July 2005 Archives

iTunes, week of 7-31-05

Audioscrobbler :: User :: swanksalot:
Nothing to worry your pretty little keyboards about.

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Jim Jarmusch

Nice 'puff' piece about one of my favorite directors, Jim Jarmusch, and his new movie, Broken Flowers, with Bill Murray as the main character. The Last of the Indies:

Jim Jarmusch, the paradigmatic outsider filmmaker, is about to release his most mainstream movie to date. Not that it is any less shaggy or weird.
...His films, with their immediately recognizable idiosyncracies, testify to his independence. In 1986, he followed ''Stranger Than Paradise'' with ''Down by Law,'' the story of two deadbeats in New Orleans who are joined in jail by an eccentric Italian, played by Roberto Benigni, who plans their escape. Like all Jarmusch films, ''Down by Law'' combined cool, apathetic hipsters with flashes of poetry and wisdom. (For instance, Benigni's character quotes Walt Whitman and Robert Frost, but in Italian.) In 1989, Jarmusch set his protagonists in a seedy hotel in Memphis for ''Mystery Train,'' a film with three related stories, all influenced by Elvis Presley. In what has become his custom, Jarmusch cast musicians in key roles -- Joe Strummer, the lead singer of the Clash, starred in ''Mystery Train,'' just as Tom Waits and John Lurie did in ''Down by Law.'' Benigni resurfaced in 1992 in ''Night on Earth,'' which featured five separate narratives, each set in a different city, all centering on the relationship between cabdrivers and their passengers. ''Dead Man,'' a psychedelic western, was released in 1996, and ''Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai,'' which starred Forest Whitaker as a conflicted hit man who lives by an ancient Japanese-warrior code, came out in 2000, with music by RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. ''Ghost Dog'' was chiefly about the blurring of belief systems, cultural lines and ethnicities -- a common theme in Jarmusch's films. Like the bebop music he loves, his movies begin with a familiar melody and then adapt that tune into something else, something new.

See them all, if you haven't already....

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Abu Grhaib anyone?


Name: Steve Stein
Hometown: Acton, MA
My father-in-law used to tell the story of his capture by Germans in 1944.  He was wounded in the leg, and found by a German officer.  The officer had a son who was a POW in the U.S., who wrote of his good treatment by his U.S. captors.  When the officer saw my father-in-law's dogtags identifying him as a Jew, the German pocketed them and did not reveal them to his authorities, probably saving my father-in-law's life.  Our reputation for the humane treatment of POWs does matter - my children are living proof of that.

and in contrast:

Two Iraqis at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison were bitten by dogs as they were being handled by sergeants who were competing to see who could scare more detainees, a witness testified Tuesday

Torture is not an American virtue, thanks.

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Frog March matter day 20

Talk Left has a good list of some points of interest regarding Judith Miller's involvement in Turd Blossom's impending Frog March. As the case progresses, Miller seems more and more like a focal point of the investigation. One wonders if Miller was the actual conduit of the 'spreading dignity in the White House' virus, or just a willing patsy.

TalkLeft: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots:

It's time to keep our eye on the ball - what is Fitzgerald after? The answer: information about Judith Miller's sources.

Coincidentally, I've been working on the same question, trying to cull down the mass of information out there to points I think are significant, using some deductive reasoning and Lexis. I had hoped to avoid the WMD and national security issues, because I don't know that much about them, but I've now decided it's not possible to do that and get anywhere.
So here's my shortened list:
I think the question here is what kind of information did Judith Miller have that she's protecting by going to jail? I keep coming back to either a classified document or an oral report with classified information she received from an Administration official, probably someone in the Pentagon or a national security official, or someone in Cheney or Rice's office.

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Love the Liberry

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Love the Liberry:
Continuing in the fine tradition of blogs web zines which exist mostly for the benefit of their authors (like the one you're reading now, for instance), two librarians who work in some unnamed public library keep a running tally of quirky, endearing, weird or just annoying comments overheard during the course of their day. Quite funny actually.

Perhaps I have a certain fondness for 'liberries' since I used to live in them in the technicolor days of yesteryear, before the advent of computers, internets, and, let's be honest, TiVo. And if you are curious as to how I found this fine web zine, this photo was added as a favorite by one of the contributors to the Love the Liberry page.

Ladder to Lake Michigan Actually, I don't know if Love the Liberry is as low profile as it seems, there just were no comments on any of the funny snippets. Also apologies in advance to any fledgling grammarians; my zine eschews petty rules like gerund phrases and the like....

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Green wall

Even though this beam and green wall no longer exist, we might have plans for this area of the house.

Truck Driver Green

some thoughts were found in this book by Kerry Skinner

painter book
Paint Effects Bible

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Suburban woes

Not to get all hipster-weepy, as is my wont, but we spent the majority of today in the 'burbs, and returned back on the interstate with a top speed of about 25 miles per hour. Blech. Sometimes I forget, in moments of mental weakness, why I live in the damn city. I did manage to sneak off to snatch an old fashioned pastrami on rye with mustard at Kaufman's Deli, other than that, what a god-forsaken desert the suburbs are!

To celebrate my return to my West Loop environs, I'm drinking a variant of my (in)famous sangritas, substituting Izze fruit-juice soda in place of Cointreau. Yumm, but there isn't enough tequila to wash the grime of the suburbs off of my eyes....

and I notice that last time I felt I had to drink a sangrita, and bothered to write about it, I also had spent the day in a different suburb.

Frog March Matter, day 19

Ben Sargent:

Frog March Sargent
Ben Sargent's Frog March matter editorial cartoon

Yes, restoring Dignity to the White House has been a top priority....

Technorati is weak


About 2 weeks ago, Technorati stopped indexing my blog 'zine. I have an RSS subscription to a couple of Technorati tags, and noticed my entries stopped appearing. I thought it odd, but didn't bother to inquire further, until a few days ago. In response to my email, Technorati tech support says:

Your blog has over 490 XHTML validation errors that may prevent search engines such as Technorati from fully indexing your blog's content. Please review your site's markup using the W3C Validator to ensure maximum search engine visibility.


That sounds like a lot of errors, but after looking at what are classified as errors, the excuse seems less plausible. I suppose this is why I never became a programmer, arbitrary rules (of any sort) really irk me. For instance, one of the validation errors flagged is: 'img' tags without 'alt' attribute

Line 219, column 75: required attribute “alt” not specified
The attribute given above is required for an element that you've used, but you have omitted it. For instance, in most HTML and XHTML document types the ”type“ attribute is required on the ”script“ element and the ”alt“ attribute is required for the ”img“ element.

This is an Amazon image (for the DVD of American Pimp), inserted by my blog web 'zine creation tool, ecto. I suppose I could tweak my template to make a fake 'alt' tag for every amazon image inserted (since this information is not automatically inserted), but why should that invalidate my Technorati indexing?

Or, 'p' tag inside some enclosing element:

Line 141, column 73: document type does not allow element ”p“ here; missing one of ”object“, ”applet“, ”map“, ”iframe“, ”button“, ”ins“, ”del“ start-tag
...le=”text-align:right;font-size:10px;“ ”Technorati Tags: “a href=”http://techno
The mentioned element is not allowed to appear in the context in which you've placed it; the other mentioned elements are the only ones that are both allowed there and can contain the element mentioned. This might mean that you need a containing element, or possibly that you've forgotten to close a previous element.
One possible cause for this message is that you have attempted to put a block-level element (such as “p” or “table”) inside an inline element (such as “ a ”, “ span ”, or “ font ”).

What's the difference? Seems like a cop-out to say, as Technorati seems to be saying, “if you put a paragraph tag inside a blockquote, we will no longer index your page. So there!” I think movabletype is actually adding the 'p' tag, I know I didn't type it myself. I realize that standards are useful for setting rules to ensure that the browsers can actually render the page correctly, however, as far as I can tell, every browser currently being used can display this page 99% as intended. Technorati should be as robust as IE 5, for gods sakes. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, even Mark Cuban's Ice Rocket are able to figure out what the heck is on my web zine, even with missing 'alt' tags. A quarter of my hits are from 'Google Images', missing tags don't seem to be a big problem for Google.

Technorati is a free service, so I don't have a vested interest in getting my page properly indexed, I just used to think Technorati was a cool idea. That's a little harsh, I still like the idea of Technorati, just am disappointed in its performance.

update: perhaps there was just something else wrong on Technorati's side, per the comments, everything seems fine now. D would say it was a mercury-retrograde related glitch. Who knows. Mini-crisis averted.

update again 8/1/05: still doesn't seem to index my site with any regularity. Whatever. Wake me when technorati is out of beta....


Bush Democrats

These so-called Vichy Democrats disgust me....Just switch parties already, ok guys? At least then people know where you stand. Running as a Democrat, but voting like a Republican is just wrong.

John Nichols writes: The Nation The Online Beat | CAFTA Vote Outs “Bush Democrats”

the Democrats who supported Bush's agenda faced little or no pressure from the White House. Nor did they show anything akin to courage or consistency. They simply voted with the White House because, either they agree with the president's misguided approach to global trade or they thought they could trade their votes for big contributions from the corporate interests that see the NAFTA/CAFTA model of free trade as an opportunity to improve business bottom lines at the expense of workers, the environment and communities in the U.S. and Latin America.

Let's give the Bush Democrats the benefit of the doubt and accept that they actually support the corporate model for trade that Bush backs. This puts them at odds with mainstream Democrats on what can only be described as the most fundamental of economic issues -- as trade deals get into the core questions of whether American workers will have jobs, whether communities can maintain their industrial bases, whether government has the power to protect the environment, and whether the U.S. government will be a willing co-conspirator in the exploitation of men, women and children in developing countries.

So, unless they are crooks who trade their votes for campaign checks, the Bush Democrats are supporters of a corporate agenda that Representative Robert Menendez -- a New Jersey Democrat who has a long history of involvement with Latin American affairs -- explained during the CAFTA debate would harm U.S. workers and farmers while plunging Central American countries deeper into poverty and causing more Latin Americans to migrate to the U.S. At the least, this suggests that the Bush Democrats -- Melissa Bean of Illinois, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Norm Dicks of Washington, Ruben Hinojosa of Texas, William Jefferson of Louisiana, Jim Matheson of Utah, Gregory Meeks of New York, Dennis Moore of Kansas, Jim Moran of Virginia, Solomon Ortiz of Texas, Ike Skelton of Missouri, Vic Snyder of Arkansas, John Tanner of Tennessee, and Edolphus Towns of New York -- are on the wrong side of history, and of humanity.

oh, there's more. Slime-balls all.

...When the so-called “bankruptcy reform” bill came up earlier this year, the White House and Wall Street favored a “yes” vote to make it harder for working Americans who get hit with a medical emergency or some other form of crisis to get back on their feet financially. Twelve of the pro-CAFTA Democrats -- Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Hinojosa, Jefferson, Matheson, Meeks, Moore, Moran, Ortiz, Skelton and Tanner -- voted with the White House. On the so-called “tort-reform” legislation that passed the House earlier this year, and which will make it dramatically harder for individuals who are wronged by corporations to hold them accountable, nine of pro-CAFTA Democrats voted with the White House and Wall Street: Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Hinojosa, Matheson, Meeks, Moore, Moran and Tanner. But what about other issues that are top White House priorities, such as the war in Iraq. Of the pro-CAFTA Democrats, six backed the 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq: Dicks, Jefferson, Matheson, Moore, Skelton and Tanner, while another four were either not serving in the House or did not vote: Bean, Cooper, Cuellar and Ortiz. When the House voted on California Democrat Lynn Woolsey's May, 2005 amendment that sought to begin taking steps to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, only Hinojosa, Jefferson, Meeks, Moran and Towns voted in favor of seeking an exit strategy. (On the question of whether to hand the Bush administration another $82 billion for the war, only Meeks and Towns voted for holding the White House accountable with regards to the war.) So where does this leave us: On fundamental economic issues, Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Hinojosa, Matheson, Meeks, Moore, Moran and Tanner are consistent Bush Democrats. On a broader array of issues, Hinojosa, Meeks and Moran move off the list. But it is safe to say that, whether the issue is peace or prosperity, Bean, Cooper, Cuellar, Matheson, Moore and Tanner take the side of a White House that has consistently been at odds with both those goals.
It is notable that, of the six members who are with Bush when it comes to the economy and the war, Bean, Matheson and Moore come from swing districts where they are likely to be extremely vulnerable in the fall of 2006. Cooper, Cuellar and Tanner come from more decidedly Democratic districts where they might well be more vulnerable to Democratic primary challenges. Of the rest of the pro-CAFTA 15, Dicks, Hinojosa, Jefferson, Meeks, Moran, Ortiz, Skelton, Snyder and Towns come from districts that trend Democratic -- although Skelton's Missouri district and Snyder's Arkansas district, could be swing turf. By most measures, however, Dicks, Hinojosa, Jefferson, Meeks, Moran, Ortiz and Towns represent districts where an economic populist challenge in a Democrat primary could be significant.

Read the rest here

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Spyware is a scourge

Just in case you didn't already have this preference set, you should. Spyware is unnecessary, and should be deleted out of everyone's computer.

WSJ.com - Mossberg's Mailbox:
One type of spyware, called tracking cookies, doesn't take the form of an actual program, and can be used on Macs. ...Mac users who run Apple's built-in Safari Web browser can stop most tracking cookies by going to the Security portion of the Preferences panel and selecting the option to accept only cookies placed by the site they are using, which eliminates cookies placed by third-party advertising companies. A similar option is available in the Firefox Web browser, on both Mac and Windows. On the Mac, it's in Firefox's Preferences panel, under Privacy
Safari Privacy pane

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Tractor tales

TractorPhil and Tractor (click for larger version)

Not sure of this photo's history, nor why I have a copy on my hard drive, but from what I can tell, Phil flipped the tractor over trying to tow something too heavy. I'm guessing George took the photo, but could be wrong. Obviously, taken in Frostpocket, I'm guessing circa 1978.

