The Right Way to Change a Regime....By James Baker III Oh no, I'm starting to think that James Baker is making some sense.
"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." Have we actually ever heard worse from this month's news-darling Ann Coulter? I don't think so, maybe other do. If this was from an Islamic Jihadist, we'd be at war with whatever country he came from (if Saudi Arabia, then we'd blame Iraq somehow.) How come the Bill Maher "we're the cowards" quotes get people fired, while something like this- and trust me, there's much more fun from Ann in this interview- makes Coulter a best-selling author?
The Axis of Medieval. Claims of support for women and women's rights in the current regime are nothing more than hot air according to Mr. Kristof. He says their record and the facts tell a different story. The details are shocking. Kowtowing to religious fundamentalists in the US causes devastating results abroad. Would programs like these qualify for using some of the wealthiest persons dollars instead of a tax cut?
Another smoking gun. Tobacco companies fought the marketing of anti-smoking products in the 1980s and '90s, by exerting financial pressure on companies that make nicotine gum and patches--like Dow Chemical. (NYT, reg req'd - CBS News version here)
If cyberspace were organized into a giant neural computer... [NYT, reg req] ...one could in theory "upload" a person's mental software into it: thoughts, feelings, memories, the works. - an interesting sci-fi premise by author john darnton complete with a contemporary 'mad scientist!'
"It is not an overstatement to describe the arrests in Tulia as an atrocity. The entire operation was the work of a single police officer who claimed to have conducted an 18-month undercover operation. The arrests were made solely on the word of this officer, Tom Coleman, a white man with a wretched work history, who routinely referred to black people as "niggers" and who frequently found himself in trouble with the law."
Net Users Try to Elude the Google Grasp (NYT) "The Internet, which was supposed to usher in an era of limitless information, is leading some people to restrict the information that they make available about themselves."
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People I've been waiting for months to post about this. Since I don't remember anyone posting the NYT article about this and Toby Young amuses me to no end, I thought this article is an ideal introduction. (more inside)
Scalia gives divinity school students a peek at what his activism is really about. I can't say it any better than he does so I'll quote: "The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible." Of course we knew Scalia detested democracy on 12/12/2000 with his decision that infamous day but now he admits favoritism to theocracy.
Ah, the law in Florida. (NYT) The rich princess pushed her maid down a flight of stairs, but will be allowed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battery without having to appear in court, pay a $1,000 fine and give a judge a letter of regret about injuries to her Indonesian maid in the incident. All this because the maid cannot be in court. After she went home to Jakarta in May for her mother's funeral, the United States Embassy there denied her a visa to return to Florida and testify on the grounds that she might try to stay in this country illegally. The maid is also the primary witness in a federal investigation of the princess for possibly employing Ms. Soryono under conditions of involuntary servitude, the Justice Department said. After the court hearing in Orlando, this federal investigation appears likely to end without charges.
Department of Homeland Security to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act?
Department of Homeland Security to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act? The last episode of NOW ran a piece on the FOIA which described how back in 1974 President Ford and his staff, which included Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, opposed Congress' strengthening of the FOIA, and Ford tried unsuccessfully to veto it. Now this new exemption looks like the continuation of a 28 year-old feud. Ridge says it is in order to not "draw a road map of critical infrastructure vulnerabilities," but are complete exemptions really necessary for that? The potential for abuse seems quite dangerous. (Some previous discussions of FOIA revelations here and here).
Textbook Publishers Learn to Avoid Messing With Texas. "Out of Many," the work of four respected historians, is one of the biggest sellers among American history college textbooks in the United States, but it is not likely to be available to Texas high school students taking advanced placement history. Conservative groups in Texas objected to two paragraphs in the nearly 1,000-page text that explained that prostitution was rampant in cattle towns during the late 19th century, before the West was fully settled.
Recognition time for Bonzo? When I read The Ape and The Sushi master, it shook me. And others feel the same [link 1] way[link 2]. But I was still taken aback by the language in this story.
