Tuesday, July 31, 2007

while i've been gaming...

hello again. did i mention that i love civilization iv: beyond the sword? oh, i did? okay then.

while i've been busy playing video games and eating breakfast sandwiches, a huge flamewar has been brewing between tdw in one corner and the tag-team of gary welsh and melyssa "miss ann" donaghy in the other. the ensuing controversy has not only boosted traffic for both blogs, but also boosted my own traffic as well (despite me not having blogged in nearly a week) as people franticly google for more information on the outspoken dominatrix. (my blog was one of the few indiana blogs to cover melyssa's story; at that time, gary welsh didn't have much use for her.)

it all began when tdw dared to suggest that this saturday's "indiana tea party" protest was... well... a bit silly. (not to mention a bit of a stretch, as far as political metaphors go.)

i already said my piece a couple weeks ago about miss ann's role in the recent tax protests, and i stand by what i wrote then. but i would be remiss if i didn't at least mention this latest flamewar, since it has brought me so much traffic in the past couple days.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

breakfast sandwiches

one of the perks (probably the best) of working freelance is making your own hours, so over the months i've managed to revert to my old college schedule: up until 2-3am, sleep until 11 or so.

but no longer. today, virago started her brand-new full-time day job, which is all-around good news, as it means our finances are going to get a lot more solid in the next few weeks. but because she doesn't have a driver's license, i will need to drive her to work every morning until we can move into a new place that is sufficiently close to the bus line that goes by her new office. (shockingly, there actually is a bus that runs by our current apartment, but it only runs once per day... at 11 p.m.! i can't comprehend how or why that is.)

hopefully we'll find a new place and start moving in within a few weeks, so i can go back to sleeping in. but on the bright side, until then i get to sample a bunch of breakfast sandwiches. you see, i love breakfast food. some of it i can make at home, or get at a local pancake house. but generally, fast-food breakfast sandwiches are only available during breakfast hours. (those frozen microwaveable replicas from aunt jemima don't quite compare.)

so normally i never get to eat fast-food breakfast because i'm not awake early enough. but now, if i'm going to be up and driving around at 8:30 anyway, i'm going to eat all the breakfast sandwiches i can get. so far i've just revisited the classics. the other day i stopped at mcdonald's for bacon egg & cheese biscuit and egg mcmuffin—the biscuit was good but the mcmuffin was not as good as i remembered it to be. this morning i stopped by hardee's (where i would generally never go for lunch or dinner, but their breakfasts are good) for another bacon egg & cheese biscuit. that was tasty. for future trips, i'm looking forward to trying the breakfast options at chick-fil-a and arby's. i've never had breakfast from either place. and the breakfasts at while castle promise to be interesting, at least.

so as moving day approaches, things might get pretty quiet here on the blog until we are set up in the new place (with new internet access). another reason i might be away-from-blog is because i just got beyond the sword, the new expansion pack for civilization iv... and so far it's awesome. not only are there great new features, but lots of little things have been tweaked to make the game look and work better than ever. when i bought my copy yesterday, the girl at the gamestop counter mentioned that some other customer had been in the day before looking for the game (when they didn't have it yet), but had decided not to reserve a copy. that person was now screwed, because that store had only received one copy of the game, which i was buying. sucks to be that guy... but there is a best buy down the street where he can go, so i don't feel too bad.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

randall tobias has achieved legendary status!

today's indy star:

Former Eli Lilly and Co. CEO Randall Tobias received warm applause and a hug Friday night during his first public appearance since he resigned from a high-ranking State Department job after being linked to a call-girl ring.

Tobias spoke for seven minutes as he was honored as an Indiana Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society and never mentioned the abrupt ending to his government job in April.

Tobias resigned after his name surfaced in connection with the high-priced Pamela Martin and Associates escort service in Washington. He has said he hired women from the service for massages, not sex.

