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halloween 2003 roundup (coming soon)
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  xFriday, September 13, 2002

this makes me feel old

old, old man
Beloit College--which I once considered attending, by the by--assembles a Mindset List each year to aid faculty, staff, RAs and the like in understanding the frame of reference for incoming freshmen. Some goodies from this year's list, which notes that most students starting college this fall were born in 1983 (while I was in high school):

  • They were born the same year as the PC and the Mac

  • The Colts have always been in Indianapolis

  • Beta is a preview version of software, not a VCR format

  • Boeing has not built the 727 since they were born

  • There has always been Diet Coke

  • Recording TV programs on VCRs became legal the year they were born

  • Ricky Nelson, Marvin Gaye and Laura Ashley have always been dead

  • It has paid to ďDiscoverĒ since they were four

(via FARK)


jpop site of the day

idol wallpaper
A jpop idol wallpaper site (pictured: Kyoko Fukada)


cthulhu link of the day

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
--Abdul Alhazred, The Necronomicon

Cthuugle, an H.P. Lovecraft search engine! c00L!

(via BoingBoing)


i respectfully dissent

I know, to it's hardly newsthat Susanna and I don't see eye-to-eye, but despite having grown up in the South (I consider Louisville a Southern city, albeit barely), I refer to carbonated beverages as "soda," and said so on this survey. (The survey page has a keen Java-powered map showing regional preferences.)


turning the lens inward

Speaking of self-examination, another fine Ampersand post (via Sisyphus Shrugged) made me reflect on some less-than-kind remarks I'd made about accused drug offender Noelle Bush.

I said:
That's enough of this. If she really did have a rock of crack, Noelle Bush belongs in jail. She has blown any benefit of the doubt with this latest incident. And as this Salon article points out, the leniency Noelle Bush has already been shown is in marked contrast to many first-time drug offenders. The Constitution guarantees equal protection; it's time to stop coddling treatment for the well-connected.

Ampersand and Sisyphus both also react to the patent hypocrisy in Florida governor Jeb Bush's statement that Noelle's alleged posession of crack--a felony in Floriday--is a "private issue," but make a much more compassionate and compelling argument. Here's Sisyphus:
...if there's an honest bone in Jeb's body, he will stand up for a change in Florida's drug policies that will allow every addict the same chances his daughter has gotten. We know now what he genuinely believes is the best way of legally dealing with drug abuse. The only thing we don't know yet is if he wants what's best for his state and the people he governs.


And Ampersand, in response:
There's a deep hypocrisy in American politics over drugs, and it's not limited to Republicans. Imagine that Chelsea Clinton were caught using crack; would the Clintons want her to face the harsh penalties ex-President Clinton signed off on for crack users? I doubt it. Probably they'd pull whatever strings they had to, to protect their daughter from prison. And so they should. And so Jeb Bush should.

But what's unjust for the daughters and nieces of presidents (and for the presidents themselves -does anyone doubt that both Bill Clinton and George Bush enjoyed illegal substances in their younger days?), is unjust for the rest of us. As Sisyphus says, we all deserve the chances Noelle Bush is getting.

Amen. I'd tend to argue that the proliferation of mandatory jail terms for drug offenses--while allowing a candiate to appear "tough on crime"--are not only useless but counterproductive. By desiring an exception for his daughter--who is already in trouble for previous drug offenses--Governor Bush's statement would seem to acknowledge that "go directly to jail, do not pass Go" is perhaps not the most desirable outcome.


alas, a self-examination

When someone's assertion--blogged or otherwise--is questioned, there are, of course, a number of possible reactions. A popular one is to attack the questioner and then either repeat the original argument or change the subject. Another frequently employed tactic is to ignore the troublesome query altogether.

More admirable is when one takes the opportunity to re-examine the original statement and test it against the challenge.

Cartoonist Ampersand at Alas, a Blog takes the latter course in reflecting on a previous post that, uh, sharply criticized Garfield in favor of Peanuts. In a post of her own, Eve Tushnet didn't dispute Peanuts' superiority but felt Ampersand was unfair to Garfield. And upon reflection--and not without well-stated reservations--Ampersand agrees.


spam scam dissected

I occasionally get those [insert African country name here] spam emails that are, essentially, a variation on the old Spanish Prisoner con. I've meant to post one of those emails to point out how ridiculous they are, but Meryl Yourish does such a good job of it.

Update: MeFi points to this amusing excahnge of email, as "James Kirk" strings a scammer along.


smiley debut located

By now most people are familiar with "emoticons" or "smileys," little ASCII character strings that are intended to help text documents like email and USENET posts convey an emotional nuance they might otherwwise lack (in other words, you can tag a post with a grin to indicate that you're joking).

This article indicates that a recent search turned up an archived 1982 bulletin board post that proposes the use of smileys; this post is apparently the first documented appearance of emoticons on the Internet.

(via Blogdex)


something i missed the other day

Sept. 10, 2002: Happy Birthday, Google!


what the h3ll?

I certainly didn't expect to pass 3,000 hits today...3,100, no less...and would never have expected 151 hits by nine in the morning, and 1,100 this week. I'd be happy about it except that nearly all of them are on a futile quest for Rebekah Revels pictures. The part I don't understand is that the text in the search result says there are no pics here. Even though it doesn't seem to be working, I'm going to try again:

There are no pictures of Rebekah Revels here, nude or otherwise. Go away. Get a life. And quit surfing for pr0n from work.

  xThursday, September 12, 2002

l33t link of the day part 2

h4x0r ch1xx0r m4g
An awesome photo gallery showing what the world would be like if h4x0rz ran things...

