1. Rebuilding the inauguration with Photosynth

    jake on 2009.01.28 at 06:17 pm

    This week’s TWiT references an experiment CNN is doing with Microsoft Photosynth. They are piecing together inauguration photos from the crowd. You can now peer through the many eyes on hand for Obama’s swearing in ceremony1.

    Photosynth creates a panorama on steroids. The software pieces together many photos to make an approximate 3D representation. Pretty nifty technology.

    1 Requires Microsoft Silverlight.

    Posted in: Politics · Software · Web

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  2. The Petition to Keep Michael Griffin at NASA

    brian on 2009.01.02 at 12:21 pm

    There is a petition and campaign to encourage President-elect Barack Obama to keep Dr. Michael Griffin on as head of NASA.

    I’d like to add my two cents to this discussion: Michael Griffin should be run out of Washington on a rail. Possibly tarred and feathered.

    The Bush appointee with seven degrees is certainly qualified to run NASA. But Griffin is most known to me, not for his choice to go back to Apollo-style space flight, eschewing reusable spacecraft like the shuttle, but for his choice to ignore the opinions and data of every climatologist and atmospheric scientist that NASA employs and publicly disagrees with the concept of Global Climate Change.

    For that, he’s proven that he should not run the world’s premier science and research organization.

    Read More

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  3. A Good Day for the Internet

    brian on 2008.11.05 at 12:03 pm

    Tuesday, November 4th, Americans participated in a historic election. Record number of voters turned out to vote. When the returns were in, people in cities across the nation took to the streets in celebration, as if their town had just won the World Series.

    But a few other things happened that went almost unnoticed yesterday, that are relevant to our discussion on this blog.

    First, the election of this historic figure, Barack Obama, may not have been possible without today’s Internet. The Internet has played a significant role in at least the last two elections, but this campaign was different. The level of sophistication has reached a threshold level. In technological terms, household and business bandwidth and penetration have increased significantly since 2004. This allowed more people to use the Internet to learn about the candidates, discuss their opinions, like previous years, but more so.

    But this year we had much improved social tools to motivate and organize voters and volunteers. The official campaign website listed no less than 16 social networks they were active on. We had wide-spread text messaging and services like Twitter distributing precisely timed messaging directly to people’s phones. This was the first truly mobile-enabled election in the United States.

    One thing the Obama campaigned used their Twitter account for was notification of live streaming web broadcasts of their candidate’s many speeches. I think this was a key breakthrough for campaigns. Prior to this, it was difficult to see a candidate deliver an uninterrupted, unfiltered, un-sound-bitten speech. In a world of 24-hour new networks, this is the next step.

    Not only did they stream their live speeches, but then they archived them for any-time watching on their site, and they also made excellent use of YouTube as a distribution service. I’m on record for saying I hate the term “Web 2.0” but the things that people lump under that title… almost all of them contributed to the victory of the Obama campaign.

    But the most interesting part is yet to come.

    Mr Obama is a savvy fellow. He knew he had to build upon the groundbreaking technological grassroots (the so-called “netroots”) movement of the 2004 Howard Dean campaign. Luckily, Governor Dean is the current chair of the DNC. The people who backed Governor Dean never stopped developing and helped build Mr. Obama the most effective campaign in American history.

    After this amazing integration of technology and human get-out-the-vote machinery, will an Obama campaign move forward with making the White House more open to citizen involvement? Don’t forget, Sen. Obama was behind the legislation that created a public website that allows citizen to see how the budget is being used.

    Mr. Obama supports net neutrality. Also, Mr. Obama will be the first President with an iPhone.

    Lastly, one other thing remarkable happened yesterday. Broadband in the United States got a huge shot in the arm when the FCC OK’d the Unlicensed Use of Television White Spaces.

    If that means nothing to you now, it will. WiFi makes use of unlicensed radio spectrum to provide wireless, fast Internet in small spaces. The so-called “White Spaces” may have the same effect, except it will cover the same territory of broadcast television signals. That’s huge.

    In all, yesterday was a good day for America, democracy and technology.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events · Technology · Web

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  4. US Paper Currency + The Blind = Discrimination

    jake on 2008.05.23 at 04:31 pm

    Many foreign countries you travel to have paper currency in a multitude of sizes and colors. While the US Treasury has been peppering our bills with color in recent years they have ignored the benefits of size. Different sizes for different denominations helps you find the right bills. Whether you have the gift of sight or not.

    Finally it looks like the courts are going to fix that. The American Council of the Blind has been fighting in court to force a redesign of paper currency. It’s about time.

    Posted in: Design · Politics

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  5. Brian's Endorsement for President of the United States

    brian on 2008.02.04 at 02:58 pm


    Brian’s Political Endorsement Announcement is on his personal blog, North by NorthEast.

    Original art credit, OBEY GIANT Art.

    Posted in: Politics

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  6. Dakar Cancelled over Terror Concerns

    brian on 2008.01.08 at 01:26 am

    This really saddened an otherwise happy day, when I learned the 30th running of the Dakar Rally has been cancelled. The event, formerly known as the Paris-Dakar (but now begins in Portugal instead) is run by the same French organization that conducts le Tour de France and many other major French sports events.
    Map of Dakar Rally 2008
    The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly encouraged the cancellation of the even after the Christmas Eve murder of four French tourists east of the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott. This attack was allegedly perpetrated by “Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghrebin.” Additionally, direct threats to the race itself have been issued by terrorist organizations.

    Sadly, this punishes the fragile economies of the African nations the race passes through greatly. Perhaps this will encourage the citizens of these nations to see how dangerous these organizations are, and will organize against them.

    Posted in: Auto · Politics · Sports

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  7. Our Voting System Sucks

    brian on 2008.01.07 at 12:50 am

    For a long time, it’s been obvious that our voting system (“plurality,” sometimes called “Winner take all”) sucks.

    Proof of this is easy: the 2000 Presidential election, where more Americans wanted someone left of center to lead our country (Nader, Gore) rather than the neo-con George W. Bush. Yet, Bush became our national nightmare.

    It’s un-democratic to say someone should run for elected office just because their supporters would vote for someone else if said candidate did not run. Yet, that is the best we can say about people like Ralph Nader. And that’s just wrong.

    In the United States we use this system almost exclusively, but in other parts of the world, other system are functioning in a more fair manner.

    There’s an excellent interview with author William Poundstone who discusses the options, what is most fair and what our chances are at fixing our broken system

    You simply knowing that there are better systems than our current one, is a good first step.

    Posted in: Politics

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  8. Cable Taking a Chunk out of the FCC?

    brian on 2007.12.13 at 01:12 am

    Just as the FCC was getting close to actually regulating the cable industry, comes a cable-industry backed proposal in Congress to continue to duck their regulation. An F-type Connector for Coaxial Cable is used to connect cable networks to televisions.

    There’s currently a rule that says the FCC can regulate the cable industry when cable is available to 70% of U.S. households and 70% of those households that have the opportunity to subscribe, do.

    Well we’re almost there. Unless (surprise!) a Republican from Tennessee has her say about it. Would it surprise you that she’s received a great deal of money from that industry in her career? Me, neither.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Technology

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  9. Mahmoud the Mouth

    brian on 2007.12.05 at 07:47 pm

    Did you know Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President blogs? At least by his interpretation.

    Does he link to Perez Hilton?

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  10. Addressing Inequities Realistically

    brian on 2007.07.06 at 11:06 pm

    If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world. This task is open-ended. It can never be finished.

    - Bill Gates’ Harvard Commence Address

    I’ve always thought that Bill Gates was a better guy than his business tactics with Microsoft represented. His next career as a philanthropist will give him the opportunity to prove that. I hope he hits it out of the park.

    One thing that will help him is that he’s a realist. It’s sad that the “do the right thing” motivation hasn’t brought mankind to where it needs to be, but perhaps by realigning businesses to serve human needs as well as business goals, we can get over the hump.

    I don’t think human inequity can ever be solved. I believe that there will always be poverty and homelessness. As someone who strongly believes in the lessons of Darwin, I don’t see anyway around this. That said, I still believe that we should work toward equity as if it were an achievable goal, and that a large dent can be made in the problem. Good luck, Bill.

    Posted in: Medicine · Politics

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  11. Olbermann to Bush/Cheney: Resign.

    brian on 2007.07.04 at 12:35 am

    Keith Olbermann on his show, Countdown, this evening calling for the resignation of President Bush and Vice President Cheney

    Keith Olbermann, MSNBC

    A wonderfully stated argument for the resignation of our national leaders who have betrayed the trust of the nation. Text version here.

    PS- Hi, MSNBC? This is 2007 calling. It’s time for embedding of shared video. Even Comedy Central has it. Sheesh. MS? Pathetic.

    Posted in: Politics

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  12. Bush commutes Libby's prison sentence

    brian on 2007.07.02 at 08:51 pm

    Bush commutes Libby’s prison sentence –

    How can the people of our nation visit justice upon the executive branch if they can write themselves get-out-of-jail-free cards? I think the law should be changed so that the executive branch cannot break the law, be convicted by a jury of American citizens, and then simply say “We disagree and you can do nothing about it.”

    This is fascism.

    added: White House Phone number: 202-456-1111

    Posted in: Politics

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  13. Suppot Local FM!

    brian on 2007.06.25 at 10:08 pm

    There’s a bill in Congress to allow low-power FM stations for local broadcasting. If you think that’s a good idea like I do, you can follow the following link to voice your support to your representitives:

    Support Local, Low-Power FM Radio

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics

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  14. 90in of Al Gore

    brian on 2007.05.29 at 10:35 pm

    We could all use a little more Al. And screen space.


    I bet Keynote looks epic on all those liquid crystals. I bet he gets a good deal on them as well. :-)

    Posted in: Apple · Politics

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  15. Rush: Ten Times Worse than Imus

    brian on 2007.04.24 at 11:54 pm

    This is unbelievable.

    If Imus got fired (something I disagreed with), then I guess Rush should be hung?

    Rush Limbaugh plays “Barak the Magic Negro” on his show. Listen for yourself.

    If Rush is not forced off the air, then there really is no justice. Absolutely unacceptable. Imus or no Imus. But certainly with Imus.

    UPDATE: I found out about this very late. This happened prior to Imus, March 19.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  16. The Donald on The Decider

    brian on 2007.03.21 at 10:34 pm

    Well, you can’t say the Donald pulls his punches.

    Read on to see the video clip. (YouTube’s player doesn’t squeeze into our layout!)

    via Delhux.

    Read More

    Posted in: Politics

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  17. John Mayer on NPR

    brian on 2007.03.11 at 12:23 pm

    An excellent and entertaining interview with John Mayer, plus music clips.

    The story’s title is “The Soft Sell,” which sums up Mayer’s thoughts on songs with political leanings for the current pop generation.

    John Mayer, courtesy of NPR

    “Look, demanding somebody do anything in this day and age is not going to fly. Kids don’t even like being talked to like kids anymore, you know. ‘Just give me the option and I’ll think about it.’”

    JM is also a blogger. Oddly enough, you can check out his blog on his website.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  18. Al Franken for U.S. Senate

    brian on 2007.02.15 at 12:29 am

    Al Franken is running for Senate in Minnesota.

    If I could vote for him, I would.

    Watch the video on his site. It is the best introductory video for a politician ever.

    Also, the site is the most attractive “for office” website I’ve seen.

    Posted in: Politics

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  19. If you only see one movie in your lifetime.

    brian on 2007.01.08 at 01:49 am

    “In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.”Roger Ebert

    “There is no controversy about these facts. Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero.” – Al Gore

    It took me until tonight to see this movie, which is available “onDemand” for Comcast cable subscribers for $3.99. I later found out I could have watched in HD for $5.99 The nice thing about onDemand is that I didn’t have to use fossil fuels to get the movie from the store.

    There’s really no reason you can give me that you shouldn’t see this movie, if you haven’t already. Up to and including the fact that the movie is actually entertaining. I’m contemplating buying the DVD and lending it to everyone I know. Would you like to borrow it? Please?

    “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative…your mind will be changed in a nanosecond.” – Roger Friedman of

    Posted in: Environment · Movies · Nature · Politics · Weather

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  20. Cell phones can now be unlocked.

    jake on 2006.11.26 at 09:39 pm

    While a lot of the exemptions are narrow focused and make me sad the cell phone unlocking is a good deal. It’s nice to know that the Librarian of Congress agrees with me.

    “This is a noninfringing activity by the user… The purpose of the software lock appears to be limited to restricting the owner’s use of the mobile handset to support a business model, rather than to protect access to a copyrighted work itself.”

    Starting tomorrow everyone can receive a phone through any carrier and unlock it without fear of repercussion. Once unlocked you can take your phone to another cell provider. Sadly this does not seem to prevent lock in to a network, so Verizon and Sprint could possibly still restrict you in other nefarious ways.

    The absolutely terrible DMCA does not apply to cell phone lock in. Hooray and goodnight!

    Cell phone unlocking legal (for three years) (from Phonescoop)

    Update: Cory’s not as enthusiastic…

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  21. Koppel in Iran

    brian on 2006.11.21 at 02:02 am

    This should be required viewing and I am afraid that being on the Discovery Channel, not a mostly news channel, may limit its exposure, but everyone should watch Ted Koppel’s Iran: Most Dangerous Nation.

    The subtitle, by the way is that is not Ted’s conclusion, and the 2-hour special is his answer.

    You should watch this and see how little you know about Iran.

    Posted in: Politics

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  22. All Politics are Local

    brian on 2006.11.08 at 11:07 pm

    Lots to talk about tonight, the day after our midterm elections.

    By now, it’s pretty clear that America has stepped up with a record turn out for a midterm election to make a statement to those in power:

    “You suck. Now go home.”

    There’s a number of good things that have come as result. The most hateful member of Congress, Rick Santorum has been decisively run out of town.

    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been shown the door by one of his biggest fans, Our Dear Leader, who is now forced to cave into the public’s will. You know, like democracy.

    This reaffirms my faith that I may not have to move to Montana and start my own micronation and matching militia. Of course, now I’ll have to find another use for those 200 black berets with small red stars.

    Locally, my home state has elected its first ever African-American governor, and in landslide fashion. Deval Patrick carried possible definable category, across income levels, with exception to those identifying themselves as strongly conservatives. The only other group that was considered strong for the Republican candidate Kerry Healey was white protestants. The great margin she had with that group was 50%.

    America has awakened. And she has spoken.

    Posted in: Politics

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  23. Obama on OnPoint

    brian on 2006.11.04 at 09:10 pm

    If you missed Senator Barak Obama on NPR’s OnPoint a week or so ago, you can listen to it steaming on that site, or you can download the podcast. But, it’s already down from the iTunes Store (looks like they only keep a limited number of them up there) but it is still available at Odeo.

    It was a good interview.

    Personally, I think it would be a bit premature for Barak to run for President. But if he were the nominee, I’d vote for him, and I think he’d do a fine job. In fact, I strongly hope he does run eventually, but I think he could use another round in Washington, D.C. first.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  24. No fly lists still failing

    jake on 2006.10.21 at 03:35 pm

    Many intelligent people recognize the fact that the security measures put in place at airports are reactionary instead of preventative and lack strength. A recent report by CBS found that the no-fly lists are doing more harm than good. Instead of stopping terrorists, they have so many false positives that everyday citizens are harassed and humilitated every time they arrive at the airport.

    The report found that the list was outdated, incomplete and lacking logic.

    The part that increases my blood pressure the most is the blatent lack of pertinent information. The lists contain only a few pieces of information on each suspected terrorist. So when you see a seventy-eight year old man from Idaho who looks nothing like the thirty-two year old terrorist from a foreign country you’d imagine he wouldn’t be bothered. According to the report he will be singled out and detained for an undetermined amount of time.

    But Cathy Berrick says things are not going well. “So it’s three years later and the program still isn’t fielded,” she says.

    She says an estimated $144 million has been spent on Secure Flight. Asked what taxpayers got for their money, Berrick says “nothing tangible yet.”

    For that amount of time and money you would think they would have the ability to actually create a database of suspected terrorists and keep track of actual relevant data. Leaving the “Robert Johnsons” of the world to fly to Cleveland, on business, in peace.

    Unlikely Terrorists On No Fly List (from Boing Boing)

    Posted in: Politics · Travel

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  25. Olbermann vs Rumsfeld

    brian on 2006.09.02 at 02:48 am

    Wow. Olbermann tears Rumsfeld a new one over Rumsfeld’s speech to the American Legion. Watch the video.

    Posted in: Politics

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  26. Truth about America

    brian on 2006.08.15 at 12:42 pm

    An excellent post from the “Best of Craigslist” on the realities of America. Ripe with citations, too.

    Top 5 Myths About America

    George Washington, the Father of our country, and John Adams (Second President of the USA) CLEARLY stated in the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli: “The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion.”

    Do liberals hate America? No, in fact they care so much about the USA that they fight so aggressively to make it better. They’re not anti-American; they’re just anti-stupidity. Do liberals hate American policies? Sometimes, but only the self-destructive ones that threaten human rights, liberty, democracy, justice, inquiry, excellence and reason— the values that our country was founded upon.

    Posted in: Politics

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  27. Important read: The Military and the Skies on Sept. 11th

    brian on 2006.08.03 at 04:24 am

    9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes is a story by Michael Bronner, an associate producer of the film United 93, in which he recaps the events that occured within the The Northeast Air Defense Sector HQ, based on recently declassified tapes of the event. He painstakingly got hold of the tapes that the military didn’t even give willingly to the 9/11 commission. Strangely enough, Bronner’s take is that the tapes show the military in better light than the testimony they gave in person did.

    Anyhow, you should read it. I think it’s important to know how hard these people worked to try to do anything to protect our country when it was under attack. Unfortunately, lack of proper communications channels, modern equipment and yes, even armed jets (only a handful of armed jets sit ready to defend the home of the \$400 trillion dollar military? this boggles me) worked against these dedicated officers. Being unable to find a passenger jet on 1960’s radar screens only to look up and see it collide with a skyscraper on CNN must be tough for people who also ironically command stealth aircraft and have spy satellites that can read license plates…

    Posted in: Politics

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  28. CurrentTV

    brian on 2006.07.22 at 03:50 am

    Al Gore is everywhere these days. One of his current positions is as founder of CurrentTV, a cable video channel found on many digital cable systems and a website.

    I watched it for the first time for about a half-hour last night, and I must say that I was impressed. It gave the feel of a collection of really well-done video blogs.

    In August 2005 we launched a TV network with content created by, for and with an 18-34 year-old audience. Our unique programming shows young adults what’s going on in their world, in their voice and from their perspective. With a substantial portion of the network’s content provided by our viewers, we’re the first TV network in history whose programming is supplied and selected in part by the very audience who watches it. Current is available in 29 million cable and satellite TV homes.

    Their on screen motion graphics were something to behold. All the edginess of MTV graphics, without out all the tackiness (OK, that’s a little bit of a shot at MTV, some of their stuff is well done. But I like Current’s better) is also something that’s visually impressive, but it could use a little clarity. In general, though, an impressive display all around.

    Something to be aware of.

    Hey, maybe they should hire Amanda Cogdon for some lighter side stuff. Nothing says video blog better than the face of the movement herself… and she’s in need of a West Coast job…

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television · Web

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  29. Today's Dose of Ignorance

    brian on 2006.07.22 at 03:30 am

    As I rode the bus home from work late last night (um, two hours ago) I was sitting behind this middle aged man, who seemed to be leaving work at Sears. He still had his lanyard on. As he sat in the seat in front of mine, I opened up a hardbound copy of Ann Coulter’s newest book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism

    I happened to read a passage over the shoulder of this gentleman, of which he was giggling to himself over. She was making the argument that AIDS is a homosexual disease and “we’re still waiting for that heterosexual outbreak.”