He was among a group of four people honored on Friday. The others were Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George and musicians Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Sandi Patty.

is randy tobias really in the same league as babyface, tony george, or even sandi patty? certainly many naptown residents would've already known the name tobias, but outside of the area, how many people do you think had never heard of randy tobias before he resigned in embarrassment over his scandalous "massages"?

i wonder what the criteria are for being named a living legend... let's take a look:

Thousands of Hoosiers have made a positive, lasting impression on the State of Indiana, and many of them have been honored for their contributions. The Indiana Historical Society recognizes the importance of honoring individuals who, while they have accomplished much, are still making an impact today and will continue to do so in the future. These special people are chosen to be honored as Indiana Living Legends.

ah, i see. so, by being named in an escort scandal and subsequently resigning in shame, tobias showed that he is "still making an impact today". i'll buy that. (after all, it did generate a lot of discussion in the media and blogosphere.) but i'm not as sure that he "will continue to do so in the future", unless he testifies at the palfrey trial or something.

Friday, July 20, 2007

assessing the tax situation

despite some people's apparent belief that the property tax fiasco is a marion county problem, more counties are now reporting problems. tdw points out problems in northeast indiana. gary points to similar problems in lake county, concluding with this telling paragraph:

Dolan notes that a similar problem cropped up in Lake a couple of years ago and the state wrote the problems off, leaving it to Lake County officials to fix. "The same problems cropped up in Lake County two years ago but were written off by state authorities as the result of government inefficiency, local officials say." "Lake County headed off a similar tax revolt with a circuit breaker that caps an individual's property tax at 2 percent of the gross assessed value."

that sure sounds familiar. (true to form, gary's commenters immediately blame lake county officials.)

governor daniels ordered a new assessment in marion county after his would-be neighbors took to the streets to protest (as in, they would be his neighbors if he could be bothered to live in the governor's mansion). the reassessment might be a good idea, as there were certainly problems with the old assessment (though it creates a number of new technical problems). will the guv follow suit and order new assessments in lake, wabash, whitney, and any other county struck by large tax increases? if he doesn't, he risks sending a message to the rest of the state that he only cares about indianapolis... which is not a good message to send if he wants to be reelected next year.

meanwhile, i think my brain exploded when i read this passage in today's star editorial fellating the guv for finally taking action:

An increase in the income tax for county residents also needs to be revisited. Is there a way to phase in the tax over several years to cover police pensions? Our hope is that Mayor Bart Peterson follows the governor's lead to address issues from the perspective of taxpayers.

not an unreasonable suggestion... until you remember that mayor peterson already suggested raising the county income tax, and that just three days ago, the star attacked that plan as part of a "tax tsunami" caused by corrupt county officials. so on tuesday it was a bad idea that bart should be blamed for; on friday it's a good idea that bart should look into.

doug remains one of the best commentators on this subject, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that he doesn't live anywhere near marion county. and doghouse riley, possibly the best writer in the hoosier blogosphere (despite the fact that he doesn't use nearly enough links), has also been doing a bang-up job. the indy star's news division has also been covering the story as well, though the editorial page should probably be avoided, as they're obviously pretty confused about this topic.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

parts is parts handmade cds!

the first 10 handmade cd copies of parts is parts by animals within animals are now available.

i actually finished making these a month or two ago, but have been waiting until i could get them scanned before posting about it, both for posterity and so that potential buyers can see what they're buying (and select the copy of their choice from the available stock).

this cd release is limited and numbered. each disc is includes fully handmade packaging and a hand-decorated cd face, and is signed by the artist (in this case, me, but other members will someday make their own). cost for this first run is $10 each.

disc #10 has already been claimed, but discs #1-#9 are now available. check out the flickr set to see all the designs, and contact me to reserve your favorite... before someone else buys it!

how to "balance" a budget

since property tax bills hit a week or two back, local right-wingers have been screaming as loud as they can about the need to cut spending. (of course, at the same time, they've been demanding massive spending increases for public safety, which they also do not see as a contradiction.)

but as doug has discovered, governor daniels has come up with the best method ever for cutting spending... simply refusing to pay your bills! this method of budgeting is awesome because you still get all the stuff you want; you just don't have to pay for it! doug shows us how it works:

Let me make sure I understand this. For many, many years, the State recognized that it imposed numerous burdens on local governments without giving those governments sufficient taxing flexibility. This recognition came in the form of the property tax relief credit and the homestead credit — these State subsidies reduced property taxes. Then, in 2005 and 2007, these credits were reduced by the General Assembly, effectively balancing the State budget on the backs of the counties. Reduction of these credits is a significant part of the huge property tax increases. So now we find out the State is projecting a billion dollar surplus.