Update, actually my uncle, Jeff, took the photo. Here is Phil's account of the incident:

Jeff and I were cutting logs for the house he wanted to build on his land near Rye. The logs were dragged out of the woods to a roadway where they were loaded onto a wagon for transport to the saw mill. To get the logs out of the woods, we hitched the logs to a chain attached to the tractor’s hitching bar. We would have to lengthen or shorten the chain to keep the log from hanging up on roots and stumps. In this case the log hung up on a stump. Ideally the driver would depress the clutch while the chainman moved the log. Jeff was driving and looking forward when the log hung up. By the time he realized what was happening the tractor had already come up to a very steep angle. He tried but could not depress the clutch and jumped from the seat just before the tractor flipped over on its back. We righted the tractor using a chain fall and then repaired the minor damage to the headlight. A contributing factor was our tendency to shorten the chain by wrapping the excess around a hitch that was above the rear wheel axle. The tractor would have reared up even if we had not done this but the motor might have stalled rather than completely flipping the tractor on its back.

As the tractor slowly reared up I remember thinking about what I would have to do to pull Jeff’s body from below the tractor and what I would say to his wife. Fortunately he jumped at the last minute although his leg was penned under the tractor. The ground was soft moss and so he was not hurt. We took another photo when we had the tractor right side up but still hanging in the air at a steep angle. I posed for an action shot pretending that I was in the driver’s seat as the thing flipped over. Jeff gave me a print of that photo and I have it hanging in my room now.

This type of accident (along with tractor rollovers from turning too sharply and quickly) accounts for most farm accidental deaths. Typically what happens is the tractor is pulling a heavy load like a combine when it hits a soft spot in the field and the combine gets stuck. The rear wheels of the tractor dig into the dirt putting the tractor motor above the rear axle. If the wheels finally stop spinning the front of the tractor is simply picked up and flipped over. Unless the driver jumps or shuts off the motor in time he is caught under the tractor. Usually elderly men and young boys are killed in this way.

Rye is even more in the boonies than Frostpocket is, though in the adjoining township. Seems like it was about a 30 minute drive, quite much of which was (is?) unpaved, gravel road.

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Netflixed: American Pimp

Saw this movie a few years ago on IFC. Remember it as being pretty amusing. Root of D and I always saying, “Where's my money! Bitch!”, if you were curious....

“American Pimp” (Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes)

Shipped: American Pimp:

Shipped on 07/27/05
Filmmakers Albert and Allen Hughes' riveting but sometimes disquieting documentary probes the exploitative world of urban pimp culture. Interlacing interviews, surveillance footage and clips from 1970s blaxploitation films, American Pimp sketches the careers of these charismatic flesh peddlers -- with colorful monikers such as C-Note and Bishop Don Magic Juan -- who spin self-ennobling tales of life in the trade.

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Heat Wave

99 in the Shade

Luckily, the heat wave seems to have dissipated, and right now it's 66º. Perfect.

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Charlie Poole

Heard of this guy? I had, barely, but only have one song (White House Blues, from 1926) in my library.

WSJ.com - Charlie Poole's Outlaw Country: 80 Years Old -- and Hot:

Eighty years ago today, an ambitious, even cocky, banjo picker from the mill towns of North Carolina showed up at Columbia Records' New York studios with fiddle and rhythm guitar players in tow, looking for a shot at cutting his first record.

There was nothing identified as “country music” yet, or even “hillbilly music.” But a few tunes from down home had made a bit of a stir, and this nattily dressed string-band leader knew he had fashioned something a little different, more propulsive, just plain hotter than anything that had come out of the Southern countryside before. Charlie Poole and his North Carolina Ramblers passed the audition.

One number they cut that day, “Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” a driving, infectious warning not to mess up your situation (whatever it might be), would sell 102,000 copies. That was an astonishing number for any record of the day. Poole recordings in the five years that followed included such twang classics as “Take a Drink on Me,” “White House Blues,” “If the River Was Whiskey” and “If I Lose, I Don't Care” -- songs that would be taken up by Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers and dozens of others in bluegrass and old-time country music, and then by the likes of the Grateful Dead, The Band and John Mellencamp in the rock era.

Charlie Poole's You Ain't Talkin' to Me

“Old Time Songs Recorded from 1925 to 1930” (Charlie Poole)

This anniversary of Poole's “Deal” hit comes just as new attention is being paid to Charlie, his bands and his lasting influence, thanks to the Columbia Legacy release of a highly listenable, startlingly clean-sounding new boxed set, “
You Ain't Talkin' to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music

.” The three-CD set comes with an informative book, and is packaged in a downright-charming cigar box with a cover rendering of Poole that's unmistakably the work of music-loving cartoonist R. Crumb. (Because of the box's unusual shape, it's not found on the shelves of all CD stores, but it's readily available from online dealers, including the label's at www.legacyrecordings.com.)

The new set, produced and assembled by veteran old-time-music historian and practitioner Hank Sapoznik, pegs Charlie Poole and the Ramblers as an inventive, aggressive, forward-looking band -- highly accessible forerunners and fathers of much rhythmic American music that's come since.

Allmusic's entry on Poole:

Charlie Poole & the North Carolina Ramblers were one of the most popular string bands of the 1920s. If they didn't have the foot-stomping exuberance of their chief competitors, Georgia's Skillet Lickers, they offered a debonair precision that was equally infectious. Infused with ragtime and pop, their music almost seemed to swing at times (even though the use of that word to describe music was still several years in the future). Poole strongly influenced later banjo players, including those who would become the creators of bluegrass. ... Like many country performers to follow, Poole lived a fast life; he was a hard-drinking man, rowdy and reckless. Poole was significant as one of the first country artists to gain widespread popularity through recordings, and when the Depression slowed record sales dramatically, he was hard hit. Around 1930 his self-confidence began to wane with his popularity, and he began drinking even more heavily. Scheduled to appear in a film in 1931, he unfortunately went on a bender and died of heart failure before he could get to Hollywood.

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Energy bill boondoggle

Any bill that has the energy producers and utility companies publicly gleeful cannot be good for the country. Where are the incentives to increase efficiency? to lower pollution? increase use of alternative, clean energies like solar, wind? Instead, just more crony capitalism, tax breaks to companies who already have more cash than they know what to do with, and public subsidies to nuclear and coal companies (risk is owned by tax-payers, profits are owned by the utility).

WSJ.com - Congress Is Set To Approve Energy Bill:

“This couldn't have come at a more crucial time,” said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute. He said that, amid last week's sweltering heat, the nation's power demands rose 3% above the record set in 2002.
Mr. Kuhn said members of his organization -- including utilities that produce 75% of the nation's electricity -- “are really happy” with the bill, which includes $11.5 billion in tax incentives and policy measures to improve investment in the power grid, develop nuclear and clean coal-fired power plants, and help utilities buy pollution-control equipment. The bill provides mandatory standards for operating the nation's power grid, a measure designed to prevent the spread of blackouts.

Representatives of other energy producers, including oil, nuclear, coal and solar energy -- along with ethanol-producing farmers -- were pleased, too. A number of problems affecting these groups have evolved from a lack of federal energy policy.

We believe this provides the foundation for continued use of coal,” said Carol Raulston, senior vice president of the National Mining Association, which represents coal producers. The measure will help coal producers with new research for cleaner-burning coal, federally funded demonstration programs and loan guarantees to build the first of a new generation of coal gasification plants. It invests in “sequestration” projects designed to inject carbon-dioxide emissions, thought to be a cause of climate change, deep into the ground.

Sara Banaszak, a senior economist at the American Petroleum Institute, said oil companies are pleased with a number of provisions in the bill, including authorization for the Interior Department to conduct the first high-technology survey of the nation's offshore-oil resources. “We think there's a great deal of resource available there that has been held off limits to consumers,” she said.

from the Washington Post, more details of the deep tongue kiss to the energy companies:

Negotiators omitted a provision that would have granted manufacturers of the gasoline additive MTBE protection from product-defect lawsuits -- a measure that was unpopular in the Senate.

They also dropped Senate provisions requiring that more electricity be produced from renewable sources and calling on the president to cut oil consumption by 1 million barrels a day by 2015.

Some Democrats and environmentalists said the bill would shower subsidies on the energy industry, including many companies that have reaped record profits because of high oil prices.

“This is a huge giveaway for the oil and gas industry,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “The bill just tips the American consumer and taxpayer upside down and shakes money out of their pockets. The bill is an historic failure.”

Granted, a few crumbs for solar power, but not enough to even notice.

more nuggets from the Boston Globe:

Negotiators reach pact on a broad energy bill - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Washington - News:

Representative Edward J. Markey, a Malden Democrat who was on the panel that negotiated the bill, called the product ''an historic failure“ that increases profits for big-money energy conglomerates.
''This bill is a huge giveaway to the wealthier interests in this country,” Markey said. ''It is a political and moral failure.“
Karen Wayland, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Congress intends to reward big oil and gas companies and clearly supports keeping the energy industry rooted in sources of the past rather than planning for the future.
''What's the point of an energy bill that doesn't save energy?” Wayland said. ''It will prolong and possibly worsen our dangerous dependence on oil. . . . Clearly nothing good can come from this bill.“

and what's a little nuclear waste among friends...not to mention some off-shore drilling near coastal cities?

The measure could usher in a new era for the nuclear power industry, which has not commissioned a new plant in more than 30 years.
Two nuclear power plants are planned, and the industry would get billions of dollars in loans, research and development grants, along with special ''risk-guarantee” insurance that would guard against delays in winning licenses for new plants.
The bill requires producing an inventory of current offshore oil and gas resources by authorizing limited drilling in coastal areas that are now off-limits, particularly off California and Florida.
The measure also provides $500 million in government money over 10 years to research ''ultra deepwater and unconventional drilling“ --an item that GOP leaders tucked into the measure early yesterday morning, after the conference committee had finished its work, Markey said.

Bleh. Thanks Red States, really appreciate it.

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Drill Bit building


Not too sure if this proposed Big Screw building will ever even be built, but certainly is an unusual structure. Seems like it might unbalance the skyline, but the other proposal was for two bulky mid-rise buildings without much style. So, in a binary world, I'd choose the funky over the prosaic. If this were a binary decision, which I don't think it is.

In Chicago, Plans for a High-Rise Raise Interest and Post-9/11 Security Concerns - New York Times:
In a city known for its skyscrapers, in an era when tall buildings have become targets, can the skyline handle one more that stretches the limit? In Chicago, it seems, the answer may be yes - if the architect is a “starchitect” like Santiago Calatrava.
...Living in the Calatrava tower would not come cheap, by Chicago standards. Mr. Carley said he expected one-bedroom units to sell initially for at least $600,000, with full-floor units of some 7,200-square-feet topping out at $5 million.

The twisting design, which was recently tested in a wind tunnel in Canada, would disperse Chicago's gusting winds, Mr. Carley said. And Mr. Calatrava designed the interior so that posts and columns would be toward the structure's center, to allow balconies on some floors and maximize the floor-to-ceiling views.

and the Tribune:

A far less well known developer, Chicago's Christopher Carley, will unveil his proposal Wednesday for a slender, 115-story tower with a steel spire that could soar higher than 2,000 feet.

Designed by superstar Spanish-born architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the skyscraper would rise next to Lake Shore Drive and near the entrance to Navy Pier. Its tapering glass facade would ripple like folds of drapery.

For Carley, the chairman of Fordham Co., the planned hotel and condo tower would be taller than the combined height of his last three previous projects: two towers of roughly 50 stories and an eight-story structure.

Financing for his latest project has not yet been arranged, and will largely depend on achieving prices rarely seen in a downtown market. “Is this going to get done?” Carley said. “It'll be market-driven.”

But the ambitious proposal, to be called Fordham Spire, would dramatically shift the focus of Chicago's skyline, and it likely faces community opposition and the challenge of obtaining financing in what some are calling an overheated real estate market.
The Tribune revealed in May that Carley was working with Calatrava--the architect of the bird-like Milwaukee Art Museum addition, the Athens Olympics sports complex and the planned transportation center at Ground Zero--to design a tower on at least one of two sites along the west side of Lake Shore Drive and the north bank of the Chicago River.

Under Carley's plan, those sites would be combined into a single 2.2-acre parcel at 346 E. North Water St. The area is now an unruly patch, filled with overgrown grass, gravel, trees and a construction trailer.

From it would sprout a tower utterly different from the boxy forms found elsewhere on the Chicago skyline: A skyscraper with gently curving, concave outer walls attached to a massive reinforced concrete core.

Each floor would rotate a little more than 2 degrees from the one below. The floors would turn 270 degrees around the core as they rise, making the building appear to twist.
Carley and Calatrava noted that the skyscraper's thin profile--it would have just 920,000 total square feet, compared with 4.5 million for Sears Tower--would make it a benign, not overbearing, presence along the city's lakefront.

That is far better, they maintain, than two towers of roughly 50 and 35 stories, which current zoning allows. Towers of that size would be far more bulky and cast greater shadows, the developer and architect argue.

“The tower is without any doubt tall, but it is not big. It is very slender. It is extremely slender,” Calatrava said.

also Eric Zorn weighs in:

Our other major skyscrapers – the Hancock Center, the Sears Tower, the Aon Center and even the upcoming Trump Tower (see the Trib's Trump Cam for progress) -- have a sturdy quality that fits nicely with our town’s nickname, “The City of the Big Shoulders.”
Now what are we supposed to be? “The City of the Big Screw”?

Stress leads to spare tires

Ha! No wonder I went from a 29 inch waist to a 33.5 inch waist. Drinking beer/wine and injuring my ankle had nothing to do with it! Blame it all on working for the man (ignoring the inconvenient fact that I'm currently working for myself). Joking aside, I know if I manage to squeeze in some strenuous exercise into my day (bike, treadmill, even a long walk), I have more patience dealing with petty frustrations, vendors, clients, and co-workers.

WSJ.com - Stress and Your Waistline: Gaining Belly Fat May Be Body's Way of Coping:
There's growing evidence that chronic stress can make you thick around the middle. Studies in rats and monkeys clearly show that a high-stress environment increases risk for accumulating abdominal fat, the type of fat linked with heart disease. And in human studies, stress appears to put normal-weight women at higher risk for excess belly fat.