    Hmm, I wonder how many babies are born with AIDS due to being conceived during a homosexual encounter? This last statement makes approximately the same amount of sense as her arguments. There you have it. 1 in 4 people in Africa are clearly people who have homosexual sex. Magic Johnson must have too.


    I just hope the guy was giggling due to the sheer ridiculousness of her argument. I fear that was not the case, however.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  30. Truthiness to Power

    brian on 2006.06.19 at 03:19 am

    Stephen Colbert asks the sponsor of a bill in Congress forcing the display of the Ten Commandments in couthouses, etc. the important questions:

    What better place to display the Ten Commandments than a public building?

    What are the Ten Commandments?

    Click the link for the answers.

    Posted in: Politics

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  31. NPR and PBS under sneak attack again

    brian on 2006.06.08 at 06:31 pm

    Yes, the Republicans are attacking Sesame Street yet again, trying to destroy all funding for the only sound source of media in the country, by trying to axe all funding for NPR and PBS!

    Stand up to these bullies and defend our only unbiased news source!

    Can you imagine a child growing up without Sesame Street?

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  32. Wired Releases AT&T/NSA Whistleblower Information

    jake on 2006.05.22 at 05:28 pm

    Earlier today Wired released the information from former AT&T technician, Mark Klein. This all revolves around the NSA wiretapping debacle and includes a followup to explain.

    Former AT&T technician Mark Klein is the key witness in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s class-action lawsuit against the telecommunications company, which alleges that AT&T cooperated in an illegal National Security Agency domestic surveillance program.

    Why isn’t there more of a fallout for crap like this?

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  33. Utah Democrat uses wiki for promotion

    brian on 2006.05.02 at 04:09 pm

    There’s an interview in Wired News with the Democrat who is looking to unseat the senior Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch (aka, “The Man’s Right-Hand Man”) who is also noted for thinking the global climate crisis is “science-fiction.”

    Additionally, Pete Ashdown actually has a wiki where you can help shape his policy. His best policy is based around his support of transparency in government. Hallelujah.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology · Web

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  34. Careful what you blog

    brian on 2006.04.28 at 09:47 pm

    Lance Dutson was just doing what bloggers do: reporting when they see something stupid. In this case, he thought his home state of Maine was flushing his tax money down the drain with a poor PR campaign for the state’s tourism. Tourism is the number one money maker for the state.

    But apparently that’s not OK with Warren Kremer Paino Advertising , a New York-based ad agency who the State was hired to draft the campaign.

    When Dutson reposted images that were currently viewable for public inspection on the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development website, and critiqued them… that was the final straw, and he was sued by Warren Kremer Paino Advertising claiming defamation, libel, and copyright infringement. To the tune of more than a million dollars.

    Lance is a man who is a web designer and who has a family, and is a self-described “middle of the road” Maine citizen. But if he’s looses, they’ll be in the poor house.

    All because Warren Kremer Paino Advertising is miffed that Lance didn’t like their work.

    I’m going out on a limb here… I don’t like it either .

    Posted in: Politics

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  35. Unbelievable - Bush strikes again

    brian on 2006.04.26 at 12:29 am

    I am besides myself… Bush strikes again! This time, in order to lower gasoline prices… instead of taking to task oil companies… he’s doing them a favor: he’s allowing them to break the law by not adding ethanol to the gas which reduces emissions.

    Do we really think they’ll pass that savings on at the pump? I wouldn’t put my money on it. Why do we have an EPA, when if the President doesn’t like their “science” he can simply repeal it?

    Once more he proves that any situation he can get this country into… he can make worse.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  36. Historians: Bush Worst Ever

    brian on 2006.04.24 at 09:47 pm

    The Worst President in History? One of America’s leading historians assesses George W. Bush

    “George W. Bush’s presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.”

    Posted in: Politics

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  37. Petition: Don't nuke Iran

    brian on 2006.04.12 at 10:38 pm

    Don’t Nuke Iran

    The irony of nuking a country because they may eventually make nuclear weapons and then threaten to use them… is too much for my mind to process.

    Sign the petition.

    Posted in: Politics

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  38. Bush has Nuclear Weapons on the table in Iran

    brian on 2006.04.10 at 12:54 am

    Who’s more dangerous? The leader of Iran, who thinks “Israel should be wiped off the map,” but lacks the firepower to do it (and would have a hell of a fight on its hands if it attempted, seeing that Israel is one of the most militarily advanced countries on the planet and is armed to the teeth). Or the leader of the United States, who is considering a nuclear attack on Iran… ironically to… wait for it… stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons…

    Seymour Hersh, citing sources deep with in the administration’s war planning, reports for the New Yorker:

    One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

    Mr. Hersh also broke the story on Abu Ghraib.

    Is anyone else absolutely scared shitless over what this president will do next? What does he need to do to be impeached?

    Am I being alarmist? I supported the president’s threat of war in the current Iraq debacle, citing its use in prompting a stand down by Hussein’s regime. But then he just blew down the doors anyway, and later we learned he had planned to go in all a long, and long before any of the reasons he cited were actually dreamed up, and long after their rebuke.

    Yes, Iran clearly needs attention. More than Iraq ever needed. And the world has it under a microscope. Countries that are much closer to the ramifications of an aggressive Iran are being much less confrontational, doesn’t that tell us something? Would we be threatening nukes if a strong wind could blow fallout over our borders? Not a chance. And don’t believe for a moment that bunker busters that dig deep into the ground release any less radiation into the environment.

    A nuclear weapon against a nearly unstoppable aggressive empire that had attacked half a continent was an experiment in decisive military action that may have in the end saved more lives than it cost. But, the creators of the bomb itself questioned its use. The ethics of that is still being debated to this day, and beyond, more than 60 years later. What does that tell us?

    “What will 1.2 billion Muslims think the day we attack Iran?”

    We need to stop Bush, and now.

    Posted in: Politics

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  39. Jill Carroll Freed

    jake on 2006.03.30 at 12:17 pm

    Well I haven’t been remotely politial for months. But I just had to point out the fact that Jill Carroll has been free by her captors.

    Jill was captured on January 7^th^ enroute to interview Iraqi politician Adnan al-Dulaimi. Thankfully she has been released.

    Boing Boing has been keeping up to date on this issue for the last couple months.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  40. Biz: break the law, there are no penalties

    brian on 2006.03.19 at 11:41 am

    Good news! If you start a business, and break the law, you don’t need to pay the fines!

    Which, is just great. The Fed is waiting on about \$35Billion in fines, mostly from white collar crime. In many cases, the huge fines announced in press conferences, is whittled down to pennies on the dollar. Yup, that’s a deterrent!

    Is anyone else noticing the continuing trend here? Own a company, you’re in like sin! The current administration is certainly a hospitable host!

    Posted in: Politics

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  41. Bush knew Katrina would breech levees

    brian on 2006.03.02 at 11:46 am

    Contrary to his own public statements (“Who could have predicted…?”), President George Bush knew that the force of Hurricane Katrina would breech New Orleans’ levee system. Last night the AP released previously secret tapes and transcripts where both Bush and Homeland Security were briefed with shocking accuracy of what effect Katrina would have on the Gulf region.

    WASHINGTON – On the eve of Hurricane Katrina’s fateful landfall, President Bush was confident. His homeland security chief appeared relaxed. And warnings of the coming destruction — breached or overrun levees, deaths at the New Orleans Superdome and overwhelming needs for post-storm rescues — were delivered in dramatic terms to all involved. All of it was captured on videotape.The Associated Press obtained the confidential government video and made it public Wednesday, offering Americans their own inside glimpse into the government’s fateful final Katrina preparations after months of fingerpointing and political recriminations.

    “My gut tells me … this is a bad one and a big one,” then-federal disaster chief Michael Brown told the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.

    The president didn’t ask a single question during the briefing but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: “We are fully prepared.”
    —Associated Press via Yahoo!News

    This should serve as evidence that all White House records should be public, and that anything else is an absolute outrage.

    Posted in: Politics

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  42. 2 Seconds with The Corporation

    brian on 2006.03.02 at 01:38 am

    Two second review:

    The Corportation, Documentary.

    Worth every minute of watching.

    This month it was on Comcast OnDemand, via the Sundance Channel. It may have expired today, but check just in case.

    Posted in: Movies · Politics

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  43. NASA's continued censorship

    brian on 2006.02.06 at 05:42 pm

    “A week after NASA’s top climate scientist complained that the space agency’s public-affairs office was trying to silence his statements on global warming, the agency’s administrator, Michael D. Griffin, issued a sharply worded statement yesterday calling for ‘scientific openness’ throughout the agency.”

    “It is not the job of public-affairs officers,” Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency’s 19,000 employees, “to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA’s technical staff.”

    The statement came six days after The New York Times quoted the scientist, James E. Hansen, as saying he was threatened with “dire consequences” if he continued to call for prompt action to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. He and intermediaries in the agency’s 350-member public-affairs staff said the warnings came from White House appointees in NASA headquarters.”

    “Source: New York Times Article”:

    Why does everyday seem more like 1984? Spying on citizens, censorship of the government’s own scientists? Where will it end?

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  44. F* the what now?

    brian on 2005.12.22 at 04:36 pm

    From the father of “Fuck the South” comes a biting sequel, F* Christmas. OK, I’ll admit. I’m not a church-goer, but I just couldn’t actually type it out.

    That didn’t prevent me from reading it. LOL.

    Go forth and read. It’s not an attack on Christians nor Christianity. It’s an attack on the “Oppressed Christians” who live in our cruel secular nation. Good thing they have the ACLU to protect them.

    Oh, wait…

    Posted in: Humor · Politics

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  45. Rejoice

    brian on 2005.12.16 at 04:19 pm

    The Congress has heard us yell, and apparently, it’s starting to sink in.

    Senate Rejects Extensions to the Patriot Act.

    Especially good news on the hells of the NYTimes reporting

    Bush authorized the National Security Agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people inside the United States. Previously, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations.

    Finally, I think we have a chink in the armor of the continuously dangerous Bush Administration.

    Posted in: Politics

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  46. Family Guy, Bathroom privacy, Tim Tom Short, Jon Stewart, How cancer spreads, Ann Coulter at UConn

    jake on 2005.12.08 at 04:11 pm

    Oh baby I have a lot of tabs…

    • How to watch your new Family Guy DVD – Latest DVD for Family Guy has uncensored audio for some episodes.
    • Camera in School Bathroom (from Digg) – Interesting comments over on Digg. Though many are fairly judgemental. The story doesn’t reference location of the camera. It was placed in the bathroom to prevent vandalism supposedly. I can imagine a bunch of places a camera could be put in a boys bathroom in my old high school where you wouldn’t see the users in compromising positions. However, the student should not be suspended and the camera should have been divulged. Students knowing about it would also provide prevention.
    • Tim Tom (from Screenhead) – A wonderful little animated short making the rounds.
    • Jon Stewart Named NSCAA Honorary All-America (from gawker) – Holy crap! Jon Stewart used to play soccer (football) in college?

    Jon Stewart playing soccer many years ago.Before Stewart launched his highly successful comedic career, he played intercollegiate soccer at the College of William and Mary. As a member of The Tribe’s team from 1981 to 1983, he scored 10 goals and was credited with 12 assists for a total of 32 career points. As a senior, he scored William and Mary’s lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Connecticut which helped propel The Tribe to the ECAC title and the school’s second appearance in the NCAA tournament.

    • Scientists discover how cancer spreads (from Digg) – According to some of the comments on Digg it’s “old news.” Either way, it’s one of those things everyone should know about.
    • Coulter’s UConn Invitation Opposed (from Wonkette) – Hooray, students from my alma mater waste a lot of money and don’t actually do anything productive. Who cares if we can have a discussion, lets just scream at her till she goes away!

    Posted in: Television · Science · Politics

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  47. 1000 Executions in the US.

    brian on 2005.12.02 at 10:02 am

    The 1,000 US citizen since 1977 has been executed by his own government. 121 countries around the world have banned state-sactioned executions.

    The top four countries who execute their own citizens are China, Vietnam, Iran, and the United States.

    Additionally, 80% of executions are carried out by southern states. Texas has nearly triple the number of killed citizens, 354, for the next most deadly state, Virginia, 94. South Carolina will be executing its 35th citizen in a few days.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  48. New Legislation in Washington

    brian on 2005.12.02 at 09:29 am

    Two pieces of legislation pending in Washington. We’ll start with the more serious of the two.

    By creating a federal agency shielded from public scrutiny, some lawmakers think they can speed the development and testing of new drugs and vaccines needed to respond to a bioterrorist attack or super-flu pandemic.

    The proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, or BARDA, would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the Senate health committee. “AP report”:

    This is a bad idea. The government that we pay for should be open to our scrutiny.

    Number two, on the lighter side, is a la carte options for cable and satellite television.

    A la carte would allow cable subscribers to pick and pay for individual channels rather than being forced to buy packages. A parent, for example, could pick Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network — and not have to take MTV or other channels they may find objectionable as part of a bundled package. “AP report”:

    This is a good idea. If you buy a house, you’re not forced to take all the furnishings inside. If you go to buy groceries, you’re not forced to take whatever the supermarket puts into the basket. Why should I have to buy five Christian religion channels, 10 foreign language channels, 10 children’s channels, five shopping channels, or anything else I wouldn’t otherwise support? Consumer choice is always a good idea.

    Interesting twist, conservatives in Congress are for the a la carte option. Normally, they would be against anything that tells a business how to do business despite the government’s role of keeping businesses in line. The interest in a la carte for conservatives is seen in the quote above, people who don’t want to see MTV or CNN or anything but religious channels can simply opt out of them.

    Most cable companies (but notably not all) are expectedly against a la carte, stating that it would thin the choices in television programming. I’m tired of the cable companies choosing my programming. I bought a TiVo to filter out all the junk that’s on my TV. But, I refuse to buy the highest, most expensive cable packages just to get the Outdoor Life Network, or Speed Channel. You can keep the religious, foreign and children’s channels… give me the WRC and Le Tour de France. And cut my bill while you’re at it.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Recent Events · Science

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  49. iPod Porn?

    jake on 2005.11.16 at 07:28 pm

    I was kinda upset that I didn’t get to this topic sooner because Techdirt already picked it up. That always seems to happen.

    Now that iPod’s can display video people are starting to discuss what to do when all the smut comes along. There are a few problems with this line of thinking. It’s very alarmist and uneducated.

    However, the ability of parents to monitor is seriously undermined if their children quickly can download adult content onto their iPods and then take it away from the home for easy viewing elsewhere.

    Sure it’s a little easier now, but you could already do this with things like CD’s. And never forget how resourceful kids are. Thirteen year old boys have had hidden stashes of Playboys and VHS tapes of naughty things for years. Of course kids aren’t going to be watching this in school or something. The only thing this adds is now instead of taking a CD to Jimmy’s house, you can bring a device with the display built in.

    Yet, iPods are becoming so ubiquitous and are so small, they are an easy vehicle for bringing pornography into the workplace. Employees discreetly could try to view pornography away from the watch of others. By engaging in such behavior, they often could be distracted from their true work functions, and problematically, they might contribute to an inappropriate and potentially hostile work environment to the extent the iPod porn is seen by others.

    OK, again, we’re just changing the medium in which the content is carried. Sure I have a little screen now but the only thing work can actively prevent you from doing is downloading NSFW material. They could never stop you from viewing it as long as you don’t get caught. A person could just as easily download pornographic material at home and bring it to work on a USB thumb drive.

    Obviously you should not be bringing pornography to work. Well I guess maybe if you work in the porn industry you get a by. But in general, it’s already not allowed, so you shouldn’t do it. But banning a piece of technology just because it could be used in an inappropriate way is ridiculous.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  50. Global Happiness Indicators

    brian on 2005.10.06 at 02:57 pm

    The world looks to Bhutan for leadership when it comes to measuring and increasing the happiness of its citizenry.

    A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom [NYT page will sadly expire]

    Posted in: Politics

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  51. Disasterous

    brian on 2005.09.10 at 01:00 am

    TV Headline Reads:
    (via snopes)

    Related: Kayne West Remixed by “The Legendary K.O.” “Golddigger” goes political with Kayne’s statement “George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People.”:

    OurMedia : George Bush Doesn’t Like Black People Kayne West / The Legendary K.O. MP3 320kbs 3m48sec

    I don’t know if I 100% agree with Kayne’s statement (although I do with his frustration), but his chorus certainly could be “I ain’t sayin’ he’s a golddigger, but he ain’t messin’ with no po’ people…”

    Posted in: Politics

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  52. New Orleans Reaction

    brian on 2005.09.06 at 12:20 pm

    Keith Olbermann speaking on MSNBC in regards to the governmental response to New Orleans. “(Transcript)”:

    Watch it.

    (Thanks, Damien and 1GM)

    Louisiana is a city that is under water. – “Michael Chertoff(Secretary, Dept. of Homeland Defense)”:

    Posted in: Politics

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  53. National Guard Deployments and Katrina Relief

    brian on 2005.08.30 at 01:43 pm

    Despite reports that the National Guard has enough troops to respond to the growing disaster in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina around the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama region, I’d still be much more comfortable if the National Guard was, um, guarding the nation.

    About 35 percent of Louisiana’s National Guardsmen and 37 percent of Mississippi’s have been deployed to Iraq. Shouldn’t we have 100% of our Guard available at home?

    Someone had their email read on CNN yesterday asking if the world would send help to the US, like the US sent to aid Tsunami relief. Whereas I understand where he’s coming from… we send enormous amount of aid to the whole world, more than any other country, and get very little credit for it. However, there are two truths, one, we are the richest country in the world, and we can afford to give. Two, you can’t buy friends. We will be judged by our actions, not our dollars. And the world will look at our actions they don’t like before the ones they’re thankful for. And the world is looking at our actions in Iraq.

    In recent years our National Guard has seen more deployments overseas. I think that’s a role for our full-time military and reserves. The National Guard belongs at home. 100%.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events · Weather

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  54. Judge John Roberts

    brian on 2005.07.20 at 01:05 pm

    Here’s some information on President Bush’s nominee, Judge John Roberts

    • Roberts appears to want to limit the scope of the Endangered Species Act, and in papers he wrote while in law school he supported far-right legal theories about “takings” which would make it almost impossible for the government to enforce most environmental legislation.
    • He opposed clean air rules and worked to help coal companies strip-mine mountaintops.
    • Roberts worked to keep Congress from defending parts of the Voting Rights Act.
    • As a appeals court judge, Roberts ruled that the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to some prisoners of war.
    • Roberts argued that schools should be able to impose religious speech on attendees.
    • Roberts wrote that “Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled.” He also weighed in on behalf of Operation Rescue, a violent anti-abortion group, in a federal case.
    • As a lawyer he argued (and won) the case that stopped some doctors from even discussing abortion.

    If that disturbs you, here’s a petition you can sign to ask your representitives to oppose his nomination as your lifetime proxy on the highest court in the United States. And by the way, since this links to, just to mention, there’s been some talk that MoveOn is some sort of ultra-leftist organization. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Read their stuff and see if it aligns with your own. Don’t let some talking head on the boob-tube tell you what to think.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  55. Private Warriors

    brian on 2005.07.16 at 01:54 am

    I just finished watching an episode of PBS’s Frontline called Private Warriors. It details what’s going on with the Pentagon’s use of contractors in its wars.

    The US has traditionally used contractors to ferry cargo across the world to it, or provide provisions, etc. But never has the government used so many contractors in so many positions. In fact, contractors are the second largest force in Iraq.

    There are tens of thousands of contractors in US war zones right now. Many carrying guns. But none of those gun-toting people have accountability outside of being fired. None of them have the intelligence or communications that soldiers in their positions would have. If someone dies, who is responsible when someone dies? Or kills an Iraqi? And if one of those contractors who is doing a very important security detail decides he wants to go home… can. A soldier cannot just decide to leave his watchtower without repercussion.

