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.

Friday, April 30, 2004

E.P.A. Will Not Withdraw Its Mercury Plan
Rebuffing pressure from Democrats and environmental groups, the E.P.A. said that it would not withdraw its plan for regulating mercury from coal-fired power plants. [New York Times: National]

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Newberry Library

posted without comment

is this press release from the Newberry

CHICAGO, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The freedom to express one's beliefs is a right, not a privilege, and Americans of all viewpoints invoke the first amendment with relentless fervor. But written law, like speech, is subject to interpretation. How has this freedom, particularly in Chicago, been shaped by prevailing attitudes, power structures, class, and gender? How is this inalienable right professed and obstructed today?

From October 1, 2004, through January 15, 2005, Chicago's Newberry Library presents Outspoken: Chicago's Free Speech Tradition, an exhibit about the principles that unite Americans and the conflicts that divide them. From the antislavery groups of the 1840s to the gay pride celebrations of the 1970s, from the 1968 Democratic Convention to the recent protests against the war in Iraq, Chicago has been a vibrant center for free speech and activism. Co-curated by the Newberry Library and the Chicago Historical Society, the exhibit draws on the institutions' powerful historical collections to reveal the city's fascinating evolution of political, cultural, and artistic dissent.

Come see how Chicago leads or mirrors a nation continually struggling with one of its most profound freedoms.

Outspoken: Chicago's Free Speech Tradition will feature nearly 150 historical objects, including artifacts, photographs, letters, magazines,
newspapers, and ephemera. Highlights include:
-- Slave manacles and an advertisement for the Underground Railroad in
the Western Citizen, 1844
-- A billy club and an execution document from the 1886 Haymarket Affair
-- Flyers for an anti-war dance at the Dill Pickle Club and an anti-Red
mass meeting at the Press Club
-- Police riot helmet worn during the 1968 West Side Riots and the
Democratic National Convention
-- Gay marriage protest materials

Outspoken: Chicago's Free Speech Tradition is free and open to the public at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago. The exhibit is made
possible in part with major funding by The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Newberry Library is an independent humanities library that is free and open to the public The Library offers a wide array of exhibits, lectures,
classes, and concerts related to its collections.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Tom Bihn

Laundry label calling president an "idiot" a hit (Reuters)
Reuters - Insulting a president can be profitable, a Washington state bag maker has discovered, but it is best if the insult is written in French and tucked away on a tiny laundry label. [Yahoo Oddly enough]

well, it worked for me because I was looking for a new laptop bag anyway....

Labels on most of the backpacks, messenger and laptop bags made and sold by Tom Bihn have his company's contact information along with washing instructions in English and French along with a message reading: "Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas vote pour lui."

The translation reads: "We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We did not vote for him."

Tom Bihn, who designs and makes bags for his eponymous company of 10 employees in Port Angeles, a seaside city 60 miles northwest of Seattle, claims he has no idea how the phrase got onto the label, but credits it with doubling bag sales.

"We don't know how it got there," Bihn said in a dead-pan manner.

site blather

Messed with my sitemeter thingy at the bottom of this page, and added a tracker to my Haymarket Square memorial page, if you find the site meter thingy really obnoxious (I am leaning that way), email me or leave a comment. Or ignore me, whatever.

And to continue the mercury retrograde weirdness (where old friends resurface), not only did Eliza Esquivel contact me, but so did Christy Graybill ne' Ingram. Coolio.

Now playing in iTunes: Lucille, from the album Lucille by BB King (released 1968)

Matthew Hale, racist

From the Chi-Trib's John Kass

When notorious racist Matthew Hale was convicted in federal court this week of trying to have a federal judge killed in Chicago, some of his sympathizers decided to put pressure on the government's key witness, Tony Evola.

Evola testified that Hale had given his assent to having U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow killed. In retribution, Evola's address and phone number were put on white supremacist Web pages, where the emotionally diseased can find it.

But the Hale lovers made a mistake.

They put the wrong Evola on the Internet.

...Joe said. "We got a bunch of calls. We talked to the FBI. Now the police are out front of the house.

"We don't want to be associated with these people. My dad even stayed home from work today; the whole family is upset. I called one person who runs one of these Web sites, and he laughed at me."

The FBI's Chicago office did confirm that white supremacists put the wrong Evolas on the Web.

"We're investigating," said FBI spokesman Ross Rice. "If anyone were to make interstate harassing or threatening telephone calls, that would be a violation that we would vigorously pursue. The Evola family you talked to have been mistakenly targeted by these white supremacists."

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Big Brother

from Yahoo
groovy, eh?

thanks to Hesiod

People in black trench coats might soon be chasing blogs.

Blogs, short for Web logs, are personal online journals. Individuals post them on Web sites to report or comment on news especially, but also on their personal lives or most any subject.

Some blogs are whimsical and deal with "soft" subjects. Others, though, are cutting edge in delivering information and opinion.

As a result, some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what's reported in some blogs is questionable.

Still, a panel of folks who work in the U.S. intelligence field - some of them spies or former spies - discussed this month at a conference in Washington the idea of tracking blogs.

"News and intelligence is about listening with a critical ear, and blogs are just another conversation to listen to and evaluate. They also are closer to (some situations) and may serve as early alerts," said Jock Gill, a former adviser on Internet media to President Clinton (news - web sites), in a later phone interview, after he spoke on the panel.

Some panel and conference participants, because of their profession, could not be identified. But another who could is Robert Steele, another blog booster. The former U.S. intelligence officer said "absolutely" that blogs are valid sources of intelligence and news, though he said authenticating the information in blogs "leaves a lot to be desired."
The CIA (news - web sites) and FBI (news - web sites) haven't publicly commented about use of blogs in their work, but many D.C. observers believe both agencies monitor certain blogs.

Various U.S. agencies already scan the Web sites of so-called nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, for information on political, economic and environmental issues. So tracking blogs isn't a big step. And there are software products and online services for this task.

While blog postings are voluntary and available to anyone to read, some observers say blog monitoring by governments or the media raises civil liberties and privacy issues. One such critic is James Love, director of the Ralph Nader (news - web sites)-affiliated Consumer Project on Technology.

"When you're conducting surveillance where you have no expectation of illegal activity, there has to be some threshold to justify such surveillance," Love said.

Some point to other dangers in using blogs for intelligence or news. Blogs can be used to spread lies or disinformation.

It's hard to fact check a blog account of an event in a remote area like Mongolia. Plus, many bloggers don't use their real names. Confirming identities can be hard.

In Baghdad last September, guerillas fired two surface-to-air missiles at a U.S. military transport, but missed. A blogger in Baghdad who goes by the name "Riverbend" wrote that the plane carried Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was then in Iraq.

The report proved false, but it confused the media.

Determining blog accuracy is the crucial first step to taking it further, warned Tim Witcher, who spoke at the conference. He's the former Seoul, Korea, bureau chief for Agence France-Presse, a news service. "A blog only becomes news when we can be 100% sure that it's true," he said.

Now playing in iTunes: Interstellar Overdrive, from the album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd (released 1967)

Tinsely Mortimer

I wish I knew why so many people get directed to this site looking for Tinsley Mortimer. Who the fuck is she? I gather some sort of NYC socialite, but why are people always googling her? I swear, the majority of B12 Partners web site hits (with the exception of the recent spike because of the Seattle Times & Tami Silicio flag-draped coffin story) are people looking for Tinsley Mortimer, who is mentioned in a Barbara Bush pelvic thrusting party story (archived here)

Tinsley Mortimer

Click on an interesting ad while you're here anyway since you've helped contribute to a spike in my bandwidth costs.
Tinsley Mortimer

Now playing in iTunes: Vacuum Cleaner, from the album Acid Drops, Spacedust & Flying Saucers: Psychedelic Confectionery by Tintern Abbey (released 1967)

update 12/4/05 from the NYT:

a few days before the Winter Wonderland Ball at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx on Friday, Tinsley Mortimer will go to pick out her dress. One of six junior chairwomen of the party, Ms. Mortimer will not be visiting Bergdorf Goodman or Saks Fifth Avenue; she will drop by the showroom of Paco Rabanne to chose a dress from the spring collection designed by Patrick Robinson, which will be lent to her for the night.

