July 2002 Archives

get your war on

Yay! A new episode.

Is that Choire?


Is it just me, or does the cover model of HX this week remind you of Choire?

Cathy & Weblogs

Today's Cathy is for all of us looking for friends/love/whatever on the web.

Third Base

Been too busy

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For the 2 or 3 people that probably read me, my apologies.

I'm swamped at the moment - one paid project, one volunteer project, and then I have to find time to play with my new toy: a 14" iBook -- for OS X of course. I haven't even booted into OS 9.

I also owe leftyblog a response. I've written about 3 pages so far, but I haven't had time to finish it.

A man who was carrying a rifle is being arrested by a riot police officer during the Bastille Day parade on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris,

This should be bigger news

I haven't seen much coverage of this.

For 6 days, hundreds of oil workers have been trapped in a Nigerian oil terminal (owned by Chevron Texaco) by hundreds of women from surrounding villages, demanding jobs for their sons and electricity for their homes.

As many as 600 women from villages around the terminal took over the multinational Escravos plant on Monday, saying they want the company to hire their sons and use some of the region's oil riches to develop their remote, rundown communities.

Nigeria is the world's sixth-largest oil exporter -- and the fifth-biggest supplier of U.S. oil imports -- in major part because of the vast reserves of the Niger Delta here. Yet the people in the Niger Delta are among the country's poorest.

Unarmed but unbudging, the women have blocked access to the helipad, airstrip and docks that provide the only exits for the facility, which is surrounded by rivers and swamps.


In the terminal airfield, two dozen women danced in the rain alongside four helicopters and a plane, chanting: "This is our land."

Article on Internet Radio

For my non-geek readers, here is a good article from Newsweek on how the big labels are killing internet radio.

Too good to summarize

So just go and read the latest Mark Morford column.

Of course we're at war. Just look at all those flags stuck in all those manicured lawns, the ominous United We Stand billboards, the all-new 2003 Ford Excursion now with room for 13 and a full 10mpg Highway/7mpg City, all the cheap plastic stars-and-stripes kitsch at the Hallmark store, Made in Malaysia.


Of course we're at war. Witness all the angry puffed-up deflections, every reproach of the president and every suspicious glance in the direction of his corporatized administration instantly retorted with a nice "how dare you don't you know we're at war" or maybe "the president has a great deal on his very compact little mind right now and he can't be bothered with the details of, you know, rampant favoritism and hypocrisy."


And it's becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone but the truest I-believe-everything-Ari-Fleischer-says jingoists who actually believes this "war" has become anything but a grand excuse, a marvelously leveragable plaything which the Bush cadre can point to as their very own personal holy shroud, some sort of sacrosanct shield to protect them from criticism and claims of blatant impropriety and selling the nation's soul for pennies on the barrel.

Vice President Cheney appeared in a promotional video for Arthur Andersen in 1996, when he was CEO of Halliburton. There are some prophetic quotes:

"I get good advice, if you will, from their people based upon how we're doing business and how we're operating over and above the just sort of normal by-the-book auditing arrangement," Mr Cheney says in a short section of the video.

Geeky, but it amuses me

Biomechanical Lifeform Optimized for Gratification and Galactic Yardwork

Editorial cartoon

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U.S. Health Secretary protested

See the Photo.

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - Angry protesters invaded the stage and drowned out U.S. Health Secretary Tommy Thompson at the world AIDS conference Tuesday in protest at what they see as Washington's inadequate response to the pandemic.

The U.S. is proposing to donate only $200 million to a new international global fund to fight the disease.

Dancing of the Giglio

Now that's Italian! We went to the Dancing of the Giglio (Italian for "lily") today in Williamsburg. I'm not Catholic (or even Christian), but I knew it was a good excuse to go to a pagan-ish rite with lots of hunky Italians. A lot of them were a bit heavy to be representing the male beauty of Italians, but there were plenty that made up for those slackers. It has happened every July for over 100 years, celebrating St. Paulinus of Nola (near Naples), a Roman-era bishop.