(via BoingBoing)

Update: The original link appears to be temporarily down, but provides this mirror site.


now that's good news...radiation symbol

Way back in April I mentioned the discovery that a massive steel containment vessel surrounding a reactor at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Toledo, Ohio had been corroded, leaving only the stainless-steel liner holding in the reactor's tremendous pressures in some places. In a follow-up, the Port Clinton News-Herald reports that the stainless steel liner, which specifications list as being three-eights of an inch thick, tested as being significantly thinner in places and showing signs of cracking to boot. Just swell.

(via FARK)


swank kaiju link of the day

Look out! It's Kudzilla! We must flee!

(via FARK)


l33t link of the day

Turket Manor Design's "l33t w33k" features are a healthy roundup of L33t tutorials , a random L33t screen name generator, and an online L33t translator.

(via MeFi)


very bad news

Rocker Warren Zevon has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Looks like along with Planet of the Apes I'll be spinning a little Zevon tonight. The author of such hits as "Werewolves of London," "Roland the Headless Thomson Gunner" and "Lawyers, Guns and Money" responded with his trademark black humor: "I'm OK with it, but it'll be a drag if I don't make it till the next James Bond movie comes out."

(via MetaFilter)


not a flash in the pan

If you've ever used Photoshop or been involved in desktop publishing, you are probably familiar with Pantone colors--a set of predefined hues that businesses from printers to paint manufacturers to cosmetic companies use to ensure that the colors they select can be reproduced accurately. Wired News has this fascinating profile of Pantone and how it hopes to use its influence as a reference source to help define the hot colors of the future.


that's all for now

I'll be offline for the next couple of hours as I have a project to complete. No sweat, but I need to tend to it. I hope to resume posing later today or tomorrow at the latest. In the meantime, please visit one of the fine folks on my blogroll.



Yesterday's winning New York Lottery numbers: 9-1-1.


more sad news

Actress Kim Hunter, who won an Academy Award for her role as Stella in the 1951 film version of A Streetcar Named Desire and earned additional fame for her standout performance as the compassionate Zira in Planet of the Apes and two sequels, died yesterday at 79.

I may have to watch Planet of the Apes again tonight in remebrance.


one final 9/11 post

I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot. Still, it's well worth a look. Since last year, the Urban Legends Reference Pages have been keeping track of the myriad rumors and hoaxes regarding 9/11 and the aftermath floating around the Internet, doing their best to debunk the false ones. An unscientific survey (I scrolled down the page) shows at least as many provably false reports as true or ambiguous ones. Here are a couple of highlights:

  • Album covers and other media depicting the WTC were altered after the attacks

  • Some bonehead at Starbuck's overcharged rescue workers for water intended for the victims (and while the article points out that the action was that of a single employee, the company's response to inquiries was less than positive)

  • The Sesame Street Muppet Bert appears on photo-montage posters of Osama Bin Laden (apparently someone dreated a Web site designed to depict Bert as evil and Photoshopped the Muppet into pictures of various other nefarious figures; that picture was later used in posters)

  • Outback Steakhouse delivered a steak dinner to US service personnel in Afghanistan


Basically, I detest forwarded messages. I love email, but I'd rather have two sentences someone actually wrote to me than a lengthy list of 400,000 other recipients with some L4m3 poetry, cutesty graphic or turgid "inspiring" thought. Sorry if that makes me seem cranky, but that's the way it is. But as Barbara and David P. Mikkelson of the Urban Legends Reference Pages could tell you, many of the claims and rumors forwarded via email (to say nothing of posted on Web logs) deserve at least a moment of thought, if not careful scrutiny.

  xWednesday, September 11, 2002

another reason to mourn 9/11

Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas, a former Universiry of Louisville standout who won three championships and numerous passing records with the Baltimore Colts, died Wednesday. He was 69.

Update: The People's Republic of Seabrook has this wonderful appreciation.


beetle bailey gets it

I rarely read the strip, but this Flash-enabled one says it all.

(via InstaPundit)


may your blood mix with mine

I'm back from giving blood. The local blood services organization had closed all its branches in favor of a massive donor party in the Conseco Fieldhouse. Turnout was great--the technician who drew my blood told me they had close to 1,000 units by 3:30 p.m. That's absolutely spectacular.

My blood is, I hope, going to help someone. That person may be young or old, male or female, black, white, Asian, Latino, American or foreign. I don't care, and neither do any of the hundreds of people who turned out. They practiced instead a random act of kindness. That's why we are winning the war on terror, and why we will win.


inspiring news of the day

I had intended to post only about 9-11 today, but this news is just so awesome I have to mention it. Superman star Christopher Reeve, who was totally parylized from the neck down in a 1995 riding accident, has regained limited motion and sensory abilities in his limbs. An experiemental therapy has given the actor an absolutely unprecedented--although far from total--recovery from total paralysis and vastly improved his bodily strength and quality of life: he can now breathe for up to an hour without a respirator, feel his son holding his hand, and move his fingers. A possibility, although remote, exists that Reeve may even one day walk again. And of course, Reeve's improvement holds incredible promise for other victims of paralysis.

