March 17, 2003


Stalin's Forgotten Zion. In 1934, the Soviet Union established the Jewish Autonomous Region in remote Birobidzhan as a permanent agricultural colony for all Soviet Jews. Substantial incentives from the Soviet government drew many new settlers. Today, only a few thousand Jews remain. A few more links: pictures from the BBC, a travel diary, a recent economic overview.
posted by tss at 11:47 PM PST - 5 comments

The Idiot Prince will have his war

Stan Goff puts it best in his anti-war article entitled "The Idiot Prince will have his war", outlining many of the logistical issues involved with waging war in Iraq, pointing a finger at a problem facing the United States that runs far deeper than the need for oil or the opposition of the United Nations. A fascinating and very chilling read.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 11:31 PM PST - 102 comments

Is Mr. Bush prepared to put his sacrafice his post as president to prevent war - or will he instead forfeit the lives of thousands of people?

Bush sets in motion 48-hour timeline for Saddam and sons to flee the country. Then, Saddam Defies Bush Deadline and suggests that Bush himself resign. Wait a minute, I think I see a diplomatic solution here that is in the best interests of BOTH nations. Seriously - I think that, when Mr. Bush makes such an ultimatum, he himself should also be prepared to resign his post, especially when lives of - at best - thousands of people are at stake. Assuming that Saddam Hussein were willing to resign if Bush also agreed to do so (and I'm not saying that he necessarily is), would Americans (Iraqis) be willing to make the "sacrifice"?
posted by SilentSalamander at 11:02 PM PST - 53 comments

Are you a Boinger?

The good news? My Comics Page is hosting the great "Bloom County" strips in order, six daily strips one day and a Sunday strip the next (that's a week in two days, kids). The bad news? You have to pay $10.00 to see them.
posted by Mr_Spook at 8:02 PM PST - 21 comments

Michael Moore directs System of a Down

Boom! No, that's not the sound of the bottom falling out of the economy...Michael Moore has directed System of Down's lasted video (as he has done for R.E.M. once and Rage Against the Machine twice) using footage of recent focus groups protests against the "jumping [of] Iraq." Moore also wrote a letter to the president and will be talking about Anti-Americanism on Tuesday's Oprah. Moore Watch has yet to respond.
posted by boost ventilator at 7:55 PM PST - 32 comments


Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. In my best translation from artspeak: How we try so hard to be different individually, but end up looking the same. via Milk & Cookies
posted by Stan Chin at 6:22 PM PST - 19 comments

disgusting things traditional Irish flute players do

10 disgusting things traditional Irish flute players do - along with a guide to the Irish flute, a few flute clips and a bleedin' deadly guide to Irish slang.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:14 PM PST - 4 comments

Prayers for peace

Prayers for peace. I'm agnostic and my feelings on the current Iraq crisis are confused. However, one thing is almost certain: many innocent people will die in the following weeks (months, years), most of them relegated to statistics. The future is uncertain.
posted by poopy at 6:10 PM PST - 24 comments

Speaking of gassing one's own people

Speaking of gassing one's own people: US Government admits it tested nerve gas (sarin and VX) on its own sailors (Project SHAD). This is in addition to the testing of LSD on civilians (MK Ultra), syphilis on 399 black Alabama men (Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment), radioactivity on American GI's (Operation Crossroads), and the secret testing of germ warfare tactics on American cities. It's really no surprise the US government rejected an international ban on biological weapons, and yet we personalize this imminent war with Iraq and claim the justification as the forced disarming of dangerous 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'? I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.
posted by letterneversent at 5:04 PM PST - 53 comments

soul food for the coalition of the willing

mustard with your pork sir? as we head to war, here's some alarming data on america's own stash of undestroyed chemical weapons as well as the phenomenal return on investment for deep-pocket GOP campaign contributors.
posted by subpixel at 4:38 PM PST - 4 comments

Pain In The English

Picky, picky, picky. What a great place to quibble over the fine points of English usage, such as where commas go, or the proper way to use the phrase "a lot of". Focus all that pre-war nervous energy into refining your speech and writing, maybe?
posted by majcher at 4:38 PM PST - 27 comments

Cook sods off

The resignation speech [Real, edited text] of Robin Cook, the ex-Foreign Secretary who led British troops into Kosovo, received a standing ovation in the House of Commons, something that hasn't happened in recent memory. The now leaderless House votes on the war tomorrow.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:30 PM PST - 45 comments

Another Bad Day in Silicon Valley

Applied Materials to Slash 14% of Its Work Force How many of you work in the Silicon Valley semiconductor business? How do you feel about an industry giant like AMAT having yet another layoff? Or, if you work for one of AMAT's competitors, what does this do to your own sense of job security?
posted by Captain Ligntning at 2:54 PM PST - 6 comments

St Patrick - The Game

St Patrick - The Game ... Try to drive the snakes out of Ireland using a 357 Magnum instead of a staff.

