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.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

JPEGS of Death

So be careful of those nude pictures of Tinsley Mortimer you find, especially wardrobe malfunctions at dance clubs, or camel toe shots...
JPEGS of Death:

Be careful if you're using Windows to look at porn you find via the newsgroups this week: IDG reports on the appearance of a batch of new .jpeg images that contain invisible code designed to take over your machine. Frankly, we're not too clear on the technical details, but the article advises you to make sure you have the latest Microsoft patches installed and that your virus definitions are up-to-date. (Of course, you can always use a Mac like we do and surf for porn worry-free.) Who knew that naked boobies could be so lethal?

"Hackers use porn to target Microsoft JPEG flaw" ("JPEG Virus in the Wild?" (

Epson ink jet cleaning

By Russ White (

The Epson printers have some of the best print quality in the industry, the photo quality output is truly impressive. However that quality output does bring with it some unusual idiosyncracies.

Epson's print heads are incorporated into the print carriage, instead of on the ink cartridge itself, like Hewlett Packard printers. The "Micro Piezo" printhead technology that Epson uses is more advanced than the older "Thermal Ink Jet" technology used by HP.

If you have an Epson printer and you leave it turned off for more than a couple of weeks, you run the risk of ink clogging in the printhead nozzles. Normally, a couple (1 to 5) cleaning cycles will clean the printhead, but if after 5 cleaning cycles the nozzles are still clogged, you'll have to get a little more extreme in the cleaning attempts.

The first thing to try is to power up the printer, let it go thru it's cleaning cycle, once you see the printhead move off the "Purge Unit" (the pumping mechanism the printhead sits on when it's turned off), unplug the printer, *VERY GENTLY* slide the printhead away from the purge unit. You'll either see 2 rubber "cups" or a foam pad (depending on model) stained with ink, this is the purge unit.

Take an eyedropper full of isopropyl alcohol and drip the alcohol into the cups/foam, then manually move the printhead back onto the purge unit, let it sit for around 10-15 minutes, then plug the printer back in, run another cleaning cycle, hopefully the alcohol will have dissolved the dried ink in the printhead nozzles.

Epson's ink is alcohol based, so the alcohol won't hurt the printheads. If using alcohol doesn't work, you can try the same trick with warm water. If neither of these work, you'll probably have to send the printer to an Epson service center for a printhead replacement.

To prevent clogged nozzles, make sure you turn your Epson printer on once a week and let it run through the head cleaning. Even if you don't use it regularly, you have to keep the ink moving to prevent clogs.

Epson ink jet cleaning

By Russ White (

The Epson printers have some of the best print quality in the industry, the photo quality output is truly impressive. However that quality output does bring with it some unusual idiosyncracies.

Epson's print heads are incorporated into the print carriage, instead of on the ink cartridge itself, like Hewlett Packard printers. The "Micro Piezo" printhead technology that Epson uses is more advanced than the older "Thermal Ink Jet" technology used by HP.

If you have an Epson printer and you leave it turned off for more than a couple of weeks, you run the risk of ink clogging in the printhead nozzles. Normally, a couple (1 to 5) cleaning cycles will clean the printhead, but if after 5 cleaning cycles the nozzles are still clogged, you'll have to get a little more extreme in the cleaning attempts.

The first thing to try is to power up the printer, let it go thru it's cleaning cycle, once you see the printhead move off the "Purge Unit" (the pumping mechanism the printhead sits on when it's turned off), unplug the printer, *VERY GENTLY* slide the printhead away from the purge unit. You'll either see 2 rubber "cups" or a foam pad (depending on model) stained with ink, this is the purge unit.

Take an eyedropper full of isopropyl alcohol and drip the alcohol into the cups/foam, then manually move the printhead back onto the purge unit, let it sit for around 10-15 minutes, then plug the printer back in, run another cleaning cycle, hopefully the alcohol will have dissolved the dried ink in the printhead nozzles.

Epson's ink is alcohol based, so the alcohol won't hurt the printheads. If using alcohol doesn't work, you can try the same trick with warm water. If neither of these work, you'll probably have to send the printer to an Epson service center for a printhead replacement.

To prevent clogged nozzles, make sure you turn your Epson printer on once a week and let it run through the head cleaning. Even if you don't use it regularly, you have to keep the ink moving to prevent clogs.

White City

The Chicago Tribune's article on the White City of the 1893 exposition is archived, for the most part, here

Piss-poor advertising

From the NYT

RICHARD DEUTSCH, an electrical engineer and former chiropractor, has come up with an invention that looks like a hockey puck with mesh wings, is sensitive to changes in light and has a tendency to go off with even the slightest bit of movement, which can prompt red flashing lights, crunchy guitar chords and a commercial announcement.

The most notable detail, however, is its intended placement: in the urinals of public restrooms.

Dr. Deutsch's marketing creation, the Wizmark, which he calls an "interactive urinal communicator," is one of several new technologies to have intruded into the men's room.

At the National Basketball Association finals in Detroit this year, liquid-activated urinal mats proclaimed "Beat L.A." One Minneapolis-based firm, AllOver Media, has installed 15-inch liquid-crystal-display screens above urinals in Minneapolis and Indianapolis, and plans to do so soon in Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Couple of drinks can help memory (Reuters)

Couple of drinks can help memory (Reuters):
Reuters - Older women who have a drink or two a day have better memory skills than non-drinkers,
University of Texas researchers say.
"Moderate drinkers reported less depression, had higher self-reported health, performed better on instrumental everyday tasks ... and (had) improved memory performance," Dr. Graham McDougall, associate professor of nursing at the university, said in a statement on Wednesday.... As part of the study, a group of women were asked to remember items such as a story, the placement of hidden objects, future intentions and connecting random numbers and letters. Those who drank alcohol in moderation did better on the tests than those who did not drink at all, according to the study. "In addition to their actual performance on tests, the confidence of those who drank was higher and they used more strategies to facilitate memory," McDougall said.


I guess I have to look for a new cheap-o web host for B12 Partners, since my host, Doteasy isn't very concerned about fixing my ftp problems. This is the snotty email I received

We have double checked your account and the log, there is no problem with your account and our server. Please only upload files from your FTP account.

Ok, thanks for nothing. So sorry to bother you.

Google news source

I don't know how long this has been occurring, but apparently some high profile bloggers are now indexed in the Google News engines. For instance, I have had a google news alert for Valerie Plame since the whole Yellowcake incident, and just today noticed a story from Daily Kos at the top of the list.

That is all

Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore's opus is about to be released on DVD, with lots of bonus footage. I think I'm buying a copy and loaning it out to various 'on-the-fence' types in the hopes of converting them to the Anybody-But-Bush camp.

Fahrenheit 9/11
from Amazon

Ralph Reed, liar

Watched the Daily Show last night, and hadn't gotten around to fact checking his guest, Ralph Reed. I got as far as opening up the 9/11 commission pdf, then got distracted by making tuna skewers and slurping sake with D.

[The 9/11 report is available online here]

Ezra Klein of Pandagon beat me to it...
Ralph Reed popped up on the Daily Show tonight. Reed, former director of the Christian Coalition and current director of the Southeast for the Bush campaign, found himself attempting to rebut Stewart's instinct that Iraq was a diversion from the War on Terror. In his quest to do just that, Ralph mentioned page 66 of the 9/11 Commission Report no less than three times. By repeatedly referencing the extensive and incriminating ties supposedly documented on a specific page of the authoritative document, Ralph both employed the old debater's trick of hinting at extensive knowledge by virtue of knowing insignificant details (hence the repetition of the page number) and drilled viewers with the knowledge that the 9/11 Commission had, in fact, found terrific examples of cooperation and thought them important enough to report.

Very good Ralph, very convincing. And while page 66 does talk about the few links between al Qaeda and Iraq, it concludes "to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States."

Ralph deliberately misrepresented the Commission's conclusion (imagine how fucked his point would have been had Stewart whipped out the report and read the three paragraphs aloud), misled Stewart's audience and, quite frankly, sinned. Is this really the sort of guy the Bush campaign wants representing them?


Salvia illegal? who knew?

GRAND TOUR: Two 15-year-old borough males were charged on Sept. 10 with illegal possession of salvia divinorum with intent to distribute by Sgt. Kevin Roake.

I thought it was just an herb.

Blogger status

I don't know who to blame, either blogger or my web host, but I keep getting errors whenever I try to change my template in any way. Mostly, the errors look like:

001 Connection reset on file:2004/09/jpegs-of-death.html

Quite frustrating, as blogger says the problem is my host (, and my host says it is a problem with blogger. Damn these free services anyway!

I just wanted to clean up my page, and maybe alter my template colors.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

JPEGS of Death

JPEGS of Death:

Be careful if you're using Windows to look at porn you find via the newsgroups this week: IDG reports on the appearance of a batch of new .jpeg images that contain invisible code designed to take over your machine. Frankly, we're not too clear on the technical details, but the article advises you to make sure you have the latest Microsoft patches installed and that your virus definitions are up-to-date. (Of course, you can always use a Mac like we do and surf for porn worry-free.) Who knew that naked boobies could be so lethal?

"Hackers use porn to target Microsoft JPEG flaw" (
"JPEG Virus in the Wild?" (

The Moog Synthesizer Makes a Comeback

The Moog Synthesizer Makes a Comeback:
A growing number of contemporary musicians and techno enthusiasts have reignited interest in the Moog, which can synthesize any sound imaginable.

Guardian and Markos Moulitsas

First column by Daily Kos in the Guardian

It was the year 2000, and Democrats were running on a record of peace and prosperity stewarded by the capable, if morally imperfect, Bill Clinton. It was a race that should have been won by their candidate, Al Gore. In fact, it was won by Al Gore, but the Rightwing Noise Machine kept it close enough to be stolen by the Republicans and their allies at the supreme court.

What is the Rightwing Noise Machine? Conservatives in the United States have spent the last 30 years building a vast infrastructure designed to create ideas, distribute them, and sell them to the American public. It spans multiple think tanks and a well-oiled message machine that has a stranglehold on American discourse. From the Weekly Standard, Rush Limbaugh, Wall Street Journal, Drudge Report and Murdoch's Fox News, to (more recently) the mindless drones in the rightwing blogosphere, the right enjoys the ability to control entire news cycles, holding them hostage for entire elections.

Gore learned this the hard way, as he faced a campaign of character assassination pushed by the right and abetted by a lazy-to-hostile press corps: Gore said he was the inspiration for Love Story. Gore invented the Internet. Gore exaggerated. Gore was boring. Of course, all of this criticism was flat-out wrong or grossly out of proportion to the alleged infraction, but it didn't matter: the media landscape offered no respite. In the US, talk radio was and remains a bastion of rightwing lunacy. Television coverage had become an extension of the Republican party, not just because of the influence of Fox News, but because conservatives had "worked the refs" so diligently that mainstream media outlets piled on their conservative "pundits" lest they be accused of "liberal bias". The political internet was dominated by the virulently rightwing Free Republic - still the largest political site to this day.


There was no way for Gore to get out his message, or launch a counteroffensive. Given the circumstances, it was a wonder he won the race, even if our nation's Republican-dominated supreme court handed the keys to the White House to George Bush.

The year 2000 was a wake-up call to many partisans like myself. Surveying the landscape, we could sense the flexing of the Rightwing Noise Machine's muscles, even if we were ignorant of its ultimate size and reach. We had witnessed the goring of Gore, yet sat by, helplessly unable to fight back. We saw the Democratic party get outmanoeuvred in Florida, legally and rhetorically. We looked around for a "liberal media", yet found nothing of the sort.

It would be really sexy and dramatic to claim that a few brave blogger souls set out to build an alternative media structure, but that's not really true. We set out to write for ourselves, to provide an outlet for the angst we felt in a politically hostile environment - where criticising the president on domestic policy was somehow unpatriotic. And we weren't alone: there was a huge audience out there hungry for this content. And suddenly, the seeds of a liberal media blossomed online.

And the blogs had company. While bloggers rode the Howard Dean campaign to greater prominence, more staid, institutional, and moneyed, liberals were also surveying the political landscape. They didn't like what they saw and they began to act.

Liberal thinktanks sprung up to challenge their conservative counterparts. A new liberal talk radio network was launched., created to help Bill Clinton stave off impeachment, went from being a grassroots email list to a multimillion dollar media operation. Americans Coming Together will spend nearly $100m (£55m) to register and turn out Democratic voters this November. Berkeley linguist George Lakoff founded the Rockridge Institute and is making waves in Democratic circles by showing how Republicans have hijacked the language ("tax relief", "partial-birth abortion", "pro-life"), and how Democrats can take it back.

In 2000, Bush outspent Gore $193m to $132m. While Republicans still have a slight advantage in 2004, Democrats won't lose the White House because of money. But Republicans still control the White House, the Senate, the House, the supreme court and a majority of state governorships and legislatures, meaning they can control the agenda, while their Noise Machine can dominate the message and delivery of it.

Liberal groups are fighting back, working to build a parallel infrastructure. My blog receives 350-400,000 visits every day - double that of and comparable to the Guardian's print run. Daily Kos and other bloggers like Atrios, MyDD, TalkLeft, and Juan Cole have become a liberal counterweight to the mainstream media and the Rightwing Noise Machine. We don't have parity, but we're working on it.