While the evidence is strong that stress may contribute to weight problems, exactly why and how it happens isn't clear.
...In a series of rat studies, researchers at University of California-San Francisco fed two groups of rats a diet of rat chow and sugar water. But one group of rats lived more stressful lives, spending short periods of time during the day in a confined space. Stress hormone levels were higher in the confined rats, and the stressed rats started to eat less healthy chow and gulp down more sugar water.

But what happened next was surprising. As the stressed-out rats started to accumulate more belly fat, their stress hormones went back down. The higher the belly fat, the lower the animal's stress hormones. That suggests that gaining belly fat may be the body's coping mechanism for turning off the stress response. In addition, the theory is that stress hormones may somehow turn on the brain's reward center, and the result is that during times of stress, certain foods actually taste better, making you eat more of them....
Similar findings have been shown in monkey studies at Wake Forest University. In male and female monkeys fed foods that mimic the typical North American diet, the animals living in stressful situations were more likely to accumulate visceral fat -- that unhealthy fat that accumulates around organs and in the abdomen...
Last fall, a Yale University study reported that otherwise lean women with excess belly fat have an exaggerated response to the stress hormone cortisol. The research, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, looked at lean and overweight women who stored fat at the waist compared with those who stored fat at the hips -- and examined their stress responses over three consecutive days. The study found that the women with abdominal fat consistently secreted more cortisol in response to stressful lab tasks, compared to women with the hip fat.

The mechanism that causes the body to accumulate abdominal fat is likely far more complicated, says Dr. Dallman. However, the stress-fat link does suggest that many of the nation's dieters are missing out on a key component of weight management if they aren't also trying to manage their stress. Exercise is an obvious way to manage stress, but even less strenuous options -- like yoga, meditation or massage may be useful in a weight-loss program.

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Caruso public domain mp3s

Cool news, passing along to interested parties...

from Salon

One of Archive.org's great treasures is a collection (Part 1 and Part 2) of nearly 150 recordings by the great tenor Enrico Caruso, all of them in the public domain and available as free MP3s. Caruso, who died in 1921, was one of the most popular recording artists of his time, but in contrast to today's opera-singer-as-pop-star Andrea Bocelli's mild and honeyed tone, Caruso had a big foghorn of a voice, rich and darkly resonant. That voice is so famous that it has almost become its own cliché, an unattainable ideal of the over-emotive, seductively smooth tenor. For me, Caruso's voice immediately calls to mind the famous scene from Werner Herzog's “Fitzcarraldo” (Klaus Kinski maneuvering a grand old steamboat down a river in the middle of the jungle, a gramophone on the top deck blasting a Caruso aria), an image so memorable and romantic that it only heightens the pleasure of these songs. (I believe the song playing in that scene was Leoncavallo's “Vesti la Giubba.”)

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Frog March matter, day 15

Drip, drip, drip....

WSJ.com - CIA-Leak Probe May Cause Bush Long-Term Worry:

Questions about the outcome of a federal probe into the leaking of a CIA agent's identity could linger into the fall, creating a long stretch of uncertainty for President Bush and his team on a sensitive topic.
...On CBS's “Face the Nation” yesterday, Sen. Joseph Biden, (D., Del.), questioned whether White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis “Scooter” Libby were truthful in testimony to the grand jury helping investigate the leak. Mr. Biden also raised questions about the handling of the matter by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, now attorney general. On the same program, Mr. Gonzales defended his decision to leave the probe to federal prosecutors. On “Fox News Sunday,” the attorney general disclosed that he, too, had given testimony in the case.

Among other things, prosecutors seem to be interested in whether administration officials' stories match those of the reporters they talked to. Mr. Rove, who has testified three times, has told authorities that he learned of the agent's identity from a journalist, or possibly another administration official who learned it from a journalist, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

There also have been indications for at least a year that Mr. Libby told prosecutors that he learned of the agent's identity from a journalist. One who was asked about that last year, NBC's Tim Russert, repeated yesterday on “Meet the Press” that he wasn't Mr. Libby's source. It's possible that Mr. Fitzgerald wants to find out if Ms. Miller was Mr. Libby's source.
Mr. Rove's recollection of his conversation with Mr. Cooper may be of interest because of divergences with Mr. Cooper's account of its details...Another possible source of White House aides' information is a classified State Department memo that circulated on Air Force One -- and possibly elsewhere in the administration -- that identified the agent Valerie Plame using her married name, Wilson. At the time, administration officials were trying to counter claims by her husband that the Bush administration had twisted intelligence data to justify the Iraq invasion.

And for the record, Biden is not really a Democrat, and especially is not a democrat.

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Crap like this tale of industry-friendly government agencies rekindles my disgust with John Kerry for running such a poor presidential campaign. Not that Kerry isn't a corporate Democrat who sucks from the same teat as Bush, but I don't think he is quite as dismissive of science as the dauphin. Mind you, this particular article doesn't particularly dwell on regulatory issues, but they bubble, right below the surface, as evidenced in the sentence: Some scientists, many of them in industry, dismiss such concerns. Yes, yes, pollution is just fine, we wouldn't want to lower any chemical company's profits by one iota to make everyone's planet better....

WSJ.com - Common Industrial Chemicals In Tiny Doses Raise Health Issue:
For years, scientists have struggled to explain rising rates of some cancers and childhood brain disorders. Something about modern living has driven a steady rise of certain maladies, from breast and prostate cancer to autism and learning disabilities.

One suspect now is drawing intense scrutiny: the prevalence in the environment of certain industrial chemicals at extremely low levels. A growing body of animal research suggests to some scientists that even minute traces of some chemicals, always assumed to be biologically insignificant, can affect such processes as gene activation and the brain development of newborns.
An especially striking finding: It appears that some substances may have effects at the very lowest exposures that are absent at higher levels.

Some scientists, many of them in industry, dismiss such concerns. But the new science of low-dose exposure is challenging centuries of accepted wisdom about toxic substances and rattling the foundation of environmental law.
Modern pollution restrictions aim to limit exposures to levels past studies have found safe. For example, it's known mercury can cause learning problems in children if it's above 58 parts per billion in the bloodstream. Dividing 58 by 10 to provide a margin of safety, U.S. regulators advise that children and young women not accumulate more than 5.8 parts per billion of mercury, by limiting consumption of certain fish such as tuna. But what if it turned out some common substances have essentially no safe exposure levels at all? That was ultimately what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded about lead after studying its effects on children for decades. Indications some other chemicals may have no safe limits have led regulators in Europe and Japan to bar the use of certain compounds in toys and in objects used to serve food. In the U.S., federal scientists are devising new tests that could be used to screen thousands of common chemicals to make sure they're safe at extremely low exposures. Using advanced lab techniques, scientists have found that with some chemicals, traces as minute as mere parts per trillion have biological effects. That's one-millionth of the smallest traces even measurable three decades ago, when many of today's environmental laws were written. With some of these chemicals, such trace levels exist in the blood and urine of the general population.

a few more excerpts, the whole article is worth reading if you can....

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Kelby's Photoshop book

Briefly, Scott Kelby's Photoshop book is chock full o' nuggets (of information). Have read about half of it, and have filed away several good tidbits of info. If you are a so-called prosumer, interested in making your photos look better, and you own Photoshop, certainly check Kelby's book out.

Scott Kelby

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Frog March matter day 14

Bush hasn't been able to divert the country's attention yet. Of course, as noted previously, public opinion doesn't have any relevance on this matter at all, only Mr. Fitzgerald's legal findings do. Billmon made the same point recently. However, every day the Rethuglican spin-meisters have to answer uncomfortable questions about Turd Blossom is another day their radical agenda is (partially) side-tracked.

The NYT has, above the fold, this overview:

For Bush, Effect of Investigation of C.I.A. Leak Case Is Uncertain

President Bush has yet to address some uncomfortable questions that he may not be able to evade indefinitely.

...But Mr. Bush's political opponents say the president is in a box. In their view, either Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby kept the president in the dark about their actions, making them appear evasive at a time when Mr. Bush was demanding that his staff cooperate fully with the investigation, or Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby had told the president and he was not forthcoming in his public statements about his knowledge of their roles.

“We know that Karl Rove, through Scott McClellan, did not tell Americans the truth,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois and a former top aide in the Clinton White House. “What's important now is what Karl Rove told the president. Was it the truth, or was it what he told Scott McClellan?”

and from Frank Rich:

Eight Days in July:

The agenda of President Bush's rushed Supreme Court nomination - to change the subject in Washington - could not have been more naked.

...When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must “preserve all materials” relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. “Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence,” said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.

Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair. It won't be the last. When you look at the early timeline of this case, rather than the latest investigatory scraps, two damning story lines emerge and both have legs.
The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds. Without it, there wouldn't have been a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain.

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iTunes week that was, July 24

You probably don't care....nor should you

Got two new albums that I liked. The Faces box set, and the new White Stripes album. I've always been ambivalent about both fo these bands. Faces because anything associated with Rod Stewart was already tainted in my eyes, White Stripes because not only are they willful primitives, but also because they became critical darlings, which always triggers a reaction.
However, the Faces album really rocks, I was quite surprised how much I like it. And last week, D was gone most of one day, so really cranked up the White Stripes, and had a blast.

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Salvia Divinorum


Oooh, scary! People are ingesting an herb (Salvia Divinorum), related to Sage, that wasn't created in some large multi-national pharmaceutical's laboratory, and people deign to like the effects. How dare they! And some users report feelings of euphoria, or of an urge to have philosophical discussions, or of witnessing multi-dimensional visions - better get out the bonfires and the iron maidens!

Legal herb causing concern
A legal herb that produces a high when smoked or chewed is causing concern along one of the state's most popular tourist spots.

The Myrtle Beach City Council plans to vote on whether to formally ask the Legislature for a statewide ban on the plant. The herb Salvia divinorum is available at many ...stores...
The Drug Enforcement Administration has stopped short of a ban but labeled the plant as a “chemical of concern.”
Some other dire warnings from the Canadian media.

The curious in spirit and mind should refer to this page for some more rational discussion, and here for some poetic description, or from the Salvia Divorum wiki source:

The effects of salvia are found by many to be highly spiritual and entheogenic, and useful for meditation. Consciousness is retained until the highest doses, but body control, awareness of externalities, and individual personality can disappear with even modest amounts.

At lower doses the user may experience spontaneous laughter, mild closed-eye visuals, stuttering or strobing visual effects, changes in depth perception, and a heightened sense of color and texture.

Moderate doses appear trance-like. Time distortion and open-eye visuals become increasingly apparent. Fractal patterns and geometric shapes may be noticeable with eyes open, and can be very confusing. Many people experience sensations of falling, similar to what is occasionally felt at the onset of sleep. The user may experience fully formed visions of other places, people, and events, especially with eyes closed.

At high doses, the effects become more powerful and shamanic, and may additionally include out-of-body experiences, perceptions of gravitational distortion, vertigo, sensations of wind or physical pressure, hearing voices, flanging of sound, significant open and closed-eye visuals, experiencing alternate realities, contact with beings or entities, and dissociation. The salvia experience is quite different from that of most other hallucinogenic drugs and may be overwhelming, even with the correct set and setting.

Dale Pendell's
book in its entirety is well worth owning, as is this one:

“Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions and Herbcraft” (Dale Pendell)

That is all.

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Can I complain yet?

7-Day Forecast for Latitude 41.81N and Longitude -87.68W:
Mostly sunny and hot, with a high around 99. Heat index values as high as 110

I'm almost (notice the qualifier, almost) sick of drinking beer! Maybe I'll make some iced tea instead. Or a sangrita....

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Rethuglicans strike again

Sounds like a Lose-lose proposal. Usually, those have a good chance of passing in the Republican-dominated Congress, but in this particular instance, the business lobby balked at having to pay anything to clean up their messes....

Water-Cleanup Measure Stalls Energy Bill:
A Republican proposal that oil companies share the cost of an $11 billion plan to clean up water pollution in exchange for legal immunity drew sweeping criticism.
Lawmakers and municipal officials argued that the proposal, which requires state and local governments to share the program's cost, lets the oil companies escape full responsibility for spills of the additive. Under the plan proposed by Representative Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, businesses in the gasoline distribution chain would pay $4 billion over 12 years for cleanup, the federal government would pay $4.5 billion and states just under $3 billion. Local government officials said the money would have to be approved by Congress each year and was far below some estimates of what will be needed for a nationwide cleanup.

“Once again, taxpayers are being saddled with a cost that should be paid by the industry and the nation's mayors must find additional resources to cover yet another unfunded mandate,” said Tom Cochran, executive director of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, said, “This deal takes us away from polluter pays and puts cleanup on the backs of taxpayers, and that's wrong.”


Oil companies began adding MTBE to the gasoline supply in the late 1970's and increased the volume in the 1990's to meet new Clean Air Act requirements. But the substance leaked from underground storage tanks throughout the nation, reaching water systems and making some supplies undrinkable. Scores of government bodies around the nation have sued the industry, seeking money to clean up their water systems. Among them was the State of New Hampshire, which went to court on Sept. 30, 2003, against 22 oil companies. As a result, the state's two Republican senators in 2003 joined the filibuster against the energy bill because the proposal to block product liability lawsuits would apply to any claims after Sept. 5, 2003.

Senators were being urged by environmental advocacy groups and representatives of local water companies to dismiss the MTBE plan.
“The energy bill MTBE scheme released today by Chairman Barton will leave communities with MTBE-contaminated water supplies stranded with billions in cleanup costs while the companies that created this product may pay little or nothing at all,” said Diane VanDe Hei, executive director of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.


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Our declining freedoms

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Great news for all the nascent fascists...

House votes to bolster the Patriot Act

WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives last night voted to make permanent most of the expanded law enforcement powers authorized under the USA Patriot Act, and extended for 10 years two controversial provisions that allow investigators to access library and bookstore records and to obtain ''roving“ wiretaps to monitor terrorist suspects.