And have a great St Patrick's Day. Who knows, it may be our last ...
posted by essexjan at 1:45 PM PST - 8 comments

Greg Egan's Website

Greg Egan's website, including 17 full stories (my favorite) and explanations (by the author) of some of the science (including quantum soccer) in his books. Not the prettiest site I've seen, but a treat for fans of Egan's brand of "hard" SF.
posted by signal at 1:17 PM PST - 10 comments

Braccelli's book

"This vellum-bound curiosity is one of the rarest and most mysterious etching suites of the late Renaissance." Braccelli's fantastic drawings are excellent examples of early (early, early) surrealism. For higher quality images, try this link instead.
posted by Pinwheel at 1:07 PM PST - 14 comments

Practice Safe Snacks!

Don't like Bush? Send him a pretzel! A French website is urging people unhappy with the Bush Administration to buy a pretzel ("bretzel" in French), which will then be sent to the White House. Part of the pretzel's cost also goes to charity.
posted by Vidiot at 12:36 PM PST - 30 comments

King of the Road.

The Trucker's Page is a site dedicated to the eighteen wheeled sub-culture driving alongside you everyday. Featuring essays, fiction, and even poetry dedicated to entertaining the mustached and mulleted kings of the road.
posted by BigPicnic at 12:14 PM PST - 9 comments

To think locally

Terrorism from Middle America. A sudden green terror hits Washington D.C.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:00 PM PST - 28 comments

Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle

Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle Multimedia artist Matthew Barney, 36, is almost universally fawned over by critics and is hailed as the most important artist to come along in years. In a stunning installation at NYC's Guggenheim Museum, he's made the museum into a bit player in his massive gesamtkunstwerk. And now this gorgeous website ups the ante on Flash-based sites. In addition to all this, the soundtracks from his Cremaster series by Jonathan Bepler are breaking new ground in modern composition. Oh, yeah, Matthew Barney is the dad of Bjork's child. Where does it end?
posted by ubueditor at 11:53 AM PST - 27 comments

Germany's Fanta website

Germany's Fanta website let's you subtitle (what I think are Bollywood) movie clips! It's a good waste of time if you got to waste your time.
posted by Slimemonster at 11:28 AM PST - 9 comments

Military History Online ("... the best and most interesting of the web ...")

The War Times Journal is an on-line magazine which covers all periods of military history and military science. Within you'll find content ranging from illustrated articles to dispatch and memoir reprints to interactive maps and timelines, all well presented and totally free.
posted by ewagoner at 10:43 AM PST - 1 comments

A Love of Monsters: Gargoyles & Architectural Details in NYC

A Love of Monsters: Gargoyles & Architectural Details in NYC. 'They crouch in the corners and lurk under windows. They curl around drainpipes and blend into doorways. They're so clever at hiding most folks won't see them at all. '
'But I know where the monsters live. I see them all the time. If your heart is understanding and your eyes remember wonder, then take a quiet stroll with me and see what you can find.'
Self-guided walks, too.
posted by plep at 10:39 AM PST - 17 comments

Civil Disobedience Training

Civil Disobedience Training (html version), The Handbook for Nonviolent Action and Civil Disobedience Training, Nonviolent Action Handbook, and Non-violence Discipline. And then there's that crackpot who wrote in the Dhammapada that "hate is not overcome by hate; by Love (Metta) alone is hate appeased. This is an eternal law." One imagines other texts on the timely topics of peace, nonviolence, and war resistance may exist -- Martin Luther King pointedly noted, "there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks, before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman empire."
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:33 AM PST - 15 comments

Attention Deficit Disorder

Choking Man. This weirdo has been running around South Florida for a few months, feigning choking in front of women in parking lots. Why do people feel the need to act out Chuck Palahniuk's stories?
posted by shadow45 at 10:32 AM PST - 9 comments

Gone to hit the highway

Highway Ulysses is a new play premiering at Boston's American Repertory Theatre. Playwright/composer Rinde Eckert and ART artistic director/Sam Shepherd's regular director Robert Woodruff have collaborated on an envigorating new play with music about a Vietnam vet on a road trip to find his son that parallels Homer's Odyssey. The ART's website is similarly informative and engaging as it points out the frightening timeliness of The Odyssey in the current world. (more inside)
posted by pxe2000 at 10:13 AM PST - 8 comments

From the world's most popular novelist, Paulo Coelho, an open letter of praise for President Bush.