    Most importantly however, is the fact that an Iraqi doesn’t know who is a US Soldier representing the citizens of the United States… and who is an unaccountable contractor.

    Clearly there is a place for contractors, but perhaps when we take a look at who we have in there and what they’re doing, that maybe we should reconsider exactly what’s going on over there.

    You can go to PBS’s website and watch the entire episode, free. Well, since PBS is partially funded by your tax dollars, you’ve already paid for it. It’s a great resource and I would hope more of their episodes get archived there.

    Come to think of it… since many in the government are trying to cut the funding of PBS, perhaps they’re doing to good of a job. Get this info before they shut ‘em down.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Recent Events

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  56. Eject KR

    brian on 2005.07.13 at 01:58 am

    If you think exposing an undercover CIA agent as political retribution is wrong, or maybe just treasonous, then perhaps you’d like to Fire Karl Rove.

    Personally, I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg of the unsavory things the current administration participates in as a matter of daily operations. The Bush administration in my opinion makes the Nixon administration look like a pack of Boy Scouts.

    Posted in: Politics

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  57. Live 8 Lives on via iTunes

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 03:45 am

    Only an hour or so into today’s mammoth Live 8 concert, iTunes was posting the Live 8 concert footage, ready for purchase, track by track with all proceeds going towards the Live 8 causes. [ITMS]


    This is absolutely incredible. The DVD will be out in November but the songs are ready to download within hours of their performance. Does anyone doubt this is the future of music distribution?

    Anyone else think maybe AOL should have harnessed their Apple + iTunes connections and perhaps but Apple in charge of all the digital media for today’s event? But I digress…

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Politics

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  58. Live 8 is Over.

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 03:25 am

    I worked today so I had to TiVO the event, and from what I hear, MTV made a commercialized mess of things.

    “The World’s economic model is strangling the poor, now here’s a message from Wal-Mart, sponsored by Viacom.”

    That aside, MTV does deserve some credit when it brings important issues to young people, but man, commercials during a charity concert to help solve African debt seems inappropriate and ironic. This says to the world, “Hi, we’re America and we don’t get it.” I’m pretty sure they didn’t interrupt Farm Aid with commercials.

    When I got in late last night, I pulled up the portion of the concert where the Dave Matthews Band played their set and managed to find two songs. One song they were interviewing some teenaged girls instead of listening to the music. Ugh. I suppose MTV hasn’t been about music in years…

    That said, if you missed it, or if you, like me saw/will see the MTV commercialized and filtered version, you’re in luck.

    AOL will be showing the concerts via its AOL Music OnDemand website for the next 6 weeks. CMT and VH1 Classic will air concert highlights the Sunday featuring artists geared to their audiences. Also, a DVD will be made available from the concerts in November tailored to each country. (hat tip)

    Right now, AOL is looping the rebroadcast, so that means you’ll tune into a streaming Windows Media feed, if you can get a feed working at all. This morning I tuned in to a stream using Safari, but later in the day they were saying Safari was “unavailable” but that I should use Firefox. Except Firefox didn’t work either. During my break at work, we had to Apple technicians trying to tune into the feed with no success. If we couldn’t connect, then we’re guessing pretty much no Mac user was using that feed at the time.

    Things are not without hope however. They also state “Enjoy the looping broadcast of the concert. Come back soon to watch the entire show, song by song, on demand.” Which means, if it’s like the current one-song video of Paul McCartney and U2 performing Sgt. Pepper, then we’ll be in luck: that video was presented in stunning high quality QuickTime. The whole damn thing should have been an MPEG4 stream that anyone could have enjoyed without having to hop through Windows Media hoops. Of course, AOL’s Live 8 streaming today was sponsored by… surprise, surprise… Microsoft Windows…

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  59. Live 8 today

    brian on 2005.07.02 at 02:58 pm

    Live 8 is today. You can watch any of the worldwide concerts online at AOLMusic or MTV and VH1 will be broadcasting a mash up from 12noon till 8pm (EST).

    While enjoying the music, please add your name to the list on and visit the ONE Campaign online and sign the declaration.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  60. Downing Street Memo

    brian on 2005.06.13 at 05:14 pm

    Getting very little news coverage in the United States is this document called the Downing Street Memo. The DSM is a secret British government document detailing information gleaned from the United States during meetings prior to the Iraq War.

    The highlights include…

    The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was “fixed” to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush Administration’s public assurances of “war as a last resort” were at odds with their privately stated intentions.

    When asked, British officials “did not dispute the document’s authenticity.” and a senior American official has described it as “absolutely accurate.” Yet the Bush administration continues to simultaneously sidestep the issue while attempting to cast doubt on the memo’s authenticity.

    Go check it out.

    Posted in: Politics

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  61. Community Networks Under Attack

    brian on 2005.06.12 at 09:54 pm

    A bill just introduced in Congress would take away the right of cities
    and towns across the country to provide citizens with universal,
    low-cost Internet access.

    Giant cable and telephone companies don’t want any competition — which
    might actually force them to offer lower prices, higher speeds and
    service to rural and urban areas.

    U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) — a former telephone company
    executive — has introduced a bill (HR 2726) that would let cable and
    telecom companies shut down municipal and community efforts to offer
    broadband services.

    You can stop this outrageous bill. Send a message to your representative now.

    Read More

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  62. Our administration needs to stop screwing with science

    jake on 2005.06.08 at 06:25 pm

    We’ve already heard a bunch of times about how our government is setting us back by manipulating facts. So much for our freedoms.

    Philip Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, made changes to descriptions of climate research that had already been approved by government scientists and their supervisors, the newspaper said, citing internal documents.

    Update: Wonkette has a little more on the subject. Accompanied with a lovely quote…

    Original scientist version: “Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change.”

    Same version after a cool blast of Cooney: “Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change.”

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  63. Republicans Attempt to Break Congress

    brian on 2005.05.22 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve tried to keep politics to a minimum here, save for the truly horrific. This is truly horrific.

    The Republicans are attempting to change the way Congress works by removing the long standing “filibuster.” Quite simply, the Democrats are going to filibuster to right-wing extremist judicial nominees, and the Republicans don’t appreciate that they do not have the power to work around a filibuster. So since they can’t play by the rules, they are attempting to change them, with a tactic they call “The Nuclear Option.”

    What can you do to prevent the Republicans from breaking our important system of checks and balances? Write your Congressperson! Here’s a link to a petition where you may state your opposition to the nuclear option, and it will be hand delivered to the appropriate parties. Do not wait. The vote is Tuesday May 24th.

    Act now.

    Posted in: Politics

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  64. US Universal Health Coverage GOOD For Business

    brian on 2005.05.02 at 12:32 am

    I was just reading through Matt Haughey’s feed and found he shares a sentiment that I concur with, and have for a long time:

    I’ve also long believed if we could offer healthcare for all in the US, the explosion of creativity and entrepreneurism could have the potential to pay for it. I know many smart, motivated people filled with ideas that work boring jobs just so they can have healthcare for their family. Who knows how many business ideas, technology applications, and clever inventions are going to never see the light of day because their creators waste away at a desk somewhere. In that respect I see universal healthcare as good for business, since small business owners are off the hook for paying for it and everyone with a good idea won’t be terrified of leaving their job behind to pursue their dreams.

    Amen. How much easier would working for yourself be? America is a simmering pot of creativity. This would let it finally boil over…

    Posted in: Politics

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  65. Boycott ANWR Oil

    brian on 2005.04.16 at 02:13 am

    More news on ANWR. I have signed up for California Senator Barbara Boxer’s ANWR Oil Boycott.

    Now, really, it’ll be nearly impossible to tell if one company drills there, if the gas you’re buying from another company didn’t come from there anyhow, since oil is a commodity bought and sold. Or I might buy a pair of fleece socks that were made from the oil from the refuge. I’ll never know. But I think it’s the sentiment. If it’s Exxon let’s say, I’d be happy to simple go across the street to the competition.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  66. More and More Everyday

    brian on 2005.04.01 at 01:36 am

    More and more everyday our country is being silenced by its GOP leaders. It’s come to the point where young Americans who disagree with their President are identified and removed from public events where the President will speak, prior to the event.

    The un-American actions of the Republican party have been also documented in the Denver Post.

    The President is even embarrassing us overseas, as the Guardian reports the same un-American conduct even to one of our last allies in Britain.

    Why isn’t this front page news, or leading the nightly network news broadcasts?

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  67. Torturers Even Disgusted

    brian on 2005.03.17 at 01:13 pm

    I’ve refrained in recent months from posting a lot of political commentary here, because it was simply making me angry. I wanted our blog to be a more upbeat place. Well, after reading a piece in the Boston Globe, I must break my vow of silence.

    It seems that things are getting so bad at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, that the Navy wanted to pull out of all involvement with the interrogation proceedings. Earlier, the FBI had similar concerns. This is an outrage.

    How many year can you torture someone, and continue to get new and current and pertinent information out of someone you’ve had in detention for several years? Does this make sense to anyone?

    And all of this leads me to ask, has there ever been an administration in our White House more criminal than the current? I mean George II is beginning to make Nixon look like a Teddy Bear. And that analogy makes the bear’s name sake, Theodore Roosevelt (the greatest Republican president) simply roll over in his grave.

    This President is leading this country down the road of international ruin.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  68. ClearPlay is on the road to becoming legal

    jake on 2005.03.09 at 01:38 pm

    Engadget has a little post about ClearPlay. Hollywood wasn’t too happy that consumers could edit out objectionable content from their DVD’s. Again, I would not buy such a product, but if others want to then it should not be a problem.

    Too bad this didn’t go further and stop all this junk about skipping over commercials. I record a TV show, I should be able to edit out commercials when I view it. If Tivo can do it for me without me having to manually edit an mpeg file then even better.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Technology

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  69. Bikes in the Wilderness

    brian on 2005.02.19 at 11:25 pm

    If you’re not up on US environmental law, you may be surprised to hear that although mountain bikes are allowed in the nation’s crown jewels of public lands, National Parks (albeit not on singletrack or hiking trails), mountain bikes are banned from national lands that are regarded as Wilderness.

    The short reason is that the current keepers of the wilderness, a number governing authorities including National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service, anyone else… are currently interpreting the 1964 Wilderness Act where it says it prohibits “all forms of mechanical transport” as including human-powered bicycles.

    In the 60s there were no bicycles rugged enough to ride on non-maintained roads. The term “mechanized” meant powered by non-human, non-natural engines (a mechanized division in the Army would be a division of tanks and trucks, etc).

    However, it seems that now that there are bikes that can operate on the existing trails and roads, they are collateral damage in the protection of our nation’s wild lands.

    One man has written a legal brief on the situation and argues that it was the act’s original intent to allow bikes in the wilderness. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Mr. Stroll.

    Posted in: Bicycle · Politics · Science

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  70. Stewart on Blogging and Josh Gannon

    brian on 2005.02.19 at 10:45 pm

    1. Watch Jon Stewart on Blogging
    2. Laugh ass off.

    Posted in: Humor · Media · Politics · Television · Web

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  71. Problems with the current Stem Cell Lines

    jake on 2005.01.24 at 06:54 pm

    I’m sure you’ve all heard about how the current Administration views stem cells and the “problems with their “science.. To summarize, although there are points to be made on both sides, they would have you think that to gather stem cells we’re massacring babies. Not quite true.

    Now to add to the problem, some of the methods used to grow the current cells and use them for development could be contaminating them.

    When embryonic stem cells are added to serum from human blood, antibodies stick to the cells. This suggests the cells are seen as foreign, and that transplanting them into the body would trigger the immune system to reject them.

    The administration still hasn’t gotten its head out of its ass on this issue.

    From: Wired

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  72. Weaken U.S. Endangered Species Law?

    jake on 2005.01.10 at 07:47 pm

    Although not all laws are perfect, I find it troubling that a bunch of greedy assholes are interested in damaging the U.S. Endangered Species Law. It might benefit from some tweaking, but naturally big industries want to damage its effectiveness.

    But Ralph Morgenweck, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, argues that rules are strict because a species is not listed until it is at death’s door. “The species are in bad shape. They didn’t get that way overnight and it will not go in the other direction overnight,” he said.

    Posted in: Politics

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  73. Track Your Government

    brian on 2005.01.09 at 02:05 pm

    I’m surprised that it took so long for someone to build such a tool, but at last has come, allowing you to keep tabs on your representative. Thanks so much to Joshua Tauberer for doing this. Your country will be grateful.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  74. US Voting Facts

    brian on 2005.01.04 at 05:41 pm

    Just in case you were wondering, people are still investigating the presidential voting. There’s plenty of reasons why they are doing that. . Sketchy indeed.

    Posted in: Politics

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  75. Rein in the Vote

    brian on 2004.12.30 at 12:38 am

    Lisa Rein is the web’s source for information on the 2004 National Voting Debacle. This link has a very thorough fleshing out of what’s going on.

    Posted in: Politics

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  76. Benefits found in simple antibiotic for poor HIV patients

    jake on 2004.11.19 at 01:22 pm

    Helping suffering people in need is a very good thing. The drug, co-trimoxazole, “costs less than 10 cents per person a day.”

    I find it terrible that education in developing countries is still lacking. Hell I find that education is lacking everywhere. The numbers of HIV infected people even here in the US declined during the 90’s.

    Now that education is heading toward, just say no, without a lot of education, the rates are going back up again. Moving away from safe sex education toward no sex education is naive and ineffective. Kids are gonna have sex, just like their tight ass, right wing parents did in the back seat of a car. All you can do is tell them the truth and give them condoms and hope that you didn’t screw up being a parent. They need a reason not to have sex once hormones kick in. And “because I said so” or “because you’ll go to hell” doesn’t count.

    But a little more to the point of the original article, education needs to be spread in developing countries also. I viewed a show on HBO in 2003 (You can buy the DVD or a book about it too) where it was made clear that many of the sick are carted off like the Lepers of old and basically feared out of ignorance. Anyone remember Philidelphia?

    Let’s hope that the rest of the world can lead the spread of information since our government is so adament about supressing it.

    Posted in: Medicine · Politics

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  77. Change the Tone

    brian on 2004.11.14 at 10:58 pm

    One of the things I love about NetNewsWire's beta is that it shows you what has changed in a feed if it's altered from its original form. For example, on Yahoo! News Presidential Politics AP feed, it posted this excerpt:

    AP - Nearly two weeks after John Kerry conceded the election and President Bush laid out his agenda, New Mexico has not finished counting its votes.

    But that was pulled and replaced with...

    AP - Nearly two weeks after John Kerry conceded the election and President Bush laid out his agenda, New Mexico is among several states that have yet to determine the winner's margin of victory

    What does that say about the Associated Press's editorial process?

    It adds clarity about the number of states in which voting issues remain. But, in the first one, whereas the blurb is very politics neutral, what do you think of the second one? In my opinion, it goes from neutral, to pro-Republican, because it seems to reinforce the message that "despite the serious and widespread questions left about the recent voting process, we should realize that all this work is just solidifying that Bush is your legitimate leader, there's no chance that these irregularities could have helped him in a significant way... or even tipped the scales towards him, even if the many of irregularities that occurred, happened in traditionally liberal districts, like minority communities."

    What's it say to you?

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Technology

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  78. Internet Politics

    brian on 2004.11.14 at 09:10 pm

    There's an awesome story about the Net effect on politics, written by Micah Sifry at The Nation.

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  79. Fix Voting

    brian on 2004.11.10 at 01:55 pm

    On top of my repeated pleas for instant runoff voting, I also endorse these voting reforms in this NYTimes editorial.

    Posted in: Politics

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  80. The Bush/Cheney Mandate

    brian on 2004.11.04 at 09:32 pm

    The Vice President –

    "President George W. Bush won the greatest number of popular votes of any presidential candidate in history," marveled Vice President Dick Cheney while introducing his boss. "President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation's future, and the nation responded by giving him a mandate." (Via Washington Times)

    He forgot to mention that more people voted against the President than any incumbent in history. Does 55,435,808 votes for Kerry (and add in all the third party votes here) sound like a country asking for a more extreme, radical right-wing agenda than we've endured for the last four years? I think not. Will it stop them? Obviously not.

    Posted in: Politics

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  81. Someone thinks Kerry won.

    brian on 2004.11.04 at 03:50 pm

    I was waiting for this. Greg Palast has written an article that says Kerry votes have been thrown out in OH, and NM in significant enough numbers to effect the outcome of the election. Take it as you will.

    Posted in: Politics

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  82. Electoral Maps

    brian on 2004.11.04 at 03:03 pm

    A Red/Blue breakdown map of the US in the 2004 Presidential ElectionA lot of people are linking to this map in USA today, showing a red/blue breakdown of the country by county. I have a different take on it.

    This is the USA Today page from where the map comes from. I'm not sure what grey means. Note that the blue is where all the population is. Look at New York State, for instance. Easily blue, is in fact mostly red, 'cept a few university counties (center: Colgate, Ithica, Binghampton Syracuse), and NYC, which is hard to see in this graphic, because its geographically small, but people are stacked up on top of each other.

    Also, check out the one county of Idaho that went to Kerry – that's where Sun Valley is, where he has a home. Also, I've noticed that a lot of the scattered blue counties are near things like National Parks (Glacier in Montana, Yellowstone in WY, Grand Canyon in AZ, Black Hill of SD, Voyageurs in Minn, Isle Royal in the Upper Penninsula in Michigan). Is that not fascinating? Wouldn't these people know what's best for the environment?

    Posted in: Politics

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  83. Some more shockwaves from Nov. 2nd

    jake on 2004.11.04 at 12:18 pm

    I'd like to add a few more bullets modeled after Brian's.

    Posted in: Politics

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  84. Three More Things

    brian on 2004.11.03 at 09:54 pm

    • Dan Gillmor on the Next Four Years
    • Dave Weinberger on progressive problem points
    • I don’t think Hillary is going to appeal to the red states in 2008, or perhaps ever. The Dems want so desperately to recreate the Bill Clinton years, that they’re living in the past. The Democrats need desperately to rebuild and move on from the Clinton years. They need to look for new stars. Politics as usual will be beaten by the Republicans, they play the game better. The game must be fundamentally changed, and Dean was right to start sniffing up that tree…

    Posted in: Politics

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  85. Post Mortum

    brian on 2004.11.03 at 09:47 pm

    We're dead for another four years. All I heard today from my friends here in Massachusetts (an American State, despite what our president insinuates) was "What happened?" "What's wrong with America?"

    Well, here are some points.

    • Kerry didn't successfully differentiate himself from George Bush to the disinterested crowd. As read elsewhere, a political scientist and an illiterate backward hick have the same voting power in the US (and the hick's got more if he lives in the right state), so a candidate has to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Kerry is nuanced, and thus a nuisance to those who don't like think hard.
    • Terry McAuliffe sucks. He might as well be a Republican. Howard Dean is the only man who should be hired to chair the DNC. He's the only one with any resolve in the party. I want my country back, and there's little difference between the DNC and RNC right now, save that the RNC are organized and know how to win. They both play dirty, and I can't stand the thought of associating myself with either of them.
    • Americans are bigots. I used to think that we had moved on, but hatred and fear still rule the day in America. Case in point: how many states voted to discriminate against citizens upon sexual preference? Can someone please tell me how a gay couple effects my hetero life in the least?
    • Fear.
    • Ignorance. This speaks directly towards those who ignore the encroachments on their civil liberties in the name of security. Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither.
    • Isolationism. Notice, with the exception of Florida (whose international politics are unique and the president's brother runs the show), all the states in the US who have significant contact with people from the rest of the world voted for Kerry. Notice these states are also the ones which make the majority of the GDP. The rest of the country wants to live in a bubble (PS- its us on the coasts that get attacked, while you vote to provoke more attacks– It'd be fine by me if they'd just start leveling buildings in Nebraska), and live off our dime.
    • Minutes after Kerry conceded, the White House asked Congress to allow the country to take on more debt, so the President can spend some more money we don't have. Who cares, he'll be dead while I'm paying it off.

