Friday, April 29, 2005

the sun also sets

the dst bill has passed 51-46, in a late-night session. the governor will sign it and then petition USDOT to hold hearings on which time zone indiana should be in.

those hearings will be very contentious and a lot of people will be pissed off by the final ruling, whatever it is. i think the argument that businesses will start flocking here if only we changed our clocks is a delusion; it won't happen. but mitch will have that extra hour on the golf course in the summers, so that'll be nice at least.

what else can you expect from an administration that considers dst and a new dome more important than funding education or social programs? companies don't want to move into a state full of uneducated poor people... or do they?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

star power

the last time i ran into ryan from thursday club, he told me that he'd taken a copy of maura's milk chocolate bath from the take-one-leave-one at recycled rainbow and given it wcsb, the cleveland radio station where he works (probably the biggest college station in cleveland, and home to the subgenius hour of slack). so hey, that was cool, but i didn't think a whole lot of it. there are a few stations out there who have a cd or two of mine, not to mention djs who have stuff or burn their own cds to spin.

fast forward a couple months and ryan posts to exbe that i'm #7 on wcsb's top 10 for the week. i guess i'm actually getting some regular airplay.

well i found wcsb's top 30 list online and i'm still on it at #12. better than dinosaur jr and yo la tengo. however, the list is a week out of date (currently dated 4/16), so my chart position could have slid since then.

who's at the top of the charts? watching too much kids in the hall has conditioned me to believe the answer should be "bel biv devoe", but maybe the answer should really be stAllio!

i've gotten airplay before (awia has gotten lots of plays on wcbn, for example), but this is the first i've ever charted. it's kinda weird.

i guess i should state for the record that radio djs are more than welcome to contact me directly about promo packages. i've sent them out before and have no problem doing so again.

the sun also stands still

the indiana house voted on DST... and nothing happened.

Daylight-saving time legislation failed to pass the House this morning, when a 49-48 vote against the measure stopped it in its tracks.

The bill could be taken up again later, but it's an open question whether supporters will succeed in changing enough minds. Two key supporters of the measure are out sick.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, opened the voting machine at 11:33 a.m. and held the machine open in hope of getting the 51 yes votes needed.

As Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, voted no, however, opponents cheered. By then, the machine had been held open for several minutes, even though such votes usually take less than 30 seconds.

More lights went from green to red as the packed House gallery stood and lawmakers milled about the chamber. Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, called for Bosma to tally the vote, but he refused.

Twelve minutes into the vote, House Republican leaders fanned out in an unsuccessful effort to persuade lawmakers to change their votes. Three minutes later, at 11:45, they came back shaking their heads and Bosma closed the machine, which tallied 48-49.

wthr makes sure to point out that "there were not enough votes to approve or defeat the measure"... they could bring this up for another vote before the session ends, and possibly get a different result. but the session ends friday, after which time we'd have to wait until next session, and the whole damn process would have to be repeated.

so it's possible it will still pass. but time is running out. way to go, mitch. you touted this as one of the pillars of your platform, but in part due to your own arrogant comments, chances that it'll pass don't look so good.

more on why dems were pissed about daniels' comments:

"When asked about the united Democratic opposition to the budget, I said that the requirement to devise a package that every Republican (House member) would vote for prevented us from achieving even greater deficit reduction," Daniels wrote. "That was a true and non-judgmental statement of fact. I honestly do not know how these remarks could be misinterpreted, but I sincerely regret if anyone did so and took offense."

why was it a "requirement" that every republican vote for the package? bills get passed due to majority vote: if a package that democrats (even just a few democrats) could agree to had been proposed, then even if a few GOPers had been against it, it still could have passed. and it could have resulted in "greater deficit reduction". but daniels prefers to blame democrats. democrats who had no say in the budget bill whatsoever:

Democrats are just as mystified as to why Daniels doesn't understand their anger.

Democrats were excluded from the conference committee meetings crafting the budget, and all the amendments that Senate Democrats offered were rejected. The House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans.

"I don't know if the governor realized our conferees had been excluded," Bauer said. "He said he really didn't know."

today, light savings

today is a good day to vote: yesterday the indiana sentate approved DST 28-22, and the indiana house is scheduled to vote at 11:15 this morning (a little less than an hour and a half from now).

but it's possible that governor "my main bitch" daniels has already screwed this one up for himself:

The debate in the House had already begun when Democrats, angry at comments Gov. Mitch Daniels had made earlier about their role in the state budget, asked to meet privately.

Republicans, who thought they had locked up the 51 votes needed to pass the controversial issue and send it to Daniels to be signed into law, were suddenly scrambling.

They were losing Democratic votes they needed to pass the time change, and some Republican opponents were being pigeonholed in a last-ditch attempt to pick up more votes.

so what did bitch say that angered them so?

"The Democratic Party's entitled to take a position of opposition or even obstruction. I guess it wasn't a surprise. I will say if there had been any element of bipartisan interest on their part, a stronger budget might have been possible."

Daniels said there was "zero interest and zero votes available from the Democratic side."

Democrats said Republicans had shut them out of negotiations.

"I hope the governor is listening," Robertson said. "I wish he would choose his words more wisely. One of these days he might just have to eat them."

of course... if your opponent doesn't come running at the opportunity to hop on your jock, then clearly they're not being bipartisan.

more later once the vote has happened. for now check out flava flav here:

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

animation show 2005

last night (before watching "justice sunday" on my tivo) drbmd & i went to see the animation show 2005. this is the second year of the animation show festival; they set the bar really high the first year, but i think they met it again, even with the distinct disadvantage of only having one don hertzfeldt cartoon this year (last year's theatrical version had five!)

i'm pretty busy today but want to make a few comments before i forget it all. format = cartoonist/director - toon title - my comments

jen drummond - the FEDS - this was an interesting short about people whose job is giving out free samples at supermarkets. jen drummond also worked on richard linklater's waking life (which is highly recommended). fun in a clerks sort of way, but i enjoyed waking life a lot more (i know it's not fair to compare a short to a feature-length film, but i couldn't help but compare while i was watching, because i don't think i've ever seen that animation style anywhere else).

david russo - pan with us - OH MY GOD... this has some of the most jaw-dropping awe-inspiring animated sequences i have ever seen. it starts off with etched glass that comes to life and moves through various absurdly-complicated (yet breathtaking) shots, like a scroll that unfurls down the road (seemingly for miles). you can see the stop-motion animation as it happens: focus is drawn to the "animated" parts, which are flawless and smooth, but in the periphery you can see the animators' hands or whole bodies skitter about as they manipulate what's happening. this is really something else: i can't effectively describe how this looks because i've never seen anything quite like it before. astonishing.

jonathan nix - hello - a very cute short about a boy with a boombox head, who can only communicate by playing tapes (in his boombox head, of course). he's in love with a girl who has a radio for a head... but whenever he's around her, he gets so nervous that he can't cue up his tapes in time. poor guy.

peter cornwell - ward 13 - a man wakes up in a hospital. his face is wrapped in bandages. he begins to explore... and quickly discovers that the hospital staff is not looking out for his best interest. thus begins the most exciting, action-packed 15 minutes of claymation i've ever seen. thoroughly cool.

tomek baginski - fallen art - tomek baginski directed the cathedral, a dark and beautiful piece of 3d animation that was featured in last year's show. fallen art is a complete 180: while still somewhat dark, this is very playful and funny, where the cathedral was brooding. i don't want to spoil the big surprise, so i'll just copy the tagline from animationshow.com: "In an old forgotten military base far from civilization, a group of deranged military officers nurture their insanity."

georges schwizgebel - l'homme sans ombre ("the man with no shadow") - georges schwizgebel also directed la course à l'abîme from last year's show. stylistically they're very similar: they both look like an impressionist painting come to life. pretty cool. i like this one better than la course à l'abîme because it has more of a narrative structure and linear progression (la course à l'abîme was more like a music video for hector berlioz). it's about a man who is swindled out of his shadow, and desperately tries to get it back or adapt to his new shadowless life.

don hertzfeldt - the meaning of life - this was a significant change of direction after the 4-5 hertzfeldt shorts that were included in last year's show. those were hilarious; this has moments of humor but is overall much more serious. it's an epic look at the world as creatures crawl out of the primordial ooze, gradually evolve into humans, form "civilization", and then go extinct, evolving into hordes of fantastic creatures. very good.

i could keep going and keep reviewing the other shorts, but i have run out of time! needless to say, every selection is at least pretty good, if not fantastic. the ones mentioned above were among my favorites, but everything was worth seeing.

ha ha! (in best sen. nelson voice)

i went back looking for more screengrabs. like i mentioned before, they had corrected the scroll by the time frist came on, so there wasn't much more to get (other than go in looking for dobson in awkward poses or making funny faces). but i did get a couple more. here's the empty stage immediately after dobson walked off.


