Just noticed this, but it's very, very interesting. Audible.com is giving away for free audio copies of the 9/11 Commission testimony. Yes, you have to sign up -- but let's face it, what with the wonderful re-writing of history that's been going on these days, it's nice to have a place to have a copy of exactly what happened available.
Seriously, this is kind of creepy. Especially when Bush talks about a "clear outlook", and this stunner:
Mr. Bush thinks that immersing himself in voluminous, mostly liberal-leaning news coverage might cloud his thinking and even hinder his efforts to remain an optimistic leader.
Reading the opposite point of view clouds your thinking? Will stop you from being an optimistic leader? Man, stop being optimisic and start getting us out of the problems we've got. I don't need a freaking "Hello Kitty" president, I need solutions.
All this "clear thinking" sounds like someone's got a dose of Scientology, really.
Evidentally, the US Justice Department likes obscure laws. In this case, it's a law that has been used in over 100 years -- a law against "sailor mongering".
Wired claims the law was to prevent brothels and taverns from enticing sailors to shore. Reuters says that the law was intended to prevent people from sending prostitutes laden with alcohol from going onto boats to shanghai sailors.
Whichever it was, I sincerely doubt that Greenpeace was trying to entice sailors with alcohol. What they were doing, was boarding a boat with illegal hardwood sailing to the US. They served time for boarding the boat; and then 15 months later the organization was charged with sailor mongering.
Looking at the facts, it's pretty easy to see that the US is looking to fight Greenpeace. Why, I'm not certian -- but let's face it, when you have to trout out a law used exactly twice, the last time in 1890, you've got to be pretty actively searching for something to stick.
If nothing else, this and ex parte Quirin, the 1942 decision that "supported" the enemy combatant laws, ought to encourage us to clean old laws out of our books.
Six Apart announced Movable Type 3.0 today, which I've been waiting for. But it's not the greatest news ever: they have a free edition still, but that gets you 1 person and 3 weblogs maximum. The next version up is $70 to begin with... minus some dough for those who contributed earlier.
I suppose I can't blame them... but the truth is, the restrictions on MT 3.0 are a little much, for the price. At $70, you get a max of 3 authors and 5 weblogs. I can't tell yet what's new -- I haven't seen it, and I'm not ready to purchase it -- but at $70, it would have to be fantastic.
I hope it works for them, but I'm not betting on it with all the users out there who used MT for their blogs. Most of them don't develop, and the 1 author/3 blogs is a little expensive.
Finally, I got a copy of This American Life's "Crimebusters and Crossed Wires", which contains the "greatest hits" of the show. (I think it's just a small cross-section of their hits, but I like most of their stuff.) And I'm going off to the airport in a little bit, so I happen to be thinking of this show, specifically Part 3. Starlee Kine and Jon Langford create a one-day band from classified ads, and create a pretty amazing cover of Rocket Man, by Elton John.
OK, so my mind works in pretty weird ways. Check the cover out anyway, it's really good.
While perusing the latest URLS making the rounds in the last week, I came on something interesting: Strange Horizon's Fiction Submission Guidelines, specifically #13:
13. Office life turns out to be soul-deadening, literally or metaphorically.
Strange Horizons, obviously, has a large number of people writing about their office lives as being "soul-deadening". I suspect, although I could not say for an absolute, that quite a few of these people are writing about this because their lives contain such situations. I myself was putting together a book about the subject, until I realized I really didn't have much to say about it yet.
But I'm in a quandry: simply put, office life is soul-deadening, but it's so commonly well known, it's a cliche.
I'm not trying to ask this as someone who has an answer. I'm not trying to ask this question to right an injustice. I'm just asking, why is it... maybe not OK, but acceptable or pardonable... for offices to be places we dread so much? And is it any better for non-office spaces?
Comments welcome and appreciated on this.
Cripes, when the St. Louis Post Dispatch is indignant, you know you've done something wrong. And especially when they're as brutal as this:
Mr. Rumsfeld has consistently been wrong. He has responded to criticism by bullying and sneering at his critics. His arrogant miscalculations have cost American soldiers their lives and continue to put them at grave risk. The Army has been stretched to the breaking point. Billions of dollars of U.S. treasure continue to sink into the sands of Iraq; Wednesday, President George W. Bush asked Congress for $25 billion more for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
American prestige has suffered around the world. Saddam Hussein and his nonexistent WMDs have been replaced with a mob of insurgents that poses a greater threat to Americans than Saddam ever did.
