.

"I never knew the bubble era, so my way of looking at things can't help being different," she says. "Since I was born, I've never experienced a time of prosperity. Without my being aware, it's possible that my writing reflects the era."

Now playing: Peace And Love, from the album Mirrorball by Young, Neil (released 1995)

Friday, March 26, 2004

Updated noodles

Revised, edited and slightly updated this post, due to second attempt:
Another satifying lunch recipe, posted to evade short-term memory lossy compression...

First off, if you don't have the following staple items in your cabinet/fridge; add them to your grocery list.
*Fish Sauce (Thai/Asian concoction that can live on top shelf for months until you need it: then it becomes essential!)
*Toasted Sesame Oil
*Rice Wine vinegar

So this dish is actually very easily prepared
*Make noodles (something like Udon noodles or Soba noodles work best, but whatever ya got. Served cold, so pay attention to washing the starch off. Thin rice noodles change the complexion of the meal, neither better nor worse, just different). Rinse, and set aside.

*Sauce: in cuisinart add garlic clove to taste (I used 2); 3 tblespoons tamari; 1.5 Tblspoon rice wine; splash or two of fish sauce; 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil; splash of shitake sauce (by Amy's: you could just use sugar, but Amy's has sugar as well as shitake flavor); 1.5 cups of cashews or other nut (unroasted if you find them, better flavour/health properties)

*Blend enough to mix, but not enough to turn cashews into sticky paste. I would have thrown in cilantro and thai basil, but unfortunately, was out of it. Next time. I would also have added either some chile flakes or some garlic/chile paste, but was out of these as well. Really need to go grocery shopping!

Veggies*In a sautee pan, sear more minced garlic, strips of onion, and mushrooms (I used Crimini, portabello and shitake) in a tablespoon of oil. Add celery, carrots (julienned to mimic noodles!) and whatever else sounds good to you. I happened to have some shrimp from the day before, but tofu, scallops, chicken, beef, pork, bok choy, hashish-balls, whatever would have worked as well. Cook long enough for mushrooms to release their precious bodily fluids, and for the celery to soften, but don't overcook. I forgot to add the ginger I peeled, but didn't really need it.

*Mix all together, toss well, and squeeze some fresh lime juice on top. Fill your bowl, empty, repeat as necessary until satiety occurs. mmmmmmm.

Currently playing in iTunes: "Lawyer Clark Blues" by Sleepy John Estes - I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More 1929 - 1941

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Bug Man squashed?

we can only hope

Damn, that would be a major blow to Shrub, and to the self-described Bug Man. I give him the same nickname, but for different reasons.

Probe may force DeLay to step down

Probe may force DeLay to step down

WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- House Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas is reportedly discussing temporarily stepping down from his post if he is indicted.

[The Agonist]

Now playing: Seems So, from the album Tone Soul Evolution by Apples In Stereo (released 1997)


yet another reason to avoid Wal-Mart

I don't shop at Wal-Mart for a number of reasons, and according to the the WSJ, here is one more reason why:

"Unlike most corporations, which contribute to both parties in rough proportion to Congress's partisan split, about 85% of Wal-Mart's checks go to Republicans. And recently Mr. Allen was named a "Pioneer" by the Bush campaign, meaning he has raised at least $100,000 by getting friends and colleagues to make contributions of up to $2,000 each.

The partisan giving is a nod to Wal-Mart's hostile relationship with organized labor and its dependence on free-trade agreements. Wal-Mart defends its lopsided support, saying it's supporting pro-business candidates. But sometimes it can get personal. Several Democratic presidential candidates -- including presumed nominee Sen. John Kerry -- have criticized Wal-Mart's labor practices. At the company's managers meeting in Kansas City in January, Wal-Mart executives showed footage of former Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt criticizing the company's health benefits. Managers booed and hissed."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

From the Misleader

I'm just a conduit today


With President Bush's former top counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke
issuing well-documented criticisms of the White House's failure to defend
America, the Administration has resorted to outright lies and distortions
about its record. The president himself once again tried to deflect
criticism, saying "had my administration had any information that terrorists
were going to attack New York City on September the 11" (1) - a statement
designed to deflect attention from the specific warnings that he personally
received outlining an imminent Al Qaeda attack (2) that could involve
hijacked planes (3) being used as missiles (4).

Here are four other explicit lies that the Administration has told over the
last few days:

LIE: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice claimed that Clarke "chose
not to" (5) voice his concerns about the Administration's counterterrorism
policy. But Clarke sent an urgent memo to Rice in January 2001 asking for a
Cabinet-level meeting about an imminent Al Qaeda attack (6). The White House
itself admits top Bush officials rejected Clarke's request, saying they "did
not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat." (7)

LIE: White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan yesterday denied Clarke's
charge that the president ordered the Pentagon to begin drafting plans to
invade Iraq immediately after 9/11. (8) But according to the Washington
Post, "six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2-and-a-half-page document" that "directed
the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq."
(9) This was corroborated by a September 2002 CBS News report which reported
that, immediately after 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told "aides
to come up with plans for striking Iraq." (10)

LIE: Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley denied Clarke's charge
that there was an imminent domestic threat against America from Al Qaeda,
saying, "All the chatter [before 9/11] was of an attack, a potential Al
Qaeda attack overseas." (11) But, according to the bipartisan Congressional
report on 9/11, "In May 2001, the intelligence community obtained a report
that Bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States" to
"carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives." The report "was
included in an intelligence report for senior government officials in August
[2001]." (12)

LIE: Bush National Security spokesman Jim Wilkinson claimed that "it was
this president who expedited the deployment of the armed Predator" (the
unmanned plane) (13). But, according to Newsweek, it was the Bush
Administration who "elected not to relaunch the Predator" and who did not
deploy the new armed version of it despite "the military having successfully
tested an armed Predator throughout the first half of 2001." (14)

1. President Discusses Economy and Terrorism After Cabinet Meeting,
2. "August Memo Focused On Attacks in U.S.", Washington Post, 05/18/2002,
3. "Report Warned Of Suicide Hijackings", CBS News, 05/18/2002,
4. "Italy Tells of Threat at Genoa Summit", Los Angeles Times, 09/27/2001,
5. American Morning Transcript, 03/22/2004,
6. "Clarke's Take On Terror", CBS News, 03/21/2004,
7. "White House Rebuttal to Clarke Interview", Washington Post, 02/23/2004,
8. Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, 03/23/2004,
9. "U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past", Washington Post, 01/12/2003,
10. "Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11", CBS News, 09/04/2002,
11. "Clarke's Take On Terror", CBS News, 03/21/2004,
12. Joint Inquiry of Intelligence Community Activities Before and After The
Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, 12/2002,
13. Fox News, 3/22/04
14. Freedom of Information Center, 05/27/2002,

Visit for more about Bush Administration distortion.

Tents of Mass Destruction

Tents of mass destruction

Military Was Sold Lead-Tainted Fabric for Tents
Almost three-fourths of the camouflage-patterned tents, tarpaulins and jeep covers used by the United States military contain lead compounds that can cause a variety of illnesses. [New York Times: National]

Almost three-fourths of the camouflage-patterned tents, tarpaulins and jeep covers used by the United States military throughout the world are made from fabric manufactured with toxic lead compounds that can cause a variety of illnesses including cancer, according to undisputed evidence in a lawsuit being tried mostly behind closed doors in federal court.

While the chemicals — lead chromate, hexavalent chromium and trivalent chromium — are prohibited by the military in the fabrics it buys, a Pentagon spokesman said last week that tests by the Army have shown that they are present in the tent fabric,

Jesus, now that's taking care of the troops for ya.

Now playing: My Back Pages, from the album Masked & Anonymous by Magokoro Brothers (released 2003)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Inaction Jackson

The president se-lect, in inaction

Julian Borger interviews Clarke in the Guardian [corrente / Leah, Lambert, Tresy & the Farmer]

Wow, this is explosive. When are those impeachment hearings going to begin anyway?

JB: If there had been meetings on terrorism in that first eight months, do you think it would have made a difference?

RC: Well let me ask you: Contrast December '99 with June and July and August 2001. In December '99 we get similar kinds of evidence that al-Qaida was planning a similar kind of attack. President Clinton asks the national security advisor to hold daily meetings with attorney-general, the CIA, FBI. They go back to their departments from the White House and shake the departments out to the field offices to find out everything they can find. It becomes the number one priority of those agencies. When the head of the FBI and CIA have to go to the White House every day, things happen and by the way, we prevented the attack.

Contrast that with June, July, August 2001 when the president is being briefed virtually every day in his morning intelligence briefing that something is about to happen, and he never chairs a meeting and he never asks Condi Rice to chair a meeting about what we're doing about stopping the attacks. She didn't hold one meeting during all those three months. Now, it turns out that buried in the FBI and CIA, there was information about two of these al-Qaida terrorists who turned out to be hijackers [Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi]. We didn't know that. The leadership of the FBI didn't know that, but if the leadership had to report on a daily basis to the White House, he would have shaken the trees and he would have found out those two guys were there. We would have put their pictures on the front page of every newspaper and we probably would have caught them. Now would that have stopped 9/11? I don't know. It would have stopped those two guys, and knowing the FBI the way they can take a thread and pull on it, they would probably have found others.

JB: So might they have stopped the September 11 attacks?

RC: I don't want to say they could have stopped the attacks. But there was a chance.

JB: A reasonable chance? A good chance?

RC: There was a chance, and whatever the probability was, they didn't take it.

rest of article here Guardian
Now playing: Black Man's Cry, from the album Black Man's Cry by Fela Kuti

Sake, oh Sake

Adding to my full head

I drank much

of this good

Now playing: Pool, from the album Double Bummer (Disc 2) by Bongwater (released 1988)

Monday, March 22, 2004

Pharmacies in Canada will soon be provided with Government marijuana to dispense to patients: Officials are organizing a pilot project... [TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime]

More reason to become a snow-bird in reverse.

Clarke/GuardianBush ignored threats, says ex-aide
US: Former chief counter-terrorism adviser accuses Bush of doing "a terrible job" in protecting America against attack. [Guardian Unlimited]

George Bush's re-election campaign suffered a blow yesterday when the president's former chief counter-terrorism adviser accused him of doing "a terrible job" in protecting America against attack, largely because of a fixation on Iraq.