Even without his incredible degree of recovery, Reeve's story is inspiring. Since his accident he has both directed and starred in movies. I have no doubt Reeve has experienced countless hours of discomfort, frustration and even despair, but he has displayed a remarkably indomitable spirit. As we remember the events of last year, it's wonderful to be reminded that heroism takes many forms.


final springsteen lyric post

The Rising
By Bruce Springsteen
Title track of The Rising

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

There's spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood bind me
Lord, as I stand before your fiery light

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li


One Year Ago

One year ago, I had just started with the consulting firm I work for, and my contract was with Simon Property Group, whose offices were in the heart of downtown next to the Circle Center Mall. My entire professional career I'd worked in corporate campus-type buildings out in the 'burbs, and I so dug working downtown, where I could take the bus to work and walk to get something for lunch if I chose.

That morning I woke up as usual, hitting the snooze button a few times as is my bad habit. (Indianapolis at this time of year is an hour behind the East Coast.) I know how much time it takes me to get ready, and so I got out of bed, showered, shaved and dressed in time to catch the bus. One of the things I liked about the bus is it let me relax and listen to NPR on my headphone radio.

Earlier that morning, a bunch of people I'd have otherwise never heard of went through pretty much the same routine--waking up, showering, dressing, grabbing that morning cup of coffee, groggily groping their way towards work, and saying goodbye to their spouses and kids, never dreaming that it's be for the last time. Others may have been grumbling at the discomfort and inconvenience of having to catch an early flight to the Coast.

And a handful of murderous fanatics were in the check-in lines, in the boarding queues, in their seats surrounded by the faces of the people they were about to murder in the name of their god.

I arrived at my office high up in the National City complex, which houses offices, shops, restaurants and a Hyatt hotel. I poured my morning coffee and turned on my computer as I do every day. The Web portal on the start page carries headlines, as many do, and one terse line caught my eye right off the bat: plane hits World Trade Center.

My first thought was that it must have been a small plane that wandered too close to the building. It wouldn't have been the first time a New York skyscraper got hit--in the '40s a B-25 bomber, lost in fog, slammed into the Empire State Building; fortunately it was in the evening and casualties were relatively few.

That first headline had no details attached, but soon it became clear that this was no minor accident. Meanwhile, more and more people in the office were becoming aware that something terrible had happened, but even then we hardly realized an attack was in progress. As it dawned on us, we soaked up as much information as we could get. We tried a TV in a conference room, but its reception was poor; the same with a co-worker who had a portable TV--even so, we could see smoke billowing from the stricken North Tower. So many Web browsers were tuned to CNN that morning that we could hardly get thru, but I found that the Voice of America's audio stream was workable, and thus learned of the scale of the atrocity. Needless to say, we didn't work--we were too shocked.

Since it looked like we were going to hunker down together for a while, a co-worker and I decided to make a bagel run. Looking back, it seems incongruous, but I think we wanted something to comfort us. Leaving the building and crossing the street, I saw a beautiful blue sky and tall buildings, and even then the contrast with the smoky New York sky struck me. We didn't exactly expect Indianapolis to be a target, but we couldn't be sure we weren't, either--no one knew. I brought my portable radio and kept my co-worker up to speed on whatever details came through.

Not long after we returned, we got the word that we'd been sent home for the day. I don't know if it was a decision to clear out downtown--they definitely evacuated the government buildings--if they realized no work would get done, if they wanted us to go home to our families or a combination thereof.

(I can say that CEO David Simon, who lost several friends in the WTC, took the news very hard and rose magnificently to the occasion in the following weeks, making several moving statements and launching a fundraising drive even as revenues in his shopping malls started to drop.)

I called my wife, who agreed to come pick me up. (I'd completely forgotten we'd given my co-worker Minghua--also called Mike--a ride home until my wife's recollections refreshed my memory.) I was very grateful to be home with my wife and daughters. We turned the TV on to CNN in the living room and banished the girls to the back bedroom with Sesame Street or something. I remember standing in the living room--I couldn't sit--and watching the smoke pour from the buildings, watching the towers fall. I distinctly remember a ground-level camera's recording of the moment the towers fell, with pedestrians scurrying for cover as bricks and dust scattered everywhere. The contrast with the familiar street-level perspective downtown really made an impression.

I really don't remember much of the subsequent events. I know my wife and I held each other, and I called my parents in Louisville to tell them I was home and OK. I think we eventually took refuge in the routine of necessity--making dinner, getting the girls ready for bed.

Even a year later, though, the emotions are still strong. Anger, of course, and sorrow, a gratitude for my life that makes me feel like falling to my knees at times.

But one thing I've been very happy to share with millions of Americans is pride. I think about how the first reaction of many of the people at the center of the destruction was not anger and not hatred and in many cases not even panic, but that so many ordinary people cooperated in helping others out of the buildings--some at the cost of their own lives. And of course, the first official reaction was not war, not speeches, but hundreds of police and firefighters converging on the site--many instinctively, with no official call to duty--and their efforts to help. (It's since been discovered that some firefighters actually made it to the floors hit by the first aircraft, a feat no one had suspected. And of course, though they tried to do what they could for the injured, none of them made it out.)

I'm still awed that even as the attacks were unfolding, a group of 40 Americans were already making the attacks a partial failure. Again, one of the first reactions to the terror was a diametrically opposite one that the hijackers obviously never considered possible--that the passengers and crew of the plane would take control from them. And their main weapons were things that no metal detector can reveal and no terrorist affect--information, in the form of cell phone calls to loved ones who were themselves informed by a free press, and an inborn belief that this great nation is worth fighting for no matter the odds.