    Posted in: Politics

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  86. Dems: Don't give in!!

    brian on 2004.11.03 at 09:27 am

    Note to Kerry: Let this ride out, do not concede!! We don't need to have a President until January. COUNT EVERY VOTE. Fight! America won't fall apart if we don't know who the next President is for a month or two.

    UPDATE: They capitulated. Sissies.

    Posted in: Politics

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  87. Bush's Resume

    brian on 2004.11.02 at 12:00 pm

    My friend Hux is hosting our president's resume and advertising it on his away message. Now he has a lot of people on his buddy list, but I'll link it here so a few more people may be able to see it, and perhaps even Google...

    President George W. Bush's Resume Highlights follow…

    I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

    I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

    I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

    I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

    I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

    Posted in: Politics

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  88. Election Morning

    brian on 2004.11.02 at 11:10 am

    Amanda and Brian Vote in Brookline, MAIt's Election day morning in Brookline, and I got up early to go vote with Amanda when the polls opened. It's safe to say that we voted for the candidate who lives only about 2 miles or so from us.

    Here are a few pictures. The first is Amanda and I at the polls, waiting in line, maybe about 20 minutes or so. Amanda will likely hate her half of the picture. Notice I am wearing a Red Sox hat. This is for two reasons: one, Kerry is a Sox fan, and the Sox have had good luck this year. Two, because if the Sox can win the World Series, anything can happen.

    Just after the polls open there was a 25 minute waitIn precinct one in Brookline, you vote at a Wheelock College building at 43 Hawes Street (one block off of Beacon St.).

    Incidentally, today (Tuesday) is trash day in my neighborhood. How appropriate.

    Oh, and sadly, my precinct was one of only two in Brookline not voting on whether to resist the USA Patriot Act. I would have liked to register my opinion on that particular topic!

    Posted in: Politics

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  89. Internet Vets for Truth

    brian on 2004.10.30 at 01:25 am

    Videos to inform your voting on Tuesday, November 2.

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  90. Kerry Endorsements from Unlikely Sources

    brian on 2004.10.29 at 01:38 am

    Jesse Ventura, former Independent Minnesota Governor, has endorsed John Kerry for President.

    The Economist Has Endorsed John Kerry For President.

    Posted in: Politics

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  91. Mosh: Eminem's Not-Your-Average PSA

    brian on 2004.10.28 at 11:29 am

    Eminem has released "Mosh" and song and video about the upcoming election, and choices our country faces. Very good. Here's a torrent to the QuickTime video.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  92. Links I've been reading

    brian on 2004.10.27 at 11:47 am

    With a minimum of comment:

    Stern corners FCC's Powell on live radio

    Farenheight 911 available for download, per MM's wishes.

    Unofficial Democratic Attack Ads.

    Posted in: Politics

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  93. Chronicling Republicans for Kerry

    brian on 2004.10.22 at 03:35 am

    Republican Switchers aren't people giving up on their core values, but are giving up on their President as their elected representative. It has always boggled me that despite all the non-conservative things this president does (rack up enormous deficits, destroy civil liberties, lack of conservation of the environment, adding governmental agencies and complexities) that self-proclaimed conservatives still suck it up and say "he's got integrity." He's got balls, alright. That's what it takes to stick up for your own interests in the face of your party's ideals...

    Posted in: Politics

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  94. Gutsy Editorial from Crawford, TX

    brian on 2004.10.21 at 04:56 pm

    You may have heard that GWB's hometown paper has endorsed John Kerry for President. This week they wrote a follow up editorial on the reaction they've received. Apparently, their staff are receiving threats of bodily harm because of their editor's views. Classy. You can read all of the letters sent to the editors on their site.

    Posted in: Politics

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  95. Political Comment Spamming Strikes Us!

    brian on 2004.10.21 at 03:01 pm

    Karl Rove's rogue mobs are attacking our site. One of his foot soldiers has made it to our little, Google-friendly blog. He cuts and pastes pre-made (probably not by himself, even) propaganda and posts it on totally unrelated blog posts, and then signs the huge, long thing:

    Richard Stewart
    22517 Winchester Dr
    Elkhart, IN 46514

    He's posted (and we'll delete) in "NPR and web standards" and "FOX News sues Franken".

    I've emailed him the following:

    Stop comment-spamming us. You're type of comment spam is the most un-American type. Ever heard of freedom of speech? You have an opinion? Start your own weak-minded, Google friendly blog, and stop fucking with ours.

    What do you think? Leave a legit comment below. We never delete on-topic comments, even if we disagree with them. See our Livestrong bracelet barter thread for proof. (FYI currently 3rd on Google for "livestrong band")

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  96. Jon Stewart on CNN's Crossfire

    brian on 2004.10.19 at 02:54 pm

    If you haven't seen Jon Stewart telling the Crossfire shmucks 'what's up' then you should really go do that.

    Lisa Rein has QuickTimes, points to WMVs, and a BitTorrent link to boot (fastest).

    Download now. Rumor has it (via BB [see also]) that more people have seen this video than who watched it live on CNN. That's where the internet is going, damnit!

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  97. Build Your Own Conspiracy

    brian on 2004.10.19 at 12:11 pm

    A compelling argument. Decide for yourself, where did Flight 77 go?

    Posted in: Politics

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  98. Flip-Flop? Part II

    brian on 2004.10.09 at 04:38 pm

    The autumn 2004 collection of flip-flops. A must read. Very Funny, and educational to boot.

    [by Aaron Eiseman]

    Posted in: Politics

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  99. Kerry Wins Again

    brian on 2004.10.09 at 04:20 pm

    Clearly, once more the man who has substance to his views trounced the incumbent President last night in the second of the three Presidential debates.

    How can undecideds look at these two and not see a compelling difference?

    Kerry names names and quotes them, and speaks in specifics.

    Bush says things like "It's hard work." Pauses, cracks a joke, pauses, pauses, and asks if his time is up. The President has no substance. He simply cannot compete when there is some else on the stage to challenge his vague half-truths, and misleading statements.

    In contrast, to see the President in person at a campaign rally, you must sign a loyalty oath... not to jeer, hold negative signs, nor doubt your leader. Want to ask a question? They'd be happy to provide you with one, for which the President will have a canned answer ready.

    Kerry lets anyone in. He'll even speak directly to a protester! Gasp!

    That's our election in a nutshell. Either you're one of the President's people, or you don't exist. Of course, you do have a viable opportunity to reverse that situation.

    Posted in: Politics

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  100. Flip-Flop?

    brian on 2004.10.09 at 01:15 pm

    Who flip flops?

    Posted in: Politics

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  101. Debate the Debates

    brian on 2004.10.01 at 02:59 pm

    You should go and read these Top Ten Things they don't want you to know about the Presidential Debates. Debate head to head, without a moderator, that's what I'd like to see.

    Posted in: Politics

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  102. Take on the Debate

    brian on 2004.10.01 at 01:51 pm

    Regarding the debate last night, to John Kerry, I hope he takes a lesson from this. He was brilliantly concise. That's all America via the media can handle. Good job John. Plus, Kerry is best when the President's shallow attacks are right in front of him to crush. Two more like last night and you'll be in good shape.

    Posted in: Politics

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  103. Wither Canada?

    brian on 2004.10.01 at 01:15 pm

    Twice this morning I've read stories that pull down the Canadian state, saying it lacks vision, direction, purpose. They complain about a brain drain. Well, to Canada I say this. Don't measure your country by the size of your manhood military. Why kill off your young people just so you can "have more sway" in the world? Talk about braindrain. How about brain kill. If you have no enemies, I think that's probably a good thing. The only thing I'd be concerned about is not the intellectuals leaving, but them coming back. And even if they don't... worry not.

    There will be a ton of America's (um, sorry... the United States') finest coming north in November should things go as many of us are afraid of... but for Canada, four more years of Bush means four more years of brain immigration north.

    Posted in: Politics

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  104. Get Fired for Supporting Kerry?

    brian on 2004.09.16 at 12:53 pm

    This isn't the first story I've reported on someone being fired for supporting someone for President that their boss doesn't like. Sad really. I was going to blog it yesterday, but as luck would have it, the story got better today. Here's s a nice summary of the original story. Basically, she got fired for having a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker, but her boss puts notes his employee's paychecks saying Bush is good for them, and more importantly him, and that his employees better remember that come election day.

    Today, the story gets better...Kerry calls the fired woman. He says "He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.'"

    It seems Kerry is already creating jobs, where Bush is still losing them.

    [apologies for my shodding blogging, just piggybacking on]

    Posted in: Politics

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  105. Bush Docs Probably Authentic

    brian on 2004.09.11 at 12:49 am

    Looks like CBS did their fact checking well. Despite a weblog entry that claimed CBS's papers documenting the strings that got pulled for the President in the Texas Air National Guard were forgeries...

    There's an excellent debunking of the forgery claims here.

    So, let's all go back to believing we now have evidence of what we previously had only strong suspicions: that our President is a slime ball.

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  106. Heavy Reading

    brian on 2004.09.07 at 12:18 pm

    First, Sen Graham on the Bush Saudi cover up

    Second, think GWB is a freeloading troublemaker? You're right, but check out his running mate Dick Cheney's shady history.

    Third, check out the Republican party's rise from well outside the mainstream to making people think they are the mainstream.

    It's fittingly titled "Tentacles of Rage: The Republican propaganda mill, a brief history"

    By the way, reading any of these linked articles will clearly mark you as unpatriotic for life. You've been warned.

    Posted in: Politics

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  107. The Greatest Failure of National Defense

    brian on 2004.09.03 at 02:40 am

    Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy—the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president’s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.

    -Garrison Keillor.

    Posted in: Politics

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  108. Bush's Speech

    brian on 2004.09.03 at 02:27 am

    Wonderfully delivered Trash. Bush's speech was clearly the best of his life. Some wonderful prose, and a whole lot of unbacked up crap with tasty frosting on top.

    Even if you don't like his policies, he says at least you know where he stands.

    I know where he stands, and I'd rather take my chances with "the unknown." (Although we all know that JFK is no traitor) Let me also point out, for all the times he mentioned the word "peace," let us not forget he's responsible for thousands of deaths, both American soldiers, and tens of thousands of civilian Afghans and Iraqis.

    John Kerry has seen death too, except in person. And in my opinion, he's much more dramatically more qualified as to the judicious use of force.

    America, the choice is clear. The madness has to end this November. America, STEP UP.

    Posted in: Politics

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  109. Feds harrassing Independent Media

    brian on 2004.09.01 at 12:18 am

    I try not to buy into the whole jack-booted thugs view of Federal Agents, but sometimes, they make that difficult.

    "The agents attempted to circumvent Indymedia by contacting Calyx [the ISP] by phone, originally without a warrant or subpoena, in order to obtain user connection logs regarding a particular post on an Indymedia site. The post in question is a repost by an anonymous person containing information that is already available all over the Internet, and publicly available in other forms." has plenty of info, including noting their representation by the ACLU and EFF. This is down right outrageous. Is Hoover running the FBI again?

    Posted in: Politics

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  110. Diebold Voting Can Be Rigged

    brian on 2004.08.31 at 11:41 pm

    I don't know the veracity of the source, but it's such a stunning accusation, that it should be at least linked here. I can't say I have reason to doubt this. Why else would you not have a paper trail.

    Issue: Manipulation technique found in the Diebold central tabulator -- 1,000 of these systems are in place, and they count up to two million votes at a time.

    By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created. This set of votes can be changed, so that it no longer matches the correct votes. The voting system will then read the totals from the bogus vote set. It takes only seconds to change the votes, and to date not a single location in the U.S. has implemented security measures to fully mitigate the risks.

    This program is not "stupidity" or sloppiness. It was designed and tested over a series of a dozen version adjustments.

    Via Black Box Voting

    Posted in: Politics

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  111. Two Down, You Next?

    brian on 2004.08.29 at 11:30 pm

    So far, two people I've become familiar with via the weblog world have been arrested in NYC, involving their use of the First Amendment.

    One, of Bikes Against Bush fame, Joshua Kinberg. If you'd like to see video of his arrest, here's a link to a torrent of the arrest video QuickTime file (this will likely soon expire, and you'll need to have BitTorrent (free) to get it). He was, at the time, being interviewed by Ron Regan on MSNBC. Additionally, the incident was surrounded by cameras and reporters.

    Two, Mike from Satan's Laundromat has too been taken down. It seems he was arrested while attending the monthly Critical Mass ride... monthly, held in hundreds of cities, and never before disrupted in NYC. He was detained for either a) riding his bike, or b) taking pictures of other people riding their bikes. Neither illegal, last time I checked. As for Critical Mass, "We're not blocking traffic, we are traffic!"

    So, what does this mean for you? Well, if you're a friend of mine, or I've read about you on the web and you're going to express your opinions in accordance with the law in NYC at the RNC, you'll need to maintain a low profile to avoid a a Zip tie handcuffing in the new America.

    Posted in: Politics

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  112. White House West

    brian on 2004.08.05 at 12:52 am

    Enjoy Will Ferrell in White House West.

    Posted in: Humor · Politics

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  113. A star is born

    brian on 2004.07.28 at 01:38 am

    As Chris Matthews said, "Tomorrow morning everyone will know the name Barack Obama." Indeed, a star is born in the Democratic party tonight. Have a look at the text of Obama's keynote speech from tonight. People will certainly remember tonight as the launch of this star into the stratosphere.

    Posted in: Politics

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  114. Day two from the DNC

    brian on 2004.07.27 at 09:50 pm

    Still in Boston, still not at the DNC, but that won't stop me from reporting! Traffic today again was light, although I am seeing a certain increase in bicycle commuters, not huge, but noticeable. My traffic reporters say their traffic coming from north of the city is the lightest they've ever seen. The "sky is falling" traffic warnings have scared traffic off the roads. Are they on vacation, or on alternate transit? If so, let's hope this whole affair encourages good habits! In other news, a T rider reports his ride in as "easy" as well. Go figure.

    In other news, Amanda attended the event at the Royal Sonesta featuring Gov, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Robert Reich and others. She was impressed. But it was somewhat progressive-tilted event, so it played to her tastes. She doesn't think Howard will be using the same speech tonight. In other news, she said Michael Moore was late to the event. That's because he was at the Starbucks down the mall from me. One of our managers spotted him there. Many of us at the store didn't picture MM as a Starbucks drinker, but then we figured despite some's desire to bash Starbucks, but they would be the least corporate place to get coffee in a mall. That, and it's the only place for coffee on that side of the mall.

    That's all to report for now. Updates later...

    Posted in: Politics

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  115. DNC- Live from Boston (blog)

    brian on 2004.07.27 at 01:51 am

    So apparently the codeword at DNC Boston is "blog." It'll get you everywhere. I can tell you since I'm there (er, here). Of course, since this is the internet, you can't tell that I'm in Boston (I am) or if I'm across town (also true).

    Well, blog, blog, blog. I'm terribly sick of the word. Weblog is much classier, but I'm so sick of it, I'm on the verge of calling it an Interweb journal. Anyhow, as someone who is a bit of a current events junky, and a web junky, the thought of having fellow web heads (noxious or not) at the convention cross town is quite cool. A step forward for the American public's connection to its political process, which it hasn't been in touch with for many, many years. The penultimate point of that disconnect was four years ago November.

    Let's have a look at what blogs are giving us this week. A lot for a current events junky! So much so that not only have bloggers gone mainstream, and actually got credentialed and actually let in (and didn't have to sit in a janitor's closet or anything! Even WiFi, I hear!), but the main stream press have started their own blogs.

    Different strategies: Dave Weinberger, is a legit blogger, and author of two important books about what the internet is really about (disclosure: I'm a slacker and still haven't read them, though I mean to). He's in at the DNC, but adopted by the Boston Globe, so he's getting a wider audience, they get "street cred" (yeah, the mean streets of the net).

    Dave Winer, a forefather of blogging is going straight up: nothing different except for one week his focus will be a little different. Dave tends to bug me (he still uses Internet Explorer for one, despite the fact he should know better), but I still read his stuff because I try to get multiple angles on things. Dave also was one of the originators of RSS, which is one of my all-time favorite things on the web. On top of that, big ups on his aggregated site of credentialed bloggers (along with other feeds of similarly minded bloggers and some main stream sources). It looks very good. Which is hard for anything that Dave is related to. Anything Radio or Manilla is simply heinous, visually. Props to Bryan Bell for doing his best with a bad lot. Those icons are hideous. Find some good icons.

    Mainstreamers: CNN and MSNBC are attempting their own blogs manned by talking heads and political pundits you'd recognize. Interesting both, but certainly don't have the spontaneity of a real blog or the real feel. The better of the two is definitely Hardball's It has a terrible name, but it has Joe Trippi and Ron Regan on top of the normal lot of boredom, stupidity (Scarborough) and the only talking head on TV that I trust, Chris Matthews.

    CNN's Convention Blog (went with a too boring name. Somewhere between that and Hardblogger is a good name) gets second place, and only gets mention for having the former The Daily Show correspondent Mo Rocca on board. He'll also be on Larry King Live all week. Nice.

    I'll have Boston DNC updates here all week, if I see anything worth writing about. Today, about half of our employees rode their bikes to work. That's up from 1/3. I think that's great. I was once the only of of the current crew who did, so I'm proud to see if grow. On my ride home I saw the Massachusetts State Police shutting down Memorial Drive for the night. Helicopters patrolling up and down the Charles River on my ride to and from work.

    My take on the convention tonight is that there have been excellent speeches from Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and currently, as I type Bill Clinton is putting one over the wall as well. Bill has always been a phenomenal speaker. Like him or not, he's a talented orator. Al only learned to speak after he lost the 2000 election, which is too bad. Jimmy Carter is certainly aging and his accent made him sound like he had had a stroke. Reports say his speech read (on paper) even better. So the Democrats are having a very good first inning. Can they keep up the pace?

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  116. 9/11 Tab Dump

    jake on 2004.07.26 at 06:55 pm

    Posted in: Politics

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  117. Induce Act under fire and other rantings about 'piracy'

    jake on 2004.07.23 at 06:12 pm

    I think that this quote from Hatch pretty much sums up what is wrong with this whole process.

    "We're going to do this, we're going to get this done," Hatch said. Piracy has been "a doggone catastrophe to these artists."

    Not only is there no direct correlation between P2P services and sales of CD's but by stopping online piracy there is no direct benefit to the artists. It is common knowledge that artists make cents per CD sale and make all their money through touring and merchandise.

    Also we are still hearing about the other side of this where it's being proven that the RIAA is a bunch of morons. And we see some actual sales statistics.

    "Over the period 1999 to 2003, DVD prices fell by 25% and the price of players fell in the US from over $1,000 to almost nothing," says Strumpf. "At the same time, CD prices went up by 10%. Combined DVD and VHS tape sales went up by 500m, while CD sales fell by 200m, so a possible explanation is that people were spending on DVDs instead of CDs."

    What a concept, people aren't buying a product that constantly increases in cost, those asshole consumers. I still wonder why we have to keep listening to these lies.

    From: Boing Boing and Wired

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  118. WWAl-QaedaVF?

    brian on 2004.07.22 at 02:06 am

    Who would Al-Qaeda vote for? Well, before you think 'the democrats, they're weak on defense even though Kerry's been in a war and Bush only went to day-camp' you might care to think again. Aaron writes, quite succinctly, why Al-Qaeda clearly would prefer Bush to stay. The least of which is they've publicly said so.