We all hope to have an impact in 2004, but there's reality: conservatives have spent 30 years building their infrastructure. We can't be expected to counter that in one year. We do things with an eye to the future, all the while doing our best to spare our country (and the world) four more years of a Bush administration.

Sulu, Malkin and Coulter, oh my

Via the Hamster, we read in the NYDN
Add "Star Trek" cast member George Takei, who played navigator Sulu in the classic television series, to the folks who want to see President Bush replaced. "Bush is responsible for the needless deaths of so many young men and women," Takei says in the upcoming Steppin' Out magazine. "I don't usually agree with Howard Stern's opinions ... but when it comes to the direction of the country, we're on the same page." Takei, who grew up during World War II in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, likens today's heightened security to the conditions of that era: "You never get over being detained in a internment camp. It stays with you for life. ... I can relate to how Arab-Americans must feel."

Take that, Michelle Malkin, uber-bitch. Speaking of this season's edition of Anne Coulter
in yesterday's Salon, James Wolcott has this to say of the two of them:

I'd do a whole section on Michelle Malkin, who I think is one of the nastiest pieces of work around. That is a classic case of the attack poodle machinery at work. She brings out this book, it starts to get talked about on the Internet, talk radio, then she's on all the shows.

[Salon's Kerry Lauerman: She seems completely manufactured. ]

Completely manufactured! There are all these people writing all these very good critiques of her history, in terms of internment of the Japanese, and how she got the history wrong. And I'm sure she did. But to me that's not the real purpose of the book. One of the things I always do with the attack poodles is, I ask myself, why are they doing this now? Why this, why now? One of the things she's doing with the internment is she's laying the groundwork for all sorts of ethnic considerations and profiling. That's part of what she's doing, because if you justify the Japanese internment, you can then justify the internment of other people. If you look at her other writing, she is big on racial profiling.

[Salon's Kerry Lauerman: So how do you think it works? Do you think that Michelle Malkin is smart enough to know that she's laying a groundwork, or do you think someone's coaching her? ]

They don't necessarily need the coaching. You see that with people who follow a guru, the guru teaches up to a point, but then at a certain point the guru doesn't have to say anymore because they know.

I don't want to make it sound as if they're all simply assigned hit men, because a lot of them just are into their shameless careers. One of the things you find out about people is that there is a real addiction to being on TV. And once people start appearing on TV, they can't bear not appearing on TV. If you get to a certain point, the car will pick you up, take you to the studio, you go in, do your bit, the car brings you home. If you watch cable news on cable TV, you see the same people, sometimes the same person on two different networks the same night. That car service is really working overtime.

A lot of what these people do for projects, is simply another way of getting a round of TV appearances. Like Ann Coulter has a book coming out -- it's about something like, "How to Talk to Liberals, if You Must" or something like that, and I thought, that's real desperation, that's sort of when you really run out of topics.

See especially Orcinus ( David Neiwert) for more info on Malkin.

NBA News from all over

Sacramento Kings games to be broadcast on Comcast....

For the first time in franchise history, every Kings preseason and regular-season game will be televised to Sacramento-area viewers under a new deal reached between the Kings and Comcast Cable.

The agreement calls for Comcast to launch a 24-hour regional sports network that features the Kings as the centerpiece, augmented by the Monarchs and other as-yet-determined programming.

which is all well and good, perhaps I'll be able to watch more Sacramento games this year, but this quote is great:

Chris Woods, a Sacramento legislative consultant and DirecTV subscriber, said he's confident the satellite company will reach a deal to carry the new Comcast channel.

"I can't imagine the Maloofs shutting out a portion of their audience," he said.

If no deal occurred, though, Woods said he wouldn't switch to his old cable carrier. "We're happy with DirecTV - and to be honest, I don't know if (new Kings center) Greg Ostertag is enough reason to go back to Comcast."

ha! Of course, Vlade now has some spinal injury and wouldn't have played any better than Ostertag.


Can everyone stop pretending that the upcoming "joint press conference to be attended by the candidates from the major parties" is a "Presidential Debate". Debate means vigorous discussion of issues. If you cannot ask any follow up questions, or even address the other candidate directly, how is that a debate?

If you have any doubts, check out Bill Moyers interview with George Farah, or read Farah's book:

No Debate


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Auto manufacturers fight yesterday's battle

Auto manufacturer lobbyists think Copernicus's theory needs more study....
California Backs Plan for Big Cut in Car Emissions:
If the plan survives legal challenges, it would force automakers to increase sharply the fuel efficiency of millions of vehicles.
Industry officials said the plan would lead them to restrict sales of large sport utility vehicles and high- performance sports cars in the state. Regulators, including the state's staff of engineers, sharply disputed that and said the industry already had much of the technology to comply on the shelf or, in the case of gas-electric hybrid cars, on the road.
So, instead of attempting to seize marketshare by building more efficient cars, auto makers plan to bog the proposal down in lawsuits and complaints. ...
But the plan still faces an expected legal challenge on multiple fronts from automakers and could also be blocked by the Bush administration. For years, the industry has tied up previous state efforts to regulate air quality, but regulators say that they have learned from those battles and that they believe they will prevail in court. Automakers, in sometimes combative testimony, strongly opposed the measure, saying it would be far more expensive than the state projected and that regulators are straying far beyond their traditional role of curbing local air pollution.The industry also dismissed as unproved the board staff's presentation of a broad overview of scientific evidence on the health effects of global warming. The regulation would require the industry to cut roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide and other emissions scientists have linked to climate change trends. The standards would phase in from the 2009 to the 2016 model years, with each automaker's annual new car and truck offerings required to meet increasingly stringent limits.
On Friday, after two days of hearing, the state Air Resources Board, which is appointed by the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, voted 8 to 0 to approve the plan."California cannot solve this problem of global climate change by itself,'' said Alan C. Lloyd, chairman of the air board, "but we can certainly do our share."...The board, along with environmentalists, said the auto industry offered no alternatives, no cooperation and had a history of understating what it could do. "We have wanted to work with the auto companies, and we have got nothing coming back in return," Mr. Lloyd said during the hearing. John DeCicco, an engineer and a senior fellow at Environmental Defense, said, "Vehicles are not going to be different in ways that matter to consumers."
Yes, lets reiterate that sentence, "the auto industry offered no alternatives, no cooperation and had a history of understating what it could do." and here's my favorite quote,
A top auto industry lobbyist brushed aside the presentation, calling the theory of global warming "a big if." The lobbyist, Fred Webber, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group that includes Toyota, General Motors and all of the major international automakers except Nissan and Honda, said in a statement: "Californians would see no health benefits under this regulation." He added in an interview during a break at the hearing: "I come from Maine and we had one of the coldest winters on record. It was very, very cold. A lot of people are scratching their beans about whether global warming is occurring.
So, because it was cold last winter in Maine, global warming (or as it should be called, global climate change) is a 'big if'. No doubt this years Florida hurricane season is unrelated to 'global climate change', also rising sea levels 'need more study as well'. And don't forget there's that dag-blasted 'theory' of evolution. Probably needs more study, I'd assume. Oh, and that whole 'Copernican' thing, we should study that too, because I bet you really think the Sun rotates around the earth and not the other way around. Right? Right?

Prescott Bush and the Nazis

From the Guardian, we read, in part:
George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.

The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.

His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.

The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The debate over Prescott Bush's behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.

Remarkably, little of Bush's dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush's business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W, as he seeks re-election.

While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.

Bush was also on the board of at least one of the companies that formed part of a multinational network of front companies to allow Thyssen to move assets around the world.

Thyssen owned the largest steel and coal company in Germany and grew rich from Hitler's efforts to re-arm between the two world wars. One of the pillars in Thyssen's international corporate web, UBC, worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands. More tantalising are Bush's links to the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border. During the war, the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The ownership of CSSC changed hands several times in the 1930s, but documents from the US National Archive declassified last year link Bush to CSSC, although it is not clear if he and UBC were still involved in the company when Thyssen's American assets were seized in 1942.

Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush's involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system and a helpful and dedicated staff at both the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Archives at the University of Maryland.

Read more

Thanks to the American SCLM (so-called Liberal Media), we've already heard of these charges. Errr, well, as it were. Back to hurricane coverage after these messages.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hendrix estate

Judge Settles Long Family Feud Over Jimi Hendrix's Estate:
A Seattle judge ruled Friday that Jimi Hendrix's stepsister and her cousin had mismanaged his estate.
But the ruling, coming after a colorful seven-week trial that drew many Hendrix fans to a courthouse in downtown Seattle, Mr. Hendrix's hometown, was also a blow to his brother, Leon. At issue in the case was the will of their father, Al, who received the rock star's money after Jimi Hendrix died without a will in 1970 in London. Leon Hendrix was seeking to overturn his father's will and gain control of about a quarter of the $80 million estate. Judge Jeffrey M. Ramsdell of King County Superior Court ruled that Leon Hendrix was not entitled to anything from his father's will, other than a single gold record left to him when his father died in 2002. Leon Hendrix's struggles with drug addiction, his failure to complete a treatment program, his unwillingness to work and his continual demands for money were the major reason Al Hendrix cut him from his will, Judge Ramsdell also said in his decision.The judge also ruled that Janie Hendrix, 43, Jimi's stepsister, had breached her duties as trustee of the estate by failing to make payments to the 10 family members for whom trusts were created in Al Hendrix's will.A family feud over the will has raged since Al Hendrix left control of the estate to Ms. Hendrix; a cousin, Robert Hendrix; and some of Al Hendrix's children, but not Leon. Ms. Hendrix went on to start a multimillion-dollar company called Experience Hendrix. The ruling on Friday allows her to retain control of the company, but she will no longer have a say in how trust payments are disbursed to the rest of the family.


Via Talkleft, we note that double blind witness lineups are 'comin' to town....

Chicago Tribune
Chicago detectives have begun following new rules for police lineups under a pilot program intended to reduce the chances of their behavior prompting witnesses to identify a particular suspect.

Under the trial guidelines, the police officer showing people or photographs to a witness cannot be an investigator on the case or know which person is the suspect.

Also, witnesses see only one potential suspect at a time instead of choosing from several at once, according to guidelines forwarded to Harrison Area detectives by Chief of Detectives James Malloy.

Former Gov. George Ryan's Commission on Capital Punishment recommended the change in its report on death penalty reform in 2002.

The intent of the new guidelines is to eliminate false identifications of suspects, especially those tainted by police suggesting a certain person, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Whatever one might say about George Ryan (and one could say a lot, mostly in sentences containing the word, corruption), he obviously got the message that reforms in the justice & penal system were long overdue. Kudo's to him, and his Commission on Capital Punishment.

Is It Rolling, Bob

Is it Rolling Bob- Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan?
Is It Rolling Bob?

I'm a sucker for anything Bob related, even dub versions of Dylan songs. Turns out to be a pretty good album. The booklet talks extensively about the other Bob too (Mr. Marley, another genius), but only mentions The Wailers cover of Like A Rolling Stone (which is actually very good, more ska than reggae, probably because was recorded ca. 1966). The album would be better if it had some Marley or Tosh versions of Zimmerman songs, but hey, check it out anyway....

and isn't that a great title (obligatory Nashville Skyline reference)

New Years

on the recent Rosh Hashanah D&I spent several hours in a shul. She was brought up in Conservative Judaism, which means, as far as I can tell, that the majority (maybe 3/4ths) of the service is in Hebrew. Seeing as I only know 10 or 15 words of Hebrew, this means much of the service is a mystery to me. Also, as opposed to Orthodox practice, I could sit next to D.

The shul we belong to is very small, friendly, and unpretentious, located in Evanston. I would estimate the congregations average age to be in the mid-to-upper 60's. This time, we sat next to the Rabbi's wife, who apparently has published a book

Lala's story
called LaLa's Story.

From Kirkus Review/Amazon
Another entry in Northwestern's ``Jewish Lives'' series... this volume recounts the experiences of a young Polish-Jewish girl between 1939 and 1945. Fishman (n‚e Clara Weintraub) was the daughter of secular, comfortable, if not prosperous, Russian Jews. Her father was a successful jazz musician in Lvov and, for a time, head of the musicians' union in that city; her mother's family had enjoyed some success in business. The Weintraubs' world was shattered repeatedly, first by pogroms, then by the Russian Revolution, and finally, and most appallingly, by the Holocaust. At first, fate was kind to them, with Lvov falling under the jurisdiction of the Red Army, but when Hitler invaded Russia and the Russians were driven out of Poland by the Wehrmacht, the round-ups and mass murders began. Lala avoided the fate that befell most of her family because she was resourceful, spunky, and a blue-eyed blonde. She managed to successfully pass for a Polish Catholic under the fictional name Urszula Krzyzanowska, narrowly avoiding arrest and certain death on numerous occasions. Like so many other recent Holocaust memoirs, this volume serves as an important reminder of the cataclysm's terrible cost, of the sheer viciousness with which the Nazis attacked not only the Jews but also the civilian population of Poland. Indeed, the most riveting section of the book is a lengthy recounting of the first day of the war, the chaos, noise, dirt, smoke, blood, and wreckage, as experienced by a teenage girl. At its best, Lala's Story reads like a good thriller. At its worst it is perfunctory but never dull. Among the better recent Holocaust memoirs, with a firm grounding in Polish-Jewish history and an admirable frankness that makes no effort to disguise its heroine's human foibles.

sounds interesting, I'll probably buy it for D (her family was from Vilna)

Slang and curse words

One of the problems with learning a language is that you learn stilted speech, and you don't learn those words that are a major condiment in most conversations between native speakers, namely curse words. Unless you are some sort of language purist or fundamentalist, of course, but if you are, then you aren't reading this Goddamn blog then are you?

