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Saturday, March 15, 2003

'I'm Afraid I Can't Do That, Dave' Plastic::FilmTV::Movies: The best one-liners in movie history. No, really -- it's okay to just have fun sometimes.

The Braggart Soldier

Posted by The Happy Tutor

The Miles Gloriosus - The Swaggering Soldier, by Plautus. "You are either with us or against us," he roared, waving his sword in the air, as the slave-girls blew kisses from the Balcony of the Bordello.  Pictures of performances here.

Erik Davis examines our crazy times Erik Davis (a wonderful writer whose work often appears in Wired) sez: "I have a new piece, 'Shadow Dancing,' in my friend Marcus Boon's marvelous webzine, Hungry Ghost. It's about the spooky side of the current administration's drive toward international violence and domestic repression. There are other nifty articles about 'Magical Politics' up by Boon, Michael Taussig, Peter Lamborn Wilson, and others." Link Discuss

New Report Criticizes Miami Police A new Justice Department report criticizes the Miami Police for its policies on use of force and choice of weapons....

Reporter Takes His Weblog to War A Manhattan journalist is raising money online so he can travel to Iraqi Kurdistan to cover the impact of a U.S.-Iraq war on the Kurds. His reports and photos will appear not in mainstream media but on his weblog. By Mark Baard.
[via Wired News]

Equal time for protest signs In a controversial decision, a federal court says that if California allows Old Glory to hang from overpasses, it must allow political banners, too.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Prepare For War, Refinance! Plastic::Etcetera::Money: Gotta loan? Fix the rate now, if you believe Paul Krugman.


In regard to "patriot fries," I consciously must prevent myself from heaving on the keyboard.

Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Well Cut Leather

In today's Los Angeles Times:

  • Inspired by Congressman Robert Ney's adjustments to the House menus (Fuddruckers appears the latest to follow suit), Adam Tschorn suggests various alternatives to things commonly dubbed "French:" "patriot portals," etc.

  • People's West Coast style editor Steven Cojocaru describes his three year stint as a temp in Disney's consumer products division: "I had a ponytail and an earring, which in Disney terms meant I was part-trans-sexual, part-Lucifer."

Devoted Dromedary
Liberty Lip Lock?

The 'Rush to War' that SHOULD have been As the Bush Administration's "headlong rush to war" enters its 14th month, it's about time we pondered...

300th Time's The Charm - SCOTUS Stays Execution Plastic::Politics::Law: In many ways, Banks is a prime example of the flaws of the current system: a black man convicted of killing a white man by an all-white jury on the testimony of one paid informant and one witness who later recanted his testimony.

ICTY President Judge - Djindjic assassination "heavy blow" to rule of law The new President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, NYU law professor Theodor Meron, issued a statement Thursday on yesterday's assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who had played a decisive role in bringing former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milsoevic to the ICTY for trial.

Chattel Battle

The Intel v. Hamidi case pending before the California Supreme Court has been set for oral argument on April 2 at 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles. In this case, the Court will determine whether unsolicited email can constitute an enjoinable trespass to chattels. (More on this, from the EFF.)

Related links:

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Dubya's Daddy Speaks Out Against Unilateralism Plastic::Politics::Politics:Dubya: Bush 41 has some concerns over Bush 43's actions. Does the White House have a woodshed?

Blogs are novelists' notebooks (too) Today in Gibson's blog, a rumination on what it feels like to be a novelist between novels:

That's how Rudy Rucker, in an email yesterday, described how it feels to be a novelist between books. No place to take the shiny things we constantly find. He's treating his own condition, he said, by writing a horror sorry about having belonged to a country club in Lynchburg, Virginia, in the early Eighties (man, that *is* scary).

No place for the magpie mind to take the trinkets and bits of tinfoil, currently. If I bring them here, for instance, I'm just leaving them on your window-ledge, something no magpie would ever be satisfied with doing.