(click for bigger view)

this was actually very tricky to time correctly because there were at most a couple frames before they cut to the audience (nice standing ovation, yes?):


(click for bigger view)

senator nelson?!?

i tivo'd that "justice sunday" program today... drbmd and i were just watching it and noticed something peculiar (well, especially peculiar).

at the bottom of the screen is a scroll listing senators who the crazies think are "soft" on judicial nominees. the format is state - senator - phone #. viewers are urged to deluge their senators with calls begging for an up-or-down vote on bush's wingnut judge appointments.

but being a native-born hoosier, i wasn't aware that indiana had a senator named "nelson"


(click pic for larger view)

update:i guess they noticed their mistake, because they had corrected the scroll to say "lugar" by the time they played bill frist's videotaped statement.

second update: in case you don't recognize him, i guess i should mention that the guy in the screenshot is anti-spongebob crusader dr. james dobson, founder/chairman of focus on the family.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

2,4,6,8, who do we discriminate?

bigots, have no fear: it's okay to discriminate against gays in indiana. the city-county council rejected by 18-11 a measure that would've extended discrimination protection to include sexual preference and gender identity.

In the end, it was not Republicans who killed the measure -- though all but one, Scott Keller, voted against it -- but five Democrats, who broke with the majority of their caucus to oppose the proposal.

i don't agree with this reasoning; it's the same reasoning that suggested that florida "won" the election for bush in 2000. but elections don't really work that way: all votes are created equal. florida might've been given to bush, but if any number of states had gone for gore, bush wouldn't have won. similarly, those democratic pro-bigotry votes hurt, but if more republicans had voted against, it wouldn't have mattered.

this is not to say, however, that those 5 democrats don't deserve a heapin' helpin' of scorn for caving in to the hate lobby. steve talley, council president, is a black man who should know about discrimination firsthand... but he voted against the measure, claiming there was "no evidence" that gays are being discriminated against? wha-huh? isn't that exactly the kind of argument that was used against jim crow laws back in the day?

same goes for patrice abdullah and sherron franklin, both black democrats who should've known better. (not to let ron gibson or mary moriarty adams off the hook either: their whiteness does not excuse them.)

Some council members later said that religion spoke louder than politics Monday.

"I don't think that I should be forced to compromise my integrity and my beliefs as to what God put here for us to obey and to accept," said Patrice Abduallah, a Democrat who voted against the measure, Proposal No. 68.

In Indiana, similar anti-discrimination ordinances have been approved in Bloomington and Lafayette. Nationwide, more than 100 communities and at least 16 states and Washington, D.C., also have some form of anti-discrimination statute in place for private employment, according to a national gay-rights group.

In Indianapolis, though, some said a campaign by the opposition eroded support.

"The onslaught of misinformation has been almost numbing," said Council Democrat Jackie Nytes, the proposal's sponsor. "I am surprised that people feel as swayed as they do by the clear misinformation."

For example, supporters said, some council members were being told the measure would affect churches.

"religion spoke louder than politics"? which commandment is "thou shalt hate gays" again?

fortunately (for me, at least), my councillor, jackie nytes, was actually the sponsor of the bill, so i can vote for her with pride next time 'round.

Monday, April 25, 2005

mp3 de la semana

this week's mp3 of the week is my remix of "schwindel" by einstürzende neubauten. it's really glitchy and probably takes a lot of liberties. read more about it and download it now!

also, because of the server hiccup last weekend (not this past weekend), i will be leaving up the mp3 from two weeks ago (critical stop) for an extra week.

001 java.net.UnknownHostException

periodically when i try to post a blog entry it will fail and i'll get this error message (001 java.net.UnknownHostException). i never really knew whether this was caused by blogger or my host (i suspected it was some of each, and technically i was right, but the mast majority of the time it was blogger).

well, it turns out that this error generally means that one of blogger's DNS servers is down. DNS servers resolve human-readable names (such as "animals within animals dot com") to actual IP addresses. so if blogger's DNS server is down, blogger won't be able to find your server, and your entry won't get posted, no matter how well your server might be performing.

(i say "generally" because if your server is, in fact, down, you will probably also receive this same error.)

anyway, the fix is to find your server's IP address and plug that into your blogger settings rather than the server's domain. there are lots of ways to determine that IP address, but the easiest is to go to a site like this one.

i was having this problem this morning, and assumed that srn was down for maintenance (that new new server is due pretty soon), but miraculously after several tries my ghost in the shell post went through... but then my DST post wouldn't. and i could log in, but still couldn't post. obviously the problem was not with srn. a little googling and here's the answer.

so if you use blogger and get a lot of failed posts, there's your answer.

daylight shaving

indiana's dst bill keeps inching toward... well, nobody really knows what it's inching toward, other than a vote tomorrow. nobody really knows whether it'll pass, and legislators seemingly keep voting it on to the next stage simply to get it out of their hair. indeed, masson points out that even the editorial-writers don't have any better arguments anymore than "let's just vote and get it over with." (i highly recommend masson's blog for coverage of indiana dst and other legislative issues: it's very comprehensive).

although polls allege that a majority of hoosiers support going to dst, the lafayette journal-courier righly points out that a major drawback to this bill is that it does not settle the matter of which time zone indiana would be in. the goldsmith plan is to just pass the damn dst bill, and then figure out the time zone later. this is a bad idea: i suspect that a very large number of hoosiers would be happy to observe dst if we went to a specific time zone, but not if we went to the other.

the problem is that indiana is in a sort of geographical dead zone: if the time zone border were a straight line, it would cut right through the middle of the state. if we switch to EDT, then during the brunt of summer it won't get dark until near 10pm (an absolute nightmare [pun intended] for those of us who actually enjoy nighttime). if we switch to central, then during the winter it'll start getting dark around 3pm. so it's a shitty situation for indiana regardless. in fact this is the entire reason why indiana opted out of dst in the first place: there is no non-shitty solution. either we get shoved into a time zone where we don't really fit, or we're stuck in a land of confusion in between them. the only question is which scenario is the least shitty, and opinions on that are vastly different depending on your priorities.

the myth that our lack of dst somehow causes hoosier brain drain and prevents corporations from doing business here is clearly false. arizona and japan, for example, don't have any brain drain problems. adopting dst in indiana won't be some panacea that will reverse our economic problems. and i for one don't buy the "energy conservation" argument either: perhaps, if we went to EDT, hoosiers would use slightly less energy on keeping the lights on during the day. but they would also spend more energy on air conditioning, because the hours when the sun is out are the hours when it's warmest. and we all know that a/c uses more power than lights do. not to mention how much gasoline people will use: it's been said that dst encourages recreational driving. and with the high price of gas these days, that's an expense you can't afford to forget.

anyway, the full indiana senate votes on this tomorrow. if it passes, it moves on the house. if it fails in the senate, i think that means the bill is officially dead. at least until next year when they try to ram it down our throats yet again.

more things that rock

ghost in the shell: stand alone complex

the year is 2030. cybernetic technology has advanced to the point where virtually the only difference left between "humans" and robots/AI/software is the existence of a soul, or "ghost". many people now have cyberbrains, which allow their minds to wirelessly connect to computer networks, if not various other physical or intellectual enhancements. but that simple cyberbrain accessibility means that if you're not careful, unscrupulous hackers can actually hack directly into your brain. in these dangerous times, superhacker law enforcement is needed, and that's where section 9 comes in.

i've been in love with this show for many months now. the animation isn't quite as outstanding as in the movies, but it's really good. the character work is great. and the plotlines! o, they're deliciously intricate and sophisticated. this is probably the deepest, most intelligent anime series i've seen (and one of my favorites, along with fullmetal alchemist, which is on adult swim immediately before GitS... what a double-team!)

this is a series that shifts seamlessly between high-tech action, spy stuff and intrigue, and deep metaphysical and philosophical questions. i now fantasize about cyberized. i pretty much did before, since cyberpunk and bionics have been standard concepts for years now, but i never had such an elaborate framework for my cyberization fantasies.

at any rate, i've decided that this show is just too damn cool to only watch when it comes on adult swim. and it's way too late now to record all the episodes to tivo and dump them to vhs tape (conceivably i could do this someday, when they start airing it everyday, but it would still be a big project involving many hours and many tapes). so i've decided to buy the series on dvd. it won't be cheap: around $20 for 4 episodes, for the non-special editions (though maybe i'll get v3 special edition in order to get the t-shirt). but i think it'll be worth it.

the hard part will be not rushing out to the store immediately to start buying the dvds. i have a habit of doing that: as soon as i decide i want something, i want it now and purchase it as soon as possible. i should be able to wait at least a couple days before i start buying these dvds. but maybe i won't make it. that remains to be seen.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

the fall

while many of us had hoped that the GOP's constant scandalous behavior could catch up with them before last year's election, allowing the people to sweep them out of office en masse, their long-awaited comeuppance has been slow to materialize. but thanks in part to the corporate media's pack mentality--where the more coverage a story gets, the more coverage it will continue to get until you can hear about nothing else--scandal is all over the place and increasingly hard to ignore.

the rumors surrounding ethical breaches by house majority leader tom delay have been circling for years, but getting consistently louder in past weeks. even prominent republicans have been starting to say that it's time for him to go. but delay is not ready to go, claiming that he hasn't done anything that everyone else doesn't do (not the best of moral or ethical arguments), and that he's never done anything that was actually illegal or in breach of house ethical rules.

now we know the truth. delay won't be able to talk his way out of this story.

