Thursday, July 31, 2003

Batman the way nature intended

Oh yes. Batman: Dead End. If you are a Batman fan and you have broadband go check it out. There is a full screen version at 160MB and a small version at 48MB. It's a very well done, 8 minute short film. In my opinion it is far closer to the way Batman is meant to be portrayed. Hollywood's Gotham City was sterile and synthetic compared to Dead End which feels dark, gritty, and realistic. There's no comical Joker here, but a very creepy lunatic. Yeah... I'd love to see this guy make a feature length film with the exact feel of this short.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2003

We're not liberators?

But while the prince was taking the raid calmly, elsewhere in Mansur it provoked a reaction that was anything but. "We consider the Americans now as war criminals," said Mahmoud al-Baghdadi, a 32-year-old baker. "They claim to be fighting terrorism, but they cannot defend freedom by killing disabled people."

It's not getting better.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Geneva Conventions. Protocol 1.

Art. 75.

2. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents: (a) violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular: (i) murder; (ii) torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental; (iii) corporal punishment; and (iv) mutilation;

(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form or indecent assault; (c) the taking of hostages; (d) collective punishments; and (e) threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.


The US is now violating this Article of the Geneva Conventions. US troops are taking hostages.

Atrios points this out and adds more details.

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Sunday, July 27, 2003

Photo's from the storm

Okay, I did not take any photos but my good friend Mat sure did. Nearly one week later and the clean up is in full swing. There are still many, many homes without electricity. What a crazy week it's been. Mama Nature sure has a way of shaking things up when you least expect it. It's not been easy but in the end, I love this kind of nature induced freak-out.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Crazy in Memphis

Few updates for the time being. Memphis had a crazy storm Tuesday morning. Winds reported at 80 mph and massive destruction. 325,000 homes without electricity... mine included. It's nearly impossible to get net access there right now. I've taken the opportunity to visit my family in St.Louis. I'm going to post from here as much as I'm able. Word in Memphis is that many folks will be without power for over a week. Yuck.

So, sorry about the sparse updates. One quick note for the geeks in the house. I'm currently online, a slow dial-up connection which my brother is sharing from his iBook. The beauty of Mac OSX is the ease of use. He dialed up, clicked share internet connection in preferences, then created a network which I joined instantly. Soooooo easy.

One last thought... impeach Bush and try him for war crimes.

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Monday, July 21, 2003

Homeland security

USA Today: Microsoft acknowledges a critical flaw in nearly all Windows software allows hackers to seize control of your computer over the Net, steal your data, delete your files, and eavesdrop on your email.

Heh. Now this is, er, funny. The spooky aliens of the U.S. "Department of Homeland Security have awarded a five-year, $90-million contract to Microsoft to supply all its most important desktop and server software for about 140,000 computers inside the new federal agency."

Kinda not too funny that one department of the government is awarding a $90-million dollar contract to a criminal which has been found guilty of abusing monopoly power. So much for any kind of punishment. I wonder if they get cupcakes too? "Our" government hard at work.

You gotta wonder, why not Unix, Linux, or Mac OSX? All of these are, by default, more secure. Is Windows secure? Well, Zeldman says it well: "Windows can be hacked by a squirrel monkey, thus is wide open to attack."

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Sunday, July 20, 2003

Earth to Bush... come in...

George Bush would like us to forget certain inconvenient truths:
The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.
Those words were spoken by George during a meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on July 14, 2003. Now, I have to ask, was George, er, unaware of the fact that UN weapons inspectors were in Iraq? George, it was only a few months ago... try real, real hard and maybe you'll remember it.

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The downward spiral

The situation in Iraq is apparently worsening day by day. Two more soldiers died today. One yesterday and the day before that too. It seems that it's becoming a daily happening.

Are they serious? U.S. Plans To Enlist Iraqis in Operations: Civil Force Is Intended To Quell Resistance. Do they really think this is a good idea?