I've been using this blog to keep track of stuff that needs to work its way into my novels for years now. Rucker's blog is nothing but notes on his books. Sterling says you can extrapolate his next book from this links on his blog. I betcha that's true of Warren Ellis, too. Blogs are the new novelist's commonplace book. I've been saying this for a while, but I thought I might be the only one. Link Discuss

First Circuit rejects war powers appeal The US First Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that had dismissed a complaint seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld from initiating a war against Iraq contrary to constitutionally-granted authority.

Madelyne Toogood Gets Her Daughter Back Madelyne Toogood, the mom videotaped beating her young daughter in a parking lot has regained custody of her daughter. "The...

Geoslavery Suitably alarmist CNN report about concerns that GPS is going to lead to what Jerome Dobson, the president of the American Geographical Society, terms "geoslavery", or the control of people by tracking, monitoring, and even correcting their movements:"What we are suggesting," Dobson said, "is that we are only one technological step from placing a transponder in there that burns or stings a person if they step off a prescribed path by a meter. Or if they stay too long in one place. Or cross the path of another person they are prohibited from seeing, or if they congregate with other people. I can confine you to a place. You can't go there. Or you must go there. And I can control it."Read...
[via Gizmodo]

Bush Berates Senate: Filibuster-Buster Or Just Plain Ol' Bluster? Plastic::Politics::Politics:Dubya: President Bush wants an permanent end to filibusters of judicial nominations. Principled objection or petty partisanship?

Entrances to hell Obscure but handy online directory of gateways to the underworld located throughout the UK.
The devil's liver trouble probably began here at Crizzle after a month long drunken holiday at a mutants fairground in the 1300s. Crizzle now broadcasts confusing directions to air traffic with a view to creating controlled flights into terrain. Gold ornamentation is to be seen in the rafter work and the entire length of tunnel has 33,345,567,863,426,875,678 stained wooden steps of which five are in need of repair. This entrance is a rich source of low-self-esteem-gas and is occasionally overgrown with gorse.
Link Discuss (thanks, Gabe)

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

College Instructor Ignites A Protest, But Not The One She Wanted Plastic::Politics::School: Rosalyn Kahn, a new part-time speech instructor at the two-year college, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending review after her students complained that her assignments were politically discriminatory.

Copyright free antiwar posters Kimberly sez: "Graphic designers nationwide are organizing to offer provocative, high-impact anti-war posters that are copyright-free and downloadable online. Participants so far include (among others) Michael Mabry, Michael Cronan, Peter Kuper, whose work appears regularly in Time and Mad, and design legend Milton Glaser, whose 'I (Heart) NY' is arguably the most referenced design in American popular culture."
"Copyright-free" means you can use this art for anything, including adding your own information to it and even printing it commercially.
Link Discuss


Since I registered my newsfeed program today, I get to make comments.  My coment here is: see how law and literature can merge?  Not a very great comment... but something.

New scholarship - Nietzsche and judicial authority in America Wednesday on SSRN: Retaining Judicial Authority: A Preliminary Inquiry on the Dominion of American Judges by Larry Cara Backer of the Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson School of Law From the Abstract: "Why do the people and institutions of democratic states, and in particular those of the United States, obey judges? This article examines the foundations of judicial authority in the United States.

US civil liberties, human rights downhill since Sept. 11 - LCHR report The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights issued an updated report Tuesday on what it described as the steadily-eroding state of civil liberties and human rights in the United States over the 18 months that have passed since the attacks of September 11.

Right and Left Join to Oppose New Patriot Act ABC News reports on the right and left joining together to fight Ashcroft and Patriot Act II The opposite ends...

Jury Duty Story South Knox Bubba got dismissed from jury duty in a crack cocaine case where the defendant, an African-American, allegedly sold...

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A Blawg! A few blawgs, comin' in low and fast:

"Irreversible" Gaspar Noe's horrifying film about rape and revenge erases the boundaries between porn and exploitation. But is it art?

Serbian premier assassinated Veteran reformer Zoran Djindjic dies after being shot in central Belgrade.

