Sunday, July 27, 2003

At First, I Thought It Was a Joke...

At a site entitled the "Presidential Golf/Christian Prayer Team" you will find a section with names of government officials for you to pray for(which includes, among others, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft and "Presidential Special Envoy for Free Iraqis, Zalmay Khalilzad".). This is unsurprising, in itself-- but there is also a section entitled "ALIEN LEADERS TO BE CONDEMNED THIS MONTH (May they burn in Hell)"

the list in toto:

"President of Iraq
Saddam Hussein

President of France
Jacques Chirac

Chancellor of Germany
Gerhart Schroeder

Spiritual Leader of Al Qaida
Osama bin Laden

Prime Minister of Russia
Vladimir Putin

President of Turkey*
Whoever he is"

And I thought Bush looked deep into Putin's dreamy post-communist soul and saw a good man. I guess that was last year. The author of this messed-up site also writes:

Pray for the safety and security of all American troops around the world, especially those in the Gulf region awaiting a final, joint decision from God and the President. May many of them seek faith in God to comfort them as they contemplate war. And let us pity those of our soldiers who don't belong to our heavenly religion.

(emphasis mine.)

(I was Googling in search of the Newsweek cover photo of GW Bush praying when I came across this sickening display of phony-baloney Christianity.) I say deliver us from these self-righteous wackos and their president.

*he's a prime minister, one Abdullah Gul.

the "World Dream Bank"(?) If I write that's it's a UN plot, maybe the freepers will come investigate...haw haw. Wait a minute-- I need to throw in a gratuitous reference to the Trilateral Commission...
tracking down the etymology:
according to Arguing With Signs:
"In February, Daily Pundit came up with the Four Horsemen of the Blogopalypse: Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, Charles Johnson and Steven Den Beste."

Max Sawicky refers to them as the 'four horses asses of the ablogalypse' and is also credited with coining it. I must admit I like Sawicky's version better. And I have no idea who Charles Johnson is.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Lambert, a frequent commenter at Atrios, has a thoughtful post* in the comments regarding the deaths of the brothers Hussein. Apart from the obvious-- not wanting to make them martyrs-- he points out that if anyone knows where the (purported) WMDs might be hidden, surely they would have.
Additionally, Lambert says that had they been captured and turned over to the International Court at the Hague, this would have helped immensely in repairing the US's fractured relationship with the UN and several key European allies in particular.(Although he doesn't say this, I suspect, sadly enough, that our president probably doesn't care too much about the latter point, preferring to score points with the talk radio crowd over mending our relationship with the international community. And who knows, W may have preferred them dead because of his own doubts about the existence of WMDs, which they just as easily may have confirmed...)

(thanks to Cursor.)

*since this is a link to the comments section it may take a while to load.

Sunday, July 20, 2003,file-sharing,etc...

I got a hit from the arpanet at roughly 215pm today, or so it seems. Had to look up "" of course, see what it might be(linking to it led to a "cannot be displayed" error page.) I did find , where it says

How to receive a delegation from
If you are in charge of a block of IP addresses, and you want to provide reverse lookups for those IP addresses, you will need a corresponding name in the domain.

Suggests, to me with my limited imagination, that perhaps someone is trying to find my IP address. Why? I am hardly that important or interesting. Ok, I like to think I'm interesting, but you know what I mean--interesting in a larger sense. And I haven't once written anything derogatory about the RIAA, at least not yet.

I will, however, take this opportunity to suggest you go look at I came across their site through a mention in a Yahoo News* story about the RIAA's latest rounds of subpeonas against ISPs, trying to find file-sharers to sue. The funny thing is, I don't see any actual statement at boycott-RIAA suggesting you do so. I suppose a boycott, especially for a substantial period of time, would function as a gesture designed to discourage the heavy-handed tactics of the RIAA. If a law , like the DCMA, effectively criminalizes the behavior of hundreds of millions of people around the world then the law is just plain wrong, as I see it.