The Official Web Site explains the festival this way:

The story, which is passed on through the generations on both sides of the Atlantic, is that around 410 AD, North African pirates overran the town of Nola. In the chaos, Bishop Paolino was able to flee into the countryside with some of the children. Upon his return, Paolino learned, from a sobbing widow that many of the young men, her son included, had been abducted into slavery. Moved to compassion, Paolino offered himself in exchange for the boy and was ferried off, a prisoner of the brigands. While in North Africa, word of the courage and self-sacrifice of Paolino spread and became known to a certain Turkish sultan. Taken with the tale of altruism, the sultan intervened, negotiating for the freedom of this holy man. Through the sultan 's efforts, Paolino and his paesani, were freed.

Overjoyed by his safe return, the entire town greeted him carrying lilies, symbolic of love and purity.

That explains the man dressed as a Turk that I saw as we first arrived. I think my favorite part was when an announcer said (in a classic Brooklyn accent), "we're going to move it past the sausage stand over there now." The band on the giglio played the theme from "Rocky" during this part. The singer they had was great. He did a very impressive national anthem, plus "New York, New York".

It happens again next Sunday -- info from Time Out.

Here is a gallery of the photos I took. I just couldn't edit down any more!

Apparently there is also a documentary film about the festival, titled "Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July".

Here is one more good web site on the festival.

I love Williamsburg

Yesterday we celebrated the holiday by going to Central Park for a performance of Inverse Theater's Washington: The American Revolution. They are an interesting theater company, specializing in contemporary plays in verse (more like Shakespearean blank verse). I was very impressed by the writing, and the cast was charismatic and talented. I was particularly impressed by Joshua Spafford as Benedict Arnold. Both the play and his performance provided a very nuanced look at one of the most famous but least understood Americans. Robert Laine was hilarious in several roles, especially the hangman. A few photos may be found here.

It will be at the Fringe Festival too. I think it's worth seeing.

Israeli refusenik

The Guardian has a column by Shlomi Segall, a reserve staff sergeant in the Israeli paratroopers and a member of Courage to Refuse. The group refuses to serve beyond the pre-1967 borders of Israel.

It's safe for me to visit Mom now

Arkansas's Supreme Court has overturned the state's sodomy law. Note that this was not some holdover from the 19th century. It was passed in 1977 as part of the horrors of the Anita Bryant era.

Spending that "mission money" we all were asked to give back when I went to church, I presume. Great headline:

Giraffe 'jumps to death after killing priest'

Off with her head!

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Lady Thatcher's larger-than-life status as Britain's most loved and hated prime minister since Sir Winston Churchill was confirmed yesterday when a man decapitated the marble statue of the former Conservative leader on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London.

I like Duncan's take on the story.

Update: The BBC has pictures!

In love with Mark Morford

Choire has Dr. Faustus, Sam has Paul Lombardi, and I have Mark Morford. I don't even know if he's gay, but it doesn't matter!

A sampling from a recent newsletter:

With the blast of an artillery cannon to mark the start, President Bush ran a three-mile race at a local Army base with hundreds of White House staff members Saturday to make the point for out-of-shape Americans that they should get off the couch and into exercise, but not so much that they actually get in shape and feel in any way reinvigorated and healthy and more mentally agile, more in tune with their bodies and their minds and hence more sensitive to the ongoing decimation of their civil liberties, more attuned to the power they actually have as individuals effect change, to rebel and resist and question, more aware of just how shockingly detrimental the Bush administration has been so far to the progress of the human species, from women's rights to the environment to oily warmongering to ravaging the budget and annihilating the surplus to causing numerous global cringes just about every single time he speaks. "I feel great," the leader of the free world said, as aides tied his shoes. "Everyone should do this. Well OK, not everyone. Some people. Mostly those who voted for me. But probably not even them."

He even ends with a fabulous Nietzsche quote:
At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.

Web guide to marmite

Courtesy of The Guardian.

Editorial cartoons


The NY Times has an article today about a web site called www.donorschoose.org.

It matches donors with NYC public school teachers who have projects they want to get help funding -- class trips, art projects, etc. It's a very cool idea.

Happy Story

At least for the economy, if not for sidewalk congestion due to slow-moving people.

Sales of the Fodor's New York City guides, which are usually trounced by books about Italy and the Caribbean, now top the company’s 440-book list.

Be careful what you agree to...