    Posted in: Politics

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  119. Governor Schwarzenegger makes odd reference to old SNL characters

    jake on 2004.07.20 at 05:59 pm

    I'm surprised at the reaction to Arnold's statements. Some are saying it's sexist and homophobic. While I agree it's a stupid comment, and can be viewed as sexist because it implies that women are weaker, why is it homophobic? Regardless of whether he is or not, I don't recall the skits on SNL to highlight anything against being gay. They were simply pointing out the types on insecurities that some "beef cakes" have with themselves. The need to lift weights constantly to try and be better than their peers.

    Instead of trying to look deep into the statement we should take it as it is. A remark made about a bunch of "wussy" competitors, by a guy who likes to throw quotes from pop-culture into his speeches. Even if it is stupid and irresponsible.

    Boing Boing

    And being the geek that I am this reminds me of how when I was in Latin I in High School and these skits were being run (at least around that time) my best friend started jokingly calling people, "Puella Vir."

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  120. 9/11 Hearings Free to Download at iTMS

    brian on 2004.07.19 at 11:57 am

    From MacMinute

    The iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is now offering free audio downloads of the 9-11 Commission hearings. The 9-11 Commission is an independent, bipartisan commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 tragedy in New York.

    Hmm. It will be interesting to see if this becomes that happens with more regularity, or if it's a one time thing.

    Posted in: Apple · Politics

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  121. Best Political Flash Movie This Season (thus far)

    brian on 2004.07.17 at 03:09 pm

    There have been a glut of political flash cartoons on the web this season. This one is the best so far. It's quite amusing.

    Jake's update: This movie was done by the guys at JibJab, and since the other link died, you can view it on their site.

    Posted in: Politics

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  122. Hate Bush, Get Arrested, Lose Job

    brian on 2004.07.15 at 09:42 am

    In a typical, disgusting display, here's a story of two peaceful, successful people who simply showed up at a Fourth of July Presidential visit wearing shirts that read "Love America, Hate Bush." They were promptly arrested, and the one that worked for the federal government was released from her job. Sound about right?

    The Bush administration keeps bringing up the fact that one random person (out of thousands) who submitted ad ideas to compared Bush to Hitler. They be in better position to complain if they'd stop acting like him.

    Love America, Hate Bush, Get Arrested.

    Posted in: Politics

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  123. Bush to remove National Forest Protections

    brian on 2004.07.14 at 01:31 am

    While no one was looking, the Bush administration announced plans to repeal what is known as the "Roadless Rule," a Clinton-era mandate closing a certain 58.5 million (of a total 191 million) acres of National Forests to any kind of road development.

    Today, the administration, against the repeated bipartisan disagreement of Congress decided to make a new rule: the protection would be an opt-in rule, at the discretion of a state that contains the federally protected forest. That means if a state wants those forests to continue to be protected, they have to say so. And of course, this throws conservation in to constant political flux: as a governor is voted in/out, lands may be closed or opened. Flux and conservation are not compatible concepts.

    97 percent of the roadless areas in question is concentrated in 12 western states. Most of those states have Republican governors. Many of those states make a sizable income from foresting and mining operations.

    Posted in: Politics

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  124. They Asked For It.

    brian on 2004.07.13 at 11:41 pm

    I won't be making regular references to the John Kerry blog here, but here's a post that I think you will enjoy.

    The Republican chairman wrote Kerry's chair for a copy of the fundraiser where celebraties tear the president a new one, and a few in a language only the Vice President could appreciate.

    This was Mary Beth Cahill's pithy response to that request. Classic.
    (hat tip: Amanda)

    Posted in: Politics

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  125. F9/11 Facts for checkin'

    brian on 2004.07.13 at 02:16 am

    If you've been looking for Michael Moore's source list for F9/11, look no longer. Here it is.

    Posted in: Politics

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  126. Just say 'No' to postponing elections

    brian on 2004.07.12 at 01:02 am

    I don't care if I have to wear a flak jacket, I will go out on election day and write George W. a pink slip. However, Tom Ridge has some other ideas.

    Posted in: Politics

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  127. A Kerry Announcement Emminent?

    brian on 2004.07.06 at 03:18 am

    After seeing Joe Trippi on Hahdbahl Amanda and I were transported back to the days where we both read the Dean for America blog several times a day.

    It was a good time.
    -- Amanda

    We decided, on the eve of a possible announcement from John Kerry on his Vice President, that we would check out JK's blog. Well, our consensus was that it lacks that certain energy that Howard's pioneering blog exuded. By the way, our pick is John Edwards. The theory is that JE is the most optimistic. And that's GWB's main tagline "Optimism." Well, it's easy to be enthusiastic when your stock goes up every time you make a political decision.

    We were Dean supporters. We still are, really. Unfortunately, we have to make a choice that doesn't include him, and really there's no comparison. The United States has never lost as many friends as it has in the last four years. And that's just one of the millions of reasons to vote against GWB, by voting for Kerry.

    I voted for Nader in 2000, when I voted for someone I actually wanted in office. I'm so angry that Bush has literally taken my vote of preference away from me, so that I can't vote for someone, but I must vote against George W. Bush.

    Amanda voted for Gore. Neither of us really had much impact on the election, as Gore easily took Connecticut, our place of residence at the time. Until America adopts Instant Runoff Voting, the two major parties will hold a duopoly over power, and the majority of Americans whose political beliefs are a mix from each side of the isle. And we'll all have to vote against someone as much as for someone. And that seems very much undemocratic to me.

    Posted in: Politics

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  128. Thoughts on Fahrenheit 9/11

    brian on 2004.06.30 at 04:06 pm

    The Official Movie Poster of Fahrenheit 9/11While Jake was out at his escapist film, I was out getting a full dose of reality with Michael Moore's latest documentary, F9/11. (OK, I plan on seeing Jake's escapist film as well.)

    I won't go on and on about it, other than saying this, no matter what your political background is, you should see it, think about it, and talk about it. It's not important that you adopt MM's view of the situation, just that you think about what's going on with your country. Form an opinion of your own, then go out and vote.

    I, as a progressive-leaning independent (with some libertarian leanings) tend to think there's more skank stuff going on than the Bush Administration cares to admit. And I think they are a cancer upon our country. Scalpel! But I thought that a head of time.

    Go see this movie, regardless of what you think of MM, go see it. Some like this whiner, are scared. It's just a movie. An op-ed piece. By the way, only people who can't back up their opinions don't enable comments on their weblogs. He can whine on his weblog, but MM can't in his movie? Weblogs are about discussion. Don't be close minded. If you don't agree, then that's fine. At least your ticket money goes to support intelligent, thought provoking documentaries in theaters, instead of the just the regular mindless stuff. Variety (of movies, and of opinions) is always better.

    Posted in: Movies · Politics

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  129. Facinating: Truth or Fiction?

    brian on 2004.06.29 at 06:20 pm

    I can't write up something to do this story justice, you just have to read it for yourself. The author basically contends the Bush administration is going down, but not in the elections, but via impeachment. But better than that, the CIA will be leading the charge in presenting evidence of the administration's illegal actions. I don't care if this is true or not, it's more entertaining that Alias! (and that's my favorite show, mind you.)

    The article is entitled, "COUP D'ETAT: The Real Reason Tenet and Pavitt Resigned from the CIA on June 3rd and 4th: Bush, Cheney Indictments in Plame Case Looming.

    Posted in: Politics

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  130. To torture or not?

    brian on 2004.06.27 at 11:57 pm

    The New York Times has published an outline of the government's legal maneuvering in regards to the prospects of using torture on US-held prisoners of the "War on Terror." They basically sound like chapters to a book of excuses.

    Posted in: Politics

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  131. The enemy you know or don't know

    brian on 2004.06.25 at 02:03 pm

    Unchecked police and military power is a security threat; the title of an article with simple premise. Protect your rights, or we have nothing left to defend from terror. Here's two quotes, the first from the article, the second, a historical one.

    In 1985, retired Naval officer John Walker was caught spying for the Soviet Union; the evidence given by the National Security Agency was enough to convict him without giving away military secrets.

    More recently, John Walker Lindh -- the "American Taliban" captured in Afghanistan -- was processed by the justice system, and received a 20-year prison sentence. Even during World War II, German spies captured in the United States were given attorneys and tried in public court.

    They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.
    -- Benjamin Franklin

    Posted in: Politics

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  132. Politically Unstable

    brian on 2004.06.25 at 02:57 am

    Is the country veering violently to the right? Are the conservatives? A powerful piece examines the recent trends in partisanship in Washington politics and beyond. If things were changing, who would tell us? Would we even know? Where's the Fourth Estate?

    Posted in: Politics

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  133. Rowland to Resign today

    jake on 2004.06.21 at 04:04 pm

    Today my local governor will be resigning from office. For anyone who doesn't know this stems from him receiving and presumably giving gifts to local contractors. There has been an investigation going on for a while as to whether these events happened.

    Now where else have we heard of politicians screwing people over for possible personal gain?

    Posted in: Politics

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  134. Tab Dump

    jake on 2004.06.17 at 01:12 am

    And finally, Happy Bloomsday. I actually ordered a bunch of James Joyce stuff today. Ulysses (for today), Dubliners, and Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  135. Seymor Hersch

    jake on 2004.06.11 at 05:31 pm

    Just go read this, it's about the pictures we haven't seen. This stuff just flat out pisses me off. The whole point of the Geneva Convention and our Constitution is no one is above them. You cannot circumvent things like that. Period.

    Either Seymour Hersh is insane, or we have an administration that needs to be removed from office not later than the close of business today.

    From: Boing Boing

    Posted in: Politics

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  136. Please Open your Bag.

    brian on 2004.06.10 at 03:23 pm

    In preparation for the MBTA to start randomly searching its riders, I've prepared for this questionably legal possibility by putting the US Constitution on my iPod for easy access. Perhaps Adam should list this on his MBTA Search Page

    I particularly enjoy Amendment Four in this situation:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I think that's pretty straight forward. On the other hand I don't want to be a dick to a police officer, 99% of whom are just looking out for the public's well-being. I'll be polite in my declination of their search request, and see how that goes. When we start randomly searching Americans and demanding identification... what rights are left that we're really protecting? When will they be tossed aside for "security's sakes?"

    Posted in: Politics

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  137. Bush Administration are Lysenkoists

    jake on 2004.06.04 at 02:24 pm

    Bruce Sterling has an opinion article thats a good summary of how the Bush Administration is damaging science and skewing research in the U.S.

    When politicians dictate science, government becomes entangled in its own deceptions, and eventually the social order decays in a compost of lies. Society, having abandoned the scientific method, loses its empirical referent, and truth becomes relative. This is a serious affliction known as Lysenkoism.

    This really needs to change. Distoring scientific facts is a big no-no. You cannot smear science the same way you can smear Kerry. The practice definitely makes me red faced.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  138. Political Rumor Machine

    brian on 2004.06.03 at 04:10 am

    A fascinating account of the scandal that wasn't. Kerry + The Intern. Read up.

    Posted in: Politics

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  139. Fahrenheit 911 Trailer Up

    brian on 2004.06.03 at 03:14 am

    Fahrenheit 911 Trailer is now available online, and will be in theaters in the United States on June 25th. Hallelujah. I can't wait. Think of Michael Moore what you like, but the man can make movies. I wonder if I'll have to go the Coolidge Corner Theatre to see this one, or whether it'll be out in "main stream" theaters. I can't wait. Have I said that already?

    Jake: Completely unrelated, this is our 500th post. Yippee!

    Posted in: Movies · Politics

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  140. Stem Cell Research Myths

    jake on 2004.06.01 at 06:01 pm

    Ever since I read this essay last week in Time magazine I put it in the back of my mind to find an online version for mass consumption. So without further ado.

    The False Controversy of Stem Cells

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  141. The Anti-Bush Game

    jake on 2004.05.28 at 01:31 am

    Bushgame ScreenshotI came across this game at Jeff's site. It's an educational video game based on the Bush Administration. It turns into an ad for Kerry by the end but I enjoyed the antics. And you even get to battle as Howard Dean, a personally more appealing Democrat. Stupid bipartisan crap.

    Posted in: Politics · Software

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  142. Rep Watch

    brian on 2004.05.24 at 02:15 am

    Wally Watch is a weblog dedicated to reporting only on this guy's congressional representative; California's Second Congressional District, the Honorable Wally Herger. Fabulous. Every Congressman should have five of these, scrutinizing and impartially reporting upon their actions.

    Posted in: Politics

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  143. The Cost of War

    brian on 2004.05.20 at 02:39 am

    The Cost of War.

    Jake Here: Just thought I'd throw in my 2¢. The figures for Insuring Children. Um, we're almost at the roughly 55 million children between the ages of 5-17 according to the 2003 census. That's a lot of kids.

    Posted in: Politics

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  144. Montanans Sign Up

    brian on 2004.05.18 at 02:07 pm

    Montanans are signing up in their traditional numbers to serve their country. I really respect anyone who has the courage and patriotism to put on the uniform and put their life on the line. These Montanans agree with me. However,

    "What they hear everyday in the pick-up truck is a nationalistic point of view that isn't challenged very much,"

    I am also of the belief that part of being a patriotic American is questioning authority and making sure the country isn't being led in the wrong direction. I still respect these guy's bravery, no doubt, but let's remember that war heros aren't the only heros. Guns, while important in some contexts, are not the only method of defending your country.

    Posted in: Politics

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  145. Bush administration always seeking more power to abuse

    jake on 2004.05.17 at 01:04 am

    Along with sifting through coupons and reading up on new movie releases I came across an article in the Commentary Section. Its author is a professor at Yale Law School. He points out many things I agree with. There is too much abuse occuring with the current Patriot Act, and the administration wants more. It makes my blood boil.

    The administration demands our trust. But trust is a two-way street. This administration has proved it cannot be trusted. It has arrested the innocent on baseless charges; its armies have tortured and abused human beings. Now it has the audacity to demand even greater powers.

    Posted in: Politics

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  146. Chimps running the Asylum

    brian on 2004.05.14 at 03:59 pm

    Kurt Vonnegut on the state of America today. At 81 years of age, KV is still not afraid to tell it like it is. He's especially good at pointing out hypocrisy in action. Some excerpts…

    Doesn’t anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools or health insurance for all?

    How about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

    Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. …

    And so on.

    Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney stuff.

    For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

    "Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

    Even crazier than golf, though, is modern American politics, where… you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative… If you aren’t one or the other, you might as well be a doughnut.

    Posted in: Politics

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  147. Tabs... Begone!!

    jake on 2004.05.06 at 05:53 pm

    That is all for now. Enjoy.

    Posted in: Music · Politics · Web

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  148. Someone Was Worried About Planes as Missiles, pre 9/11.

    brian on 2004.04.15 at 08:43 pm

    There is some news leaking through today that perhaps the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was concerned about the use of hijacked passenger jets as missiles five months prior to the September 11th attacks. This is contrary to many in Washington who have said they never could have imagined this form of attack. Lack of inter-organizational communication, or hiding of one's head in the sand? Discuss.

    Posted in: Politics

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  149. Willfull Infringement

    jake on 2004.04.14 at 11:20 pm

    Dan pointed out an article about a documentary made to showcase where copyright holders harass and push around people trying to inovate. The only problem is the DVD is $55 bucks with shipping.

    "The Killing Fields"

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  150. President's News Conference

    brian on 2004.04.14 at 12:43 am

    All I have to say about the President's news conference tonight is "Duck and weave." I'll also point to Craig Newmark, who asks similarly, "When does evasion and misrepresentation become outright lying?"

    Here's one paraphrased quote (morphed from several similar questions and similar answers) from the event...

    Q: Do you feel you have made any mistakes, before or after Sept. 11th?

    President Bush: Not that I can think of at the moment. Hindsight is great, but I wouldn't use any. And don't forget, there was mustard gas in Libya, in a turkey farm! And we weren't even looking there!

    And in closing, I'd like to add that this is only President Bush's third primetime news conference since taking office more than three years ago.

    Posted in: Politics

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  151. One Less Car

    brian on 2004.04.06 at 03:21 am

    Lemond Poprad Cyclocross BicycleThanks to the afore posted development, I will be adapting my commute to work. I have ordered a Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike from the fine people at Wheelworks. It's built and ready for me to pick up (hopefully Wednesday night). Then when weather and scheduling permits, I will be riding the two-to-three miles from Brookline to Cambridge.

    "Wait!" You say, "Boston is awful to drive in, the roads are nuts. Would that make cycling there suicidal?" Well, you might be right. Heck the former CEO of a local bicycle company once told me during an interview that I would be nuts to commute on bike in the city. During that interview, one of his employees called in to say she had broken her leg in a bike commute accident (no car involved, just a rainy day and a wet, slippery expansion joint).

    However, I happen to be lucky. 80% of my commute would be on the bicycling paths of the MDC's Charles River Reservation. I would be segregated from auto traffic, while paralleling the raceway-like Soldiers Field Drive.

    I can't wait to to start. I hope to trim my current commute (by the "T" that's light rail / subway for non-Bostonians) by half. Currently, I need to plan for a one hour commute to deal with the fluctuations in the schedules. Strike that. They don't even have a schedule. I think 30 minutes should be attainable with little sweat.

    For those who are interested, I plan on wear cycling garb, and bringing clothes in my courier bag. Luckily, attire at work is jeans, a company t-shirt and of course, custom shoes. I leave the shoes at work in a locker.
    I already have the iPod case for the cycling bag (which will be listened to in only one ear).

    I'll keep everyone updated on my attempt to shake up my commute, subdue pollution, undermine the funding of terrorism via oil sales, reduce road congestion, rail-car congestion, reintroduce exercise to my life and damnit, have some fun.

    Posted in: Hardware · Politics · Sports

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  152. This Would Make Ashcroft Smile

    brian on 2004.03.30 at 12:48 pm

    Police Get Warrant Based on High Utility Bill. Somewhere, John Ashcroft is grinning like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. This kind of malicious invasion of privacy should be a federal offense.

    Posted in: Politics

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  153. US Rep Sets Bush Straight

    brian on 2004.03.26 at 02:02 am

    "Prepared at the direction of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the Iraq on the Record Database is a searchable collection of 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq"

    Iraq On the Record. Note the "" URL.

    Posted in: Politics

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  154. CIAB - Campaign In A Box

    brian on 2004.03.23 at 11:49 pm

    We started this blog to simply talk about what we read everyday, pass infallible judgment on it, and post it for millions to read. What we didn't set out was any sort of focus on topic. We've gravitated to two things we like to harp on: technology and politics. Therefore I'm obliged by some sort of Internet Law to mention OR - Open Republic.

    CIAB–Campaign In A Box is an idea to build software in the vein of the Dean For America software movement, but continue on in an apolitical, free and open way, to advance American (and, well, anyone's) politics to a more citizen (user) friendly level.

    Of course, the thing they need to address in any attempt to make something open source and usable... is the fact that most open source projects are very far from usable for the average Joe. Or even me, many times. And I'm a "genius." Almost.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  155. Foreign Terrorists Prefer Bush to Kerry

    brian on 2004.03.22 at 02:13 am

    I don't know what their toothpaste preferences are, but it seems that foreign terrorists would prefer Bush to stay in office. This isn't a joke in regards to foreign leaders supporting Kerry secretly. It makes sense: when the US acts aggressively, unilaterally, it gives terror leaders more fuel to say "I told you so. The Great Satan is attacking us again."

    If you vote Bush for anti-terror reasons, you're deluding yourself. And endangering all of us.

    Posted in: Politics

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  156. Morning Reading

    brian on 2004.03.21 at 03:54 pm

    Things I read this morning (unrelated):

    Economist: "Lessons of Madrid." Will the Spanish change in government be the first of four in the coming year, as a reaction to administrations who championed the controversial war in Iraq? Will the people of the US, Australia and the UK follow the lead of their Spaniard counterparts?

    Rocky Mountain Views: Rocky Mountain Scenery. Not much reading to be done here of the "letters" and "word" kind. Just beautiful imagery of the American West. Brings back lovely memories. The site's design is reminiscent of early 90s design, but the pictures are timeless.