This is not a case of those dumb counties outspending their means only to have their hand out when the fiscally responsible State has a surplus. Nope, these jacked up property taxes are directly related to the State surplus. If the State had not reduced the property tax replacement and homestead credit, the surplus would be less and so would the necessary property tax increases.

I could run a surplus too if I had the power to stop paying for the the things I demand.

that's brilliant! (if you read the article touting the massive surplus, you discover that about 4/5 of that surplus can't be spent, which further demonstrates the budgeting acument of our governor.)

then, when local governments were forced to raise taxes to make up for the bills the state wouldn't pay, the guv insisted that runaway local spending was the real problem. funny enough, some people believed him, even people who should know better, like the star ed board, who ran an editorial today effectively blaming all of the state's tax woes on local governments. which is not to say that the editorial doesn't include some good ideas for how to streamline local governments, only that the ed board seems to be ignoring the paper's own news reporting to come to the oversimplified conclusion that "Tax hikes are the result of neglecting reform and public safety."

for example, the editorial repeats the GOP talking point that "pocketbooks will likely take another hit if Peterson succeeds in passing a 65-percent increase in the county option income tax." raising taxes by 65% sure sounds like a lot, and in a manner of speaking it's true, but if you look at the actual numbers (provided conveniently by the star's news page), you get a slightly different picture:

The county income tax rate, which already increased to 1 percent from 0.9 percent on July 1, would rise to 1.65 percent under Peterson's plan. For a person earning $50,000 a year in taxable income, the extra spending would cost an additional $325 a year, bumping the annual total to $825 from $500.

A special provision approved by the legislature this year allows Marion County to raise the income tax by one-half of a percentage point to pay for public safety. But it also requires the county to freeze property tax increases for at least two years for all taxing units in Marion County except schools.

To make up for the lost revenue, the state requires the county to raise income taxes 0.2 percent. This increase, which amounts to about $32 million, must be realized before the 0.4 percent public safety tax increase. The city had originally said 0.5 percent would go to public safety but later realized the property tax freeze would cost more than it originally estimated.

The freeze is expected to increase income taxes by another 0.1 percent in 2009, but it is unclear whether the city will keep the tax unchanged by reducing public safety spending.

The state law also requires a contingency fund of 0.05 percent because income tax collections are not as reliable as property taxes. The total new revenue raised would be more than $100 million, but Marion County must share about 10 percent with townships and other taxing districts.

so bart wants to raise taxes from 1% to 1.65%, which would mean the average taxpayer would pay maybe a couple hundred dollars more per year (spread out across the year, so the hypothetical $50,000-earner, if paid bi-weekly, would see each paycheck go down a whopping $13). it is true that .65 is indeed 65% of 1, so calling this a 65% tax increase is not exactly a lie. but you could just as easily call it an increase of .65% (accent on the point), of which .25% is mandated by the state. one can argue that increasing the county income tax is not the appropriate way to deal with the county's property tax problems, but to pretend this would be some gargantuan tax increase is a bit disingenuous. (and is probably even more disingenuous when so-called "fairtax" supporters say it, considering they want to eliminate property taxes altogether and replace them with an even bigger increase in income tax, along with increasing the state sales tax to something like 10%-11%. now that would be a big tax increase.)

and while i'm talking about the star ed board, does anyone know if their expresso blog is dead or merely dreaming? there hasn't been a post on that thing since june 8, which is pretty pathetic for a group blog, especially one where the bloggers are full-time employees who are presumably being paid to, among other things, blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

new mp3: doctor of love

over at my myspace music page, i've posted my first new solo track in more than two years, "doctor of love". i've been focusing on animals within animals material basically since 2004, but now that parts is parts is finally out, i can move on to working on a new solo record. (and yes, i am finished with the first 10 handmade copies of parts is parts; i'm just waiting until i can scan them before i sell them.)