CAMP AS SALIYAH, Qatar, July 19 -- U.S. military commanders plan to train and arm thousands of Iraqis to conduct military missions alongside U.S. and British troops in an effort to restore security and quell resistance by forces loyal to ousted president Saddam Hussein, the new head of U.S. military forces in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East said today.


The Iraqi army was falling apart


In the final days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this country's armed forces collapsed from within, with soldiers deserting in droves and commanders of even the most elite units refusing to push their last fighters toward inevitable slaughter by a technologically superior U.S. force, former Iraqi military leaders said.

Was Iraq a current and immediate threat to the US? What evidence did the Bush and Company have? Did they have any real evidence at all? Where are the WMD? Recent developments indicate that they did not have new information which would justify anything close to pre-emptive war.

It seems to me that the primary threat to US safety is the US itself. It's president lied to wage a pre-emptive war. It's congress, republicans and democrats, went along for the ride and offered no dissent during the conflict. Millions of people in the US and around the planet protested what amounted to a war of aggression. It's bizarre that the "leader of the free world" so completely ignored the voices of so many millions of people who did not want war. It is increasingly clear that the US is in no way a government by the people for the people. It's political culture and governmental structures have made it easy for Bush to do what he has. The US is the rogue nation which needs to be stopped in it's tracks by the world community. Is this not obvious?

The US and Britain committed a crime in waging this war. What will the consequences be? I'd say fly Bush, Blair, and their cabinets into Iraq and deposit them into the streets. Let the Iraqi people deal out whatever justice they feel necessary.


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Monday, July 14, 2003

You won't see this reporting in a U.S. newspaper

Red, white and worried
Post-war euphoria gives way to new realities as Fourth of July finds America troubled and confused



Since George W. Bush congratulated troops on their job well done in his infamous photo op aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier on May 1, American soldiers are facing an average of 13 ambushes and attacks per day. Seventy have died, 27 from enemy fire.

The long Independence Day weekend opened here with television images of jubilant Iraqis jumping on the roof of a burned-out U.S. Humvee and a threatening audiotape from Saddam Hussein. That wasn't supposed to be happening.

The Taliban is regrouping in Afghanistan. No one here talks much about Afghanistan any more, but the job is not finished.

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Sunday, July 13, 2003

Hiding out

Spent the past few days away from the keyboard. There's so much going on in the community of which I'm a part and in my personal zonality (i just made that word up) that I thought it better to keep my thoughts on the downlow. I think at the moment I'm feeling emotionally detatched or disconnected. Some would say that's bad, I don't think it is. I kinda feel like I'm watching a movie. I see turmoil, emotion, missed communication, miscommunication, disrespect... everyone seems to have a role in one mess or another. I was talking to a friend yesterday and we concluded that we need a big heart circle with everyone in our community present... maybe 25 people. Personally I think folks should be naked at this heart circle. People put up too many barriers, myself included.

We freak out about relationships. Sometimes we try to own or control. I'm starting to think that the traditional model of a "romantic relationship" (or whatever you want to call it) is a failure. Actually I've thought about that off and on for eight years. I'm not sure that model is the best way of going about intimacy. I guess I'm not sure what I think of the idea or emotion called love. Hollywood would have us believe in soulmates but I don't think that is real. The modern family unit, the nuclear family, is a recent fabrication with particular purposes. It works for some people but I do not accept it as the ultimate goal or model for relationships. I think this is especially true for folks who do not intend to have children.

I wonder if we ought not develop a different mentality regarding romantic or intimate relationships. Why not have something more open with more people. I'm not talking about sex, but emotional and certain kinds of physical intimacy. Perhaps pairings which are more transient and less serious. If we love and are more intimate with more people at the same time might this not be better? If our various needs are being met by a greater pool of people, might that not be more interesting and more stable? In a way that's what our community already does (and others also) but we have weirdness with the different kinds of intimacy.

I'll leave it at that. I think it's possible and would be a good thing. I'm sure there are various social and psycological barriers that will need to be worked through but in the end... well, who knows?