Any-who, The Alternative Dictionaries is a compendium of curse-words in many languages. Check it out.

What is this?

The Alternative dictionaries are a collection of various forms of "bad language" from many languages. At the moment, there are 2743 entries in 162 dictionaries. This is a collaborative project with contributions from a lot of people. The pages are developed and edited by Hans-Christian Holm.

I can only vouch for English, and Yiddish, and a smattering of Spanish, but the Italian sounds good, so I'm studying up.

After Admitting Flaw, Kryptonite Faces Lawsuits

From Reuters:After Admitting Flaw, Kryptonite Faces Lawsuits: SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Lock maker Kryptonite and parent Ingersoll-Rand face at least five proposed class-action lawsuits in the United States and Canada after admitting this week that popular U-shaped locks have a design flaw that allows them to be opened with a ball point pen.

Doh! what sort of engineering B.S. was this anyway, able to open a lock so easily?

Albertson's sued

Albertson's sued again

Insignia Systems Inc. said that it has sued media giant News Corp. and grocer Albertson's Inc. for improperly shutting it out of in-store advertising deals. The Maple Grove company, which develops promotional products such as point-of-purchase services to retailers, said that News Corp.'s in-store marketing subsidiary has acquired a monopoly power in the market and is working to exclude Insignia. The suit alleges that News Corp. used long-term exclusive contracts with "large, economically unjustified" payments to retailers to entice them. The complaint also alleges that Albertson's conspired with News Corp. by encouraging and accepting such payments. The suit seeks injunctive relief and is asking for antitrust damages, which would triple any damages determined at trial.


More words we know, love, and over-use in the course of a normal day...from Wordsmith

schlimazel or shlimazel (SHLI-mah-zuhl)
noun Someone prone to having extremely bad luck. [From Yiddish, from shlim (bad, wrong) + mazl (luck). A related term is Hebrew mazel tov (congratulations or best wishes).]

A schlimazel can be concisely described as a born loser. No discussion of schlimazel could be complete without mentioning his counterpart: schlemiel, a habitual bungler. They go together: A schlemiel is one who always spills his soup, schlimazel is the one on whom it always lands. A schlimazel's toast always falls butter-side down. A schlemiel always butters his toast on both sides.

"No one would deny (Virginia Governor
Mark) Warner took office under lousy conditions - facing an opposition-party legislature during a recession - which qualifies him as a schlimazel." A. Barton Hinkle; So, is the Governor a Schlemiel or a Schlimazel?; Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia); Jan 28, 2003.

"He (Uncle Danny) ticked off the names on the Pirates' roster. 'Abrams, Gordon, Kravitz, Levy - what are we running, a
shlimazel farm?'" Clarke Blaise; Sitting Shivah With Cousin Benny; Salmagundi (Saratoga Springs, New York); Fall 1999.

Facing trial, Murphy out as Rockets TV analyst

ESPN:NBA News - Facing trial, Murphy out as Rockets TV analyst:

Rockets searching for replacement for Murphy

HOUSTON -- NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy, facing trial on charges of sexually abusing five of his daughters more than 10 years ago, has been dismissed as the Houston Rockets' television analyst.

NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy, facing trial on charges of sexually abusing five of his daughters more than 10 years ago, has been dismissed as the Houston Rockets' television analyst.

"This was a decision based on the best interests of all parties," Tad Brown, Rockets senior vice president of sales, marketing and broadcasting, said Friday. "Calvin has had a long relationship with the Rockets and we feel that his energies need to be focused on dealing with his legal matters."

Murphy, 55, was indicted July 1 and named in six counts -- three of aggravated sexual assault and three of indecency with a child. He remains free on $20,000 bond and has insisted he is innocent, contending the allegations stem from a family battle over money.

Murphy was a guard on the Rockets from 1970 to 1983 and worked as TV analyst for the club for the past 14 seasons.

Conviction could get him five years to life in prison for the aggravated offenses and two to 20 years for the indecency violations. He also could be eligible for probation because he does not have a criminal history.

Murphy, who averaged 17.9 points during his NBA career, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame 11 years ago and the Rockets retired his jersey number.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

TalkLeft Censored By Paypal

TalkLeft Censored By Paypal:

Unbelievable. This e-mail from paypal was in TalkLeft's email box today. Shorter version: TalkLeft's paypal account is restricted because of a link to a beheading video.... they have blocked my access to my paypal account, which contains funds contributed by TalkLeft readers. Unless I remove the item Paypal finds offensive, they will not release the funds to me. That's censorship. Reporting on crime news requires reporting on graphic situations. TalkLeft's mention of the site carrying the video included a a statment of my opinion that the beheadings are despicable and I would not be viewing them. The link I provided was not to the video itself, only to the site that carried it. I even included a warning that the site contained other offensive material. If I have to restrict what I write about or suffer the seizure of TalkLeft's funds, that's censorship.

Crazy. The problem is of course that Paypal/Ebay can put all sorts of weasel-words in their Terms of Service, and point to them as an enforceable contract.

Alcohol Tied to 75,000 Deaths a Year in U.S. - Study

And in contrast, number of deaths attributed to marijuana: 0

Alcohol Tied to 75,000 Deaths a Year in U.S. - S
tudy ATLANTA (Reuters) - Alcohol abuse kills some 75,000 Americans each year and shortens the lives of these people by an average of 30 years, a U.S. government study suggested on Thursday. [Reuters: US Domestic News]

and, in unrelated news, I've been using the public beta of ecto v.2.29 for a day or so, and can recommend it to anyone interested in a sleek, well-designed web-blog editor. Thanks, Adriaan!

Sid and the Bubble Boy

Sidney Blumenthal speaks some truth about the Bubble Boy....

The news is grim, but the president is "optimistic." The intelligence is sobering, but he tosses aside "pessimistic predictions." His opponent says he has "no credibility," but the president replies that it is his rival who is "twisting in the wind." The secretary general of the United Nations speaks of the "rule of law," but Bush talks before a mute General Assembly of "a new definition of security." Between the rhetoric and the reality lies the campaign.

A reliable source who has just returned after assessing the facts on the ground for U.S. intelligence services told me that in Iraq, U.S. commanders have plans for this week and the next, but that there is "no overarching strategy." The New York Times reports an offensive is in the works to capture the insurgent stronghold of
Fallujah -- after the election. In the meantime, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other al-Qaida-linked terrorists operate from there at will, as they have for more than a year. The president speaks of new Iraqi security forces, but not even half of the U.S. personnel have been assigned to the headquarters of the Multinational Security Transition Command.

Bush's vision of the liberation of Iraq as the restaging of the liberation of France -- justified by his unearthing of Saddam Hussein's fearful weapons of mass destruction; paid for by the flow of cheap oil; and leading to the establishment of democracy, regime change in Iran and Syria, and the quiescence of stunned Palestinians -- has melted before harsh facts. But reality cannot be permitted to obscure the image. The liberation is "succeeding," he insists, and only pessimists cannot see it.

In July, the CIA delivered to the president a new
National Intelligence Estimate that details three gloomy scenarios of the future of Iraq ranging up to civil war. Perhaps it was his reading of the NIE that prompted Bush to remark in August that the war on terrorism could not be won, a judgment he swiftly reversed. But at the United Nations, Bush held a press conference at which he rebuffed the latest intelligence: "The CIA laid out a -- several scenarios that said life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better. And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like."

With that, Bush explained that for him intelligence is not to be used to inform decision making but to be accepted or rejected to advance an ideological and political agenda. His dismissal is an affirmation of the politicization and corruption of intelligence that rationalized the war.

In his stump speech, repeated word for word across the country, Bush says that he invaded Iraq because of "the lesson of September the 11th." WMD go unmentioned; now the only reason Bush offers is Saddam Hussein as an agent of terrorism. "He was a sworn enemy of the United States of America; he had ties to terrorist networks. Do you remember Abu Nidal? He's the guy that killed Leon Klinghoffer. Leon Klinghoffer was murdered because of his religion. Abu Nidal was in Baghdad, as was his organization."

The period of Klinghoffer's murder in 1985 on the Achille Lauro by Abu Abbas, in fact, coincided with the period of U.S. courtship of Saddam, marked by the celebrated visits of Donald Rumsfeld, then Middle East envoy. The United States actively collaborated with Iraq in intelligence exchanges and materially supported Saddam in his decade-long war with Iran (which ended in 1988), including authorizing the sale of biological agents for Saddam's laboratories, a diversification of his WMD capability.
The policy of courting Saddam continued until his invasion of Kuwait. ... Realism prevailed; Saddam's power was subdued and drastically reduced. It was the greatest accomplishment of the first President Bush. When he honored the U.N. resolution, the credibility of the United States in the region was enormously enhanced, enabling serious movement on the languishing Middle East peace process. Now the second President Bush has undone the foundation of his father's work, which was built upon by President Clinton.

The success of Bush's campaign depends on the containment of any contrary perception of reality. He must
evade, deny and suppress it. His true opponent is not his Democratic foe -- called unpatriotic and the candidate of al-Qaida by the vice president -- but events. Bush's latest vision is his shield against them. He invokes the power of positive thinking, as taught by Emile Coue, guru of cheerful auto-suggestion in the giddy 1920s, before the crash, who urged mental improvement through the constant repetition of "Every day in every way I am getting better and better."

It was during this era of illusion that T.S. Eliot wrote "The Hollow Men": Between the idea / And the reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the Shadow."

Amazing, really, that Bush ever even became the President

Morphine Apparently in Your Head

Wired: Morphine Apparently in Your Head:

Researchers find that humans produce their own morphine. If naysayers finally believe it, the discovery could boost pain and addiction research. By Kristen Philipkoski.

Who denies it anyway? Those same so-called scientists who think evolution is a theory? and Global Warming/climate change is in need of 'more study'? Pish-posh.

Meinhart Zenk and his colleagues at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany found that human cells grown in a dish synthesized morphine.

"Without doubt, human cells can produce the alkaloid morphine," Zenk wrote in the paper. "The studies presented here serve as a platform for the exploration of the function of 'endogenous morphine' in the neurosciences and immunosciences."

RoyGBiv from the album "Music Has the Right to Children" by Boards of Canada

I like this title

Despite Bush Flip-Flops, Kerry Wears the Label:

The president has reversed his policy on issues ranging from free trade to same-sex marriage over the past four years, but Democrats say their candidate is the only one being caricatured as a flip-flopper.

Of course, any non-partisan observer, say a being from another planet, would have made this observation months ago, but hey, WaPo, welcome to the party!

Reel Around The Fountain from the album "Hatful Of Hollow" by Smiths

Department of Mickey Mouse

Borrowed from Hesiod


George Bush, mouseketeer

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Swaggart, jackass

Can this be any less of an apology? Swaggart better hope that the next prostitute he picks up is not a (Bi) tranny....

[In a] broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."

"And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

Today, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God — it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology.

Toronto Star

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

student loans

News Item

The White House could have closed a loophole through which government is paying hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary subsidies to student loan companies are billing even though the federal government nearly a billion dollars, but chose not to.White House has the authority to cut them off.

New York Times: Business 9/21/04 11:00 PM By GREG WINTER

Department of Oh Really

I'm sure everyone is very surprised at this tidbit....another Dog Bites Man news event, but hey, better than discussing kerning anymore, right?

EPA Wording Found To Mirror Industry's

For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants.
The passages state that the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to regulate other hazardous toxins emitted by power plants, such as lead and arsenic. Several attorneys general, as well as some environmental groups, have argued that the Clean Air Act compels the EPA to regulate these emissions as well as mercury.

The revelations concerning language written by Latham & Watkins could broaden an ongoing probe by the EPA's inspector general into whether the industry had an undue influence on the agency's proposed mercury rule, legislative critics of the proposed rule said.

Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and one of the senators who called for the probe last spring, said the revelation that the EPA adopted the same wording as an industry source "no longer comes as much of a surprise."

"The Bush administration continues to let industry write the rules on pollution, and this is just one more example of how they abuse the public trust," he said.

Iraq War Leads Jewish Voters To Kerry, Poll Finds

Iraq War Leads Jewish Voters To Kerry, Poll Finds

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) is gaining support among Jewish voters as growing numbers disapprove of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, according to a poll commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.