I contend that the terrorist strikes a year ago were an abject, miserable failure. They may have achieved some operational success--the hole in the ground where the WTC once stood attests to the fact--but they failed to break the spirit of Americans; indeed, the very act kindled that spirit to a burning flame immediately. Many more could have died in the WTC if the reaction had been panic as well as fear, but the terrorist's earlier failure had led to the establishment of evacuation procedures. Even as the attacks were unfolding, one out of the four planes failed to reach its objective, thanks to the bravery of its passengers and crew.

Hijacking has long been a favorite tactic of terrorists, but bin Laden's gang of thugs has now denied that weapon to terrorists forever. Never again will a hijacking succeed. They did before because terrorists once wanted to negotiate, but never again will we give them the benefit of the doubt. And I can't imagine a cabin full of passengers allowing it to happen ever again.

I've said before that bin Laden, like fellow savage Charles Manson, harbored delusions that his atrocity would herald a new age in which they would hold absolute power. Not only did that not occur, but American resolve is renewed, while the odious regime that hosted al Qaeda has received the unceremonious boot--and demonstrated clearly that for all their self-delusion as warriors, terrorists are no match at all for real soldiers--and bin Laden, if he lives, is in hiding rather than presiding over a new caliphate. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict bin Laden uses as a pretext is hardly solved, but Arafat knows that terror is counterproductive, even if he has not yet gone so far as to say so in public.

Not all of our responses to September 11 have been positive, but overall we have shown our strength. There's no doubt that the day is the subject of numerous blog posts, many of which disagree--but the mere fact that this discussion can occur here, that different arguments can be made, advocated, disputed and discussed on their merits--is an embodiment of the same strengths that prevented the fourth airliner from reaching its target.

Imagine what would happen if the Saudis, the Palestinians, the Egyptians, the Iraqis, the Iranians and others were able to participate in a vigorous discussion--online or otherwise--of whether their government's objective and tactics are aligned with their own. When that discussion is able to occur, our victory will be complete.


springsteen lyric post #3

You're Missing
By Bruce Springsteen
from The Rising

Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
Mama's in the kitchen, baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, but you're not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Pictures on the nightstand, TV's on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, you're missing You're missing when I shut out the lights
You're missing, when I close my eyes
You're missing, when I see the sun rise
You're missing

Children are asking if it's alright
Will you be in our arms tonight?

Morning is morning, the evening falls I got
Too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
How's everything, everything?
Everything, everything
You're missing, you're missing

God's drifting in heaven, devil's in the mailbox
I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops

...One of the things that strikes me as profound about this song is that it could apply to any of the men or women who lost a spouse or loved one on September 11 last year.


piro's trubute

9/11 tribute illustration at MegaTokyo. And here's the panel posted last Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, here's last year's Sept. 11 tribute strip posted by Tatsuya Ishida of Sinfest.


springsteen lyric post #2

Empty Sky
By Bruce Springsteen
from The Rising

I woke up this morning
I could barely breathe
Just an empty impression
In the bed there you used to be
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to the empty sky

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

Blood on the streets
Blood flowin' down
I hear the blood of my blood
Cryin' from the ground

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky

On the plains of Jordan
I cut my bow from the wood
Of this tree of evil

Of this tree of good
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to the empty sky

Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
Empty sky, empty sky
I woke up this morning to an empty sky


obvious link of the day

The Dodd has long carried a link to this moving slideshow about 9/11, but today he gives it a deserved prominence. Strongly recommended.


like, vow

Min Jung Kim responds to this commemorative day by renewing her vow. It's an inspiring resolution I hope to adopt myself.


an observation

The company I work for has numerous TVs scattered around in celing mounts, which the company uses to transmit its video bulletin board system (compnay-related news, benefit information, stock quotes, weather, that sort of thing). This morning as I was arriving, I noticed that all the TV sets--and there are quite a few--were tuned to CNN's coverage of the memorial services. Kudos to the company for that.

Update: The CEO just made an announcement over the intercom (I didn't know we had them), making a brief statement and requesting a moment of silence. Cool.


springsteen lyric post #1

Into the Fire
By Bruce Springsteen
from The Rising

The sky was falling and streaked with blood
I heard you calling me, then you disappeared into the dust
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

You gave your love to see, in fields of red and autumn brown
You gave your love to me and lay your young body down
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need you near, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

It was dark, too dark to see, you held me in the light you gave
You lay your hand on me
Then walked into the darkness of your smoky grave
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love...

May your love bring us love


guest post of the day

I asked my lovely wife, Crystal, to set down what she remembered about a year ago, and she generously agreed. Here are her recollections:

Gregory asked me to write some of my thoughts and memories of 9-11-02.

It was Tuesday and the second week Cecilia was in preschool. She was 2 years and one month old. Naomi was 2 and a half months old. It was also the second week of the fall semester at Martin where I teach voice. I was scheduled to go into work that afternoon. We had spent the morning around the house, playing, watching public broadcast TV The first I knew about the towers was when Gregory called me from work and told me. We just continued what we were doing. I am not one of those people that sat all day in front of the TV I did not have the image of the towers collapsing drilled into my brain from watching it over and over. Gregory called a little later and said that work was sending him home. Since he had ridden the bus to work, the girls and I went downtown to pick him up. I remember feeling angry and knowing I was angry because I was driving a little recklessly. We also took another employee home since he lived on the way. I got my first look at the footage of the towers collapsing once Gregory was home and could watch the girls, then I went on to work.

