Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Brian Atene, Youtube, etc

via the Panopticist. Youtube has shown this over 100,000 times already. Brian Atene is presumably out there somewhere, knocking about, either aware of this clip having come to light 20 plus years later, or not. If not he will be pretty soon, I imagine. Maybe he will cringe with the unwelcome shock of recognition, having successfully avoided thinking about it for quite some time now.(Or maybe this is a joke, and Atene is roughly 20 years younger than he says.) Of course, this sort of unlikely artifact from an ordinary schmo's past will undoubtedly become more and more common in the future. How many people shooting the bird on myspace today will be taken to task for it by tiny grandkids in 2045 or so?

Myself, I'm not so worried about super 8 film projects that may have featured me in the mid-to-late 80s, but what will happen to IP law vis-a-vis our semi-open society? I see nefarious corporatists using embarassing incidents as an excuse to further clamp down on the social intercourse of a free society, ostensibly in the name of privacy rights. Ok, intercourse might not be the best word to use here, but what else do you call it? I don't want some upper-middle class jerk suing a filmmaker into penury because she inadvertently showed his car with the licence plate in front of his girlfriend's house in a movie she made, and somebody happened to tape it, and he wants to hold her responsible for his lousy divorce settlement. Less than a month ago Google bought youtube, and now they're supposed to be yanking all the Comedy Central clips off their site. I don't blame them for wanting to protect themselves, but it strikes me as a portent. Maybe I shouldn't make observations like this, because it makes me sound stuffy, like Sam the Eagle®.

update: the Youtube/Comedy Central/Viacom story is still playing. Nate Anderson of Ars Technica("YouTube Has to Compete Like a grownup") is missing the point: if you are going to have a decentralized communication portal with ordinary-people-driven information content that doesn't have to be filtered for content and acceptable ideological import by elites but still manages to reach a lot of people, you will inevitably have a lot of sloppiness with respect to minding the niceties of intellectual property law. The existence of such a decentralized (and democratic) communication portal as a social good is of greater importance to the functioning of a healthy, open society than whether or not the big corporate providers of entertainment content are constantly increasing their profitablity. Other industries increase profitability by increasing productivity. Can't we just tell Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey that if they want more money they need to make more movies? No wait...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brando and James Baldwin- march 1963

Saturday, October 21, 2006



Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Schwarzing around

Jonathan Schwarz of A Tiny Revolution has been posting up a storm of late. Here are links and titles of some recent items:

"How To Keep Your All-Encompassing Fantasy World Intact" 10.12

"George Bush Explains The Seriousness Of The Situation In Iraq" 10.13

"Only So Many Ways To Persuade Yourself It's Okay To Kill Others" 10.14

"Once Again I'm Proven Right About Humanity's Frothing Lunatics" 10.15 and

"Not IN SPITE OF But BECAUSE*" 10.17

*Wherein he tells a fable about a lady who didn't know the sun was a star like other stars in the sky, then one day became the chief astronomer of the United States. At least I think it's a fable.

Unlike J. Schwarz, I've been unproductive in bloggo land. I've prepared a lot of pies lately, to varying degrees, but haven't placed them in the oven because I need to concentrate on a couple of other matters, at least for the next few days.

"Horsing Around"(1957)still via 3stooges.net /Columbia.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

mid-October musings

Mussolini's 1939 Lancia Astura, was auctioned off for charity in 2005.
Courtesy Autoblog.com

15 October 1946: 60 years ago tonight, Herman Göring commited suicide the night before he was scheduled to be executed.

15 October 2005: 1 year ago, Iraq voted on a new constitution.

from Wikipedia's article:

After 10 days of counting votes, the country's electoral commission announced that the constitution had been approved by a wide margin nationwide. A number of critics allege massive irregularities, especially in the crucial province of Nineveh, which was widely expected to provide the third (and deciding) "no" vote.