Richard Clarke, who retired as the White House counter-terrorism coordinator last year, accused the president of putting pressure on him to find evidence of Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks, despite being told repeatedly that there was no link.

"I think he's done a terrible job on the war against terrorism," said Mr Clarke.

"Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We'll never know."

Mr Clarke made his allegations in an interview last night on a CBS current affairs programme, 60 Minutes, and in greater detail in a book, Against All Enemies, published today. He is also expected to deliver a blistering critique of the administration's performance tomorrow to a bipartisan commission investigating US preparedness for the 2001 attacks.

Mr Clarke's book is the latest in a trickle of unflattering accounts of the Bush White House to emerge from people leaving the administration. It confirms the view provided by a former treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, of an ideological clique fixated on Iraq.


One of Mr Clarke's tasks was to chair the administration's counter-terrorism and security group, a panel of CIA, FBI and White House experts that met several times a week to assess foreign threats.

He depicted the Bush White House as being uninterested in the threat from al-Qaida in its first eight months in office, and more concerned about Iraq. He said his urgent request in January that year for a cabinet-level meeting on the possibility of an attack was only granted a few days before 9/11. At crisis meetings in the White House the day after those attacks, Mr Clarke said he expected to discuss how to strike back at al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan, and was surprised when the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, quickly shifted the subject to Iraq.

"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Mr Clarke said in last night's interview. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaida is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq."

Mr Clarke initially thought that Mr Rumsfeld was joking, but quickly discovered he had the backing of Mr Bush.

"The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this," he said.

"I said, 'Mr President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection ...' He came back at me and said, 'Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean, that we should come back with that answer."

Mr Clarke coordinated the writing of a report by the CIA, FBI, and his own staff, concluding that Iraq had few links with al-Qaida and no involvement in the September 11 attacks. He said: "We sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the national security adviser or deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer ... Do it again.'"

Mr Clarke's comments came as former US president Jimmy Carter launched a withering attack, claiming that George Bush and Tony Blair had waged a war in Iraq based on "lies".

"There was no reason for us to become involved _ That was a war based on lies and misinterpretations from London and from Washington, claiming falsely that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks," he told the Independent newspaper.

Now playing: I Could Have Lied, from the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers (released 1991)

[Chicago Sun-Times]

Bad blood between Chicago police and Lucy Parsons continues --60 years after her death.

Parsons, a feisty mixed-race reformer who described police as "organized bandits'' and "minions of the oppressing class,'' was an anarchist and wife of a man executed in connection with a cop killing in 1886.

The Chicago Park District is proposing to name a park for her on the Northwest Side as a recognition of her efforts on behalf of workers, women and African Americans.

The head of the Chicago police union is objecting, dismissing her as "a woman whose historic roots come from the defense of her husband.''


CBS's 60 minutes

was apparently fairly good, for once. I've avoid the show and network news in general for years, for obvious reasons, but apparently this one was worth watching.

Can you spell Impeachment?

Bush attacked on terror record
A former White House security expert accuses President Bush of doing a "terrible job" of tackling terrorism. [BBC News]

Richard Clarke said Mr Bush ignored warnings of the threat from al-Qaeda in the run-up to 9/11.

He said the US president later tried to show links between al-Qaeda and Iraq, despite being told none existed.

Mr Clarke, who has served under four US administrations, told CBS he found it "outrageous" Mr Bush was running for a second term on his record on terrorism.

He said: "I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it.

"He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We'll never know."

He also told the US broadcaster the day after the September 11 attacks, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld called for retaliatory strikes on Iraq, even though al-Qaeda was based in Afghanistan.

He said he was so taken aback by the comments, he initially thought Mr Rumsfeld was joking.

Now playing: Courante, from the album Andres Segovia - 1927 - 1939 Recordings (Vol. 1) by Johann Sebastian Bach

Friday, March 19, 2004


Chomsky and Kerry

Chomsky backs 'Bush-lite' Kerry
US election: Noam Chomsky, the political theorist and leftwing guru, gives his reluctant endorsement to the Democratic presidential contender, John Kerry, calling him "Bush-lite", but a "fraction" better than his rival.

Professor Chomsky - a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as a renowned chronicler of American foreign policy - said there were "small differences" between Senator Kerry and the Republican president. But, in an interview on the Guardian's politics website, he added that those small differences "can translate into large outcomes".

He describes the choice facing US voters in November as "the choice between two factions of the business party". But the Bush administration was so "cruel and savage", it was important to replace it.

He said: "Kerry is sometimes described as 'Bush-lite', which is not inaccurate. But despite the limited differences both domestically and internationally, there are differences. In a system of immense power, small differences can translate into large outcomes."

He reserved his especial venom for the Bush administration's plans for the health sector: "The people around Bush are deeply committed to dismantling the achievements of popular struggle through the past century no matter what the cost to the general population."

[Guardian Unlimited]

Now playing: Suite: a) Prayer and Meditation: Day b) Peace and After c) Prayer and Meditation: Evening d) Affirmation e) Prayer and Meditation: 4 A.M., from the album Transition by John Coltrane (released 1965)


He aims, he shoots

He Scores!

err, something like that. I would feel a little odd pissing in a woman's mouth, stylized or not. But then I guess I'm old fashioned.

Virgin Atlantic cans lip-shaped urinals in U.S. (Reuters)
Reuters - Virgin Atlantic Airways has scrapped plans to install bright-red urinals
shaped like women's open lips at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, saying it had
received complaints they were offensive.

...The urinal, designed by a Dutch company, was the idea of a female designer. Riordan said Virgin was surprised by the negative reaction to the plan, part of designs for the lounge, built to pamper first-class customers.

Uhh, yeah. First class.

Now playing: I See Your Face Before Me, from the album Settin' The Pace by John Coltrane (released 1958)


SD news from all over

Well, Tom Corvin news anyway

A "mild-mannered" TV reporter in Kansas City...
A "mild-mannered" TV reporter in Kansas City has a past as the frontman for Social Distortion. []

Now playing: Spiral, from the album Giant Steps by John Coltrane (released 1960)


Grateful Dead's Bob Weir

Grateful Dead to offer entire catalog on iTMS
The Grateful Dead are finalizing a deal with Apple to make every live note they've ever recorded available for download from the iTunes Music Store (iTMS)... [MacMinute]

Now playing: Trane's Slo Blues, from the album Lush Life by Coltrane, John (released 1957)


Rocks, the original Les Paul instruments

Ancient Indians made 'rock music'
Archaeologists rediscover a huge rock art site in India where inhabitants used the local rocks to make musical sounds. [BBC News]

Now playing: Moment's Notice, from the album Blue Train by Coltrane, John

Senate Democrats Claim Medicare Chief Broke Law
The Senate Democrats were reacting to disclosures that Thomas A. Scully, the former Medicare administrator, prevented his chief actuary from sharing information with Congress. [New York Times: National]

Whole Foods

And I missed it

Workers Suing Over Man in See-Through Shorts (Reuters)
Reuters - Former employees of Whole Foods
Market have sued the natural foods supermarket operator, saying
it did not take proper action to prevent a male customer from
parading through a Santa Fe store wearing white, see-through
biking shorts with no underwear.

Now playing: Chasin' The Trane, from the album The Complete1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (Disc 3) by John Coltrane (released 1961)

Thursday, March 18, 2004


Not just for breakfast anymore

Unless you live in the Pacific rim that is

where it's spamarific

Diner serves Spam, Spam, Spam (Reuters)
Reuters - Spamburgers, Spam nuggets, Spam Spaghetti, Caesar salad with Spam, Spam and eggs: the menu at the
Spamjam restaurant in Manila could be straight out of the Monty Python sketch.

"I'm a Spam lover," said Philip Abadilla, who opened the world's first Spam restuarant in December. "It's always on my mind."

While the canned luncheon meat will forever be ridiculed by fans of the British comedians, it is a much loved staple in the Philippines.

Filipinos eat 2.75 million pounds (1.25 million kg) of the stuff every year, and woe betide anyone arriving from the United States who doesn't bring a few cans for their relatives.

"It appeals to my taste buds," said Aris Yambao, a 28-year-old advertising executive on his second visit to the red, yellow and blue restaurant in one of Manila's enormous shopping malls.

Yambao was one of just eight people in the half-full diner on Thursday lunchtime, but Abadilla said he gets up to 300 customers a day and is in negotiations to open two further branches.

First produced in 1937 by Hormel Foods of the United States, Spam became an institution during World War II.

It gave its name to junk e-mail because of the singing Vikings in the Monty Python sketch, who kept drowning out a waitress offering dishes such as spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam.

Hormel, whose Philippine venture helped Abadilla set up Spamjam, is hoping to take the restaurant to other countries.

For people who don't like Spam, such as the female customer played by Graham Chapman in the sketch, the menu also offers hot dogs.

To which the Spam-loving waitress played by Terry Jones would have said: "Urgghh!"

Now playing: Prelude No. 3, from the album Leaning Into The Night by Ottmar Liebert (released 1997)

Wednesday, March 17, 2004



oh, TiVo, let me wax episodic about thee.
On the other hand, maybe not.

How Do I Love Thee, TiVo?
TiVos and other digital video recorders are still not wildly popular. But those who do own the machines are wild about them. What gives? [New York Times: Technology]

Owners of digital video recorders are still a relatively small niche. Adi Kishore of the Yankee Group, a research firm, estimates that there are fewer than 3.5 million of the devices in the United States, scattered among about 108 million households with televisions. (That figure does not include a relatively small number of consumers who with special hardware and software have turned their PC's into video recorders.)

But users are a passionate minority, eager to proselytize about the technology to the uninitiated.

Uhh, yeah. That's me. I just ordered my second one. I've convinced only 2 people to purchase, but still wax episodic, and there are a couple more I am trying to sway. Sort of like Apple Computer: but with TV.

And like books piled high on a nightstand, the abundance of selected programs stored on a recorder's hard drive can start to seem more like a challenge than a pleasure to be savored.

Faced with a backlog of 100 hours of stored programming, Mr. Fisher, the TV development executive, and his wife skipped the movie theater last Christmas Day and waded through the recorded shows instead. "We didn't leave the room all day," Mr. Fisher said. "And we felt kind of sleazy afterwards."