*the link is to Salon's AP wire report version of the same story, which should stay up longer and doesn't require a subscription. However, this dandy article on file-sharing on Salon does, or at least a look at the ad, and you should read it.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Todd Gitlin talks to Salon about the necessity of discipline for the left to rid the country of the Bush administration in 2004. One bit:

"Underneath, what Nader voters really wanted was to vent their feelings," he writes. "The purity of their feelings matters so much to them that they are still washing their hands of the consequences ... This is narcissism wearing a cloak of ideals."

Friday, July 18, 2003

Courtesy le news de yahoo:

"PARIS - Goodbye "e-mail", the French government says, and hello "courriel" — the term that linguistically sensitive France is now using to refer to electronic mail in official documents.

The Culture Ministry has announced a ban on the use of "e-mail" in all government ministries, documents, publications or Web sites, the latest step to stem an incursion of English words into the French lexicon.

The ministry's General Commission on Terminology and Neology insists Internet surfers in France are broadly using the term "courrier electronique" (electronic mail) instead of e-mail — a claim some industry experts dispute. "Courriel" is a fusion of the two words.

..."The word 'courriel' is not at all actively used," Marie-Christine Levet, president of French Internet service provider Club Internet, said Friday. "E-mail has sunk in to our values."

Thursday, July 17, 2003

So Long Ari; I'll miss Netscape more:

White house press secretary Ari Fleischer held his last press conference last week.(Good.) I'm tempted to google
"Orwellian" and "Ari Fleischer" to see how many blog and
journalistic and other entries come up, but I think that all I'd really prove to myself is that I spend far too much time online. I'm curious how the right wing of the blogosphere regards this fellow, but again I'll admit-- ultimately not that curious.
Here's a nugget of Fleischerspeak from the last go-round:

"I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."*

*from Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, July 15th.

(also see Milbank's excellent October 2002 WaPo article, "For Bush, Facts Are Malleable")
Oh, ok, I checked:

"Fleischer" and "Orwellian": 1340 citations,
"Fleischer" and "lies": 25,300,
"Fleischer" and "bullshit": 2800.

Now I suppose that some of these may be references to veteran Hollywood film director Richard Fleischer, of Fantastic Voyage and Boston Strangler fame, but I imagine they're mostly for Ari. Unless, perhaps, Tony Curtis is blogging. Still:nine times as many for "lies" as for "bullshit." Who said civil discourse was dead?
Stirling Moss says:

the advent of technology in Formula One has made it harder for young drivers to make their mark on the circuit.

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have immense skills, but the difficulty is that the cars are so good, so many things a really brilliant driver could inject have been lessened.

Automatic gearboxes and traction control "remove skill", thereby making it hard for the young lions to show their mettle alongside Michael Schumacher."

'He's the best,' Moss says of the Ferrari-driving German.

'But the sophistication of the modern car makes it difficult for [Kimi and Fernando] to show just how good they are.'

Sir Stirling similarly thinks that advances in safety has made motor racing less exciting for all; drivers and spectators alike.

'For me, driving with danger on my shoulder increased my pleasure,' he said.

'I didn't want to die, but I'd feel really hyped up if I really aced a corner under those circumstances. It was a real buzz.'

The 73-year-old Moss was interviewed at Silverstone for this weekend's British Grand Prix.

Netscape, RIP
First Montgomery Ward, then Oldsmobile, and now this:

AOL announced on July 16th that it was laying off the key staff responsible for developing the Netscape browser. A spokesman denied that this meant that the browser would no longer be developed in the future, blah blah blah...

Even if this was inevitable for some time now, I hate to see it happen. I still prefer Netscape's mail client(Netscape Messenger, or Net Mess, as some affectionately call it...) to Outlook Express, although I'll admit I use MS IE 6 more and more for general browsing, in no small part because of the integrated Google toolbar.(If you try Netscape 7x you'll notice that the bookmarks now work essentially the same way as they do with MS IE.)