For his mistakes and his inability to recognize them, Mr. Rumsfeld must go.
Um... actually, Michael Moore did no such thing.
The Independent's claim is that Moore slipped on an CNN interview and came out with the fact that he knew a year ago Disney was thinking about not distributing it.
First, if you listen to this NPR report, you can see that Moore's statement is consistant.
Moore specifcally mentions that he knew that Disney had stated that they would not distribute Moore's film a year ago, but that Mirimax had told Moore to ignore this and they'd work with Disney.
Second, it's not a "stunt". According to Moore, it's not until now that Disney has officially refused to distribute it. Moore didn't say anything before the official statement, probably in the hopes of still getting Disney to distribute it.
Disney refused, though, on the most crass of reasons: money and cronyism. This, Disney doesn't deny. And Disney should be ashamed.
As should the Independent; their article is a nasty spin-document that's really not worth the electrons used to transport it.
President Bush apologized today for the treatment of Iraqi POWs held by American soldiers to... The Jordanian King?
What is this? We didn't have the father so the favorite uncle is the substitute for giving away the bride? Abdullah & Jordan have nothing to do with this. Geez, I know he's out of practice, but even Bush should know an apology usually is aimed towards the person you wronged, not his neighbor.
Now this is fascinating.
Student submits an Freedom of Information Act request for public documents, specifically the steam tunnels under the University of Texas. The FBI and Secret Service come a'calling, asking questions of him.
The question becomes, as the article points out, how did the FBI & Secret Service get hold of the student's FOIA request?
My favorite line is the last paragraph:
"It would not be normal for us in this office, but [John Jones, the Secret Service agent who questioned Mark Miller, the student] is not assigned to this office," [Edna Perry, special agent-in-charge of the Austin Secret Service office] said. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force probably would look into something like that. [Miller] could be a terrorist. He could be planning a plot."
'Cause you know, while accidental plots are not safe, it's the planned plots which you've got to worry about.
Fascinating article by a former NPR foreign correspondent who gave up reporting to help build a non-governmental organization for helping rebuild Afghanistan.
One interesting point is her take on journalism post-9/11:
And yet it proved a difficult juncture to be an American journalist. "The worst period in my entire career," a dear friend confided as we were comparing notes afterwards. He sent me a list of story ideas his editors had turned down. "They simply didn't want any reporting," he explained. "They told us the story lines, and asked us to substantiate them." CNN correspondents received written instructions on how to frame stories of Afghan suffering. A BBC reporter told me in our Quetta hotel the weekend before Kabul fell how he had had to browbeat his desk editors to persuade them that Kandahar was still standing.
During the early '90s, I attempted to join the ranks of political cartooning. One telling and fascinating point that dissuaded me from becoming a cartoonist was a panel during a convention for the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. The panel contained several editors who ran papers. One flatly stated that a political cartoonist was there to illustrate the paper's position, and nothing more. Several cartoonists objected that this reduced the cartoonists to nothing more than illustrators, to which the editor agreed.
Back at college, I'd re-introduced political cartooning to the paper. The compromise, though, was that I'd illustrate the paper's opinion as well... which, thinking back on it, compromised my cartooning in some ways. If I'd been able to see it from a distance, I might have objected -- but at the time, it was the only forum I had.
Sadly, what I'm trying to say is that this trend is not new; it's been around for years. We're seeing more damning examples of editorial hardlining in the last 3 years, but by no means were these unique. It's just the straw that broke the camel's back.
The question is, can we fix the camel once it's broken? Or must we build a new camel?
You know you have people who love you in your life when they send you Rocky And Bullwinkle DVDs for your birthday.
The biggest shock for me was the horrid animation on the first 2 episodes. It's bad. I mean, really, really bad. Amazing that it got picked up in the first place.
But after that, it's pretty good -- it's pretty interesting to see what they got out on TV in the late 50s. It's defintiely "subversive", at least in that it's a smart-alecky cartoon all over the place.
Definitely take a look.