Now playing: Fairytale Of New York, from the album If I Should Fall From Grace With God by Pogues, The (released 1988)


Almodovar should countersue

but of course, he can not

Really though, the press release claiming "we are going to sue so and so's ass" is not the same as actually doing the legal work. Disclaimer: I know nothing about the Spanish legal system, except what I've gleaned from Pedro Almodovar movies

Spain's Losing Party Plans to Sue Movie Director for Slander Over a 'Coup' Accusation
Spain's ousted conservative party said that it was going to sue Pedro Almodovar because he had accused the government of trying to hatch a "coup d'état" the day before the election. [New York Times: International]
Spain's defeated conservative party said Wednesday that it was going to sue Pedro Almodóvar, the country's most celebrated movie director, because he had accused the government of trying to hatch a "coup d'état" the day before the election.

The Popular Party said in a news release that Mr. Almodóvar had committed "slander and libel."

Appearing at a screening for the press of his new movie, "Bad Education," in Spain on Tuesday, Mr. Almodóvar, an opponent of the Iraq war, called the defeat of the conservatives a "liberating" moment that will usher in a new era of democracy.

Mr. Almodóvar referred to a rumor circulating on the Internet that accused the government of petitioning the Spanish king on the eve of the election to postpone the voting. The rumor, still swirling around Madrid, held that the king refused the request, saying it would constitute a de facto coup d'état.

"We have to understand something terrifying," Mr. Almodóvar told reporters for the news channel Telecinco about the P.P., the Popular Party. "The P.P. was about to, at midnight Saturday, bring about a coup détat. I don't want to be polite or delicate. I'm not trying to throw stones, but you have to see how the P.P. has been operating."

Now playing: Turkish Song Of The Damned, from the album If I Should Fall From Grace With God by Pogues, The (released 1988)




If this is all it takes....

Mistrial Declared After Juror Drinks Beer (AP)
AP - An Ohio County Circuit judge declared a mistrial in a drug case after a juror was seen drinking a beer during a lunch break. [Yahoo Oddly enough]

Now playing: Jigs: The Hare In The Corn/The Frost Is All Over/The Gander In The Pratie Hole, from the album Cold Blow And The Rainy Night by Planxty (released 1974)


Chew on this

Teeth unravel Anglo-Saxon legacy
The Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain was a more complex process than history books would have us believe. [the Beeb]

New scientific research adds to growing evidence that the Anglo-Saxons did not replace the native population in England as history books suggest.

The data indicates at least some areas of eastern England absorbed very few Anglo-Saxon invaders, contrary to the view in many historical accounts.

Chemical analysis of human teeth from a Medieval cemetery in Yorkshire found few individuals of continental origin.

Details of the work are described in the scholarly journal Antiquity.

"There are practices that are being adopted from continental Europe. To what extent is that a movement of people (into Britain)? Probably not that much" says Dr Paul Budd, University of Durham

Researchers from the University of Durham and the British Geological Survey looked at different types of the elements strontium and oxygen in the teeth of 24 skeletons from an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery at West Heslerton, North Yorkshire that spans the fifth to the seventh centuries AD.

These types, or isotopes, of oxygen in local drinking water vary across Europe and locally within the British Isles.

The differences are influenced by latitude, altitude, distance from the sea and, to a lesser extent, mean annual temperature.
More here

Now playing: Cross Road Blues (Alternate Take), from the album The Complete Recordings by Robert Johnson (released 1990)


An actual progressive?

Strange but true

Illinois Democrats Choose Legislator to Seek Senate Seat
Barack Obama, an African-American state senator from Chicago, defeated a large field of opponents to become the Democrats' choice for the next U.S. Senator from Illinois. [New York Times: Politics]

Now playing: They're Red Hot, from the album The Complete Recordings by Robert Johnson (released 1990)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Hey, Hey, EPA

How many kids did you kill today!?

Taken from the LA Times, we learn that

WASHINGTON — Political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency bypassed agency professional staff and a federal advisory panel last year to craft a rule on mercury emissions preferred by the industry and the White House, several longtime EPA officials say.

The EPA staffers say they were told not to undertake the normal scientific and economic studies called for under a standing executive order. At the same time, the proposal to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants was written using key language provided by utility lobbyists.


The Bush administration has said that the proposed rule would cut mercury emissions by 70% in the next 15 years, and is tied to the president's "Clear Skies" initiative. Critics say it would delay reductions in mercury levels for decades at a risk to public health, while saving the power and coal industries billions of dollars.

Studies designed to address such questions are the ones that were not conducted.

EPA veterans say they cannot recall another instance when the agency's technical experts were cut out of developing a major regulatory proposal.

The administration chose a process "that would support the conclusion they wanted to reach," said John A. Paul, a Republican environmental regulator from Ohio who co-chaired the EPA-appointed advisory panel.

pathetic, at best.

Now playing: Stones Vs. Zep, from the album Weak Beats And Lame-Ass Rhymes by Two Dollar Guitar (released 2000)





The Bush administration has said that the proposed rule would cut mercury emissions by 70% in the next 15 years, and is tied to the president's "Clear Skies" initiative. Critics say it would delay reductions in mercury levels for decades at a risk to public health, while saving the power and coal industries billions of dollars.


Spanish bombs

Very poignant letter from a survivor of the Madrid Massacre posted on This Modern World, worth a read

Anatole France

Quote worth repeating

Especially in a blog

Anatole France
"When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it." [Quotes of the Day]

Now playing: We All Die, from the album Myra Lee by Cat Power (released 1994)

Monday, March 15, 2004


PR as fake reporting

U.S. Videos, for TV News, Come Under Scrutiny
Investigators are scrutinizing TV segments in which the Bush administration paid people to pose as journalists praising the new Medicare law. [New York Times: Politics]

Federal investigators are scrutinizing television segments in which the Bush administration paid people to pose as journalists praising the benefits of the new Medicare law, which would be offered to help elderly Americans with the costs of their prescription medicines.

The videos are intended for use in local television news programs. Several include pictures of President Bush receiving a standing ovation from a crowd cheering as he signed the Medicare law on Dec. 8.

The materials were produced by the Department of Health and Human Services, which called them video news releases, but the source is not identified. Two videos end with the voice of a woman who says, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

But the production company, Home Front Communications, said it had hired her to read a script prepared by the government.

Bill Kovach, chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, expressed disbelief that any television stations would present the Medicare videos as real news segments, considering the current debate about the merits of the new law.

"Those to me are just the next thing to fraud," Mr. Kovach said. "It's running a paid advertisement in the heart of a news program."

Now playing: Blues With A Feeling, from the album His Best by Little Walter (released 1953)


GI seeks conscientious-objector status

From the Trib
In Iraq last April, freshly promoted Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia led squads of Florida National Guard soldiers in the fight against insurgents in the deadly Sunni triangle.

But Mejia became increasingly pained by his war experiences, and when he went on leave in the autumn, he decided not to come back. The staff sergeant--one of about 600 soldiers counted as AWOL by the Army during home leaves from Iraq--eventually was labeled a deserter.

Now, after five months in hiding, Mejia plans to surrender Monday in Boston on the eve of the war's first anniversary, and he aims to become the first Iraq war veteran to publicly challenge the morality and conduct of the conflict. At a time when polls indicate that Americans' support for the war is slipping, Mejia intends to seek conscientious-objector status to avoid a court-martial.

In an interview with the Tribune, Mejia, 28, of Miami, said he found the war and many of his combat orders morally questionable and ultimately unacceptable. He has been living in New York and other Eastern cities, traveling by bus instead of by plane or car to escape the attention of the police and military. He has avoided using his credit cards and cell phone.

Mejia accuses commanders of using GIs as "bait" to lure out Iraqi fighters so that U.S. soldiers could win combat decorations. He also says operations were conducted in ways that sometimes risked injuring civilians. He has accused his battalion and company commanders of incompetence and has reiterated other guardsmen's complaints about being poorly equipped.

Now playing: Eyesight to the Blind, from the album Sonny Boy Williamson by Sonny Boy Williamson


AWOL research

From Orcinus
What Morlin and Steele appear to have ascertained is that Bush was subject to the Human Reliability Program, a set of stringent regulations designed to prevent nuclear weapons from being handled by people who were unreliable:
The White House documents do show that Bush's military job description, called an Air Force Specialty Code, or AFSC, was listed as "1125D, pilot, fighter interceptor."

Bush's pilot code was among those covered by Air Force Regulation 35-99, a previously undisclosed document recently obtained by The Spokesman-Review. Regulation 35-99 contains an extensive explanation of the Human Reliability Program.

Human reliability regulations were used to screen military personnel for their mental, physical and emotional fitness before granting them access to nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Under the rules, pilots could be removed immediately from the cockpit for HRP issues, which happened in the 1974 Washington Air National Guard case. The two Washington airmen were suspended on suspicion of drug use, but eventually received honorable discharges.

A second previously unreleased document obtained by the newspaper, a declassified Air Force Inspector General's report on the Washington case, states that human reliability rules applied to all Air National Guard units in the 1970s. From 1968 to 1973, Bush was assigned to the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston.

The regulations were made stricter in the 1970s when the military started screening for drug abuse, said Dr. Herbert Abrams in a 1991 research paper.
... "The military takes this very, very seriously," said Lloyd Dumas, professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of Lethal Arrogance, a 1999 study of human foibles and dangerous technology.

"People of a lesser rank can even remove their superiors (under HRP). It's one of the few areas where rank doesn't matter," Dumas said.

Bush's suspension, his spotty final year of military service and his failure to take his flight physical are puzzling, Dumas said.

"If Bush was under the Human Reliability Program, there should be a paper trail. And if there's not, that's very, very unusual," the University of Texas professor said.

There already are indications -- just from the gaps in the record and what we know should be there -- that Bush's records have been manipulated (which is a federal offense). Recall, if you will, Walter Robinson's major piece on these gaps for the Boston Globe, in which he reported:
The order required Bush to acknowledge the suspension in writing and also said: "The local commander who has authority to convene a Flying Evaluation Board will direct an investigation as to why the individual failed to accomplish the medical examination." After that, the commander had two options -- to convene the Evaluation Board to review Bush's suspension or forward a detailed report on his case up the chain of command.

Either way, officials said yesterday, there should have been a record of the investigation.

As noted earlier, there were no such records in the supposedly "complete" release given by the White House.

Now playing: Honey Hush, from the album Ice Pickin' by Collins Albert (released 1978)

Sunday, March 14, 2004



Astronomers find 'new planet'
A new space telescope has detected what could be the Solar System's 10th planet, named Sedna. [BBC News]
Found further away than other planets by the recently launched Spitzer Space Telescope, it has been called Sedna after the Inuit goddess of the ocean.