Still, it's too bad. Will the Mozilla project ever develop an end-user friendly browser, now that they're on their own?

Friday, July 11, 2003

The Fear Merchants:

Tomorrow's Guardian has an excellent editorial piece on the marketing of 9-11 in America, as a tool to sell SUVs and sell out civil liberties. Vance Packard would have recognized the themes herein, all too well. A tidbit below:

"The United States lost the public relations war in the Muslim
world a long time ago," Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab
American News, said in October 2001. "They could have the
prophet Mohammed doing public relations and it wouldn't help."
At home in the US, the propaganda war has been more effective. And a key component has been fear: fear of terrorism and fear of attack.

Early scholars who studied propaganda called it a "hypodermic needle approach" to communication, in which the communicator's objective was to "inject" his ideas into the minds of the target population. Since propaganda is often aimed at persuading people to do things that are not in their own best interests, it frequently seeks to bypass the rational brain altogether and manipulate us on a more primitive level, appealing to emotional symbolism.

the article also includes the by now famous Goering quote about persuading ordinary people that they want war. Since so many in the blogosphere have quoted it, I guess I don't want to feel left out, so here:

During the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, psychologist Gustave Gilbert visited Nazi Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering in his prison cell. "We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction," Gilbert wrote in his journal, Nuremberg Diary.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? ... That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship ... That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

but there's more, including some yummy quotes from Gallic marketing imp Clottaire Rappaille; read the rest here.
Skimble is back from his vacation. He says:

The hostility to Sean Penn and the warm welcome for Arnold Schwarzenegger have nothing to do with their status as entertainers. They reflect the growing American inability to think consistent thoughts of any kind — about entertainers and other frauds in politics, about tangible reasons for war, about the vested interests and commercial motivations of those in office, about the value of soldiers' and civilians' lives, about impeachable offenses.

We are losing the war on stupidity.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Why Eric Alterman kicks butt:
(from his July 8th column at Altercation)

ABC’s “The Note” advises “the best American political coverage uses the ups and downs and twists and turns of every campaign to hold a mirror up to a still-young
nation that happens to be the world’s finest democracy.”

This kind of meaningless BS is often considered obligatory by U.S. journalists, but excuse me, by exactly what normative criteria is this “the world’s finest democracy”? Voter turnout? We’re just about the worst. Turnover in leadership? We rank below the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Quality of debate? Again, not as easy to measure as a data point, but my own assessment is that we’re in last place in our division and sinking fast. What does our system do best? That’s easy. We have the democracy where money counts for the most and honesty counts for the least, and we most definitely lead the world in self-congratulation.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

from Eric Boelert's recent Salon article about the free ride Dubya gets from the press:

With the Bush administration leading an ongoing war on terror, it's possible that journalists, at least subconsciously, do not want to publicly question the president's character. "There's a huge psychological need to believe and trust your president when we're being told every day we may be attacked by terrorists," says Emmy Award-winning journalist James Moore, a coauthor of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential." "But I think there's a dangerous mentality among the press that says, Well, yeah, he needed to exaggerate to go after Saddam Hussein, but that's OK because it's for the good of the country and we shouldn't hold him accountable."

"I believe the press is in awe of the Bush juggernaut," adds Jay Rosen, chairman of New York University's journalism department. "Journalists respect a winner and those they think of as savvy and effective. Besides, what's a worse crime according to journalists, shading the truth or being naive about the way the world really works? It's definitely the latter."

Or maybe some journalists who covered the 2000 race don't want to concede they made a mistake. "They would have to admit they were duped by an exaggerator," says Moore. Either way, today's blatant double standard over exaggerations is not reserved for Gore's hard-luck campaign. It's part of a larger pattern in how the press treats Democratic candidates tougher than it treats Republicans...