Special Agent Crowley Speaks Up (NYTimes link , normal rules apply) Ladies like this are the real heroes in our country and she has something to say before Congress about the new Bush agency. Ms. Dowd agrees and said, "The shape of the government is not as important as the policy of the government."
This column (NYT/reg. req) gets my vote for Stupidest Theory of the Day. Basically, he says that movies are more memorable and stay with us longer than TV shows. Huh?! He's kidding, right? (more inside).
Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I. (NY Times link) As part of a sweeping effort to transform the F.B.I. into a domestic terrorism prevention agency, Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying in counterterrorism operations, senior government officials said today. Here's the Wash. Post's take on the story.
NASA scavenges on eBay for old parts for Space Shuttle [NYT link-reg req] The Space Shuttle is so old that many of the parts for it are no longer being made. NASA has been reduced to buying old equipment on eBay to scavenge for circuit boards and old CPUs.
Judge declares terrorism detainments unconstitutional (NYTimes link) - A federal judge in NY has ruled that the Justice Department abused the material witness statute when it imprisoned a Jordanian college student living in San Diego. The Justice Dept is, of course, appealing the ruling.
At large in the blogosphere And yet another analysis of the world of blogging. Does this one, by a decent literary and cultural critic, present blogs and blogging in a better light than many earlier ones? note: NY Times free reg reqd.
From a NYT piece on the horrifying incompetence of NY mental homes: On a Thursday in June 2000, Mr. Ridges returned from his job and went to his room. He encountered Mr. Chapman and the two apparently argued over rap music, the police said. Mr. Chapman pulled out a brown and gold folding knife. He lunged, stabbing Mr. Ridges more than 20 times in the neck, sternum and arm. "Me and Greg Ridges didn't get along," Mr. Chapman told the detectives who arrested him. When Mrs. Ridges did not receive her customary phone call from her son that day, she called the home. An employee told her everything was fine. Wary, Mrs. Ridges went to the home that night, and no one would let her in. Several hours later, police officers showed up at her apartment and told her what had happened. I get sick of all the NYT pieces on here too, but, damn it, this is just haunting, a long visit in a demented underworld of society that most of us try to ignore. Well worth reading in its (extensive) entirety.
An Algerian defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).
Nathan Lane's Successor in "The Producers" Is Fired. (NYT Link). Replacing the hottest Broadway actor in the hottest Broadway musical and getting fired 4 weeks later's gotta suck a lot.
On flight simulators, Tetris, and the CIA The Sunday Times Mag has a feature on Gilman Louie, popularizer of Tetris who was recruited by the CIA in 1998. " Louie's marching orders were to provide venture capital for data-mining technologies that would allow the C.I.A. to monitor and profile potential terrorists as closely and carefully as Amazon monitors and profiles potential customers."
2 Hollywood Titans Brawl Over A Gang Epic -- (NYTimes link, I apologize but am unsure of the etiquette on that issue). Martin Scorcese's project Gangs Of New York (about pre-Civil War NYC immigrant gangs) is quickly turning into something akin to Titanic, and not just 'cuz it's got Leo in it. The budget's out of control (maybe someone cheaper than U2 should do the score), the release date's on a backwards spiral (yes, it was supposed to come out last Christmas), some of the content rankles after 9/11, and now Harvey Weinstein wants a new ending. The cherry on top? Its current release date has it pitted against Tom Hanks and Sam "American Beauty" Mendes' The Road To Perdition, another gangster piece. For a relatively complete diary of the film's woes, try the film's page at the always-useful Corona. Think Miramax has its most spectacular dud on the way, or do you trust Scorcese to pull it off?