Wall Street rebounds as Europe crashes Wall Street closes the day higher after a cocktail of worries sends European stocks to multi-year lows.

Downloads for peace: Beastie Boys' new protest-MP3 The Beastie Boys are offering free downloads of a new anti-war song they've just released, "In a World Gone Mad." Link Discuss

Breaking news - Serbian Prime Minister assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, a democratic reformer who played a decisive role in sending former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague for trial on war crimes, was assassinated Wednesday in front of government offices in Belgrade.

Ashcroft Unveils DNA Testing Proposal Attorney General John Ashcroft unveiled a DNA testing proposal today. The Bush Administration plans to spend $1 billion on DNA...

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

From Lowly Tuber To Global Political Pawn - The Story Of 'Freedom Fries' Plastic::Politics::Food: As a result of the American backlash against France's refusal to back the war against Iraq, some businesses are banning French products, or renaming food like French Fries to Freedom Fries.

EU court rejects law student's claim that military service is discriminatory The European Court of Justice Tuesday rejected a German law student's claim that Germany's compulsory military conscription of young men, and not women, breached EU job equality law. Alexander Dory had argued that military service had a discriminatory impact because mens' careers were delayed, while those of exempt women were not.

Our World-Historical Gamble Lee Harris offers a conceptual framework for the real New World Order... i.e. the one arriving whether we like it...

Progress in Lockerbie talks Further talks take place aimed at securing agreement on compensation for relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing

Poverty tied to disability among US black children

You Are Wile E. Coyote - Cartoon Violence A Reality? Plastic::FilmTV::Violence:Media: "o, does watching a lot of violent TV in our youth really lead to increased acceptance and practice of violence? Or does it just make us more litigious?"

Philanthropy, Weblogs, and Democracy

Posted by The Happy Tutor

Gary at aheapofcrap takes up the theme of weblogs and democracy, asking whether the weblog as a democratic form could stand in opposition to the self-organizing market even though the weblog's feet are in the marketplace.... The question that is posed is: will commercial interests enclose the commons?  The discussion thread includes Tom Coates of on Google's acquisition of blogger, Marcus Weatherall at on commission earning links,  Rebecca's Pocket on ethics for weblogs here, yours truly at Wealth Bondage on public goods and private interest,  Jon at Listen to Musak on personal publishing and individual freedom. Tom ends with the right question:  So how do we go from the aesthetic to politics and democracy? (How about this: Organize, raise money, lobby, protest, vote, satirize, and engage in creative compliance by canting about the market in a tone of manic glee, so as to slip unnoticed into the faceless swarm of rugged individualists?)

Composed with Newz Crawler 1.4
"Jarhead" by Anthony Swofford In this self-lacerating memoir, an ex-Marine sniper who fought in the Gulf yearns to escape from the myths of warfare and the sadism of military life.

UCLA study: 53% Believe most information on the Net is reliable According to a new study issued by the UCLA Center for Communication Policy people are becoming a bit more skeptical of what they find on the Net with one exception - a small portion of the population who believes everything.

Hot Enough To Be President Or Not? Plastic::Politics::Politics:Culture: "What criteria is used to elect the President of the United States? A new article from U.S. News and World Report claims it all comes down to 'likability'."

Bush Sr. spanks Shrub for not playing nice In a speech at Tuft's University, Bush senior expressed his concern that Shrub will defy the United Nations, causing much harm.
Drawing on his own experiences before and after the 1991 Gulf War, Mr Bush Sr said that the brief flowering of hope for Arab-Israeli relations a decade ago would never have happened if America had ignored the will of the United Nations.


He also urged the President to resist his tendency to bear grudges, advising his son to bridge the rift between the United States, France and Germany.

Mr Bush Jr, who is said never to forget even relatively minor slights, has alarmed analysts with the way in which he has allowed senior Administration figures such as Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, aggressively to criticise France and Germany.