The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.

DeLay's expenses during the same trip for food, phone calls and other items at a golf course hotel in Scotland were billed to a different credit card also used on the trip by a second registered Washington lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, according to receipts documenting that portion of the trip.

House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists. DeLay, who is now House majority leader, has said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper. He has also said he had no way of knowing that any lobbyist might have financially supported the trip, either directly or through reimbursements to the nonprofit organization.

there's no mistaking: that's a clear violation of the house rules. cut and dry. copy and paste, click submit, and the verdict is in. or it would be if the house ethics committee hadn't effectively disbanded after delay had the rules changed in order to keep him out of trouble. but he's damaged goods now, and the longer it takes him to resign, the more damage he does to his party and his allies.

meanwhile, john bolton is a loyal bush crony who once famously remarked that there is no such thing as the united nations. naturally, bush nominated him for UN ambassador. and until the other day it seemed to be fate that his nomination would be shoved through committee and be sent to the senate floor... where it would possibly ignite the "nuclear option" (more on that in a minute). this was expected to happen despite the fact that bolton has been described in senate hearings as "a kiss-up, kick-down kind of guy" who is routinely abusive to co-workers and underlings, trying to get them fired or chasing them down hotel hallways while throwing stuff at them.

but surprisingly, the other day a republican senator (sen voinovich of ohio) stepped forward and said he wasn't comfortable voting just yet. this bold action actually set off the daily show's first-ever "bipatisanship alert" and stalled the nomination, pending further investigation, until next month. (in contrast, my own senator, dick lugar, was the one rearing to force the vote through until voinovich had a break.)

at the rate that stories damaging to bolton keep coming out, there's no way his nomination will succeed next month:

Colin Powell plainly didn't like what he was hearing. At a meeting in London in November 2003, his counterpart, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was complaining to Powell about John Bolton, according to a former Bush administration official who was there. Straw told the then Secretary of State that Bolton, Powell's under secretary for arms control, was making it impossible to reach allied agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Powell turned to an aide and said, "Get a different view on [the Iranian problem]. Bolton is being too tough."

Unbeknownst to Bolton, the aide then interviewed experts in Bolton's own Nonproliferation Bureau. The issue was resolved, the former official told NEWSWEEK, only after Powell adopted softer language recommended by these experts on how and when Iran might be referred to the U.N. Security Council. But the terrified State experts were "adamant that we not let Bolton know we had talked to them," the official said.

[...]

But the London story is further evidence that Bolton and the White House have their work cut out for them. On several occasions, America's closest ally in the war on terror, Britain, was irked by what U.S. and British sources say were efforts by Bolton to undermine promising diplomatic openings. Perhaps the most dramatic instance took place early in the U.S.-British talks in 2003 to force Libya to surrender its nuclear program, NEWSWEEK has learned. The Libya deal succeeded only after British officials "at the highest level" persuaded the White House to keep Bolton off the negotiating team. A crucial issue, according to sources involved in the affair, was Muammar Kaddafi's demand that if Libya abandoned its WMD program, the U.S. in turn would drop its goal of regime change. But Bolton was unwilling to support this compromise. The White House agreed to keep Bolton "out of the loop," as one source puts it. A deal was struck only after Kaddafi was reassured that Bush would settle for "policy change"—surrendering his WMD. One Bush official called the accounts of both incidents "flatly untrue."

so bolton is no incredibly hard to work with that the only way to get things done is to go over his head. exactly the kind of guy we want as our top diplomat.

so we have scandals involving the house majority leader and one of bush's top nominees... but what's going on in the senate? how about a scandal involving the senate majority leader, too?

majority leader bill frist will appear (via video) at a gathering today at a louisville megachurch denouncing "judicial activism" and promoting the "nuclear option" (the concept of eliminating filibusters during nominations, an idea so outrageous that democrats have promised to shut down the senate if it occurs). the gist of today's event, called "justice sunday", is that the judiciary is "against people of faith". the message being that if you aren't in the radical right, you have no faith, something which, surprisingly, millions of people find insulting.

the event will be netcast as well as on satellite tv (i already have my tivo set to record it when it comes on WHT tuesday night; there could be lots of sample-able crazies on there). and by appearing on the program, even if only by videotape, frist is aligning himself with the farthest of the far-right wing and tacitly endorsing their definition of faith. either you are with him or you are a heathen.

lots of people are fuming about this all over the net... like here and here and hell... here.

something rotten is afoot in between the states of virginia and maryland.

do you have any rolls?

new blogroll in the right column... it will probably expand over time, at least the politiblog section. and hell, if you're a regular reader & have a blog, drop me a line (or even a lime). i'm also looking for more good hoosier blogs (though indiana blogs has quite a few listed).

i made a couple other minor updates; probably the only one you'll notice is that the date headers have changed color. i think they stand out a little more, while still not being too bright or distracting.

i also wasted some time trying to strip out the tables in the awia bio section... i managed to update and rework this page using css (eventually i'll go in and add links from each member to hisr bio, though currently a few members don't have bios yet), but the individual bio pages are simply impossible to redo in css without mangling the presentation (or coding every little box with exact pixel heights, which is more of a hassle than it's worth). so those particular tables are here to stay.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

vsnares hungarian translations

upgraded from the comments. syntax did the bulk of the translating and i merely went back and filled in the gaps, tweaked some wording in a couple places.

i knew that someone else had to have posted this somewhere, and eventually i did find this thread on the planet-mu phorum, but as far as i know, the phorum is probably not google-able. that doesn't do any good: this info should be on google so that people can actually find it! so here goes!

Venetian Snares
Rossz Csillag Alatt Született = born under a bad star

  1. Sikertelenség = failure
  2. Szerencsétlen = catastrophic, miserable (also hapless, luckless, misadventurous, sad, star-crossed, unfortunate, unhappy, unlucky, untoward, woeful, wretched)
  3. Öngyilkos Vasárnap = suicidal on sunday ("gloomy sunday")
  4. Felbomlasztott Mentökocsi = disintegrated ambulance
  5. Hajnal = dawn, daybreak
  6. Galamb Egyedúl = lone pigeon
  7. Második Galamb = second pigeon
  8. Szamár Madár = asinine bird
  9. Hiszékeny = gullible
  10. Kétsarkú Mozgalom = bipolar movement
  11. Senki Dala = nobody's song

Thursday, April 21, 2005

the new shiz

since i bothered to post a list of the new cds and records i bought last week, i might as well tell you what i think about them. these are in the same order i posted them last week.

beck gameboy variations -- this is a fun record with songs made out of gameboy sounds. apparently it is only available in two formats: 12" vinyl and itunes download. i like it, but i would've liked it more if it were instrumental. as it is, this is basically four gameboy remixes of tracks from guero.

mf doom/madlib madvillain -- excellent. the beats are tight, and of course mf doom is one hell of an mc. instead of "skits", this record has tracks that are more like sample cutups, talking about what kinds of supervillains mf doom and madlib are, or how music sounds better when you're "on weed" as jon stewart's character would say in half baked.

handsome boy modeling school white people -- wow, i liked their previous record (so how's your girl?) a lot better. there are some tracks on here that are undeniably catchy and i'm not sorry i bought the record, but several other cuts are mediocre at best, and at least one (the one with vocals by some nu-metal guy) is virtually unlistenable: i couldn't get all the way to end of the track last time i listened.