"doctor of love" (along with 2005's "drinking song") are the first two prospective tracks of said new record, tentatively titled wack cylinders. while i haven't been working on solo studio material in years, i have continued to play live gigs, and i've developed a live improvisational style totally unlike anything that's appeared on any of my records. wack cylinders will be an attempt to "albumize" that sound, and will probably contain excerpts from live performances, studio re-creations of live improvisations, and other studio material loosely in that vein.

i've played variations of the material that became "doctor of love" at several shows over the years, with various text samples on top of the reversed singing stuff, but the live versions that got recorded always had some flaw or mistake that i didn't care for. this studio version uses some wrong-headed discussion of gay marriage (including the claim that lesbians choose to be gay because they were abused by men), which seemed appropriate as it came from the same source material where i got the "music" part.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

the three ghosts of property taxes

surely by now, most hoosiers have heard about the property tax fiasco, which has caused property tax increases throughout the state (and some particularly large increases in marion county). these increases have inspired several protests, which have also generated their own coverage.

doug, one of the cooler-headed commenters on this topic, explains how we got here:

The primary reasons for the high increases in property taxes recently are: 1) Elimination of the inventory tax - former inventory tax payers are paying less, so other property tax payers, including residential homeowners have to pay more. Counties were given the ability to implement a County Option Income Tax to offset the inventory tax reduction; basically you replace the revenue with income taxes instead of property taxes; 2) Reduction of the homestead credit and property tax relief credit - state subsidies that took the burden off of property taxes. These credits were provided out of a recognition that the state imposed large burdens on local taxes and also imposed significant restrictions on local taxing powers. These subsidies were reduced in an effort to balance the state budget and, effectively shifted the problem to local government and property tax payers; and 3) Changes in assessment rules - years ago, taxpayers brought a lawsuit arguing that the assessment rules unfairly and artificially underassessed some properties and overassessed others. The Supreme Court agreed and required something resembling market values be used for assessments. As a result the relative tax burdens shifted, with the underassessed property owners having to pay more and the overassessed paying less.

So, generally speaking, the dramatic rise we see in property taxes is less a matter of local government spending gone amok, and more a matter of shifting tax burdens. (You can expect those whose tax burdens went down to keep relatively quiet). Also, in some cases - such as, apparently, Marion County, this already difficult situation was made worse by failure to use available tools, such as the County Option Income Tax.

so there's plenty blame to go around, particularly for the state legislature (past and present) and the governor (who "balanced" the budget by reducing the homestead credit and other tricks to pass costs on down to local governments), as well as for local governments that failed to adequately compensate for the shortcomings of the governor and legislature (not to mention allowing their old tax assessment systems to go into disarray).

at any rate, the property tax issue has reawakened some political ghosts from the past. gary welsh and others speculate that professional gay-hater eric miller plans to run for governor in the republican primary, based largely on a platform of property tax reform. perennial libertarian candidate andrew horning, who switched to the GOP in 2004 after losing too many elections as a libertarian, only to lose yet again as a republican, has come back into the public spotlight as a representative of americans for fair taxation. the "fairtax" folks want to eliminate property taxes (one of the most progressive taxes we have) and replace them with increases in sales tax (one of the most regressive taxes out there) and income tax, which doesn't sound even remotely fair to me.

but possibly the most surprising figure to reemerge as part of the property tax debate is melyssa "miss ann" donaghy, the mkna dominatrix who publicly feuded with the mayor back in 2005. miss ann had been quiet: her blog, which she started last summer, hasn't had a post since january, and the front page of her website currently returns a blank white screen. (but the other documents still seem to be there if you know where to look.)

i first noticed miss ann was involved when i read this comment at advance indiana, where she claims to be one of the organizers of the july 4th protest in front of the governor's (non)residence. while i was a bit puzzled by the comment (more on that in a moment), i didn't post about it because i didn't want to write some sensationalist post about "dominatrix organizes protests!" i figured, she deserves her privacy and should be able to be politically active without her past(?) as a dominatrix coming into it.

however, now the star's tim evans has done it for me:

[Eric Miller's] background and approach are a far cry from those of Melyssa Donaghy, a dominatrix who has tangled with city officials over the alleged activities that took place in the basement "dungeon" of her Meridian Kessler home.

Donaghy, who is associated with Hoosiers for Fair Taxation, has whipped up support for the protests through e-mail messages and blog postings. She also pedaled a bicycle around her neighborhood, knocking on doors and talking to anyone willing to listen.