I donít remember much about the rest of the day. I canít remember if it was at choir rehearsal that day at Martin or the next Tuesday, but I remember the women (our choir is mostly women, mostly African American, and all middle aged or older) talking about it and what I remember most about the conversations was their response that America hasnít always been good. They had the shock, the compassion for the loss of life, yet there was a ďbutĒ to their response also.

I also remember a conversation with Father Bonaface Hardin, who is the president of Martin, that occurred the Saturday after. He is an old civil rights fighter, and founded Martin as a continuation of that fight. But he is also a monk, Benedictine, I think. He felt we should not retaliate in any way. At the time I really felt we needed to hold those who committed this act of terror responsible. But Father Hardin felt that to do so would put us in the place of God. I have always respected him, and even though I disagreed with him, I kept what he had said in my heart. I feel that he foresaw some of the results of the USís actions. I think we presented an example that Israel is following, to the detriment of peace in that region. I think this Iraq vendetta is an outgrowth of the war we started on terrorism, and I feel like it is almost a case of Bush senior didnít get Hussein so Bush junior is going to do the job.

Anyway, I donít feel that my life has changed much from before the attack to after. I didnít miss any work. I have not stopped flying. I did not have any nightmares. I do not feel any less secure than I did a year ago. I have made an effort in the past ten years to look at life, particularly my own, directly, intentionally. There is no promise of tomorrow and anyone that tried to give you one is selling something. Iíve come to believe we should rejoice in this day, hope for tomorrow, cry for our losses, but recognize that life is a gift to be celebrated even more knowing that we could lose it in a heartbeat, by our own mistake or someone elseís or by the evil that dwells in the world that chooses to take it by force for terror.

  xTuesday, September 10, 2002

swank accessory of the day

A co-worker just returned from vacation in Hawaii, and he very kindly brought me back this extremely cool tiki, which now adorns my cube. all I need is a lava lamp and I'll have my own little Swank Lair.


this is a scream

The People's Republic of Seabrook apparently had a golden opportunity while cleaning up some shortcuts...


geek link of the day

An ASCII file of the final screenplay draft of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

(Due to on-set rewrites and improvsation, this draft may not fully conform to the movie.)


i'm not making this up

Back when it looked like the stock market had nowhere to go but up, the Republican Party decided to tout a program by which workers could invest part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. They called it "privatization" (it's a matter of public record). Now that the stock market has proved that economic cycles were not abolished after all, the term "privatazation" polls as an absolute non-starter. The RNCC can certainly be forgiven for instructing its own candidates not to use the verboten term, but they're going much further: Insisting that no one, not Democrats or the press, use the term, and that doing so--using the very word that they once advocated--is somehow "biased." In short, they are lying.

Talking Points Memo has several excellent posts on the subject.


what i'm going to do tomorrow

How am I going to commemorate 9/11? Some thoughts:

  • I am not going to watch TV.

  • I am going to listen to Springsteen's The Rising (I am now, in fact).

  • I am going to blog; in fact, I'm actually preparing something ahead of time (good grief!).

  • I am going to hug my wife and kids and be grateful we're all together.

  • I am going to give blood, and I suggest anyone else who can, does.

  • Later on I may play some Metal Gear Solid or Syphon Filter and shoot up a few virtual terrorists.

  • I am going to go to work just like I did a year ago.

  • I am going to think of all the people last year who also were just going through a routine day--going to work, taking a flight--when something monstrous and unforeseen happened to them.


requiem for 9/11

This is so cool. Tomorrow morning, 160 choruses worldwide will perform Mozart's "Requiem" to commemorate those who died in the terrorist attacks. Each performance is admission free and will begin at 8:46 am local time--the moment when the first plane hit the WTC. I heard about it this morning on NPR, and MeFi reminded me.

(reminded by MeFi)



MeFi helpfully links to this interesting pro/con summary of reasons to invade Iraq.

While the summary isn't intended to represent a single, pervasive argument by either side, I note this paradox: The pro side claims that Iraq's milirary is strong, therefore Iraq is a threat, and yet says it's weak, to add confidence to predictions of an easy victory. The "con" side makes opposite contradictions--Saddam's military is weak, so it's little threat, but it is strong and so might prove much more difficult than the hawks imagine.

However, I think it's much more plausible to postulate that Saddam's military could be weak enough not to be much of an offensive threat while still being a potent defensive one. As the Germans retreated from France, for example, they demonstrated that, despite Hitler's orders they do so, they could not mount much of a counterattack against the relentless two-front Allied assault. The Wehrmacht did, however, prove to be difficult to root out, especially when it chose to stand and fight in cities.

Also, I can't stress enough that invasion vs doing nothing is a false choice. Iraq certainly is a rogue state and a threat and needs to be dealt with, but the burden of proof is on those who say that a military takeover is the only way to deal with it.


hallowed ground

A beautiful, somber column by Dave Barry honoring the passengers of Flight 93.

(via Cooped Up via Charles Johnson)


right on

Jeff Cooper scores a great point on the power Senator Palpatine President Bush wants granted as part of the massive Homeland Security bill:
The president's insistence that employees in the proposed Department of Homeland Security should not have civil service and collective bargaining protections, so that they can be fired as needed, would have a lot more credibility if he would actually fire a few of the higher-ups with responsibility for the domestic security and counter-terrorism bunglings of the past year. As long as all those folks remain on the job, the Homeland Security proposal looks like union-busting, pure and simple.