Link Discuss

Monday, March 10, 2003

Telly New "home entertainment server" from Interact-TV called Telly that is basically a multimedia PC with an 80GB hard disk with a DVD/CD-RW drive, and that has an Ethernet port so you can stream audio and video to other devices around the house. Also comes with an interactive program guide so that it can also double as a digital video recorder. Read [Thanks, Jeff]...

SCOTUS Makes Millions Of Lawyers Very, Very Happy Plastic::Work::Health: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that stress over asbestos-related illness is cause for damages. Cry havoc, and let loose the lawyers of personal injury...

Americans get balanced news from the UK British news-sites are seeing unprecedented traffic from US IP ranges as Americans, repulsed by the stilted war coverage in the US papers (who have collectively abandoned stories like Rumsfeld's handshake with Saddam and spying on security council members at the UN) turn to Old Europe for Real News.
Jon Dennis, deputy news editor of the Guardian Unlimited web site said: "We have noticed an upsurge in traffic from America, primarily because we are receiving more emails from US visitors thanking us for reporting on worldwide news in a way that is unavailable in the US media."

The American public is apparently turning away from the mostly US-centric American media in search of unbiased reporting and other points of views. Much of the US media's reaction to France and Germany's intransigence on the Iraqi war issue has verged on the xenophobic, even in the so-called 'respectable' press. Some reporting has verged on the hysterical - one US news web site,, recently captioned a photograph of young German anti-war protesters as "Hitler's children".

Link Discuss (via Electrolite)

Eminent Domain and DEA Seizure of Websites Here's more from the New York Times on the Government's seizure of websites in connection Operation Pipedreams, and the arrest...

The new social taboo in Japan: leaving your cellphone at home Having your cellphone battery die is an annoyance, but apparently in Japan it could lead to social ostracism according to an article in Online Journalism Review about how cellphones are changing the ways in which Japanese teenagers socialize:One college student I spoke to described leaving one?s phone at home or letting the battery die as "the new taboo." Teens and twentysomethings usually do not bother to set a time and place for their meetings. They exchange as many as 5 to 15 messages throughout the day that progressively narrows in on a time and place, two points eventually converging in a coordinated dance through the urban jungle. To not have a keitai [cellphone] is to be walking blind, disconnected from just-in-time information on where and when you are in the social networks of time and place....

Why Not Just Make Some Shit Up? Plastic::Politics::Urban Legends: Fake evidence for Iraq nuclear program provided by US and British intelligence.

U.S. Interrogating Children We're shocked that this hasn't gotten more coverage. We are outraged. The CIA has acknowledged that last September, the seven...

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Why Preemptive Wars Are Not The Wave Of The Future Plastic::Politics::History: D. Scott Bennett, a political scientist at Penn State, has examined 200 years of conflict around the world and found that preemptive wars are very rare, and only occur under a unique combination of conditions.

Caught In The Hedonic Treadmill? The Economics Of Happiness Plastic::Work::Money: "Richard Layard, Director of The Centre for Economic Performance at the prestigious London School of Economics has delivered a series of lectures this week that profoundly question the value of the economics of happiness"

Left-wing media bias? In your dreams. Dan Gillmor (who is sitting two seats to the left of me, blogging David Weinberger's SXSW keynote, which is delish) has written a blistering attack on the journalists charged with keeping tabs on George W. Bush.
But where the hell is the press when it comes to the current tenant in the White House? Bush has repeatedly failed to tell the truth, and his past is loaded with the kinds of behavior that have caused major news organizations to go into overdrive when Democrats were doing it. Here's one example. You probably don't know that Bush apparently went AWOL (Dallas Morning News) from his Air National Guard duty in the 1970s. It was covered by a few newspapers, but the story disappeared after he claimed he couldn't remember what happened. Right.
Link Discuss


Gashlycrumb Tinies online Edward Gorey's rhyming, illustrated alphabet of horrible things happening to rotten children (A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs) is online at last. Lovely. Link Discuss (via Robot Wisdom)