But since 2001, the law has come under criticism from liberals as well as conservatives for giving federal authorities increased powers without adequate safeguards on civil liberties. Two provisions have proved particularly controversial: the power for a secret court to authorize access to library and other personal records, and the ''roving” wiretaps that allow snooping on a range of communications devices used by a suspect.
Democrats argued on the House floor yesterday that there is no reason for FBI agents to circumvent the normal judicial process to conduct investigations.
Representative Bernard Sanders, the Vermont Independent who offered the amendment, blasted Republicans for ducking a move that the Bush administration opposes.
''It is unconscionable that the same Republican leadership that is asking us to trust them not to abuse the powers granted by the Patriot Act has so blatantly abused their power to undermine the democratic process in Congress,“ Sanders said

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Frog March, addendum

Oooh, sounds like fun....

Think Progress » BREAKING: Bloomberg Reporting That Rove, Libby May Be Subject To Perjury Charges:

below is a Bloomberg article which is reporting that Karl Rove, senior adviser to the President and deputy chief of staff, and Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, are being investigated for having lied to a federal grand jury about how they learned the identity of a covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame

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Tobacco self-interest

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From Mikey Siegel, Esq., who uses me as an example of the 'misguided public'...

Political Campaign to Denigrate McCallum Working: Public Buying Misleading Information

From my recent review of internet postings related to Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum, it appears that the public is largely confused about the exact nature of McCallum's prior employment with respect to tobacco industry clients.
Do I think McCallum should be spared from harm to his character and career? I don't know. I think we need to wait until the investigation has been completed to cast judgment on him and his role in the case. But what I do think is indisputable is that he deserves to be judged based on the facts. And in this case, the fact is that he never represented R.J. Reynolds in litigation. But in my opinion, the majority of the public who is familiar with this story believes that he has.

I do not think that is just. And I do not, therefore, find it acceptable that anti-smoking groups may have contributed to the public's misperception in a way that may inappropriately denigrate the reputation and character of an individual.

As a member of the general public, with no legal experience, I am confused by your analysis. I don't think the problem is that the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (who is an unknown organization to me) have misrepresented Robert McCallum's prior employment with various tobacco companies. I think the problem is one of perception: namely, why did the previously agreed upon tobacco settlement suddenly change in a manner which benefits the tobacco industry after closed-door discussions with Bush appointees? I'm not sure this alteration passes the 'smell test'. Actually, this settlement seems more akin to previous 'business-friendly' deals, such as with Microsoft. Where did all those campaign contributions go anyway?

original article excerpt
some print ad run by the ANR
My little smoker-poster

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Basketball news

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If you are like me, and don't really follow any sports other than the NBA, then I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't suggest you read True Hoop on a regular basis. There are other NBA blogs web magazines, most of which are listed on Henry Abbot's blogroll, but True Hoop has the best balance of original content (some republished from various magazines) and quotes/links from the usual suspects (Charley Rosen, Steve Kerr, Peter Vescey, Steve Smith, et al). Check it out, add it to your RSS feed.

Actually, I still feel a twinge of guilt paying so much attention to any sport. I realize sports are 'bread and circuses', distractions from the real matters that weave the woof of our lives, but still, a perfectly executed give-and-go is a thing of beauty. Even a pick and roll, as mundane and frequently utilized as it is, can exhilarate.

Football (American style) is brutal and boring, baseball is mostly just boring, soccer reminds me too much of when I played (and was in shape, before I blew out my knees), lacrosse has too many flip-flops, yadda yadda. Basketball is elegant in contrast.

Speaking of Charley Rosen, Rosen has this to say about the Bulls best SF, in Rosen's list of all-time best small forwards....

Pippen was a dynamic scorer in half-court situations and also an accomplished finisher on the run. He could play big and he could play small; there was no aspect of the game he didn't master. He was as comfortable in the triangle offense as Brer Rabbit was in the briar patch. But what sets Pippen above the rest is his ability to play suffocating defense at any of the skill positions (point guard, shooting guard, and small forward). Indeed, the only flaw in his game was a tendency to shoot impulsive 3-pointers when the shot-clock was still in the high-teens.
While Pippen was usually aloof with civilians, he was the player that the other Bulls turned to for advice and solace. (They were all much too afraid of MJ's caustic and insulting remedies for their comparatively inferior talent.) Moreover, it was Pippen who orchestrated the Bulls' stingy defense — making on-the-spot adjustments, and instructing his teammates (including MJ) when to double, when to rotate, when to sag, when to go over and when to go under screens.
On the defensive end of Chicago's six championships, Pippen was Phil Jackson's surrogate coach-on-the-court.

narco-detail: If I was an NBA player, this would be my position: SF. Not good enough handle to be a guard, not big enough to be a brute inside.

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Dylan 'Judas' concert to be screened

Super cool! I love this CD actually. Well, the amplified second disc mostly - some of Dylan and the Band's best work, by far. They really rock, and give some of the most electric performances of this song cycle. Better often then the studio versions. I can't wait to see this movie, especially since I saw Scorsese's Last Waltz recently.

IOL: Dylan 'Judas' concert to be screened:

The legendary moment when Bob Dylan was heckled with a cry of “Judas” at a 1966 concert is to be shown on film for the first time. Footage of the incident – considered by many to be one of the defining events in rock history – has lain undiscovered for nearly 40 years.

Now it is to be broadcast in a BBC2 documentary of the singer made by Martin Scorsese for the channel’s arts strand Arena. The documentary, No Direction Home – Bob Dylan, also contains a rare interview with the famously private star, in which he discusses his childhood, his relationships and his music. The “Judas” moment occurred on May 17, 1966 during a gig at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall.

After playing the first half of the gig as an acoustic folk set, Dylan introduced his band and turned electric – to the outrage of some in the audience. Dylan responded to the “Judas” cry with a blistering performance of Like A Rolling Stone.

Arena editor Anthony Wall described his astonishment at seeing the footage for the first time. “I was just gobsmacked. I thought they would never have captured that,” he said. “To see the moment when Judas is actually screamed at him is quite disconcerting.”

He went on: “Every night Dylan would do the acoustic half of the set then bring on a group who later became The Band, and they were very, very loud – at that time in 1966 even the Beatles had relatively small amplifiers. ”50% of the audience every night jeered and booed. He was making the most revolutionary music and it was obviously a very turbulent time.“ Several people claimed responsibility for the notorious remark.

The interview with Dylan, now 64, was condensed from a 10-hour discussion with his manager Jeff Rosen. Remarkably, director Scorsese elected not to meet Dylan throughout the making of the documentary.

”He decided he would give himself a distance,“ Wall said. ”To people of a certain generation there is something overwhelming about Dylan as a phenomenon or presence. It’s a bit like meeting Nelson Mandela or something.“

The film, which also contains interviews with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, will go out on September 26 and 27.It will be shown on the same day by the BBC and the public service broadcasting network PBS in the US.

Bob Dylan Live 1966- The ”Manchester Concert“, aka The ”Royal Albert Hall Concert“

Last Waltz

Can you just smell the hype already? I don't care, I can't wait to see it.

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Our corporate overlords

Not a surprise to any student of U.S. history of say, the last 200 years, but still, I don't recall this simple fact proclaimed so boldly and nonchalantly:

WSJ.com - Bush Taps Roberts For Supreme Court:

Business leaders who recently began reviewing the records of the White House finalist list placed Judge Roberts at the top of their candidate lists.

Since when did the President, Senate, Congress etc. allow the corporations to tell them who was a proper candidate for anything? Much less SCOTUS? I am irked that, as a citizen of the U.S., my opinion matters so much less (incredibly less by a factor of millions) than the CEO of Acme Industrial Widgets International. When do I get to make my candidate list?


Frog March matter, Day 11

So will all the motor-mouthed liars on the right now issue corrections? Or will they continue to kowtow to Political Party versus national security. I used to think that the Rethuglicans, for all their faults, still loved their country. I guess I was deluded.

Plame's Identity Marked As Secret: A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked “(S)” for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the “secret” level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as “secret” the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

Prosecutors attempting to determine whether senior government officials knowingly leaked Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative to the media are investigating whether White House officials gained access to information about her from the memo, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.


Bud Pisarek

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Bud Pisarek painting of a gas station in 1948

I ran across this painting (scan of a watercolor) dated 1948 by my uncle Bud Pisarek, so of course googled him to see if anything came up. Last time I saw Bud and his wife Nancy (last spring), he mentioned selling his paper to paint more. Everything is somewhere on the internets....

Brehm Communications, Inc.: Bill Brehm Jr., president of Brehm Communications Inc., has announced the purchase of the Loomis News from Bud Pisarek, longtime publisher, effective Oct. 1. Brehm Communications is the owner of the Auburn Journal and other Gold Country Media properties.
The Loomis News was established in 1940 by Paul Sagaser and was purchased in 1970 by Auburn resident Bud Pisarek. Since then, Pisarek has sold and then re-purchased the paper a couple of times, most recently buying it back in 1994. Pisarek, who produces the daily cartoon “Above All” for the Auburn Journal, also owned the Colfax Record from 1968 to 1975 and worked for the Auburn Journal as a cameraman and layout artist from 1960 to 1966. He has lived in Auburn since 1960, serving on the Auburn City Council from 1982 to 1995, with three terms as mayor.

An artist, Pisarek plans to devote more time to painting but will continue to draw his daily cartoon for the Journal. He also plans to contribute occasional columns to the Loomis News.

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Not in Kansas anymore

Somehow, we've churned out 1,000 posts in less than a year. Yikes! Not requiring every post to have content helps, as does our penchant for half-baked analysis, but that is so common on the web as to be norml.

Wizard of Oz

Maybe relevant to the Rove Frog March matter, at least metaphorically....

Shipped: The Assassination of Richard Nixon:

Shipped on 07/20/05.

Based on real-life events, this arresting psychological drama is set in 1974 and centers on Samuel Bicke (Sean Penn), an antisocial, unstable salesman with delusions of grandeur. As his life begins to disintegrate, Bicke decides to take extreme measures to achieve his warped version of the American Dream: assassinating President Richard Nixon. The supporting cast includes Don Cheadle, Naomi Watts and Mykelti Williamson.

The Assassination of Richard Nixon

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Frog March, Day 10

Looks like the surprise announcement of Roberts as SCOTUS' newest member bumped the Frog March matter off of the front pages, for a moment. However, public opinion has no real bearing on enforcement of the law, so it doesn't really matter what I think, or you think, or Fox News, blah blah blah. Mr. Rove, just go ahead and restore dignity to the White House now, and don't let the cell door hit you in the ass....

Froomkin: Look Over There!:
The stonewall's not working so well. Neither is the legalistic parsing. The furor over who leaked a CIA operative's name shows no sign of abating.Two options present themselves to the White House: Go public with all the facts -- or try to change the subject.
Signs are pointing toward the latter.Today's news includes:· A new poll showing that the public is increasingly skeptical that the White House is cooperating with the federal investigation into who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, and wants Karl Rove fired if it turns out to be him.· A shifting stance by President Bush over what he considers a firing offense -- one that clashes with his vow to bring back high ethical standards to the White House.· A new report that the classified State Department memo that may have played a role in the leak made clear that information identifying Plame was sensitive and shouldn't be shared.· Word that President Bush is expediting his announcement of a Supreme Court nominee to deflect attention from the leak story.
... Here is the text of Bush's remarks at the swearing-in ceremony for senior members of the White House staff on Jan. 22, 2001. An excerpt: “We have all taken an oath, and from this moment on it is our jobs to honor it. . . . ”[W]e must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, doublechecking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules
From the LAT:
On Monday, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed a report in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine that, when first interviewed by the FBI about the leak, Rove did not mention a conversation he had about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in the days before Plame's name surfaced in the news media.

The source said Rove later mentioned the conversation to investigators, who did not appear to be aware of it when Rove made the revelation.

It is not known whether Rove initially mentioned a conversation he had with Novak days before Novak published his column unmasking Plame.

Failing to disclose material facts to investigators can, under some circumstances, be a violation of federal law.

It is not known what Rove was asked by investigators and how he responded in the early days of the investigation, and legal experts said the specific circumstances of the questioning were crucial in determining whether a crime had been committed.

“It really depends on the questions asked, how probing the questions were and how categorical the responses were,” said Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., a former federal prosecutor who is a defense lawyer in Philadelphia. In general, Hockeimer said, it is difficult to prosecute individuals for failing to disclose information to investigators, unless their later statements contradict earlier statements that seemed to be made emphatically.


Money, money everywhere

Business briefs/leads. I smell opportunity here, since Pharmaceuticals have quite a lot of their obscene profits earmarked for marketing, if they stop throwing it down the sinkhole of television, alternative media vendors will benefit. Screw TV anyway.

Pharma Reformulates Marketing Plans :

Pharma to TV: Drop dead.
That, in a nutshell, was the message from drug companies last week as Bristol-Myers Squibb said it would cease consumer advertising for all new brands during their first year on the market. Overall, pharmaceutical marketers were wondering whether TV was worth the price for any drug advertising.

...The Eye for Pharma Marketing ROI conference in Philadelphia revealed that while BMS may be the first to step out of the closet, most pharma companies are becoming increasingly disenchanted with TV advertising and are moving more dollars into alternatives, particularly the Internet.

Their mantra: Move away from direct-to-consumer marketing and head toward direct-to-patient marketing. DTP focuses more on grabbing the attention of people who are already being treated by doctors, as opposed to DTC's scatter-shot appeal to the entire population.

BMS spent $35 million of its $61 million ad spend on TV last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. And despite the hand-wringing, first quarter ad spend is down only $27 million for the entire category, to $986 million.

On June 14, the company agreed to pay $300 million to settle federal “channel stuffing” allegations, and two former BMS execs were indicted for allegedly organizing the effort to inflate sales figures by inducing retailers to take more product than they needed.

The next day, the Food & Drug Administration ordered all pharmaceutical companies to re-label all pain relief products containing ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories with warnings on stomach bleeding. Brands affected include Advil (Wyeth), Motrin (McNeil) and Midol (Bayer).

“It's a tumultuous time,” said David Stern, vp-marketing at Serono, Rockland, Mass. “The return on investment for traditional advertising is really waning . . . the Web is where we can get a return on our investment.”


Great, soon our corporate overlords will be demanding this information. I love my TiVo, but I don't particularly like this breakdown of the so-called Chinese wall between content and advertising. Sounds like a way to increase junk mail (and spam too), without benefit to the watcher.