Suicidal lies (NYT) "The Palestinians are so blinded by their narcissistic rage that they have lost sight of the basic truth civilization is built on: the sacredness of every human life, starting with your own. All they can agree on as a community is what they want to destroy, not what they want to build. Have you ever heard Mr. Arafat talk about what sort of education system or economy he would prefer, what sort of constitution he wants? No, because Mr. Arafat is not interested in the content of a Palestinian state, only the contours." (more inside)
Is President Bush Gay? (Answer: No, but he says "fabulous" a lot.) Is Billy Joel washed up? (NYT required) (Answer: Sounds like it.) Is Star Wars Episode Two any good? (Answer: Yes, beyond your wildest dreams.)
A Grand Narrative "When Hindus kill Muslims it's not a story, because there are a billion Hindus and they aren't part of the Muslim narrative. When Saddam murders his own people it's not a story, because it's in the Arab-Muslim family. But when a small band of Israeli Jews kills Muslims it sparks rage — a rage that must come from Muslims having to confront the gap between their self-perception as Muslims and the reality of the Muslim world." Thomas Friedman looks for an angle and finds a story! What role, if any, does narrative consciousness and social psychology play in the Middle East? (via blogdex :)
Lord of the Hackers? Sherri Turkle writes in the NYT:
Adolescents are wise in the psychology of computer games and Middle Earth. They live in a world they can't control, in a body that seems increasingly alien. To them the computer world is soothing, offering reassurance through mastery. Just as each episode of "The Lord of the Rings" presents a danger and each has its resolution, so many adolescent boys move from one block of intransigent code to another, from one screen to the next, declaring victory as they go. But this distinction is about more than gender; it is about ways of looking at the world — real, imagined or computer-generated. Some pioneers of computing had a style of working that rewarded risk. They spoke of programming itself as though it were a dangerous quest. At M.I.T. computer hackers even had a name for it: "sport death." To pull back from the impending doom of a system crash required near magic, an almost empathetic knowledge of the intricacies of code. For this community, a certain bravado came to be seen as valuable, even necessary, beyond the world of programming.Any programmer-hobbits care to comment on this? This doesn't exactly describe my feelings when unsnarling html.
The New York Times finally justified asking for my email address: you can specify a list of words and phrases and have the Times email you whenever an article containing one of them appears. (My list: 'aphex, autechre, squarepusher, "warp records"')
why have artists not responded to 9/11 yet? duh. art isn't made in a day. some interesting analogies between 9/11 and past historical examples, coupla which i didn't even know. (nytimes link)
Are we sending our $300 rebate checks right back this year? According to MIT economist and New York Times writer Paul Krugman, line 47 of the 2001 1040 will be designed to do just that. NYTimes.com so you know the drill u:metafilter p:metafilter.
Record Labels' Answer to Napster Still Has Artists Feeling Bypassed (NY Times). Well, it seems the shoe's on the other foot now. Some artists are learning that the industry alternative (Pressplay, MusicNet) to free music downloading services isn't paying quite the dividends they'd expected.
"Last December, the major record labels responded with two Internet services of their own where fans pay monthly fees to download songs. Under this arrangement, however, the performers still don't get a dime: for each song downloaded, they stand to get only a fraction of a cent, according to the calculations of disgruntled managers and lawyers. And, artists and their managers say, the labels, like Napster, aren't putting the music online with proper permission either.Can't say I have a lot of sympathy for any of the principals involved. What is especially amusing (but not surprising) is the apparent duplicity of the labels: "in comments not for attribution, several executives at labels and their subscription services did not dispute the accusations regarding the payment plan. They said their first priority was to make the services attractive to consumers and that the details of compensation could be worked out afterward."
Arab Experts Fault Saudi's Idea Based on Land-for-Peace Trade Let's see if I have this right. Five arab nations attacked Israel a few times and Israel, winning, occupied land, waiting for a peace settlement. Now the very influential ruler of Saudi Arabia has a plan that will tgive back all occupied land to the Palestinians and give them a state and give them their place in Jerusalem. But other Arab "thinkers"--academics, so to speak, think this is unwsise because it would help Sharon. Instead, Israel, the victor in these wars, ought to give all back and them hope that the losers in the struggle will in turn recognize Israel's right to exist in peace. Seems a rather odd way to win or lose in warfare and suggest to mea certain intransigence when this might be the beginning of a breakthrough that the world has waited for. What think?