Senate Panel Approves Goss as New C.I.A. Chief

Senate Panel Approves Goss as New C.I.A. Chief

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12 to 4 today to approve the nomination of Representative Porter J. Goss to become the new director of central intelligence.
[New York Times: Politics]

bleh. I know John Ashcroft was confirmed too, but still.

intentional delusions

or else Mr. Bush is confused. My money is on intentional mistake. Just like Rumsfeld conflating Bin Laden and Hussein
Yahoo! News - Bush Again Confuses IDs of Two Terrorists

President Bush might have been able to say it was simply a slip of the tongue when he confused two terrorists in a campaign speech Monday in New Hampshire. Trouble is, he's made the same misstatement at least 10 times before.
During remarks in Derry, N.H., Bush said the late terrorist Abu Nidal killed Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish American who died after being tossed — along with his wheelchair — off a hijacked cruise liner named Achille Lauro in 1985.

"Do you remember Abu Nidal?" Bush asked the crowd. "He's the guy that killed Leon Klinghoffer. Leon Klinghoffer was murdered because of his religion. Abu Nidal was in Baghdad, as was his organization."

He repeated the mistake Monday evening at a campaign event in New York City: "Abu Nidal was a cold-blooded terrorist killer who killed Leon Klinghoffer."

Actually, it was Abul Abbas, the leader of a violent Palestinian group, who killed Klinghoffer.

The White House had no immediate comment on the mix-up.

New Palast DVD

>Get the new BBC/Palast film, "Bush Family Fortunes: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"

"The inspiration behind Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9-11' ... taking Moore ten steps farther"
(Philadelphia Metro) is the original, blistering documentary from BBC London, "Bush
Family Fortunes," updated by investigative reporter Greg Palast with the latest news
that the Fox in the news house won't let you see.

Find out why Senator John Edwards calls the film's investigation of the theft of the
election in Florida, "stunning, disturbing, important" ... and why Katherine Harris
calls reporter Palast, "twisted and maniacal."

"Upsets all the right people." - Noam Chomsky.
"You must see this film." - Jesse Jackson.

Watch a segment then get it -- right now -- at all procedes go to our not-for-profit investigative fund.

This 70-minute film follows the award-winning Palast BBC investigative team on the
trail of the Bush family. Did America's President block the investigation of the
bin Laden family: Palast shows you the FBI 199-I document. Did Little George weasel
his way out of Vietnam? Palast shows you the crucial document -- the proof -- that
CBS missed.

Want to know why our kids' blood is spilling all over Baghdad? "You have to see this
film just for the secret Iraq documents and the exclusive interview with General Jay
Garner." (Janeane Garofalo, Air America.)

Music by platinum rocker Moby.

Plus, on the DVD, interactive segments and documents from Palast's New York Times
bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

Abu Ghraib and the US Penal system, part the 34th

From the Trib's Eric Zorn, we read of more Abu Ghraib-type techniques
This month, Qadri's attorneys released copies of surveillance video from the Evanston Police Department showing an officer with blood on his hands after Qadri emerged with the officer from a bathroom stall sporting a fresh, gory head wound.

The video shows Evanston Officer Gus Horemis leading Qadri, 21, into the station around 11:30 p.m. on March 10 after arresting him for allegedly making an illegal right turn on red and not having a valid driver's license. Horemis takes Qadri briefly into an anteroom, then, accompanied by two other officers, leads him away. Qadri's hands are cuffed behind his back at all times.

Written police reports allege that Qadri was profane and abusive. Qadri says he was simply asking to be given his tickets and released. The video has no soundtrack to sort out this discrepancy, but in Qadri's favor, significant portions of the written reports conflict with the recorded images.

For example, Horemis wrote: "I then saw [Qadri] move toward the toilet area. And as I and [Evanston Police Officer Michael] Yorty moved in to secure him, he kicked at the toilet ... pushing with [such] force backwards as to again strike Yorty causing Yorty to fall back against the wall."

What the video shows is Qadri being hustled into the bathroom by three officers and being shoved sideways into a toilet stall--the one area in the station where cameras are not trained. Horemis follows him in. Twenty-two seconds later, a second officer enters the stall.

After 10 seconds, that officer emerges casually and appears to direct the third officer to make sure no one is in the other stall.

After 1 minute and 14 seconds, Horemis shoves Qadri out of the stall and into a wall. Qadri slumps onto a bench, still cuffed behind his back, his shirt spattered with blood from a fresh cut on his forehead that emergency room doctors later closed with six stitches.

"I was able to finally bring [Qadri] to the bench and sit him down, but he kicked at me and caused me a small cut to my left shin," Horemis wrote.

The video shows no kicking, only Qadri trying several times to stand and officers slamming him back down into the wall, usually with a hand at or around his neck. Body language all around suggests that Qadri and Horemis are having words.

"By that point I was snapping [at them]," Qadri said Monday in a telephone interview from his West Rogers Park home. "`What the [expletive] is your guys' problem? You're going to hear from my lawyer.'"

And hear they did, in a 10-count federal lawsuit filed Sept. 2 by the Chicago firm of Loevy & Loevy. The allegations and the video received a one-day burst of media attention. The office of Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine said an investigation of the incident was ongoing, and Evanston Police Chief Frank Kaminski said two of the officers have been on unpaid administrative leave since March.

What's next? Papillon reincarnated at Olive Park?

Have we really decided, as a society, that prisoners renounce their humanity by virtue of being arrested?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Bring your own water

If you cannot, then make sure the steward opens the water bottle in front of you (they often refill the "Evian" bottle in the back with tap water)

U.S. Says Drinking Water on Some Planes Contaminated
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A surprising number of drinking water systems on domestic and foreign commercial aircraft tested this summer by the government did not meet federal standards because they were contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria, regulators said on Monday. [Reuters: US Domestic News]

Download music

I'm with Steve Gilliard, I am waiting for the artists to realize that selling music directly to consumer is the way to go: cut out the corrupt middleman (record labels), and sell tunes cheaply.

As Steve says,
One day, a major band is just going to do this all themselves, release a digital album, make you pay $5 to download and walk away with fists fulls of cash. Why should Bruce Springsteen remain indebted to a record company? Ben Affleck isn't owned by a studio. He pays for his own publicist and PR people, and he's not arguing over how much he's owed.

Why? Because actors act like businessmen and musicians don't. They whine about theft when they should see the means of liberation is at hand. The record companies are going to fail like the old studios did. It's too expensive on both ends to control the talent and the production studios. It's a lot cheaper to partner with Tom Hanks than to own him.

Playlist: That's The Way The Money Goes
Regardless of whether the money Apple takes in from the iTunes Music Store goes entirely to overhead, many have wondered exactly how much of a $.99 download makes it way into an artist's pocket. According to the iTunes Artist-Producer Royalty Calculation document prepared by Los Angeles entertainment attorney Dina LaPolt -- and distributed at a recent national Association of Record Industry Professionals panel -- artists make less than a third of what Apple keeps and less than a fifth of what the major labels realize.

The document states that $.34 of that $.99 song never leaves Apple, major labels collect $.55 per song, and the artist receives the remaining $.10. According to the panelists, independent artists do a bit better.

While this may seem a pittance considering the artist's role in the work, such royalty rates are common with "real" recordings released on audio CDs. Traditionally, artists receive between $1.14 and $1.17 per CD. If a CD contains 15 songs, the artist can expect to receive a little less than $.08 per song."

Creative Commons and Wired

Looking forward to this issue of Wired (November) - This Compilation CD Is Meant
To Be Copied and Shared
16 high-profile artists, many of them signed to the same global music companies that have brought the lawsuits, are participating in a project that will allow music lovers to freely copy and trade some new songs without risking legal retaliation.

Next month, songs by the Beastie Boys, David Byrne and 14 others will appear on a compilation CD whose contents are meant to be copied freely online, remixed or sampled by other artists for use in their own new recordings. "The Wired CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share." was compiled by the editors of Wired magazine, of San Francisco, as an experimental implementation of a new kind of intellectual-property license called Creative Commons. About 750,000 copies of the disc are to be distributed free with the magazine's November issue. The disc also will be handed out to audience members at a benefit concert by Mr. Byrne and others tomorrow night in New York.

Creative Commons is named for the nonprofit group that came up with the concept for the license. The Creative Commons license lets the copyright holder spell out which rights it wishes to reserve and which are being waived without waiting for a permission request. That is a contrast to the typical arrangement, in which the copyright holder declares all rights reserved, forcing people who want to use the work to hire lawyers to seek permission.

In this case, all 16 participants are allowing their work to be shared on the Internet. Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson describes Creative Commons as a way of declaring that the recordings come with "some rights reserved," as opposed to the traditional "all rights reserved." The new license was developed by Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, who also contributes to the magazine, which is owned by Advance Publications Inc.


Beastie Boys 'Now Get Busy'

David Byrne 'My Fair Lady'

Zap Mama 'Wadidyusay?'

My Morning Jacket 'One Big Holiday'

Spoon 'Revenge!'

Gilberto Gil 'Oslodum'

Dan the Automator 'Relaxation Spa Treatment'

Le Tigre 'Fake French'

Paul Westerberg 'Looking Up in Heaven'

Cornelius 'Wataridori 2'

Matmos 'Action at a Distance'

The move comes more than a year after the Recording Industry Association of America filed its first lawsuits against people distributing music free over peer-to-peer networks. In the debate over intellectual-property rights that is at the heart of the music-piracy issue, not everyone is so sure it is a good idea for artists to cede any rights. Jay L. Cooper, a music attorney who counts Sheryl Crow among his clients, says he would hesitate to advise a client to issue a song under a Creative Commons license, which he describes as "a blank check." "You don't want to make it for all time," he said. "What if you change your mind in two years?"

If Creative Commons were to catch on more widely, artists might decide to let some of their music be traded free on the Web to promote concerts and related merchandise, as well as to drive sales of CDs and digital tracks protected by standard copyright notices.

In an interview, Mr. Byrne compared online file-sharing services to free public libraries, and pointed out that those institutions once were a new concept, too. He said: "If you were a publisher, you didn't say, 'Oh no, Mr. Carnegie, don't go build those libraries -- it's going to destroy our business.' "

Mr. Byrne is signed to Warner Music Group's Nonesuch Records. He owned the rights to the song he contributed to the compilation, "My Fair Lady," because it had never been included on one of his releases with the label.

Wired's editors spent months shuttling to New York and Los Angeles, working to convince artists, their managers, record labels and lawyers that it was in all their interests to give away some of the valuable intellectual property that the industry has argued for years it must keep under lock and key. In the end, the magazine approached 50 to 60 acts, including Jay-Z, Moby and Coldplay, to find 16 participants. The musicians who participated contributed their efforts, as a promotional gambit.

"The artists were relatively easy to get on board," Mr. Anderson said. "The labels have different priorities. Some of them, once briefed, got it, and some of them never really saw the advantages."

Saturday, September 18, 2004


Appropriately unearched in memorium of Mr. Hendrix's deathSeattle Post-Intelligencer: Swedish television unearths Hendrix concert from 1969:
Technicians at Sweden's public television have unearthed an unexpected delight for music lovers: the complete original recording of a Jimi Hendrix concert in Stockholm from 1969 on a tape long thought to have been destroyed.

The unmarked tape was recently found stashed on a shelf deep inside station's enormous archives during a project to transfer archived material from tape and film to digital, SVT spokeswoman Catarina Wilson said Friday.

"They looked through the tape, and found it had some Jimi Hendrix," Wilson said. "Then they saw it had a lot of Jimi Hendrix - the entire concert, which is what makes this tape unique."

The black-and-white recording from Stockholm's concert hall was ordered destroyed by a producer in 1969, a time when it was too expensive to keep all raw footage, Wilson said.

Friday, September 17, 2004

American Express

American Express has decided to render their website incompatible with OS X browsers & Quicken. Schmucks. Worked fine until about 2 weeks ago. You would think that a lot of Amex types would use Macs, but I guess they don't really give a shit. I'd kvetch more, but I'm already disgusted.

Pink Whiskey?

I dunno, this might not be what I'm looking for in a late night drink. I might think the pink elephants are after me. ahem.

Entertainment Ireland :
After waiting 20 years for it to mature, the staff of Bruichladdich were understandably keen to sample the latest batch of their single malt whisky. But there were red faces all round at the distillery on the island of Islay last week when they decanted the first drops - and saw that it was bright pink.

Five thousand bottles of the rosy-hued spirit go on sale this week with the nickname "Flirtation" after what distillery bosses are describing as a five-week "liaison dangereuse" with some red wine barrels.

While traditionalists may be spluttering into their tumblers at the idea of a pink whisky, experts are predicting that younger consumers, female drinkers and the pink pound could be tempted by the €100-a-bottle tipple.

Bruichladdich, which prides itself on its natural production methods, decided to finish its second edition of The Twenty in wine barrels to distinguish it from the award-winning first edition, which sold out soon after it was released in 2001. After 1,040 weeks in bourbon casks, the whisky spent just five in Mourvedre wine casks, an experiment designed to add a suggestion of fruit flavour that resulted in unexpected effects.

In search of "a dram that was a little different", Mark Reynier, the managing director of Bruichladdich, a former wine merchant who bought the small distillery with four colleagues in 2000, tracked down the barrels of Mourvedre.

"When we found some of these barrels we thought it would give it the richness of a sherry cask but with a spiciness to it," he said.

"We thought we could put these two together and get a little extra nuance of fruit. But by mistake we have got this pink colour. It is an aberration - a very pleasant aberration."