TiVo to Let Viewers Contact Advertisers:
TiVo introduced a feature that lets television viewers send personal information directly to advertisers when they see certain commercials.
... Under the new system, consumers can select an option to tell TiVo to release their contact information to an advertiser. For example, after watching an ad for an automobile or family vacation, users can use the remote control to request that a brochure be sent to their home.

Tall statue aka Our Onion-headed Overlords (Our onion-headed overlords)


Why I should always carry a camera

Running errands this morning, and at a stop light (Milwaukee, Grand, and Halsted), was idling next to Juwan Howard, making a (now illegal) cell phone call in his bright red Lamborghini (or Ferrari, I can't remember which logo is which). Yikes. I know he was overpaid while with the Wizards, but still, has a nice low post game at times, and I would have snapped his photo in a second.

While on the subject of NBA drive-bys, I also saw Antonio Davis laughing uproariously, as a passenger in a bright blue Jaguar on Lake and Wacker about 3 months ago (just after the Bulls were kicked out of the playoffs).

That is all...

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Frog March, Day 9

Hmmm, seems like the WSJ has a bit of good info. The so-called smoking memo was marked as 'sensitive'. Ooops. Sorry, country, Political fealty to the Republican Party is more important than national security, don't you know. Glad we straightened that out.

WSJ.com - Memo Underscored Issue of Shielding Plame's Identity:

A classified State Department memo that may be pivotal to the CIA leak case made clear that information identifying an agent and her role in her husband's intelligence-gathering mission was sensitive and shouldn't be shared, according to a person familiar with the document.

News that the memo was marked for its sensitivity emerged as President Bush yesterday appeared to backtrack from his 2004 pledge to fire any member of his staff involved in the leaking of the CIA agent's name. In a news conference yesterday that followed disclosures that his top strategist, Karl Rove, had discussed Ms. Wilson's CIA employment with two reporters, Mr. Bush adopted a different formulation, specifying criminality as the standard for firing.

“If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration,” Mr. Bush said. White House spokesman Scott McClellan later disputed the suggestion that the president had shifted his position.

The memo's details are significant because they will make it harder for officials who saw the document to claim that they didn't realize the identity of the CIA officer was a sensitive matter. Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, may also be looking at whether other crimes -- such as perjury, obstruction of justice or leaking classified information -- were committed.

and from the WSJ archives:

That Ms. Plame recommended her husband doesn't undercut Mr. Wilson's credentials for the job of trying to figure out whether Saddam Hussein was seeking the raw material for a nuclear weapon in Africa. He is a former U.S. ambassador to Gabon and National Security Council expert on Africa in the Clinton administration.
The decision to send Mr. Wilson to Niger came after months of efforts by the CIA, urged on by the Bush White House, to try to discover whether the Iraqi dictator was back in the business of pursuing nuclear weapons. Indeed, two other U.S. officials -- the U.S. ambassador to Niger and a top Marine general -- were asked to make inquiries, and came back similarly dubious
The investigation was given a big push in early 2002 after Vice President Dick Cheney asked his CIA briefer for an assessment of the reports. According to Mr. Cheney's spokeswoman, Cathie Martin, the CIA reported back quickly that it was possible Iraq had made attempts to purchase yellowcake, but the agency couldn't be sure because it said the information “was fragmentary and lacked detail.”


more excerpts from the WSJ below the fold:


I guess I shouldn't slag Technorati for ignoring my updates when I have 'ping' Technorati turned off. Now, if I could figure out what happened to the script that used to build tags....

Chicagoland corruption, part the 98987

The Frog March matter was bumped off the front page of the Trib by more tendrils of corruption in Pete Fitzerald's other big case. Do they lead to Daley yet? Will they? Will the Mayor run for re-election?

Chicago Tribune- Corruption seen at City Hall's door Less than two months after top aides to Mayor Richard Daley expressed surprise at uncovering “specific instances” of clout in city hiring, the federal government on Monday laid out in rich detail a long-standing, widespread and well-established system of alleged corruption in awarding jobs and promotions that allegedly stretched to the mayor's office itself.

In case after case, the fix was in for the politically connected at the expense of job applicants who had no political sponsorship, with the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) playing a key role in determining who prospered, according to federal investigators.
City officials who are responsible for screening job applicants told investigators that hiring decisions were made before interviews were conducted and that ratings from those interviews were manipulated to favor candidates on the IGA's “winners list.” Supervisors said they were simply “going through the motions” of interviewing and rating the candidates, the complaint said.
In one case, a politically connected city employee who was on active military duty in Iraq at the time was given a promotionafter documents were doctored to show he had won a top grade in an interview that never occurred, prosecutors charged.
In others, people advanced despite drinking problems and without regard for performance. And, in one instance, the system was greased for a worker who died before clout could promote him, the government charged.

Named in separate criminal complaints detailing the allegations were Robert Sorich, a senior official in IGA with longtime ties to Daley's family, and Patrick Slattery, director of staff services in the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

John Kass weighs in:

Chicago Tribune's John Kass

But these days Canaryville is also a state of mind at City Hall, as top former mayoral cabinet members sing to the FBI, cooperating with U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald in the investigation of rampant patronage abuse. And while his former underlings talk to FBI agents and federal grand juries, Daley has apparently run out of fall guys. He's a political one-way street, who has demanded so many people fall on their swords for him that all he's got left are swords. The wounded are probably calling the FBI right now. “The dam has broken in terms of a number of people coming forward and cooperating,” Fitzgerald said Monday in announcing federal charges against city officials Robert Sorich and Patrick Slattery of Daley's Bridgeport neighborhood. “More than 30 cooperating witnesses are cited, more than five former commissioners, four former personnel directors and two current personnel directors,” hesaid.

Yowsa. For sure, Jesse Jackson, Jr. is going to make a run for Mayor now.

and then there is the somewhat related story regarding the mob, Rosemont, and the casino:

Days after lawmakers authorized the Emerald Casino's move to Rosemont in 1999, the suburb's longtime mayor, Donald Stephens, met with five high-ranking organized crime figures to discuss what control the mob would have over contracts at the casino, an FBI agent testified Monday.

Sitting with Stephens at Armand's restaurant in Elmwood Park were reputed mob leader Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, who is being sought by U.S. officials; John “No Nose” DiFronzo; his brother Peter; Joe “The Builder” Andriacchi; and Rudy Fratto, among others, said John Mallul, head of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago.

Testifying at a state hearing about whether to strip Emerald of its casino license, Mallul said agents learned of the May 29, 1999, meeting just days after it occurred from a longtime FBI informant who also was there.

“One topic of discussion,” Mallul read from an FBI report based on the confidential source's information, “concerned a casino in Rosemont, Ill., and [organized crime] control of various contracts regarding its construction and operation.”

Gotta love some of those names, and the timeliness of relying upon anonymous informants. Seems to be a meme of the month. Who says politics isn't fun?

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White Silver Inn

I had heard of this famous inn, but never visited, of course. Every business, in every country, will soon be part of the same mega-corps soon enough. I just hope it isn't in my lifetime.

WSJ.com - How a Japanese Inn, A Favorite of Royalty, Fell to Foreigners
For nearly four centuries, Shunjiro Nagai's family jealously guarded the hot-spring water running through this remote spa resort in central Japan. The prized mineral water flowed into the cedar bathtubs in the village's traditional inns, or ryokan, delighting guests coming for a relaxing soak. As the head of the village's spring-water cooperative, the 61-year-old Mr. Nagai had an important mission: To keep the water exclusively in the hands of his family and 10 other families running the village's oldest inns, barring any outsiders.

Then last year, an indebted neighbor's inn called Shiroganeya, or White Silver Inn, was put on the block, giving a potential outsider access to the sacred water discovered by a high priest in the eighth century. The top bidder was “foreign capital” with a name Mr. Nagai barely recognized: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
After plotting for months to drive out the foreigner and threatening to sue, Mr. Nagai did something he had never dreamed he would do: For the good of the village, he persuaded his neighbors to accept the outsider's bid for the inn and its mineral water.


Mr. Nagai then set out to persuade the others to accept Mr. Hoshino. He told the villagers that Goldman was simply a bank that provided financing to Mr. Hoshino, whom everybody already liked. In fact, Goldman was the sole provider of funds, and Mr. Hoshino's role was to manage the property. But “it was much easier to understand if it was explained this way,” Mr. Nagai says.
A few months later, the innkeepers finally came around, on one condition. They still couldn't bear the thought of selling the water rights to outsiders. So they offered to “lend” the rights to Mr. Hoshino's company, allowing Shiroganeya to fill its bathtubs. Goldman and Mr. Hoshino finally signed the deal in March, eight months after they first looked at Shiroganeya. The price was ultimately reduced to $2.2 million because water rights were merely leased. The inn is scheduled to reopen under its new ownership next month.
Goldman bankers say they aren't discouraged by the challenges of acquiring Shiroganeya. “Breaking new ground in a traditional sector of Japan takes time and patience,” says Shigeki Kiritani, managing director in Goldman's strategic investment group in Tokyo. Over the next few years, the bank hopes to acquire some 50 inns throughout Japan, which Mr. Hoshino's company will manage.
In Yamashiro, Mr. Nagai is watching quietly as Shiroganeya's renovation moves forward. Meanwhile, other signs of Western-style capitalism are cropping up. A new discount hotel offers a package of a room and two meals for $90 per person, about half the price of other inns. The largest inn in town, called Hyakumangoku, recently said it was negotiating a management tie-up with Ramada International, a unit of Cendant Hotel Group of Parsippany, N.J. The deal would make it the first global hotel chain in Yamashiro Onsen.


Nikita Khrushchev:

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”


Frog March matter, day 8 addendum

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Yes, why is the President not being an actual Chief Executive? Why is he waiting for the events to slowly trickle out? Does he think the charges will just fade from the public consciousness, and thus not matter anymore? This is a legal matter now, and daddy can't fix it for him, this time. Public opinion does nothing to sway the law (in 99% of the time).

Tim Grieve: Salon.com Politics:
So we take it back. It turns out that we have two follow-up questions for the president: First, why don't you know all the facts about the Plame case yet? And second, how is it that you used to know all of the facts -- or at least enough of them to “know” that Rove wasn't involved -- but that you don't know all the facts anymore?
We know what the White House will say. There's an ongoing investigation, the special prosecutor is handling this, we don't want to prejudice the investigation, etc. But the fact is, we shouldn't have to wait until Patrick Fitzgerald finishes his job before the president starts doing his. It seems to us that the president would want to know right now whether the people who work for him can be trusted with the kind of classified information whose release could compromise national security and get people killed. The president has the power to collect that information himself. As McClellan acknowledged today, members of the White House staff serve at the pleasure of the president. If Bush wants to know what Karl Rove or Scooter Libby or Scott McClellan or Ari Fleischer did with respect to the Plame case, he has every right to call them into the Oval Office and say, “Tell me the truth or you're out the door.”

Has he done that yet? The White House wouldn't say back in 2003 -- “I'm not going to get into conversations that the president has with advisors or staff or anything of that nature,” McClellan said in that Sept. 29, 2003, briefing -- but now it appears that the answer is no.
Why won't Bush just ask the people who could tell him? Maybe he doesn't want to know what the answers are. Maybe he thinks it's better to postpone any revelations as long as possible, beyond the fight over a Supreme Court nominee and whatever else remains of his second-term agenda. Or maybe Fitzgerald's investigation is hitting so close to home that Bush can't call in Rove and Libby and the like without risking a charge that he's trying to orchestrate stories and obstruct justice himself.
Is that it, Mr. President, or is it something else? You've said that the nation had its “accountability moment” back in November. We're still waiting for you to have yours.


Hen House, meet fox

Your corporate overlords have decided that everything is just fine, so don't worry 'bout nothin'.

Food Industry Defends Marketing to Children:
As the marketing of unhealthy food to children comes under increasing fire, food companies have often expressed their view that they would be better off regulating themselves. The government, apparently, could not agree more.
.. In her opening remarks, the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, Deborah Platt Majoras, said that having the government ban the marketing of certain types of foods was “neither wise nor viable.”

Nope, wouldn't want the government to actually regulate any of the industries it is in charge of regulating, that might 'increase costs' of the poor, poor food companies.

Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, sharply criticized the food industry's attempts at self-regulation thus far, which have consisted primarily of supporting a five-person organization called the Children's Advertising Review Board, or CARU. “CARU has become the poster child for how not to do self-regulation,” said Senator Harkin, who was one of the few speakers to use the phrase “junk food.” The board, he said, “has shown itself to be a captive to the industry.” Senator Harkin has introduced a bill that would lift a 1980 ban on the commission's regulating of advertising aimed at children. He highlighted two surveys showing that majorities of consumers favoring some government restrictions on children's advertising. “People are always shocked when I tell them that the F.T.C. has authority over ads to adults but not to children,” Senator Harkin said. The bill has yet to get much Congressional support.

...The Grocery Manufacturers Association also called for an expansion of the board's staff and annual $650,000 budget. In addition, the association has urged that its guidelines be broadened to include monitoring promotional tie-ins with video games and paid product placement on television shows. An association spokesman, Richard Martin, acknowledged that food companies were not doing much of this. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which said that it was acting on behalf of Campbell Soup, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, Sara Lee and Unilever USA, also said it would look at having the advertising board monitor the popular and much-criticized practice of using licensed cartoon characters in food advertising and packaging.

and I loved this quote:

The association says is it is opposed to nutritional guidelines because it does not believe there are any bad foods. “Any food can be responsibly consumed by everyone, including kids,” Mr. Martin said.

yes, that's just peachy.


Frog March matter, Day 8

The 'quest to restore dignity to the White House' made the front pages again....
Looks like “Scooter” Libby might be in for a speck of trouble as well.

From Tribune news services

Cheney aide also linked to CIA leak

WASHINGTON -- The vice president's chief of staff was a source along with the president's chief political adviser for a Time magazine article that identified a CIA officer, a Time reporter said Sunday.

The disclosure further countered White House claims that neither aide was involved in the leak.

Until last week, the White House had insisted for nearly two years that Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, had no connection to the leak.