(via InstaPundit)



Vis-a-vis Noelle Bush, Atrios provides this tasty detail:
A worker who found the suspected cocaine on Noelle Bush tore up a sworn statement she had written at the suggestion of one of her bosses, police said. [emphasis mine]

Update update: And then later, Atrios finds the answer via a comment thread: She wuz framed!


noelle bush caught in crackdown

Noelle Bush, daughter of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, has been found in posession of a "white, rocklike substance" that tested positive for cocaine while at the rehab center she's attending by court order.

If confirmed, the drug posession would be the second instance since she agreed to attend rehab in hopes of vacating a felony charge of attempting to purchase prescription drugs with a forged prescription. She spent three days in jail for contempt of court after being caught with prescription drugs in rehab. In addition, posession of any amount of cocaine is a felony under Florida law.

Take a look at the interesting behavior of various officials involved with her case as they try to shield this multiple felon:

Bush wasn't immediately arrested because police couldn't obtain sworn statements from people at the center...Police said staffers at the center tried to persuade the officer to let the matter be handled in-house and didn't cooperate by providing statements. The officer originally had been summoned by a patient, police said.

Governor Bush had some interesting words about his daughter as well:
"This is a private issue as it relates to my daughter and myself and my wife," he said. "The road to recovery is a rocky one [I'm sure no pun was intended] for a lot of people that have this kind of problem."

I sympathize with the pain Governeor Bush's family must feel, but it'd disingenuous to call this apparent relapse a "private issue." Her progress or lack thereof in rehab may be a private issue, but felony cocaine posession is a criminal issue, a matter for the courts.

That's enough of this. If she really did have a rock of crack, Noelle Bush belongs in jail. She has blown any benefit of the doubt with this latest incident. And as this Salon article points out, the leniency Noelle Bush has already been shown is in marked contrast to many first-time drug offenders. The Constitution guarantees equal protection; it's time to stop coddling treatment for the well-connected.


lest we forget...

The Administration's position, once inital claims that there was no warning of the 9/11 attacks was disproven, has been that although there were in fact multiple warnings--dubbed "chatter"--including a Presidential briefing that al Qaeda hoped to hijack an aircraft a mere month before the attacks--there was no specific warning. In short, the Administration claims that since it didn't know exactly what al Qaeda was up to, it couldn't have prevented it.

(I'm not talking about the ridiculous notion that Bush deliberately allowed the attacks to occur. That concept is ridiculous on its face...but it's a straw man Bush apologists often trot out to divert attention from the fact that his administration allowed the attacks to occur through sheer incompetence.)

In the latest indication of what a massive intelligence failure 9/11 was, Reuters reported Saturday that a Taliban official--concerned that the attacks would bring the US's wrath down on his country--tried to tip off the United States consul general in Pakistan. "...a kind of warning fatigue sets in," one diplomatic source explained.

It seems the problem wasn't that there was no warning, but that there were too many...


guilt thoughts

The always eloquent Jeanne D'Arc at Body and Soul has an introspective post on the case of a group of young men who were convicted in the infamous Central Park "wilding" incident, and are now believed to be innocent.

One of the things no one seems to mention about the increasing number of cases in which convicted people are subsequently exonerated: The prosecution got a conviction, all right, but the guilty party went free. I know if a crime were committed against a loved one, I'd want to see justice done. But that would not extend to having an innocent person railroaded into prison for a crime they didn't commit.


today at dam

There are a quartet of news posts by me up at Destroy All Monsters.


more thoughts

There have, of course, been numerous howls in the conservative blogosphere about the "liberal media"'s resistance to the war drums of the Bush administration. While I might concede that there have been some cases of bias, I would contend that the press is doing exactly its job in challenging the Administration to prove its case.

Revelations that the Administration isn't united in its determination that war is the only option, that Iraq's threat may be exaggerated, and that claims of an Iraq-al Qaeda link can't be substantiated may be embarrassing to the Administration, but a substantial departure from precedent like the proposed preemptive policy need the greatest scrutiny, not claims delivered with heated rhetoric. The United States government goes to war not on a whim of its leadership but in the name of its people. The people deserve to have confidence that the government's actions in its name are justified. If the facts are inconvenient, perhaps Bush should consider changing the policy to fit the facts and not the other way 'round.

Hardly a liberal, Bill Dennis seems to agree with this position:
Sorry, but they are doing their job, which is to keep the government honest
...That is their job. Conservative critics need to realize the difference, or suffer the fate of those who cry wolf too often.


thoughts on the war on terror

I don't know if I'll succeed, but I'll try to keep this short. I read this WaPo story that reminded me of something about the 9/11 attacks: although thousands died, the casualties weren't all fatalities. Louise Kurtz, who was on her second day of the job at the Pentagon when it was attacked, has been suffering for (almost) a year with horrific burns caused by superheated air from exploding jet fuel. The one-time craft enthusiast lost both hands as a result of her injuries and is in constant pain. (Mad props to her husband, too, who shows us quite a different kind of heroism. My hat is off to you, sir.)

You simply can't read a story like that without feeling angry. Reading about Kurtz's suffering inspires righteous anger at the scum who did this to her. (And what's the deal with her retirement benefits? I certainly hope that it's all just slow beureaucratic reaction and that an equitable exception will be found for people like her.)

But I think it's important that the action be directed toward the people responsible: Osama bin Laden, his odious gang of al Qaeda thugs, and the states that support them.


I'm deeply suspicious of those who would manipulate America's justifiable anger away from the perpetrators and toward their personal agenda of a rematch with Iraq, especially when the war on al Qaeda, while thus far successful, is far from over, and noting that a war with Iraq could hinder the US in its pursuit of al Qaeda. And for this suspicion, they have no one to blame but themselves.