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Bush's lies are catching up to him

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

-- From Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address
Liars
"It is unfortunate that this one sentence, these 16 words, remained in the State of the Union, but this in no way has any effect on the president's larger case about Iraqi efforts to reconstitute the nuclear program, and most importantly in the bigger picture of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." --Condoleezza Rice
"The president of the United States did not go to war because of a question of whether or not Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa." -- national security adviser Condoleezza Rice

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Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Going, going, gone?

Steve Gilliard has yet again nailed it on the head: Time to admit the obvious: there are no WMD

Ok, let's go through this simply:

No units have found any stores of shells, rockets or any production facilities that could be used to convert them into chemical weapons. Despite months of scouring Iraq during and after the war, despite special operators running around Iraq, not one chemical shell has been found. Not one chemical rocket has been found.
So, the question: Is there a deadline for finding the so called Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? I can see the headlines now: Bagdad, Iraq - AP - January 1, 2019, George W. Bush, former President of the United States, continued his search today for the long lost WMD...

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Monday, July 07, 2003

U.S. Troops Vandalize

U.S. troops vandalized and looted the Iraqi airport and now we get to pay for it. Not only was it a needless waste of millions of dollars, but it's probably not the only example of U.S. troops behaving disrespectfully. Of course disrespecting an airport and it's contents is just the icing on the cake of U.S. aggression.


"I don't want to detract from all the great work that's going into getting the airport running again," says Lieut. John Welsh, the Army civil-affairs officer charged with bringing the airport back into operation. "But you've got to ask, If this could have been avoided, did we shoot ourselves in the foot here?"

What was then called Saddam International Airport fell to soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division on April 3. For the next two weeks, airport workers say, soldiers sleeping in the airport's main terminal helped
themselves to items in the duty-free shop, including alcohol, cassettes, perfume, cigarettes and expensive watches. Welsh, who arrived in Iraq in late April, was so alarmed by the thievery that he rounded up a group of Iraqi airport employees to help him clean out the shop and its storage area.

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Sunday, July 06, 2003

Watching the Government

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both." - James Madison (Fourth Presidentof the United States)

Thanks to some folks at MIT we now have Government Information Awarness. Their Mission:

To empower citizens by providing a single, comprehensive, easy-to-use repository of information on individuals, organizations, and corporations related to the government of the United States of America.

To allow citizens to submit intelligence about government-related issues, while maintaining their anonymity. To allow members of the government a chance to participate in the process.

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Presidential manipulation

A couple days ago I mentioned this story over at The Nation in which Renana Brooks offers an analysis of Bush's use of language.

Given the manipulative content of Bush's speeches on the 4th, it seems like a good time to reflect on his words. Emma over at Notes on the Atrocities also takes a look at Bush's speech.


"By killing innocent Americans, our enemies made their intentions clear to us," Bush said from a red-white-and-blue-bedecked stage set up on a sun-soaked field. "And since that September day, we have made our own intentions clear to them."

Who killed innocent Americans? Not Iraqis. Bush has provided zero, zilch, nada in the way of evidence which might link Iraq to 9/11. He's mixing the shit here.


The United States, Bush said, "will not stand by and wait for another attack, or trust in the restraint and good intentions of evil men."


Who's good and evil? Are Iraqi civilians evil? Were they deserving of 3/12/03? What about 3/15/03? Maybe they deserved 3/17 or 3/19? Just what was the threat posed by Saddam? Where are the chemical and nuclear weapons? The constant repetition of these accusations does not make them true.


"We will act whenever it is necessary to protect the lives and the liberty of the American people."

"Without America's active involvement in the world, the ambitions of tyrants would go unopposed and millions would live at the mercy of terrorists," he said. "With Americans' active involvement in the world, tyrants learn to fear and terrorists are on the run."