    Posted in: Photography · Politics

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  157. Recycling: Not Cleaning Up as it Could

    brian on 2004.03.18 at 01:25 pm

    A terribly interesting story on the state of recycling in the US, and how with the exception of the situation in San Francisco, Europe is humiliating us in regards to cleaning up our acts.

    Posted in: Politics

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  158. Doonesbury

    jake on 2004.03.15 at 07:42 pm

    Sunday's Doonesbury had some interesting thoughts on Dubya.

    Posted in: Humor · Politics

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  159. More Bush Administration Lies

    brian on 2004.03.14 at 02:07 am

    More evidence that the Bush administration systematically lies to achieve its political goals:

    The nation's top Medicare cost analyst confirmed Friday that his former boss, Thomas Scully, ordered him to withhold from lawmakers unfavorable cost estimates about the Medicare prescription drug bill. He said the estimates exceeded what Congress seemed willing to accept by more than $100 billion.

    Posted in: Politics

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  160. An Accurate account of Camp X Ray?

    brian on 2004.03.14 at 01:51 am

    Several British prisoners of Camp X-Ray were have been released. One has told his story in the Mirror. How true are his accounts?

    Posted in: Politics

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  161. Bush Needs to Silence MoveOn Any Way Possible

    brian on 2004.03.08 at 03:06 am

    The Republican National Committee has sent threatening letters to television stations who has contacted to show their ads countering the President's policies. The letters suggest that showing the ads is somehow illegal. Disgusting. Meanwhile, the all the President's men are starting their own ads, which are offending the families of September 11th victims. Irony? "I'm Lovin' It."

    Posted in: Politics

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  162. EFF Suggests Legit P2P Music Sharing for $5

    brian on 2004.02.27 at 06:39 pm

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced a brilliant white paper (admission: I only read the "executive summary") on how the music industry can finally halt their barrage of costly litigation, in exchange for a phenomenal opt-in revenue stream, and the legitimization of music downloads over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

    Their idea stems from history: when the music industry thought radio was the pirate du jour, and set up a mechanism for getting paid from that industry, and excluding any necessary legislative acts.

    Best parts:

    • US$5 per month for unlimited P2P use.
    • Opt in: if you don't download, you're not penalised: other ideas have included taxes on blank CDs... which penalize people who may not be downloading music... making everyone foot the bill for someone else's collection habits.
    • No new laws, no new lawsuits.
    • Lifting murky legal issues would allow the downloading technologies to really refine themselves.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  163. The Worst Kind of Propaganda

    brian on 2004.02.27 at 03:45 am

    Bush Backs New Terrorism TV Series.

    ...government agencies have rallied their resources and support behind the vision of DHS--The Series, including President G. W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who both endorse and contribute sound bites to the introductions of the series."

    When asked to elaborate on Bush and Ridge's involvement, show representatives told E! Online, "They love it. They think it is fantastic,"

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  164. Office for Special Plans

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 10:58 pm

    Reading Solider of Truth. A retired, conservative, 20 year Air Force vet who worked inside the Pentagon writes her take on the build up to war. You might be surprised by what she has to say.

    Posted in: Politics

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  165. The Media are Always Right

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 03:29 pm

    We Have the Power (via Matthew Gross, from CQ)

    Establishment Media
    Dean Press Corps 2004
    — T-Shirt given to Dr. Dean by the Press Corp

    "You certainly do have the power" — Dean, same day, as they gave him the T-shirt.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  166. Grey Tuesday is Today

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 02:59 am

    It's Grey Tuesday. Kottke for example, is participating. I wrote this up a few days ago.

    Today, and everyday this site is grey. I don't care whether you think that's a coincidence or not. ;-)

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  167. Pentagon to Bush: Climate Change is our #1 Threat

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 01:23 am

    Wow. This is blockbuster. Will Bush listen to his own Pentagon? He's the defense President, right? The Pentagon is telling George Bush something that he wouldn't hear from the EPA (and their administrator left because of it), that the number one threat to United States security to is climate change.

    Now, does the Pentagon realize that its perhaps the number one polluter in the US, if not the world? That it has no environmental restrictions on its equipment and grounds?

    UPDATE: A more balanced view of the report, which isn't nearly as serious or secret as the international press has stated. The report is still valid in many respects, however.

    Futurists see world coming to awful stew.

    Also see, Life After The Oil Crash, another end-days scenario that's worth a look, if nothing else...

    Posted in: Politics

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  168. Declan McCullagh on outsourcing

    jake on 2004.02.23 at 04:26 pm

    Cnet makes a few points about outsourcing IT jobs. Basically that it's not all bad.

    Consider what would happen if Congress restricted companies from shifting jobs overseas. Because rivals in Europe, Japan and Korea could employ cheaper workers in developing nations, they'd have a leg up on U.S. firms. Foreign investors would recognize that rising protectionism makes U.S. companies less competitive and would choose to take their yen and euros elsewhere, driving down the U.S. stock market, shrinking available capital, and eventually leading to more unemployment than if Congress had done nothing.

    I just keep thinking, there's got to be more to all of this than the paranoia. I'm pretty much sick of all the pompous thoughts surrounding this issue.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  169. Nader's In

    brian on 2004.02.23 at 01:09 am

    Nader announced his candidacy on Meet the Press, Sunday. He now has an official website up, Notice the site is not Someone else has put a site there. Funny. Wrong, but funny.

    I think people criticizing Nader's candidacy should get off their horse. I will not be voting for Ralph this cycle, as I did in 2000. I stand by my choice in 2000, as I was promoting the growth of the Green Party, as I believe the two party system in this country is leading us straight to ruin. It's well proven that Ralph didn't tip any election to Bush. People don't want to hear that, as scapegoats make losers feel better. If the Democrats were true leaders of progressive values, then there would have been no problem. But they aren't entitled to anything from Progressive voters. They've done nothing to earn that. In fact, they've never been closer to the Republicans. They are mired in corporate politics as much as the Republicans.

    Nader's candidacy illustrates two points:

    • The Democrats don't up hold Progressive values.
    • The voting system in this country is so messed up that people plead to third party candidates to stay out of the race. People need to be able to vote their conscious, not their fears.

    The Democrats had someone who addressed the first point with an excited base and proven results. But Democrats voted their fears, not hopes, business as usual, and their best hope for change was forced aside. If we had an election system that allowed people to vote for who they believed in, not in who they think other people will tollerate, then that certain candidate would have won in a land slide. Since that was the case, someone had to enter the race to keep the candidates focused on people, not corporations. Good for you Ralph.

    Posted in: Politics

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  170. Of American Soliders in Mongolia

    brian on 2004.02.21 at 04:33 am

    I found it a surprise that the United States has a military presence in Mongolia. A small one yes, but influential. And Americans are apparently well liked in Mongolia, in spite of our current administration's attempts to offend the world.

    This story in the Atlantic Monthly is a long, fascinating tale of Colonel Tom Wilhelm, a military envoy to Mongolia. Not only are his adventures in the ancient country intriguing, but the man has a striking mentality.

    If I had a read a story like this in high school, I might have altered my professional course in life. The US Army needs to promote this unknown, internationally savvy side of itself. To hell with this "Army of One" crap, and shooting up the world. Let's move on, and talk about embracing the world like this man has, by having joint missions with armies around the world. The more we intermingle, the less likely we are to want to blow each other up. Hopefully, that's the future of military operations: to stop conflict without conflict.

    Posted in: Politics

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  171. White House Accused of Distorting Facts

    brian on 2004.02.18 at 08:31 pm


    The New York Times reports on the Administration's latest policy-over-fact adventures...

    The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad, a group of about 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement issued today.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  172. A Police State Watches You

    brian on 2004.02.17 at 08:06 pm

    Ever protest something, or join an activist group? Thought the days of the FBI or police undercover agents watching these groups went out with J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon? You're wrong. According to this two part series in Salon, it may never have been worse. Watch your back.

    Salon feature Part 1 Link, Part 2 Link.

    Posted in: Politics

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  173. Kerry v Bush Military Records

    brian on 2004.02.15 at 11:22 pm

    Mother Jones compares Kerry and Bush's Military experience. Interesting. Humorous...

    Posted in: Politics

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  174. More on Bush Video

    brian on 2004.02.14 at 03:07 am

    Also available in the Bush via Stewart Collection, "Bush on Meet the Press, dissected."

    Posted in: Humor · Politics · Technology

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  175. Bush v Bush

    brian on 2004.02.12 at 06:17 pm

    Gov. GW Bush debates President GW Bush on foreign policy. Open with Real Player. If you have trouble, follow the below link.

    (Thanks, J. Stewart)

    Posted in: Humor · Politics

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  176. Great Story on Trippi

    brian on 2004.01.30 at 05:04 am

    I'm just in it for Howard, but behind every Howard, there's a Joe Trippi. I just wish the reporter who wrote the great story wasn't such an asshole, and let it shine through so clearly. Anyhow, most of it's thoroughly entertaining.

    Posted in: Politics

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  177. The Debate and the Shake-up

    brian on 2004.01.30 at 03:38 am

    I was just watching the TiVo and its recording of the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Debate. Two things of note: One, wow, Sharpton really sounded like a serious candidate tonight. He definitely "won." However, if he was really serious about winning the race, he'd campaign to an additional 86% of the populace.

    Two, John Edwards definitely went up to Dean right after the debate, and I read his lips, and they said "Call Me." Dean shook his head, knowingly. If Dean had to pair up with anyone, as 1st or 2nd string, I think Edwards would be the best pairing. I can deal with Edwards, as he seems genuine (of course, they train you to do that in Law School). But I don't think he has enough experience in leading, well, anything. One term in Congress doesn't prove as much as, say, 11 years of balanced budgets on your record as Governor. Edwards would make a charismatic number two, though.

    As for the shake up, an interesting piece of thought on the state of the campaign. 625,000+ donating Americans aren't dead yet. especially with, oh, 92% of the delegates up for grabs. My opinion is that the Governor just needs to win the war of attrition, and I think he's the only one with the staying power to do so. Clinton took a lot more shit than Dean has. He made it through, and with a lot less conviction on his part, and enthusiasm on the part of his supporters.

    If Kerry's elected, he'll be ripped apart by Bush. He's the perfect punching bag (a wish-washy Massachusetts-elitist-liberal, who voted with the President, and as the winds blew!) The Republicans purposely said they wanted Dean to compete against as reverse-psychology. And its working. In reality, if Dean was the nominee, people would see he's not some whacko, have to actually look at his records and his stances on the issues. Once they see that he's what America needs the most right now, he'd run Bush through the ringer. I'd pay big bucks for even a bleacher seat for that debate. Dean would flatten him (with that afore mentioned ringer). God forbid we have an intelligent President.

    To recap: Dean can stand up to Bush, Kerry is a disaster waiting to happen. He won't even need buddy Michael Dukakis' tank helmet. He'll do it with his own hair-helmet. Look at the issues, and vote your hopes, not your fears. Think it through!!

    Posted in: Politics · Television

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  178. Feedback on CNN's NH Primary Coverage

    brian on 2004.01.28 at 03:04 am


    To the point: wow, Bob Novak is a moron. Dean, dead? Well, gee, wasn't it two weeks ago that Kerry was dead? Yeah, you guys are brilliant. How about less "commentary" and "analysis," which are really "biased opinion" (Novak, as a hard-core conservative sounds like he's writing Dean's epitaph since he's scared of him, and wants to convince Dems to defeat their strongest fighter. That way he'll continue to get tips from inside the White House so he can out more CIA operatives and endanger their lives and those of the Americans they work for. All while upping Novak's personal standing and perhaps wealth. )


    How about some more news? The candidates in their own words, not sound bites? How about investigating their claims, reporting facts? How did you guys let Bush off the hook for going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, but even tonight keep playing the Dean Scream? Is this Fair and Balanced? In the Fox News sense, absolutely. The "scream" is not pertinent. It's not news. You're skipping things that actually matter to Americans, and cramming junk down their throats.

    I'm happy for myself, since you're junk news reporting during the primaries turned me on to CSPAN. However, since most people don't even know what CSPAN is, I am scared for the future of America that only knows its news through your distorted lens. You've lost this viewer. And I tell all my friends.

    Brian Christiansen

    Brookline, MA

    [weblog note: I sent this right before posting it here. I don't feel like annotating it, in typical weblog style. It's likely all things you've seen before.]

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  179. My Day with Dean in Review

    brian on 2004.01.26 at 02:56 pm

    As promised, here's the complete story of our Day with Dean. Pictures of our trip are here.

    We woke early on got on the road to attempt to catch Dean's "Women for Dean" Town Meeting on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University which started at 9:30am. Map Quest said it would take an hour to get to that part of Manchester (Hooksett). When we left Boston, the Saab said it was 6° Woohoo!

    The goal for the day was to see Dean in person, listen to him speak in person. We have recently cemented our support for the Governor, and had contributed our first money to any political campaign. Now we needed to see him in person.

    When we arrived at SNHU, we could see Dean people. Making our way to the venue, we saw the CSPAN crew, who were covering the event live. I was afraid the single digit temps wouldn't be healthy for my camera, so I kept it in my pocket. When we got to the door, we along with a crowd of others were told by an official-acting person that the room was full, the overflow room was overflowing, and that he was very sorry to have to turn us away. So many more people showed up than they had expected.

    We turned back with advice that the Student Center (large pic ) would have facilities for a rest stop. We also found it had a big screen TV and a plasma-widescreen TV, both which were quickly then tuned to CSPAN. We were one of the first in the room. Which was itself full by the time the event came on. Also in the room were reporters from CNN, NBC and some other outlet who was rude enough to participate in a conference call to his fellow media-ites while everyone was trying to listen to the speech. I hope this isn't what all reporters do when they're supposed to be listening to a speech and dutifully reporting back to the American public. It would however explain the major gaffes in reporting from Dean events: he speaks intelligently for an hour on topic, with ease, and they reference one obscure line, out of context, then replay the "Concession Speech."

    Dean's remarks were on "Women's Issues" but his best line was perhaps that Women's Issues are everyone's issues. We often forget that we're all connected. Howard outlined what steps he took in Vermont to address issues that need attention nationwide. Innovative, successful, almost obvious. But they're not obvious until someone with vision comes out to put them into action. His record in Vermont is solid: health care for children, dramatic drops in domestic violence, and of course more, all while producing balanced budgets in each year he was in office.

    Judy Dean was also great, if not brief in her introduction. Of course, she's not running for office, but we would be privileged to have her as First Lady. Her charm is evident, her bashfulness fits great with her intelligence. Unfortunately, she had to read her remarks from a Sony VAIO. Well, I'm glad she was able to speak anyway ;-)

    After the speech was over, we spoke with some others at the Student Center to discover Dean was going to meet with volunteers at the HQ on Elm Street in Manchester at 1:30pm. We were also offered VHS tapes of the Sawyer-Deans interview, which we had already seen. We broke for the car. A quick look at the atlas showed that we could get there easily.

    This was our first trip into Manchester. A nice little city. Clean and open. It would be a nice place to eek out a living. Elm Street is the main street of Manchester. We saw many candidates' signs, and more Dean people walking the street with their signage. We saw a few Kerry people, and even some LaRouche people. We ran the length of the main drag, and didn't see the HQ. We turned around to find the HQ's sign, hidden behind a coach bus. Ah ha. Parking (free, garaged parking in a city? That's unheard of to Bostonians!)

    We came into the HQ (big pic), and signed in. We were told by the weblog that they had too many volunteers. The people inside said they could never have to many. They wanted to send us out to canvass, that is knock on doors. I had no problem with the 'walking in the cold' part, but neither of us were comfortable with going door-to-door. We're not pushy people. We looked for another way to help. There was a lot of standing around for us. We spoke to a few people, asking for an alternative way of helping. To no avail. We decided to stay until Dean arrived, and if nothing reared its head, we'd get out of the way of the other volunteers. Karen Hicks took the stage to rev up the canvassers. She looked much shorter when she was on level ground.

    The hall was crowed with SEIU volunteers who had come from New York State (NYC, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo). Their energy was infectious. Student groups came from the University of Virginia, and Columbia. There was a small group of kids from Chicago, who had a grooving, hip-hop cheer for Dean. and a few random people from California, including a higher-up from the SEIU Los Angeles, and another guy in the crowd from Oakland. One guy from Oklahoma.

    Whilst we waited, by an enormous pile of Sawyer-Dean interview VHS tapes (big pic), we were approached by a news crew. They asked if we could be interviewed. We told them that we weren't locals, nor were we really being productive volunteers. They didn't seem to mind. They were from Nantucket, TV 22. I can't seem to find them on the web, though, which makes me wonder. Anyhow, it was a very nice interview, we both felt we did really well. Of course, I'm very comfortable speaking, since its part of my job (half retail, half tech training...). We spoke about why we came, what our political background was. That's basically none, other than being informed, and a little self-campaigning loosely affiliated with the Greens on behalf of Nader in 2000 while I was in college.

    The Dean people seemed to think we did well, as well. After the interview, Jeremy, one of the more official Dean volunteers came over to us. He explained that he was the media-minder. He said when the media swings by, they ask him if there's anyone around to speak with. We had done a good job, with a positive and friendly tone, and he wanted to know if we could be someone he could point the media to for more interviews. We said that we were looking for something to do to help, that didn't involve knocking on doors, and that interviews would be perfect. We were happy to help!

    He said to hang around, and as the media came in with Dean, he'd point people over to us.

    The hall filled to capacity when the time for the Governor's appearance neared. (big pic)We had to get on chairs to see the stage. The crowd was being warmed up by various campaign and Union people with chants and songs. Then the Governor came and the place erupted. (big pic)Very emotional connection between him and the volunteers. Judy seems to be getting a little more comfortable with the chants of "JUDY!-JUDY!" I guess someone could get used to that. Her quiet, supportive presence was felt, even though she didn't say anything.

    The Governor pepped up the troops, but in true Dean style, didn't gloss over the facts.(big pic) He said that we were in second place, and it was possible to make up the ground, but he wasn't going to outright say it would happen. He's a realist, and doesn't BS. This is what attracts me to him the most. He said if you can go out there and knock on the doors, we could make it, but it was up to us.

    After about 5-10 minutes of thank-yous and chants and pep, the Governor was swept away towards his next appearance. We stuck around to see if there would be any more interviews. The crowd poured out of the hall, many to board busses back to NY, and others to knock on more doors. The press left as well. After the hall was nearly empty, we took a few quick pictures (see the gallery), and spoke with Jeremy again. "It looks like the press left with the Governor." It seems our "calling" had been short lived. After getting the impression we could do no more, we decided to pack it in, and try to find some lunch. We hadn't eaten since 7am, not much at that, it was around 3 at this point, and we hit the road. We'll look to help out again, but not likely before the NH polls open tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get to help with the Mass for Dean movement, locally.

    Posted in: Politics

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  180. My Day with Dean in NH

    brian on 2004.01.25 at 08:14 pm

    The Doctors Dean, hand in handI've just returned from New Hampshire, where I saw Governor Dean speak twice today, and once in person. I also got interviewed on TV. I've posted all of my pics from today, unedited on my dotMac account. You can see my unedited Dean in NH pictures here.

    I'll write up a more in depth story as soon as I can... look for it here, shortly.

    Posted in: Politics

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  181. People Powered Howard

    brian on 2004.01.23 at 03:36 pm

    People-Powered Howard Dean got $100 more dollars today. $50 each from Amanda and myself. These are our first political contributions ever! Additionally, we’re traveling to New Hampshire to cheer on Howard on Sunday. my friend Scott has a friend of a friend who works in the Concrod HQ, so we’re hoping to have an inside track on seeing the man in person. That’s awesome.
    Hop on board?