Since her marriage three years ago to Robert L. Mortimer, an executive at a private investment group, Ms. Mortimer, 29, has become ubiquitous on the circuit of charity dinners, luncheons and boutique openings in New York. A search of the Web site New York Social Diary ( brings back 82 hits, mostly party photos, including one from August with a caption calling her the "glam girl of the moment."

With her cascade of blond hair and lithe figure, Ms. Mortimer, a former event planner, attracts the cameras, a fact not lost on fashion designers, who have lined up to lend her dresses, knowing that the photos that appear in newspapers and magazines bring valuable publicity.

As a pro at this game Ms. Mortimer expects the whole visit to Paco Rabanne - including a seamstress's alteration of the dress she picks - to be quicker than a pit stop at Barneys New York. "I'm pretty aware of what looks good on me," she said, "so it usually only takes me 30 to 40 minutes to find a dress."

It used to be that philanthropically inclined young women like Ms. Mortimer, who is on the fund-raising committees of seven charities and cultural institutions, bought their own gowns for the seasonal galas.

But now many designers lend the gowns in a Manhattan version of the wooing of actresses to serve as clothes hangers on the red carpets of Hollywood.

Tinsley is a Socialist

'Post:' Tinsley Mortimer, Ardent Socialist - Gawker :
In this lengthy interview, Tinsley Mortimer shares her thoughts about the works of Marx and Engels. PSYCH! The Post has no idea what the word 'socialist' means, and Tinsley Mortimer gives the most retarded quotes imaginable. Seriously, more retarded than you are currently imagining them to be.

Yes, product of the finest boarding schools indeed. Maybe she voted for Bernie Sanders?

and I wonder what this means:
And while she has plenty of fans, the posts by detractors can be vicious - mocking her appearance, her intelligence, her absentee spouse. “She looks like a thoroughly nouveau plebe,” read one post, probably the worst thing one can say about a social.

“Obviously it's all sort of in good fun,” Mortimer says, struggling to be polite. “It's humorous. But unfortunately, I think it's a little sad. Those anomynous” - here she wincingly mispronounces the word - “posted comments are just not very nice sometimes. And to give someone free reign to be anomynous and say whatever they want and lie - that's hurtful.”

On the other hand, to paraphrase Columbia: Whatever.

from the NYPost 8/16/07

SHAME on media-hungry socialites Tinsley Mortimer and Olivia Palermo.
Planners of Tuesday's Level Vodka gala, "Rip the Runway for Darfur," to benefit the war-torn Sudanese region at the new club Runway on East 28th Street had to scramble when host Lydia Hearst fell ill.
Organizers ended up calling Mortimer and Palermo for backups, and the two at first agreed to show - until each of them found out the other was involved.
"When Olivia heard that Tinsley was coming and Tinsley heard that Olivia was coming, both suddenly were unable to attend," one organizer told us.
"We think the only people who truly suffered from their selfish no-shows are the poor citizens of war-torn Darfur." Designers for Darfur co-founder Malcolm Harris eventually filled in as host.
An old social type added, "Brooke Astor would roll in her grave if she heard that this is what has happened to society and charity. It's disgraceful. These girls these days know nothing about giving back. They just know how to promote themselves."
The rivalry between Mortimer and Palermo goes back to the days when was around and the two vied for the spot of No. 1 social heavyweight. Mortimer's jealousy of her younger, prettier rival spilled into violence last April when she physically elbowed Palermo to the ground during a fashion show.

shrill Krugman

well, the impeachment proceedings for Bush should start soon, shouldn't they?

Anyone? Bueller?

From Krugman of the Times
Still, Mr. Cheney's determination to keep his secrets probably reflects more than an effort to avoid bad publicity. It's also a matter of principle, based on the administration's deep belief that it has the right to act as it pleases, and that the public has no right to know what it's doing.

As Linda Greenhouse recently pointed out in The New York Times, the legal arguments the administration is making for the secrecy of the energy task force are "strikingly similar" to those it makes for its right to detain, without trial, anyone it deems an enemy combatant. In both cases, as Ms. Greenhouse puts it, the administration has put forward "a vision of presidential power . . . as far-reaching as any the court has seen."

That same vision is apparent in many other actions. Just to mention one: we learn from Bob Woodward that the administration diverted funds earmarked for Afghanistan to preparations for an invasion of Iraq without asking or even notifying Congress.

What Mr. Cheney is defending, in other words, is a doctrine that makes the United States a sort of elected dictatorship: a system in which the president, once in office, can do whatever he likes, and isn't obliged to consult or inform either Congress or the public.

Not long ago I would have thought it inconceivable that the Supreme Court would endorse that doctrine. But I would also have thought it inconceivable that a president would propound such a vision in the first place.  

Lion of Zimbabwe

From todays WSJ we read of Thomas Mapfumo playing in Eugene Oregon.

It's noon in Oregon, but Thomas Mapfumo's watch reads 9 p.m. That's the time in Harare, Zimbabwe, the city Mr. Mapfumo, one of Africa's greatest musicians, left three years ago after performing one too many songs implicitly criticizing the government of dictator Robert Mugabe. Now nearing 60, Mr. Mapfumo has just completed a tour of the American Midwest and is back in Eugene, working on a new album before embarking on a West Coast swing and then a summer tour of Britain, Europe and Canada. But although he lives with his children in an unprepossessing suburban home in this medium-size college town, Mr. Mapfumo's heart resides in his homeland. Still Zimbabwe's biggest-selling musician, he returns to his spacious Harare house each Christmas just long enough to see his family, check on his business interests (including the soccer team and record label he owns), and perform for his legion of fans.

Mr. Mapfumo earned that acclaim -- and the nickname "the Lion of Zimbabwe" -- during the 1970s, when his chimurenga, or struggle, songs provided the soundtrack for the anti-apartheid movement in what was then called Rhodesia. He was briefly jailed in 1979, just before the white minority ceded power to the elected Mugabe government. "What he did in the 1970s was phenomenally powerful," says Banning Eyre, who's working on a biography of Mr. Mapfumo. "It helped to generate and coalesce a powerful cultural movement."

Ironically, this paragon of black African nationalism got his start in the 1960s singing in groups that covered American rock and R&B songs. "I was very much into foreign music -- American music, Great Britain, jazz from the Congo and South Africa," he recalls. Then, in the 1970s, Mr. Mapfumo found inspiration in the music he heard as a child, when he lived with his grandparents in the country and listened to the traditional mbira, the gourd-encased, metal-keyed "thumb piano" that plays a central role in the spiritual life of the region's Shona people. As black resistance to apartheid swelled, he began singing in the Shona language about the plight of black Zimbabweans and made his greatest musical innovation: translating the bubbling lines of the mbira -- which has been called the sound of tuned raindrops -- to the electric guitar. Adding concise, memorable horn charts straight out of James Brown and other American R&B stars, Mr. Mapfumo created an ebullient brand of Afropop.

But just as Mr. Mapfumo's '70s sounds reflected anticolonialism, his recent music documents the disillusionment so many Africans have experienced as black majority governments descended into corruption and repression. As Zimbabwe's economy deteriorated in recent years, Mr. Mapfumo's songs increasingly chastised the Mugabe regime.

Though he didn't directly support any political party, Mr. Mapfumo's concerts drew thousands of Zimbabweans who opposed the government's mounting repression, and he has met with opposition leaders and even mused about a role in a post-Mugabe government. The title of his new album, "Toi Toi," refers to a protest dance. "I am like a messenger of the people whenever I sing a song against my government," he rumbles in a bass register a couple of octaves below his singing range. "I'm not trying to blame anyone. I'm just saying, 'Let's be united, try to rebuild the economy of the country so the people can survive and prosper.'"