LA TimesTop Aides Reportedly Set Sights on Wilson
Top aides to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in the days after he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration manipulated intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq, federal investigators have been told.

Prosecutors investigating whether administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, a CIA officer who had worked undercover, have been told that Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, and Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, were especially intent on undercutting Wilson's credibility, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
Although lower-level White House staffers typically handle most contacts with the media, Rove and Libby began personally communicating with reporters about Wilson, prosecutors were told.

A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House. When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: “He's a Democrat.” Rove then cited Wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward Democrats, the person familiar with the case said.

Yes, wouldn't want anyone to work for the government to be a Democrat, now, would we. They might want to give counseling to the terrorist, or whatever the fuck Turd Blossom said.

Activities aboard Air Force One are also of interest to prosecutors — including the possible distribution of a State Department memo that mentioned Wilson's wife. Prosecutors are seeking to find out whether anyone who saw the memo learned Plame's identity and passed the information to journalists. Telephone logs from the presidential aircraft have been subpoenaed. Among those aboard was former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who has testified.

One of the sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday that prosecutors had obtained a White House call sheet showing that Novak left a message for Fleischer the day after Wilson's op-ed article appeared and the day Fleischer left with the president for Africa. Fleischer declined to comment for this article but has flatly denied being the source of the leak.


T'was the night of the great PVC flood.....

There's nothing quite like waking up to the sound of water dripping from the ceiling in one's bedroom closet. After much panic, frantic moving of clothes, and laying of towels, I found the cause of the leak to be a clogged PVC pipe leading from the air-conditioner's drainage pipe. Removed the pipe, flushed several ounces of particles out with the downstairs hose, and all's well again. Of course, now it's almost 4 am, and the house is big mess of sopping towels, and mounds of clothes, but that'll have to wait until we get some sleep.

Site down

not sure why. Pinged fine, albeit a little slow, but wouldn't load on any of the machines within chair-rolling distance. I should never modify anything after a long day imbibing fluids (even if I feel relatively sober at the moment). Actually, I think it doesn't have anything to do with me.

Maybe I can get a free day from my hosting service, if I ask nicely.....

technorati still seems to ignore me, but that's relatively minor anyway.


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Frog March matter, day 7

The Frog March matter didn't end up as front page news in either of the newspapers I read today (NYT, Trib) for the first time since Monday. But some highlights from around the 'net:

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.....

Once we were locked into the war, and no W.M.D.'s could be found, the original plot line was dropped with an alacrity that recalled the “Never mind!” with which Gilda Radner's Emily Litella used to end her misinformed Weekend Update commentaries on “Saturday Night Live.” The administration began its dog-ate-my-homework cover-up, asserting that the various warning signs about the uranium claims were lost “in the bowels” of the bureaucracy or that it was all the C.I.A.'s fault or that it didn't matter anyway, because there were new, retroactive rationales to justify the war. But the administration knows how guilty it is. That's why it has so quickly trashed any insider who contradicts its story line about how we got to Iraq, starting with the former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.
Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa. But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.

[note, looks like the online version is different from the print version, or at least the rss excerpt is altered. Have to check that]

  • Matt Cooper's article, which contradicts Luskin/Rove's assertion that the conversation initially began as a discussion of 'welfare reform'.
  • Explanation of 'why smear Wilson' by Fineman, via DKos
an excellent explanation of how Rove's war on Joe Wilson came about:

Talk Left offers a succinct description of the differences between civil contempt and criminal contempt:

What's the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt?
In a nutshell, civil contempt is a coercive measure - it is used to try and get the person to talk. If Judith Miller were to change her mind and testify while jailed for civil contempt, she would be considered to have purged herself of the contempt.
Criminal contempt is a punitive measure, used when it is clear that the person is not going to talk. It's meant to punish someone for violating a court order, to vindicate the dignity of the court and to deter others from doing so.
Second, civil contempt has a penalty limit in the grand jury context: the life of the grand jury (or any successive grand jury) investigating the matter. Grand juries serve for 18 months.
Believe it or not, a criminal contempt charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. There is no maximum penalty set by the statute, which makes any sentence up to life a possibility. However, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines apply to criminal contempt, and while the offense does not have its own guideline penalty, the directions are to use the penalty for the crime that is most analagous to it. I think in Miller's case, it would be the guideline for obstruction of justice.
  • as well as a link to the profile on Valerie Plame and Ambassador Wilson from Vanity Fair
  • Wilson's original op-ed available here
  • Digby parses the latest leaks here
It seems more likely to me now that Fitzgerald is building an obstruction and conspiracy case. Unless he's stupid, which no one has ever said he is, he cannot believe these laughable excuses. If he has evidence that ties Novak into it after he shot his mouth off then that's a real cover-up.

and here

there is a big question as to whether anybody in the administration continued to circulate the memo to conservative news outlets (although they were certainly discussing it with mainstream news outlets.) Rather it appears that the CIA got the impression Jeff Gannon of Talon News had seen the memo (and rightly so, he acted as if he did) when he had in fact seen this article from October of 2003 in the WSJ

and if you followed all the above referenced links, you're remarkably well informed. I'd add only one thing to all the above referenced expertise: can we restore a little dignity to the White House yet? Jeez.....


Photos photos, everywhere

My latest tequila-inspired, mad-cap scheme is to fill our loft with oversized prints from photos I've taken over the years. I had three prints (20“ x 30”) made by snapfish, and they turned out pretty good. We walked around our apartment, scouting locations that either were empty, or had artwork that could be moved elsewhere or loaned out. Conservatively, found 27 locations that would hold poster size prints. Now, have to choose which photos, and figure out how to creatively frame them all. Probably will build the frames ourselves (metal, plexi-glass, glass, wood, corrugated sheet metal, hanging frames from chains, etc.), even though neither of us has any (any) experience doing so.

The common-area hallways of our condo building are pretty bare as well, so if we have a few dozen extra, may appropriate that as extra gallery space.

Most of the photos have found their way to my flickr pages, or to my dormant .mac pages but quite a few have not.

Unfortunately, I can't use this great photo of my nephew and cousin-in-law, because not only did I not take it, but it's sort of low-res.

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This morning, I woke up at my normal time, but then dozed back off to sleep. Dreamt I was traveling, via some unexplainable sci-fi mechanism, into a large, desert canyon. Very dusty, dry, desolate place, no green, only yellows and shades of yellows. Several other people were already there, milling about in a little clearing, talking etc. I knew some of them. The walls of the canyon (sandstone, or other dry rock) were covered with these beasts which somewhat resembled king crabs, but also like gryphons. Beaks, arms/claws, and a hideous screech. The creatures seemed to be embedded in the wall of the rock. I walked up the canyon, turned around and came back to the spot where I started. I noticed some previous visitors had drawn cryptic sayings on some of the stones, and I had an impulse to add my own, but didn't have a pen.

By the time I got back to the clearing where I began, most everyone had left. I knew to get home (the other side) I was supposed to insert myself into a big maw, up ahead on the ground, filled with sand, gravel and small stones.

The creatures on the canyon wall were still screeching, I threw a rock at one, and cracked it's beak. The screeching redoubled in fury. Thus I felt I really had to leave, so taking a big breath, I steeled my nerves, and put my face into the sand pit. I had to push my whole body through this entrance in order to get back to the known world, but it was extremely difficult. The sand scraped my skin, and I could not breathe. Seemed to go on forever, me straining, swimming motions with my hands, trying with all my might to get to the other side so I could breathe again. I woke up right as I got through. So happy to be able to breathe, I took many deep breaths.

In retrospect, this resembles very much how I would imagine being born, except for the part wandering around the canyon. I don't very much believe in reincarnation, or similar things, but perhaps some part of me does.


iTunes week of July 17

you probably don't care....


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Frog March matter, Day 6

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More anonymous (Luskin?) sources in the Frog March matter from the NYT and NYT and from the Washington Post

Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser, spoke with the columnist Robert D. Novak as he was preparing an article in July 2003 that identified a C.I.A. officer who was undercover, someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said.

The person who provided the information about Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak declined to be identified, citing requests by Mr. Fitzgerald that no one discuss the case. The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity.

- or is it Judith Miller? Now, that would be funny. Especially since now there is talk of elevating the charges against Judy “Proved Fucking Right”1 Miller to Criminal Contempt, with a possible longer jail term.

Lawyers in the CIA leaks investigation are concerned that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald may seek criminal contempt charges against New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a rare move that could significantly lengthen her time in jail.
Miller, now in her 10th day in the Alexandria jail, already faces as much as four months of incarceration for civil contempt after refusing to answer questions before a grand jury about confidential conversations she had in reporting a story in the summer of 2003. Fitzgerald and Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan have both raised the possibility in open court that Miller could be charged with criminal contempt if she continues to defy Hogan's order to cooperate in the investigation of who may have unlawfully leaked the name of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media. - WaPo
NYT again: The information in the State Department memorandum generally tracked the information Mr. Novak laid out for Mr. Rove in their conversation, according to the account of their exchange provided by the person briefed on what Mr. Rove has told investigators.
But it appears to differ in at least one way, raising questions about whether it was the original source of the material that ultimately made its way to Mr. Novak. In his July 14, 2003, column, Mr. Novak referred to Ms. Wilson as Valerie Plame. The State Department memorandum referred to her as Valerie Wilson, according to the government official who reread it on Friday.

Yes, but who leaked the original info that got placed into this memo?

Still waiting on the dignity to be restored to the White House: Bush apparently believes nobody remembers him saying he would fire the leaker:

In June 2004, at Sea Island, Ga., soon after Mr. Cheney met with investigators in the case, Mr. Bush was asked at a news conference whether “you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found” to have leaked the agent's name.
Yes,” Mr. Bush said. “And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts.”

1. Judith Miller, quoted in Salon, as saying about her WMD articles, “You know what,” she offered angrily. “I was proved fucking right. That's what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again.' But I was proved fucking right.”. Umm, Judy my dear, they still haven't found those WMDs. And perhaps having an affair with Karl Rove wasn't such a good idea after all.

--Billmon has more


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Hotel Victor

Acme Meat Co

The West Loop's cultural ambassador (? or something - self appointed perhaps, but we've been to all of his restaurants, and D even went to a party at his house) Jerry Kleiner, on the new 'evening club' - Hotel Victor.

Chicago Magazine's Dish:
“It’s going to open at 6 p.m. What nightclub opens at 6 p.m.? And no late liquor license. Guys my age aren’t staying out late. If you can’t accomplish what you need to do by 2 a.m., forget about it.”
–Jerry Kleiner, regarding his new “mellow” upscale lounge, Victor Hotel (311 N. Sangamon St.; 312-733-6900)

and the Tribune weighs in....

Yet another new Jerry Kleiner concept (he also co-owns Gioco, Red Light, Opera and Marche) is slated to open in the Warehouse District on July 15.
Expect modern furniture with retro flair in this old freezer building made to look like the lobby of a European hotel. The Victor Hotel sign, which was used back in the day at Kleiner's club Shelter, comes from an SRO. Music will range from motown to disco to modern-day hits; art displays on the walls will rotate; the martini list will be aimed at those looking to lounge in a sophisticated atmosphere geared towards a more mature audience (read: late 20s and up). Kleiner told us, “I build these places because I want a place to hang out.”

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I needed to complain

about something, to test out the new version of ecto (and to test if the dad-blasted technorati links work again or not), so today's subject is the weather, kids. Not kids and the weather, but the freaking muggy weather that wilts all of my ambitions. Probably the number one reason that I left Austin, Texas - I can't stand the heat! Even though, according to my as-of-yet still public weather site, the temperature is only 86 degrees, with 46% humidity. Must be all the asphalt, but it's hot!

I guess I could have fulfilled my solipsistic destiny with an iTunes random top ten, but I've gotten a little sick of that particular time-waster. It's Friday afternoon drinking time anyway. There's a case of Bass Ale calling my name....

Thus, don't be surprised if this posting vanishes into the bermuda triangle of web-postings-without-merit in the near future.....

hmmm, no Technorati tags damnit. Let's try posting this again....not getting any tags at all. No wonder technorati isn't finding any of my 'online magazine' postings! Give me more beer!

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Frog March, Day 5 addendum

David Corn has been on the Plame case since the story broke (2003: original article here) Makes an interesting observation here: Politics trumps National Security for the Rethuglicans. Good to know. Not really a surprise to anyone who has been following these jokers, but not really what the chattering classes say on their gab fests....

David Corn:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has not had a good year. He was outmaneuvered by Senate Democrats on Social Security. He made a fool of himself in the Terri Schiavo tragedy (with his long-distance diagnosis of Schiavo). He botched the Bolton nomination. He was outplayed by John McCain in the judicial filibuster controversy. And on Thursday, in an effort to counter a Democratic effort to embarrass Karl Rove and the Republicans, he looked like a doofus.

Here's what happened. The Senate Democrats came up with a clever idea. Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, introduced an amendment that could have been called the Karl Rove Memorial Act. It said,
No federal employee who discloses, or has disclosed, classified information, including the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, to a person not authorized to receive such information shall be permitted to hold a security clearance for access to such information.
But Frist had a bright idea--or what he and his staff considered a bright idea. He introduced a counter-amendment. It read,
Any federal officeholder who makes reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate, or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on an FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorists organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk, shall not be permitted access to such information or to hold a security clearance for access to such information....

Even some--though not most--GOP senators realized that [Frist is an idiot]. Frist got only 33 votes. One person who observed the vote tells me, “Some very unlikely suspects including--people like [Jim] Talent and [Saxby] Chambliss--voted against it. When it became clear that the amendment would fail, some Rs who had voted for it switched their votes.” How's that for loyalty to the leader? This witness notes, “Once the voting started, it appears that many Rs suddenly realized that the amendment was so poorly written that they could be stripped of their clearance as well.” Yes, the imaginary senator I mentioned above could have been a rip-roaring conservative Republican.

So Frist, trying to beat back a Rove-related Democratic initiative, cooked up a damn silly piece of legislation that 22 of his fellow Republicans would not support. What a leader.