Observations show it is about 2,000 km across and it may even be larger than Pluto, which is 2,250 km across.

There is likely to be debate about whether it qualifies as a true planet, but some astronomers are already saying it re-defines the Solar System.

Now playing: Out To Lunch, from the album Out To Lunch by Dolphy, Eric (released 1964)

GoogleFrom the NYT
The Web site that has become a verb is many things to many people, and to some, perhaps too much: a dictionary, a detective service, a matchmaker, a recipe generator, an ego massager, a spiffy new add-on for the brain. Behind the rainbow logo, Google is changing culture and consciousness. Or maybe not — maybe it's the world's biggest time-waster, a vacuous rabbit hole where, in January, 60 million Americans, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, foraged for long-lost prom dates and the theme from "Doogie Howser, M.D.

Now playing: Trinkle Tinkle, from the album Thelonious Monk by Thelonious Monk (released 1982)


Reign of Blood next?

or perhaps Ran?

Not a bad idea, really.
A Kurosawa Epic Turned Video Game
Seven Samurai 20XX, a PlayStation 2 game based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece, "Seven Samurai," was made with the cooperation of the filmmaker's son. [New York Times: Technology]

Now playing: Blues for Alice, from the album Bird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker by Parker, Charlie (released 1952)

Shrub Sociopath

Sociopathic shrub

sounds like a Star Trek episode

From an article archived on Common Dreams we (re)read an alternate view of shrub's lack of speaking ability: not that he is an idiot, but rather that shrub is a sociopath.

"Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

Miller's judgment, that the president might suffer from a bona fide personality disorder, almost makes one long for the less menacing notion currently making the rounds: that the White House's current occupant is, in fact, simply an idiot.

For instance...
At a public address in Nashville, Tenn., in September, Bush provided one of his most memorable stumbles. Trying to give strength to his case that Saddam Hussein had already deceived the West concerning his store of weapons, Bush was scripted to offer an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. What came out was the following:

"Fool me once, shame ... shame on ... you." Long, uncomfortable pause. "Fool me — can't get fooled again!"

Played for laughs everywhere, Miller saw a darkness underlying the gaffe.

"There's an episode of Happy Days, where The Fonz has to say, `I'm sorry' and can't do it. Same thing," Miller said.

"What's revealing about this is that Bush could not say, `Shame on me' to save his life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude."

Now playing: Salted Peanuts (w Charlie Parker) by Gillespie, Dizzy

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Congaline of Arselickers

or something like that

From Hesiod, we read of a rough and tumble Australian Labor Party politician, who is close to becoming next President. Some choice quotes:
olitics because of his enthusiasm for straight talking and occasional violence, Mr Latham famously described Mr Howard as an 'arse-licker' for supporting the United States over the Iraq war and once branded US President George W. Bush as the most dangerous man in the world.

In another notorious parliamentary outburst, he labelled the ruling Liberal-National Party coalition 'a conga line of suckholes'.

He also once broke the arm of a Sydney taxi driver after an argument over the fare and the route. Mr Bachir Mustafa grabbed the politician's satchel, but Mr Latham, a former school rugby union player, crash-tackled the hapless cabbie, who has not worked since.

It is quite a pedigree, even by the rough and tumble of Australia's politics. And all the more remarkable that today, Mr Latham is being tipped to become the country's next prime minister.

Read rest of article


of course, the Celtics still suck

iPods are lucky charms for Celtics
The Boston Celtics have won six straight games after the NBA team's owners gave each player an Apple iPod engraved with his name and number, according to Fox Sports... [MacMinute]

Now playing: TNT, from the album Talkin' Verve- Roots of Acid Jazz by Jimmy Smith

Friday, March 12, 2004

Stairway to Gilligan

Stairway to Gilligan

Stairway to Gilligan

just to funny to pass up. Borrowed from Altercation

Song was published in the late 70s as a 45rpm single by the band "Little Roger and the Goosebumps". Backing tracks are similer to LED ZEP's "Stairway to heaven" but lyrics and vocal melody are from the theme song for the 60s television comedy "Gilligans Island" ("Gilligans Island" ran in the late sixties/early seventies. It told how the stereo-typical characters survived when they were shipwrecked on a desert island - were general stories of Gilligan "screwing-up and saving the day"

Also from the same page, some other Led Zeppelin oddities, here. Worth a quick glance.

Now playing: Lester Leaps Again, from the album Ultimate Lester Young by Young, Lester

Flip flops and he don't stops


Flipper? or Flop?

I wonder how long before shrub decides to drop this issue? or perhaps this is what he is hoping will get him elected to the white house for the first time?

Bush Assures Evangelicals of His Commitment to Amendment on Marriage
President Bush on Thursday forcefully restated his call for passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to enthusiastic rounds of applause. [New York Times: National]

Now playing: Dancing In The Dark, from the album April in Paris by Parker, Charlie

Thursday, March 11, 2004


Whitehouse bending facts?

How could this be? They are all such fine, upstanding citizens who would never not lie

From KnightRidder
The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan.

When the House of Representatives passed the controversial benefit by five votes last November, the White House was embracing an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that it would cost $395 billion in the first 10 years. But for months the administration's own analysts in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had concluded repeatedly that the drug benefit could cost upward of $100 billion more than that.

Five months before the November House vote, the government's chief Medicare actuary had estimated that a similar plan the Senate was considering would cost $551 billion over 10 years. Two months after Congress approved the new benefit, White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten disclosed that he expected it to cost $534 billion.

Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which produced the $551 billion estimate, told colleagues last June that he would be fired if he revealed numbers relating to the higher estimate to lawmakers

Now playing: The Lowlands of Holland, from the album BBC Sessions by Sandy Denny (released 1973)


Republican bullies

I doubt if I'm the first to mention this, but I'll join in the pile on. Republicans are in full froth-mode because of some honest remarks from J.Kerry (such as calling his critics in the Republican Party "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen.").

The Repuglies are the proverbial school-yard bully: they talk loud but say nothing, and if anyone stands up to their bluster, they run, crying foul.

Some Choice Rethug remarks have been collected here.
and don't forget this one

"We are trying to change the tones in the state capitols and turn them toward bitter nastiness and partisanship. ... Bipartisanship is just another name for date rape."
- Grover Norquist. / Molly Ivins (quote source - see Molly Ivins, related post, "How Many Fools...")


More Kerry, from the SFGate
Kerry dismissed their criticism of his remark as an effort to take attention away from Bush administration policies. "They can't talk about those things because George Bush doesn't have a record to run on, he has a record to run away from. And that's what they're trying to do," Kerry said.

In Chicago, Kerry told a supporter who had urged him to take on Bush: "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight. We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

Now playing: Holocaust, from the album StraightFace EP by Son Volt



An article looking at what...
An article looking at what Photoshop has wrought, notes Hippolyte Bayard's 1840 staging of a picture of himself as a drowned man, described as "the first known example of the use of photography for propaganda purposes, and also of a faked picture..." Plus: 2003 as 'The year of the fake.'[]

Now playing: foreign legion, from the album Memory is an Elephant by Tin Hat Trio (released 1999)

Spalding Gray

MSNBC - Altercation: "Spalding Gray even made his name on Sesame Street, in a way: one of the Monsterpiece Theatre segments parodies 'Monster in a Box.' (The skit is in some ways a retelling of a classic Kermit and Grover skit from the first season of the show.)
Spalding Monster starts on his box, then next to the box, then Alastair Cookie yells, 'You wrote this, and you don't know *in*? Spalding!' and proceeds to put him, forcibly, in the box."


I don't get it either

but it sounds like an art installation to me. Probably a video camera stationed across the street. Or at least, I would add one if it were my piece.

Phone Booth Offers Condoms for Sale (AP)
AP - A public telephone that mysteriously gives free local calls has been given an odd companion —a condom machine. [Yahoo Oddly enough]

The dispenser, charging 25 cents per condom, has been installed in a phone booth across the street from Penn State University's main campus.

"I'm just surprised," State College resident Stephanie Morgan said Monday. "There used to be a free phone here, but it didn't have condoms."

Nearby businesses said they did not know who installed the phone, which offers free local calls, or when the condom machine was installed. A representative from Verizon, which provides local and long-distance phone service in the area, told the Centre Daily Times of State College that it had no record of the phone.

A sticker on the condom machine simply reads: "Because this is a public establishment —and considering the AIDS crisis —management, by placing this condom-dispensing machine, is taking moral responsibility in providing its patrons with a lifesaving choice and is neither approving nor disapproving of any particular behavior."

Now playing: Tin Cans &Twine, from the album Tortoise by Tortoise (released 1994)


Solar Plexus

Well, it is so goddamn sunny there, seems like an easy thing to visualize. Oil is no longer the main cash crop of Texas (and it never was in Austin after all), so besides water trading, sun seems like a natural commodity to trade in

Ray of Light in Lone Star State
Austin, the capital of big-oil Texas, has hatched a daring -- some may say far-fetched -- plot to become a solar powerhouse. By Bruce Sterling from Wired magazine.

Now playing: Dirty World, from the album The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 by Traveling Wilburys


Oh Texas

Donated Bodies Used In Land Mine Tests
Tulane University has suspended its dealings with a distributor of donated bodies after finding out seven cadavers had been sold to the Army and blown up in Texas to test protective footwear against land mines. [New York Times: National]

Now playing: Alabama, from the album Live at Birdland by Coltrane, John (released 1964)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Why Shrub likes the Gropennator Gov

found on google, via several places this tidbit

David Letterman runs a clip of George W. Bush doing something very disturbing that they should show to everyone. During a commercial break Bush uses a woman's dress to clean his glasses (October 19th, 2000).

Vinnie Favale from CBS called in and [said] that the George W. Bush clip on Letterman was real. He said that he used the woman's sweater to clean his glasses. Vinnie works for Letterman so he would know if it's real or not...he thinks that Bush must have forgotten that there was an audience there or something. Vinnie said even if he was joking around it was still disturbing.

sort of blurry, but can still make out ole Shrub being a putz.

Now playing: Pale Blue Eyes, from the album The Velvet Underground by Velvet Underground (released 1969)



I don't believe that Microsloth's massive profits are justified, but than I am a pseudo-commie Mac user.....