According to the company's website, "the result of this dalliance is that the unexpected profound spirit shows the gentle nuances of alluring fruit flavours, with just a hint of subtle spice aromas adding to the overall multi-layered experience."

Mr Reynier denied that "Flirtation" was a marketing gimmick, insisting it had been the result of a genuine mistake in the production process that he hoped they could turn to their advantage. "This is a sensational whisky for connoisseurs. It's a very complex, very profound whisky that has a slight nuance of fruit to it. This is a serious whisky, it's not a frivolous thing. It has caused a huge furore in the industry. Half the people are saying 'what the hell are they playing at' while the other half are saying 'why didn't we think of that first?'

link courtesy of the ever essential Too Many Chefs food digestion section

Training for Abu Ghraib

From today's Tribune:

Issuing a damning assessment of one of Cook County's most powerful politicians, a special grand jury that investigated the mass beating of jail inmates by guards concluded Sheriff Michael Sheahan "engaged in a not-too-skillful exercise of deliberate ignorance even as his people failed miserably in their responsibilities."

Addressing a brutal episode in 1999 in which an elite squad of guards with unmuzzled dogs systematically punched and stomped dozens of inmates, the grand jury concluded that high-ranking sheriff's officials--though not Sheahan himself--covered up the beating and subsequent investigation.

"He made sure he knew little-to-nothing so that he would be unable to deal with specific issues that arose," the grand jury said in a 150-page report released Thursday

So, is anyone willing to take odds on whether or not some of the similar techniques were exported from the American gulag, at places like Cook County Correctional to Abu Ghraib?

eudora notes

from the Eudora Mac list

Click this URL [in Eudora] and you will now get BOLD Underline in lieu of underline when something comes new into a mailbox
I believe the values are:

normal = 0,
bold = 1,
italic = 2,
underline = 4,
outline = 8,
shadow = 16,
condense = 32,
extend = 64"

The ultimate value you use is the simple addition of the values of the styles you want to use. E.g., bold-italic would be 3 (1+2); bold-underline would be 5 (1+4) (which is the value I use).

Note, you have to remove the "<" and ">" in the x-setting example: I'm too much of an html dim-wit to figure out how to format this correctly. has a list of all the settings. Or, even better, send an email to Adam Engst of Tidbits and get a list sent to you via email.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Mossberg on Mac OS X

From the Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg: - Personal Technology:
"The single most effective way to avoid viruses and spyware is to simply chuck Windows altogether and buy an Apple Macintosh. Apple's operating system, Mac OS X, is harder for the criminals to infect, and the Mac's market share is so small that hackers, virus writers and spies get little thrill, financial gain or publicity from attacking the platform.

There has never been a successful virus written for Mac OS X, and there is almost no spyware that targets the Mac. Plus, the Mac is invulnerable to viruses and spyware written for Windows. Not only is it more secure, but the Mac operating system is more capable, more modern and more attractive than Windows XP, and just as stable.

Macs are as good as, and often better than, Windows PCs at doing the most common computing tasks: Web browsing, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, music and video. The Mac version of Microsoft Office can handle Windows Office files with ease, and it produces files that Office for Windows handles effortlessly. Apple's computers are also gorgeous."

ok. Now we have that settled.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Funny search terms

Funny search terms for B12 Partners, recently.

Look, this is my blog, and I find these amusing, even if you, my gentle reader(s), all 13 of you, do not.
So, anywho,....

'greensboro north carolina rat problem'
Not sure how this link originated. Must be multiple key words in different posts. Rats from the recycling article; Greensboro with a salary cap article

'big dogs on b12'
'dog b12'
A Chicago 'dog' tale, with wine matchings.

albertsons spy cameras
no frickin' idea, and nothing close.

enhance voice frequencies
not even close.

gilligans island theme song video john kerry
no freakin' idea. However, I did link to a download of Stairway to Gilligan from a Led Zepp oddities page.

frank sinatra's comments about kitty kelly [hmmm, I have noted that Ms. Kelly has previously had her face threatened by Mr. Sinatra or his proxies, but nothing more specific. I should look this up.

Illegal experimenting government lsd brain washing (from a Polish government IP address)
I could actually post some entries on this, but have not. There was a department of the CIA which experimented with LSD quite extensively, in the 50's and 60's (MKULTRA was the name of the program). I have at least 3 books which mention the details of the program. However, as far as I know, I have never composed a blog entry on the topic. Sorry Mr. Polish Embassy.

and my most un-fave New York Knick, aka Mr. Dorkweek, James Dolan

not to mention the multiple searches for
tinsley mortimer

hp 49.2 error

haymarket memorial, or some variant

Thank you, you've been a great audience. I'll be here all week.....

cross posted for some god-blammed reason

Now playing in iTunes: Listen, from the album Super Black Market Clash by Clash (released 1977)

Destroy Ohio St. Beach

Burt Natarus, and the City of Chicago seem intent upon destroying a key asset of the lakefront, namely the Ohio St. Beach.

From the Trib
With pressure mounting to fill a vacant lot at 600 N. Lake Shore Drive, a scheduled Chicago City Council Zoning Committee meeting Wednesday may set the stage for a final loss. Committee members will consider a new proposal to build a pair of condominium towers at the Streeterville site whose combined shadows on late-August afternoons would cover about 75 percent of the beach used by several hundred thousand people a year.

"We're losing one of the city's most precious assets," said Arani McHose, who has been among a handful of local residents to oppose the luxury development actively. It is scheduled to be completed by 2010. "We don't have as many people fighting against it this time."

I'm curious about this phrase: pressure mounting. Who is mounting pressure?

The 46-story and 40-story towers--to be developed by Chicago-based Belgravia Group Ltd.--would join a Streeterville neighborhood gleaming with hotels, luxury condominiums and four-star restaurants. Prices for the development's 401 units would range from about $400,000 to more than $1.4 million. Next door, a 33-story W Chicago-Lakeshore hotel already towers over Lake Shore Drive, casting its shadow onto the lake on the beach's northern edge.

So, sell million dollar condos, but destroy one of the few beaches downtown. Great.

Created in 1916 and expanded during the early 1980s, Ohio Street Beach is a favorite for families with children because of its calm waters that, thanks to an extended sea wall, remain shallow for more than 50 yards, neighbors say. Lauded on tourist Web sites for its convenience to downtown, the beach is also popular among out-of-town visitors staying in Streeterville's luxury hotels.

"It doesn't do any good to have a beach without sun," said Brendan Duffy, a Streeterville resident who uses the beach in the late afternoons with his 17-month-old son Charlie. "Most people around here use it in the early mornings or late afternoons, when they have time to come out."

Duffy is among a core group of residents who during the last two weeks have been passing out fliers warning beach-goers of the "cold, dark shadow" approaching. They've launched a Web site,, and are considering filing a lawsuit to stall the project based on what they say is a violation of the city's Lakefront Protection Ordinance. That law is meant primarily to keep new development from occurring east of Lake Shore Drive.

"The developer should be required to pay a shadow-assessment fee or to build an appropriate beach [nearby] to replace what they're taking away from the public here," Duffy said.

ha, fat chance. Says Alan Lev, president of Belgravia, "more concessions are unlikely"

Natarus jumped in to remind voters who is most important to him, developers, and their fat expense accounts....

Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd) said it's crucial to fill the vacant site while the city's residential development market is strong.

"A beach is very important, but what are we supposed to do, stop the building because of a beach?" Natarus asked. "We can't ignore the fact that this is very expensive land. This isn't land way over on the West Side of Chicago."

Lu Palmer

John Kass writes,

Within hours of his death a few days ago, Chicago journalist and radio host Lu Palmer was credited as author of an extraordinary revolution: the overthrow of the 1st Ward-Bridgeport political clique and the election of the city's first black mayor.

It is unfortunate he didn't get more credit when he was alive. Crediting him then, years ago when it counted, offended the powerful man Palmer helped create, Mayor Harold Washington, who betrayed Palmer and broke his heart.

Without Palmer, there wouldn't have been a serious independent political movement, or a Mayor Washington. Harold Washington would have lived out his days happily as a congressman from the South Side. And Richard M. Daley would have been whittled down and may not have become mayor.

There wouldn't have been actual debate and loud argument about how taxpayers' money should be spent, with politicians coalescing around race and class and neighborhood, in what was called "Council Wars" before the Daley restoration. Chicago was frightened by so many raised voices then. It was something new and strange. It is called democracy.

Chicago owes Lu Palmer more than an honorary street sign. But he didn't suck up to power, to white power or black power or to white liberals who thought they knew what was best for black people, particularly the poor. Palmer annoyed politicians because he could organize.

Daley, in a kind and graceful statement issued after Palmer's death, acknowledged as much. He said Palmer was "a persuasive writer, a fine public speaker and an excellent political strategist." Daley doesn't give easy applause for political strategy.

Palmer was a revolutionary, the first casualty of his own dream of a black mayor for Chicago and another dream--wanting independent politics to succeed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Interesting. I'll have to give it a spin, compare it to google and to Mark Cuban's > Company > Why use is a powerful search engine, using web search and image search results enhanced by Google, Search Inside the Book™ results from, reference results from GuruNet, movies results from IMDb, and more. remembers your information. You can keep your own notes about any web page and search them; it is a new way to store and organize your bookmarks; it even recommends new sites and favorite old sites specifically for you to visit. With the A9 Toolbar all your web browsing history will be stored, allowing you (and only you!) to retrieve it at any time and even search it; it will tell you if you have any new search results, or the last time you visited a page." > Company > Why use
" is a powerful search engine, using web search and image search results enhanced by Google, Search Inside the Book™ results from, reference results from GuruNet, movies results from IMDb, and more. remembers your information. You can keep your own notes about any web page and search them; it is a new way to store and organize your bookmarks; it even recommends new sites and favorite old sites specifically for you to visit. With the A9 Toolbar all your web browsing history will be stored, allowing you (and only you!) to retrieve it at any time and even search it; it will tell you if you have any new search results, or the last time you visited a page.

Department of irony impaired

Offensive is too mild a word for this exhibit. US News Article |
The Bush administration took its war on drugs to the tourist hub of Times Square on Tuesday with an exhibit that links illegal drugs and global terrorism, a connection that drew the ire of some.

"If you use drugs, you are standing against rule of law, you are standing against freedom and you are standing against those who are fighting against terror," White House anti-drug chief John Walters said.

The three-story exhibit includes an Afghan heroin processing lab, with a legend warning that Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming a "narco-state" ruled by drug traffickers. Kiosks explain how dealers launder money to benefit terrorists.

Put together by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the exhibit at One Times Square features wreckage from the destroyed World Trade Center, with news programing from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks playing in the background.

Radio sucks

I personally have given up on commercial radio over a decade ago, perhaps longer. My own musical tastes more diverse than the crapola payola on the dial. Napster & Audiogalaxy, in their prime, were what radio used to be: a means to sample new music without having to invest 20 bucks prior to listening. Now I just listen to my own music on my iPod: at the office, at home, in the car; in the el, wherever. Radio sucks.

from today's Altercation:

Name: Barry Ritholtz
Hometown: The Big Picture
Hey Doc,
Back in July, we addressed the slow death of Radio in Radio's Wounded Business Model.  It generated more e-mail than any other comments I've made on Altercation.

It looks like the meme has gone mainstream:  This morning, Barron's cover story hits on many of the same themes: Internet broadcast and streaming, Satellite Radio, iPods, and P2P and how they are (heh heh) killing the industry.

As we observed last time, its their own damned fault. The industry -- Clearchannel in particular -- went for short profits at the expense of the long term relationship with their audience. They completely overlooked that their product IS THE AUDIENCE -- who they then sell to their clients, the advertisers.

The Barron's piece is subscription only. Here's a small excerpt:

Losing the Signal

Younger adults -- the key targets of radio advertising -- have clearly been losing their ardor for the medium. By one key measure, the number of listeners ages 18 to 34 has declined by about 8% in the past five years, as portable digital-music players, Internet radio programming and other innovations have started to take hold. And while the dollars spent on radio advertising have been essentially flat for the past few years, competing media like cable TV, the 'Net and outdoor advertising have been gaining steadily.

"It's over," Larry Haverty, a media specialist at State Street Research and Management in Boston, says of radio stocks' big run. "Something good happened in the 'Nineties; something less good has happened in the '00s. Every retailer is blowing its budget on advertising and radio is not getting any of it. If they don't get it now, they're not going to."
Investors, along with radio executives, may not be facing up to the full extent of the industry's challenges. While radio has always weathered past threats -- video did not kill radio's star, as a group called the Buggles prophesied in 1981 -- things could really be different this time.

Across the country, listeners are changing how they choose to receive music and news and talk radio. They are turning to portable music players like Apple Computer's iPod, streaming audio over the Internet and the emerging field of satellite radio to hear what they want, when they want to hear it.
Music downloading is one of the "fastest-growing digital phenomena ever," says Forrester Research Group. It predicts download services will generate more than $200 million in revenue this year, $40 million higher than forecast and up from just $36 million in 2003. In all, some 35 million U.S. adults have downloaded music, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a nonprofit initiative.