He paid a price for his protest: Some of his recent songs were banned from the radio, and other intimidation ensued; some former band members have lost family members to prisons and bullets. In 2000, when Mr. Mapfumo visited the head of his American record label, who was then living in Eugene, he realized the city would make an ideal home base away from the escalating threats and chaos of his homeland. "I'm here for my children," he explains. "I like America -- it is a good place to live for a while."
In fact, he's far better known [in Europe] than in Eugene, where he played a rare concert for a couple of hundred listeners on a recent warm spring evening. Alternating traditional-sounding numbers with pulsating Afropop, the Blacks Unlimited band unleashed classic, unforgettable call-and-response phrases on trumpet and saxophone, while the two amplified mbiras wove sinuous melodies over the bass and drum foundation. Except for Mr. Mapfumo and his brother, Lancelot, on keyboards and congas, the band is composed of musicians a generation or two younger -- including a pair of locally recruited horn players who look very young, very white, and very happy to be sharing the stage with a legend.

And Mr. Mapfumo is as open-eared as ever, recently embracing music from Mozambique and other parts of West Africa, some reggae and more to create an irresistible fusion. "If he hears something he likes, he appropriates it," says Mr. Eyre, who lived in Harare in the late 1990s and played guitar with the band; he's also contributed liner notes and guitar parts to recent recordings. "He makes it into something unique."

At the Eugene concert, the lanky bandleader presided over the whole bubbling brew with a glower, often crouching to mutter his lyrics of love and liberation. With his penetrating eyes and swept-back dreadlocks, Mr. Mapfumo looked more leonine than ever, but he gradually loosened up a bit, sometimes dancing stiffly next to his gyrating, purple-dressed female singer, occasionally allowing a brief grin to escape his sculpted visage. Despite the somber subject matter of many of Mr. Mapfumo's recent songs, his music's inherent joyousness seized the audience. As the crowd danced deliriously, swept along by the effervescent mbira rhythms, goosed by those strutting horn riffs, Mr. Mapfumo clutched the microphone and, swaying, closed his eyes. When he opened them again, his gaze seemed to stretch across the oceans.

I had the pleasure to see Mr. Mapfumo in New York a couple of years ago, at some benefit hosted by Bonnie Raitt. Excellent performance, and one of the highlights of that particular NYC sojourn.

Now playing in iTunes: My Love Is You, from the album David Byrne-David Byrne by Byrne, David (released 1994)

Monday, April 26, 2004

Mashitup baby

untitledFrom the Beeb
David Bowie has asked bedroom DJs to create a new track for an internet competition by bootlegging his songs.

The British music star has given fans the right to create a new song by using computer music software to blend or "mash up" two existing tracks.

The winning song will be released as an MP3 and its creator will win a car.

"I'm very comfortable with the idea and have been the subject of quite a few pretty good mash-ups myself," Bowie told The Times newspaper.

good, much better reaction by Bowie than the backward thinking, squash-it-all types at the RIAA, or even the schmoes at Apple Records who are suing Apple Computers for having the temerity to sell music via the web. Every creative act is based on prior creative acts, and that's just the way it is. Trying to permanently hold onto every copyright is akin to terrorism. Err, something like that.

and from Bowie's web site:
Visconti and I had an unintentionally Luddite fantasy in the seventies revolving around a plan to write songs in the style of several different artists, The Doors or Mark Bolan etc., and then record some backing tracks in the style of, say Hendrix or the Stones and then I would record the vocal tracks imitating Cliff, Lennon or the Supremes even (with slightly speeded up tape). Shame we never got on with it but you know how those rainy Tuesday afternoon brainstorms go. Nowhere, generally.

Now playing in iTunes: For The Wars, from the album Walking With Thee by Clinic (released 2002)

Nappy-time25% of workers 'sleep on the job'
Money: One in four people have fallen asleep at work, taking naps in the toilet, during meetings or under a desk, according to research out today. [Guardian Unlimited]

One in 10 of those slept for over half an hour, while the rest snatched catnaps for less than 10 minutes, according to a poll of 500 office workers, published by recruitment firm Pertemps.

another joy of working for myself is that I can take a nap if I need one, without feeling guilty. When I worked for the corporate world, I had to hide somewhere to take a cat-nap.

Friday, April 23, 2004

From Harpers

from Harpers magazine [dead tree edition]
I lift these tidbits:

The following assertions were collected from public statements made by George W Bush and his official spokesmen since 1997.
The President of the United States is not a fact-checker.
I'm not a statistician.
I'm not a number-cruncher.
I'm not one of these bean counters.
I'm not very analytical.
I'm not a precision guy.
The President is not a micromanager.
I'm not a member of the legislative branch.
The President is not a rubber stamp for the Congress.
I'm not a censor-guy.
I'm not a lawyer.
I'm not a doctor.
The President is not an economist.
I'm not a stockbroker or a stock-picker.
I'm not a forecaster.
I'm not a predictor.
I'm not a pollster, a poll-reader guy.
I'm not a very good prognosticator of elections.
I'm not a committee chairman.
I'm not of the Washington scene.
I'm not a lonely person.
I'm not a poet.
I'm not a very good novelist.
I'm not a textbook player.
I'm not an emailer.
I'm not a revengeful person.
I'm not an Iraqi citizen.
I'm not a divider.
I'm not a unilateralist.
I'm not a tree, I'm a Bush.

Yikes. Well, I guess we know what he is....
wait for it....
unelected fraud!

and at the time, a google search led to zero hits, but that was then....

More on Ms. Tami Silicio

Pentagon Ban on Pictures of Dead Troops Is Broken
Hundreds of photographs of flag-draped coffins at Dover Air Force Base were released on a Web site dedicated to combating government secrecy.

Executives at news organizations, many of whom have protested the policy, said last night that they had not known that the Defense Department itself was taking photographs of the coffins arriving home, a fact that came to light only when Russ Kick, the operator of The Memory Hole, filed his request.

"We were not aware at all that these photos were being taken," said Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times.

John Banner, the executive producer of ABC's "World News Tonight," said, "We did not file a F.O.I.A. request ourselves, because this was the first we had known that the military was shooting these pictures."

and because Russ Kick has much more class than the slack-jawed yokels who run the American Media machine:

The Memory Hole (, had filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year, seeking any pictures of coffins arriving from Iraq at the Dover base in Delaware, the destination for most of the bodies. The Pentagon yesterday labeled the Air Force Air Mobility Command's decision to grant the request a mistake, but news organizations quickly used a selection of the 361 images taken by Defense Department photographers.

The release of the photographs came one day after a contractor working for the Pentagon fired a woman who had taken photographs of coffins being loaded onto a transport plane in Kuwait. Her husband, a co-worker, was also fired after the pictures appeared in The Seattle Times on Sunday. The contractor, Maytag Aircraft, said the woman, Tami Silicio of Seattle, and her husband, David Landry, had "violated Department of Defense and company policies."

yes, even though Ms. Silicio is an American hero for forcing a dialogue re the true cost of war, she got fired.
. Ms. Silicio isn't making a dime from this photo, she apparently is donating any profits to charity.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

1000 word picture

to say the least

President Bush delivers his remarks on the Patriot Act in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, April 20, 2004.

and this is how Shrubby talks when discussing the Un-Patriot Act. Would you buy any WMD from this man?

Preznit idiotI could state the obvious, instead read for yourself

The whole issue of questions from the audience at the Associated Press annual luncheon was a running joke for the president during his talk. He opened his speech by saying, "I kind of like ducking questions," and said he would be "glad to duck any questions like my mother once told me to do" following his remarks.

In the end he only took three questions, from those submitted in advance by AP members, and read by Burl Osborne, the AP chairman. After replying to one question he apologized for "the long answer, but at least I answered it."

from Editor & Publisher (via Atrios)

Tami Silico heroine

From Seattle Times:

A military contractor has fired Tami Silicio, a Kuwait-based cargo worker whose photograph of flag-draped coffins of fallen U.S. soldiers was published in Sunday's edition of The Seattle Times.

Silicio was let go yesterday for violating U.S. government and company regulations, said William Silva, president of Maytag Aircraft, the contractor that employed Silicio at Kuwait International Airport.

"I feel like I was hit in the chest with a steel bar and got my wind knocked out. I have to admit I liked my job, and I liked what I did," Silicio said.

In Kuwait, Silicio pulled 12-hour night shifts alongside military workers to help in the huge effort to resupply U.S. troops. These workers also helped transport the remains of soldiers back to the United States.