I have no doubt that Iraq poses a threat, but the burden is on the hawks to prove that war is the only feasible response, a case that I have yet to see made. Even the Administration has dropped its claim of an al Qaeda-Iraq connection. (I'm pleased to see hints that the Administration is considering a slower but surer course of enforcing existing UN resolutions to put the squeeze on Saddam.) No one is advocating doing nothing, but bogus claims, dark hints and exaggerations are far from convincing; they have exactly the opposite effect.

Make no mistake about it: I want to see al Qaeda purged from the face of the Earth. I want its remaining leaders rounded up. I want whoever knows of bin Laden's fate found and interrogated, and if he's still alive, I want him brought to justice. I want to see the first successful Muslim democracy established in Afghanistan.

I don't want the Administration to forget who started this war in its eagerness to settle an old score.


at last

Long-overdue additions to the blogroll (which is now alphabetized, even!). Welcome, Alas, A Blog, Eschaton, Matt Welch, The Chilicheeze Weblog, The People's Republic of Seabrook, The Volkoh Conspiracy and others!

I also shifted the Archives to below the blogroll and, just for laughs, added Google search code.

Next up: creating a linked, external stylesheet and making modifications thereof.


"enron ethics in the pulpit"

Body and Soul is rightly indignant over Bush's plans to implement portions his faith-based-programs even if Congress rejects the legislation.
"We really want the legislation badly," said James Towey, who took over Bush's 10-person faith-based office in February. "But this office isn't just about federal legislation. This office is going to move forward with the president's initiative."

More, she takes issue with the program head's suggestion that charities adopt neutral-sounding names, which means, as Jeanne D'Arc points out, hide the fact that they are churches:
"If you run into an official who's an armchair First Amendment person," Towey said yesterday, "if you're 'John's Shelter,' you can go after the money but if you're 'St. John's Shelter,' you can't."

"Ironically, that means that federal money will flow to churches headed by the kind of people who don't see any ethical problems in twisting the truth for money," Jeanne D'Arc says, "people who believe, like George Bush and Ken Lay, that rules are for little people, and the smart guy knows how to get around them."

(I love "armchair First Amendment person," by the way--how dare individuals interpret what their Constitutional rights are rather than have those rights dictated interpreted for them by the Government.)


internet abuse now greatest job threat

Although downloading pr0n at work has long been a big no-no, until recently people were more likely to face disciplinary action for lying to the boss or stealing. But according to a new study, abuse of Internet privileges--including violations of email policy and using company machines to shop on Amazon and Ebay --has surpassed lying, stealing and violence as the number-one cause of disciplinary action. The story concludes that the increase in disciplinary action is the result of increased scrutiny and enforcement of policies, not a surge in the amount of people downloading pr0n on company time. 20% of firms said they monitor Internet and email use on a daily basis.

Not that it doesn't happen--as amazed as I am about the flood of searches for Rebekah Revels nude photos that mistakenly lead people here (and really, people, who cares?!?!), I'm utterly flabbergasted at the fact that many come from coprorate domains.

  xMonday, September 09, 2002

please stand by

Mucho busy today; sorry for the dearth of postings. I hope to catch up tomorrow, but I have deadlines looming so things may be a tad sparse. Stick around!


blogosphere: sexist?

There a lot of comment out there lately about sexism in permalinking It seems to have begun (my apologies in advance for any errors in reconstructing) with a post by Dawn Olsen, itself in response to an email. I became aware of the situation through a post by Susanna of Cut on the Bias. Meryl Yourish has several comments of her own and a pretty good roundup of related postings.

I took a look at my own blogroll. The first thing I realized is it sadly needs updating; it hardly reflects all the blogs I try to visit frequently. Here's the tally as best as I can determine:

  • Male bloggers: 11

  • Female bloggers: 13

  • Group blogs (FARK, MeFi, etc.): 5

  • Non-gender-specific/anonymous blogs (Hey, I assume Demosthenes is male, but I don't know): 2

I'm pleased to see that female bloggers are pretty well represented on my blogroll, it seems.

Update: The WaPo's Media Notes column today identified the Bull Moose by name, so it moves from the anonymous to the male column. And Alas, a Blog (who should be among my permalinked males but isn't, yet and now is) has a great post on how blogrolls aren't exactly a meritocracy (although I do link Body and Soul).


burning sensations

I burned a couple of new CDs last night:

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon OST

  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within OST

I was also doing another jpop mix, but the burn failed when my computer locked up. Oh well...later, then.

Update: I still haven't redone the jpop mix, but I did make a CD of the Biohazard 2 OST. c00L!

  xSunday, September 08, 2002

reactions of a toddler

Her: "Is that your Sunday shirt, daddy?"

Me: "Well, it's the shirt I'm wearing today."

Her: "It's cool!"

What our three-year-old said when she came home from church and saw me wearing the Angela Mao Destroy All Monsters T-shirt that arrived the other day.


my wife's new anklet

Onye just delivered off an anklet she made for my lovely wife. It's a combination of black, silver and amethyst (her birthstone) beads. I think it's lovely.


sunday morning chop socky theater

dragon princess
I just watched my recently acquired cheapo DVD of the Sue Shiomi/Sonny Chiba karate flick Dragon Princess. Great stuff. I plan to write a review soon, but meanwhile here's one at Dante's Inferno and All-Night Video Store.


i'll go further than that

The Intellectual Passivist raises a point of order about a headline in The Wall Street Journal's opinion section (not linked):

I donít do war commentary, but I would like to raise a point of order. The Wall Street Journal has an editorial in last Thursdayís editions under the title ďBush makes the case for regime change in Iraq.Ē Is that really the issue? Itís doubtful youíd find anyone arguing there shouldnít be a new government in Baghdad. The issue is whether the U.S. should use military force to impose a regime change.