Trends like that are causing companies to reassess advertising choices, to ensure they're getting the most bang for their buck. Accountability and return on investment are the priorities in advertising right now, and it's hard to say radio is providing much of either as listeners start tuning out. Among all people older than 12, only 14.6% are listening to radio during an average 15-minute period, down from 16% in 1998, according to Arbitron.

and more here
The Big Picture: Radio's Wounded Business Model :
Listen to music on the radio much lately?

If you answered “no,” you’re in good company. Americans are listening to broadcasts -- especially of music -- much less frequently then they used to.

And with good reason, too: Stations which were once a way to discover new music have become bland sources of uniform playlists. At present, the heavy emphasis (or over-emphasis) is on hip hop; This comes after a long dalliance with insipid boy bands. Listeners left in droves.

So it was with no small amount of amusement that we heard yesterday that radio giant Clear Channel (CCU) was announcing they were cutting back the amount of ad time they would sell on the radio each hour, to a mere 15 minutes per hour, starting January 1, 2005.

The "spin" was that the largest radio player in the U.S. Would be able to use this "enforced scarcity" to raise the value of each spot.

The reality was -- ahem -- somewhat different.

Madness to the Method Man: Lost in this charming PR hype was a simple fact -- Clear Channel’s fastest growth is behind it. When they were early in the process of consolidating and homogenizing U.S. radio, they a huge growth curve ahead of them. At an earlier point in their growth cycle, Clear Channel was able to wring out massive cost savings as they consolidated their network. That phase is now over.

Haymarket Riot memorial dedication ceremony

I posted some photos of the Haymarket Riot memorial dedication ceremony held today. I didn't get a good photo of the anarchists, nor of the labor guy who spoke first.

Haymarket Memorial:

Kitty Kelly

From Salon, we read of the Boy King.... Books | Don't mess with the Bushes:
But, as one of W.'s Yalie frat brothers tells Kelley, it's not the substance abuse in Bush's past that's disturbing, it's the "lack of substance ... Georgie, as we called him, had absolutely no intellectual curiosity about anything. He wasn't interested in ideas or in books or causes. He didn't travel; he didn't read the newspapers; he didn't watch the news; he didn't even go to the movies. How anyone got out of Yale without developing some interest in the world besides booze and sports stuns me." New Yorker writer Brendan Gill recalls roaming the Kennebunkport compound one night while staying there looking for a book to read -- the only title he could find was "The Fart Book."

According to Kelley, the Bushes aggressively maintain their all-American family image by scrubbing government files of embarrassing facts, stonewalling journalists, and terrorizing critics. "Some people felt that George's past did not seep out and embarrass him and his family," she writes of the White House's current Bush, "because he was protected by a coterie of former CIA men with an allegiance to his father." An Austin, Texas, political consultant named Peck Young told Kelley that when a woman claiming to have been a call girl from Midland showed up in Austin with "intimate knowledge" of W. during his oil wildcatting days, she was approached by what she described as "intelligence types" and left town abruptly. According to Young, the men "made her realize that it was better to turn tricks in Midland than to stop breathing."

George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara dismissed Bill Clinton as a pathetic hillbilly when he challenged the incumbent in 1992. But, Kelley writes, Clinton was one of the few Bush opponents who knew how to back them down. As colorful stories from Clinton's sexual past in Arkansas began to surface during the campaign, a Clinton aide began digging into the senior Bush's own robust adultery. This included, writes Kelley, two long affairs -- one with Jennifer Fitzgerald, Bush's White House deputy chief of protocol, who, as the Washington Post once slyly put it, "has served President-elect George Bush in a variety of positions," and one with an Italian woman with whom he set up house in a New York apartment in the 1960s. The Clinton aide told Kelley, "I took my list of Bush women, including one whom he had made an ambassador, to his campaign operatives. I said I knew we were vulnerable on women, but I wanted to make damn sure they knew they were vulnerable too." After the eruption over Clinton's mistress Gennifer Flowers died down, sexual infidelity did in fact become a moot issue in the campaign.

Kerry should take note. Please take note! All mea culpas about sleaze aside, there is only one winner of a presidential election (ask Gore).

Monday, September 13, 2004

Haymarket Riot Memorial

The dedication for the new Haymarket Riot Memorial is supposed to be tomorrow. Daley is supposed to attend, so there will probably be snipers on the roof (just kidding).

More photos here and here

NBA salary cap news - NBA - Slams and Dunks: Mile High summer:
One possible explanation for the leaguewide willingness to splash big dollars this offseason: Teams have been notified that a forthcoming $37 million lump-sum payment to the Lakers from a local cable operator should - stress should -- increase Basketball Related Income this summer by roughly $74 million.

If that payment goes through, as expected, the probability of the luxury tax being triggered next season could be as low as 10 percent. That's according to University of North Carolina-Greensboro economics professor Dan Rosenbaum, our longtime luxury-tax expert. Rosenbaum estimates the probability of a luxury tax after the 2004-05 season at 50 percent if the lump-sum payment to the Lakers is held up in court or for any other reason.


So those negative nabobs who think recycling is going to 'bankrupt businesses' can just shut their pie-holes....err, ahem.

Wired News: Study: Recycling Cost Overstated:
"Over the past nine years, Nova Scotia has emerged as a world leader in recycling, sending only about half its garbage to landfills or incinerators.

While recycling programs cost more than dumping trash into a big hole, a new study finds that the sparsely populated Canadian province is actually saving money by reducing its waste. When all the costs and benefits of those programs are measured, and depending on what factors are taken into account, the report (.pdf) says that Nova Scotia saves anywhere from $25 million to $125 million every year."

To get an accurate picture of the real value of Nova Scotia's recycling and composting program, the report considered a number of factors, including how much energy was saved by using recycled materials instead of those extracted from virgin resources. It also determined the direct and indirect value generated from new employment in the recycling sector and from nearly doubling the lifespan of the remaining landfills.

"It takes three to four or even more times as much energy to make something from raw materials than from recycled," Walker said.

The report also included the real but uncounted cost of existing landfills, which leak, gave off noxious gases and are home to large numbers of rats and seagulls -- all of which affect the quality of life and property values of nearby residents.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Inside is for suckers

Chicago, Lake Michigan Labor Day

Now playing in iTunes: Cloud Nine, from the album Anthology by Temptations (released 1993)

Department of Doo

From the Trib

The city code is specific about carriage operations. For example, rigs are not permitted on congested Rush Street between Chicago Avenue and Cedar Street between 6 p.m. on Fridays and 2 a.m. on Saturdays, or on busy Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Oak Street between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on any day. They are banned from certain streets on the Near North Side altogether.

But [ Dr. Gerald] Weisberg contends violations are routine.

On that other issue, he took Natarus in June on a tour to inspect spots where what the alderman politely refers to as "doo" had been deposited.

A lively exchange of correspondence followed.

"To the extent that you seemingly pride yourself on being opinionated, condescending and at times outright rude, you scored high marks that day [and] I did appreciate your taking the time to see first-hand the problems of horse manure at the north end of the Magnificent Mile area," Weisberg wrote to the loquacious and sometimes caustic alderman. "Also appreciated was the fact that you saw to it that two high-ranking individuals from the Department of Streets and Sanitation and Loop Operations were also present."

Burt Natarus [of the 42nd ward ] wrote back,
"In these times of national security, I find it very difficult to obtain strict enforcement of horse carriage traffic laws. ... Nevertheless, in light of your sarcasm, we will try again. ... Keep writing me. I will do my very best."

"I think the biggest problem is not the horse doo," Natarus said in an interview last week. "The biggest problem is blocking traffic. And you would think the horse people would want to cooperate so there wouldn't be a movement to extinguish their operation."

Funny Spam

Received funny spam to my S. Pate account:

Dear Pate,

I am Barrister John Great an advocate and Solicitor. I am the Personal Attorney
to Mr. Fredrick Pate a foreigner,who used to work with European velopment
Company in Nigeria.On The 21st of April 2001, my client, his wife and their three
children were involved in a car accident along Sagbama Express Road. All ccupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.

Since then I have made several enquiries to his embassy to see if i can locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has all the while proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives (i.e. same surname) over the Internet, to locate any member of his family but of no avail, hence I contacted you.

I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposit were lodged. Particularly, the Bank where the deceased had an account valued at about 15.5 million dollars has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin to the deceased or have the account confiscated within the next twenty one official working days. Since i have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are still a foreigner, so that the proceeds of this accounvalued at $15.5million USD can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money, 60% to me and 35% to you, while 5% should be for expenses or tax as your government may require. I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claimwe may make.

All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

Best regards,
Barrister John Great
John Great and Associates (Attorney at law)
16 Williams Street, SW,
Ikoyi, Lagos-Nigeria.

Looked up, who is listed as the return address:
Registrant:, Inc. (XQIFXFIGLD)
360 W. 4800 N.
Provo, UT 84604


Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:, Inc. (22386757O) domreg@MYFAMILYINC.COM
360 W. 4800 N.
Provo, UT 84604
801-705-7000 fax: 801-705-7001

I think I'll pass on this fine offer.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Saudi govt. sure hopes that Bush is re-selected, so that these little legal issues can go away

BBC NEWS WTC agency sues Saudis over 9/11:
The agency that owns the site of the World Trade Center in New York says it is suing Saudi Arabia for damages suffered on 11 September, 2001.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey lost 84 employees in the attacks against the Twin Towers.

The agency did not explain why it held the Saudis responsible, but said it wanted to "preserve its legal options".

A statute of limitation on 9/11 lawsuits expires on Saturday - the third anniversary of the attacks.


The Port Authority said its action was in line "with similar suits already filed by other injured parties".


Last week the bond brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald - which lost more than 650 employees in the attacks, more than any other firm - sued Saudi Arabia, saying it had aided the attackers.

30 years ago a country quite like ours......BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Chile marks Allende's 1973 death:
Commemorative services are being held in Chile to mark the death of Socialist President Salvador Allende in a military coup in 1973.

Mr Allende's widow attended a religious service inside the presidential palace where he died on 11 September.

The commemorations come as Allende's successor, Gen Augusto Pinochet, fights a series of legal battles after the Supreme Court stripped him of his legal immunity.

He is accused of being responsible for kidnappings and torture during an international crackdown on political opponents known as Operation Condor.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Privacy lawsuit

The actual court documents for the case against Albertson's pharmacy marketing can be found at Privacy Rights. However, the specific drug companies are not named in this document.

Privacy rights

Supermarket chains have razor-thin margins, and thus are open to alternative revenue streams. This is on possible result. I assume they will settle before going to court, but I could be wrong.

California group sues Albertson's over privacy concerns - Computerworld:
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), a San Diego-based privacy advocacy group, has filed a lawsuit against supermarket chain Albertson's Inc. and its pharmacy units, SavOn, Osco and Jewel-Osco.

The lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in San Diego County, alleges that Albertson's violated the privacy rights of its pharmacy customers by illegally using their confidential information to conduct targeted marketing campaigns on behalf of large drug companies.


The suit also names 18 drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Eli Lilly & Co., Merck & Co., Novartis AG, Wyeth Corp. and AstraZeneca PLC.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says drug makers used the information to urge customers to renew prescriptions or switch to other medications. One example cited in the lawsuit alleged that Albertsons worked with AstraZeneca to persuade customers to buy Nexium when the drug company's patent expired on another heartburn medication.
The lawsuit against Albertson's, announced yesterday, was originally filed in May. The announcement corresponds with the completion of service naming all the companies that participated with Albertson's in the marketing campaign, said Jeffrey Krinsk, a lawyer at San Diego-based Finkelstein & Krinsk, the law firm representing the PRC.

Among those named as "co-conspirators" and "abettors" in the case are more than a dozen of the country's largest drug companies.

The case is an "egregious example" of sensitive, personal information being used for profitable purposes by a company without the knowledge or consent of the individuals concerned, said Beth Givens, director of the PRC, at a news conference.

Albertson's was involved in a "deceptive practice that violates California law," she said.

At issue is Albertson's alleged practice of sending targeted marketing messages from drug companies to its pharmacy customers using confidential information gathered during the prescription-filling process.

According to the lawsuit, Albertson's extracts and stores the confidential information in a separate database. The information is used to launch targeted campaigns urging customers to "renew their prescriptions, switch to a successor drug manufactured by the same drug company or switch to an alternative medication," the suit alleges.

The marketing messages were disguised to appear as though they were originating from Albertson's, when in fact they were mostly written and approved by drug companies, the lawsuit says. Albertson's received from the drug companies up to $4.50 for every marketing letter and up to $15 per marketing phone call, according to the suit.

Tinsley still struts

Just for old times sake, you know who you are....

New York Daily News - Home - Rush & Molloy: Puffy's pain is former galpal's gain:
Casey Johnson didn't put her best foot forward Wednesday night at Milieu. Or, for that matter her breast.

The baby-oil heiress strutted into the after-party for designer Alvin Valley's show and quickly spotted nemesis Fabian Basabe. Swiveling on one stilettoed heel to leave in a huff, Johnson slipped and crashed to the floor in front of a scrum of socialites as her purse went flying.

Ruffled, she regained her footing, and glided over to where her friends had congregated - avoiding rival Tinsley Mortimer in the process. But before her dignity had a chance to recover, her wardrobe malfunctioned.