Her job put her in contact with soldiers who sometimes accompanied the coffins to the airport. Having lost one of her own sons to a brain tumor, Silicio said, she tried to offer support to those grieving over a lost comrade.

"It kind of helps me to know what these mothers are going through, and I try to watch over their children as they head home," she said in an earlier interview.

Since Sunday, Silicio has hunkered down in Kuwait as her employer and the military decided her fate.

Maytag's Silva said the decision to terminate Silicio's and Landry's employment was made by the company. But he said the U.S. military had identified "very specific concerns" about their actions. Silva declined to detail those concerns.

"They were good workers, and we were sorry to lose them," Silva said. "They did a good job out in Kuwait and it was an important job that they did."

picture here, here and elsewhere

Pathetic really, she should get a medal instead of unemployment.

Now playing in iTunes: Tih vjater vee, from the album Melody Rhythm & Harmony by Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares (released 1993)

Ice sculptures

Amazingly intricate Asian ice sculptures: gallery found here. I'd go, but sounds a little cold, and I just escaped Chicago winter....

The temperature in Harbin reaches forty below zero, both farenheit and centigrade, and stays below freezing nearly half the year.  The city is actually further north than notoriously cold Vladivostok, Russia, just 300 miles away.  So what does one do here every winter?  Hold an outdoor festival, of course!  Rather than suffer the cold, the residents of Harbin celebrate it, with an annual festival of snow and ice sculptures and competitions.  The festival officially runs from January 5 through February 15, but often opens a week early and runs into March, since it's usually still cold enough.  This is the amazing sculpture made of snow greeting visitors to the snow festival in 2003.

The ice festival, a few miles away from the snow festival, is anything but dull and colorless.  Crowds flocking to the entrance are greeted by dance music booming in the distance, as if at an outdoor pop concert.  And bright neon colors shine everywhere, buried within huge blocks of ice forming structures as high as thirty meters, such as this huge structure beyond the entryway.  You can just make out people standing atop its blue and red stairway.

crossposted at my other blog

Now playing in iTunes: This Charming Man, from the album Hatful Of Hollow by Smiths (released 1984)


insanely disturbing photos found here, courtesy of The Memory Hole, of soldier caskets returning from Iraq. If you ever forget what war is about, take a look. And of course, these are only American lives ruined, not mentioning the thousands of innocent and not-innocent Iraqis also dead.

Thanks a lot Georgie-boy, you anti-christ you.

Smoking news from all over

Medical Marijuana v. Asscroft

Leave Medical Marijuana Group Alone, Judge Tells Government - NYT
A judge ordered the federal government on Wednesday not to raid or prosecute a California group that grows and distributes marijuana for its sick members.

A judge ordered the federal government on Wednesday not to raid or prosecute a California group that grows and distributes marijuana for its sick members.

The decision, by Judge Jeremy Fogel of Federal District Court in San Jose, was the first interpretation of an appeals court's ruling in December that federal prosecutions of medical marijuana users were unconstitutional if the marijuana was not sold, transported across state lines or used for nonmedicinal purposes.

Judge Fogel ruled that the government could not raid or prosecute the 250 members of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which sued the government after the Drug Enforcement Administration raided its growing operation in Santa Cruz County in 2002 and seized 167 marijuana plants.

The group's director, Valerie Corral, said the group had been receiving and growing marijuana in secret since the raid for fear of being prosecuted. But with Judge Fogel's decision, the group plans to plant hundreds of plants on Ms. Corral's one-acre property in the Santa Cruz hills.

`You better believe it we're going to plant," said Ms. Corral, who uses marijuana to alleviate epileptic seizures.

Judge Fogel: word of unsolicited advice, don't fly small planes anywhere for a few more months (when the reThuglicans are thrown out of office next November). If in doubt, review the death of Paul Wellstone and Mel Carnahan, among others.

Now playing in iTunes: Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love, from the album Charles Mingus - Changes One by Mingus, Charles (released 1974)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Bill Rancic redux

I really don't care

because I didn't even watch the show once, but according to the Smoking Gun

Look, we're happy that this Bill Rancic got "The Apprentice" gig, but we'd wish every story about the 32-year-old Chicagoan would stop claiming that the guy spent eight years growing his Internet operation--Cigars Around the World--into a "multimillion dollar" business. Because when Rancic sold his outfit, The Ranley Group, to the publicly-held Synergy Brands last June, he only got $425,000

read more here

Rioja pretenders?

I don't know if this is standard practice, or a new thing, but my bottle of wine (Montecillo Crianza, a 2000 Rioja) has a hologram on the back of the label. Are there really 'bootleg' bottles of wine out there? and has the RIAA been informed?

If you can't trust your rioja....

Condi-liar Rice

a million Freudian jokes

have been edited out, but as posted elswhere..

from NY Metro
A pressing issue of dinner-party etiquette is vexing Washington, according to a story now making the D.C. rounds: How should you react when your guest, in this case national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, makes a poignant faux pas? At a recent dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman and his wife, Times reporter Felicity Barringer, and attended by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Maureen Dowd, Steven Weisman, and Elisabeth Bumiller, Rice was reportedly overheard saying, “As I was telling my husb—” and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, “As I was telling President Bush.” Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating

Now playing in iTunes: Kinky Reggae, from the album Talkin' Blues by Bob Marley & The Wailers (released 1991)

Lake Michigan

This picture was taken a couple weekends ago (& don't know who the Japanese tourists are, but they did wave after I stole their soul via this photo. They might not even be tourists, but they were talking in Japanese) somewhere between Belmont and North Ave along Michigan Ave. I really don't know why there are two big mounds of sand, but I assume that dump trucks lay the sand this way in early spring, and then the wind smoothes it into a beach, or a Chicago-style semblance of one at least.

Now playing in iTunes: Lightnin', from the album NYC Ghosts & Flowers by Sonic Youth (released 2000)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Glaser is a weinie

From the Department of Hyberbole

RealNetworks CEO: iTunes DRM is 'Soviet model'
At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas today, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser took aim at Apple and its digital rights management (DRM) on songs downloaded from the iTunes Music Store... [MacMinute]
"It's kind of a Soviet model," said Glaser, referring to Apple's closed environment in a remark that drew laugher from the audience at the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference here. "Taking secure music off the PC is a morass of incompatibility. This is not going to fly in the mainstream market."

yes, you jackass, not going to fly in the mainstream market. This is why you were begging on your knees to be included less than a week ago. Little bitch. Could there be any sour grapes here?

Now playing in iTunes: Allemande, from the album Bach: French Suites BWV 812-817 (Disc 1) by Gould, Glenn (released 1973)

True cost of war

Read the story behind a photo of flag-draped coffins being loaded into a cargo plane in Kuwait, which an Editor & Publisherarticle says "no major news organization would touch" when it first surfaced last week. The Memory Hole has more photos. Earlier: 'Humanity is first casualty of war.' []

From the Seatle Times:
Barry Fitzsimmons, a veteran photojournalist, has handled many of those calls and knows most of the pictures are never published. The Seattle Times photo editor also knows, "one in a thousand is a gem," so he agreed to give this one a look.

When the photo arrived, "I just said wow," Fitzsimmons recalls. "The picture was something we don't have access to as the media," and yet it seemed undeniably newsworthy.

What the caller had was the picture on today's front page. It shows rows of flag-draped military coffins inside an airplane in Kuwait. These were America's war dead on their way home at a moment when U.S. troops are experiencing their deadliest month of the war.

Fitzsimmons felt the picture should be published, but "it's too powerful an image just to drop into the newspaper." The Times would first need to learn the story behind it.

Leon Espinoza, news editor, had the same reaction. "The photo without question is a very powerful image, one seldom seen. It shows the great care taken to honor the fallen soldiers, and it can't help but show the toll a war takes.

"It's a photo that demands context. The photo needs to be viewed in context of the story behind it, a story the picture — as powerful as it is — can only partly tell. Simply put, we need to show the whole picture, and getting the story right is essential to doing that," Espinoza said.

Fitzsimmons worked through the caller to connect with her friend, Tami Silicio, a Seattle-area resident working on contract at the U.S. military area of Kuwait International Airport.