WSJ's Lee Gomes

Do We Get Enough In Innovation for What We Give to Microsoft?

One can learn a lot about the computer industry by looking at the breakdown of manufacturing costs in an average desktop PC, as compiled by iSuppli Corp., a market-research firm. Excluding labor and shipping, and leaving out the costs of a monitor, keyboard or mouse, the typical desktop PC these days costs the Dells or the H-Ps of the world roughly $437 in parts.

The biggest portion of that -- 30%, or $134 -- goes to Intel for a Pentium processor. The disk drives, including whatever CD or DVD is installed, cost around $104; the RAM memory is $54; and the remaining hardware items -- power supply, case, circuit boards -- total $100.

The final 10%, or $45, goes to Microsoft for the Windows operating system.

Because these prices are never disclosed, the figures here represent best guesses. But you can start to see the contours of the computer industry in that bill of fare. Specifically, you begin to understand how Microsoft could amass its $61 billion in cash and other assets. It's easy when you collect nearly 10% of the cost of every PC that's shipped, while having no manufacturing costs of your own.

....That leaves Microsoft, and the question: What does the world get for the 10% Microsoft tax on every PC?

No one could ever say Microsoft is sitting idle. That was clear last week at a Research TechFest the company held at its Redmond, Wash., campus. Microsoft has an advanced research operation that employs about 600 people all over the world. These are some of the smartest people around, and they don't work on specific Microsoft products, but rather on long-range ideas, usually matching their own interests.

But is the innovation from Microsoft commensurate with the awesome resources it has been given? The average Microsoft customer probably wouldn't say so. Indeed, the advances the company lists for its new products all too often involve fixing shortcomings of earlier products, such as security and reliability in the case of its operating systems, and ease of use with its Office suite.

In fact, you can argue that genuine innovation is the last thing monopolists want, since it threatens to upset the very applecart that made them rich in the first place.

Now playing: Everything Goes To Hell, from the album Blood Money by Waits, Tom (released 2002)


More on the File Sharing Pseudo-suits

I say, the more hassle and court time these suits take up, the better. Make the legal costs outrageous! Double bill! Wring the RIAA bastards dry!! Viva la revolution!

As long as my crappy songs don't start making money, that is

From the Electronic Frontier FoundationCourt Orders Record Industry to File 203 Separate Lawsuits

EFF, the ACLU, and its local affiliates won a victory for the
privacy and due process rights of Internet users when a
Pennsylvania federal court ruled last week that the record
companies must file 203 separate lawsuits against alleged
filesharers rather than lump them together in a single case.

"We're glad the judge has recognized that the RIAA was trying
to skirt around the regular rules for lawsuits by grouping over
200 individuals as a gang of file sharers," said EFF Staff
Attorney Jason Schultz. "We think each individual who is being
sued has a right to have her own trial, and have her
own privacy interests evaluated independently of anyone else
who's being sued."

Judge Clarence Newcomer found in BMG Music v. Does 1-203 that
the record companies acted improperly in joining all 203
defendants in a single lawsuit and ordered them to file
separate complaints against each of the unnamed "John Doe"
defendants. The companies must now pay the full filing fee
for each case, for a total of about $30,000, as well as make
individualized allegations against each defendant.

For the complete case update:

Wired article on the ruling:,1412,62576,00.html

Now playing: San Diego Serenade, from the album The Heart Of Saturday Night by Waits, Tom (released 1974)

[Posted with ecto]

Texas, oh Texas

Too Drunk to Fuck

, err I mean drive.

Drunk dad asks 11-year-old son to drive (Reuters)
Reuters - A Texas man did the drinking and decided to let his 11-year-old son, who was
barely able to see over the steering wheel, do the driving, police said.

Police said on Wednesday they had arrested Robert Lee Crider on charges of child endangerment, public intoxication and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

Crider's son was pulled over by a Texas state trooper outside of the west Texas town of Big Spring in the predawn hours of Saturday after the officer saw the car speeding and weaving through traffic, said Sargeant Jason Hester, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Crider apparently was taking his son home for the weekend as a part of a custody arrangement with his ex-wife. Crider and a friend stopped off at a bar with the boy, and when the two adults became too drunk to drive, they handed the keys of the rental car over to the boy.

The boy was pulled over just as the group started on a trip of some 200 miles to Crider's home. They had passed several motels before they were stopped by the trooper, Hester said.

[Yahoo Oddly enough]

Now playing: No Christmas, from the album Hit Parade 2 by Wedding Present (released 1992)

All of your base

All of your base belong to us

found at Crooked Timber

YOKOHAMA —One of the hottest companies in Japan today doesn't produce cars, electronics or anything else. Its business is pure destruction, and by singing its praises the tiny Yokohama demolition firm has become dynamite.

Nihon Break Kogyo Co's company song smashed into the Oricon, one of the nation's most influential music charts, on Dec 29. It is the first time that a "shaka," or corporate anthem, has made the charts, according to Oricon Inc, a major Tokyo music information provider.

The anthem, "Nihon Break Kogyo Co, Shaka," was released Dec. 17 by Infinite Records. It was composed two years ago for business use and was nearly forgotten by the company, but it suddenly entered the nationwide spotlight when it was picked up by a TV program in late October. It immediately created a sensation, mostly among teenagers.

The song ranked 22nd in its debut on Oricon's weekly chart of the top 100 CD singles, just five notches under "No Way to Say" by Japanese diva Ayumi Hamasaki, and five notches above "Rock With You" by BoA, a teenage South Korean singer hugely popular in Japan.

The tune has already been made into ring tones for mobile phones and two major Japanese karaoke song distributors are set to add it to their song books in January.

Unlike the stiff, propaganda-like nature of regular Japanese corporate anthems, the up-tempo rock tune, written and performed by a Nihon Break Kogyo demolition worker, sounds like themes from old Japanese animated films featuring superheroes.

But the humorous lyrics reflect the pure corporate anthem spirit of promoting the company —"We will destroy houses! We will destroy bridges! We will destroy buildings! To the east, to the west —Run, Run, Nihon Break Kogyo!"

Japanese version:

Engrish version

Funny stuff, if you can get it to load....

Now playing: Theme From Shaft, from the album Hit Parade 2 by Wedding Present (released 1992)


Fishy fish, fish

Unwanted Fish to Be Put Up for Adoption (AP)
AP - Unwanted pet fish will be put up for adoption in Singapore next week in an attempt to spare them from being flushed down the toilet, a fish show organizer said Wednesday.

"Fish have their lives, and they have feelings too," said Carol Lian, an organizer of the Singapore International Fish Show.

Fish owners with second thoughts can put their finned friends up for up for adoption at the four-day show, which starts Friday, Lian said.

"It would be more humane to bring the fish up for adoption rather than flushing them down the toilet or flinging them into the drain," she said.

[Yahoo Oddly enough]

Now playing: Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets), from the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by Young, Neil (released 1969)


Smoking Juice

From the often amusing Smoking Gun Site:

Something tells us that O.J. Simpson is not losing sleep over being sued for pirating DirecTV satellite service. The Juice has been accused of a bit worse:


Now playing: Out On The Weekend, from the album Harvest by Young, Neil (released 1972)



I am a sucker for shareware: I buy more than I should, some which I end up hardly ever using. I bought a blogger posting tool, ecto, which actually is pretty nifty. Do I need it? no, but I probably will use it more now, and do want to encourage further development. Impulse buy, baby! Probably guilt for using hotline to find serial numbers, back in the poor starving student days

Now playing: World On A String, from the album Tonight's The Night by Young, Neil (released 1975)

More Hubble

Images Reveal Deepest Glance Into Universe
Astronomers using the Hubble telescope said they reached far enough out in space to be within "a stone's throw" of the Big Bang. [New York Times: National]

Now playing: Albuquerque, from the album Tonight's The Night by Young, Neil (released 1975)


Irony? or just reality?

I mean, just say no is not really a powerful enough mantra when you are 16 and alone in a room (or car) with some similarly hormone-riddled youngster. Yeeesh.

Study Finds That Teenage Virginity Pledges Are Rarely Kept
Teenagers who pledged not to have sex before marriage also developed sexually transmitted diseases at about the same rate as adolescents who had not made such pledges. [New York Times: National]

Now playing: Lookout Joe, from the album Tonight's The Night by Young, Neil (released 1975)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Yahoo adIn the middle of watching the Kings Warriors game, on my TiVo-less television, and if I see this stupid Yahoo ad one more time, I might have to pull my eyes out. Their agency must be proud (DDB?)

Now playing: Perdido, from the album Bird: Complete on Verve by Parker, Charlie (released 1949)

Bush the Wuss

From Kos

So Bush has a site somewhere that tracks Kerry's "flip-flops".

# Bush is against campaign finance reform; then he's for it.
# Bush is against a Homeland Security Department; then he's for it.
# Bush is against a 9/11 commission; then he's for it.
# Bush is against an Iraq WMD investigation; then he's for it.
# Bush is against nation building; then he's for it.
# Bush is against deficits; then he's for them.
# Bush is for free trade; then he's for tariffs on steel; then he's against them again.
# Bush is against the U.S. taking a role in the Israeli Palestinian conflict; then he pushes for a "road map" and a Palestinian State.
# Bush is for states right to decide on gay marriage, then he is for changing the constitution.
# Bush first says he'll provide money for first responders (fire, police, emergency), then he doesn't.
# Bush first says that 'help is on the way' to the military ... then he cuts benefits
# Bush-"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. Bush-"I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care.
# Bush claims to be in favor of the environment and then secretly starts drilling on Padre Island.
# Bush talks about helping education and increases mandates while cutting funding.
# Bush first says the U.S. won't negotiate with North Korea. Now he will
# Bush goes to Bob Jones University. Then say's he shouldn't have.
# Bush said he would demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq. Later Bush announced he would not call for a vote
# Bush said the "mission accomplished" banner was put up by the sailors. Bush later admits it was his advance team.
# Bush was for fingerprinting and photographing Mexicans who enter the US. Bush after meeting with Pres. Fox, he's against

Now playing: Ny Batteri, from the album Ágætis Byrjun by Sigur Rós (released 1999)

Texas news from all over

ok, just from the times

Three Texas Democrats Face Stiff Primary Challenges
Democratic Reps. Chris Bell, Lloyd Doggett and Ciro D. Rodriguez saw their constituent bases altered enough to produce serious opposition today. [New York Times: Politics]

Now playing: Hand of Doom, from the album Paranoid by Black Sabbath (released 1970)

Geek Tool

IntelliScanner Pro catalogs and tracks any asset
If you feel a burning need to keep track of everything in your house -- from computer equipment, CDs, and DVDs to furniture, jewelry, and even groceries -- Intelli Innovations Inc. has the solution for you: the IntelliScanner Pro, a USB barcode reader with the ability to scan any barcode and enter the data in the included Inventory software application, which can also print asset tags for items that don't have barcodes. [MacCentral]

Now playing: Son Seals - Going Back Home, from the album Alligator Records 20th Ann. Collection 2 by Alligator Records

from the Beeb

Now playing: Party at Ground Zero , from the album Fishbone by Fishbone (released 1985)

David Falk

David Falk

From the often amusing Peter Vescey, is this slam of former super agent David Flack Falk

DON'T be led astray by repeated suggestions (courtesy of the Daily News) that Dikembe Mutombo is in danger of being deported this season. "People must really think I'm stupid," Isiah Thomas snarls. "If we reach the playoffs, I'm well aware his defensive presence and experience can make a difference in winning one or two more games depending on how far we go."