"Melyssa did a lot of work to get this ball rolling," said Andy Horning, who ran for mayor and governor as a Libertarian, then ran for Congress as a Republican. Horning has also been active in the anti-property tax movement.

Donaghy did not return a call Friday from The Indianapolis Star but has sent the newspaper notices about rallies.

Miller said he has been in communication with members of Hoosiers for Fair Taxation but said he had not met Donaghy and was not aware of her background.

i'm not going to criticize tim evans for writing the story, because when a moralistic high-falutin' fusspot like miller becomes somehow associated with a professional dominatrix, it's good to call up that fusspot and get a comment. but i will say that i'm glad i wasn't the one who broke this story.

anyway, getting back to that comment miss ann left over at AI. miss ann has good reason hold a grudge against mayor peterson, considering that the mayor held a press conference back in 2005 to brag about shutting down her business. i'd probably still be pissed if he did that to me, too. but i have to wonder whether that grudge might be tainting her opinion on this subject. note how she fawns over governor daniels and hisses at mayor peterson:

I appreciated the message from Governor Daniels that we picked the appropriate day to hold the event. I also hope our Governor understands we picked the Governor's Mansion because it is the symbolic home of Indiana and it is our very homes that are being threatened by Peterson's runaway spending and inefficiency.

We came to the Governor because we believe he cares and will be moved when he sees the will of The People for the Indiana Fair Tax. We also know the Governor has the wearwithall to push hard agendas forward.

The next event is the city council public hearing on July 16 at 5:30. You can get the ball rolling now by contacting your council persons to demand that they vote against Bart Peterson's Income Tax hike and by voting AGAINST Peterson at the next election.

If our council persons were on the ball they would be pushing a proposal to do a thorough audit of city-county government STARTING with the wasteful and expensive political agendas of Bart Peterson.

if anything governor daniels is more responsible than mayor peterson for helping cause the property tax increases. (to be sure, mayor peterson could have done more to work with fellow democrats in marion county to fix up the assessment system and prevent property taxes from going up as much as they did, but he still would only have been reacting to tax increases forced upon him by the state. the mayor does deserve some of the blame, but he's at best third or fourth in line for responsibility for this mess.) yet miss ann & friends "believe" the governor "cares and will be moved when he sees the will of The People for the Indiana Fair Tax". (it goes without saying that they do not believe mayor peterson cares.) and even though this is a statewide problem, the way to "get the ball rolling" to fix it is by opposing peterson plans and "by voting AGAINST Peterson at the next election." somehow i don't think that will help the people in elkhart or switzerland counties.

but most puzzling of all is the claim that they chose to protest in front of the governor's mansion not because people are angry at the governor (heavens no!), but simply "because it is the symbolic home of Indiana and it is our very homes that are being threatened by Peterson's runaway spending and inefficiency."

it seems to me that if you want to protest the mayor but not the governor, maybe you should go, say, someplace associated with the mayor. at least go downtown and protest at the circle (which protestors will do tomorrow, after 2-3 protests at the governor's [non]residence). of course, signs say that hoosiers are angry with the governor... and they're also angry with the legislature, local officials, and the business community, who all contributed to the problem in their own way. these are turbulent times, but i'm not convinced that the mayor's reelection is in peril.

Friday, July 13, 2007

things i'm psyched about part 3

beyond the sword, the new expansion for my favorite video game, civilization iv, is coming out on july 23rd. (unfortunately this isn't a "hard" release date like in some other industries, so it probably won't actually show up in local stores until the 24th or 25th.)

beyond the sword is supposed to be the largest civ expansion ever, and boasts as assload of new features as well as a bunch of scenarios, some of which are supposed to be barely recognizable as civ mods. (i'm really looking forward to trying the "final frontier" scenario.)

the new corporations feature looks interesting, but more importantly, spies and espionage will finally make a proper return to the franchise. (technically, spies do exist standard civ iv, but they're so weak i never even bother with them, which is a shame considering how powerful they were in past versions.)

virago & i have been eagerly awaiting this expansion pack for months, and now we only need to wait a couple more weeks.

black cop, white cop

the DoJ is suing the city for not promoting enough white cops.

Indianapolis officials say they would fight a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit claiming they discriminated against eight white Indianapolis police officers who were passed over for promotions.