Maureen Farrell, 2004(via th' Mahablog):

“There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying, and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida,” Hunter S. Thompson wrote, two weeks before the Supreme Court’s fateful decision.” Of course Bush would win Florida. Losing was out of the question. Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV.”

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."-Wm. Faulkner

the Canadian, European, and Turkish editions of this post show a picture of Mussolini's 1939 Lancia, taken last year when it was auctioned off for the SickKids foundation. If you prefer the US edition, with an image of Bush smirk smiling confidently, let me know.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The map thief

via californios.us

I don't know if this Joseph Mora(1876-1947) map of southern california is among the maps that E. Forbes Smiley III is said to have stolen, but it's certainly lovely. (doubleclick for larger image) His site, efsmaps.com, has been taken down since he was sentenced. Here is a Forbes/AP story about him, and below are a couple of images of EFS No. 3 from Carto.com, although I guess the one on the security cam is an "alleged" photo of him. And he doesn't look 230 pounds to me. Maybe he was 210-215, plus maps. I wonder if anyone ever offered to sell him stuff from the Iraqi museum, "no questions asked." What do you think?

and finally, also from Carto.com:

For him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it change into a serpent into his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with PALSY, and all his Members blasted. Let him languish in Pain crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony till he sink in Dissolution. Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment, let the flames of Hell consume.

from a sixteenth-century Spanish curse(via Dorothy Sloane)

Now that's harsh. I wouldn't even wish that on George Bush the 2nd, let alone map thief EF Smiley the 3rd!

Friday, October 13, 2006


courtesy brandelion.com and th' Atlantic.

from the Washington Post:

NEW YORK -- Two major American Jewish organizations helped block a prominent New York University historian from speaking at the Polish consulate here last week, saying the academic was too critical of Israel and American Jewry.

The historian, Tony Judt, is Jewish and directs New York University's Remarque Institute, which promotes the study of Europe. Judt was scheduled to talk Oct. 4 to a nonprofit organization that rents space from the consulate. Judt's subject was the Israel lobby in the United States, and he planned to argue that this lobby has often stifled honest debate.

Additional comment about this from Eric Alterman, here.

a thing I learned today:

Sock Puppeting” is creating a fake user identity to defend yourself and attack critics on a blog.

I had to look it up after Lindsay Bernstein wondered if Christopher Hitchens was engaging in said practice at her blog. I don't know if he has, but he left a very nice comment about me.

from Agressive Progressive at DKos[via]:

On September 19th of this year a judge ruled that Georgia's new Voter ID law violated the state constitution by placing unnecessary restraints on those Georgia citizens otherwise qualified to vote. Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that between September 20th and 25th Georgia's State Elections Board sent 200,000 letters to remind voters about the January legislation that required voters to show one of six forms of government-issued photo identification at the polls.

My tax dollars at work. For the GOP.

cross-posted at Arvin Hill.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

this and that

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Belgium's huggable fascists

normally I don't like to just post extended excerpts from a news article, but because my sitemeter stats suggest that most people are lazy and don't follow the links, here's an exception:

a familiar-sounding headline, this time regarding politics in Belgium,
from Jason Burke, in the Observer:

"Far right strives to disguise its roots in bid for national power"

[the] party is Vlaams Belang ('Flemish Interest'), one of Europe's most successful and newest far-right parties.
Filip Dewinter, VB's leader, believes that his party is the product of pan-European trends that is seeing radical groups forcing their way into the democratic mainstream. Speaking in the party's office in central Antwerp, he talked of 'a wave of support that is rising and that will going on rising'. He told The Observer: 'There is an explosive cocktail of factors. There is unemployment, immigration, a sense of insecurity... and traditional parties have no response.'

He also admitted that VB is a renamed version of Vlaams Blok, a party dissolved after being condemned for inciting racial hatred by a Belgian court two years ago. 'The style and the propaganda have changed, but we are the same party underneath,' he said.