And what of Reid's amendment? It failed on a 44-53 vote. Not one Republican voted for it. Apparently, the Repubs believe that a government official who leaks classified information--such as the identity of an undercover intelligence official--should not be denied access to classified information. Not even during a war. Protecting Karl Rove (and future Karl Roves) trumps national security for these patriots.

Frog March, Day 5

Besides the fixation on using anonymous sources in the NYT (as noted by Atrios, Liberal Oasis, et al), one wonders about the veracity of this statement: “The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity”. If this assertion is in fact a lie, does this mean the 'person' can be outed and publicly humiliated?

And by the way, has Rove been fired yet? How is that quest to restore dignity to the White House?

Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer - New York Times:

The person who provided the information about Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak declined to be identified, citing requests by Mr. Fitzgerald that no one discuss the case. The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity.

On Oct. 1, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote another column in which he described calling two officials who were his sources for the earlier column. The first source, whose identity has not been revealed, provided the outlines of the story and was described by Mr. Novak as “no partisan gunslinger.” Mr. Novak wrote that when he called a second official for confirmation, the source said, “Oh, you know about it.”

That second source was Mr. Rove, the person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove's account to investigators about what he told Mr. Novak was similar in its message although the White House adviser's recollection of the exact words was slightly different. Asked by investigators how he knew enough to leave Mr. Novak with the impression that his information was accurate, Mr. Rove said he had heard parts of the story from other journalists but had not heard Ms. Wilson's name.

Breakfast drinks, stylized version

Breakfast drinks stylized

Fun with Illustrator and Photoshop. Update of this photo from a few months ago www.flickr.com/photos/swanksalot/11853813/

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or actually, typography. The inaugural edition of Layers Magazine discusses the importance of typography.

The Complete Manual of Typography

Sounds interesting. I've ordered a copy.

This book is about how type should look and how to make it look that way; in other words, how to set type like a professional. It releases the craft knowledge that used to reside almost exclusively in the heads of people working in type shops. The shops are gone, the technologies have changed, but the goal remains the same. This book explains in very practical terms how to use today's computerized tools to achieve that secret of good design: well-set type. Beautifully designed and richly illustrated, The Complete Manual of Typography is an essential reference for anyone who works with type. Designers, print production professionals, and corporate communications managers can go straight to the index to find focused answers to specific questions, while educators and students can read it as a textbook from cover to cover. You'll find: 
* History, basic concepts, and anatomy of good typography, concisely presented and indexed for quick reference by busy professionals.
* Straight-ahead instructions for how to manage fonts, handle corrupted or missing fonts, and find the characters you need.
* Clear, useful explanations of what makes good type good (and bad type bad) .
* Detailed guidance on controlling the fundamentals of type, including measure, point size, leading, kerning, and hyphenation and justification.
* Practical advice on how to fix and avoid composition problems such as loose lines, bad rags, widows and orphans.
* Hard-to-find rules for managing indents and alignments, skews, wraps, expert-set characters, and tables.
* Scores of workarounds that show how to wring good type out of uncooperative word-processing and layout programs.

Manhole Stars

Manhole Stars

Manhole cover, West Loop. Randolph St. probably, but I was a little 'tipsy' so don't remember exactly. Added some blue in Photoshop, as well as a little texture. Nothing is planned, but everything matters. Ahem.

Frog March, Day 4

Four days, and still no public rebuke of Karl Rove by anyone, not even by the top administrative executive himself, the Shrub. Thanks for restoring dignity to the White House, we really appreciate it. /best used-car salesman voice.

Salon.com Sidney Blumenthal - Rove's war:
Now Miller languishes in jail and Cooper has testified before the grand jury. Is Miller protecting her sources, or does the prosecutor seek to question her as a disseminator of information? Should a journalist protect a source if that person has not provided true information as best they know, but disinformation? What is the obligation of reporters to protect people who have misled them?

In the best-case scenario for Miller, Bill Kovach believes that any pledge she may have made to a source should be invalid. Kovach is the former Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, former curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and founding director of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. He describes the internal policy set within the Times on sources. “By the 1980s, we decided that we had to set some limits because reporters had been misled and the credibility of the news reports had been damaged by misleading sources. When I was chief of the bureau in Washington, we laid down a rule to the reporters that when they wanted to establish anonymity they had to lay out ground rules that if anything the source said was damaging, false or damaged the credibility of the newspaper we would identify them.”

In the Plame matter, Kovach sees no obligation of the reporters to false sources. “If a man damages your credibility, why not lay the blame where it belongs? If Plame were an operative, she wouldn't have the authority to send someone. Whoever was leaking that information to Novak, Cooper or Judy Miller was doing it with malice aforethought, trying to set up a deceptive circumstance. That would invalidate any promise of confidentiality. You wouldn't protect a source for telling lies or using you to mislead your audience. That changes everything. Any reporter that puts themselves or a news organization in that position is making a big mistake.”

Obviously, the Times is not imposing the rules in its present crisis that Kovach was involved in making. Are the editors unfocused on the underlying facts and falsehoods? Do the editors have a responsibility to determine who is a fair source and who is a deceiver? Has anyone fully debriefed Miller? For now, the Times is frozen in its heroic defense of the First Amendment.

Washington, meanwhile, is an echo chamber of Rove's agents. His lawyer, Robert Luskin, has trashed Cooper: “By any definition, he burned Karl Rove.” RNC chairman Ken Mehlman has appeared on talk shows, given newspaper interviews and circulated a three-page memo of talking points to Republican surrogates. In one brief statement, for example, Mehlman said: “The fact is Karl Rove did not leak classified information. He did not, according to what we learned this past weekend, reveal the name of anybody. He didn't even know the name ... He tried to discourage a reporter from writing a story that was false.”
The sound and fury of Rove's defenders will soon subside. The last word, the only word that matters, will belong to the prosecutor. So far, he has said very, very little. Unlike the unprofessional, inexperienced and weak Ken Starr, he does not leak illegally to the press. But he has commented publicly on his understanding of the case. “This case,” he said, “is not about a whistle-blower. It's about a potential retaliation against a whistle-blower.”


West Loop Park

Not related to our pocket park, which is still in the proposal stage (jeebus, there's a lot of paperwork to fill out), but every block converted to green space is good news.

Patterns of Behaviour

Chicago Tribune news : West Loop green space
The Chicago Park District on Wednesday approved tax-increment financing worth $6.22 million to buy a former eye and ear infirmary and the land around it from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The lobbying that led up to a deal for 1.42 acres in the 900 block of West Adams Street demonstrates the hurdles faced by a city trying to find open space during an extended housing boom. The deal must still be approved by the City Council. West Loop residents have been pushing for new park space for about a decade. .... Every green space in that part of the city is expensive, and the new park property will cost about $7.3 million, according to Arnold Randall, director of planning and development for the Park District. Grant money will help cover part of the cost, Randall said.

“Clearly, we're paying a significant amount of money for this property, but we knew this was an area of very high growth in 1998, and a lot of people have moved in since then,” he said.

Even with the new land, the neighborhood will be well short of Chicago's CitySpace Plan, which recommends 2 acres of open land for every 1,000 residents. In 1998, during the early stages of the boom, the Near West Side would have needed 14 more acres of open space to meet that standard.

There were 4,555 housing units in the West Loop and River West area then, including new development activity by the University of Illinois at Chicago, according to Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors. As of 2005, there were 12,296 units, according to the Chicago-based consultant group.

Google map here, previous coverage here

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Truly, this is scandalous news. What the hell is the Department of Homeland Security doing anyway? Voluntary security efforts means 'free to do whatever', and obviously, that isn't working out so well. The chemical plants have coasted long enough, time to get tougher with them.

Chicago Tribune news : Risk seen at chemical plants
Despite new voluntary security efforts by the chemical industry, much of the nation remains at risk to terrorist attacks and accidents at chemical plants and storage facilities, experts told a Senate committee Wednesday. “Little progress has been made,” said Carol Andress of the Environmental Defense Fund at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. She said that according to Environmental Protection Agency records, each of 2,500 to 2,800 facilities would put more than 10,000 people at risk of injury or death if there were a major chemical release. Andress' figures came from a Congressional Research Service report last week that ranked Illinois fourth in the nation in terms of risk to local populations of 100,000 to 999,000 from “worst-case scenario” chemical-facility terrorist attacks or accidents. Illinois has as many as 25 such facilities, compared with 67 in Texas, 58 in California and 50 in Louisiana.


Glenn Erwin, prevention program director for the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, said his organization last year surveyed 125 facilities that were adhering to the industry's voluntary plans and found “serious gaps between the ideal we desire and the reality with which we live.”

“As recently as this summer, I stood at the main entrance to one of the nation's major oil refineries and watched pickup trucks only slow down as guards waved them through,” Erwin said.

“When I asked the employee standing with me who they were, he said they were temporary workers employed by contractors.”


We noticed this impediment while finishing up the L.A.T.E. ride. There were police officers enforcing the ban as well, we had to bike another several blocks to get to the end of the ride. What a stupid plan. When is the overpass ever going to be built? 1999 is almost 10 years ago, and there still is not even an agreed-upon plan! Crazy. It's such a beautiful area to walk in, why block the flow of pedestrians?

Chicago Tribune news Jon Hilkevitch The Lake Shore Drive crosswalk connecting Buckingham Fountain to the Queen's Landing lakefront promenade has been closed, a move critics and tourists say shows the city favors drivers over pedestrians. The stoplight just east of the exquisite fountain--visited by more than 5 million people annually--was quietly removed before the Taste of Chicago festival to help traffic flow more freely, officials said. With the fountain and its nearby Beaux Arts-style garden serving as a serene backdrop, wood-and-wire snow fencing has been installed along the curb line to prevent walkers, bicyclists and joggers from crossing the eight lanes of busy Lake Shore Drive. “It's disappointing because Buckingham Fountain is a centerpiece of our tourist industry, and I definitely think walking and biking should be higher priorities than driving cars,” said Valerie DePriest of Oak Park, who was bicycling with a friend through Grant Park.
... Improving pedestrian safety did not directly figure in the decision to close the crosswalk because few accidents occur at the location, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

But city transportation officials say they need to move increasing volumes of traffic more efficiently through the downtown area, including on east-west streets that feed off of Lake Shore Drive. Pedestrians can still cross Lake Shore Drive in Grant Park at Monroe Jackson and Balbo Drives and 11th Street, they said.

“It's kind of a long block to walk to Jackson or Balbo, especially if you are old or have a disability,” said Jose Chavez, an insurance-claims processor who was walking past Buckingham Fountain on his lunch break. Chavez, 39, said he had crossed from the fountain to Queen's Landing since he was a child.

Pedestrian access between the shoreline at Monroe Harbor and Buckingham Fountain could be restored if a pedestrian overpass or a tunnel--a project that has been stalled for at least a decade--were ever built. A deal between the city and the state was reached in 1999 under Illinois FIRST to construct a $19 million tunnel similar to the light-filled underground walkway that leads from Grant Park to the Museum Campus. But currently there is no funding, officials said.



Everything from the past is tainted
with mothballs, or worse.
The future is, of course,
uncertain, so all that matters is what can be drunk
in slurps, worthy of kings.
I could be biased,
as I've imbibed enough California Zinfadel
to make my pen

Around The World2 poem for Trey version

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Frog March Day 3, addendum

More from David Corn, who has been following the Plame scandal from the beginning....

David Corn: [Karl] Rove Did Leak Classified Information, and His Named-No-Name Defense Is Bunk

According to [Matt] Cooper's email, Rove told Cooper that “Wilson's wife”--not “Valerie Plame,” or “Valerie Wilson”--worked at the CIA. But this distinction has absolutely no legal relevance. Under the relevant law--the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982--a crime is committed when a government official (not a journalist) “intentionally discloses any information identifying” an undercover intelligence officer. The act does not say a name must be disclosed. By telling a reporter that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA officer, Rove was clearly disclosing “identifying” information. There was only one Mrs. Joseph Wilson. With such information in hand, Cooper or anyone else could easily have ascertained the name of this officer. (A Google search at the time would have yielded the name--and maiden name--of Wilson's wife.) Revealing the name is not the crime; it's disclosing information that IDs the officer. Imagine if a government official told a reporter, “At 3:15, a fellow in a green hat, carrying a red umbrella and holding a six-pack of Mountain Dew, will be tap-dancing in front of the Starbucks at Connecticut Avenue and R Street--he's the CIA's best undercover officer working North Korea.” That official could not defend himself, under this law, by claiming that he had not revealed the name of this officer. The issue is identifying, not naming. Rove and his allies cannot hide behind his no-name claim.
Not all wrongdoing is a crime. But leaking classified information is always serious business. George W. Bush took an unambiguous stand on the leaking of classified information when he was asked on September 30, 2003, about Karl Rove's possible role in the Plame/CIA leak. Bush noted,
I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action.
Well, now Bush knows. Rove, according to the Cooper email, did not leak a name but he did leak classified information. Much of his defense is in tatters. And where is Bush's “appropriate action”?

Sounds like an impeachable offense, unless Bush forces Rove to resign. Covering up just delays the inevitable.


Apple Numbers

Surprisingly high numbers for this quarter for Apple, but even more surprisingly, Tim Cook seems to think next quarter won't have a drastic drop-off due to the Intel transition. I could be misreading this WSJ interpretation of what Cook actually said, but if not, wow! I know that in my company, we have put on hold our thought of purchasing a new G5 dual chip machine in the fall so as to wait for a new machine. Unless the price drops to a fraction of the current list price, of course.


Apple Computer Inc. continued a growth streak driven by strong sales of the iPod digital-music player and Macintosh personal computer, posting a five-fold increase in net income on a 75% jump in revenue.

The Cupertino, Calif., computer maker reported net income for its fiscal third quarter ended June 25 of $320 million, or 37 cents a share, up from $61 million, or eight cents a share, in the year earlier period. The results exceeded the company's earnings forecast of 28 cents a share and analysts' consensus estimate of 31 cents a share, according to a survey by Thomson First Call....

The company's Macintosh computer business shined strongly too. Propelled by a new version of the Mac operating system called Tiger and new computers like the Mac mini, Apple sold 1.2 million Macs in the quarter for revenue of $1.57 billion, compared with sales of 876,000 Macs, and revenue of $1.26 billion, in the year-ago period.