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  182. Why isn't this on the Nightly News?

    brian on 2004.01.23 at 03:51 am

    Couldn't the media have gotten off Howard's case long enough to talk about the President, and his ribs? Note the link goes to the, the official site of our President. Actually, I would love some ribs, right now. How 'bout you, Stretch?

    [via MeFi]

    Posted in: Politics

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  183. Watergate 2004 & The Dean Interview

    brian on 2004.01.23 at 03:28 am

    Yes, as if the Republicans didn't learn the first time, they had to try again. The question is, why did I hear about it first on a weblog, and not elsewhere? How come only this guy and the Globe heard about this? Why isn't the whole nation pissed off, instead of talking about Dean rallying the troops?!

    And yes, I wrote Primetime Live to tell them what awful treatment they gave the Deans, taking such a nice interview, and trying to frame it as if Howard's a crazy man. It's not journalism, it's a smear campaign. It's disgusting. Admit it, he's the only human in the race. And that scares the media, apparently.

    Posted in: Politics

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  184. Brian For Dean?

    brian on 2004.01.21 at 02:41 am

    I'm thinking about going to NH and helping out the Dean Campaign some. Iowa, plus this whole "State of the [pukes /] Union" has pissed me off just enough, apparently.

    Tomorrow, I think I'm going to contribute $25-50 to the Dean campaign, then see if I have a day off between now and the primary, to go up and help out somehow. I just see Bush being re-elected again [pukes /] and I like Dean the best (although, do note that Michael Moore has endorsed Clark), so I figure I'd lend a hand. I still feel that his network is the best in the country, and has the best chance of getting people out to the polls, and that's the only way to get rid of Bush. All those who benefit from him (and those who think they do, who of course, outnumber those who actually benefit) will be there. It's time for the opposition to show up.

    For our Massachusetts readers:

    For our Connecticut readers

    Posted in: Politics

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  185. O'Neill Gives Candid Account of Bush's White House

    brian on 2004.01.12 at 03:23 am

    I wish I had the opportunity to watch this story on 60 minutes tonight. Paul O’Neill, former Secretary of the Treasury for the George W. Bush White House spoke about his personal experience working in the White House. It sounds scarily like how I envision it daily. why can’t other people see it this way? The White House is seriously not working in the best interests of the American people.

    I will look into picking up to this book, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill
    by Ron Suskind
    (which is not written by O’Neill, nor did he receive any compensation for his willing participation). Hopefully, he won’t get the same treatment as some others (namely Valerie Plame.)

    Posted in: Politics

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  186. Libya Returning from the Fringe

    brian on 2003.12.21 at 04:11 am

    A fascinating account in the Guardian of the past two years of diplomacy between the UK, Libya and the US which led to the announcement this past week that Libya would abandon all WMD programs and allow intrusive international inspections to ensure accordance. In return the UN and the US have dropped their sanctions against the outcast country. Very interesting is how Libya's network of intelligence sources is now working to name terrorists, instead of organizing terrorist strikes themselves.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  187. FU H2!

    brian on 2003.12.14 at 12:10 am

    "Welcome to, home of the official Hummer H2 salute."

    Posted in: Politics · Rant · Web

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  188. Community Building ("for America")

    brian on 2003.12.08 at 03:36 am

    I haven't made my final decision on whom to support for President (right now its just anyone but who comes up when you search Google for "miserable failure" and press the "I'm feeling lucky" button), but I have been seriously impressed by the community (virtual, etc) that has sprung up around Howard Dean.

    The New York Times Magazine has a great story on some of the people who make "Dean for America" go. It's quite the page turner. Highly recommended.

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  189. President's AWOL

    brian on 2003.11.29 at 02:14 am

    [Welcome to our first post-crash post that doesn't relate to the crash]

    Lots of talk about the President's surprise trip to Baghdad on Thanksgiving. Some note the genius of PR, others claim its been done better before, without the need for secrecy.

    In the middle, Drudge has the personal notes of one of the pool reporters on AirForce One with the President, which is fascinating to me, and likely any West Wing fan, I surmise.

    Posted in: Politics

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  190. Fact Checking

    brian on 2003.10.21 at 03:04 am

    A few days back, Gary Trudeau donated a strip of Doonesbury as a forum for a public service message, just the facts, ma'am. If you didn't hear, 69% of you need to read up.

    Posted in: Politics

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  191. Today's Financial Reading

    brian on 2003.10.18 at 10:27 pm

    Americans aren't going broke over Lattes is the title of a Salon article which interviews a Harvard professor who studied the state of America's personal personal financial situation. Her conclusion? It's not consumeristic-overspending that's driving us into debt, it's our lending industry.

    This gives credence to my philosophy that three core industries should be mainly public/non-profit (much like higher education) Health Care, Insurance and Lending/Banking.

    The worst thing is that people are so ashamed of their bankruptcy, she says, that they don't tell anyone, not even family about their situation, and thus there's no political pressure to return the regulations to the industry, as there are in most first-world countries.

    [Link note, requires free day pass or subscription to read. I found it worthy of the minute of flash-based commercial. I hope that works out well for Salon.]

    Posted in: Politics

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  192. O'Reilly vs. NPR

    brian on 2003.10.09 at 12:54 am

    Bill O’Reilly has a new book out. He did an interview with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air to promote it. NPR has posted the entire, uncut interview on their site (WindowsMedia format). O’Reilly is claiming the interviewer attacked him, while weeks ago when she interviewed Al Franken (who wrote a satirical book taking figures like O’Reilly to task) she didn’t attack him.

    Well I listened to the entire interview, which O’Reilly claims is just another case of the liberal media’s bias, and I fail to see her attacks. She asked interesting questions about his personal beliefs about religion and state relations, Vietnam, his relations with his father, the environment, and other topics. Granted, she certainly doesn’t give him a free pass, nor did she attempt to sell his book, but I thought the interview was actually very good. While Gross took a congenial tone the entire time, O’Reilly assumed his typical rottweiler tone, even on the most straight forward questions, acting as if you don’t see things his way, then you are quite plainly a “pinhead.” O’Reilly’s childish antics ended the interview early, by taking his toys and going home. These can be heard past the 38 minute mark.

    O’Reilly got super defensive when Gross attempted to read an excerpt of a review of O’Reilly’s book that O’Reilly didn’t favor. This lead to his accusations of being attacked. Anything that disagrees with O’Reilly is a personal attack against him, which is “what’s wrong with this country” and you will be then labeled a “pinhead” on his show the next day. Oh, the irony. He really has no idea…

    By the way, only paying members can comment on O’Reilly’s site. that should ensure no dissenting opinions nicely. Sounds “fair and balanced” to me.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  193. Overheard at Coolidge Corner

    brian on 2003.09.30 at 03:02 pm

    While attending to some morning errands, I saw a trio of stumpers at Coolidge Corner (corner of Harvard and Beacon Streets, for non-Boston-area readers), I overheard their mantra:

    "Stop the Cheney-SchwarzeNazi Recall Hoax!"

    That was an interesting start to the morning. Think what you may about the situation, but it isn't a hoax, it's happening.

    Posted in: Politics

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  194. Breaking Political Blog News: Clark and Cam

    brian on 2003.09.29 at 09:24 pm

    Breaking news from the land of Blog, Cameron Barrett, proprietor of the blog-world-famous is the head of blogging team for Democratic newcomer and presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.).

    A big congratualtions is in order to Cam on this huge new project, and we wish him the best of luck.

    This story was broke by Dave Winer, announcing that Cam will be a guest at BloggerCon 2004 at Harvard this coming weekend. Here's hoping Cam will swing by and say hello at the store!

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  195. Ashcroft to visit Boston Tuesday (9-9-2003)

    brian on 2003.09.08 at 01:56 pm

    As part of his Partiot/Victory Act National Propaganda Tour, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft will be making an appearance at a place that knows a little about freedom, Boston's Fanieul Hall. If I weren't working, I would most likely be there protesting (Here's directions should you like to).

    Why are these two acts bad? Lisa Rein has some great clips and excerpts from Ted Koppel's Nightline to give you some insight.

    I was made aware of Ashcroft's Boston visit by a email. However, since MoveOn lacks any sort of permanent links to things like this, I have nothing to link to from them. I couldn't even find an email address to send my complaint to.

    However, I did find a link from the ACLU who are actively organizing protests for each of the Ashcroft stops. Here's a page where you can find out if Ashcroft is coming to your town, when, and what you can do about it.

    I was thinking: what does this propaganda road show cost the American taxpayers? Should a government be lobbying its own people? And did anyone notice that the stops are all in states the President did poorly in, in the 2000 election? If he's stealth campaigning, shouldn't his campaign be paying for this? What could we do with this money otherwise? Put it towards that $87 Billion we're investing in making a free Iraq/Afghanistan? All while we're whittling away our own freedoms? You could drown in all the layers of irony!

    Posted in: Politics

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  196. Bush's Update on Iraq

    brian on 2003.09.08 at 12:49 am

    $87 Billion, please. Thank you.

    Perhaps George could put this one on his tab.

    Posted in: Politics

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  197. Ten Commandments Monument Razed

    brian on 2003.08.27 at 10:13 pm

    The Ten Commandments Monument in the Alabama Judicial Building was removed today, in front of large protests. What I don't understand is why people are against this. No one is saying "you can no longer believe in God." They are simply saying that the Federal Government should not endorse one religion over another.
    Around the world, there are countries where one religion is promoted above others. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and formerly Afghanistan, serve as examples. Why would these Southerners think our country should follow suit? Will they again decided to confederate and secede? Their last attempt was pretty bloody and for equally weak reasons.

    Posted in: Politics

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  198. Texas Senators in Exile

    brian on 2003.08.20 at 10:00 pm

    Republicans in Texas have literally driven Democratic State Senators into exile across state lines, under threat of arrest.

    Here's one's story, straight from Albuquerque.

    This is the second time this year this has occurred. Have the Democrats done something wrong? Nope, but Tom Delay is looking for more Republicans from Texas in the state and national levels, so he's orchestrating an abnormal redistricting plan. Normally, redistricting only happens once a decade, but now, the Texan Republican have decided to do it now when they're in control and can use it to minimize the impact of minority and Democratic strongholds.

    Land of the free? Apparently not in Texas.

    Posted in: Politics

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  199. Fox News Sues Franken

    brian on 2003.08.17 at 11:30 am

    You can’t even name your own book in this country anymore. Fox News Channel is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, “Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”

    FNC uses “Fair and Balanced” as a tagline of theirs. Of course, anyone who’s ever watched FNC knows that this is the funniest tagline they could have chosen. The claim the title plus the layout of the cover (resembling one by Bill O’Reilly, one of their commentators) will some how mislead the public in to somehow thinking this trumpeter of all things conservative has suddenly endorsed the ideas of one of the most liberal minds on the national scene.

    Of course, that’s hogwash. And you know, we should really step up and protect corporations like FNC from individual citizens like Franken. (see Daily Show, 6mb QT video clip)

    Posted in: Politics · Television

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  200. Politics and Science, and Lies.

    brian on 2003.08.10 at 11:54 pm

    A website, built by a member of Congress('s staff, that is) that details specific instances where the all the Presidents men have distorted scientific fact, or in other cases flat out gone against science, all for political gain.

    Politics & Science: Investigating the Bush Administration's Promotion of Ideology Over Science.

    The Bush Administration has manipulated, distorted, or interfered with science on health, environmental, and other key issues.

    Not that this is unimaginable considering the White House's current resident, but why isn't this on the Evening News? What if the President told (a/countless) lie(s) and nobody cared?

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  201. Dean's many faces

    brian on 2003.08.10 at 06:46 pm

    Howard Dean is an interesting candidate for the 2004 Presidency. Not only does he have a devoted grassroots following, but he's the first candidate in the history of the presidency to truly, officially harness the power of the internet. Most of his donations are under one hundred dollars, just like those to Ralph Nader in 2000, except that there are a ten thousand-fold more registered Democrats in America from which to receive them, and they've started early!

    Now, Democrats everywhere shuttered when I mentioned Ralph and Howard in the same sentence. They want to be progressive, but they want to be look attractive to people who consider themselves middle America. They want to portray his ability to win, and not just be a protest choice. The sad thing is that 2/3rds of Americans are registered Democrats, policy-free surveys often show people's sensibilities tend to be quite progressive when they aren't associated with politics. For some reasons, Americans have an undying need to be perceived as "middle of the road" in politics, even if their beliefs veer hard left. (Side note, I hate the terms "left" and "right." This would put politics on a 2-D plane, which it clearly is not. If anything it's spherical. For example, if you're for personal responsibility and believe that companies will do anything for money that laws will allow [and that that is a bad thing], where does that put you?)

    Anyhow, here's the reading for the day. A non-partisan review of comments made about Howard Dean. It's a collection of 17 comparisons of who Dean is like, from all over the political and even fictional realm (Josiah Bartlet, anyone?).

    Posted in: Politics

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  202. Fuzzy Science?

    jake on 2003.08.08 at 06:34 pm

    According to a report by the minority staff of the House Committee on Government Reform is accusing the Bush Administration of fudging scientific studies to push their agenda. While I'm sure the report (Democratic) is a biased document they do make some good points.

    On agricultural pollution, the Agriculture Department has issued tight controls on government scientists seeking to publish information that could have an adverse impact on industry, the report said. It cited the case of a microbiologist, James Zahn, who was denied permission to publish findings on the dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria near hog farms in the Midwest.

    The web site that is related has a list of the major points.

    The New York Times (free registration required)

    Posted in: Politics

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  203. Tobacco firm courting celebrities toward brand

    jake on 2003.08.08 at 06:17 pm

    Freedom Tobacco is making an attempt to push its new cigarettes with adult celebrities. If you are to believe the study(1) recently concluded, this is a side step to advertising to a young audience.

    I can see where activists have a problem with this. If the study's results are accurate then teens watching celebrities smoke onscreen will emulate them. And what are you most likely to smoke if you learn from a celebrity. Whatever they're having.

    Posted in: Movies · Politics · Television

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  204. More expensive Free software beats less expensive Microsoft bid?

    brian on 2003.07.18 at 01:11 am

    When does a free product cost more than one that's not free? Well, here's a fascinating account of the city of Munich's search for a new IT vendor. It basically spun down to this: Microsoft made an expensive bid, $36.6 million. IBM/SuSE (Linux) came in a with a more affordable bid of $35.7 million. None other than Steve Ballmer comes to town, and slashes Microsoft's bid an astonishing 35%, to $23.7 million, instantly. City council picks the IBM/Suse (Linux) option, although it cost more. Why?

    Though Microsoft underbid IBM and SuSE by $11.9 million in Munich, city officials were concerned about the unpredictable long-run cost of Microsoft upgrades, says Munich council member Christine Strobl, who championed the switch to Linux. And the more Microsoft discounted, the more it underscored the notion that as a sole supplier, Microsoft could -- and has been -- naming its own price, she says.

    ''Microsoft's philosophy is to change our software every five years,'' Strobl says. ''With open-source, it is possible for us to make our own decision as to when to change our software.''

    ...the offer from IBM-SuSE better met ''strategic'' criteria set forth by the Munich council

    Posted in: Linux · Politics · Software

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  205. Microsoft Punishment Continues

    brian on 2003.07.18 at 12:50 am

    (A bit belated, but that's this week's theme) Microsoft has been awarded a contract by the Department of Homeland Security to provide the software for servers and desktop computers. Microsoft software, besides seeming ubiquity, is known for one thing: security, or lack there of. It's also known to be convicted by this same government, for being in violation of federal statues. Some punishment.

    Posted in: Politics · Software

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  206. Analysis of analysis of recent American actions

    brian on 2003.07.02 at 05:43 pm

    Also, submitted without opinion. Victor Hanson on War (National Review). It's hard to judge the author's stance. It could be "these actions may not have been the best, but let's do our best given the situation, not expect quick results, and we'll measure our effectiveness by the lack of gratitude." It can also be described as "When we act, we're blamed. When we stay out of it, we're blamed. It's always our fault, and that's the burden 'number one' shoulders perpetually." A lot of interesting thoughts, and no apologies, in this piece.

    ...we must not necessarily confuse the activities of the Taliban, the Baathists, Hezbollah, and other Dark-Age cadres with the majority wishes of the Arab people... If given ample respect and consideration, they will confess that their own theocracies and autocracies, not Western colonialists, are culpable for failing to provide the security and prosperity necessary to accommodate their exploding populations...

    The angry and ignorant will always be misled by mad clerics and uniformed thugs if they offer easy solutions without costs, specifically that the easily blamed Jews and Americans, and not their own incompetence and venality, are the real sources of their catastrophe...

    The key is to allow the Middle East choices — isolation from the West, or peaceful coalition and interaction under their own auspices, or military defeat and subsequent regime change should their terrorists and leaders seek to threaten, attack, or kill Americans.

    ...for all the doom and gloom we are making amazing progress.

    [link thanks to Textism sidebar]

    Posted in: Politics

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  207. Political Statements you wear

    brian on 2003.07.02 at 04:42 pm

    Submitted without opinion:

    Do look around at the other shirts and quotes as well. Can you figure out the point of the yellow striped ones?

    Posted in: Politics

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  208. Lessig replies to Hatch: you're dumb.

    brian on 2003.06.18 at 07:07 pm

    Lessig has replied to the suggestion made by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) to allow copyright holders remotely destroy the computers of those they believe are illegally distributing their work. From the AP article:

    "No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer," replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads.

    "I'm interested," Hatch interrupted.

    To which Lessig replied,

    Can we bomb the offices of stock brokers thought to be violating SEC regulations? Or bulldoze houses of citizens with unregistered guns? Or --yes, this is good-- short the telephones of people who use indecent language?

    If so, looks like Martha would "go boom."

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  209. PBS: Lessig v. RIAA, interpretations

    brian on 2003.06.14 at 02:55 am

    PBS Online has an excellent piece with Prof. Lawrence Lessig and the RIAA's Matt Oppenheim going to back and forth to answer tough questions on copyright, DCMA, fair-use, P2P, and the like. Very informative. The RIAA, while still obviously more interested in profit versus progress, sounds the most level headed I've ever heard it.

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics · Technology · Web

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  210. EU wants to tax net sales, expects US companies to collect

    brian on 2003.06.14 at 01:50 am

    The European Union is looking to assess its heavy sales taxes (VAT: 15%-25%) upon e-commerce sales. While that may not be surprising unto itself (unless you never realized how heavy European sales taxes are!), what may surprise you is the collection scheme. They expect companies on the net, who don't reside in European countries, to collect the taxes for them anyhow, on purchases shipped to Europe. And they're serious.

    What's worse is that it seems to be have a good deal of momentum. AOL has already started to arrange for more staff in its Luxembourg office for this purpose. If you have an office in Europe, you only need to assess that country's tax (Lux has the lowest, at 15%). Otherwise, you need to collect in varying degrees based upon the shipping destination, for each country you ship to.

    US businesses have already moved to push the Bush Administration to issue a grievance at a World Trade meeting. That might be the first intelligent thing this administration will do. And I'll be the first to say it, too.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology · Web

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  211. Unbrand America

    brian on 2003.06.10 at 12:27 pm

    Those culture jammers at Ad Busters are at it again, with a new program entitled "Unbrand America." Here's a highlight:

    In the coming months a black spot will pop up everywhere . . . on store windows and newspaper boxes, on gas pumps and supermarket shelves. Open a magazine or newspaper - it's there. It's on TV. It stains the logos and smears the nerve centers of the world's biggest corporations.

    This is the mark of the people who don't approve of President Bush's plan to control the world, who don't want countries liberated without UN backing, who can't stand any more neo-con bravado shoved down their throats.

    This is the mark of the people who want the Kyoto Protocol for the environment, who want the International Criminal Court for greater justice, who want a world where all nations, including the U.S.A., are free of weapons of mass destruction.

    Love 'em or hate 'em, Ad Busters is always interesting.