After a number of conversations, she agreed to talk with Times reporter Hal Bernton for today's story. Bernton returned earlier this year from Iraq, where he covered military, medical and relief efforts.

Readers likely will have differing reactions to the photo, depending on their views of the war.

"It's a photo that evokes an emotional response and one that people are sure to see through their own filters, political or otherwise," said Espinoza, who is responsible for the Sunday front page.

Some readers will object to the image because the press has been largely denied access to take photos of coffins returning from war since the 1991 Gulf War.

Some will see the picture as an anti-war statement because the image is reminiscent of photos from the Vietnam era, when the press wasn't denied such access. But that isn't Silicio's or The Times' motivation.

"We're not making a statement about the course of the war," Fitzsimmons said. "Readers will make their own sense of the picture, their own judgment."

Silicio says she believes the soldiers' families would be proud to see how their loved ones are treated, and we have tried to be true to her intent.

what a disquieting picture.

Now playing in iTunes: Straighten Up And Fly Right, from the album Nat King Cole: The Greatest Hits by Cole, Nat King (released 1994)

(un) Patriotic Act


President Campaigns for Permanent Patriot Act (
President Bush said Monday that he considers it vital for Congress to pass a permanent version of the USA Patriot Act, which has been criticized by some liberals and conservatives for giving the federal government too much power in the name of fighting terrorism. By Mike Allen. [ - 2004 Election]

sez the Anti-Christ:
"The Patriot Act defends our liberty," Bush said, thumping the podium. "The Patriot Act makes it able for those of us in positions of responsibility to defend the liberty of the American people. It's essential law."

and the Perpetual War for Perpetual re-election Preznit goes on to assert:
Bush asserted that by including an expiration date [for the Patriot Act], Congress was saying that "maybe the war on terror won't go on very long."

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Lucy ParsonsLATE anarchist still causes stir
Chicago Tribune (subscription) - Chicago,IL,USA
... No doubt the execution of Parsons' husband, Albert, in the Haymarket
Riot that left eight police officers dead caught his attention. ...

Lucy Parsons died 62 years ago, but the controversy over her life rages on over a plot of land at 4712 W. Belmont Ave.

That's the site of a proposed small park the Chicago Park District wants to name after Parsons, a Chicago labor organizer who for a time called herself an anarchist.

Parsons' husband, Albert, was executed on trumped up charges, following the Haymarket Riot that left eight police officers dead

But historians say Albert Parsons wasn't guilty and neither he nor his wife were at the riot.

Mayor Richard Daley backs naming the park after Parsons, an African-American with Native American and Mexican blood who continued to be a force in the labor movement until her death in 1942.


And Bob Matter, who also spoke on behalf of Parsons, noted the woman was harassed by Chicago police in her lifetime.

"She was continually shut down by the Chicago Police Department her whole life when she tried to speak," he said. "Now, the Chicago police are trying to shut the memory of her down."

Now playing in iTunes: Alto Songo (Son Montuno), from the album A Toda Cuba Le Gusta by Afro Cuban All Stars (released 1997)

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Incurious George

Incuriousity killed the Preznit's relection?

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Incurious," a rarely used word, is making a curious comeback as pundits dust it off to describe President George W. Bush 's alleged lack of curiosity about intelligence reports prior to September 11, 2001, according to a California language expert.

Paul JJ Payack, founder of the Global Language Monitor, which tracks word usage on the Web and elsewhere, said that since he first spotted it used in a March Time Magazine report, it had appeared some 5,000 times, jumping about 1,000 uses after the New York Times lead editorial on Thursday was headlined "The Price of Incuriosity."

"Americans knew George W. Bush was incurious man when they elected him, but the hearings of the 9/11 commission, which turned yesterday (Wednesday) from the F.B.I.'s fecklessness to the C.I.A.'s blurred vision, have brought that fact home in a startling way," the Times said.

.. Payack said the term "incuriosity' has rocketed to the top of the Global Language Monitor's PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Index, which is an algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.

"Incuriosity" is followed by "Quagmire," "Two Americas," "Global Outsourcing" and 'War for Oil" on the Global Monitor list of most popular current political phrases, he said.

heehee....once associated with a monkey, always associated with a monkey, err, something like that. Maybe, the banana doesn't fall far from the shaken tree?

Trump Tower redux

Trumpeter update

Chicago May Give 'Apprentice' Lesson in Reality
Bill Rancic will lead a $700 million building project, which still needs financing, final signoffs from City Hall and demolition of the current occupant of the site.

Trump named Bill Rancic, who won NBC's "The Apprentice" on Thursday night and had earlier made a living selling cigars on the Web, as "president" of this $700 million project, which still needs financing, final signoffs from City Hall, and demolition of the Chicago Sun-Times building, which sits on the site of the tower-to-be.

"This is a large and sophisticated project, and the job is like being the conductor of an orchestra," Bruce R. Cohen, the chief executive of Cohen Financial Capital Management in Chicago, observed. "I don't know how somebody can conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra if they've never gone to a concert before, and if they've never played any of the instruments."

and the AP/Times stole my picture (see this post for my photo of the Sun-Times building).

Oh well, it was an obvious picture, and I chose a different angle to post (although I took one that looks identical to the AP/NYT picture, I didn't use it because you can't see the little "Trump International" sign in upper right corner).

Friday, April 16, 2004

Preznit targeted Iraq?

Who woulda thunk?

New Book Says Bush Asked for Iraq War Plan in 2001
A new book on the president's Iraq policy also describes the enmity over the issue between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney. [New York Times: International]
President Bush quietly ordered creation of a war plan against Iraq while overseeing a national security team torn by that course, including a vice president determined to link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida, says a new book.
from the original Media Whore, Bob Woodywart ne Woodward.

More tantrums to ensue, no doubt.

and as a postscript: Redacted from the NYT's RSS feed....

New Book Says Bush Asked for Iraq War Plan in 2001

President Bush secretly ordered a war plan drawn up against Iraq less than two months after U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan, says a new book on his the president's Iraq policy.

Vietnam, a National tragedy?

From Matt Taibbi, NY Press , via Cursor

What did the Byrd essay, as well as all the hand-wringing editorials in all of these prestigious papers, have in common? Not one of them mentioned the number of dead Vietnamese. That number, incidentally, is not so precise and round as our beloved 58,000. It is an estimate we place in the millions, with the conservative count edging toward one million, the outside edge pushing for three million. It is hard to be precise when you are counting bone fragments in B-52 craters.

If anyone needs a hint as to why the rest of the world hates us so much, this is why. Thirty years after the fact, America still insists on looking at Vietnam as "our national tragedy," the tragedy apparently being 58,000 dead, a regrettable loss of public confidence in the institution of the presidency, a brief period of political turmoil on American campuses, an enduring hesitancy to use military force. Just look at our movies about Vietnam: the tragedy is always the poor Vietnam vet who comes home and suffers through a long period of monosyllabic turmoil and intermittent employment, doomed to live out his days limping around his hometown in boots and a shabby field jacket, wondering where his life went so wrong.

Right. That's the tragedy. Not the indiscriminate murder of one-sixth of Laos. Not the saturation bombing of wide swaths of rural Indochina. Not the turning of ancient cultures into moonscapes. Not the napalming of children or the dropping of mines and CBUs into civilian villages for scare value.

So, what exactly are those casualties in Iraq? and do we include the dead during the years of enforced sanctions as well?

Cleanliness is crappy

so sez the BBC

Cleanliness 'leads to diabetes'
Diseases such as diabetes could be caused by children being too clean, researchers have suggested. [BBC News]

Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute in California, say being exposed to too few germs means the immune system is not stimulated enough.

ha, I wish I had this excuse when I was a kid.....but Mom, I don't wanna take a bath....

Now playing in iTunes: Just Another Whistle Stop, from the album Stage Fright by Band (released 1970)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

From PWW
Melody Cooper has written an award-winning play titled “Day of Reckoning” about Lucy and Albert Parsons that deals with their involvement in the labor movement in Chicago and the events surrounding the Haymarket Riot. It will be produced in NYC this month at the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th St. The dates are Sat., April 17 at 2 p.m.; April 20-23 at 8:00 p.m.; Sat., April 24, and Sun., April 25 at 2:00 p.m.