The court challenge represents a role reversal for the federal agency. Almost 30 years ago, Justice officials pushed for a court order requiring the city to hire more blacks and minorities.

so in the late '70s, indy had a problem with racial discrimination. but it's all better now:

Two years ago, the Justice Department tried to end the federal monitoring of hiring and promotions in public safety, maintaining the city had made great strides in reducing the gender and race discrimination that existed 30 years ago, when blacks made up 10 percent to 11 percent of the police and fire ranks.

now that discrimination has been ended, i bet we have tons more blacks in those departments, right?

Blacks make up 15 percent of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department; the latest census figures show blacks make up about 21 percent of the city's work force. Women make up about 13 percent of IMPD and about half of the city's work force.

it went up from 11 percent to 15 percent?

free at last! free at last! thank god almighty!

of course, now that we've ended racism and sexism against blacks and women, it's time to turn our attention to the truly oppressed, as the commenters in the star's talkback section explain:

I'm a white male too. It's just part of the struggle of being white male in this society.

Affirmative Action has proven to be a complete failure, as the end result has always resulted in discrimination against one group or another.

The bottom line is that White Males are second class citizens in the US, and yet they are the ones that pay for everything, whether it is paying taxes or shedding blood for foreign occupations, or being displaced from their livelihood through corrupt/incompetent government policies and practices, such as outsourcing, H1-B Visas, or Illegal Immigration.

It is time to take this country back, or take it straight into hell!

The discrimination against white males has been going on for 30 years.

thank goodness for the bush administration, standing up for all those poor, oppressed white men.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

hong kong blogger punished for flickring

yesterday, boingboing's xeni jardin posted a blurb about a hong kong blogger who was facing legal troubles for linking to a topless photo:

Interlocals.net founder and inmedia.hk activist Oiwan Lam decided, as an act of electronic civil disobedience, to protest the Obscene Articles Tribunal of the Honk Kong Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) and their classification of articles as obscene for publishing hyperlinks to erotic photography on flickr and other sites. Lam then wrote an essay criticizing the Authority and linking to a tasteful photography found by searching the keywork 'nude' on flickr. The result was a quick response from the TELA, and the classification of the article as a Class II indecent article by the Obscene Articles Tribunal. The maximum penalty is HK$400,000 and 12 months in jail.

today, xeni discovered that photo in question, "(a non-pornographic, artistic nude) was shot and published by none other than Jake Appelbaum, whose work has been blogged here on BoingBoing many times."

to my surprise, i immediately recognized the photo. applebaum's flickr user name is ioerror and i used one of his nudes for my first nude databending experiments. (in fact, the controversial photo and the one i bent were taken the same week.)

applebaum's photostream was apparently rated "unsafe" after flickr's recent policy changes, and he points a finger squarely at yahoo/flickr management for allowing such events to come to pass:

As I understand that statement, it is because of Flickr censoring my account that the tribunal moved forward with their prosecution. A direct result of censorship on Flickrs part. Flickr doesn't like the word censorship but that's just what they're doing.

Let me be clear: Flickr is instituting a global censorship program that allows for regional censorship of photos. As a Flickr user, I was not informed that I fell into such a program or even in fact that such a program existed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

senator vitter caught up in escort scandal

some doubted the significance of the "dc madam" story back in april when it ensnarled prominent hoosier and bush pal randall tobias. but now, another high-profile client has been outed in the press: a US senator.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized Monday night for "a very serious sin in my past" after his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service operated by the so-called "D.C. Madam."

Vitter's spokesman, Joel Digrado, confirmed the statement in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press

Deborah Jeane Palfrey was accused in federal court of racketeering by running a prostitution ring that netted more than $2 million over 13 years, beginning in 1993. She contends, however, that her escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legitimate business.

Vitter, 46, a Republican in his first Senate term, was elected to the Senate in 2004. He represented Louisiana's 1st Congressional District in the House from 1999 to 2004.

Vitter and his wife, Wendy, live in Metairie, La., with their four children.

Palfrey's attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, told the AP, "I'm stunned that someone would be apologizing for this." He said Palfrey had posted the phone numbers of her escort service's clients online Monday, but he did not know whether Vitter's number was among them. Vitter's statement was sent to the AP's New Orleans bureau Monday evening.