Another Prime Minister kisses ass. Maggie tells us to git 'em, because "it is best that the United States, as the only global military superpower, deploy its energies militarily rather than on social work." (NYT)
Do you think there is a possible connection between the events (NYT headlines): Attack Possible in U.S. or Yemen, the F.B.I. Warns and Small Fire Becomes Inferno, Burning Homes in California ?
The Battle Over Bush's Gov. Papers. What are they hiding? Executive order blocking Presidential papers, refusing to turn over Energy Taskforce member list, and now this! There must be something to hide. But what?!?!?
Bob Mould on wrestling, the internet, and mp3s. With his first new album in years coming out, Bob's got a new outlook that's different than the old open taping/bootleg philosophy. Since he's distributing his own work, and paying for it all, you're taking money out of his hands, so he's going with the honor system. Is the value of music really going down, or will Bob have no problem finding people to pay for it?
I.B.M.'s MetaPad (NYTimes link) is a slender black rectangle, that works as a PDA and a PC. Best part it's non-OS-centric. In desktop mode it uses Windows XP, in PDA mode it uses Palm OS, also should work with Linux. Not to be confused with Metapad. [Via SVN]
Senator Hollings makes the case for a special council to look into the Enron affair. (NY Times link). San Antonio columnist Jan Jarboe Russell argues for the same. Here's a Guardian article on the situation.
Scientists in the USA have discovered [NYTimes] a new cell in the eye responsible for resetting the biological clock. Its being called "heretical".. Not every day, Dr. Provencio said, do scientists find a new body function.
Pssst. Hey buddy: wanna name a bridge? Nothing is sacred. Or public.
Fake profits are causing the stock market to descend. Could someone explain to me the meaningful difference between Enron and Amazon.com? One company recently reported fake profits of $5 million, while having billions in debt. Enron, well...no profits either, and billions in debt. So why is Amazon.com considered "promising"? Enron had a revenue stream too.... Prediction: Amazon.com's stock will be "revalued" sharply lower as people get lucid about real profits and as the accounting/profit scandals spread.
Yasir Arafat , in his own words: "The Palestinian Vision of Peace." New York Times Op-ed contribution this weekend, in case it was missed (reg req)
Level of government corruption correlates with environmental health. "That is, the more corrupt the government, the less likely it is to pay attention to the environment." Top five environmentally healthy countries: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, and Switzerland. The US ranked 51st, behind Botswana and Cuba. The UK ranked 98.
Recipe for Disaster? The World Economic Forum meets in New York this week, and the usual parties are going to converge on the city. With 9.11 so fresh in people's minds will things get way out of hand? It seems like a powderkeg to me.
Link from NYTimes front page: as though any party or politician is "Taint" free. Sort of like saying every MF post is thotful, entelligent, and well spelt. [this post notwithstanding]
Is this a real chance at campaign finance reform or are we just in for more partisan back and forth that in the end won't change much of anything? (NY Times link) And how long will the "Enron effect" last?
Whatever Next? Amazon Makes A Profit! Having lost $3 billion so far, Amazon Books has just posted its first-ever profit of $5 million. Perhaps it was thanks to the new machines they bought to replace more workers.(this last link req. NYT reg.) How would you spend it if you were Jeff Bezos? And what does it mean: has the tide turned or not?
man protests prison construction by burying buses This is one of the more original methods of protest I've seen. The "artist", an excavator by trade who is trying to protest what he sees as an unlawful zoning change that will lower the value of his property, says his inspiration came from Cadillac Ranch. Will his protest be successful? Do you think this was an appropriate way to catch the attention of the local authorities? I, for one, think this was clever.