I read this after installing the newest Microsoft "security update" unfortunately. I've now agreed for Microsoft to connect to my machine and "fix" stuff whenever they feel like it.

If you caught our recent coverage of the Windows Media Player trio of security holes you may have followed a link to the TechNet download site for a patch, or you might have activated Windows Update. If you did the former (though, oddly, not if you did the latter), you would have been confronted with an End User License Agreement (EULA) stating, most ominously, that:

"You agree that in order to protect the integrity of content and software protected by digital rights management ('Secure Content'), Microsoft may provide security related updates to the OS Components that will be automatically downloaded onto your computer. These security related updates may disable your ability to copy and/or play Secure Content and use other software on your computer. If we provide such a security update, we will use reasonable efforts to post notices on a web site explaining the update."

Not so comforting, coming from a company that accidentaly distributed virus-infected software recently.

Great column by Arianna.

To the ever-growing mountain of evidence that corporate kingpins live in an entirely different world from the rest of us, we can add the latest revelations about the gargantuan loans CEOs receive from their companies: the $408 million WorldCom loaned to former boss Bernie Ebbers a month before thousands of employees began getting their pink slips, the $3.1 billion Adelphia Communications loaned to John Rigas and his kin, the $162 million Conseco loaned to Stephen Hilbert, the $88 million Tyco loaned to Dennis Kozlowski and the millions upon millions in less ostentatious — but no less outrageous — raids on company coffers by senior executives across the corporate landscape.


WorldCom — which defaulted on $4.2 billion of its own loans yesterday — is charging Ebbers 2.3% on the $408 million he owes.

I love this cartoon

For those obsessed with...

what search strings caused people to find your site, I give you:

Disturbing Search Requests

In Alabama this weekend:

An evangelist who was asked to sing at his wife's uncle's funeral claims he had a revelation from God that led him to insult mourners and say that the dead man was damned.

Orlando Bethel said he spoke words that "the Lord revealed to me." Preaching over a microphone at the Greater Pine Grove Baptist Church, he told some 100 mourners they were "fornicators" and "whoremongers." He said the deceased, Lish Devan Taylor, had gone to hell.

Saturday blog gathering

I was in attendance at the Choire / Bazima gathering on Saturday night at Dick's Bar, so go look at some ... of the ... photos. I finally got to meet Sam, one of the drivers of traffic to my site and a very sweet (and tall!) boy. He was part of the Texas contingent that included the delicious and charming Glenn (aka Dan's roommate - another new acquaintance), who makes me remember the things I do like about that part of the country, and the adorable Dan'l. I like a boy who can mention the Radical Faeries and a book on The Origins of the Avant Garde in France on his info page.

I can't remember Scott wearing a tiara, but he's wearing it in all of the pictures. Andy and I didn't get much of a chance to talk in the chaos.

I also met Chris -- a fellow Arkansan! She and I shall have to meet and discuss this further.

What was with the smoke in that place? Even the smokers were complaining about it!

Hitting the Trifecta

Professional stand-up comedians know that Sept. 11 jokes are radioactive. Not even the bravest have tried to turn the deaths of some 3,000 people into a laughing matter. But President Bush has forged ahead anyway. Bush has now been telling the same, spectacularly tasteless joke to a variety of mostly Republican audiences as part of his stock stump speech for the better part of four months now.

This is its basic telling:

"You know, when I was running for president, in Chicago, somebody said, would you ever have deficit spending? I said, only if we were at war, or only if we had a recession, or only if we had a national emergency. Never did I dream we’d get the trifecta."

According to the transcripts, this joke usually elicits laughter from the mostly GOP crowds to whom Bush tells it.

Not only is the joke tasteless -- lucky me we got 3,000 Americans killed -- it's not even true. The president never mentioned those conditions in his campaign, or while pushing his huge tax cuts.
Bush was already facing the certainty of deficit spending at the end of the summer of 2001, well before the attacks of Sept. 11. Some $4 trillion worth of budget surplus vanished over the spring and summer that year, and budget experts sounded the alarm about looming deficits then. The Congressional Budget Office warned Bush on Aug. 29 that Social Security funds would be needed to balance the books, forcing him to abandon a campaign promise not to use the retirement fund for other government spending.

His tax cuts are the reason for the deficit, and most of them haven't taken effect yet.

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