Now playing in iTunes: Modern World, from the album Waiting For Herb by Pogues, The (released 1999)


Jerkoffs at TSA should be indicted

for lying to Congress, or some other kangaroo court reason. I am disappointed in American Air for releasing info about me, but just as disappointed to the Transport Security Admin for collecting this data and then lying to Congress about it.

From Wired

Two senators on Wednesday asked the Transportation Security Administration whether the agency violated federal rules by helping its contractors acquire passenger data, and why the agency told government investigators it didn't have such data.

Senate Governmental Affairs Committee chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and ranking member Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) asked the questions in a letter sent to Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security Asa Hutchinson.

The senators also pressed the TSA for an explanation of why it hadn't revealed the transfer of millions of passenger records to government contractors. Senate members had asked TSA officials directly whether they had done so, but the answer was no.

Two TSA agency spokesmen also denied to Wired News that any data transfer had taken place, saying that the project did not need data at the time.

But this week, American Airlines became the third airline to reveal that it turned over millions of passenger records to the government without informing the passengers. JetBlue and Northwest Airlines had earlier revealed that they too had transferred passenger records to government contractors. For the past eight months, TSA officials and spokesmen have repeatedly denied that any data transfer occurred.

"We are concerned by potential Privacy Act and other implications of this reported incident," the senators wrote. "Moreover, TSA told the press, the General Accounting Office and Congress that it had not used any real-world data to test CAPPS II.

"American Airlines has now indicated that it provided over 1 million passenger itineraries at TSA's request, which raises the question of why agency officials told GAO that it did not have access to such data."

In the case of American Airlines, the transfer occurred in June 2002, when Airline Automation, a database firm working for American Airlines, gave 1.2 million passenger records directly to four government contractors. American says it only authorized the company to give the data directly to the government, but Airline Automation disputes that claim.

and from the Department of Lamest Excuses Ever (DLEE)

The Department of Homeland Security's chief privacy officer, Nuala O'Connor Kelly, is looking into whether TSA officials violated federal privacy laws or internal regulations in asking for the data. Two months ago, O'Connor Kelly issued a report about JetBlue's data transfer. At the time she was writing the report, she was not told about the American Airlines transfer, which happened at the same time, she said.

In Wednesday's letter, the senators also asked the TSA whether it requested passenger data from any other companies. This was not the first time Lieberman and Collins had asked the question.

As part of confirmation proceedings in November 2003, the senators asked retired Adm. James Loy whether "any contractors working on CAPPS II used any real-world data for testing purposes."...

Loy's written response was, "No. TSA has not used any (passenger) data to test any of the functions of CAPPS II."

Last week, Loy corrected part of his answer to a similar committee question about the JetBlue affair, saying that he relied on the memory of a staffer and that his answer was incomplete.

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

Lucy Parsons' park followup

the Chicago Police seem to still have some sort of grudge against Lucy Parsons, from 1887!

From SunTimes
Supporters urge Park District to honor anarchist

Scholars, labor activists and free speech lovers Wednesday voiced support for a Chicago Park District proposal to name a Northwest Side lot for anarchist Lucy Parsons.

The head of the Chicago Police union has objected to naming the undeveloped lot at 4712 W. Belmont for Parsons, the wife of a man executed for the 1886 Haymarket bombing and riot that resulted in the deaths of eight police officers. Until her death in a 1942 house fire, Parson clashed with cops over labor demonstrations and publically dismissed officers as "organized bandits'' and "minions of the oppressing class.''

Mark P. Donahue, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, did not testify at a hearing at the Kilbourn Park field house, 3501 N. Kilbourn. He has complained in a letter to the Park District board, and in comments to reporters, that Parsons "promoted the overthrow of the government and the use of dynamite in getting [her] way.''

The animosity is long-standing: A century ago, a police official said Parsons "was more dangerous than a thousand rioters.''

But William J. Adelman, a University of Illinois professor emeritus and author of Haymarket Revisited, told the park board that Parsons was less concerned with overthrowing the government than getting "the government off our backs.'' In that sense, he said, she was like Ronald Reagan.

In a written statement, Leslie F. Orear, president of the Illinois Labor History Society, described how Parsons led a march of unemployed and was "roughly intercepted'' by police and jailed in 1915.

"Instantly, it became a celebrated legal struggle over the rights of demonstrators to make public their issues in the streets of the city, without prior permission of the police,'' said Orear.

"Lucy Parsons said some things the Chicago Police Department didn't like. Our Constitution says we have the right to say those things,'' said Bob Matter of Hammond, a retired programmer. "She was continually shut down by the Chicago Police Department her whole life whenever she tried to speak. Now, the Chicago Police are trying to shut her memory down.''

and from the Trib, a brief blurb
Commissioners also heard from six people who support naming a park after Lucy Parsons, a labor organizer who was married to a man who was convicted and executed after the Haymarket Riot of 1887.

Mark Donahue, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, has opposed naming the park after Parsons, calling her an anarchist. But Mayor Richard Daley has supported the park name, noting her efforts at social reform.

Now playing in iTunes: Fables Of Faubus, from the album Mingus Ah Um by Mingus, Charles (released 1959)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

AAData Disclosure Contradicts Feds
American Airlines becomes the third airline in eight months to admit it has shared passenger data with the government. But for months the government has claimed it never asked for or received any data. What's going on? By Ryan Singel. [Wired News]

Stupid AA.

American Airlines' announcement Friday that it shared more than a million passenger itineraries with four government contractors reveals that Transportation Security Administration officials have repeatedly issued false statements about the development of the passenger-profiling system known as CAPPS II.

American Airlines joins a growing list of carriers that have come forth in recent months to say that they have shared massive amounts of information about their passengers with the TSA. For the past eight months, TSA officials have repeatedly said they were not collecting this data. But American's disclosure raises questions about why the department has given false information about its data collection.

The TSA also may have withheld information improperly from investigators looking into the agency's practices.

Nuala O'Connor Kelly, the Department of Homeland Security's chief privacy officer, said she has launched a formal review of the American Airlines transfer. She said she did not know about these transfers when she issued a report in February about the TSA's role in convincing JetBlue to share 5 million itineraries with an Army contractor in August 2002.

If we were lucky enough to have a real government, heads would roll over this. As is, I assume one week from now, nobody will even remember the incident, besides civil libertarian types like myself.....

Personally, I am considering stopping using my AA miles. I never cash them anyway.

and more from Wired:
In September 2003, Wired News asked TSA spokesman Nico Melendez whether those four contractors had used real passenger records to test and develop their systems. Melendez denied it, saying, "We have only used dummy data to this point."

"Our agency was only five months old at the time" when these four companies were developing their systems, Melendez said. "We did not need the data at that time."

Mark Hatfield, the TSA's director of communications, denied that agency spokesmen deceptively gave out incorrect information.

"If Nico Melendez and Brian Turmail were not aware of it or were not told internally when they asked people closest to those events who did not know or did not inform them, it is a reach to say they lied or there was an attempt to deceive because I know both of these individuals and don't believe either of them would do that," Hatfield said.

When Wired News asked Hatfield in January whether the contractors had used actual passenger data, he said he did not know and that he would look into the matter. Hatfield declined to speculate why Melendez and Turmail denied a transfer took place, saying he was not a party to that conversation.

Wired News followed up on that inquiry with a Freedom of Information Act request. The agency denied the request for expedited processing, which Wired News appealed to Douglas Callen, who heads the TSA's Office of Security. Callen denied the appeal, writing that Wired News "failed to demonstrate there exists an 'urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity.'"

Almost six months after the original request, the TSA has yet to release any of the requested documents.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Haymarket Memorial

More on the Haymarket, tangentially

From the Guardian

Chicago Police Union Upset by Park Plans

Monday March 22, 2004 1:31 PM

The police union is protesting a proposal to name a small Northwest Side park in honor of a 19th century activist whose husband was hanged for his purported role in the notorious 1886 Haymarket Square bombing.

In a letter to Chicago Park District board members, Chicago Federation of Police president Mark P. Donohue said he was ``disappointed and disheartened'' by plans to name the park after Lucy Ella Gonzales Parsons.
On May 4, 1886, a bomb was thrown during a labor rally at Haymarket Square, touching off a riot, and police officers opened fire on the crowd. Seven officers and four other people were killed, by one count.