Curiously, the News has exhumed David Falk and furnished him with a platform to spew indiscriminately at Thomas. Damn, once Michael Jordan left the league, we all figured Falk was out of the business of giving people the business.

Over the years, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Adrian Dantley, James Worthy, Al Wood, Mitch Kupchak and many other astute players dumped the cancer-causing agent like toxic waste for various reasons, some of 'em downright nefarious.

Unfortunately, confidentiality agreements between certain players and Falk ("I'd love to tell you what happened but it'd cost me," one of the former stars told me a while back) prohibit us from delving too deeply into his dark secrets.

At any rate, Falk recently accused Thomas of being disrespectful, vindictive and not nice for failing to inform him beforehand of Keith Van Horn's trade (which prevented him from leaking the news to media pets) to Milwaukee.

First of all, Falk has never earned Thomas' respect, only his wary vigilance.

Falk has never forgiven Thomas for providing the impetus years ago (as president of the Players Association) to lower an agent's fee for negotiating a contract with a team from 10 percent to a max of 4. As many millions as he's pocketed, he's been trying to get even ever since, regardless of how low he has to go; killing Thomas in print, behind his back, to players, TV and league executives, owners, whatever his smarmy scruples can conjure up.

Here's a transparent example of what a reptile we're dealing with: When the Pacers were thinking about hiring Thomas as coach, Falk tried to submarine him early and often to management and prime client Jalen Rose.

The only thing that really matters concerning Van Horn, I submit, is that Thomas showed him the utmost respect. Forty-eight hours before the trade was consummated, Thomas alerted him via phone (Keith's family was vacationing at Disney World during the All-Star break) concerning what was on the table. When the deal was struck, Van Horn was the first to be enlightened.

Falk's Mutombo Jumbo is equally egotistical and inane:

As much as the oddball agent would love Dikembe's demotion to be more about him than the prehistoric center slowing down to a glacial gait, it's not. As much as Falk craves to come out of the shadows and interject himself into Thomas' spotlight, he can't. As much as he longs to think he's as much as a dot of Thomas' daily thought process, he's mistaken. As much as he'd like to pick a public fight, well, he might get that if he pushes his luck.

I find it amusing Falk claims his feud with Thomas has something to do with Mutombo losing his starting job (before going on IR) and losing minutes. Meanwhile, Falk didn't say spit when the Nets paid his client $27 million to leave two seasons early.

Now playing: Thank You/Death Valley 69 , from the album The Day Andy Gibb Died by Flaming Lips (released 2001)



One File Swapper, One Lawsuit
The music industry cannot file one lawsuit against 200 alleged file swappers, says a federal judge in Philadelphia. Instead, the Recording Industry Association of America will have to sue each individually. By Katie Dean. [Wired News]

The Recording Industry Association of America grouped 203 so-called "John Doe" defendants -- "John Doe" because their identities are not yet known -- into one lawsuit when it sued them in federal court in Philadelphia last month. All of those sued use Comcast as their Internet service provider.

Since a federal court barred the RIAA from using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to subpoena names of suspected copyright infringers in December, the recording industry has resorted to the "John Doe" method. The RIAA now must identify alleged file swappers by their Internet Protocol addresses, but does not know the individuals' names.

On Friday, Judge Clarence Newcomer authorized a subpoena in the case of John Doe No. 1, because the RIAA had submitted a detailed case against the individual. But the judge ordered the music industry to file separate suits against the remaining 202 alleged infringers.

Each of the lawsuits will be doled out to judges in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the RIAA will have to make separate requests to seek the identity of each alleged file sharer.

"We're glad the judge has recognized that the RIAA was trying to skirt around the regular rules for lawsuits by grouping over 200 individuals as a gang of file sharers," said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the case. "We think each individual who is being sued has a right to have their own trial and have their own privacy interests evaluated independently of anyone else who's being sued."

Schultz said that the order ensures that the judges assess the strength of the RIAA's case for each person.

The music trade group must pay court fees for each of these cases. Filing each lawsuit will cost $150 in court fees, for a total of over $30,000, according to the EFF.

The RIAA would not say what it plans to do.

"We are weighing our options," said RIAA spokeswoman Amanda Collins. She declined to elaborate.

One intellectual property attorney agreed with the judge's orders.

"It's not enough to say that each act of the defendant was an act of copyright infringement," said Scott Hervey, an attorney with Weintraub Genshlea Chediak Sproul. "That doesn't give the recording industry the right to sue them all as one big clump."

"I think the judge's ruling was procedurally correct."

Kiti Kiti from the album African by King Sunny Ade

Monday, March 08, 2004

Spalding Gray R.I.P.Actor Spalding Gray found dead
Dental records confirm a body found in a New York City river is that of missing US actor Spalding Gray. [BBC News]

She's My Best Friend from the album VU by Velvet Underground

Kerry v. Bushfrom the Guardian
On Sunday, Kerry accused Bush of ``stonewalling'' separate inquiries into the events leading up to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as into the intelligence that suggested Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Bush campaign contends the president is cooperating with investigators.

Later Monday, the president was headlining another fund-raiser in Houston, with the two events pouring $3 million into his campaign account the day before Texas holds its presidential primary. Kerry campaigned in Houston on Saturday.

In between the money events, Bush was to stop by the popular Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to meet with cowboy champions and peruse the cattle on display. Despite the political benefits of Bush's attendance - it offered a more colorful photo opportunity than the two fund-raisers and allowed him to appeal to the sport's mostly white male fans - the White House considered it an official event. That means taxpayers will foot the bill for at least part of the trip.

``The visit to the livestock show is part of the president's official capacity,'' White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

Kerry, who has accused Bush of impeding a federal commission investigating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said Monday while campaigning in Florida, ``If the president of the United States can find time to go to a rodeo, he can spend more than one hour before the commission.'

Tax Man from the album Revolver by Beatles (released 1966)

Kerry v. Bushfrom the Guardian
On Sunday, Kerry accused Bush of ``stonewalling'' separate inquiries into the events leading up to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as into the intelligence that suggested Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Bush campaign contends the president is cooperating with investigators.

Later Monday, the president was headlining another fund-raiser in Houston, with the two events pouring $3 million into his campaign account the day before Texas holds its presidential primary. Kerry campaigned in Houston on Saturday.

In between the money events, Bush was to stop by the popular Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to meet with cowboy champions and peruse the cattle on display. Despite the political benefits of Bush's attendance - it offered a more colorful photo opportunity than the two fund-raisers and allowed him to appeal to the sport's mostly white male fans - the White House considered it an official event. That means taxpayers will foot the bill for at least part of the trip.

``The visit to the livestock show is part of the president's official capacity,'' White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

Kerry, who has accused Bush of impeding a federal commission investigating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said Monday while campaigning in Florida, ``If the president of the United States can find time to go to a rodeo, he can spend more than one hour before the commission.'
Beatles (released 1966)

NBA season rankingsper Mark Stein comes this tidbit for a Kings fan "A 4-11 slide edges Clips ever closer to their 11th straight losing season. The record is 15 if you're curious: Sacramento from 1983-98." ESPN PowerrankingYour Maher Should Know from the album Magical Mystery Tour by Beatles (released 1967)

and I know, it's not really Maher, it's Mother, but I changed it in the Napster years, and haven't changed it back....

KerryFrom Corrente:
"I am convinced that we have the ability to win this race," he said. "It's going to be hard fought, they're going to do everything possible to tear down my character personally (and) Teresa. That's the way they operate."

Kerry cited how Republicans turned on one of their own in 2000, when Arizona Sen. John McCain, another decorated Vietnam War veteran who survived six years as a prisoner of war, ran against Bush for the party's nomination.

"They even tried to challenge John McCain's tenure as a prisoner for six years ... they tried to besmirch his character, so I expect everything [corrente / Leah, Lambert, Tresy & the Farmer]

ReutersFlying from the album Magical Mystery Tour by Beatles (released 1967)

Bush v. Kerry, the real dealThe Associated Press

ASPEN, Colo. - Some left-leaning political humorists may be secretly hoping President Bush -- whom they love to make fun of -- is re-elected, but they say plenty of Demo- crats are good for a laugh, too.

Bush, whose tough-guy swagger and linguistic miscues have provided plenty of fodder, is the "gold standard" for the business, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau said. "I'd be crushed if he lost," he said Saturday during a panel discussion at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

But good material abounds, panelists said.

"John Kerry is so stiff," Time magazine's White House correspondent Matthew Cooper said during a seminar called Who's Funnier -- the Left or the Right? "You sort of see him sitting at home with a powdered wig watching C-SPAN. For John Kerry, being rebellious is having red wine with fish."

Comedy has become increasingly important for politicians. A survey by the Pew Research Center in January found that 21 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 regularly learn something about the presidential campaign or the candidates from TV comedy shows.

Starman from the album The Best Of David Bowie by Bowie, David (released 1971)

Audible MagicA Software Aimed at Taming File-Sharing
A company named Audible Magic says its software can spot copyrighted materials while they are being passed from computer to computer and block the transfer. [New York Times: Technology]

Morning Morning from the album The Fugs Second Album by Fugs (released 1969)

Sunday, March 07, 2004

SmokingIt must be a sign of age, but I have come to hate the smell of stale bar smoke. Went with some friends to play pool, and the first place we tried was full of smoke. We were there maybe 5 minutes before leaving and going to a better venue, however the smell lingered until the next morning. Bleh.