In the unisex waiting room of the West Chelsea hotspot's restroom area, Casey exposed a little bit more than her self esteem.

"Her breast was hanging out," our spy sniped. "I'm staring, the male bathroom attendant is staring. She walked up to the mirror and didn't even notice."

Eventually, a generous galpal pointed out that she was having a Janet Jackson moment - and Casey readjusted and wobbled back to the party.

Tinsley Mortimer

One simple question

The world's Shortest Blog has one simple question for the President, "How many times have you been arrested"?

There is apparently a bounty for the first person to ask the President in a public forum. I would, but the chances of Mr. Bush asking me to 'visit' with him are pretty slim.....

Big Brother's bureaucratic cousin

City plans camera surveillance web :
Surveillance cameras on two CTA buses operating during rush-hour downtown have nailed 217 motorists parked or stopped in bus stops and bus lanes during the first three months of a pilot crackdown that got off to a late start.
On May 25, after an on-the-road test, cameras were finally turned on during the morning and evening rush hours on a pair of No. 20 Madison buses operating downtown.

Already, 217 violations have been issued at $90 a pop. That's $19,530 generated by cameras operating during limited hours on buses that represent one-tenth of 1 percent of the CTA's fleet.

"It doesn't surprise me at all. I see that all the time. If two buses are recording violations at that pace, I'm sure the violations are spread out throughout the city at the same pace," said Ald. Tom Allen (38th), chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee.

"If bus lanes are being blocked with illegal parkers, that screws up traffic royally and it's a disservice to everyone else trying to get through the streets. It makes people crazy and leads to a vicious circle of crazy driving. I don't care if the police or a robot write 'em up. They should get a ticket."

CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said transit officials will decide whether to ask aldermen for authority to expand the program once the experiment expires Nov. 3.

The price of equipping two CTA buses is pegged at $73,000. That includes two sets of cameras for each bus, a "GPS interface viewing station" and a special printer to freeze video images later mailed to motorists.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Memory leak

Obviously need to do a little research about memory leaks: here is a couple of results from a Terminal command (OS 10.3.5)

leaks -nocontext Safari


Process 495: 461941 nodes malloced for 102665 KB
Process 495: 4988 leaks for 201424 total leaked bytes.

after relaunch....

Process 16687: 122359 nodes malloced for 10954 KB
Process 16687: 2 leaks for 1040 total leaked bytes.

leaks -nocontext iTunes

Process 419: 48990 nodes malloced for 60438 KB
Process 419: 178 leaks for 12688 total leaked bytes.

after relaunch

Process 16751: 42064 nodes malloced for 114733 KB
Process 16751: 7 leaks for 352 total leaked bytes.

Jawbone, baby

Walt Mossberg writes of a powerful new headset for cellphones - Personal Technology:
Now, a small Silicon Valley start-up company called Aliph has come up with a solution: a new cellphone headset that suppresses background noise dramatically so that your voice comes through loud and clear even in the most clamorous settings.

This new "adaptive" headset, called Jawbone, goes on sale for $150 starting today at the company's Web site, In its first incarnation, it works with many, but not all, phones from Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Versions for other phones are in the works.

Aliph's Jawbone technology, which grew out of research the company did for the Pentagon, relies on two kinds of microphones. Standard microphones transmit your speech and detect background noise. A special contact microphone, which rests against your cheek, uses vibrations in your bones to determine exactly when you are speaking.

This latter mike, which Aliph calls a "voice activity sensor," allows the Jawbone headset to distinguish your voice from background noises much more accurately than a normal cellphone headset can.

Like many other acoustic systems, the Jawbone includes special chips and software that attempt to enhance voice frequencies and reduce background frequencies. But because the contact microphone lets the device know precisely when you are speaking, it is able to apply these digital filters more efficiently and successfully.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


I'll keep a running tally as to how many news organizations make this comparison: that while 1,000 American soldiers have given their lives for Bush's war of aggression, over 10,000 Iraqis have died in Baghdad alone.

09:59 PM EDT Sep 08

BAGHDAD (AP) - At Sheik Omar Clinic, a big book records 10,363 violent deaths in Baghdad and nearby towns since the war began last year - deaths caused by car bombs, clashes between Iraqis and coalition forces, mortar attacks, revenge killings and robberies.

While America mourns the deaths of more than 1,000 of its sons and daughters in the Iraq campaign, the U.S. toll is far less than the Iraqi. No official, reliable figures exist for the whole country, but private estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 killed since the United States invaded in March 2003.

The violent deaths recorded in the leather ledger at the Sheik Omar Clinic come from only one of Iraq's 18 provinces and do not cover people who died in such flashpoint cities as Najaf, Karbala, Fallujah, Tikrit and Ramadi.

Iraqi dead include not only insurgents, police and soldiers but also civilian men, women and children caught in crossfire, blown apart by explosives or shot by mistake - both by fellow Iraqis or by American soldiers and their multinational allies. And they include the victims of crime that has surged in the instability that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Nothing is my fault, whines Perle..... - Hollinger Failed to Fully Inform
Board of Directors, Perle Says
Hollinger International Inc. board member Richard Perle, criticized sharply in last week's board-committee report for failing to fulfill his fiduciary duties, defended his conduct, saying the company's management withheld or obscured information needed to make informed judgments.

A detailed report released last week by Hollinger's special committee alleged that former Hollinger executives Conrad Black and David Radler extracted more than $400 million, or about €330 million, through years of "aggressive looting" of the Chicago publishing company through various forms of improper compensation. The executives denounced the report and said payments they received were approved by the board.

The report criticized the performance of Hollinger's board, but also noted the board sometimes wasn't given the proper information it required. The report singled out Mr. Perle for being a "faithless fiduciary" who, as a member of the board's executive committee, rubber-stamped certain related-party transactions that Mr. Perle, a former U.S. Defense Department official, "had a motive to abdicate his fiduciary duties as an executive-committee member so as to accommodate the persons responsible for his huge Hollinger compensation," alleged the report, which was based on an investigation headed by former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Richard Breeden. Mr. Perle's compensation included about $3 million of bonus payments tied to Hollinger Digital, a company investment vehicle in which Mr. Perle was an official, the report said. The report calls for Mr. Perle to return more than $5 million in total compensation received from Hollinger International.

87 attacks

Daily War news (which, truth be told, I cannot read every day, even though I link through to it: just too disturbing to read of every death in Iraq) catches an important fact:

Today in Iraq:
"87 attacks every day.

“An American military official said Monday that American soldiers and their allies were attacked an average of 87 times each day in August, the highest such figure since American and British forces deposed Saddam Hussein and his government 17 months ago.” That's a higher rate of combat than during the April uprising when attacks averaged about 50 per day. To my mind, this is a clear indication that US forces are rapidly heading for a major disaster in Iraq, yet the NYT buries that fact in this story about a new interrogation policy."

" An American military official said Monday that American soldiers and their allies were attacked an average of 87 times each day in August, the highest such figure since American and British forces deposed Saddam Hussein and his government 17 months ago."

yes, about to turn the corner any second now.....

Henry Hyde, ill?

From Daily Kos, we read

Daily Kos :: IL-06: What's the matter with Hyde?:
The scuttlebutt from local REPUBLICAN Insiders is that Henry Hyde is NOT at the Republican Convention this week, because he is too ill to attend. (See August 31, 2004 issue of Crain's Chicago Business Magazine).

I personally spoke to one of his neighbors from his Wooddale Condo complex, who says he doesn't appear to be home, either (his customary complimentary car from a local dealership isn't in the parking lot).

So this begs the Question, "Where Is Henry Hiding?" My guess is Bethesda Naval Hospital, or somewhere similar. He has been deteriorating RAPIDLY over the last few months.

In fact, some of the DuPage Republican Powerbrokers are privately fretting that he may not survive til the election...And it's too late now to replace him on the ballot if he does succomb.

I saw him at the Wheaton 4th of July parade. He looked TERRIBLE! His skin had a "Waxy Palor" to it...Similar to Kidney Dialysis Patients.

Several people who watched the parade commented that he looked like "the dead guy from Weekend at Bernie's ". He just sat like a stone in the back seat of the car...Didn't even attempt to wave, or acknowledge the crowd in any way.

I have a friend who lives, allegedly, in the same building as Mr. Hyde, I'll have to see if he has any additions to this. I don't wish Hyde any ill, I just wish he would retire already.

Day of reverses

Blogger is having trouble with my template, and re_invigorate (the open-source site-tracking software) is slowing my pages down to a crawl, and now ecto is unable to edit posts (at least Adriaan is on top of this, natch).
Usage :: RE: ecto no longer edits posts!
Author: adriaan

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 11:08 pm (GMT 0)

Topic Replies: 2

Blogger changed their Atom code and in the process broke stuff. The new ecto has a fix for that, but the public beta won't be out for a week. Please have patience.


Not to mention, one of my external firewire drives (a maxtor 60 gig drive that I should have returned while still under warranty) ejects itself when my iPod is updating, and causes failures, requiring me to boot in OS 9 to fix.

Uhh, lessee, what else can I kvetch about? Got a cavity filled, but that wasn't too bad actually. A work-related contract dispute is actually much worse than any of these minor blips, and that is still unresolved, but I won't bore you with details (suffice it to say, when the other party of a signed contract says, "Contracts are made to be changed", this doesn't bode well. What's the point of having contracts if one party can suddenly, arbitrarily alter the damn thing? I mean, "Contracts are made to be changed", might as well mean, "Contracts are made for litigation", or something more scatological. )

All this on a day when I posted Haymarket news on a high traffic wobblie page, and a local weeklypaper wants to publish my photo....

can I start drinking heavily now?

jes kidding, it isn't really that bad

Green Zebra

D&I were supposed to go to a new swank vegetarian restaurant, called Green Zebra last week.

The ChicagoReader gave a good review:
Who needs meat to complicate a dish like spicy panfried scallion pancakes with kimchi and chili-garlic sauce, or slow-roasted shiitakes in a crispy potato nest with savoy cabbage, or a dense, flavorful fennel risotto cake with preserved lemon and a Syrah reduction? At GREEN ZEBRA, the new, mostly vegetarian restaurant from Spring owners Shawn McClain, Peter Drohomyrecky (pictured), and Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky, the dishes have so much flavor and texture you'll never miss the flesh. The generous tasting portions range from $7 to $14 apiece, making it possible to feast without busting your budget. McClain's menu doesn't exclude die-hard meat eaters: there's a crispy chicken dish drizzled with tangerine honey, and a daily fish special—one night it was Alaskan halibut with sunchokes and white asparagus, redolent of the tandoori spices that seasoned the accompanying pearl couscous. The wine list may look familiar to Spring fans—heavy on crisp, refreshing whites like Austrian and Alsatian Riesling, gruner veltliner, and pinot gris, but also including light reds from the U.S., France, Australia, Italy, and New Zealand. Sleek and upscale, with recessed lighting and techno music, Green Zebra is a far cry from the earnest, brown-rice-and-granola vegetarian restaurant of the past. Green Zebra is at 1460 W. Chicago, 312-243-7100.

as did the NYT (behind pay-for-view firewall).

However, it took us a few minutes to find parking, and by the time we walked in, they had given away our reservations (we were 15 minutes late). What a crock. The atmosphere was sort of fakey-trendy, so although I was interested in their menu, I didn't really want to hang out in the hallway waiting for a table (they don't have a waiting area for some reason).

So, no report to file, except for this non-report.....

Google Adsense

I added google's adsense, sort of as a lark, and because it doesn't cost anything. If I see something obnoxious, I'll ban the url
and I just banned the
because it is ugly, and obnoxious. I thought these were going to be text ads instead of banner ads. Oh well. I sincerely doubt I will make 10 dollars on these, with my low traffic, and so forth.

more Manly love

At a rally of cheering supporters in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Bush made his usual pitch for limiting "frivolous lawsuits" that he said drive up the cost of health care and run doctors out of business.

But then he added, "We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

Unfazed, Bush went on to deride his rivals as "pro-trial lawyer," and concluded, "I think you've got to make a choice. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket. I made my choice. I'm for medical liability reform now."

Saudi Love

Bush-Saudi Love is not girly man love, but real, manly, Skull & Bones, Yale & Kennebunkport love. Ahem. | 09/05/2004 | Graham book: Inquiry into 9/11, Saudi ties blocked

Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.

The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers ''would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration,'' the Florida Democrat wrote.

And in Graham's book, Intelligence Matters, obtained by The Herald Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Graham also revealed that Gen. Tommy Franks told him on Feb. 19, 2002, just four months after the invasion of Afghanistan, that many important resources -- including the Predator drone aircraft crucial to the search for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders -- were being shifted to prepare for a war against Iraq.


So, looks like the Haymarket statue will be put in this week.

After 138 years, Haymarket memorial to be unveiled :
On Sept. 14, in a reversal of 118 years of civic amnesia, a memorial to the Haymarket Incident of 1886 is to be unveiled at the site of the carnage, Crane's Alley on the east side of Desplaines Street, north of Randolph.

Labor leaders such as Gannon will be there. They believe that the Haymarket Riot, a classic clash of the era between oppressed workers and brutal authority, marked the birth of a national movement for an eight-hour workday.