Palfrey's Web site contains 20 compressed files of phone records, dating from August 1994 to August 2006. No names are listed, only phone numbers. Palfrey wrote on the Web site that she believed a disk containing the records had been pirated, and wrote that she was posting the records "to thwart any possible distorted version and to ensure the integrity of the information."

though i must wonder, if senator vitter's number is in the records, why didn't brian ross find it back in april? or did ross discover the senator, only to hold back on reporting the revelation for some reason? who else might be on there, only to have been overlooked in this fashion?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

framed glitches

so i ended up applying to be in the VisualFringe show and got accepted. (which is not a major accomplishment in itself; the real test is how many of my pieces actually get hung, whether any are selected for "best of the fringe", and of course whether any of them actually sell.)

entrants are allowed to submit up to three pieces, so i selected shoshone27, acousticmirror17, and turkeyfeathers6. these were not necessarily my first choices (though shoshone27 absolutely was my first choice), as my criteria involved not only which were the best images, but which were of the proper size.

after much deliberation about the proper print size, i eventually opted for 11x14 as being sufficiently large enough to be worthy of framing, but not so huge as to be problematic (like 20x30 would be). so i had to rule out some images that would have been good enough for 8x10 but not quite big enough for 11x14. if i ever do a solo show, i can slip some of those 8x10s in there, too.

but then i also had to factor in aspect ratio. some bends that i otherwise would've chosen wouldn't fit quite right on an 11x14 print, because they use a 2:3 aspect ratio and thus would be more suited to 12x18 prints... but i'd already ruled out 12x18 because it is less standard and thus a bit harder to frame. again, if i ever get that solo show, i'll toss in some 12x18s.

flickr, of course, doesn't offer 11x14s (nor 12x18s for that matter), rudely skipping from 8x10 to 20x30. fortunately, my parents have a costco membership.

VisualFringe begins the first friday in august and runs all month, all along massachusetts avenue.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

things i'm psyched about part 2

mr. west - graduation

if this video and the video for "can't tell me nothing" are any indication, kanye has finally moved on from his signature sound of pitched-up samples from old soul songs. (instead, now he samples from daft punk! in fact, that's them wearing the shiny helmets in the video.) i think that's great, because while it was always obvious the man had talent, all those chipmunky soul samples sure got old after awhile. (if you like that stuff, don't worry, because the kanye imitators won't go away anytime soon.)

kanye has now "graduated" and is going by the name "mr. west", which i'm interpreting as a sign of him progressing from his old ways into some real next-level shiz. i'm prepared to be disappointed when the album actually drops next month, but for now i'm really looking forward to this, as the first two singles off the record have both really surprised me.

things i'm psyched about part 1

M.I.A. - kala

while i have a copy of the 12" single for M.I.A.'s "galang", for some reason i'd never gotten around to checking out her first full-length, arular. that is, until i saw this video for "boyz", the first single from her upcoming second album, which got me all kinds of pumped up. now, arular will have to hold me over until kala comes out next month.

(these videos and more also downloadable from M.I.A.'s site)

Monday, July 02, 2007

perversions of justice: libby goes free

it doesn't matter what you do, if you have the right friends.

President Bush commuted Monday the prison term of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, facing 30 months in prison after a federal court convicted him of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

A commutation is distinct from a pardon, which is a complete eradication of a conviction record -- making it the same as if the person has never been convicted.

Bush has only commuted the jail term which means that the conviction remains on Libby's record and he must still pay a $250,000 fine.

Commutations are rarely granted, says CNN's chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. A commutation is a total right of the president and it cannot be challenged by any attorney or court, he said.

scooter had sought a stay that would've prevented him from having to go to jail while his appeal was pending. the appeals court enthusiastically and unanimously rejected his plea, but that's okay, because scooter's old pal george pulled some strings.

this isn't quite a "get out of jail free" card, as scooter still must pay his quarter-million-dollar fine, but i'm sure paying such an amount won't be a problem for someone like scooter. of course, justice has been obstructed, but the story isn't over quite yet:

But the commutation does nothing to prevent Libby from appealing his conviction. And if the appeal fails or is still in process at the end of Bush's term, there is nothing to prevent the President from granting Libby a full pardon before he leaves office.