Paranoid ( live with Randy Rhoads ) from the album The Ozzman Cometh by Ozzy Osbourne (released 1987)

HobbitRights issue 'delays Hobbit film'
Peter Jackson says he cannot direct The Hobbit until two movie firms resolve legal problems. [BBC News]

Jackson said that while New Line Cinema owns the rights to make the Lord of the Rings prequel, MGM has the rights to distribute it.

"Their lawyers are going to have a huge amount of fun over the next few years trying to work it all out," he said.

Jackson is currently remaking monster film King Kong, due out in 2005.

Laguna Sunrise from the album Vol. 4 by Black Sabbath (released 1973)

Saturday, March 06, 2004

More testsThis is actually not a bad program for posting, just a little steep in price....Yerakina from the album Authentic Greek Folk Songs and Dances by Royal Greek Festival Company

Traditional marriage?Here's a level-headed letter from the Los Angeles: ...
Here's a level-headed letter from the Los Angeles:

Bush warned me that gay people in San Francisco were getting married to each other and that, as a result, my traditional marriage is now threatened. But I just checked with my wife of 25 years and she told me our marriage is still doing just fine. Is it possible my president is misinformed? Misguided? Mistaken?

Art Verity

Van Nuys

-- via LA Times
[corrente / Leah, Lambert, Tresy & the Farmer]

Test of Eccoas a blog tool

[Posted with ecto]

Friday, March 05, 2004

Drug war bs

Guard To Punish Soldiers For Drug UseGuard To Punish Soldiers For Drug Use

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Some Iowa soldiers face trouble when they return home from Iraq.

The Iowa National Guard will punish 21 troops who were sent to fight in the war after they failed drug tests.

The Des Moines Register reported the Guard will take preliminary steps to discharge the soldiers "other than honorably."

Under regular circumstances, offending soldiers who are deemed by their commanders to be too valuable to let go may qualify for probation but must undergo professional treatment.

Some of the soldiers flunked the tests in hopes of staying home. A few, however, tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamines -- drugs not associated with one-time users.

The troops were neither discharged nor put through rehab because deployment schedules didn't allow for it."

Yikes! So, I guess the point of the drug test is to determine if you are competent to perform your job. or something.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Stern & Clear Channel

Howard Stern"The passion of Howard Stern"
The shock jock says radio colossus Clear Channel fired him because he criticized George Bush -- and he's sure as hell not going to go quietly.

From the moment last week when Clear Channel Communications suspended Howard Stern's syndicated morning show from the company's radio stations, denouncing it as "vulgar, offensive and insulting," speculation erupted that the move had more to do with Stern's politics than his raunchy shock-jock shtick.

Stern's loyal listeners, Clear Channel foes and many Bush administration critics immediately reached the same conclusion: The notorious jock was yanked off the air because he had recently begun trashing Bush, and Bush-friendly Clear Channel used the guise of "indecency" to shut him up. That the content of Stern's crude show hadn't suddenly changed, but his stance on Bush had, gave the theory more heft. That, plus his being pulled off the air in key electoral swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.

This week, Stern himself went on the warpath, weaving in among his familiar monologues about breasts and porn actresses accusations that Texas-based Clear Channel -- whose Republican CEO, Lowry Mays, is extremely close to both George W. Bush and Bush's father -- canned him because he deviated from the company's pro-Bush line. "I gotta tell you something," Stern told his listeners. "There's a lot of people saying that the second that I started saying, 'I think we gotta get Bush out of the presidency,' that's when Clear Channel banged my ass outta here. Then I find out that Clear Channel is such a big contributor to President Bush, and in bed with the whole Bush administration, I'm going, 'Maybe that's why I was thrown off: because I don't like the way the country is leaning too much to the religious right.' And then, bam! Let's get rid of Stern. I used to think, 'Oh, I can't believe that.' But that's it! That's what's going on here! I know it! I know it!"

Stern's been relentless all week, detailing the close ties between Clear Channel executives and the Bush administration, and insisting that political speech, not indecency, got him in trouble with the San Antonio broadcasting giant. If he hadn't turned against Bush, Stern told his listeners, he'd still be heard on Clear Channel stations.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Bad writing a crime

Judge Finds a Typo-Prone Lawyer Guilty of Bad Writing
A federal judge in Philadelphia, in prose suggesting barely suppressed chortles, reduced a lawyer's request for fees last month because his filings were infested with errors. [New York Times: National]

Electoral college

from Barrons, via The Big Picture

Lifestyles of the exes of the somewhat famous

get a load of this document just filed in Lionel Richie's divorce case. The singer's estranged wife wants $300,000 in monthly support payment so that she can maintain her extravagant Beverly Hills lifestyle. Diane Richie, you see, needs the dough for such monthly expenses as clothing ($15,000), laser hair removal ($1000), massages ($600), and vitamins ($500). Then there's the 20 grand in annual plastic surgery bills. And, of course, someone has to pay for the nine full-time staff members at the $40 million 90210 mansion. Not to mention the other workers who "maintain our plants, detail our cars, care for our pool, groom our dog, maintain our aquarium, and a painter for regular touch ups on the house." You get the picture:

more documents

Armaic guide

What's popcorn in Aramaic?

Its alleged anti-semitism isn't the only problem with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. There's also the small matter of it being in Aramaic. To help enrich your enjoyment, here is a handy glossary of useful terms

Compiled by Tim Dowling of The Guardian

The Passion of the Christ: drawing fire and crowds

B-kheeruut re'yaaneyh laa kaaley tsuuraathaa khteepaathaa, ellaa Zaynaa Mqatlaanaa Trayaanaa laytaw!
It may be uncompromising in its liberal use of graphic violence, but Lethal Weapon II it ain't.

Da'ek teleyfoon methta'naanaak, pquud. Guudaapaw!
Please turn off your mobile phone. It is blasphemous.

Shbuuq shuukhaaraa deel. Man ethnaggad udamshaa?
Sorry I'm late. Have I missed any scourging?

Aykaa beyt tadkeetha? Zaadeq lee d-asheeg eeday men perdey devshaanaayey haaleyn!
Where is the loo? I need to wash my hands of this popcorn.

Een, Yuudaayaa naa, ellaa b-haw yawmaa laa hweeth ba-mdeetaa.
Yes, I'm Jewish, but I wasn't there that day.

Demketh! Udamaa lemath mtaynan b-tash'eetha d-khashey?
I fell asleep! What station of the cross are we up to?

Ma'hed lee qalleel d-Khayey d-Breeyaan, ellaa dlaa gukhkaa.
It sort of reminds me of Life of Brian, but it's nowhere near as funny.

Ktaabaa taab hwaa
It's not as good as the book.

Puuee men Preeshey, puuee!
Boo, Pharisees! Boo!

Etheeth l-khubeh 'almeenaayaa d-Maaran Yeshu Msheekhaa, ella faasheth metool Moneeqaa Belluushee!
I came for the everlasting love of our Lord Jesus Christ, but I stayed for Monica Bellucci.

Aamar naa laak dlaa yaada' naa haw gavraa. B-aynaa feelmaa hwaa?
I tell you I do not know the man. What's he been in?

Feelmaa haanaa tpeelaw! Proo' lee ksef dmaa!
This film is terrible. I want my blood-money back.

D-tetbuun deyn men yameen u-men semaal, la hwaat deel l-metal, ellaa l-ayleyn da-mtaybaa.
To sit at my right or my left is not for me to grant; it is for those to whom it has already been assigned.

Saabar naa da-mhaymen beh, ellaa la haymneth b-haw meemsaa d-beh.
I suppose I believe in Him, but I didn't believe him in it.

Saggee shapeer! Laa tsaabey naa d-esakkey l-mapaqtaa trayaanaaytaa.
Brilliant! I can't wait for the sequel (second coming).

Eeth lee 'ayney, ellaa layt lee d-ekhzey la-kteebaataa takhtaayaataa. Neqruuv leh?
I have eyes but I cannot see the subtitles. Can we sit closer?

Ayleyn enuun Oorqey?
Which ones are the Orcs?

Laa, haw Shem'uun Qooreenaayaa eethaw! Ezdar!
No, that's Simon of Cyrene! Pay attention!

Waay! Haw 'aalmeenaayaa hwaa!
Well, that was eternal.

Lebba deel daaleq, ellaa teezaa deel daamek.
My heart is on fire, but my bum is asleep.

Enaa mqatreg naa l-Ruumaayey.
I blame the Romans.

Tev attuun men qdaamaa!
Down in front!

B-zabnaa d-qeenduunos, tayyeb lkuun uurkhaa d-mapaqtaa.
In case of emergency, prepare ye the way of the exit.

Laa baakey naa-eeth gelaa b-'ayna deel.
I'm not crying; I've just got a mote in my eye.

Spreet mets'aayaa deelaak huu. [Or, if addressed to a woman, Spreet mets'aayaa deelek huu!]
Thine is the medium Sprite.

Peletaa kuullaah da-Qraabay Kawkbey.
It's all an allegory of Star Wars.

Shluukh kleelaa d-kuubayk, pquud. Laa meshkakh naa d-ekhzey l-ketaan tsuur- aathaa.
Could you take off your crown of thorns, please? I can't see the screen.

Baseem, ellaa saabar naa d-etstebeeth yateer b-Lebeh d-Gabaaraa!
Not bad, but I think I preferred Braveheart.

Court Overturns Ban on Posting DVD Descrambling Code, Finds Free-Speech Violation

* Court Overturns Ban on Posting DVD Descrambling Code, Finds
Free-Speech Violation

No Evidence DeCSS Was a Trade Secret When Bunner Published

San Jose, CA - A California appeals court on Friday overturned as
unconstitutional a 1999 trade secret injunction against Andrew
Bunner that prohibited him from distributing the DeCSS DVD
decryption computer code. The court found there was no evidence
that the Content Scrambling System (CSS) encryption technology
used in DVD movie disks was still a trade secret by the time
that Bunner posted DeCSS code on his website. The Court
therefore held that the injunction violated Bunner's
constitutional free-speech rights.