Heck, I can make the case for regime change in Canada, but Iím not ready to have the League of Women Voters and the Mississippi National Guard storm Ottawa.

Again, this is not a substantial comment on the validity of action against Iraq. This is more of a critique of the Wall Street Journalís editorial thinking.

Actually, whether The Intellectual Passivist wants it or not, it is a substantial commentary about the validity of war with Iraq. I'm sure we could come up with a laundry list of nations for which it'd be in the US interest to see a "regime change": Iran, Cuba, Saui Arabia, the Sudan, maybe China, maybe even France. But even granting it's in our national interest to see a new government, international law (and yes, Steven Den Beste, there is such a thing as international law on this point) prohibits us from simply installing a friendly regime by force just because we want to. I might also point out that even when we've done so covertly--say, in Iran--it hasn't always worked out in our long-term interest. And history has demonstrated--take Japan and Germany on the positive side and Afghanistan on the negative--that it isn't sufficient to simply give an unfriendly regime the boot. Bush said during the 2000 campaign that he isn't into "nation building," and he seems to be demonstrating that aversion in Afghanistan. That does not inspire a great deal of confidence that the Administration has workable plans--optimism that everything'll be hunky dory certainly does not count--for the government of Iraq if and when a "regime change" is effected by whatever means.


now this is what i'm talking about

The Indianapolis Star is hardly a liberal paper...but today's editorial on the Iraqi situation is closely aligned indeed with my own opinions. Here it is in its entirety:

The four-point test before going to war

September 08, 2002

Our position is: The president must begin to prove his case that another war against Iraq is necessary.

President Bush must flesh out four key points in order to prove that another war against Iraq is warranted.

The first point centers on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's flagrant violations of international agreements reached at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

On this matter, there's little room for serious debate. In fact, the president will press the point hard Thursday when he addresses the United Nations.

Hussein long ago forced weapons inspectors out of Iraq. There's substantial evidence he has at least pursued development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. And his military routinely violates U.N.-established "no fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq.

But establishing that Hussein is an international outlaw isn't sufficient by itself to prompt a U.S.-led attack.

A small dissent here: I'd say it isn't enough to establish a unilateral US attack, but I think it's high time the UN asserted itself, with the US playing a leadership role. Iraq unquestionably is in violation of its agreements at the conclusion of the Gulf War, but that's a matter that the Security Council should and must deal with. The problems are that Hussein being an international outlaw is hardly new, which is why sanctions remain in place. It doesn't support this sudden claim that the weakened and contained Saddam is suddenly a threat, especially when such a claim can reasonably be viewed as the product of the personal agendas of a bunch of neocon hawks. The power of the Executive as commander in Chief should not--I say again should not--be abused to settle a personal score. The other problem is, of course, that the Administrations' unilateralist attitude is engenderin all kinds of ill will even among our allies, let alone crucial Security Council rivals like Russia and China.
The second point involves demonstrating that Iraq has obtained or is close to obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hinted last week that the United States has evidence that Iraq is close to developing nuclear weapons. Such evidence needs to be spelled out to the House and Senate Intelligence committees and to other key congressional leaders.

Reports from international sources that Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons also should be confirmed.

If equipped with weapons of mass destruction, Hussein is more than just an outlaw, he's a menace to the world, but especially the United States.

Yet it might be possible to keep the menace in a box, negating the necessity of war. The current policy of containment is undeniably flawed, but it is by no means a complete failure. Hussein is weaker and more isolated than he was before the Gulf War. Continuing to isolate the Iraqi dictator while blocking his ability to deploy weapons of mass destruction might allow internal forces more time to foster a revolution.

I can't stress enough that any WMD capability Iraq posesses is little threat to the US if Iraq can't deliver the weapon to the target. Thus the Amdinistration paints an ominous picture that Saddam might provide such weapons to terrorists, a point the Star editorial board goes on to address:
That strategy, however, would be dangerous if Hussein is conspiring with international terrorists to strike against the United States or other countries. A link to terrorism is the third point Bush must establish.

If it can be shown that Iraq is helping to train or fund terrorists or assisting in the planning of attacks, then the removal of Hussein from power would be justified. So far, however, the Bush administration hasn't established a definitive link between him and terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida.

The fourth point involves the standard of clear and present danger.

Hussein is obviously a rogue. He also may be armed with weapons that could kill millions. In addition, he may be assisting terrorists who already have murdered thousands in this country and elsewhere. If the first three points can be proven, then the justification for war is clear.

But the final questions involve strategy: Is it better to wait for international support to develop and a postwar Iraqi government to be identified? Or is a quick attack necessary to save lives in the United States, Iraq and elsewhere?

If it can be demonstrated that Hussein is an immediate threat to the United States, then waiting is an option that's too dangerous to accept. So far, however, the question of an immediate danger remains unanswered.

The standards for engaging in war must be high. The president must thoroughly prove his case to Congress and the American people or call off plans for an invasion.

Make no mistake about it...insisting that the Administration make its case to the American public in specifics, beyond mere assertions that a threat exists, is not a "liberal," "pacifist," or "dovish"'s the reasonable, small-d democratic, patriotic, and, I might add, Constitutional one.