prefuse 73 surrounded by silence -- i've only listened to this twice, maybe three times, because when i'm listening to records i tend to grab the madvillain first. but this is a good record. it has MCs and other vocalists on it (including beans, members of wu-tang, and more), a significant change from the past few prefuse 73 records. i was a little worried that he might succumb to "cex syndrome" (wherein the production grows less interesting when hip-hop vocals are added, presumably so as not to detract too much from the vox... though i admit i haven't heard cex's maryland mansions so maybe he's overcome that), but i think this record stands up pretty well on its own. and the MCs are pretty good.

drop the lime this means forever -- maybe dropthelime has been spending too much time around hearts of darknesses, because this is another one of those electronic records where the producer suddenly feels obligated to sing. that seems to be a trend these days: electronic musicians start singing, perhaps in order to sound more like "real" musicians. i don't know; i tend to be of the opinion that not only are vocals generally not necessary with electronic music, but that more often than not they actually harm the music: i can't tell you how many "industrial" bands i've heard where i liked the song for the first 8-16 bars, until the vox kicked in and were simply awful. but anyway, even with all the sudden singing (maybe i just didn't know dtl's material as well as i thought and he's always been predisposed to crooning?), this is not a bad record. but it's not a great record either. i really like some of the instrumental breakcore material (some of which was plucked from earlier vinyl releases), and the stuff with vocals is at least okay: sounding somewhere between the industrial "elektro" sound (not to be confused with electro) and hearts of darknesses on less drugs.

doormouse stanley yershonowski presents xylophone jism as the ridiculator -- i believe this was originally going to be released on planet-mu, but then doormouse had a falling out with mike p, so it ended up on donna summer's cock rock disco label. it's good. it sounds like contemporary doormouse: a little jazzy, lots of hard breaks, with some hip-hop and lots of silly samples.

end percussions -- i remember when connie, syntax, and i went to bent crayon in october, there was a really cool cd playing that had that jazzy/loungy/'60s-playboy sound with hyper-cutup beats. one track on the cd i recognized, knowing that i had it on some comp, yet unable to put my finger squarely on its identity. well, i do believe this was the cd. the track i recognized is the first track on the cd. and i think the comp in question was the advanced d&d with donna summer premium cd i got when i donated to wfmu.

beck guero -- i'm not half the beck fan that i was, say, a decade ago, but this is a nice little record. it's kind of a return to the style of mellow gold and odelay.

general patton vs the x-ecutioners -- mike patton and turntablists. it's a good combination. scratching, hip-hop beats, and patton singin' and makin' mouth noise. not as abstract as i might've liked, but good.

venetian snares winnipeg is a frozen shithole -- this is being promoted as the hardest vsnares record in a long time, and that's true: lots of gabber and hard breakcore sounds. it is brutal and punishing in a way that only aaron funk can be. of course it's good; that goes without saying. but it doesn't necessarily hold together as an "album" (which could be because the cd version has 9 tracks and 3 of them are remixes).

venetian snares rossz csillag alatt született -- this record is apparently about pigeons. sonically, it's all about the strings (i'm sure they're really synths, but they sound like beautiful strings)... though those vsnares beats are still there. this is possibly the best vsnares album ever. the arrangements are catchy if not moving, and the beats are wonderfully placed to hype up the emotion in when needed and then cut out for the somber moments. top notch. there's one song on here that makes me feel like flying... i would tell you which one but the track titles all look like nonsense or some odd eastern language.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

popus dei

remember last fall, when certain people in the catholic church suggested that john kerry and other pro-choice politicians should be denied communion?

yeah, cardinal ratzinger, our new pope, wrote this:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

no body of christ for you!

microsoft turns its back on gays

after years of supporting gay rights and gay-friendly policies, apparently microsoft has changed its mind. just read the americablog post on the subject.

popesquatting

this guy is one of my authors. i've edited at least 2-3 of his books.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is not the only person to value the papal moniker Benedict XVI.

A St. Augustine, Fla., man, Rogers Cadenhead, registered the address BenedictXVI.com on April 1, hoping that would be the name of John Paul II's successor. To cover his bases, Cadenhead, 38, also registered ClementXV.com, InnocentXIV.com, LeoXIV.com, PaulVII.com and PiusXIII.com.

Benedict XVI was the name picked by the new pope, Joseph Ratzinger.

Cadenhead, an author of 20 technology how-to books with titles such as "Movable Type 3 Bible Desktop Edition" and "Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days," said he registered the names for $12 each from Internet address seller BulkRegister LLC.

"I couldn't resist the chance to have some skin in the game. Someone else already has JohnPaulIII.com and JohnXXIV.com, but otherwise I put a chip down on every name of the past three centuries," Cadenhead wrote on his Web log at www.cadenhead.org.
For nearly as long as Internet addresses have been sold, speculators -- sometimes called cyber-squatters -- have bought attractive addresses with the hopes of either selling them to the highest bidder or using them to snag visits from unsuspecting Internet users.

BenedictXVI.com links to Cadenhead's blog. Reached on his cell phone, he said visits to the site started rolling in at a rate of about 100 per minute after the pope's new name was announced.

Cadenhead describes himself as a "lapsed Catholic" and "domain name geek" who bought up the domains after doing a little online research into papal naming conventions. "I really thought that especially if Cardinal Ratzinger was chosen, that he'd be very likely to go back to the papal playbook and choose one of these traditional names," Cadenhead said.

i'm not a big fan of cybersquatting, but as long as cadenhead isn't trying to extort money out of this, it's probably innocent enough. or maybe it's Pope Innocent enough. at any rate, i don't think i have a problem with registering these kinds of domains, as long as you're not doing it to bilk others out of money. that is unethical.

A 1999 U.S. law made it illegal to register an Internet domain name with the intention of extorting money out of a trademark owner. But that does not prevent someone like Cadenhead from owning an Internet address associated with a famous person's name, said Wendy Seltzer, an attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.

She said owning such domains is permissible "if you share that name . . . if you're creating a noncommercial message or fan site around that name or . . . if you're using it for an unrelated purpose [where] the name also makes sense, but not to gouge money out of the celebrity."

...

BenedictXVI.com is not Cadenhead's first celebrity domain purchase. In 1998, he bought Drudge.com in response to the rising popularity of the Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com), an Internet gossip and news site. He still runs the "Drudge Retort" site as a liberal response to its enormously popular namesake.

Cadenhead said he hasn't decided what he will do with the Benedict domain, but he vowed he will not pawn it off to the highest bidder.

"Whatever decision I make will be guided by the desire not to make 1.5 billion people mad at me . . . including my grandmother," he said.

haha... i hadn't been to the drudge retort before...

censor-me elmo

yesterday congress passed the family entertainment and copyright act, which hollywood both loves and hates. hollywood likes parts of the bill for it's "antipiracy" provisions. though there seems to be some confusion about that portion:

The less controversial aspects of the bill, which makes it a federal crime to use video cameras to record films in movie theaters, did not command as much debate. The Act sets tough penalties of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing a movie or song prior to its commercial release. Moviegoers caught using video cameras in theaters would face up to three years in prison for a first offense and up to six years for later arrests.

10 years for leaking a song or movie? 3-6 years for videotaping a movie? those are some harsh penalties... but what does the previously linked sf chronicle say about this?

The bill also makes it a federal offense to use a video camera to record movies in a theater, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It also allows the record industry to seek damages against a person who releases a music CD before its official release.

someone is confused... so which offense is punishable by up to 10 years?

but let's move on. 3-10 years is ridiculously, insanely harsh for leaking a song on the net, but sneaking a video camera into a movie theater is not a very defensible act. though 3-10 years is still mind-bogglingly harsh, even for that.

anyway, hollywood was dead-set against another provision of the bill: one that allows censorship technology inside dvd players. now, if you choose, it is totally legal to buy a dvd player that turns any dvd you want into the equivalent of pallies, edited for television... funk you, you mother-father!

[T]he bill is designed to nullify a lawsuit filed by eight movie studios and a directors' association against ClearPlay Inc., a small Utah technology startup that wants to sell home DVD players that can automatically filter objectionable material from prerecorded DVD movies.

Entrepreneurs were heartened by the bill's passage.

"It shouldn't be possible that big companies with big pockets can kill industries they don't like," said Bill Aho, ClearPlay's chief executive officer.

i'm a bit torn here. on one hand, it's almost impossible not to see this kind of thing as a blow against art. movies that are "edited for content" are truly the bane of film lovers everywhere, whether it's edited for television or whether the studios force the director to cut out content so it can earn a specific rating. you're not watching the real movie, but some limp, spayed version of it. so the practice, even the concept, of a self-censoring dvd player somewhat disgusts me. if you don't want to watch explicit content, it's easy: don't watch explicit content!

at the same time, legally i don't think there's any reason why such an item shouldn't be available. i totally agree with the bill aho quote above. the MPAA and pals are big bullies who try to smash anything they don't like. emasculating movies in this fashion might be somewhat offensive... it might be the utter desecration of the filmmaker's vision... but those aren't good legal reasons to hold back the tech. so hollywood resorts to the old "copyright violation" argument... using such a device creates a "derivative work" and only the author has the right to create derivative works. this is of course total bullshit, but it is also the way copyright law is defined these days. congress apparently didn't buy the bullshit this time. and they definitely didn't buy this bullshit, which is my nomination for "specious argument of the year":

"These days, I don't think anyone would even consider buying a DVD player that doesn't come with a remote control," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who authored the provision.