What in the hell is he saying here? The "ambitions of tyrants"? Please, tell me, what had Saddam done to us? What has he ever done to the U.S.? Bush is fond of talking terrorism, of bringing up 9/11 and suggesting that we should live in fear, afraid for our lives. From the perspective of an Iraqi it is the U.S. and George Bush that is the terrorist. It's currently estimated that 6,000 - 7,000 Iraqi civilians died as a result of our recent aggression. That does not count the thousands who were injured, many maimed for the rest of their lives. Does this not far outweigh the pain and suffering of 9/11? Just in pure numbers it does. So, tell me again, who is the terrorist? George Bush, you are a piece of shit.

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The troops are frustrated

Troop morale in Iraq hits 'rock bottom'


In one Army unit, an officer described the mentality of troops. "They vent to anyone who will listen. They write letters, they cry, they yell. Many of them walk around looking visibly tired and depressed.... We feel like pawns in a game that we have no voice [in]."

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Saturday, July 05, 2003

Remember this?

The Declaration of Independence

Watch out, some folks might label you a traitor or subversive for reading such radical propaganda:


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

Thanks to Cory at Boing Boing for posting it there.

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Remember this?

The Declaration of Independence

Watch out, some folks might label you a traitor or subversive for reading such radical propaganda:


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

Thanks to Cory at Boing Boing for posting it there.

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Friday, July 04, 2003

What a nightmare

bush golfs

Steve Gilliard over at the Daily Kos has written an excellent summary of the current situation in Iraq.


The look on Donald Rumsfeld's face lately has not been a happy one. As the Bush Administration and its defenders try to pretend that the war in Iraq is not going badly, the reality is that things are getting worse with little hope for a solution in the near future.

Viceroy Jerry has asked for 50,000 troops to maintain his rule. There's one small problem with that. There aren't 50K to give. The US military is nearly at the end of it's deployable strength and needs to withdraw the 3ID as soon as possible.
Each day that passes get's uglier and uglier. Bush apparently does not know who's in charge of finding the WMD. Saddam is still on the loose. Resistance to U.S. occupation grows each day. Back on the ranch Cowboy George is inviting attacks on the U.S. troops.

Of course I'm just looking at it from the point of view of a citizen in this country. I have no idea what it must be like over there. As if the Iraqi's were devastated enough by 10+ years of economic sanctions we pounded their country with Gulf War 2. They didn't ask for Saddam, nor did they ask for Bush. Why does the U.S. constantly interfere in the affairs of so many countries? Never forget that Rumsfeld was shaking hands with Saddam in the 1980's.

Today we celebrate Independence day. I wonder, what does that mean?

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Cost of the war

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

An ongoing tally of the cost of the war in Iraq
The tally updates every second and I'll tell ya, it's scary to watch. We're spending about $2,000 every second.

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Thursday, July 03, 2003

Maybe it's the heat?

Boy, I'm slackin. I have not been motivated to do anything the past few days. Actually, I am taking a more pro-active role at my place of employment but outside of that I, er, just don't care. I'm felling very apathetic about most things. It's interesting, but some folks think I need fixing. There seems to be a sentiment that there's something wrong with me. I suppose I can't know for sure but I don't think there is.

Why is happiness so important? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be miserable. But I don't know that I want to be happy either. I think I just want to be. I'll take the good with the bad and try to keep it all in context.

I think that perhaps I've just exhausted my limited social energy. I'm feeling like I want to be alone more than I have in the past. I'm not content but I'm not really interested in making any changes at the moment. Yes, I want to be left alone. That may sound harsh but it's where I'm at. I need space. I'm feeling a shift in myself. Perhaps it's only temporary but what has been open is now closed. I will be by myself because that's what I have to do.

I think I used to be afraid of being alone. Perhaps it was a fear of what that might imply about me. If I'm alone then I'm not desired which is a negative about me. I think otherwise now. I'm not afraid of this. I wish I'd faced certain fears that I've turned away from in the past. Perhaps it's the easy way out, but it's what I choose for now. Perhaps I'm just looking for some sort of mental safety or comfort, I'm not sure. I suppose every choice has positives and negatives, every choice is right and wrong.