The Haymarket Affair shifted the course of the labor movement by discrediting politically radical unions.

Parsons' husband, Albert, was one of eight anarchists tried for the bombing. Incendiary labor pamphlets written by Lucy Parsons were read into the record at the trial.

Four defendants, including Albert Parsons, were hanged in 1887; a fifth had committed suicide the night before. The three others were pardoned several years later by Gov. John Peter Altgeld, who concluded that their trial had been a miscarriage of justice.

A parks spokesman said Lucy Parsons' name was suggested by a historian in honor of her long work as a labor organizer and champion of women and minority group members.

``She wasn't named because she was Albert Parsons' wife,'' said parks spokesman Julian Green. ``Lucy Parsons promoted women's labor and civil rights in Chicago. She was highly regarded by Jane Addams and other social reformers.''

I wonder if the police department had to sign off on the new Haymarket Sq. memorial? (a large picture of the plans can be found here, and a photo of the current memorial I took a couple years ago is here). I wouldn't be surprised if the new Haymarket Square memorial is abstract because this would be easier to get approvals?

Slacker Shrub

Lazy Preznit

Sleep Schedule as caught by [Lost in Hamsterlation]

Guardian UK
Regardless of what is going on in the world Mr Bush is usually in bed by 10pm and wakes at 6am. As governor of Texas he would be in work by 8.30am and out by 5.30pm. In between was a 90-minute to two-hour break for exercise or a nap.

President George Bush has spent more than 40% of his presidency at one of his three retreats, sparking criticism from Democrats that he is not taking his job seriously at a crucial time in US history.

Mr Bush was on his 33rd visit to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, at the Easter weekend, where he has spent 233 days or almost eight months since his inauguration, according to a tally by CBS news. Add his 78 visits to Camp David and five to Kennebunkport, Maine, and he has spent all or part of 500 days out of the office while in office.

Mr Bush was at his ranch on August 6 2001 as part of a month-long holiday when he received the briefing warning of Osama bin Laden's determination to attack the US, which has become a focal point of the 9/11 commission of inquiry.

Again, it irks me that the leader of the most powerful country in the world is so unconcerned that he works less than a McJob employee. Even though Bill Clinton was no hero of mine, at least you have to give Clinton props for working hard.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Beat LA

Beat LA

I wasn't sure what exactly to expect from my Kings, since they have been lameo's recently, playing very poorly, but for one game at least, they were the Kings of early in the season

not to mention:
After finishing with eight points on 3-of-13 shooting, [Kobe] Bryant insisted he wasn't avoiding shots -- even though that seemed obvious to everybody else at Arco Arena. His lone first-half shot was a missed 3-pointer when the shot clock was winding down midway through the second quarter.

He did another strange thing afterward: He praised the Kings' defense, which has been among the NBA's worst this season.

"They doubled me every time I touched the ball," said Bryant, who scored at least 34 points in each of his last five games against Sacramento. "So I just moved the ball, waiting for the game to kind of open up. I've done that before when teams have doubled me.

"They did a great job. They played very well. (Kings coach Rick) Adelman had an excellent game plan for them. If we see them again, we'll figure out what to do to counterattack them."

Bryant's reticence might have been a response to coach Phil Jackson's recent criticism of the superstar's game. Jackson said the Lakers frequently suffer when Bryant concentrates solely on driving and scoring.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Birthday continues

More birthday pix, from my new favorite intimate Chinese restaurant, Opera. However, if you aren't in the Vault area, might be a less enjoyable experience, seemed smokey and needy out there.

leaving Opera, belly full, wine imbibed....

Our room (two tables, each seating up to four, separated by corridor) in the vault (which I believe has a total of 6 tables in all)

the most delicious main course, a lotus-leaf wrapped dish, called Kaipong. Mmmmmm. Full menu described here

We are either coming, or going, I forget....

Trump Tower


Sun-Times Trumped

So, since the Chicago Sun Times is going to be torn down by Ye' Olde Trumpe, or get fired, as it were, I figured I'd take a picture for posterity. It really is an ugly building, isn't it?
If you look closely at the upper right part of your screen you can see the Trump International Sales sign.

From Natarus' office, we found what the proposed Skidmore, Owings & Merril design will look like

Now playing: Shuffering & Shmiling, from the album Black Man's Cry by Fela Kuti

July 2001From CBS

Apparently, Asscroft was warned not to fly commercial air. But if we are to believe the White House, there were never 'credible threats' that terrorists would seize airliners. Hmmmmm.....
"In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.

"There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department leased a NASA-owned G-3 Gulfstream for a 6-day trip to Western states. Such aircraft cost the government more than $1,600 an hour to fly. When asked whether Ashcroft was paying for any portion of the trips devoted to personal business, a Justice Department spokeswoman declined to respond.

All other Bush Cabinet appointees, with the exception of Interior and Energy with remote sites to oversee, fly commercial airliners. Janet Reno, Ashcroft's predecessor as attorney general, also routinely flew commercial. The secretaries of State and Defense traditionally travel with extra security on military planes.

The Justice Department insists that it wasn't Ashcroft who wanted to fly leased aircraft. That idea, they said, came strictly from Ashcroft's FBI security detail. The FBI had no further comment. "

Turd Blossom

Briefing on Al Qaeda Included Specifics (
The document delivered to Bush weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks features information about ongoing al Qaeda activities within the U.S., including signs of a terror support network and indications of hijacking preparations, sources say. By Walter Pincus and Dan Eggen. [ - Politics]


Bush's Low Profile Questioned (
Bush's silence in the face of mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq and concerns about the administration's timetable for transferring power to the Iraqis has brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. By Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei. [ - Politics]

does this mean, that finally, finally, the blossom is off the turd?
or just a bad news cycle.....

Now playing: Suicide, from the album Playing With Fire by Spacemen 3 (released 1989)

Friday, April 09, 2004

I need a freakin' vaction, too

cross posted, but what the fuck

as also noted by Cursor
..."Democrats criticized Bush for taking the Easter-week vacation while U.S. forces are struggling to put down an uprising in Iraq. Campaigning in Milwaukee, Sen. John F. Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, said: "I notice President Bush is taking some days off down at Crawford, Texas, and I'm told that when he takes days off, you know, he totally relaxes: He doesn't watch television, he doesn't read the newspapers, he doesn't make long-term plans, doesn't worry about the economy. I thought about that for a moment. I said, sounds to me like it's just like life in Washington, doesn't it?"

This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency. "
from the WashPost

I hate the thought that I work harder and longer hours than the President of the most powerful country of the world....

If I could spend 40 percent of my time on vacation, I would be much better adjusted to working till 10 pm at night! Jezus!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Iraq news from Australia
THOUSANDS of Sunni and Shiite Muslims forced their way through US military checkpoints Thursday to ferry food and medical supplies to the besieged Sunni bastion of Fallujah where US marines are trying to crush insurgents.

Troops in armoured vehicles tried to stop the convoy of cars and pedestrians from reaching the town located 50 kilometers west of Baghdad.

But US forces were overwhelmed as residents of villages west of the capital came to the convoy's assistance, hurling insults and stones at the beleaguered troops.

Some 20 kilometers west of Baghdad, a US patrol was attacked just moments before the Iraqi marchers arrived. Armed insurgents could be seen dancing around two blazing military vehicles.

Two US Humvees tried to stop the marchers but were forced to drive off as residents joined the marchers, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greater).

US troops again blocked the highway further west, but were forced to let the Iraqis past as they came under a hail of stones.

Sitting on top of supply trucks, young men also hurled empty bottles of water and waved their shoes in sign of disdain at the US troops.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

War Preznit

Insiders think Shrub a Putz as well

This is kind of a puncture to the whole "War Preznit" myth, isn't it?

From Rueters, via Corrente

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism.

Former counterterrorism officials said at least half a dozen have left the White House Office for Combating Terrorism or related agencies in frustration in the 2 1/2 years since the attacks.