"Yet there are some who would deny parents the right to use the equivalent electronic device that would protect their children from sex, violence and profanity in movies watched at home."

a censorship-enabled dvd player is "equivalent" to a remote control?!? congressman, dvd players already have a feature that is equivalent to a remote control. it's called a remote control.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

pope benedict xvi

the next pope has been chosen.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a hard-line guardian of conservative doctrine, was elected the new pope Tuesday evening in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Pope Benedict XVI and called himself "a simple, humble worker."

those of us who were that a new pope might have more rational views on important sexual and reproductive issues (condoms, for example) will have to wait for the next pope, it seems:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose strong defence of Catholic orthodoxy has earned him a variety of sobriquets — including “the enforcer”, “the panzer cardinal” and “God’s rottweiler” — is expected to poll around 40 votes in the first ballot as conservatives rally behind him.

he has a bit of a checkered past, as well:

In 1937 Ratzinger’s father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the F├╝hrer’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941.

He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. “Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer.

Two years later Ratzinger was enrolled in an anti-aircraft unit that protected a BMW factory making aircraft engines. The workforce included slaves from Dachau concentration camp.

Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot — adding that his gun was not even loaded — because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.

He has since said that although he was opposed to the Nazi regime, any open resistance would have been futile — comments echoed this weekend by his elder brother Georg, a retired priest ordained along with the cardinal in 1951.

sure, like it says, membership in the hitler youth was compulsory... it's not like he enlisted or anything. and if he later deserted, then obviously he wasn't an enthusiastic one, as his biographer says. but still, instead of open resistance to the nazi regime, he chose silent complicity.

he's also a member of opus dei, a secretive, arch-conservative organization that some people say is downright cult-like.

so catholics, no condoms for you.

Monday, April 18, 2005

stand up for your mp3. right?

this week's mp3 of the week is called "stAllio! vs ludacris" and it's a remix of the track "stand up" by ludacris. it's all glitched out and stuff. i like it.

recovery

all data from animalswithinanimals.com that was lost in the server crash is now back up... with the exception of any pictures that were posted to the bobby vomit blawg in the past week or so. i don't have those images; hopefully mr vomit still has them on his hard drive and can repost them. (i think that only one pic was lost: the photo of the guitar-turntables that he's working on. but my memory could be faulty.)

the important lesson here is always keep a copy of your website. i have pretty much this whole site (except for the blogger parts) on my hard drive, so recovering the lost content wasn't too difficult. (blogger stores all blog posts on its own servers, separate from where you publish the blog, as i suspect most blogging services do, so recovering the blogs is also easy.)

the new mp3 of the week will be announced within the next couple hours (the mp3 is already online, but i haven't done my writeup for it yet).

hiccup

big server belch this weekend... the site was down for awhile and when it came back, it was at least a week out of date.

the new server is dead. long live the old server.

we were told that the new server had a defective part. so we're back on the old server again until the new one is replaced. luckily, thanks to blogger etc, i have backups of my lost data. not everyone was quite so lucky. if you're reading this, the blog has been recovered. but the mp3 of the week is now out of date... it's reverted to the week before last.

tonight, i'll put up the new mp3 for this week. and last week's will go back up. but i can't fix that until i go home tonight.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

deadnecks

syntax points us to dontshootthecat.com, a blog set up to cover the wisconsin cat-shooting issue. lots of links there. for example, more about the wisc conservation congress:

[...]the Wisconsin Conservation Congress was established in 1934 as an avenue for public input and exchange concerning conservation issues. In 1972, the congress was authorized by State Statute (15.348) to be an official advisory body on matters that come before the Natural Resources Board.

The Conservation Congress is an independent organization of Wisconsin citizens elected by county to serve on the congress. County delegates serve on committees and work through an established process to decide which advisory questions introduced at the county level should advance to become statewide proposals the next year.

the governor of wisconsin states unequivocably that this thing isn't going to pass:

"I don't think Wisconsin should become known as a state where we shoot cats," said [Gov. Jim] Doyle, a Democrat who neither hunts nor owns a cat. "What it does is sort of hold us up as a state that everybody is kind of laughing at right now."
...
Doyle said he respects the Conservation Congress but "on this one I think everybody recognizes it's not going anywhere."

that's it exactly: the issue makes wisconsin into a laughing stock. for example, here's the definition of "deadnecks":

Readers from all over the nation were burning up chat rooms and message boards, flabbergasted that the idea even came to light. At the Journal, we received dozens of e-mails.

"I believe it's about time that we have an open season on 'Deadnecks,' one reader wrote. "For those not familiar with these dangerous creatures they are a carnivorous animal that feeds on anything it can shoot, hook, stab, hit and run over with a pick-up, or otherwise kill for sport and/or food. They are indigenous to northern states of the North American continent.

"Deadnecks get their name due to the lack of brain activity that goes on between their ears (i.e. dead from the neck up). They don't seem to be able to put together any thoughts that make any sense to any other civilized human being. It is said that the next intelligent thought a Deadneck has will be his/her first."

so it looks like there won't be any legalized cat-shooting in wisconsin anytime soon. but i still have to wonder about wisconsin and south dakota... what are their standards for what is a "feral" cat? i know i'll be sure to find out before i ever take my cat into either state.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

they shoot cats, don't they?

wisconsin wants to pass a new law that would allow people to kill cats. when i first heard about it, i assumed that obviously they must be talking about mountain lions or pumas or some sort of huge cats that they consider dangerous: similar to how people out west freak out about coyotes and wild bears. of course, my answer to that would be you morons, you move into the animals' land and take it over, and you get upset because the animals didn't magically disappear? but i would be wrong there, because the proposed law isn't about killing big cats: it's about killing small, domesticated cats: housecats. fortunately, even if it passes, it isn't going into effect right away:

There will not be an open season on feral cats, no matter the results of Monday's vote at Wisconsin Conservation Congress meetings around the state.

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett said there are too many unanswered questions and problems associated with killing stray cats.

Statewide results were tallied Tuesday. Overall, Wisconsin residents supported a controversial plan that would allow hunters to take out wild felines that kill birds and other small mammals. Residents voted 6,830 to 5,201 for the plan. DNR officials said the plan passed in 51 counties, failed in 20, and tied in one.

The question asked residents in all 72 counties whether the state should classify free-roaming cats as an unprotected species. That would allow hunters to kill them at will.

i'm a bit confused what the dnr is actually saying here... simply that the plan hasn't passed yet? or that even if they try to pass the plan, dnr won't let them? i'm confused, especially by the wording of this paragraph:

If enough Wisconsin counties had voted yes on the advisory proposal, the issue could have been brought back next spring as an "action item." If passed then, it could have given the DNR permission to enact it. At least two upper Midwestern states, South Dakota and Minnesota, have allowed wild cats to be shot for decades, just like skunks or gophers.

all that "if they would have" wording suggests that the vote did not pass (though the numbers suggest it did).

speaking of "the numbers", the way this article talks about how "residents" voted, you would think wisonsin had a statewide election on cat-killing, and that only 12,000 people came to the polls. you must check local6's past coverage for a clear explanation that people had to go to their local county meeting of some organization called the "wisconsin conservation congress" in order to actually vote on the issue.

now, you couldn't just shoot any cat: you can't go into someone's house and execute their calico. the plan would only allow people to shoot strays, or "feral" cats. so what determines whether a cat is feral?