Representatives of the Chicago Police Department will be there. For almost a century, they argued that the only real story of the Haymarket was that seven cops were "martyred" by bomb-throwing radicals.

And historians and other scholars will be there, too. Many of them believe the Haymarket Incident was a police riot, pure and simple.

Even today, the powers that be in Chicago can't fully agree on just what went down that night or who was to blame, but they agree on this: It's crazy to ignore it.

"I think people really did want to put to rest the animosity that has grown up around the issue of the Haymarket Square," said Chicago labor lawyer Elena Marcheschi, a member of the committee that chose the memorial's design. "Everybody agreed there needed to be a memorial at that site -- and how embarrassing it's been that there wasn't."

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Molly Ivins on RNC

Ms. Ivins, articulate as always, has this to say of the RNC... - Creators Syndicate:
"The party platform, written in large part by Phyllis Schafly and her Eagle Forum, condemns stem cell research, women’s right to decide whether to bear a child under any circumstances and gay people. Just as a historical curiosity, I present the fact that at the Republican Convention in New Orleans in 1988, Mrs. Schafly gave a party with the theme “Let the Good Times Roll,” thus proving the enduring role of irony at political conventions.

The real theme of the convention is “George Bush Makes Us Safer,” as dubious a proposition as Madonna’s virginity. Tom Ridge is not only not speaking in primetime, he’s not addressing this convention at all -- he’s a non-person. In the current issue of Mother Jones magazine is a must-read by Matthew Brzezinski called "Red Alert." The “pull quote” is: “It was billed as America’s frontline defense against terrorism. But badly underfunded, crippled by special interests and ignored by the White House, the Department of Homeland Security has been relegated to bureaucratic obscurity.”

Brzezinski reports, “... the administration’s misplaced priorities --- particularly its obsession with Iraq --- have come at the expense of homeland security.” What a mess. What a waste of money. What colossal ineptitude. It’s so dispiriting to read about it, one can’t even work up a Henry Higgins-like: “Safer? Ha!”

yes, Homeland Security as the centerpiece of why GWB should win his first term in office. Pretty weak reason.

Friday, September 03, 2004


Wimp, just like his father more than he wants to admit.

Bush's camp may cut 1 debate:
President Bush's campaign won't say for sure whether he will agree to the three debates proposed by the independent Commission on Presidential Debates, or if a Republican strategist was right this week when he said the Bush campaign would agree to only two debates.

The commission, without a formal agreement by the Bush camp, set debates for Sept. 30 in Coral Gables, Fla.; Oct. 8 in St. Louis; and Oct. 13 in Tempe. A vice presidential debate between incumbent Dick Cheney and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's running mate, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, was set for Oct. 5 in Cleveland.

GOP strategist Scott Reed was quoted by the Reuter news agency this week as saying the Bush camp's position is that "two debates are sufficient and will not dominate the entire fall schedule."

"Three debates would have a tendency to be a little overbearing on your campaign strategy and tactics," Reed was quoted as saying.

On Thursday, after Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman visited a breakfast of the Arizona delegation to the Republican National Convention here, he refused to elaborate when asked whether that was the Bush campaign's position.

"Debates are always very important," Mehlman said.

But will Bush agree to all three of the commission dates, including the one in Arizona?

"We'll see," he said.

Someone call DFS

paging Department of Family Services, please remove this parent from my / News / Nation / Card says president sees America as a child needing a parent:
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said yesterday that President Bush views America as a ''10-year-old child" in need of the sort of protection provided by a parent.

Card's remark, criticized later by Democrat John F. Kerry's campaign as ''condescending," came in a speech to Republican delegates from Maine and Massachusetts that was threaded with references to Bush's role as protector of the country. Republicans have sounded that theme repeatedly at the GOP convention as they discuss the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.

''It struck me as I was speaking to people in Bangor, Maine, that this president sees America as we think about a 10-year-old child," Card said. ''I know as a parent I would sacrifice all for my children."

The comment underscored an argument put forth some by political pundits, such as MSNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews, that the Republican Party has cast itself as the ''daddy party."

A Kerry spokesman, seizing on Card's characterization of Bush as a parental figure for the nation, contended that the president had failed.

''Any parent that ran a household the way George W. Bush runs the country would find themselves in bankruptcy court on the way to family court," said Phil Singer, a Kerry spokesman. ''Just over the last year, 1.3 million people have fallen into poverty, including 700,000 children, and 1.4 million people have lost their health insurance while family incomes have declined three years in a row. America can do better."

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Apple and ringtones | Mobile 3G telecoms:
"Enthusiasm for data is growing, just not very fast: data services now account for 16.3% of Vodafone's worldwide revenues, for example, up from 15% a year ago. So hopes of a breakthrough in mobile-data usage still persist. At the moment, most optimism surrounds the prospects for music downloads to mobile phones (the most advanced models of which can now double as portable music players). Downloading ringtones is already popular, so downloading entire tracks—something that is only really practical using a 3G network—is the next logical step. Motorola, the world's second-largest handset-maker, has just done a deal with Apple, whose iTunes Music Store dominates the market for legal music downloads. And Nokia has just done a similar deal with LoudEye, another online music store. But it is still too early to tell whether this will turn into a mass market and, if it does, whether it will prove profitable for operators."

Advertising news

From adage:
In a major marketing communications shift, Ford Motor Co.'s Mercury unit will dedicate 25% of its new model promotion budget to online advertising and customer events, the company announced today.

Although Mercury would not provide a breakdown of the campaign's specifics, the overall digital effort will clearly go far beyond the 3% that is now the average budget slice allocated for online advertising by American marketers.

Mercury has recently been integrating increasingly sophisticated Web promotions with its event sponsorships. For instance, a current sponsor of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, it has created a digital tennis game on its site. There, online consumers can match wits -- and finger skills -- with agile, tennis-playing Mercury models.

The new plans for expanded digital and events promotions were made public by Mercury's general marketing manager, John Fitzpatrick, as part of a new-model introduction ceremony at the Time Warner Center in New York this morning.

Mercury has already spent $93 million in measured media through May, compared with $76 million in calendar 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

As reported earlier this year by, the new advertising campaign from WPP Group's Y&R Brands, Dearborn, Mich., introduced a new tagline, "New Doors Opened." Teaser ads break Sept. 13 on TV and in print publications.

also: in re: Gruner + Jahr
Dan Rubin, executive vice president of Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA, is leaving the company, according to an internal e-mail from new CEO Russell Denson. Mr. Rubin, a former Time Inc. circulation executive, was brought into G&J by Mr. Denson's predecessor, Dan Brewster. Mr. Brewster was ousted in early 2004 after several instances of overstated circulation numbers and the public relations black eye the company took during a trial with a former business partner, entertainer Rosie O'Donnell.

Hubba hubba

shamelessly borrowed from wonkette.

October surprise?

Well, perhaps something unreleased as of yet, and thus unable to be commented on, will manage to trim some of Bush's sails, as it were. Does that even make sense? I need more coffee I think. Anyway,

RogerSimon.Com: A Kitty Surprise?:
Republican insiders have been huddling in small groups at the Republican Convention this week and talking about what worries them most. It is not John Kerry. It is not the unemployment numbers. It is not Iraq.

It is Kitty Kelley.

Kelley has a new book coming out in a few weeks titled "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty” and it is rumored to be explosive.

One source tells me there are “at least five bombshells” contained in it and another source says there is allegedly new material on President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard.

Democrats have long been worried about a Republican “October Surprise” such as the capture of Osama bin Laden. But now some Republicans are worried that Kelley’s book will be the equivalent of an October surprise and harmful to President Bush’s re-election hopes.

Why are GOP operatives taking such a book seriously? After all, some critics have dismissed Kelley’s previous books as the equivalent of tabloid journalism. But in November 2000, the Bush campaign’s internal polling showed that revelations about Bush’s 1976 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol damaged him badly with religious conservatives and some analysts believe it cost him a popular vote victory.

So this time, Bush operatives don’t want any more big surprises, revelations, rumors or gossip to make a media splash just weeks before the election.

Which is why they are so nervous. According to the Associated Press, the Kelley opus - - it is supposed to be around 700 pages long - - is being billed as "the book the Bushes don't want you to read,” it has a first printing of 600,000 and “a virtual guarantee to annoy, if not embarrass, Bush supporters.”

In the past, Kelley has written books about Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra and the British Royal Family among others and her books have often contained explosive material. Kelley’s facts are sometimes challenged, but her books tend to make a big splash nonetheless.

Kelley’s 1991 book on Nancy Reagan, for example, which contained scandalous accusations, was the subject of a front page story in the New York Times by Maureen Dowd.

“Ms. Kelley has developed a reputation as a giant killer for her sensational books about the rich and famous,” Dowd wrote. “She wrote that Jacqueline Kennedy had shock treatments; that President John F. Kennedy's retarded sister, Rosemary, had a lobotomy, and that Frank Sinatra's mother was a New Jersey abortionist.”

Dowd went on: “Ms. Kelley asserts that Mrs. Reagan will go down in history as the cold and glittering icon for a morally vacuous era. The author says the former First Lady reinvented herself with a tissue of fabrications about her background, age and family, just as her free-spirited mother did before her; that she had her nose fixed and her eyes lifted; that both the Reagans had extramarital affairs, and that Mrs. Reagan had a long-term affair with Frank Sinatra.”

The article quoted Sheila Tate, Nancy Reagan's former press secretary, as saying that "no friend of Nancy Reagan's is going to read that scummy book."

Perhaps, but plenty of other people did read it and many more read about it. And this, remember, was in an era before 24-hour cable TV and media with an insatiable appetite for news, gossip, rumor, innuendo or whatever they can get.

It may turn out, of course, that Kelley’s new book contains nothing damaging to President Bush.

But with their convention going so well, Republicans have to find something to worry about this week.


Click for larger size.

New lamp poles are installed at the Haymarket Memorial.

Halliburton and fraud, dooda, dooda

From tomorrow's WSJ:

Halliburton Co. said an internal investigation has uncovered documents indicating officials of a consortium it now leads discussed bribing public officials in Nigeria in order to secure a multibillion-dollar contract there.

The investigation centers on the construction of a gargantuan natural-gas liquefaction plant on the Nigerian coast, beginning in January 1996 and continuing today. A consortium led by a company later acquired by Halliburton won the lucrative contract, which will be valued at a total of $8.1 billion when the project is completed.

In the past 10 days, Halliburton says, its lawyers discovered notes written between 1993 and 1998 that suggest consortium executives discussed bribes to Nigerian officials to win their support and ensure that the consortium won the contract. Halliburton says it has turned over the evidence to investigators in the U.S., France and Nigeria, who already had been investigating the consortium. Halliburton declined to reveal the names and positions of the people who discussed the bribery scheme.

This latest disclosure by the Houston oilfield-services company comes amid questions as to whether the consortium created a $140 million slush fund that was funneled through a British lawyer named Jeffrey Tesler, who was a consultant to the consortium. Mr. Tesler is under investigation by a French magistrate, though he hasn't been charged with any crime. Mr. Tesler declined to comment on his role and, through his lawyer, has denied any wrongdoing.

Halliburton said it is unclear from the newest documents whether money actually was distributed either to local leaders or high-ranking government officials. At the time the notes were written, Nigeria was ruled by the military dictator Sani Abacha, whose regime was marked by centralized control and human-right abuses.

hmmm, 1996, I wonder who was running Halliburton at the time?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Fox news, wimps?

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > The Left Asked to Speak to the Right, But a Gatekeeper Wouldn't Hear of It:
Fox News Channel, the highest-rated cable news network in the country, arrives this week at the Republican National Convention with an opportunity to serve up ample red meat for its core constituency.

A growing number of advertisers would like a piece of that audience, but The Nation, the left-leaning political magazine, will not be among them. Ten days ago, the ad agency for The Nation sent a 60-second commercial to the cable network promoting its brand of political news and commentary as free of White House influence and corporate agendas.

"Nobody owns The Nation. Not Time Warner, not Murdoch. So there's no corporate slant, no White House spin. Just the straight dope," the commercial says.

While the ad will appear on Time Warner's CNN, as well as NBC Universal's MSNBC and Bravo, it will not appear on Fox News, a division of the News Corporation whose chairman and chief executive is Rupert Murdoch.

"They rejected it out of hand," said Arthur Stupar, senior vice president for circulation at The Nation. "I find it ironic. They are the G.O.P. cable station, a champion of free markets, and they got spooked at the thought of running an ad that doesn't publish spin or serve the agenda of corporate conglomerates."

A spokesman for Fox News, which has always rejected the charge that it brings a partisan bias to news coverage, said, "We reject ads all the time," and declined further comment.

Executives at The Nation were hoping that Fox News would be more accommodating, especially because the network has bought an ad in the newest issue of The Nation, which will be coming out during the convention.

And last year, Fox News purchased a back-page ad in The Nation, an action that prompted 50 readers to cancel their subscriptions in protest of the magazine taking what they considered tainted money. After reading of the controversy, Fox News promptly purchased another.

yeah, that was sort of funny, based on all the letters written to the Nation, some folk think Fox is partisan or something. ahem.