"We are thrilled that the Appeal Court recognized that the
injunction restricting Andrew Bunner's freedom of speech was
not justified," said EFF Staff Attorney Gwen Hinze. "The
Court's ruling that there was no evidence that CSS was
still a trade secret when Bunner posted DeCSS vindicates
what we have said all along: DeCSS has been available on
thousands of websites around the world for many years."

"This long-delayed but gratifying victory sends a strong
message to those who would try to misuse intellectual property
laws and corporate power to stifle free speech on the Internet,"
said Richard Wiebe, a San Francisco attorney who represents
Bunner along with EFF. "The Court of Appeal correctly
recognized the obvious conclusion that information that is
in the public domain and that has been republished for
years around the world can't be a trade secret."

For the full media release:
click here

Neil Young

"The Reinvention of Neil Young, Part 6

The folk-country-grunge dinosaur is reborn (again) as an Internet-friendly, biodiesel-driven, multimedia machine.

By Ted Greenwald

Neil Young flips genres so often that his record company once sued him for failing to release "Neil Young music." He experimented with orchestral accompaniment in the '60s and techno in the '80s. But the folk-country-grunge rocker's latest project makes those early forays look like adolescent angst. The 58-year-old has transformed the songs on his latest album, Greendale, into an opera that plays in every medium but PowerPoint (so far): There's a CD and bonus DVD; a live concert tour, which boasts three stages filled with 30 lip-synching actors; a Web site that streams every song on the album; and finally, a movie opening in Los Angeles February 27. Taken together, they tell the Faulkneresque tale of a fictional rural California family, the Greens, who get caught up in a media frenzy. Given Young's penchant for simple statements, Greendale's scope may seem like overkill. But that might be just what it takes for an aging rocker to survive in the MP3 era.

WIRED: You're a music legend. Why be a director and an Internet entrepreneur, too?
YOUNG: I don't have mainstream radio to count on anymore - they won't play my stuff. The Internet is the new radio. To tell the stories I want to tell, I have to use everything that's available and use it all at once. I have to go through a lot to make sure people won't perceive it as just a Neil Young record, because everybody thinks they know what that is. The challenge is to remind them that they have no idea what the hell that is.

In the CD's liner notes, you write that you'll be "corrected on the Internet" if you flub some detail telling the Greendale story on stage. Sounds like the Net is a pain in your ass.
When I play a new song in concert, it's immediately uploaded. Everyone has heard it before I put the record out. For a while, that was a negative thing for me. But with Greendale, I started using it deliberately.

How do you mean?
During the acoustic tour in Europe, when I performed the show that's on the bonus DVD, I was aware that everything I said would be recorded, transcribed, and circulated. So every night I dumped in different information about different parts of Greendale. If you say something in one town, and the next night you add a little more, the Internet brings together these separate occasions. It makes you look at things as not being separate.

Don't you want to control the use of your material?
I can't control what people do. I don't want to. If they want to sell my music to someone else or send it to their friends, they can just as easily tape it off the radio as the Net. MP3 quality sucks. If they want quality, they can purchase a DVD-A.

Fans were baffled by your last film, Human Highway. It's a fair bet that moviegoers will find Greendale just as puzzling. Is the multimedia blitz a way of filling in the movie's gaps?
Yeah, there are many ways of getting information about this story. One of the key elements is the Net. Go to the Web site to trace the family's history and see why people are the way they are. Look at Earl Green's artwork in the gallery, follow the events in the story on a map of the town.

How involved were you in putting together the Web site?

Did you code the HTML?
No, but I give directions about what ought to be there, where it shows up, how it's introduced, how hard it is to find, how it unfolds.

The movie has a distinctive look. "Real life" has texture, but the world presented by the media is hard-edged and sharply defined.
We shot in Super 8 and blew it up to 35 millimeter. That Super 8 grain looks like my music sounds. When you blow it up, it's like a magnifying glass that's not clear, or a looking glass that's distorted. There's something mystical about it. The mainstream media [within the movie] uses state-of-the-art video. That can be scary as hell because suddenly you can really see everything.

For a multimedia project it's pretty ambivalent about media. Print is relatively benign; electronic media is sinister. Television reporters hound Grandpa Green literally to death.
Grandpa trusts the newspaper, and he likes to start off the day holding something in his hands that he can read. But he's lost. A lot of what he reads about - the Patriot Act and all this stuff - he doesn't understand. Also, he's been told by the government that terrorists are communicating on the Internet. The whole problem of dealing with terrorism and corruption, tracking it with all this media and communications, is too much for Grandpa.

Where do you stand on all this?
I'm in the middle. There's not a big opinion coming out of Greendale. There's no conclusion. Just a bunch of people going through something.

You sing that Grandpa died fighting for "freedom of silence." What does that mean?
Today entertainment and news are being blended together so you can't tell the difference. You'll have a shot of Saddam being pulled out of his hole, followed by some country singer's new record on CNN's Music Room. In Greendale, the family suffers a personal tragedy when Jed kills a policeman. After that, the Greens are a human interest story. The media wants to know how it feels to have a cop killer in the family. Why is it OK to ask that question? The TV guys think everybody has a right to know, but the fact is, nobody has a right to know anything other than whether Jed is guilty or innocent.

But Grandpa's teenage granddaughter, Sun Green, sees the media differently.
Sun has taught me how to use the media to do something positive. One of my pet projects is to run the next Greendale tour on biodiesel. It gives off 80 percent less emissions. I'll drive the hugest SUV and 90 percent of the people who are yelling at me will be polluting more than I am. We'll show everyone that we can move in this capitalist system, deliver the goods, and not pollute. If we travel with a giant thermos-bottle truck with biofuel written on the side, the TV people will come. Then I'll be able to prostitute myself for something positive, instead of just selling a record."

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Search warrant

A judge agreed Monday to reconsider whether to suppress evidence from an airport search that resulted in marijuana possession charges against pro basketball player Damon Stoudamire.


Pima County Justice Court Judge Paul Simon also said a trial date would be set.

Simon took the issue under advisement after attorneys for Stoudamire introduced information indicating that the search of a small tinfoil-wrapped package in Stoudamire's possession was not a screening process but a police investigation.

As such, a search warrant was needed to open the package, they said.

Stoudamire, who plays for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, was arrested July 3 at Tucson International Airport after he set off a metal detector and authorities opened the package, which contained marijuana.

Stoudamire was about to board a plane to New Orleans.

In October, Simon denied a motion filed by defense attorneys Steve Houze and Michael Piccarreta challenging the constitutionality of a warrantless search. Simon refused to suppress the evidence, ruling that it was an airport screening situation.

Defense attorneys hope that getting the evidence tossed would result in charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia being dismissed. Stoudamire had pleaded innocent.

At a hearing Monday, they presented a statement from a federal Transportation Security Administration supervisor in Tucson who said it was the agency's policy whenever intercepting possible contraband to turn it over to law enforcement officers for appropriate action.

"We said it wasn't a simple screening of Stoudamire's package," Piccarreta said. "The screening was over. This was a law enforcement investigation and they were required to have a warrant."

Deputy Pima County Attorney Elizabeth Hurley told Simon there was no reason to reconsider his decision. She contended that although it spilled over into law enforcement, the search was still part of the overall security process and therefore a search warrant was not needed at the airport.

Simon did not set a date for ruling on whether to grant or deny Stoudamire's motion. But he said that when he does he also will set a trial date.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Gay Marriage

Good catch via Atrios from the Kalamazoo Gazette

"Modern society's blithe acceptance of Sunday as a good day to visit the mall leads him to a larger point -- that devout Christians already have adjusted Biblical teachings to fit their needs, which should allow some slack on the issue of homosexuality.

He offers quotes from the Bible to support his point that the Scripture is even more condemning of divorce than homosexuality. Yet divorced and remarried couples are now welcomed at even fundamentalist churches, he said. Likewise, he said, many denominations, including Christian Reformed, have moved beyond the Biblical teaching against women speaking in church.

While he supports the new role of women in the church and greater acceptance of divorce, he said, it shows how "we Christians have decided that parts of the Bible don't apply to us anymore."

"So if we can put aside the teachings on women, on divorce, on the Sabbath -- and those are all things that we choose -- then why not on homosexuality, when we don't choose our sexual orientation?" Wenke said.

"Why can't we be as kind and generous in interpreting the Bible for homosexuals as we are for ourselves?"

iPod diagnostic tests

To access that screen, reset the mini by pressing and holding Menu and the Select button for about six seconds. When you see the Apple logo, press and hold Previous and the Select button until you see a reversed Apple log. Let go and you'll see these entries:

5 In 1 = performs a series of tests including checking the backlight, memory, and USB ports.

RESET = resets the iPod. This is one way to exit the Diagnostic screen.

KEY = you press the keys, it tells you if they work.

CHGRCUR = I'm guessing on this one. Seems to allow you to turn on and off charging methods.

REMOTE = allows you to test the buttons on the remote control.

HP STAT = indicates if something is plugged into the headphone jack and the state of the hold switch.

SLEEP = puts the mini to sleep.

BATT A2D = checks the mini's power supply and (maybe?) indicates the amount of charge in the battery.

A2D STAT = battery and power supply related.

FIREWIRE = checks FireWire chip.

HARD R/W = read and write hard drive test. Reads HDD pass if all goes well.

SMRT DAT = another hard drive test. Reads RETRACTS 4 REALLOCS 0 PENDING 0.

SMRT SCAN = appears to be akin to a regular iPod's Disk Scan test. This takes several minutes so don't perform this test unless the mini is plugged into a power source.

DRV TEMP = displays drive temperature.

DISKMODE = throws the mini into Disk Mode.

WHEEL = run your thumb around the wheel and watch the values change.

CONTRAST = runs contrast test. My Diagnostic screen was really light. Running this test made it much darker and more legible. Proceed through the screens by pressing the Play button.

AUDIO = displays audio gain. Can move up as high as 127 by pressing Forward button. Default is 120.

STATUS = tells you what's plugged into your mini -- whether it's being charged via FireWire and has something plugged into the headphone port, for example.

To move from test to test, use the Previous and Forward buttons. To initiate a test, press the Select button. To exit tests when they're completed, press the Play button.

Safari Google search

from MacOSX hints I'm not sure if this has been posted before, but a quick search didn't turn up any matches, so here's the hint...

If you select some text in Safari and then press Command-Shift-L, Safari will open a new tab (or window, depending on if tabs are enabled in your preferences) with the Google search results for your selected text.