    Posted in: Politics

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  212. Eldred Legislation: Public Domain Enhancement Act

    brian on 2003.06.04 at 02:10 am

    Lessig and Eldred are working on getting legislation, Public Domain Enhancement Act, passed in Congress allowing people and companies to extend copyrights for $1, if they choose. Others may let them lapse, to enrich the public domain. Here's a petition Lessig has started...

    If I were to email this to you, it'd look like this:

    Dear Friends,

    I have just read and signed the online petition:

    "Reclaim the Public Domain"

    hosted on the web by, the free online petition
    service, at:

    I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  213. FCC does it anyway

    brian on 2003.06.03 at 01:30 am

    Today, as expected, the FCC went ahead with its changes to media conglomeration rules, against bipartisan objection. Now it's up to the Congress to do something, as this is the American public's only recourse.

    Washington Post's Story.

    Dan Gilmor's Take.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  214. The Big Ten (media)

    brian on 2003.05.30 at 03:12 pm

    Not a post about collegiate sports, this is all about the media. Ten major corporations control a huge amount of what you see daily.

    This is along the lines of They Rule and a post from about a week ago, here.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology · Television

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  215. You will get your news here from now on.

    brian on 2003.05.21 at 02:01 am

    In perhaps the scariest move of all time, the FCC is about to drop all laws that prevent one company from owning all media outlets. If you, too, see something really, really wrong with this, now is the time to speak up. The plan is to "deregulate" on the 2nd of June.

    Of course, this revolution will not be televised. Here's Zeldman's take...

    In any other western democracy, it would be the subject of intense public debate and 72pt newspaper headlines. But this revolution is not being televised, and even the best newspapers barely give it a (column) inch.

    Speak up! NOW.

    Posted in: Politics

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  216. Bush adding to the Nuclear Problem

    brian on 2003.05.20 at 02:13 pm

    Not content that Iraq has no nuclear weapons, George Bush is asking Congress that we should make more. That's right, seeing that we already have large nuclear weapons, the Bush administration is asking the Congress to overturn a ban against the creation of so-called "Low Yield" nuclear weapons. They are mini-nukes, with approximately one-third the microwaving power of the Hiroshima nuke. Of course, along with the ban-lifting would come the return of nuclear testing.

    Am I the only one who thinks a) we have plenty of Nukes, b) this is a bad idea? Aren't we deathly afraid of suitcase nukes already, yet now we want to make more, small ones our selves? I have one simple mantra that covers this topic: The more nukes the world has, the less safe we really are.

    How many schools could we build with the cost just one of these mini-nukes? We know each cruise missile that struck Iraq could have built nearly an entire new school. What size school are we nuking now? Remember, George Bush is "the education president."

    Please contact you Senator now.

    Posted in: Politics

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  217. Lieberman recalls Democratic roots

    brian on 2003.05.16 at 02:19 pm

    All jokes about Senator Joe Lieberman (D, CT) being a Republican in disguise aside. He's cracking down on using the Department of Homeland Security for the political use of Texan Republicans... Go Joe.

    Posted in: Politics

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  218. Random links

    brian on 2003.05.16 at 01:01 pm

    Been a little behind the posting this week, so I'll put both these links into one post:

    Posted in: Cool Info · Politics

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  219. New 20 dollar bill revealed

    jake on 2003.05.13 at 07:21 pm

    Apparenly the news I got yesterday wasn't all correct. The new bills use three colors. There are also some cosmetic layout changes. I read on one page that there's a size difference, but I could not see it in the pictures provided. They look similar to me.

    BBC News
    Washington Post

    Posted in: Politics

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  220. New 20 dollar bill to be revealed tomorrow

    jake on 2003.05.12 at 07:38 pm

    Amazingly enough the only major change is the color. "Subtle" color to be exact. Where's the fancy stuff that other countries have? Besides the layouts they have now didn't help curve counterfeiting with the last redesign.

    The Secret Service says the percentage of counterfeit bills produced digitally has grown from 1 percent of bogus bills in 1995 -- before the last redesign -- to a whopping 40 percent in 2002. has an article about this.

    Posted in: Politics

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  221. Baghdad for next art field trip?

    jake on 2003.05.09 at 05:11 pm

    New Scientist is reporting that a bunch of artifacts have been returned to the National Museum of Baghdad. We mentioned about how the art was stolen a few weeks ago after the initial taking of Baghdad.

    It is difficult to know exactly what has been returned and what is still out there. Many artifacts were never catalogued or photographed.

    Posted in: Art · Politics

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  222. Gov't + Big Telcos are killing the little guy

    brian on 2003.04.26 at 06:59 pm

    This Wired News article speaks about the growing pressures upon the independent ISP. With an overbearing Government (Pro-Big-Business FCC and privacy-crushing DOJ and Congress) on one side and self-centered copyright-holding conglomerates on the other, and unaided by a complacent judicical system, the indy ISP may be a thing of the past. And along with it your last hopes for online privacy.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  223. Phone Co. owes you money

    brian on 2003.04.25 at 02:02 pm

    Forbes has written an indictment of the phone industry, and the complacency (perhaps abatement) of the FCC in the matter. One watchdog group claims that $5 billion in discrepancies they found is "the tip of the iceberg." Science psuedo-fact: 7/8th of the iceberg goes unseen.

    Posted in: Politics

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  224. Michael Moore's Experience

    brian on 2003.04.25 at 01:48 am

    This letter from Michael Moore is a statement of what happens when you speak to your convictions.

    On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the Academy Awards, attendance at "Bowling for Columbine" in theaters around the country went up 110%. It is now the longest-running consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks in a row and still thriving. The number of theaters showing the film since the Oscars has INCREASED, and it has now bested the previous box office record for a documentary by nearly 300%.

    "Stupid White Men" shot back to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This is my book's 50th week on the list, 8 of them at number one, and this marks its fourth return to the top position, something that virtually never happens.

    In the week after the Oscars, my website was getting 10-20 million hits A DAY (one day we even got more hits than the White House!)
    Following the Oscars, more people pre-ordered the video for "Bowling for Columbine" on than the video for the Oscar winner for Best Picture, "Chicago."

    So stand up for what you believe.

    Posted in: Politics

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  225. Kansas, again

    brian on 2003.04.24 at 12:20 am

    Yes, we all remember when the Kansas state school board thought that science books should be labeled with a sticker telling students that evolution is just a theory, and thought creationism should be taught along side in biology class.

    Now the State is trying to out do itself. By charging sales tax on illicit drug transactions. Unreal. Please write in and tell me this is a joke. More at

    Posted in: Politics

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  226. Who do you trust?

    brian on 2003.04.23 at 11:41 pm

    Georgia is considering designing a new flag to replace its controversal, Confederate-cross-bearing flag.This article about it, and its new "motto" (In God We Trust), is brilliant. I am not against religion in any way (shape or form). However, I do find it to be wholly out of place when involved in government. The framers of the Constitution agreed.

    It disturbs me when I see a bible in court or in a "swearing in" ceremony. It's on money, and soon it may be on Georgia's state flag (replacing a flag with a confederate emblem, with a flag with a confederate emblem and a reference to monotheism).

    "It's being put on the flag to increase its acceptability to voters," Bordeaux said. "I had a colleague say that putting 'In God We Trust' on the flag will ensure that it will pass because, as he put it, 'Who will vote against God?' I think that's a sacrilege to use God to sell a flag."

    And that's exactly my problem with it, too. And the fact that in America's 2000 or so religions, many involve much more than a "God" in the Christian sense. Every time I see "In God We Trust," I read it as government propaganda, and a slap in the face of constitution. And cheapening to everyone's belief of choice. But, who's going to stand up against this? Not politicians. They raced each other to criticize the possible removal of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. God doesn't exist to lend faith to a government. It should be trustworthy enough to stand on its own.

    Posted in: Politics

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  227. Bush Sr. Said No to Invasion and Occupation.

    brian on 2003.04.16 at 03:54 am

    In 1998, Time Magazine ran an article by George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft. It detailed the reasons the first Gulf War didn't culminate in an occupation of Baghdad. Interesting is this quote:

    ...we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish.

    Well, that's interesting, but not as interesting as this. It's noted at Boing Boing, that you can't find this article in Time's archive. It's been there until just recently. And in other news, US Troops occupy Baghdad under direction from one of the aforementioned authors' sons. Any conspiracy fans in the crowd? Well, there's a new note on the archives page that notes that the issue (March 02, 1998) has been moved to the premium (pay) portion of the archives. Nevertheless, entertaining. A good read, too.

    Posted in: Politics

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  228. Baghdad: looters destroy priceless art

    jake on 2003.04.15 at 07:10 pm

    I noticed in the Sunday paper an article from the Washington Post. The main topic of the article describes looters destroying priceless artifacts. Stealing and demolishing pieces of history that were saved from the many bombs going off around Baghdad.

    "This was priceless," she sobbed as she pointed to two seated marble deities from the temple at Harta that had been defaced with a hammer. Later, after observing more damage, she broke down again. "It feels like all my family has died," she wept.

    It is very sad that the troops are having trouble keeping the peace. However, the article also points out that with troops being scattered around a lot seem to be hovering around the Oil Ministry.

    Some Iraqis, however, question the allocation of U.S. forces around the capital. They note a whole company of Marines, along with at least a half-dozen amphibious assault vehicles, has been assigned to guard the Oil Ministry, while many other ministries -- including trade, information, planning, health and education -- remain unprotected.

    "Why just the oil ministry?" Jaf asked. "Is it because they just want our oil?"

    Are we really that shallow as to spend so much time saying we don't just want oil and then we're letting history be destroyed just to get at oil?

    Antipixel has also linked to a story by The Ney York Times on this subject.

    Posted in: Art · Politics

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  229. Support Required

    brian on 2003.04.14 at 03:33 am

    I am no longer a student (tangent: perhaps I should be once more...) but if I were one, I would undoubtedly support Students for Orwell. You should, too.

    Posted in: Politics

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  230. Fun at the President's Expense

    brian on 2003.04.14 at 03:11 am

    No, this isn't (directly) a commentary on our billions Bush is spending in Iraq. However, if you'd like a unique perspective on our President's mind, please see this piece in the New Yorker.

    The layout of the answers (you'll understand if you look at the article) is not very user friendly, but I'll give Mac OS X users this tip (will also work for certain *nix variants, they know it as "mouseover focus"). Go to the answers. Highlight and copy. If you're using a Cocoa-built browser (again, OS X only: Camino/Chimera, Safari, OmniWeb) select "Make new sticky note" from the Application Menu/Services menu. No Cocoa? Fire up Stickies and make one manually. Once you have the Sticky set, position it over the browser where you can read the story text, and where you can access the browser's scrolling widgets. (If the Sticky isn't over lapping the browser, this trick won't be nearly as cool.) Now with the Sticky in the forefront, hold the Command Key (the Apple) and attempt to use the browser's scroll widgets... they scroll the page, but don't bring the browser to the front, allowing you to continue to read the sticky! Kick Arse!

    Posted in: Politics

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  231. Opening the floodgates of Iraq related horror stories

    jake on 2003.04.11 at 06:07 pm found an article at The New York Times related by a CNN executive. The story gives some insights into trying to report on the state of Iraq over the last couple decades.

    Posted in: Politics

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  232. Cheney profits from War

    brian on 2003.04.05 at 09:23 pm

    If you're not familiar with the US Vice President's business affairs, you should really read this short primer on Mr. Cheney's business dealings just within the past 20 years or so, from Citizen Works. It includes gems like...

    "Cheney, who served as [Haliburton] CEO from 1995 to 2000, continues to receive as much as $1 million a year in deferred compensation as Halliburton executives enjoy a seat at the table during Administration discussions over how to handle post-war oil production in Iraq."

    "A few weeks ago, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers awarded a no-bid contract to extinguish oil well fires in Iraq to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton. The contract was granted under a January Bush administration waiver that, according to the Washington Post, allowed "government agencies to handpick companies for Iraqi reconstruction projects.""

    "Halliburton held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer."

    Halliburton subsidiaries have also done business with Azerbaijan, Burma, Indonesia, Iran, Libya and Nigeria, despite various US regulations which prohibit dealings with some of these countries.

    Posted in: Politics · Service Announcement

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  233. Indefinite Detainment

    brian on 2003.04.01 at 07:45 pm

    The Patriot Act is downright frightening. Here's an excellent example of why. A well known employee of Intel, Mike Hawash, was detained by federal authorities on March 20th 2003 and is held in solitary confinement in an Oregon Federal prison without a charge. His home, which was occupied by his wife and three children, was stormed by uniformed and armored FBI agents carrying assault rifles.

    Apparently Mike's only crime is being born in the territory of Palestine. Mike's been a US citizen for 14 years and wife is US-born, along with their children. I hope I don't look at an FBI agent the wrong way, or I could be next. Show your support for Mike and check out this website, dedicated to his plight.

    Posted in: Politics · Service Announcement

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  234. Observations above the 49th Parallel

    brian on 2003.03.31 at 06:17 pm

    An interesting Canadian-authored essay, an open letter to America. It says what we all know: we are a great people who need to get back on track before we get out-of-hand, and go the way of the Roman empire.

    Posted in: Politics

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  235. Coalition Building

    brian on 2003.03.30 at 06:48 pm

    I forgot to post the link to this Washington Post article when I first read it a few days back. I thought you just might want to know the other countries participating in the "Coalition of the Willing." You probably know Britain, Australia; and perhaps you heard about the Polish special forces involvment or even about the Danish submarine. But that's a lot fewer than the advertised "40+ countries." Who are the rest? Look out Baghdad, here comes Palau.

    Posted in: Politics

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  236. March of Death

    brian on 2003.03.24 at 01:30 pm

    Not to be one upped by the Beastie Boys, Zach de la Rocha has risen from his self-imposed exile to post a free, downloadable track protesting the war. de la Rocha, late of Rage Against the Machine, has hooked up with DJ Shadow on a new project. The downloadable song is entitled "March of Death."

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  237. Opinion

    brian on 2003.03.20 at 12:35 am

    Everyone has an opinion. Jason Kottke has some good ones.

    Posted in: Politics

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  238. Apple Welcomes Gore

    brian on 2003.03.19 at 11:57 pm

    I would like to take a moment to welcome the newest member of Apple's Board of Directors, Fmr. Vice President of the United States, Mr. Albert Gore. MacCentral has more. Perhaps this will lead to more government contracts?

    Posted in: Technology · Politics

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  239. File trading may fund terrorism?

    jake on 2003.03.17 at 03:25 pm

    Next? Parking in handicapped spaces funds terrorism.

    According to an article I found via Yahoo! file sharing could be a contributer to terrorism. While it could be possible that actual software piracy accomplishes this, where a copy is made of a piece of software and sold on the black market, there is no way to say that downloading mp3's off of Kazaa promotes terrorism. There seems to be a distinction, but as pointed out on Kur5hin it is lost on the congressmen involved.

    But when subcommittee chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, asked Malcolm for examples of cases where file trading was connected to terrorism, Malcolm said he couldn't give concrete examples. "It would surprise me greatly if the number were not large," Malcolm added. "This is an easy enterprise to get into; the barriers of entry are very small, and the profits are huge."

    I'm not even sure this came outta left field. More like behind the concessions stand, next to that little pile of goo that someone just stepped in.

    Malcolm also called the creators of "warez" file-trading networks organized criminals, although he admitted warez fans aren't motivated by money. Many warez groups, who distribute pirated commercial software over the Internet, operate in a very organized fashion, Malcolm said, with a hierarchy based on how much individual members contribute to the group. Much of the pirated material on the Internet comes from warez groups, Malcolm suggested.

    Of course people involved with warez groups aren't interested in money. The whole friggin' idea is to get something for free.

    I am at a loss as to what the deal is here. How is crashing a plane into an office building and downloading WindowsXP for nothing synonymous? The simple fact that stealing a piece of software can be compared to stealing a person's life is disgusting to me. Until there is solid proof that a warez group is giving money to terrorists, copyright issues should be left out of this whole discussion...

    Posted in: Rant · Music · Politics

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  240. Natalie Merchant going it alone

    jake on 2003.03.14 at 06:45 pm

    I saw over at Boing Boing that Natalie Merchant has decided to not renew her major recording contract (actually, she got rid of it last August.) Her new CD, "The House Carpenter's Daughter," will be out soon. :)

    Ms. Merchant paid for recording and packaging "The House Carpenter's Daughter," including the $3.50 manufacturing cost of an elaborate box for the first 30,000 copies. (The CD will sell for $16.95.) The special package "was printed in America for three times the price in Hong Kong," Ms. Merchant said.

    "It's just not in keeping with American business practice right now," she added.

    Even so, "The House Carpenter's Daughter" needs to sell only 50,000 copies to break even, less than 15 percent of what "Motherland," her last album for Elektra, sold.

    Although I like some of her songs I may just buy this CD purely to "stick it to the man." Even if I enjoyed one song on the album, it would be worth it for that. ;)

    NYTimes (registration required)

    Natalie's web site

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  241. More abortion news

    jake on 2003.03.14 at 04:49 pm

    On a similar note, a piece of legislation that Bush reinstated in 2001 may affect his proposal of aid to countries with HIV/AIDS epidemics.

    Now, the Bush administration is considering extending the Mexico City policy to include HIV and AIDS clinics in developing countries. That would restrict the $15 billion promised by the president in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28.

    Let's hope this isn't some jerky way to save some money.

    Wired News

    Posted in: Politics · Medicine

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  242. Senate passes late term abortion plan

    jake on 2003.03.14 at 04:36 pm

    The senate has ok'd a ban on late term abortions.

    The bill prohibits doctors from committing an "overt act" designed to kill a partially delivered fetus. Partial birth is described as a case in which the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the event of a breech delivery, if "any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother."

    The article seems to have a typo. It references many times that there is no exemption when taking into account the health of the mother. Like this...

    Abortion rights supporters have pledged a court challenge. "This bill is unconstitutional," argued Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) citing the lack of an exemption in cases where the health of the mother is in jeopardy.

    And right after, the odd line...

    The legislation includes an exemption in cases in which the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother.

    On a personal level, I find abortion to be terrible in most circumstances. And I realize this isn't all encompassing, but if you don't wanna have kids, use contraception.

    There are exceptions, like when the health of the mother is at stake. Which is why I believe that should have been added to this bill. I'm smack in the middle of the grey area that many people can not even see on this issue.

    Wired News

    Posted in: Politics · Medicine

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  243. Speaking out

    brian on 2003.03.11 at 07:45 pm

    The Beastie Boys have released a single today, available from their website, for free, protesting the pending war on Iraq.

    "This song is not an anti-American or pro-Saddam Hussein statement. This is a statement against an unjustified war."

    This is their first publicly released recording in 5 years, according to MTVnews. (Guess they don't count "Alive" via their "Anthology." )

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  244. Don't buy T-shirts and wear them

    brian on 2003.03.05 at 03:15 pm

    Unbelievable, this story out of Albany, NY. A lawyer buys a T-Shirt in a mall. Puts said T-shirt (reads:"Give Peace a Chance") on, then takes son to food court. Then he's asked by mall security to remove said T-shirt. When he refuses, he is promptly arrested for trespassing. Are we entirely sure we're not living in the Soviet Union?

    Here's the story.

    Posted in: Politics

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  245. Bush Caught on Film

    jake on 2003.02.27 at 06:21 pm

    Gotta love politics. Here we have a simplistic web site put up by the House Appropriations Committee that has quotes from Dubyah, and factual things that he's done. Stuff like...

    "Having been here and seeing the care that these troops get is comforting for me and Laura. We are -- should and must provide the best care for anybody who is willing to put their life in harm's way." - Jan, 17 2003

    And the Washington Post points out the fact that...

    Bush's visit came on the same day that the Administration announced it is immediately cutting off access to its health care system approximately 164,000 veterans.

    Caught on Film

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