[Mark] Smith [a La Cross firefighter who proposed the plan] proposed that the state should classify wild cats as an unprotected species. The proposal defined such cats as those not under the owner's direct control or wandering by themselves without a collar.

clearly mr smith doesn't know much about cats if he thinks "having no collar" indicates that a cat is a stray. i know a lot of cat owners (and a lot of cats), and most of those cats don't wear collars. why not? because cats don't like collars and they tend to be agile and flexible enough to squirm out of their collars should anyone try to make them wear one. keeping a cat under your "direct control" is not exactly easy, either.

so yeah, non-feral cats without collars get outside all the time. my cat doesn't wear a collar; we try to keep him inside, but sometimes he manages to slip by someone, or even to open the back door by himself. and once he's out, he disappears for a few hours. i know he can take care of himself, so i try not to get too worried when this happens, but i can't help it. after all, he's a sick kitty (FeLV+), and if he gets outside and scraps with other cats, he can get even sicker.

if i lived somewhere like south dakota or minnesota, i would also have to worry about some asshole with a hunting rifle shooting him, too. while i'm normally very nonviolent, if someone fucking shot my cat, i would be tempted to get a gun of my own and return the favor.

have bribe, will travel

remember last year when kerry would criticize bush for "outsourcing the hunt for bin laden"? turns out he was right, and that "outsourcing" is responsible for bin laden still being on the loose today.

The head of the German intelligence agency, in an interview published here Tuesday, said Osama bin Laden had been able to elude capture after the American invasion of Afghanistan by paying bribes to the Afghan militias delegated the task of finding him.

"The principal mistake was made already in 2001, when one wanted bin Laden to be apprehended by the Afghan militias in Tora Bora," the intelligence official, August Hanning, said in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

"There, bin Laden could buy himself free with a lot of money," Mr. Hanning said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Hanning confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper's account. She said Afghan forces had told Mr. bin Laden they knew his whereabouts and he would be arrested, but they allowed him safe passage in exchange for a bribe.

In the past, other officials - including Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the former American commander in Afghanistan - have acknowledged that Afghan militias who fought on the side of the invasion coalition had allowed leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban to get away. But Mr. Hanning is the top intelligence official to say Mr. bin Laden was among them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

can't we all just get along?

cameras are a protester's friend. at least, when the protesters have the cameras. when the cops have the cameras, they aren't always so beneficial.

Dennis Kyne put up such a fight at a political protest last summer, the arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue.

"We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed," the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. "I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own."

Accused of inciting a riot and resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first of the 1,806 people arrested in New York last summer during the Republican National Convention to take his case to a jury. But one day after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.

During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints.

it's hardly a complaint that standard operating procedure for police at protests is to aggressively confront the protesters, herd them into tiny areas, arrest them by the hundreds for no particular reason, and beat the shit out of them if they resist too much. and it's nice to see that many of these rnc protesters are being exonerated. but i still must wonder how many millions of dollars have been wasted on these unnecessary trials... not just all that govt money, but the money the protesters must spend on their defense against their wrongful arrests.

Seven months after the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal charges have fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that week. Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney's office agreeing that the cases should be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal."

So far, 162 defendants have either pleaded guilty or were convicted after trial, and videotapes that bolstered the prosecution's case played a role in at least some of those cases, although prosecutors could not provide details.

emphasis mine. now that digital video technology is getting affordable, more people are buying it... they're taking their cams into the street during protests, and documenting police harrassment. i'm a bit skeptical of the next paragraph, though:

Besides offering little support or actually undercutting the prosecution of most of the people arrested, the videotapes also highlight another substantial piece of the historical record: the Police Department's tactics in controlling the demonstrations, parades and rallies of hundreds of thousands of people were largely free of explicit violence.

now, the times does not offer any actual evidence that the tactics "were largely free of explicit violence", only statements from city and police officials. and of course, a police spokesman isn't going to say "yeah, we beat the fuck out of a bunch of those people."

and even assuming that it was "largely" free of "explicit" violence (meaning there was still some amount of explicit violence, and god knows how much non-explicit violence), i would have to say that if only 9% of the people you arrest actually get convicted of something, then clearly the police are abusing their powers and are wrongfully arresting tons of people. whether those arrestees are getting bruised or not is almost irrelevant: their rights are still being abridged, they're still stuck wallowing in jail, and they still have to pay bail, court fees, and so on. and we know that the police have edited at least one video, though the claim it was a mistake:

Video is a useful source of evidence, but not an easy one to manage, because of the difficulties in finding a fleeting image in hundreds of hours of tape. Moreover, many of the tapes lack index and time markings, so cuts in the tape are not immediately apparent.

That was a problem in the case of Mr. Dunlop, who learned that his tape had been altered only after Ms. Clancy found another version of the same tape. Mr. Dunlop had been accused of pushing his bicycle into a line of police officers on the Lower East Side and of resisting arrest, but the deleted parts of the tape show him calmly approaching the police line, and later submitting to arrest without apparent incident.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney, Barbara Thompson, said the material had been cut by a technician in the prosecutor's office. "It was our mistake," she said. "The assistant district attorney wanted to include that portion" because she initially believed that it supported the charges against Mr. Dunlop. Later, however, the arresting officer, who does not appear on the video, was no longer sure of the specifics in the complaint against Mr. Dunlop.

and i also have to wonder how many more cameras were out there that were confiscated by police.

Monday, April 11, 2005

stop here for critical mp3

the new mp3 of the week is called "critical stop". it's a little mini-databent track i made during the "true data" sessions. it's not even 2 minutes long, but they're two good minutes. check it out.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

new purchases

i realized recently that i hadn't been inside a record store in months (perhaps since october!), and it had possibly been even longer since i'd been inside one in my own home town. so today i decided to slurge and make a trip to indy cd and vinyl, my favorite local shop.

here's what i picked up (obviously i haven't gotten to listen to much of this yet)

vinyl
beck
gameboy variations
mf doom/madlib madvillain
handsome boy modeling school white people
prefuse 73 surrounded by silence

cd
drop the lime
this means forever
doormouse stanley yershonowski presents xylophone jism as the ridiculator
end percussions
beck guero
general patton vs the x-ecutioners
venetian snares winnipeg is a frozen shithole
venetian snares rossz csillag alatt született

then i went to target to get a vcr head cleaner (my vcr could really use it), and i ended up buying a few dvds... saved!, ren & stimpy first and second seasons uncut, and ghost in the shell ii: innocence. i also bought some boxers and a belt.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

things that rock

sin city: goddamn, this movie is badass. if you haven't read any of the comics, they are very gritty, very violent pulp. tough half-naked dames (who often become fully naked soon enough), even tougher guys in trenchcoats, corrupt cops, crime on every corner, prostitutes, strippers, killers, sleazy underworld dealings: these are the bread and butter of sin city. there's very little goodness left in sin city, making it so precious that people are willing to die...or kill...to save it.

when i think of sin city, i think of terms like decadence, depravity, debauchery, and of course pulp. this movie revels in its unwholesomeness; it delights in its decadence. it's intense, and definitely not for everyone.

i have read that the movie uses the sin city comics as actual storyboards for the movie, which was shot in the "sky captain" style wherein all backgrounds and effects were rendered digitally. just like the comics, the movie is black-and-white with spot color. the result is probably the most accurate comic adaptation ever. and it looks amazing: you could take practically any frame of this movie and blow it up into a cool-looking poster. the mise en scene is outstanding.

the style can be a bit jarring at first, with the sam spade-style voiceover narration and highly stylized visuals. the first time you see white blood it's a bit bizarre, but it makes sense within the world that's been created here. this is anything but realistic: it's more like the grittiest anime you've ever seen than any live-action movie that's come before it. but even the best modern animation couldn't look this lifelike and exciting. this movie really shows off just how much is possible now using digital animation technology.

the office (us version): when the reviews for this started coming out, the consensus was that it was very good, but not as good as the uk original. and yes, if you compare the two pilot episodes then the us version kind of pales, considering that the bulk of the script was copied for the american version.

but the second and third episodes of the american show were all-new, and allowed the new version to really shine. the second episode (diversity day) was pretty good, but the third episode about health care... oh my god, i was in stitches the whole time. outstanding.

i'm still getting used to jim in place of tim. but these aren't the same characters; they're just similar characters. steve carell (who i loved on the daily show) is delightful as the boss, and rainn wilson (who was so wonderfully weird on six feet under) does a great job as dwight (analogous to gareth on the uk show), really making the role his own.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

the return

you might have experienced some wonkiness if you tried visiting the site in the past few days. srn got a new server and the move process took a couple days: at times the site was down, and at others it was up but only accessible if you didn't put www. in the title. i also hadn't been able to log in. but, if you're seeing this message then it means that everything is now running smoothly, and we shouldn't experience any more bumps for awhile. (also, as i mentioned before, the new server is supposed to be immune to the "text/plain" bug, so that should be cool.)

dst illegal

damn, these hoosier lawmakers are so hot for dst that they're willing to pass a bill that they know is illegal:

The House is expected to vote on a bill seeking statewide observance of daylight-saving time, even though the federal government has declared some of its provisions illegal.

House Republicans pushing the legislation could have pursued procedural moves to remove those provisions before a House vote.