The results suggest that Apple has reversed a decade-long slide in its share of global PC sales. Apple sold 35% more Macs in the quarter than it did a year earlier. That's about three times the growth rate of the global PC industry, according to Apple and analysts.

Investors said strong Macintosh sales seemed to demonstrate a “halo effect” from the iPod, which Apple executives have said is attracting new customers to try Mac products. “If there was any concern that the halo effect was real, this quarter finally put that to rest,” said Mike Sansoterra, a portfolio manager at Principal Global Investors, an asset-management firm in Des Moines, Iowa, that owns Apple shares.

For its fiscal fourth quarter, ending Sept. 24, Apple said it expects revenue of $3.5 billion and earnings of 32 cents a share. That would represent no change in revenue, and a decline in earnings, from the just-completed quarter. Apple executives said the forecasts reflect a more muted impact from Tiger, which was released in the third quarter, on Mac sales and software upgrades on the fourth quarter.

So far, Apple doesn't appear to be suffering a slowdown in sales due to its planned shift to microprocessors made by Intel Corp. from chips made by International Business Machines Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. Apple believes the change will allow it to design a new line smaller, but more powerful computers.

When Apple announced the transition to Intel chips last month, some industry executives and analysts speculated that some potential customers might delay Mac purchases until the new machines are released, starting next summer. Apple executives said they saw no obvious reduction in Mac sales following the Intel announcement, but they conceded it's too soon to determine the full impact of the move.

“We expect to learn more in the current quarter,” said Timothy Cook, executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations at Apple.

Perhaps, closer to September, these numbers will get revised downward, and it might be a good time to purchase some Apple stock like we've talked about.

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Phoenix Brands buys more soap

Business briefs/leads


NEW YORK -- Colgate-Palmolive Co. said this week it has agreed to sell its North American laundry detergent brands for an undisclosed sum to consumer products company Phoenix Brands LLC.

The company, whose household brands include Softsoap and Ajax, said the sale was part of a strategy to focus on its fast-growing oral, personal and pet care businesses. Colgate-Palmolive said it will post a one-time gain of $60 million on the sale, which is expected to close in this year's third quarter.

The detergents being sold include the brands Fab, Dynamo, Arctic Power, ABC, Cold Power and Fresh Start, and the Ajax brand license for laundry detergents in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Phoenix Brands LLC was formed by Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking Group to buy various household brands from Dutch consumer giant Unilever in December 2003. Its brands include Rit fabric dyes, Niagara spray starch and Sunlight Dish Detergent


mmmmmm, clean clothes...../Homer Simpson voice

Myself, I mostly use Dr Bronner's Magic Soap, because it doesn't contain GHB.
Dr Bronner Magic Soap does not contain GHB

Frog March, Day 3

When even reliably conservative columnists like John Kass call for Karl Rove's resignation, then perhaps it really is frog march time. Or could it be that those Republican claims to “restore dignity to the White House” was just marketing-speak, and not worth their weight in frog fur?

Chicago Tribune's John Kass

All the weasel words can't help Rove on this one. He's a brilliant political strategist, which is why Democrats want him tarred and feathered, not for the leak, but because he's working to marshal political forces in the debate to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yet if the Cooper story is true, if Rove pointed reporters at a CIA spouse, then he should be fired, pending criminal charges.

It was infuriating to read apologists for President Clinton brush off perjury as merely some involuntary response to biological forces, without regard to the long-term damage being done to the law.

Before becoming president, George Bush stood at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and said that the “the rule of law” still had currency.


Smokers, begone


Smoker Flyer Randolph Station

My building has a problem with some lame-brain leaving cigarette butts in my garden, and in a small tree, in a planter near the entrance. Today, I was exasperated enough to make a flyer encouraging the litter bug to use a garbage can. My poster-rendering skills are fairly weak, but whatever.

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Frog March, day 2

Yes, wiggle words, 'can be a federal crime', like the statute allows interpretation. No, it is a crime like murdering a mother-in-law can be a crime. Just resign already, Mr. Rove, and go back to sacrificing goats in midnight masses with Ralph Reed.

Chicago Tribune news : Nation/World

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, has acknowledged that Rove was a source for Cooper. The reporter faced jail until he agreed to testify before a grand jury that is attempting to determine who revealed Plame's name. Publicly disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent can be a federal crime, and the matter is being investigated by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago.
[Scott ]McClellan was also clear at the time about what would happen if that was proven incorrect:

“If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.”


Frog March

Can we restore some dignity to the White House now? and frog march the smear-artiste Rove into Guantanamo Bay already? Please? I hate to think that Karl Rove is the face that foreign nations might associate with my country - a criminal, without morals.

CBS News | White House: No Comment On Rove : For two years, the White House has insisted that presidential adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. And President Bush said the leaker would be fired.

But Mr. Bush's spokesman wouldn't repeat any of those assertions Monday in the face of Rove's own lawyer saying his client spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified in a newspaper column after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote an article criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq policies.

CBS News Correspondent John Roberts reports the change of heart was odd, considering the investigation was well underway when the White House came out to defend Rove and nine months later when Mr. Bush promised harsh punishment for anyone who leaked Plame's identity

On June 10, 2004, Mr. Bush said he stood by his pledge to fire anyone found to have done so.

Democrats Monday said they hoped the president would make good on that pledge. But Rove's attorney tells Roberts there's nothing in the e-mail that Rove hasn't already told investigators and that Rove was only trying to steer Cooper away from potentially bad information, not disclose the identity of a covert agent.


More tourist photos

the weiners
The Weiner's Circle is always a stop on any tourist's agenda in the Big Spud, if they eat meat.

Chicago Dog

Note, the ketchup is for the french fries only, no self-respecting man puts ketchup on a hot dog (or char-dog in this case). Other Chicago dog ingredients of note: day glow relish, tomatoes with a sprinkling of celery salt, bright yellow mustard, pickle, hot peppers. Mmmmmmm, grease...

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Marty's Greyhound bus incident


Be careful riding Greyhound buses, you may regret it later! My cousin took the Greyhound bus from his home in Toronto to Chicago for a visit. On his way home, on a bus leaving at 12 A.M., the bus driver, in a possibly drug inspired rage, ejected Marty, sans his checked luggage, at 95th St (look at 0W and 0E, the exact spot Marty was dropped off at, and branch out a few blocks if you want to look in the general vicinity)., in one of Chicago's rather rough neighborhoods. Several guys came up to Marty and harassed him (Marty weighs about 105 pounds, give or take, and has Canadian politeness ingrained in his genetics), no wonder he called me at 1:30 A.M. in a panic, asking me what to do. Luckily, the 'el' runs all night from 95 St. to my neighborhood, and he spent one more day here, recuperating from his psychic scars.

Greyhound sucks! We are in discussion with Greyhound's corporate offices, who have expressed dismay, but are waiting to hear the bus drivers lies account of the story before taking further action.

The Devil and Pope

Marty's account of the events, after the 'jump'

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Summer house-guests, 2005 edition

Spent the week on semi-vacation, entertaining my brother, Andrew, from Austin, and my cousin, Marty, from Toronto.
Highlights included: the L.A.T.E. Ride (1:30 A.M., till dawn), the Dan Flavin exhibit at the MCA, Jazz at the Shedd, a swank meal at Japonais (probably best sushi in Chicago), White Sox game against Oakland (11 inninings), visit to Little Lithuania for a meal and a visit to the Balzekas Lithuanian museum, and multiple miles of strolling the city's neighborhoods. Lowlights include 3 hours of sleep a night, three nights running, and my cousin getting into a physical altercation with a Greyhound Bus driver at 2 AM, on his way back to Toronto, and getting thrown off the bus at 95th St. This is still pending, more later. D is on the phone with Greyhound corporate offices.

Some photos:

Late Ride Ladder, Lake Michigan


Dan Flavin Yellowizer

Marty in the Dan Flavin Tunnel

more photos after the 'jump', and probably more later, once I go through my pictures.

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iPod error

| 1 Comment

nothing to see


The NYT (or Josh Ozersky at least) reads my 'online magazine'*....

Working in a Coal Mine: Lord I Am So Tired, but Good-Looking - New York Times:
Working in a Coal Mine: Lord I Am So Tired, but Good-Looking
MOST people tend to think of coal mining as a dangerous, dirty business. But General Electric, as part of its Ecomagination campaign, is trying to change that. And in a hopelessly conflicted new ad, G.E. is using some powerful explosives: glistening bodies, a soothing message and archness so extreme that it ends up backfiring. As the spot begins, we hear Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" and see shadowy figures, identifiable only by their helmet lights, walking into a coal mine. (The helmet light, like the physician's reflector, remains indispensable to commercials that don't have a lot of time for explanations.) At first, this ad looks like a paean to labor - the song after all, is a workingman's lament - and we see several strong and stylized male figures that bring to mind W.P.A. murals. But soon the hot female miners appear, carefully soiled and seductively oiled up. The commercial, we see, is visually indistinguishable from a Victoria's Secret ad, right down to the blue filters and hubba-hubba slow motion. And that's the point: "Thanks to emissions-reducing technology from G.E. energy," an amiable narrator tells us, "harnessing the power of coal is looking more beautiful every day." For G.E., it's a simple setup and punch line. Jonathan Klein, a company spokesman, said, "In 'Model Miners,' the goal is to communicate that G.E.'s emission-reducing technology can make coal a more appealing energy source." But it's a little more complicated than that. For one thing, there is the song. "Sixteen Tons" is pure despair, despite the bounciness of Ford's 1956 hit version. For most of the 20th century, the miner was the quintessential labor martyr. "More than anyone else," wrote George Orwell in 1937, "the miner can stand as the type of the manual worker, not only because his work is so exaggeratedly awful, but because it is so vitally necessary and yet so remote from our experience." No one expects G.E. to preach a Marxist sermon, but the use of "Sixteen Tons" ("You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?/ Another day older and deeper in debt") as a jokey soundtrack is an odd public relations move. And then there are the women themselves. The basic visual gag here is the juxtaposition of exquisitely coiffed and made-up models with the dirty, dangerous environment. But the whole point of the campaign is to assure us that our notions about coal are out of date. Isn't it? Between so many strong symbols - laboring miners, sexy women, a grim but bouncy refrain - it's hard to say for sure. One thing is clear, though: throwing oiled-up hotties at the camera is, in commercials as in hip-hop videos, usually a sign you don't have anything to say.

*Phrase possibly coined by Greg Saunders at the Talent Show and popularized by Atrios. I'm just joining because I think the whole regulation of political speech issue is being way, way overplayed by the Feds....

As Robert Chaviano used to intone, "It's all semantics"

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Useful list of commands for the essential NetNewsWire RSS reader. If you use a mac, and you use RSS, you should be using NetNewsWire. 'Nuff said.

inessential.com: Weblog: Comments for ‘More NetNewsWire features you might not know about’:
More NetNewsWire features you might not know about
We got a bunch of great feedback from my post about NetNewsWire tag subscriptions and the list of features you may not know about.

So here’s another list—more features you may not know about.

Also, we have house guests this week, so posting will be sporadic, no doubt.

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Time wasting free fall mannequin game

Control the mannequin with your mouse if she gets stuck.

Mannequin Of The Spheres

Link via BoingBoing

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No Thanks


Splurged recently and bought the great, great box set,

No Thanks!


The booklet ends with this disclaimer:
No Thanks Sex Pistols

What?! No Sex Pistols?! Congratulations - you know own the second most important '70s punk-rock collection available. We could pretend that the absence of Sex Pistols tracks on this set doesn't matter, but then that would be disingenuous (i.e. a load of rubbish) and counter to the no-bullshit spirt of this music. Hopefully, the other 70+ bands on this set still make you feel good about your purchase. Bollocks - the punk equivalent of Sgt. Peppers - is a more essential purchase than this set. I hope you've already bought it before plunking down the 60+ hard-earned dollars for this one. If you're looking at a friend's copy, buy that one first. But please come back here for a second helping. Apology accepted? - Gary Stewart Producer/Apologist

Hmm, I actually don't own

Never Mind the Bullocks

, on CD; I should steal a copy from the Library of Congress.....

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Millennium Park MP3 Tour

Cool. We'll have to try this tour. MP3 file available here

Chicago Tribune MP3 tour

Millennium Park and its 24.5 acres can appear overwhelming, with the sculpture, the architecture, the landscape and the blur of performance artists and crowds.

But anyone with an iPod or any other MP3 player can now download a free walking tour from the artists and architects of Millennium Park at http://www.millenniumpark.org.

The Chicago Park District's Web site just began offering the audio download that experts say is in the forefront of new technology. The tour includes the voices of architect Frank Gehry and artists Anish Kapoor and Jaume Plensa, who talk about their work at the park. The audio tour also includes the voice of Mayor Richard Daley, horticulturists and others involved in operations.

Chicago may be the first to undertake such a project for a park, said Celina Nichols, librarian and archivist for the National Recreation and Park Association.

Even among new, downloadable audio tours, the Millennium Park tour stands out because it uses the voices of people who created much of the park.

Standing before the 110-ton Cloud Gate sculpture, you not only hear Kapoor interpret his work, but his voice echoes as he makes his way from the front to the interior of the polished metal sculpture known as “the Bean” in Chicago.

“What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline so one will feel the clouds kind of floating in with those very tall buildings reflected in the work,” he says in the audio tour.

“And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the viewer ... the participant will be able to enter into the work and enter this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city.”

There are some surprises, too, when listening to artists talk of how they believed their work would be perceived compared to the reality of Millennium Park.

Some of the biggest crowds gather daily around Plensa's Crown Fountain, two 50-foot glass towers separated by a stretch of black granite.

The boisterous chatter and water fights that erupt between the towers seem a far cry from Plensa's initial perception when he says, “It's the tremendous possibility in that project to offer finally to the public space the capacity to talk about the soul.”

The recordings capture everyone from Gehry, who insists that his voluptuous Pritzker Pavilion is more function than form, to Lauren Rudy, manager of the popular Millennium Park bike station, as she describes the facilities.

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