Some also left because they felt President Bush had sidelined his counterterrorism experts and paid almost exclusive heed to the vice president, the defense secretary and other Cabinet members in planning the "war on terror," former counterterrorism officials said.

"I'm kind of hoping for regime change," one official who quit told Reuters.

Similar charges were made by Bush's former counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, who told the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the administration ignored the al Qaeda threat beforehand and was fixated on Iraq afterward. "Iraq has been a distraction from the whole counterterrorism effort," said the former official, adding the policy had frustrated many in the White House anti-terrorism office, about two-thirds of whom have left and been replaced since Sept. 11.

The administration vehemently denies the accusations, and says it is making strong progress in the global war on terror.


Roger Cressey, who served under Clarke in the White House counterterrorism office, said: "Dick accurately reflects the frustration of many in the counterterrorism community in getting the new administration to take the al Qaeda issue seriously."

Cressey left the office in November 2001, when he became chief of staff of the White House's cybersecurity office until September 2002.
"There has been excessively high turnover in the Office for Combating Terrorism," said Flynt Leverett, who served on the White House National Security Council for about a year until March 2003 and is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank.

"If you take the (White House) counterterrorism and Middle East offices, you've got about a dozen people ... who came to this administration wanting to work on these important issues and left after a year or often less because they just don't think that this administration is dealing seriously with the issues that matter," he said.

Rand Beers, a former No. 2 in the office who quit last year over the administration's handling of the war on terrorism, told Reuters the turnover had been "unusually high" since the hijacked airliner attacks in New York and Washington.

"And one of the reasons is frustration with the way counterterrorism policy has been conducted, including the focus on Iraq," said Beers, who now serves as a foreign policy adviser for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites), who hopes to unseat Bush in November.

too funny not to steal this (from commentary at Eschaton)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004



Looking for Friendly Overseas Base, Pentagon Finds It Already Has One
The B-52's are back in Guam, part of a wide-ranging drive by the Pentagon to make this island a "power projection hub" on the edge of Asia. [New York Times: National]

Washed by a southwesterly Pacific breeze, a line of B-52 Stratofortress bombers stand parked on the hot tarmac here, their tails stenciled with "MT," a reminder that they flew here recently from the snows of Minot, N.D.

Away for more than a decade, the B-52's, the United States' largest bombers, are back in Guam, part of a wide-ranging drive by the Pentagon to make this island, an American territory, a "power projection hub" on the edge of Asia.

"Guam is no longer the trailer park of the Pacific," Admiral Johnson said of the new military investment. "Guam has emerged from backwater status to the center of the radar screen. This is rapidly becoming a focus for logistics, for strategic planning."


Now playing: Gassed & Stoked, from the album Magic & Loss by Lou Reed (released 1992)




"The Lord heareth the poor and despiseth not his prisoners."

a fantastical prayer wheel to forget the watery grave
and the sleep of uneasy occlusion
the crusted cross parade shall resume
the scent of corpses a confused whisper
a lonely dance of primal skin, sliding back into the correct minds again

 The wearing of dusk a sweated breath
a pale memory
drank from the painted boat until the sides ached
the jeweled vessel floundering

 Setting aside the silvered creation
for the touch of enkekalymnenos-
the bright yellow, stained chariot
of mythical forests is that tribal mantle

 Krisma swimming foolish and married
a boatman silenced by Easter and olives
tongue-forked Emmanuel washes vinegar from
the creases scraped into his returned body
{enkekalymnenos: the veiled one; Krisma : oil used for anointment as in the
book of Samuel}

Shrub news

bushy is touchy

Ouch! sounds like Shrub didn't get his nap today. Or maybe he's been reading the latest poll results....

From AP newsfeed, via Yahoo:

President Bush (news - web sites) has a penchant for dishing out good-natured insults, and usually the victim laughs along. But Sammie Briery didn't seem much amused when Bush fired one at her Tuesday.

Bush was wrapping up a town hall-style appearance at South Arkansas Community College when he let the jest fly. It was a mother joke, a blonde joke and an insult all in one.

"You and my mother go to the same hair-dye person," Bush said to Briery, whose blondish bob bore little resemblance to Barbara Bush's shock of white hair.

The audience in the gymnasium laughed, and Briery smiled, but replied firmly: "President Bush, I'm a natural blonde."

"Oh, yes," Bush agreed.

"I'm just a natural blonde," she repeated.

"I couldn't help myself, sorry," Bush shrugged.

With that, Bush moved quickly to end the session. He turned to Bob Watson, superintendent of the El Dorado Public Schools — who had opened the meeting by inadvertently insulting Bush.

"Governor — excuse me, President," Watson said.

Bush muttered, "How quickly they forget."

When Watson offered to shake Bush's hand, the president shot back: "Just don't hug me."

What an asshole we have as our president select....

Now playing: Drums, from the album The Charles Mingus Quintet + Max Roach by Mingus, Charles (released 1955)

Monday, April 05, 2004

RIAAA Heretical View of File Sharing
What if the industry is wrong, and file sharing is not hurting record sales? A new report suggests just that. [New York Times: Technology]

The music industry says it repeatedly, with passion and conviction: downloading hurts sales.

That statement is at the heart of the war on file sharing, both of music and movies, and underpins lawsuits against thousands of music fans, as well as legislation approved last week by a House Judiciary subcommittee that would create federal penalties for using what is known as peer-to-peer technology to download copyrighted works. It is also part of the reason that the Justice Department introduced an intellectual-property task force last week that plans to step up criminal prosecutions of copyright infringers.

But what if the industry is wrong, and file sharing is not hurting record sales?

It might seem counterintuitive, but that is the conclusion reached by two economists who released a draft last week of the first study that makes a rigorous economic comparison of directly observed activity on file-sharing networks and music buying.

"Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates," write its authors, Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School and Koleman S. Strumpf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The industry has reacted with the kind of flustered consternation that the White House might display if Richard A. Clarke showed up at a Rose Garden tea party. Last week, the Recording Industry Association of America sent out three versions of a six-page response to the study.

In other words, the RIAA is a collection of asswipes and whores. If the contemporary music industry (for the most part) didn't suck so bad, people might buy things. And who wants to pay more for 17 lame songs than for a director's edition of a classic Hollywood movie on DVD? Something needs to change, imho.

Now playing: Country Blue, from the album The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set (Disc 4) by Jimi Hendrix (released 2000)

Friday, April 02, 2004

Baiju, baby

(Reuters) - Beijing's most popular brand of firewater beloved by taxi drivers and political leaders alike may soon be the liquor of choice at fashionable U.S. bars.

Beijing-based Red Star Co had signed a deal with an undisclosed U.S. alcohol sales company to distribute its high-end Diamond Erguotou brand of "baijiu," a high-proof spirit made from sorghum, the China Daily newspaper said Friday.

Company sources revealed the mix and packaging of Diamond Erguotou would be adjusted to accommodate American tastes.

"It may not be too long before Americans get the chance to sample a kind of erguotou that is considered the best of the best by Beijing's more discerning drinkers," the newspaper said.

Lower grades of baijiu are beloved in Beijing and across China for their spicy bite and sweet aftertaste, but there is less domestic demand for smoother, more expensive premium brews.

Red Star already exports its product to around 10 countries in Asia and Europe.

While standard-size bottles of base-grade erguotou cost less than a dollar in Beijing, the company plans to price its top-end white bottle Diamond product at $30 in the United States.

The company did not specify when shipments of Diamond Erguotou to the U.S. distributor would begin.

Now playing: Queen Of Fortune, from the album Forgery by Monks Of Doom (released 1992)

PetrichorFrom the insanely cool Wordsmith mailing list (one of my first email newsletters, from back in the dark ages of 1995)

petrichor (PET-ri-kuhr) noun

The pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.

[From petro- (rock), from Greek petros (stone) + ichor (the fluid that is
supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology). Coined by
researchers I.J. Bear and R.G. Thomas.]

"But, even in the other pieces, her prose breaks into passages of lyrical
beauty that come as a sorely needed revifying petrichor amid the pitiless
glare of callousness and cruelty."
Pradip Bhattacharya; Forest Interludes;; Jul 29, 2001.

Now playing: Kicked In, from the album Foolish by Superchunk (released 1994)