But time constraints and political complications have caused lawmakers to seek House passage of a defective bill and bank on a House-Senate conference committee to fix it so it stands a chance of advancing in the Senate.

"We obviously would rather have a perfect piece of legislation that goes over to the Senate, but that is not the option available to us at this point in time, so our only choice is to move the flawed legislation and try to work it out in conference committee," House Speaker Brian Bosma said Wednesday.


what's the rush? indiana has lived with the current system since the '70s. do they think the world will end if we don't pass a dst law this year (even though dst is already in effect, and we'd have to fuck up the system even more in order to observe it this year)?

The leader of the Senate said his chamber could not accept the bill in its current form, and it would need to be fixed in a conference committee to stay alive.

"You should not knowingly violate federal law or regulations," said Senate President Pro Tem Garton, R-Columbus, adding that the problem makes a faster route for advancing the bill out of the question.

The provisions deemed illegal would allow counties bordering the Central time zone to opt out of daylight saving time. Those affected counties border Illinois and 10 northwestern and southwestern Indiana counties now lying in the Central time zone. If some of those counties opted out, then their neighboring counties could also.

However, the U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates time zones, has said those provisions would be illegal. It cites a federal law that says any state with more than one time zone can only exempt either the entire state from daylight time or all of its area within any single time zone.


note that this also means that the current arrangement, where several southern indiana counties are in eastern but do observe dst, is also illegal, although the govt has never enforced that,

and as this LTE points out, arizona is doing just fine creating new jobs without dst... so why is it so important for indiana to switch?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

everything looks like a nail

and these days, tom "the hammer" delay himself is looking like the biggest nail of all. today saw front page "delay scandal" stories on what are probably the two biggest (or most prominent) newspapers in the country. and they're not even about the same scandal!

today's washington post has a story about a very shady trip delay took to russia in 1997.

A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.

DeLay reported that the trip was sponsored by a Washington-based nonprofit organization. But interviews with those involved in planning DeLay's trip say the expenses were covered by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas that also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign.

...

Media attention focused on DeLay's travel last month after The Washington Post reported on DeLay's participation in a $70,000 expense-paid trip to London and Scotland in 2000 that sources said was indirectly financed in part by an Indian tribe and a gambling services company. A few days earlier, media attention had focused on a $106,921 trip DeLay took to South Korea in 2001 that was financed by a tax-exempt group created by a lobbyist on behalf of a Korean businessman.


it's a long story with lots of detail.

today's new york times has another front-pager, which as i mentioned is about a totally different ethical scandal:

The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.

...

Although several members of Congress employ family members as campaign managers or on their political action committees, advocacy groups seeking an overhaul of federal campaign-finance and ethics laws say that the payments to Mr. DeLay's family members were unusually generous, and should be the focus of new scrutiny of the Texas congressman.


"unusually generous" is probably putting it lightly: they were talking about this on today's diane rehm show, and while this is fairly common, delay has pumped like 10x more money than normal into his own family.

and that's just what's happening in those two papers... check the blogs (dkos, americablog, etc) for lots more stories coming out. people are speculating that the gop has decided to cut delay loose, judging not just from how much criticism is coming out, but where it's coming from (the wall street journal, drudge report, even cheney has criticized delay recently).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

judge, jury, meet executioner

yes, the american taliban--those religious fundamentalists who want to run the US according to "god's law" rather than the US constitution--have all but issued a fatwah against the judicial system. though they're trying to be subtle about it.

first tom delay, he with an ethical albatross around his neck so huge that he's bound to suffocate soon, said that those responsible for "murdering" terri schiavo will one day "answer for their behavior." people tried to get him to clarify that... surely, they thought, the house majority leader isn't threatening these judges with violence? not in a world where one chicago judge's family was murdered just a couple weeks ago, a world where judge greer, who ruled several times on the schiavo case, was essentially forced out of his church and needs armed bodyguards to protect him from all the angry protesters and death threats?

delay refused to clarify.

now the reactionary rhetoric has gotten worse, with even more congressmen tacitly endorsing the assassination of US judges at worst, or making excuses for domestic terrorists at best (there's even video of it here. fortunately, a lot of people are speaking up about it, even other congressmen.

such bitter irony. bush sends troops to the middle east to fight against religiously motivated terrorists and religious fundamentalists who want to control the government. but in his own country, bush's own party is itself trying to give government power to the fundies, and is apparently now tacitly endorsing terrorist acts here in the states.

what's good for the gander is apparently not good for the goose.

p.s. srn is installing a new server, so things are a bit wonky right now while pan gets that set up. currently, i can't log in or post, but hopefully i will soon, so all these blog entries will sort of appear in a big bunch once i can authenticate with the server again. pan has said the new server will cure the dread "text/plain" bug, so i'm looking forward to that.

don't fear the salad

rush limbaugh thinks that the abu ghraib torture case was just an innocent prank, but throwing salad dressing at pat buchanan is "fomenting violence". (never mind that there are thousands more abu ghraib photos that are more disturbing than what we've seen, though we the public will probably never get to see them and never know just how horrible things got there.)

Monday, April 04, 2005

fisher-price my first typing

i don't blog much about my young nephew ian, perhaps because, although we live in the same house, i'm not very involved with his rearing and only see him for an hour or so on a typical day (the rest of the time i'm up here in the attic and he is downstairs somewhere).

ian is currently about 31 months old. he does like to have the tv on (how much he actually "watches" is debatable), however he is generally only allowed to watch educational programming (pbs kids and various videos geared for early childhood). he loves his letters, & knows how to count to 10 in english and spanish, as well as knowing various vocab words and phrases. the significance of letters hasn't quite sunk in yet: he doesn't realize that letters actually form written words. but man, does he love those letters: ABC videos, refrigerator magnets... anything involving the alphabet he likes.

occasionally if the door to the attic is left open, he will sneak off and climb up here. i don't mind, so long as i or someone is here to make sure he doesn't hurt himself or mess up my stuff too much. sometimes he'll see my computer and start playing with the keyboard. when he does, i try to set up a blank notepad document for him, but on past occasions he never really did much other than press ctrl or alt, or the windows keys. this afternoon he came upstairs and, i believe for the first time, really started exploring my keyboard. this is what he typed, completely unedited by me (except that he pressed the spacebar a bunch of times, and i have replaced those spaces with html space characters, and added some hard returns for formatting purposes):

aaaaaaaa  a
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaab
cdejfggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
jjklllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnopqq

as he found each letter, he would say its name out loud. he hasn't quite gotten the hang of key-repeat, but i'd say this was a great start: he started by finding A and made it all the way to Q before his mommy came to take him back downstairs. and when you stop to think that the qwerty layout was specifically designed to be confusing and hard to work with, i'd say that's pretty impressive for someone who cannot read, per se.

granted, there are other computers in the house. and he even has a qwerty keyboard in his room (that his father gave him as a learning tool). but that keyboard isn't hooked up to anything. anyway, since this just might be his first coherent, intentionally typed phrase, i thought it deserved to be recorded for posterity.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

let me lick your mp3

the new mp3 of the week is up! it's a very special track i created for the bad taste 2003 tour: extra stuff for me to mix in with the maura's milk chocolate bath material. if you heard any of those live sets, you probably heard some of this stuff. now you can hear it in its purest state.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

daylight wasting

daylight saving time begins tonight. if you've been reading my stuff for long enough, you'll know that i find dst to be unfathomly stupid and irrational. as a hoosier, i'm proud that i live in a state (one out of only three) that is not so unbelievably stupid as to officially observe daylight saving time. of course, certain political forces keep trying to force it onto us for some god-awful reason, but generally we hoosiers have been smart enough to resist the push for dst every time. (will we keep on resisting or will our legislature eventually flip? i sure hope not.)

but with dst beginning tomorrow in the stupid states, it's a great opportunity for journalists and pundits outside indiana to discuss the idea. here is a review in the indianapolis star of a book called spring forward:

Downing writes that golfers, allied with an array of commercial interests, including Wall Street brokers, sports promoters and major banks and stock exchanges, were the true first boosters of DST, a public policy he calls "the most unscientific ever perpetuated."

Downing's history of daylight-saving time offers a thoughtful, provocative and often hilarious look at what he calls "the most sustained political controversy of the past 100 years." Beginning by debunking the myth that Ben Franklin invented DST, Downing conducts his readers through the "deliberate misrepresentation, preposterous piety and unfettered opportunism" that informs a controversy still raging to this day.

The modern plan to save daylight by altering clock time was first proposed in 1907 by William Willet, a British architect and golfer who wanted to give his friends more time for summer leisure. Germany adopted the idea; and in 1916 it became the first nation to advance clocks as part of an effort to conserve resources and win World War I.