Dewinter denied alleged links to neo-Nazi groups. However, opponents allege that the party has shadowy connections to violent far-right cells, such as the network of extremist militants armed with homemade bombs uncovered in the Belgian army recently. Many claim that the rhetoric of VB is a key factor in the rise in racist violence seen in the country of 11 million people in recent years. A young Belgian who opened fire on immigrants in Antwerp in May, killing two, was the son of a VB activist and the nephew of a VB member of parliament. 'There are mad people everywhere,' said Dewinter with a shrug.

Two of VB's main themes are immigration and Flemish nationalism. Though Antwerp is a cosmopolitan city with people from 140 nations, and especially large Jewish, Turkish and Moroccan communities which live together without serious problems, there has been little contact between ethnic groups. A recent study by the University of Leuven found that Belgian under-16s were as racist, if not more so, than their elders.

But the VB package is more varied than straight xenophobia. Ellen Samym, a 26-year-old adminstrator handing out VB leaflets in Deurne, said it was the Flemish nationalist theme that attracted her. Tensions between Walloon French-speakers in Belgium and the Flemish-speaking Flamands have been exacerbated by rapid economic growth in the Flemish parts and a growing social gap between the dynamic north and a poorer south. 'We pay too much tax that goes to the Walloons,' said Samym. 'We should be independent and then we could give the money to our own people.' For Dewinter, independence for Flanders is logical, not necessarily for economic reasons. 'They are of Latin genes, we are from Nordic racial stock,' he said.

The rise of Europe's new far right:

Austria Extreme right campaigning on anti-immigration ticket won more than 15 per cent of vote in elections this month.

Denmark Led by controversial woman Pia Kjaersgaard, the ultra-right Danish People's party swept into parliament as the third-largest party in 2001 with 12 per cent of the vote. It is more popular than ever, having received a major boost from the Muhammad cartoon controversy.

Switzerland The Swiss People's party takes an anti-immigrant line but its leader, Christoph Blocher, insists he is not racist. Elections in 1999 and 2003 made the party the largest single political force, with 27 per cent of votes cast. Last month a referendum backed Blocher's tough new laws on asylum seekers and immigrants.

France A persistent presence since 1972, the National Front and its ageing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen broke through at the 2002 presidential elections with six million votes. The FN, and other extreme right-wing parties, are predicted to do well in next year's election.

UK The racist British National Party, led by Nick Griffin, scored its best poll in May's local elections, with three council seats in Burnley, Lancashire. Because of the electoral system, the party is unlikely to gain MPs. Griffin wants to pay non-whites to return to their countries of ethnic origin and to withdraw Britain from EU.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mark Foley, pt 2

Part 2 of 2-- I hope. Clearly, a lot more stuff has come to light since last week. I have a hard time explaining to some people that to me the transcripts of several years old Instant Messages is not particularly damning evidence, insofar as IMs can be forged, and if they're so old when they come to light it's unlikely the telecoms and ISPs kept the tracking data, they're just pieces of paper. One thing I didn't know when I first posted about Foley was that he told ABC's Brian Ross that he'd talk to him on the record if he didn't publish them, which strikes me as considerably more damning. The people at the National Journal's Hotline blog, hitherto unfamiliar to me, have a useful timeline of Foley-related events, as does Wikipedia at "Mark Foley Scandal"(how many congressmen get 2 separate wiki entries? He's special.)

John Boehner "cannot recall" whether or not he discussed Foley with Hastert? Hastert "takes responsibility" and refuses to resign? What if Columbus took responsibility for discovering the New World and refused to sail? He could have gotten a lot more done that way, and saved Magellan's life by taking responsibility for circumnavigating the globe, maybe even later that same afternoon.

Columbus:Yep, it's round.
Queen Izabella: That's astonishing-- you just left!
King Ferdinand: Here are your gelato coupons.
Columbus: Coupons?
King Ferdinand: You were supposed to bring us treasure.
Columbus: I'm... having it appraised.
Queen Izabella: Oh, please.

via demagogue.