Thank you, Great Leader George W.Bush Paulo Coelho writes an interesting letter of praise to Prez Bush
posted by elpapacito at 9:33 AM PST - 34 comments

Harold Pinter's War Poem


There's no escape.
The big pricks are out.
They'll fuck everything in sight.
Watch your back.
Harold Pinter
[More inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:28 AM PST - 24 comments

What would you do? Think again.

Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing : "To offer a psychological explanation for the atrocities committed by perpetrators is not to forgive, justify or condone their behavior. Instead, the explanation simply allows us to understand the conditions under which many of us could be transformed into killing machines." (James Waller) In a Salon interview about his widely acclaimed, pathbreaking book Waller states, "Most people don't understand how easy it is to develop us-them [mindsets]......In our climate of fear in response to terrorism, I think we could pretty easily turn on people who have been our neighbors."
posted by troutfishing at 9:19 AM PST - 37 comments

Four-Letter Branding

French Connection UK : what is the rag seller's corporate identity a "dyslexic" acronym for? The sober Boston Globe gets it, and takes the opportunity to consult ethicists on whether we should allow words in print just because people use them in real life.
Some readers objected to the ad's center spread, which featured FCUK in large letters, with the 'C' formed by an ocean wave. At least as many, maybe more, objected to a full-page photo of a young model in very short shorts, her legs apart, and ''Welcome to Fcukiki Beach'' written across her left thigh.
The real point is, who can afford to be choosy these days, with advertising still slumping? E&P's take from last summer still seems relevant.
posted by hairyeyeball at 9:04 AM PST - 14 comments

Iranian film critics arrested

Collecting "art films" as a film critic might throw you in jail in Iran. Famous Iranian film critic, Kambiz Kahe, is arrested along with a few colleagues. Hard-liner Iranian police says they were "importing and distributing pornographic material", which according to them, could vary from French art films to something like American Beauty. Chicago-based film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum, along with FIPRESCI (the international federation of film critics) has protested to these arrests in separate letters. Kahe and friends needs more international support to be able to sit next to their families on Persian new year’s day which is only days away (March 21st).
posted by hoder at 9:00 AM PST - 4 comments

Sane discussion of world affairs.

Over the last few years, Tony Judt has been writing some brilliant commentary on the world political situation in the NYRB. His latest is one of the best pieces I’ve read for ages. Sanity, reason, non-shrillness, etc – and it’s only the first of three articles.
posted by Mocata at 7:38 AM PST - 8 comments

New OED Words

Dungeons and Dragons, bigorexia, arse-licker, bass-ackward... The online OED (Oxford English Dictionary) quarterly adds a host of new words to the canon of what has become the standard dictionary of the english language(s). Some of the new and spicey words are: arsehole, arseholed, arse-lick,arse-licker, ass-backward, ass-backwards, bass-ackward, bass-ackwards, dragon lady, Dungeons and Dragons, telenovela, and transgenderist!! Thank the gods of language for these new words! So what is you favorite new word and why?
posted by mfoight at 5:39 AM PST - 26 comments

Coup in the CAR

Meanwhile, over in Africa. While the Central African Republic President was gone, a General came in and seized power. What will happen to the millions wanted for food in the CAR is unknown, but more people may leave the CAR.
posted by RobbieFal at 5:18 AM PST - 5 comments

Water War Iraq

Is the looming war with Iraq the first Water War? Should the signs really be saying No Blood for Water? From -Water Wars: a lecture by (Adel Darwish) "Oil has always been thought of as the traditional cause of conflict in the Middle East past and present. Since the first Gulf oil well gushed in Bahrain in 1932, countries have squabbled over borders in the hope that ownership of a patch of desert or a sand bank might give them access to new riches. No longer. Now, most borders have been set, oil fields mapped and reserves accurately estimated - unlike the water resources, which are still often unknown. WATER is taking over from oil as the likeliest cause of conflict in the Middle East."
posted by thedailygrowl at 1:03 AM PST - 25 comments

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