Soon nations on both sides of the conflict had adopted DST. Downing writes, "The scheme's American advocates, who had long been dismissed as the caddies for the interests of the leisure class, shifted the battle from the golf links to the trenches. 'Millions of dollars will be saved by the people of the United States,' announced the newly elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 'and our preparedness along industrial lines will be augmented.' "

In truth, writes Downing, DST resembled an innovative strategy for boosting retail sales. After its passage, "Working girls were encouraged to stop on their way home to update their wardrobes with dresses specifically designed for the brighter summer evenings. Daylight specials offered discounts on garden spades, watering cans, even new homes . . .

"It was not exactly for nothing that chambers of commerce and other merchants' associations had figured among the earliest and staunchest supporters of daylight-saving time," Downing writes.

Politically, it was never an easy sell. But World War I gave advocates a window of opportunity. "Daylight's proponents wrapped themselves in the flag, appropriating the war effort, and successfully turned the House vote (on DST) in March 1918 into a loyalty test. And they won."

President Woodrow Wilson, an avid golfer, in 1918 signed into law the first federal legislation "to save daylight." Downing quotes a Washington Post sportswriter of the day: "If the government had especially desired to do something to foster and promote golf, it could not have made a better move than to turn the clock ahead."

so it's not really about farming at all... it's about golf? that makes sense, considering that contrary to conventional wisdom, it's not about farming. in fact farmers tend to hate dst, as national review columnist john j miller points out:

Well, it turns out that DST had nothing to do with farmers, who traditionally haven't cared much for it. They care a lot less nowadays, but when the first DST law was making its way through Congress, farmers actually lobbied against it. Dairy farmers were especially upset because their cows refused to accept humanity's tinkering with the hands of time. The obstinate cud-chewers wanted to be milked every twelve hours, and had absolutely no interest in resetting their biological clocks — even if the local creameries suddenly wanted their milk an hour earlier.

As Michael Downing points out in his new book, Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, urban businessmen were a major force behind the adoption of DST in the United States. They thought daylight would encourage workers to go shopping on their way home. They also tried to make a case for agriculture, though they didn't bother to consult any actual farmers. One pamphlet argued that DST would benefit the men and women who worked the land because "most farm products are better when gathered with dew on. They are firmer, crisper, than if the sun has dried the dew off." At least that was the claim of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, chaired by department-store magnate A. Lincoln Filene. This was utter nonsense. A lot of crops couldn't be harvested until the morning dew had evaporated. What's more, morning dew has no effect whatsoever on firmness or crispness.

it's not often you'll find me agreeing with the folks at conservative rags like NRO, but i definitely do here.

arizona is another state that doesn't observe dst: the arizona republic has an article about how the rest of the nation's silliness affects those of us who aren't so silly. cable tv watching is definitely confusing. but i don't have a lot of sympathy for those telemarketers and other (rare) businesses that must shift their schedules around.

there are a lot of reviews of downing's spring forward out right now. for example, this review on st louis today includes this convenient chart:

There are winners and losers associated with daylight-saving time, according to Michael Downing's new book "Spring Forward." Downing says proponents are businesses that benefit from extra evening daylight that encourages more outdoor activities. Opponents are people or businesses who benefit from indoor activities or want extra sunlight in the early morning. President Richard Nixon was a longtime opponent before the Middle East oil crisis convinced him to push for year-round daylight-saving time.

Proponents
Garden equipment and seed sellers
Barbecue industry
Golfers
Sporting goods industry
Major League Baseball
Richard Nixon

Opponents
Farmers
Electric utilities
Movie studios
Television broadcasters
Parents of school-age children
Richard Nixon

i think the fact that power utilities are against it explodes the myth that dst somehow actually conserves energy. indeed, while you might occasionally see references to the "1 percent" of energy saved by dst, if you think about it you'll realize it doesn't exist:

One of the few losers, Downing says, are electric utilities. AmerenUE spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said that demand drops about 1 percent immediately after the first Sunday in April. But that effect is dwarfed later, during the summer, by demand for air conditioning, she said.

you'll find a fair number of dst stories right now, and many of them demonstrate their authors' poor research habits by relying on the myths that downing disproved. i won't dignify them by quoting them.

still, there are forces in the indiana legislature that want to introduce it. so desperate are they to sell out to the golf and bbq industries that they even want indiana to adopt dst late this year, proposing that we begin on june 5 (because they couldn't sucker enough people into passing a resolution to switch this weekend). but despite all their exuberant (naive) support for the plan, it fix any of indiana's time-zone problems:

This legislation, which would bring Indiana in line with 47 other states and 40 other countries, would not change Hoosiers' time zones.

Currently, most of Indiana observes the Eastern time zone, with 77 counties observing Eastern Standard Time year-round. Fifteen counties, in the northwest, southwest and southeast corners of the state, observe daylight-saving time.

That has lawmakers from northwest Indiana upset because they're in the Central time zone, meaning the change would put them on a different time from Indianapolis year-round.

sheesh... so the only real problem about indiana's approach to dst--that certain fringe counties side with illinois or ohio and do observe it--would remain. brilliant. way to sell out to the business community, guys.

april boobs

one last april fool's post...

voyeurweb is an amateur erotic website (softcore). all the content is submitted by "real" people hoping to win prizes, so the quality can be super inconsistent. but some of it's pretty decent.

for april fool's day, they posted double versions of some of today's photo sets... with silly callouts. there's just something about looking at a photo of a nude woman with a big arrow pointing to her crotch and a callout that says "pussyhair". the pictures are here: check the april 1st pics. right now, each april 1st set is listed twice (though i can't guarantee the callout sets won't come down tomorrow), and the upper sets are the ones with callouts.

obviously not work safe, but there's no penetration or anything like that either.

p.s. as i feared, vw took down the callout-ed pix. but i've uploaded a few here so you can get a taste for some calloutomfoolery.

Friday, April 01, 2005

my only schiavo post

so terri schiavo passed away yesterday. she can finally rest in peace after having been essentially held captive inside a brain-dead shell for the past 15 years. and the corporate media has a new morbid deathwatch to pursue mercilessly, as the pope is reportedly on his death bed and has received the sacrament of extreme unction (i always thought that was a cool-sounding name, but it's a bad sacrament to receive because it essentially means you're preparing for the possibility of death).

it was a disgusting display to watch, but a couple good things did come out of it:
  • the radical right-wing put on a display so outlandish and shameful that it (along with other trends) is seriously damaging the republican party... many "real" conservatives are disgusted by the crass disposal of actual conservative values such as state's rights, while many evangelicals think bush (gw) and bush (jeb) are traitors for not doing more to save terri, comparing them to pontius pilate and such

  • it inspired many, many people to talk about right-to-die issues, living wills, power of attorney, etc with their loved ones, so that they won't be put through what terri was

  • it inspired an actual good episode of south park (and those are much more rare than they once were, so they are indeed reason to celebrate)

anyway, a lot of people are linking to this eric boehlert article on salon about the schiavo media circus, and with good reason: it's awesome.

It was fitting that reporters were in danger of outnumbering pro-life supporters outside Terri Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., on Thursday morning. When one man began to play the trumpet moments after Schiavo's death was announced at 9:50 a.m., a gaggle of cameramen quickly surrounded him, two or three deep.

Has there ever been a set of protesters so small, so out of proportion, so outnumbered by the press, for a story that had supposedly set off a "furious debate" nationwide? That's how Newsweek.com described the Schiavo story this week. Although it's not clear how a country can have a "furious debate" when two-thirds of its citizens agree on the issue or, in the case of some Schiavo poll questions (i.e., Were Congress and President Bush wrong to intervene?), four out of five Americans agree.

But the "furious debate" angle has been a crucial selling point in the Schiavo story in part because editors and producers could never justify the extraordinary amount of time and resources they set aside for the story if reporters made plain in covering it every day that the issue was being driven by a very small minority who were out of step with the mainstream.

that's just the lead... it's worth sitting through the salon ad to get a day pass for. (or if you adblock it just right, you might be able to get a day pass without actually seeing the ad itself.)

it even included this little tidbit that i hadn't heard before, but that makes the whole situation very clear:
The press also downplayed references to a 2000 trial at which Schiavo's extremely conservative Roman Catholic parents conceded that even if Terri had told them she would never want to be kept alive with a feeding tube, they would not have honored that request (an acknowledgment that goes a long way toward explaining their actions in the case). For the most part, the press portrayed Schiavo's parents, Terry and the hospice protesters as simply being overly concerned and vaguely conservative. And nothing more.

what a sad situation.