Hastert said he'd resign if he felt it would help his party. Well, wouldn't it? He could ask the entire GOP house delegation to quickly meet to vote on it, and those who voted him out would then have tangible insulation from the Foley -Hastert scandal to take home to their district.

One final thought: I haven't heard one democrat call for the pages to be given civil service protections or the right to unionize. It's a big house o' representatives, so maybe somebody has, and the tv people have ignored it because it isn't "sexy news." Nevertheless, if congress needs pages, shouldn't they have these rights? It might end a vestige of the patronage/spoils sytem from 19th century politics, and just be regular old public sector jobs. Maybe a lot of D.C.'s predominantly black young people would apply for the jobs-- possibly some in congress have sought to avoid this.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mark Foley

This photo of Foley is from 1999.[via Karena]

Yes, he does look like a patronizing dork in the picture, laughing it up regarding how he has his hand on the hat of one of those anonymous little people who exist to serve their betters. But what if he's just a patronizing dork?

Avedon has a brave and decent post up about Mark Foley. I tried to leave part of this as a comment, but had difficulty. It's not clear to me what he did that actually qualifies as pedophilia either, in terms I've what I've heard thus far. I left a comment at Karena's, to the effect that I felt that he might be being railroaded, and one of the other commenters replied that if that was the case, why did he immediately resign when this broke?

I'll admit that gave me pause--I reflected on it. It occurs to me that Foley knew his goose was cooked, and there was no other way out. Consider:

1.the specifics of what you are accused of is never revealed because it's considered too sensitive to reveal because we're talking about minors. This allows people's imaginations to run wild. Did he actually proposition for sexual favors? From what I've heard, apparently not.

2.He's a gay republican being accused of these things, in the height of an election widely described as particularly desperate for his party. The dynamic is different for republicans. There's the theocratic base to contend with, should he be foolish enough to run again in '08(or even a recall election in '07) if he somehow won with this breaking in late September. Then there's the party higher ups. Bigshots demanding their contributions back and making him lose face, and maybe a blog led hate email campaign and astroturfing newspaper op-ed pages with strangely-similar-in-wording demands for his dropping out of the race.

2b.Some conservos are treating this as an opportunity to suggest all gays are pedophiles, or latent pedophiles who would act on their presumptive pedophilia if they had half a chance. If Foley's sense of identity as a closeted republican all these years has been bolstered and developed by peers and supporters whom he perceived as regarding gays this way, this may make being outed like this particularly trying on his psyche. And consequently make him fold as he did. Besides, do we know that he first heard about this on 9.28 or 9.29? Maybe he was threatened with being outed for weeks or even months now, and what seemed sudden to the rest of us may have seemed to him like a relief.

3. Absolutely nobody has been discussing whether or not the IM messages have been authenticated. I'm not recommending it, but if you know the user name and password, you can pretend to IM as Mark Foley or Paris Hilton or Condi Rice or whoever.(Maybe most US teevee reporters, at the national level, are too stupid to know what an IP address is. I believe that text messages from mobile phones also have what are called ESN signatures*(unless they're from really old analog-only cell phones from the 90s.) And some of the IMs are over a year old. Would the ISP or telecom providers have kept the data?)

3b. This provides a neat(too neat) segue for the GOP to say

"telecoms need to hold on to more of their data for longer for future law enforcement consideration! Have we learned nothing from that unfortunate business with Mark Foley?"

It will be demagogued into the pending "Screw Net Neutrality Act of 2006", and used to broadly suggest persons who object to the anti-NN parts of the overall bill as people who want to enable child molestation on the net. What? You don't think the loudmouths on TV would do this?

4. This broke just in time to distract people from the Military Tribunals Act of 2006, signed by the senate the night before. How about that.

see also
Wikipedia'a article on net neutrality,
Microsoft proxy can omit neutrality issue -- US SEC - Reuters India - Oct 3, 2006

"Why capitol hill pages fear retaliation"[via Avedon.]

*oops. when I originally posted this, I wrote "ISN". Here's a brief explanation.

cross-posted at Arvin Hill.